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  1. 24 Oct '10 22:06
    It seems to me that is a no brainer. Chess is a game of knowledge. Logic can only be applied once knowledge is attained. Knowledge can be used without much logic.

    Of course I think there are other things at play, things like board vision vs tunnel vision.
  2. 24 Oct '10 23:43
    Originally posted by Eladar
    It seems to me that is a no brainer. Chess is a game of knowledge. Logic can only be applied once knowledge is attained. Knowledge can be used without much logic.

    Of course I think there are other things at play, things like board vision vs tunnel vision.
    Does an elephant weigh a lot, or does it have big ears?

    Obviously the question you pose is a false dichotomy, because it's both. Note also that knowledge may be acquired through the use of logic; and that knowledge may guide logic in the acquisition of further knowledge.
  3. 26 Oct '10 01:40
    Originally posted by Schach Attack
    Does an elephant weigh a lot, or does it have big ears?

    Obviously the question you pose is a false dichotomy, because it's both. Note also that knowledge may be acquired through the use of logic; and that knowledge may guide logic in the acquisition of further knowledge.
    Really? A false dichotomy? What's the difference between the very best and those who spend countless hours trying to reach a similar level?

    Is it the logic? Or is it that the top chess players have photographic memories and can remember what to do in countless positions? Does a photographic memory effect logic or does it simply help you to remember what to do when the position presents itself?

    I do not think there is a false dichotomy at all. When people play chess they are simply putting into practice what they've learned or what they can remember.
  4. 26 Oct '10 02:17
    photographic memory? knowledge? logic? this all sounds a bit difficult to my ears. Logic is a very formal way of thinking and chess tactics have such an aspect to them. As for knowledge, this is a very suggestive word, especially when we speak of photographic memory.

    I like the word intuition. Through practice and taking the time to reflect on the consequences of the moves we see, we develop a chess intuition. Certain positional aspects start to look strong, absurd or weak, whereas before they were just obscure. Calling this knowledge seems like a bit of a leap, but i'm sure some philosopher somewhere could convince me otherwise.

    Eventually we probably do develop a chess logic. "If A then B because otherwise I'll fork his Queen and King with my Knight." To be able to think like this for long periods, or, in other words, without effort, comes with practice - in the same way someone who studies chemistry becomes familiar with the relationship between the elements, or a musician the notes in a harmony.

    In this sense, logic and knowledge seem like the same thing; knowledge becomes the ability to apply correct logic.

    Such knowledge brings clarity to what we've noticed about a position. A musician might like a particular chord sequence, and wants to progress it. He doesn't try different chords at random. He will examine the sequence and shift into a relative minor, or throw out a note from a blues scale.

    Photographic memory is something else altogether. Remembering something isn't playing chess. Remembering something is postponing the moment when we start playing chess. If you play chess a hell'uva'lot then you're going to start memorizing openings. You just will. Like you know to avoid the creaky step next to your flatmates room late at night. Having a photographic memory is definitely an advantage for such little details, but you'd still have to learn to play, just like everyone else.

    So chess is a game of intuition guided by logic. I'd like to call that knowledge, but i don't want to tie myself down to such a definition!
  5. 26 Oct '10 02:44
    Once you know the rules you can work out any position logically. Not really sure the point of the question though. Chicken or beef? There's a tricky one.
  6. 26 Oct '10 12:32
    Originally posted by Eladar
    Really? A false dichotomy? What's the difference between the very best and those who spend countless hours trying to reach a similar level?

    Is it the logic? Or is it that the top chess players have photographic memories and can remember what to do in countless positions?
    Both. The question whether chess is a game of logic and knowledge is, therefore, a false dichotomy: chess is a game of logic and knowledge. And patience, and application, and desire, and complete mental aberration.

    Richard
  7. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    26 Oct '10 16:16
    Logic is a form of knowledge.
  8. Standard member caissad4
    Child of the Novelty
    27 Oct '10 00:49 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Eladar
    It seems to me that is a no brainer. Chess is a game of knowledge. Logic can only be applied once knowledge is attained. Knowledge can be used without much logic.

