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  1. 19 Jun '13 20:01 / 1 edit
    I've been listening to Igor Smirnov on youtube, specifically his avoiding blunders video. In it he suggest playing a closed variation when you play an opponent who is better prepared. He suggests this because computers are +3000 opponents and who wants to go against that?

    It reminded me of something I heard before (I think while listening to Chessmaster tutorials) that when you play a computer, tactics are a no no since computers can compute all sorts of variations and are very strong tactical opponents, instead play strategic games.

    It seems to me that the two statements are very similar. Open positions lead to tactics and closed games lead to strategic games. When I first started learning to play chess, I got the advice, play open games and learn tactics! So I've heard this idea in three different places all of which I believed were reliable sources, which leads me to this question:

    Do computers steer modern players into focusing on strategic games? When I say players, I mean people who actually play chess as opposed to people who simply try to memorize lines and copy moves they've seen. I'd think there would even be these two types of GM's.

    Of course I suck and could be all wet, but thought this would be a good place to ask such a question.
  2. Standard member RJHinds
    The Near Genius
    20 Jun '13 06:49
    Originally posted by Eladar
    I've been listening to Igor Smirnov on youtube, specifically his avoiding blunders video. In it he suggest playing a closed variation when you play an opponent who is better prepared. He suggests this because computers are +3000 opponents and who wants to go against that?

    It reminded me of something I heard before (I think while listening to Chessmaster ...[text shortened]... I suck and could be all wet, but thought this would be a good place to ask such a question.
    Not all chess computers play that good. I downloaded a free chess program called Brutal Chess just last night and beat it both games I played against it. It has three levels, easy, medium, and hard. I played the first game at medium and it played a Sicilian Defense, but not very well. So the next game I put it on hard and I play the King's Gambit and it played a much better game. Of course, I enjoyed winning, which you are not as likely to do against the Houdini chess program.

    The Instructor
  3. 20 Jun '13 19:05
    Originally posted by RJHinds
    Not all chess computers play that good. I downloaded a free chess program called Brutal Chess just last night and beat it both games I played against it. It has three levels, easy, medium, and hard. I played the first game at medium and it played a Sicilian Defense, but not very well. So the next game I put it on hard and I play the King's Gambit and it ...[text shortened]... winning, which you are not as likely to do against the Houdini chess program.

    The Instructor
    I wasn't talking about chess for most people. I'm talking about competative chess.

    For the rest of us, I suppose the computer opens up the possibility of cheating or playing against a cheat, but that was not the issue I thought about while watching the video.
  4. 20 Jun '13 20:03 / 3 edits
    Hi eladar

    "Do computers steer modern players into focusing on strategic games?"

    Yes. But then good players (ancient & modern) have a good strategic
    base and think that way anyway.

    The technique v a box differs from what you use v a human.
    I'm not talking about the top computers but against any previous models
    (He uses Chessmaster which can beat 99% of the world's players)

    A Colle/Stonewall is a perfect weapon v a box.

    Go here and see what this lad has to say, it's very good.
    But he does emphasise this plan is no good v a reasonable human player.

    http://chess.eusa.ed.ac.uk/Chess/Trivia/stonewall.html

    Basically you build up a slow position forcing Black to seek counter play
    on the Queenside.
    You keep the Queenside blocked and throw up your Kingside pawns.
    It senses no threat till it's far too late. A human will see it coming and
    take measures.

    Here is his first example.

  5. Standard member RJHinds
    The Near Genius
    21 Jun '13 00:48
    Originally posted by Eladar
    I wasn't talking about chess for most people. I'm talking about competative chess.

    For the rest of us, I suppose the computer opens up the possibility of cheating or playing against a cheat, but that was not the issue I thought about while watching the video.
    Can you give the link so I can see what you are talking about.

    The Instructor
  6. 21 Jun '13 19:10
    Originally posted by RJHinds
    Can you give the link so I can see what you are talking about.

    The Instructor
    YouTube

    You need to get to about 10 minutes into the video.
  7. 21 Jun '13 19:21
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Hi eladar

    "Do computers steer modern players into focusing on strategic games?"

    Yes. But then good players (ancient & modern) have a good strategic
    base and think that way anyway.

