Chess is dead Not hardly


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Scott Nichols    (2009-06-03)
Chess is dead? Not hardly.

In his book "The world of chess" by Anthony Saidy the following paragraph appears. "Later in his (Capablanca) career, his play became ever more technical and drawish. He expressed the idea that with the perfection of modern knowledge it would soon be impossible to win a game against a master. Chess would soon reach a "draw death". He even proposed interchanging the initial positions of the Bishops and Knights to inject new life into the game."

An exact quote found earlier in this same book exemplifies more of what this thread is about---In reply to a Steinitz comment Tchigorin replied "Chess is a limitless forum for the human imagination. Each position is a fresh challenge. Rules and book openings, to the creative player, are no more than guidelines to be transcended. Individualize. Each position is new--terra incognita that may contain the seed of a beautiful combination. Gladly give up a pawn in return for the attack. Play chess with joy."

Normajean Yates    (2009-06-03 04:18:03)
I agree, heartily - chess is alive!

any number of specific eight-piece endings [in tablebase language; i.e. total of 6 pieces (pawn counted as piece) apart from the 2 Kings] - including KPPP v KPPP .. (King and 3 pawns v K and 3 pawns) no one knows the objective result!

So, rumours of chess's death have been greatly exaggerated. :)

Thibault de Vassal    (2009-06-03 17:15:24)
At most...

I agree tambien, of course. At most, some positions are "dead", really easy to understand perfectly.

True, it is not so easy to throw some fire on the board in real games at a high level, so in correspondence chess games, but every good player know he has to (if he wants some chances to win at least), so this is the main part of the game nowadays, and when there's fire on board the complexity of the position may be sometimes far away from human and/or chess engines understanding. The problem is that human nature make us reproduce known positions much more than unknown ones, unlike chess engines, that's why computer games are not so often draws and may be really funny to watch !

Benjamin Block    (2009-06-03 18:10:25)
Chess will die in corr first.

Chess is still possible to win in corr even if it is more harder. But computer is still bad. In a some possitions computers think that white is better even if black is on win.

Hannes Rada    (2009-06-03 18:55:58)
Dead positions/openings

Hi Thibault,
Which positions -respectively we should also talk about openings - do you think are dead ?
I have some ideas about dead openings, but would like to hear your opinion first :-)

Normajean Yates    (2009-06-03 19:35:22)
Thib. excellent point re human nature...

"The problem is that human nature make us reproduce known positions much more than unknown ones" - excellent point! So many opening variations, you will still find no mention, or something abou 'there is little match-experience with this position'.

Thibault de Vassal    (2009-06-03 19:59:43)
Dead positions/openings

Good (and so large) question, Hannes... I did not exactly mean "openings", this is really beyond my own understanding already :) .. I did mean some endgames (which can be the end of a few openings, at move ~25) in example... On openings, I prefer to be really careful as e.g. there are some really interesting lines (incredibly complex) in Berlin's defence or Petrov's -russian- opening, whose reputation is/was to be drawish.

This could be an interesting debate, does anyone else have some elements on this ?

Hannes Rada    (2009-06-03 22:28:52)
Openings very important for corr chess ?

Well about 3 weeks ago I had a discussion with Austrian's only ICCF world champion.
And he told me that in his next world championship final he is going to chance his opening repertoire completely. Instead of 1. e4 which he prefered so far, he is now going to play another move (1.d4 most probably), because after years of studying chess his conclusion is now that 1.e4 is the weakest choice (compared to 1. d4, 1. Nf3, ...)
The same 'ideology' was also published by former ICCF World Champion Hans Berliner in his book "My System".
Dead Endgames: This is another interesting topic to be discussed ....

Thibault de Vassal    (2009-06-04 00:23:27)
On chess openings...

That's an interesting point of view, for sure. My opinion is that this point (e4 vs. d4 and others) quite looks like the openings in the game of Go !

When improving one's play at Go, one change of mind on the complete theory of the game very often... will I play "territory" or will I play "influence", and how... every thing one learn at Go may change one's mind about this because one must manage territory and influence at the same time.

I changed my mind several times about e4 and d4 these last years, in my opinion if a player still change his mind, it may only mean he just improved his play... again :)

Most of us will probably change our mind again & again... fortunately !

Hannes Rada    (2009-06-04 21:56:51)
Dead Endgames

Thibault, you are talking about endgames in this connection.
Do you mean for instance the famous rook endgames, which are always a draw according to Tarrasch :-)
And it is true, there are so many rook endings which cannot be won, with extra material. Even with 2 extra pawns ....
I had 2 times a position with K + R + f+h Pawn, against K + R which is a theoretical draw. Sometimes chess can be really unfair. You are playing much better than your opponent, you manage to to achieve material advantage of 1 or 2 pawns, but the rook endgame is still a draw ...
Here is a proposal against the broad draw corridor

Normajean Yates    (2009-06-05 03:12:28)
Hannes, those are *general* rules..

