Originally posted by C J Horse
The TOS state that you cannot use chess engines, computers or software. Fair enough - we don't want people to use artificial intelligence to analyse positions and have a machine tell them what to do. What I don't understand is that use of databases is allowed. Aren't these simply huge collections of master games showing what moves were made? Can't you just ...[text shortened]... games yourself are you? So, what's the difference? By the way, this is a serious question.
Yes you can but sooner or later you reach the end of the line and if you do not understand the position and the reasons for it being "won" or "equal" you will lose.
I find I am frequently playing opponents graded 400+ points below me and they play 20 moves of a complex opening like the Ruy Lopez move perfect but then when they reach the end of the line immediately make a silly tactical blunder.
Once I carelessly played a move in the opening out of sequence (on the 3rd move instead of the 4th) in my rush and I should have been slaughtered as a result but, no, he did not know how to cope with it. I eventually won this clearly lost game.
If you are up to it get them out of their "book" (database) by playing an early a3,b3,g3 or h3 (or a6,etc.) but just ensure that it is sound in the context of the game.