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  1. 05 Oct '08 14:04
    I've seen the word theory thrown around alot, but I've never seen any explanation. I've heard people say that by learning the Colle you avoid theory.

    As far as I've seen, theory = memorizing alot of lines. If I'm right, then using the term theory to mean memorizing lines is a totally screwed up way of using the term theory.

    If it doesn't mean simply to memorize a bunch of lines, then what does it mean?
  2. 05 Oct '08 14:16
    Theory is kind of like common lines/analyis gathered from practice. For instance, 1. e4 has a lot of theory after 1. ...e5. Many games have started this way. On the other hand, 1. e4 f6 would have little or no theory. It's a very uncommon move. Practice/experience with it would be limited. Endings have theory too. King and pawn vs King in the endgame has a lot of theory. That means over the years practice has shown all the correct and incorrect ways to play them. I know this isn't a great explanation, but I hope it helps.
    Dodging theory in the opening, would be playing less common or little known variations to sidestep someone over prepared (from memorization).
    I guess theory is practice (or the results gathered from practice).
  3. 05 Oct '08 14:20
    Originally posted by Eladar
    I've seen the word theory thrown around alot, but I've never seen any explanation. I've heard people say that by learning the Colle you avoid theory.

    As far as I've seen, theory = memorizing alot of lines. If I'm right, then using the term theory to mean memorizing lines is a totally screwed up way of using the term theory.

    If it doesn't mean simply to memorize a bunch of lines, then what does it mean?
    Theory in general is something that is unproven. This does relate nicely to the way it is used in chess because while theory may think a given line is good it may turn out (after 20 best moves) that theory was wrong. Analysis of lines is constantly changing, hence, it is theory and not fact.
  4. 05 Oct '08 14:20
    How is that different than memorizing lines?
  5. 05 Oct '08 14:21
    Originally posted by Eladar
    I've seen the word theory thrown around alot, but I've never seen any explanation. I've heard people say that by learning the Colle you avoid theory.

    As far as I've seen, theory = memorizing alot of lines. If I'm right, then using the term theory to mean memorizing lines is a totally screwed up way of using the term theory.

    If it doesn't mean simply to memorize a bunch of lines, then what does it mean?
    When in a chess discussion people say 'theory' they usually mean 'opening theory'.It is the entire bulk of knowledge on every single chess opening gathered over centuries and still constantly being improved upon.
    When someone says 'play the Colle to avoid theory' it means you can avoid all the other opening theory since it's a very specific system and you'd only need to know the theory on the Colle itself.Similar with the King's Indian Attack,London system,etc..
  6. 05 Oct '08 14:30 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Eladar
    How is that different than memorizing lines?
    Learning opening theory is memorizing lines. Over time, you find out why the main moves are the main moves. For instance, you can learn the Colle and have some nice games with it. When you reach a certain level, you will be unable to beat the stronger players with it. It isn't forcing enough to get an advantage. They have mostly likely seen/played it before and know the correct way for black to play.

    Endgame theory is more learned than memorized (in my opinion). I haven't really studied endgames deeply, but I know what mistakes to avoid from practice.
    Endgame theory can be defined as the correct path to follow through hundreds of years of practice.

    Take this position.




    Here the king can never be forced from the corner. The pawn therefore can not be queened. It is a theoretical draw. There wasn't much memorization there. Just the knowledge of theory on rook pawns in king and pawn endings. (If the opposing king reaches the corner, the pawn can't queen.)

    Again I hope this isn't confusing. It just shows it can't necessarily be defined as memorization of specific lines.
  7. 05 Oct '08 14:45
    I understand that end game theory is not the same as opening theory. Although I'd say that even end game theory is memorizing patterns. You still need to memorize how to use opposition to advance the pawn for promotion in a KP ending. The real difference is that you can force a specific kind of opening theory, or avoid it with your opening, but end game theory is impossible to narrow down.


