The Beauty of chess


That's a fair criticism. Later posters were more accurate in saying that every move should improve your position. That's a general enough term that it can, in my opinion anyway, encompass the sorts of things you're talking about. Playing a sharp, tactical game against an opponent you know prefers quiet positional play, for example, or intentionally moving into complex tactics when the opponent is under time pressure or otherwise would be less comfortable in that situation than you would be. Kasparov is famous/notorious for the latter, IIRC.

In practice, you'll be able to do very, very well with just a solid understanding of opening principles. You don't need a huge background of memorized lines. Lots of chess players love to study opening lines and memorize craploads of them because it's easier to memorize than it is to understand.

This is another great example of what Miramon refers to above, actually. When playing against a "by the (opening) book) player," it can be advantageous to make a slightly sub-optimal move early in the opening simply because it takes your opponent out of book and into having to think about his moves, which is a situation where you have a stronger understanding. You've improved your position by maneuvering the game out of your opponents comfort zone and into yours.


Mating nets are also really useful, especially if you plan to play at faster time controls a lot.


Yeah, you see, if anyone told you to do this for any other game you'd question whether they were really talking about a game.


It's like in Starcraft where you might decide to harass his peons with your SCV right at the beginning. It's not going to be an optimal play against someone who knows what they're doing, but if he's the type of player doing a rote opening build order it can seriously mess him up.


Only if you haven't looked up strategies for RTS games, like magnet said:

Heck, how many MMO's or RPG's have people talking about "good builds" out there? How about their strategy books?

That said, it's not a game for everyone. It has nothing to do with intelligence, but rather with taste: chess from one vantage point is an almost fruitless endeavor filled with precious little satisfaction. The game is a constant struggle that a casual observor can't appreciate and that also effectively isolates you from everyone except for your opponent.

On the other hand, it's a wonderful challenge filled with more intricacies and nuances than practically any other game out there. It's something that as you master it, your appreciation for the game can actually increase and open the door to new challenges. Not to mention, you'll wind up being able to wipe the floor with almost anyone wanting to play a simple game of checkers, which I'll admit usually gives me a little bit of sadistic pleasure. ;)


sure. Chess is both game and sport. If you do that stuff you're on the sport side. Maybe I should have made clearer that I meant a new club player, not somebody who just learned the rules.


ha! a new idea submerged... I am going to fix chess: boring graphics, gameplay is like latin ... pretty dead, 8x8 is not fun, little dudes on the board don't get XP, ponys? wtf... who needs ponys?

Do you know the dinner story about Kasparov? The table had a check tablecloth... it took him 2 hours to pass me the salt.


I got to around USCF 1650 or so as a kid with few memorized openings apart from maybe the first 6-8 moves of a few common ones like Ruy Lopez (exchange variation; it seems to upset people for some reason, despite the fact it's not all that great), some beginning Indian lines, and a bit of Modern. I think you can probably get at least another couple of hundred points without much memorization at all.

Study however, either in the form of deliberate analytical play against better players, or reading books on tactics and strategy, is somewhat necessary if you aren't a prodigy. I think Joel Benjamin was at my elementary school for a year, and he had already become a master before I even was a novice, at the same age.

But it is true, if you do have a line memorized (and also understand why the moves are in the book), you have an advantage over someone who has to try to think through it. On the other hand, if you have some lines memorized and don't understand why the moves are good, when the naive opponent does something superficially plausible that isn't in the book, you are screwed too.


what would have happened at move 30 if black had sent his queen to e1 instead of moving his pawn?


there is no move 30...?


That's the default game they put up on Caissa's web - I couldn't figure out how to embed my game directly, so you have to click import pgn and paste in the notation you want to look at.

Here's a league game I played in December with quite an interesting finish - I've annotated it using the Gameknot site:
nb. click on interactive to play through the game move by move.
Hopefully you can follow the link without having to make a (free) account. It seems a pretty decent chess website in any case.


really nice! I think White thought it did well with 1 Rook and 2 Pawns for Bishop/Knight... but played too passive I guess.


I've burned out on chess long ago. Was decent at it, school "champion", best young regional player, ect (Didn't really mean much, really) and the like, did a few simultaneous matches and winning most matches. Anyway chess is to limited in my view. (I know I'm not really good if i think that yada yada, i've heard them al.

I really like a game like Civ4 where there are a lot more variables and sometimes just plain bad luck with an event or so. If you can plan everything ahead is not a fun experience for me. I do that in real life, all the time and its gets messed up there (which is not so good at times :) ) I also like that unpredictability in my games.


I don't think you can plan anything ahead except basic stuff... there is this vast cloud of possible (and valid) moves, you should replay some of the grandmaster games... they don't play out like a clockwork...

I love civ 4 like any guy from the street, but I think civ 4 is pretty obivious compared to chess.

But you are right, chess is life, but less fun :-)


I really really want to learn chess properly (as in play WELL), but have never had the patience :-/

It's one of my goals for the next few months, though.


I am somewhat similar.

The reason that grandmasters can defeat a computer is because:
A. They adapt much faster.
B. They, like the computer, also memorize via (past) experience and innately/instinctively know strategies and future possible moves without needing to put much thought over probability-possibility-analysis.
C. A computer is usually predictable, even in its randomness. A human that is aware of his own predictibility is able to change it whence least expected and most unforseeably. The computer will just stand there, jaw dropped, like in a bad sci-fi movie and cry "BUT WHY? IT"S SO ILLOGICAL IT MAKES NO SENSE! THE DATA DOESNT INDICATE THIS AS A VALID TURN OUT WHAT SO EVER! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE???" -"Because I'm human. We do irrational things".


the computer will punish you if you did not understand the position completely, he will try to prove your move to be stupid. You know the Kung Fu masters practicing with a wooden doll. It is the same when playing against a computer. He will punish your errors, but the computer is still a clockwork....

when playing against a human it is more like a real dialog but with using chess pieces instead of words.

Yesterday I had a league match against a guy. We had totally different opinions about the position on the board. I thought I was winning, he did not... I was wrong - we agreed to a draw...!


This seems like the least inappriate thread for this:

I've started playing goweiqibaduk again, but my rank is lower than low on the two turn based servers I used to play on because I quit in a hurry and resigned all of my games when I stopped playing last year. What's bothering me is that now I am playing people who will play their first stone on the center star, which means that I am in for many long, dumb games. Argh.


Check out the Kasparov article linked upthread. According to him, most grandmasters actually can't beat modern chess programs.


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