    The technique v a box differs from what you use v a human.
    I'm not talking about the top computers but against any previous models
    (He uses Chessmaster which can ...[text shortened]... 24. Rb1 Rxa6 25. Nf1 Nxf6 26. gxf6 Qxe5 27. dxe5 Ne7 28. Qh6 Nf5 29. Bxf5 d4 30. Qg7[/pgn]
    Hey greenpawn,


    I read a bit of your link. I find it interesting that the disclaimer about how bad your computer needs to be, as well as making sure your computer doesn't have much time to think between moves!

    I'd imagine having multiple programs up competing for your computer's attention can help too!

    As to your comment about good players (ancient and modern) having a good strategic base, of course this is true! My question is about lines modern players are going to play? Are computers taking the tactics out of the minds of people and into simply memorized computer lines? Are computers steering chess players into closed positions, forcing things to take longer before they happen? Choosing to enter closed positions and safer lines will make it much more difficult to take advantage of computer preparation.

    Of course tactics are important no matter how the game starts. I'm just wondering if computers are pushing high level players into playing more closed positions.
  8. 21 Jun '13 20:30
    Eladar,

    " I'm just wondering if computers are pushing high level players into playing more closed positions."

    Very possible.
    The more these guys study with a box the more they will end up playing like them.

    Could explain why Carlsen, who some say heads for anti-computer
    positions, is so succesful. (don't really buy it - the guy is gifted and has
    put in quite a lot of work without damaging his natural talent..)

    The important thing is to ignore what these guys are doing till you
    are one of these guys.
    Until that happy day keep an eye on all unprotected pieces and check all checks.
    In other words, just because the tactics in the top notch games are rarely
    seen outside of the notes it does not mean they won't appear in our games.
    At our level the two move trick is the winner.
  9. 21 Jun '13 20:58
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Eladar,

    " I'm just wondering if computers are pushing high level players into playing more closed positions."

    Very possible.
    The more these guys study with a box the more they will end up playing like them.

    Could explain why Carlsen, who some say heads for anti-computer
    positions, is so succesful. (don't really buy it - the guy is gifted and ...[text shortened]... es not mean they won't appear in our games.
    At our level the two move trick is the winner.
    "The more these guys study with a box the more they will end up playing like them."

    Smirnov's comment makes me think just the opposite is true. Carlsen might be playing like a box because he wants to play the opponent, not the opponent's box. The further you can take the game along before starting the fireworks, the less likely it is that you are heading into a computer's trap.

    I know that this doesn't apply to me, although right now my interest is in strategy. I'd like to 'understand the position'. I've achieved my original goal with chess. It is nice to have a new one.
  10. 21 Jun '13 21:52
    Hi

    I don't think Carlsen plays like a computer - the opposite.

    I was listening to two GM's commentating on a game and the explanantion
    why White had played a dodgy opening move was because he had not left
    his computer running long enough to spot the hole.

    Modern players may be leaning on them too much.
    Even the commentators are using bad computer analysis as an excuse.

    "...the less likely it is that you are heading into a computer's trap."

    Computers don't set traps.
    You must remember they analyse what it considers is the best reply
    they do not know the concept of a trap.
    They do not play moves expecting a plausible reply.

    If it is looking at a position and can see a mate in 12 moves but on
    move 11 there is a slight flaw then it rejects the whole line.
    (the slight flaw leaves it with a 0.40+ position.)

    It does not care or know that to get to move 11 the human will have
    to play 11 very diffcult to find moves.
    It simply does not know what a difficult position is for a human.
    So it throws out the whole line and plays a non-tactical move
    that gives it a 0.45+ position.

    Hence the lack of tactics from top computers.
    They can see them alright but don't know how good they are v humans.
    So won't go near them if they can see a 0.01 reason not to.
  11. 22 Jun '13 15:49
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Hi

    I don't think Carlsen plays like a computer - the opposite.

    I was listening to two GM's commentating on a game and the explanantion
    why White had played a dodgy opening move was because he had not left
    his computer running long enough to spot the hole.

    Modern players may be leaning on them too much.
    Even the commentators are using bad comp ...[text shortened]... how good they are v humans.
    So won't go near them if they can see a 0.01 reason not to.
    "Computers don't set traps."

