Originally posted by Phlabibit
This is true, and I will ask GateCrasher or David Tebb to explain it better.
Russ should add this to the TOS, so it is understood by all members.
We did post the following clarification awhile back:
A clarification of Section 3(b) of the Terms of Service
It is extremely unlikely that a database, no matter how large, would be consulted thoughout a game of reasonable length by both players. However, if a past game was substantially followed, and was orginally played by one or more computers/engines, it could be considered as evidence of engine use. The onus, therefore, is on each player to avoid relying on such games in their databases. The prior existence of engine games would not be considered a defence against engine use.
A database, for the purposes of the Terms of Service, should consist of previously played games only. An endgame tablebase, i.e. Namilov, is not a database under this definition. Using an endgame tablebase to assist you in a game is cheating and a violation of section 3(b).
- The Game Mod Team
It would be great if Russ could add this to the TOS.
As background, some of the discussion I had that led to the clarification. Other peoples questions are in italics. Where the person is not specified, it is DoctorScribbles asking:
Originally posted by zeeblebot
what's a tablebase?
Tablebases are brute force (engine-generated) calculations of endgame positions. You get 3, 4, 5 and 6 piece endgame tablebases which cover every possible combination of pieces and positions The size of each tablebase grows exponentially as the number of pieces increase. A 7 piece tablebase is probably too big to be practical at the moment...
By contrast, a database would consist of actual positions from actual games that have been previously played.
Originally posted by zeeblebot
it sounds like tablebases are still databases, which are allowed by the TOS, so far.
I don't know what sounds you are listening to, but it doesn't sound anything like the sounds I made.
Originally posted by zeeblebot
You will not use chess engines, chess software, chess computers or consult any third party to assist you in any game. Chess books and databases can be consulted during play
I can understand your confusion. But the applicable rule in this case is:
"You will not use chess engines... to assist you in any game."
and a tablebase is a subset of the above. Certainly in spirit.
But this is a topic that requires some clarity. There was another thread in the "Chess Only" forum that posed a similar question. I will make sure that an official clarification is made very soon. I can, however, assure you in advance, that tablebases are not allowed.
Originally posted by DoctorScribbles
You are dodging the question.
The question is not whether you will be caught and branded an engine user based on that one move.
The question is whether it is within the rules of this site to make that move, given the conditions of the scenario.
If it is, how is using tablebase moves different? Both are engine-generated optimal solutions to the position at hand.
If you have remembered an engine-generated move for a specific position, then you have been assisted by your memory. You have not consulted an engine during play.
This is quite clearly different from consulting a tablebase (read engine) during play.
You are just saying that there is a difference. You are not saying what it is and why it should rule out tablebases while allowing other remembered engine generated moves, unless you are saying memorization is the substantial difference.
Yes, memorization is the substantive difference. If you can remember a great move it belongs to you. So use it.
But if that is the case, then databases of any sort should not be allowed, as one does not have their contents memorized and they are generated by an outside source (read engine, as in your post) which is consulted at gametime.
Whether databases should be allowed is open to debate, and it has been debated ad nauseum. Suffice to say they are allowed, and we have to live with that fact.
Why do you say they are generated by an engine? They are not. Most databases are based on games that have been played in the past between strong human players. They are the primary source of chess theory.
In recent times we have seen more and more engine-vs-engine games added to chess databases which is very unfortunate, because it give rise to the very type of question you are asking, and makes it more difficult to destinguish between database and engine, theory and calculation. Fortunately, databases do not exist that can be of use throughout a game. Exceptions can occur when two players are applying exactly the same game, move for move, but such instances are rare.
In your explanation, you have either consulted an engine in both cases or neither. You cannot have it both ways. In the first, the engine-generated move is stored in your memory; in the second, it is stored in an external memory. Referencing a memory of engine-generated moves is either consulting an engine or not consulting an engine.
There is HUGE difference between remembering an engine move from a past game, and entering a position into chess engine during a game to find the best move.
You are allowed to LEARN and gather knowledge, prior to playing a game. To the extent that any preparation before a game helps you during a game, all well and good.
What if there were a human-generated tablebase? Would the use of that be permissible?
If you did it yourself, sure. If someone else did it for you, it would be outside assistance.
It would even be okay if it was published. It would form a part of chess theory, I guess. Of course, such a book might fill several large public libraries... and it might just get specifically banned anyway.
I'm not interested in your assessment of whether the creation of such a thing is feasible. I want to know if its use would be legal here. If it would, what separates it from engine-generated tablebases?
The use of an engine, which is not allowed.
If it would not, what separates it from normal database use?
A tablebase is not a database. A tablebase is a calculated brute force solution to a specific endgame position.
A database consists of a collection of previously played games. If you find a perfect match for a position beyond the opening phase, and with more than a handful of pieces left on the board, you are really pushing back the boundaries of statistical improbability. And even if you do find a match, there is no guarantee that the game was played perfectly.
In a tablebase, you are guaranteed to find your position and the perfect solution to it. You might just as well call the game off right there and then.
I would also like to see a third category addressed. Suppose I have a database of games from engine vs. engine competitions in which those engines were allowed the use of tablebases. May I consult my database of those games once I have reached a point that I know both engines are using their tablebases?
Okay, so you, a human, are playing a game of chess against another human, and you both follow a past engine vs engine database game, move-for-move, right the way through to a 3 to 6 piece endgame where the outcome is now completely known....
Really? Why the would two people in their right minds do that? Why not just agree on the result upfront? Why even bother playing chess at all?
If so, what makes this permissible? The fact that those moves reside in a game database?
Yes. However, given that you are playing chess on a site where engine use is forbidden, you take a risk by doing this. Relying on engine vs engine games substantially beyond the opening phases could get you into trouble if your games are ever analyzed for engine use.
And why would you want to rely on past engine-vs-engine games anyway?
Play your own game. Learn. Enjoy. That's why we are all here.
Originally posted by MIODude
At the risk of sounding stupid - what exactly is an endgame table database? is that when you have a database and you install the keys so that they are all classified into certain types .. ie.. end game key, opening key, sacrifice key.. etc ?
All about endgame tablebases:
But the restriction on EGTB's does not apply directly to your question.
From what I can gather the database you want to use is perfectly legal. However, because it contains engine-vs-engine games, you take a risk using it much beyond the established opining lines. Of course, the likelyhood that you could use it beyond the opening lines is extremely remote. But the onus is on you to avoid over-reliance on past engine-vs-engine games, not because they are illegal per se, but because they might adversely influence any future investigation into your games.
When games are anlysed for engine use, established opening lines are ignored. It is during this phase that books and databases can help you most, including the database you describe.
Beyond that point you should be on your own, and playing your own game.