Originally posted by Mark Adkins
I don't know about the generalization you gave, but something similar: playing against strong computer engines (as they are presently constituted) all the time might not be the best idea. The thing is, engines aren't generally all that flexible, so what happens is that you end up being "programmed" by the engine in order to survive (generally playing to of variation and which may not have broader general application, then what is the point?
Mark Adkins, thank you for your incredibly detailed and helpful posts, but I have some objections against some of your arguments.
I don't think that chess engines have an inflexible style which makes it possible to expect a certain combination or series of moves. in computer chess competition, it is very interesting that the number of duplicate games in maybe hundreds of thousand games are neglibly small. I was never able to play a certain, prepared line against any engine, and actually think it's not possible -due to the very advanced opening books they have-.
so, I do not agree that the style of high-level engines are narrow, actually I'm convinced on the idea that they can "hink" more flexibly (going deeper in positions which humans do not even consider as 'candidate moves' and making their way out of those complications).
so, I think, regarding style, it won't make a bad effect on me.
secondly, I do not play against the engine in any feeling of doing well at competition or score. I just do not have any chance of drawing against any of the high-level engines in my level, and therefore I have no intention to "play for a draw." As a matter of fact, I'm trying to play more tactically and get into more open positions to improve my tactical ability, which for sure makes me lose quicker, but that's not important for me as I have mentioned.
for your third argument about punishing mistakes, I'm trying to learn how to punish mistakes by observing (and experiencing as well) how the engine (actually, very skillfully!) punishes my mistakes. I think it makes even a deeper effect on me (in comparision to being the one to punish mistakes), since I'm on the losing side, while trying drastically to survive against those punishments.
for your argument about how to defend in chess, well, I hadn't thought of that, and I think you are certainly right. there's no sitting back, waiting behind your "city wall" and defend against the invastion in chess, you just have to do
something, otherwise you simply get crushed slowly (or very quickly!). thanks for making me realize that, I think that's very important.
I'm going to try to vary my opposition from now. again, thanks a lot for your replies.
(for your last post, I should mention, when I said I had no idea on "how to play chess," that was maybe a little exagerration, I have read books that are similar to what you have suggested, and I actually can make logical plans in games, but I have realized that I can't make plans that "work" tactically. I just hang a piece, pawns, rooks, whatever, in the end of a variation I had calculated. So I'm back to more basic and intense tactical study now, instead of giving all my time to finding 5-8 move combinations. -which, I wasn't doing bad, by the way. which is interesting. probably they were actually 'over my level', even if I could manage to find them. sometimes studying simpler things and just a little experience in real play makes you better more quickly.)