    Yah, I used the wrong term. That's what I get for simply being a person dabbling in chess. I should have been more careful with my words and said something like "enter into a difficult position that a 3000+ rated computer can see, but you can't".

    Perhaps you should join in with the enemy (computer programmer) and adjust programs so that they are willing to play more like people. There should be some sub routine written into the code that will allow the computer to take riskier lines when it would require exceptional play out of the opponent to refute it(perhaps I used the wrong term again). I'm sure it could be done, but it won't be done my mathematicians who try to simply force computers to find the 'best move for the position', because to mathematicians this means of course taking the least risk to achieving the ultimate goal of victory.

    In the end this would make things more difficult of people vs machines because then machines would be much less predictable.
  12. 22 Jun '13 16:03
    Hi Eladar

    "enter into a difficult position that a 3000+ rated computer can see, but you can't".

    That's better.

    The day they can get a computer judging a position is very difficult for a
    mere carbon based human to play then we are all in trouble.

    It will give a whole new meaning to 'Hope Chess'.
  13. 23 Jun '13 08:25 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Eladar
    I've been listening to Igor Smirnov on youtube, specifically his avoiding blunders video. In it he suggest playing a closed variation when you play an opponent who is better prepared. He suggests this because computers are +3000 opponents and who wants to go against that?

    It reminded me of something I heard before (I think while listening to Chessmaster I suck and could be all wet, but thought this would be a good place to ask such a question.
    Computer can force a very positional kind of play yes. On the very rare occasions I'm winning against one I'll lock the board up - play subtle moves to lock there pieces up.

    But computers are not Immune to tactics, as GP says you can creep up the kingside and checkmate them, Also they are confused by sacrifices, especially lines with multiple sacrifices a piece then a pawn. They don't get 'position over material' Look up Edward Nemeth, he uses tactics against fritz and still wins.

    I would not avoid tactics with computers , you won't learn - try position over material tactics.
  14. Standard member RJHinds
    The Near Genius
    23 Jun '13 21:13 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Eladar
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N0E0eahWnQ

    You need to get to about 10 minutes into the video.
    I looked at the video and I think I have a general idea of what you mean. Yes, those 3000+ rated computers have been programmed to calculate tactical position and because of the greater speed and accuracy of computer calculating, his advice to avoid tactical openings and positions against those 3000+ rated computers and against much stronger and better prepared opponents is probably best, if you are primarily interested in preventing blunders. That is because blunders are more likely to occur in complicated tactical positions that require good visualization of the resulting positions as the calculations are done. The 3000+ rated computers don't blunder in the calculations and do not have to visualize the resulting positions like we do.

    However, if you are just playing a normal opponent, he might be the one to blunder first instead of you. And like you said, you need to learn tactics, but closed openings generally do not offer as much practice in tactics as do the open openings.

    This is why it is necessary to study the openings you plan to play, so that you are aware of the possibilities of each opening and find those that fit the style of play that you wish to concentrate on. It is difficult to play a game without some errors, but a blunder is usually considered a major error that loses the game quickly.

    There are books on tactics that you should study so that you become aware of all the ideas and will give you more confidence once you solve all the tactical postions that are given.

    I once had a few openings that I played memorized so that I could usually get to the middle game with an advantage or at least an equal position. However, even then there were people that did not want to play according to those openings. Now, when I play OTB, I can only remember the first part of those openings, because I quit playing for 30 years. But on RHP I can just look them up.

    The Instructor
  15. 24 Jun '13 18:32
    Chris,

    I don't really play computers. I did for a while, but now I just play against people. When I found out that you could get in trouble using your computer analysis in future games (building a computer generated line of moves) I kind of gave up on that. I was going to compile a huge set of lines for 1.b3 and call it "1.b3 Fritz and me".

    The topic of the thread is supposed to be about the influence of modern chess super computer programs on tournament chess.

    RJ,

    I find that studying openings is nice, but as you have noted not many people stick to book lines. The openings I play are rather off beat so not many people know the lines anyhow. This is another suggestion that Igor gives. He is big on trying to make your opponent think as opposed to simply allowing your opponent to memorize moves.

    I'm not really interested in winning much anymore. I'm not really interested in 'getting better'. I'm just interested in learning how to 'understand the position', which will make me better. It seems like a rather fine distinction I guess, but I think there is a big difference and is really the only way to go.