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  1. 07 Nov '07 22:29
    My buddy and I (we are both 1500 players) were always resistant to the concept of using a data base. We felt it was cheating, but a player convinced my friend that his play would be boosted by it. So slowly he started using it and it he said it helped him. However, he just played a game and showed me how the data based helped him. But it sort of looked like it was his data base vs. his opponents data base. Does this sort of happen from time to time when you use a data bases or is this some sort of overuse?
  2. Standard member Lukerik
    Stick your hands up
    07 Nov '07 22:35
    I don't want to divert the course of this thread - or betray my complete ignorance - but what is a database exactly?
  3. 07 Nov '07 22:44
    A database is a collection of previously played games (maybe a few million of them in the larger ones). In correspondence chess, including on this site, it's legal to use a database like this to look up the opening moves.

    Thing is, a database is only going to get you through the first 10 moves or so, max. After that, the combinatorial explosion is going to make it pretty impossible to find a match, even if you have millions of games in the database.

    If both sides use databases correctly, all that's going to happen is that once you get out of the opening the game will still be pretty even (or "slight advantage for white", same as before the first move).

    As to whether it's excessive, I would say no. Since you're allowed to use databases you might as well get as much out of them as you can. If you decide not to for whatever reason, you have to realize you're going to put yourself at a disadvantage. A lot of times my opponent will be significantly behind once we reach the first non-book move, and there's really no reason they had to let that happen.

    Another advantage of using a database is that it helps you learn the opening patterns without having to memorize them in advance.
  4. 07 Nov '07 23:16 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by myteamtrulystinks
    My buddy and I (we are both 1500 players) were always resistant to the concept of using a data base. We felt it was cheating, but a player convinced my friend that his play would be boosted by it. So slowly he started using it and it he said it helped him. However, he just played a game and showed me how the data based helped him. But it sort o ...[text shortened]... this sort of happen from time to time when you use a data bases or is this some sort of overuse?
    Databases can help you get to know openings if you don't own opening monographs (detailed books specializing in a particular opening). I (normally) use them quite a bit here.

    It's very easy to go wrong using databases. First, you can't just go move by move and pick moves that have good numbers -- you may find that further down the line there is a move or series of moves which, if picked by your opponent, give you a bad position. In some instances, you really have to do a lot of work looking a significant number of moves ahead.

    That isn't always enough either, since different databases have different game collections and may give different statistics. This is especially true for relatively unpopular lines. Sometimes a particular database will not even include moves in a given position that other databases do. You have to compare several databases (several good ones) and see what kind of agreement there is.

    Also, different databases have quirks and inconsistencies that aren't always apparent.

    Furthermore, you have to consider the level of the players in the database. Lots of games by amateurs may throw stats off.

    Occasionally, database use can extend quite deep into the game. I really hate this and try to avoid it, especially when I make the mistake of getting sucked into opening lines I don't really understand because the numbers look good, because then it doesn't feel like playing chess but rather paint-by-numbers or chess-by-proxy. I therefore try to limit my database use to giving me ideas about where particular lines are going, and using these (guided by my own preferences) to augment my own ideas.

    At the moment I am playing a game (no discussion please! -- I am making a point about database use) which started out very nicely for me as White: 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.d4 Bg7. I really like getting an aggressive presence in the center this way, so using the databases up through this point was a matter of previous experience (up through 2.Nc3) and ideas about consolidating control of the d5 square (3.e4) as well as taking a central space advantage (4.d4). But my options for the fifth move were enormous -- jillions of lines and sub-lines. I spent an enormous time in the databases only to discover that I didn't seem to like most of my options. There was almost always some Black line that took the game into directions I didn't want to go. You would think that with a position like this after four moves, it would all be gravy for White, but I'm just not familiar with this opening line and frankly, I had a hard time finding anything that didn't soon result in White playing a reactionary game to Black's initiatives. Was I confused by the databases? Maybe. The point being, even if you manage a good position and work hard with database research, you aren't by any means guaranteed a win or even an enduring advantage. Databases are a tool which won't turn an average player into a chess genius but which can help an average player become more familiar with opening ideas.
  5. 08 Nov '07 00:31
    Incidentally, I'm rather annoyed with chessbase.com. Once again I just started a game in which I really need to examine their database games and it's suddenly stopped working. (The move database still works, but it has always been unreliable -- the game database, returning a list of explorable games for positions queried isn't working at all.)
  6. Standard member Fleabitten
    Love thy bobblehead
    08 Nov '07 00:50
    At the risk of adding my own ignorance, does anyone have a suggestion regarding which data base(s) would be good to pursue? I've never really used them to any extent, so I'm not sure if there's a 'database of choice' so to speak.
  7. 08 Nov '07 01:19 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Fleabitten
    At the risk of adding my own ignorance, does anyone have a suggestion regarding which data base(s) would be good to pursue? I've never really used them to any extent, so I'm not sure if there's a 'database of choice' so to speak.
    It's hard to knock the online offering from Shredder. It's big, it's free, and you can paste in a position in FEN format (available from the 'get pgn' link on RHP's game history page).

