If you're trying to learn chess, you could try memorizing "canned" sets of moves, but due to the exponential tree growth, that will only get you so far. So you could try to learn the heuristics that pop out the specific sets of moves - maybe "take out the queen first" or something. But then you're limited to the strength of those heuristics. Maybe you could work at an even higher level of abstraction so you can generate your own heuristics and know better when to use which heuristic.
There's sorta a hierarchy of abstraction with concrete moves at the bottom and chess theory at the top - and you can improve your game at any level.