There are exceptions! For example, (Q + a-P + b-P) v (Q + P) is a dead draw, right? So how come I have an easy win in:
If you are not convinced, put in the relevant 6-piece tablebases and see :D

Thibault de Vassal    (2009-06-05 13:13:41)
"reformed chess", "improved chess"

Speaking of rook endings, of course some -maybe most- are dead or at least understood positions, some are very complex for the human brain... I don't think chess is so unfair even with 2 pawns more, every good player has to know the endgames theory, that's the most important part of the game IMO (at least when learning), such draws only show that one didn't manage to complexify the game enough.

Nice ideas in these links Hannes, and there are many others even without changing the way the pieces move (e.g. time handicap..) but it is harder in correspondence chess. Actually we may regret that chess is chess in this current version. As chess rules are everything but "natural", it could have been different, maybe it should have been. It is too late to change anything now because most people want to play the same game than Fischer and Spassky :) .. History prevails, even very intelligent recent games like Blokus will never be the king of the game.

By the way does anyone know about the drawish problem in Xiangqi and Shogi ?

Normajean Yates    (2009-06-05 14:26:31)
modified chess? which one???

There is a company called zillionsofgames I think - which has thousands of chess-variants. Suppose everyone prefers to play their own version of chess - then the only opponent you'll get is either yourself, or the zillionsofgames package... :)

I play, three forms of modified chess already. One is bigchess here. The second I rarely play online, and the third I never play online.

The second is called contract bridge; and the third is called tennis! :-D

(If you change *all* the rules of chess you can reach contract bridge, tennis, football, film-making, painting, whatever you want -- you want Thib. to provide *all* that?) :-D

Benjamin Block    (2009-06-05 17:19:42)
Opening not too importent.

1.e4 is still possible and will be it a long time more. The problem is that many players are afraid of new variants and it is why they think the move is draw.

Sophie Leclerc    (2009-06-08 04:08:17)
some are not discovered

I believe some opening still wait their explorer.

1.f4 d6 2. c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 still wait for people to play it.

Tano-Urayoan Russi Roman    (2009-06-08 09:07:04)
To Sophie Leclerc

Mr Leclerc, didn't you experimented already with this opening and gave you no benefits, even a lost game played in the Rybla forum?

Thibault de Vassal    (2009-06-08 14:55:49)
1.f4 d6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7

We'll try it in a thematic tourney soon...

Sophie Leclerc    (2009-06-09 22:56:31)
the opening

actually, I did not, Yugi played that system to me to me with black piece and I let him build a big pawn,, it was too late for me.

This opening is the same thing as his but with one extra tempo..

White can go in a number of way..
I am waiting to see plenty of thingss, will you play a bird or an enlish ?

Thanks thibeault

Thibault de Vassal    (2009-06-10 02:07:26)
1.f4 ? 2.c4

It seems to me I tried it in some blitz games against a stronger player a long time ago without great success :)

Sophie Leclerc    (2009-06-12 03:19:19)
the plan

I am sure is to have both bishop one one side os the board and to be ready to answer Ng4 and Ng4 with Bg1 and Bb1..
it may be a part of it.

Normajean Yates    (2009-06-12 09:04:06)
1.Nf3 and 1.Nc3: hyper-hyprmodern?

In the 1950-60s larry evans once wrote that 1.Nf3 and 1.Nc3 will be the openings of the 21st century. [in 'New Ideas in Chess (1958)' IIRC]. Well not even 9 years have passed, so...

(The 1st century began on 1 AD (retroactively) as there was no 'year 0'. So the 21st cent. began in 2001.)

[2001 joke: y2k+1 problem: how to provideemployment to people who were trained only to deal with the y2k problem :)]

Sophie Leclerc    (2009-06-16 19:40:04)

That strange opening just look too-hyper modern, biside controlling the center fromthe flank,, what will white do if black has no center.

Hannes Rada    (2009-06-16 22:10:24)

I would not consider 1. Nf3 as hypermodern (whatever this is :-)),
as it will mostly convert into such orthodox openings like Queens Gambit, Queens Indian, ....

Normajean Yates    (2009-07-10 22:26:08)
mistype: I meant 1.Nh3 and 1.Nc3:

I meant 1.Nh3 and 1.Nc3 in my prev post that quoted larry evans... (not 1.Nf3 and 1.Nc3 of course: 1.Nf3 was routine even in 1958 or so when larry evans wrote that.. not only for hypermodern openings, but to begin KIA without opponent interfering...)