    http://www.shredderchess.com/online-chess/online-databases/opening-database.html

    It's nowhere near as feature-rich as some of the options out there (ChessBase being the best-known), but it's fine for evaluating opening options. (And, again, it's free )
  8. 08 Nov '07 01:30 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Fleabitten
    At the risk of adding my own ignorance, does anyone have a suggestion regarding which data base(s) would be good to pursue? I've never really used them to any extent, so I'm not sure if there's a 'database of choice' so to speak.
    I use chessgames.com (rather limited for me, a non-subscriber), chessbase.com (when it's working), redhotpawn.com/gamesexplorer, chesslab.com (game search only), gameknot.com (occasionally).

    These are all free, but where noted limited for non-subscribers.
  9. 08 Nov '07 01:32
    Originally posted by DeepGreene
    It's hard to knock the online offering from Shredder. It's big, it's free, and you can paste in a position in FEN format (available from the 'get pgn' link on RHP's game history page).

    http://www.shredderchess.com/online-chess/online-databases/opening-database.html

    It's nowhere near as feature-rich as some of the options out there (ChessBase being ...[text shortened]... best-known), but it's fine for evaluating opening options. (And, again, it's free )
    Thanks for the additional database recommendation.

    For the general reader: Note that while the Shredder online opening database is perfectly usable under the RHP service agreement, using the Shredder endgame database is a violation of RHP rules.
  10. Standard member Fleabitten
    Love thy bobblehead
    08 Nov '07 01:32
    Thanks, guys. That will give me a few to check out.
  11. 08 Nov '07 01:40
    Originally posted by Mark Adkins
    Thanks for the additional database recommendation.

    For the general reader: Note that while the Shredder online opening database is perfectly usable under the RHP service agreement, using the Shredder endgame database is a violation of RHP rules.
    you can use the endgame database but you can't use an endgame tablebase
  12. 08 Nov '07 01:47 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    you can use the endgame database but you can't use an endgame tablebase
    No! You cannot use the Shredder endgame database because it IS a tablebase. See:

    http://www.shredderchess.com/online-chess/online-databases/endgame-database-info.html

    In particular, note the sentence: "For each chess position in the database a value for every possible move is displayed. These are the true values for each move." That is the description of a tablebase, especially in conjunction with the description of positions for "3,4, and 5 pieces" being "all available". You cannot use it to aid in playing RHP games without violating the terms of the service agreement.

    For that matter, I don't see how anyone could use ANY "endgame database" because, working from the end as it does, the term could never mean anything other than a tablebase.
  13. Standard member Fleabitten
    Love thy bobblehead
    08 Nov '07 02:02
    My ignorance again (and everyone's patience is greatly appreciated): What's the difference between a tablebase and a database?
  14. 08 Nov '07 03:26
    Originally posted by Fleabitten
    My ignorance again (and everyone's patience is greatly appreciated): What's the difference between a tablebase and a database?
    An endgame tablebase IS a database. It can thus be called an "endgame database" (as is done at the Shredder site). Use of Shredder's endgame database (or any other endgame tablebase) violates RHP's rules and service agreement. Here's part of what Wikipedia has to say about the concept:

    "An endgame tablebase is a computerized database of all chess positions within certain endgames. The tablebase reveals the game-theoretical value of each position (win, loss, or draw), and how many moves it will take to achieve that result with perfect play. Thus, the tablebase acts as an oracle, always providing the optimal moves for both White and Black.

    "Tablebases are generated by retrograde analysis, working backwards from a checkmated or stalemated position. Tablebases have solved chess for every position with six or fewer pieces (including the two kings)."
  15. Standard member Chipotle
    Pawn Grubber
    08 Nov '07 03:40
    Originally posted by Fleabitten
    My ignorance again (and everyone's patience is greatly appreciated): What's the difference between a tablebase and a database?
    A tablebase is an amazing concept - it calculates the exact best moves to a mate given a position. The way it is done is a program takes a set of pieces (e.g. K+R v. K), and finds all mating positions. It then calculates if there is a forced mate to one of these mating positions. If you are using Fritz for analysis, you know you are into the tablebase when the analysis engine says something like #4 (mate in 4moves).

    If you were to use tablebases during play, once you reach a position identified, you can play perfectly to a mate -- hence the issue with them.