    Thanks for clarifying that opening theory is memorizing lines. The word theory got thrown into line memorization because theory says that this line is superior to the other.
  8. 05 Oct '08 14:51
    Originally posted by zebano
    Theory in general is something that is unproven. This does relate nicely to the way it is used in chess because while theory may think a given line is good it may turn out (after 20 best moves) that theory was wrong. Analysis of lines is constantly changing, hence, it is theory and not fact.
    How does this definition (that theories are something that is unproven) work with endgame "theory"? The methods of winning/drawing king and one pawn vs king has been more or less proven but it is still a part of endgame "theory". I believe in the scientific world, a theory is something that has been tested many times and corroborates with existing data, but has not been proven (i.e., the theory of evolution- it corroborates with much scientific data, but has not been proven). This definition makes more sense with chess, at least in openings. For example, a good line in which grandmaster have won many games is theory because it has a lot of empirical support (the grandmasters winning games) but is not proven.
  9. 05 Oct '08 14:57
    The difference between chess and evolution is that chess theory has been directly tested. Although you do have a good point about the word theory being applied to end game models that have been proven to work.
  10. Standard member RECUVIC
    international loser
    05 Oct '08 19:51
    Chess 'theory' is simply put as follows.- It is the proven or non-proven belief that specific moves by both sides, leads to a specific position at the conclusion of those specified moves.This applies equally to opening,middle-game and end-game sequences of moves. If the theory has been proved ,it does not cease to be a theory,it merely becomes a proven theory in addition to becoming also a proven fact ,by established benchmark methods and rules.------------Alexander
  11. 05 Oct '08 20:17
    With Fisher Random you don't have to memorize any opening lines. It's tactics and postitional play right from the move #1.
  12. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    06 Oct '08 03:47
    Originally posted by Eladar
    The difference between chess and evolution is that chess theory has been directly tested. Although you do have a good point about the word theory being applied to end game models that have been proven to work.
    I think there is a difference between chess theory and chess openings or middle or end game studies.
    Theory I think revolves around the fact that some squares are more important than others, I like to think of the board as a pyramid, with the 4 corner squares at the bottom and each inner step one step up till you get to the center 4 squares which are the top of the pyramid.
    The fact that pieces (except rooks) are stronger in the center is the guiding principle of openings and middle game play. A knight in the corner has 2 points of power, a knight in the central 16 squares has its full 8 points of power, 4 times the power than the poor sucker on the corner. And so forth, bishop in the corner has 7 points of power but in the center has 13, almost double. So the openings are designed to take all of that fundamental nature of the pieces into account. That is theory as far as I am concerned, the underlying tenents of chess, not specific moves.
  13. 06 Oct '08 06:46
    Opening theory need not be about memorizing lines. Opening theory could also be knowing which squares to focus on controlling and the strengths and weaknesses of the position.
  14. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    06 Oct '08 06:58
    Originally posted by Eladar
    I've seen the word theory thrown around alot, but I've never seen any explanation. I've heard people say that by learning the Colle you avoid theory.

    As far as I've seen, theory = memorizing alot of lines. If I'm right, then using the term theory to mean memorizing lines is a totally screwed up way of using the term theory.

    If it doesn't mean simply to memorize a bunch of lines, then what does it mean?
    I think you are generally correct. Theory to me is lines of play that are generally accepted as sound and strong. Memorization however is not part of theory.
  15. 06 Oct '08 06:59
    Originally posted by zebano
    Theory in general is something that is unproven.
    I'm afraid that this is not even true. The word is abused like that a lot by the scientifically uneducated, but in general, theory means "book knowledge; the opposite of practice". This does not imply anything about proof or lack of it; in fact, until Newton's theory of force and gravity provided the underlying proof, a whole lot of construction worked on unproven but long-standing practice.
    In chess, theory is also used in the proper meaning of "book knowledge"; in that it implies worked-out systems of opening or ending, or even midgame strategy. Some of these have proof behind them (the theory for the queen vs. lone king ending is easily proved correct), while some (knights are better than bishops in a closed position) can, for the time being, only be assumed from experience.

    Richard