Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. 05 Nov '10 08:16
    In a recent game against an opening i am unfamiliar with rather than buy a book/otherwise research the opening i checked out the games explorer 1900+ database and simply played the most successful opposing moves until my opponent varied. (i ignored spikes where only one person had played a move)

    This will not win you games but maybe stopped me losing in the opening. Any examples of this sort of policy going horribly wrong?
  2. 05 Nov '10 17:53 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Habeascorp
    In a recent game against an opening i am unfamiliar with rather than buy a book/otherwise research the opening i checked out the games explorer 1900+ database and simply played the most successful opposing moves until my opponent varied. (i ignored spikes where only one person had played a move)

    This will not win you games but maybe stopped me losing in the opening. Any examples of this sort of policy going horribly wrong?
    Plenty. Often there is a large body of older games where the line in question has been successful, until someone discovered a novelty which renders the old line poison. There are fewer new games with the novelty than old games without it, so the stats are misleading.

    Also, many times you will be led into lines where correct play is not so clear: as long as your opponent stays in book, this may not be a problem, but as soon as he deviates (as most of your amateur opponents will) you are now in a position that may not be at all clear, or to your liking or consistent with your preferred style of play, and now you don't know what to do and your database doesn't tell you. An error is only an error if it can be properly punished; many times an erroneous move may end up being strong if the reply does not correctly punish it.

    I haven't used opening databases with any of my games here. I don't like chess by numbers and I don't like being the dummy pushing wood on behalf of a database dictator. I found in the past that I had insufficient understanding both of chess and of databases to use them competently. Now I think through openings using first principles, and have far more enjoyment in the game; I'm also learning more, and even playing better.
  3. 05 Nov '10 21:39
    OTOH, I recently won a game because my opponent dropped a piece in the opening due to a quasi trap - a glance at a database showed no one played his move. That should give second thoughts. And another opponent might have noticed that 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 f6 is not highly recommended...
  4. 09 Nov '10 20:15
    I think that the only benefit that this practice offers is in helping you to remember the book lines for OTB play.
  5. 10 Nov '10 02:13
    I find the 'they played this, what does the database say i should do?' method next to useless for learning openings. You don't get to practice playing the position and thinking through the possibilities. Without doing this, remembering what you have played before is much more difficult.

    I do use such databases when I get opening worries. Usually I decide I want to look into some variation a bit more and often it takes a correspondence game along those lines for me to actually pull my finger out and take a look.

    For example, i've recently started pushing my c pawn when playing the Black side of a caro-kann advance. After a run of mixed results (and some horrendous losses) I'm a bit stuck regarding how to develop my kingside pieces. Often my knight ends up on f5, where it seems mostly ineffective or has given my opponent a kingside pawnstorm with tempi.

    I realize I should probably try to play h5 before Nf5, but it's not clear to me what the 'best' way of going about it is - maybe i should wait until my opponent castles before deciding?

    Out comes the opening database. I'll flick through what others have done. Much of it makes sense because I'm already familiar with many of the plans from my own games.... suddenly, 'Ahhh, that's a nice idea. I'll try playing for that sort of setup....' or 'ok, it's fine to leave my knight on d7 for a while, no need to rush next time...'
  6. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    10 Nov '10 16:30
    Trust but verify-

    I wouldn't worry too much about being busted using a database until you get pretty far up in rating. I think the real danger for most players is that you get 15 moves deep and then your opponent opts for some suboptimal move that is both outside your database and outside your notes.

    In those situations, particularly in sharp lines, if you miss the key idea you might have your whole variation overturned from winning to lost in a single move.