    Of course I think there are other things at play, things like board vision vs tunnel vision.
    Chess is a game of pattern recognition. Knowledge of patterns. Recognizing patterns. And, yes, memorizing patterns. And knowing how proceed in different patterns.
  9. 27 Oct '10 02:00
    yeah i'd been on the juice last night, was stonked when I wrote all that!
  10. 27 Oct '10 02:52 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Eladar
    Really? A false dichotomy? What's the difference between the very best and those who spend countless hours trying to reach a similar level?

    Is it the logic? Or is it that the top chess players have photographic memories and can remember what to do in countless positions? Does a photographic memory effect logic or does it simply help you to remember wha ...[text shortened]... ay chess they are simply putting into practice what they've learned or what they can remember.
    Yes, really, a false dichotomy. Nobody wins by rote memorization because the number of possible positions in chess are beyond human memorization.

    If grandmaster chess was simply a matter of putting rote memorization into practice, their games would be played at bullet-chess speed. Instead, you find just the opposite: grandmasters spending 10-45 minutes on a single move sometimes, over the board. What are they doing during all of that time? Trying to make their omniscient photographic memories work? Or employing the totality of their skills (including but not limited to logic and knowledge) to analyze the position? Why do you suppose that time controls are much LONGER for professional, world-tournament games than for club games? In fact, grandmaster level games used to have much longer time-controls than the 3 to 4 hours or so at present.

    Your question, "What's THE difference between the very best and those who spend countless hours trying to reach a similar level?" is simplistic. It's vague and meaningless. The difference between whom, and whom, specifically? You aren't specifying anyone with such general parameters. Even in the top echelon different players have different approaches. There are those who rely on rigorous calculation many ply deep. There are those who (or so they claim) only consider one move ahead, most of the time. As for the faults of lesser players, again, that all depends on the player. The possibilities, in the abstract, are numerous: all we can say is that seldom if ever does any single individual embody either all virtues or all faults.

    Differences between top players and lesser players can include approach, methods of training and study, experience, what might be called their "starting handicap", and what might be called their "learning curve", as well as many other factors, some of which may be equally or more important.

    It's true that grandmasters, today (unlike, say, in Capablanca's time) almost uniformly make a study of openings, and that requires a certain amount of memorization; but not blind memorization, since they are also looking for novelties (whether genuinely new, or forgotten) to improve openings; and don't forget that even in grandmaster games, openings do not always stay in book: another reason why memorization alone is grossly insufficient.
  11. 27 Oct '10 02:56
    Originally posted by Thabtos
    Logic is a form of knowledge.
    Really? And what tells you that: logic or knowledge? If knowledge, where did it come from?
  12. 27 Oct '10 03:04
    Originally posted by caissad4
    Chess is a game of pattern recognition. Knowledge of patterns. Recognizing patterns. And, yes, memorizing patterns. And knowing how proceed in different patterns.
    It's also a game of analysis. Calculation isn't simply a matter of recognizing patterns, it's a combination of logic used to work through calculations accurately, board vision, and tactical vision. And patterns are recognized more often not by players who merely attempt to memorize them -- since chess is concrete and every position is different -- but by players who also spend time THINKING about positions and who come to recognize patterns by virtue of personal brainwork and experience. It's also a game of strategic vision, again a combination of logic and knowledge. And then there's intuition.
  13. 27 Oct '10 18:13 / 1 edit
    P.S. I actually understated the time controls for grandmaster games. I said 3-4 hours, but the FIDE time control for major events specifies, per player, 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, plus 30 seconds per move. So, for a 60 move game the maximum game time (total, both players) would be 5 hours.

    http://www.fide.com/fide/handbook.html?id=39&view=category

    Incidentally, instead of trying to bridge the gulf between ourselves and grandmasters, it might be more fruitful to ask what is the difference between ordinary class players and non-class players (i.e., Expert and above).

    Grandmasters are like astronauts viewing the Earth from a moonwalk. Class players range from the strictly earthbound to those able to fly, whether in the stratosphere or in short hops from point to point. Expert level players can be likened to someone who has reached escape velocity and attained a stable orbit.

    An Expert is certainly a strong player, and transcending class-level chess is a reasonable goal for someone of ordinary intelligence willing to put the work into the game, after sufficient experience. So, why do so many class players spend years, reading chess books, studying openings, and so forth, without ever reaching Expert (or a high Class A rating close to this)?

    A good chess coach bridges the two categories of players. In Dan Heisman's book The Improving Chess Thinker, Heisman concludes, on the basis of long experience, that the primary difference is that class-players (especially those rated 1800 and below, but often others) lack, or fail to systematically apply, an organized thinking process.

    As a class player, I could see exactly what Heisman was talking about: it's so true! What good does it do to study openings or even to do tactical puzzles in a book if you are neglecting the fundamentals in your games? Do you examine all of your opponent's checks, captures, and threats after each of his moves? Do you perform the same examination with respect to your own move options? Do you, again, look for your opponent's checks, captures (and recaptures -- all of them) and threats when deciding on a prospective move, but before actually making it?

    It's not "sexy", and it takes a lot of work to actually put this into practice effectively, but it's sound.
  14. 27 Oct '10 21:11
    Sach,

    What is your definition of logic?

    It seems to me that logic is just something that makes sense. You do something that seems right.

    Are calculations logic? I don't think so. Perhaps doing calculations will see if your logical move is a good one, but I do not believe that calculationing is the same thing as being logical. I'd call the ability to calculate is a skill. It is a developed skill. It is not logic.

    If game is simply a game of logic, then it seems to me that the only way to get better would be to become more logical.
  15. 28 Oct '10 00:21 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by Eladar
    Sach,

    What is your definition of logic?

    It seems to me that logic is just something that makes sense. You do something that seems right.

    Are calculations logic? I don't think so. Perhaps doing calculations will see if your logical move is a good one, but I do not believe that calculationing is the same thing as being logical. I'd call the ability ...[text shortened]... of logic, then it seems to me that the only way to get better would be to become more logical.
    In the present context, logic is the application of a well-defined set of rules (legal moves) to a set of premises (starting position, the move under consideration) to reach a conclusion (end position after a given move sequence). Effectively, a player uses spatial logic as well as combinatorial logic to evaluate a given move out to a "sufficiently far" point in the game. Analysis compares the calculational result of various tested move sequences to determine the relative best move according to that player's criteria. Criteria typically involve material and positional factors but the weighting of these factors will vary from player to player.

    So, yes, calculation in chess involves logic. The whole point of calculation is to involve a degree of rigor in deciding what "makes sense" or "is right" in a given position. It is not the only consideration possible -- intuition may also be involved -- but strong players often use analysis (including calculation) to provide the foundation for intuitive decisions which then take them beyond strict calculation.

    And yes, one of the ways to improve skill in chess is to become more logical. Weak players are less logical than stronger players where chess logic is concerned. Weak players often perform little or no calculation, much less any attempt at systematized calculation (analysis). When they do, they often do so erroneously, failing to accurately predict consequences, overlooking consequences, and indulging biases rather than reasoning impartially about a given position and move. (Incidentally, I don't yet consider myself a good player -- that remains an aspiration.)

    It isn't merely logic, but logic is certainly involved. As I said above, analysis isn't simply a matter of recognizing patterns (though it often involves that as well), it's a combination of logic used to work through calculations accurately, board vision, and tactical vision; and to the extent that positional considerations are weighed, strategic vision may be involved in analysis as well. All of that may be used in evaluating a given position or a set of possible positions resulting from a given move.

    And no, it isn't SIMPLY a game of logic. The whole point of my rebuttal is to assert that chess is a game, not of logic OR knowledge, but of logic AND knowledge. Furthermore, there is an interactive dynamic between these, as logic may lead to new knowledge, and knowledge can guide the application of logic.