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I am new to the site and would appreciate help in this area.

At my current stage (beginner) I have started to draw or sometimes even beat the computer at low levels (ex. chess.com level1,2,3, lichess.org level1,2). One of these sites has an interesting feature that helps me a lot, it is a set of 3 numbers like a score. Here is an example of a game where I play White and I am behind 2 pawns (-2pts in material):

        +2.90 
        -1.78 
        -2.14 
        Stockfish.js 8 | depth=19

Which I interpret the following way:

  • Positional score shows max=+2.90, which means that there is a tactic opportunity involved (overloading? removal of defender?...etc I must find out!).
  • If I see the opportunity and play correctly, I can materialize the advantage and win an important piece (maybe win a rook, or take the queen in exchange of one of my rooks)
  • If I miss the opportunity, the next score will be -1.78 (second best move) or -2.14 (third best move). That is, the momentary positional advantage will disappear and the score will revert to the material strength (2 pawns behind).

Well, my problem is that I sometimes blunder and my score goes abruptly down to for instance -M2 [mate-in-2 for Black]. I lose the game :( because I did not realize that there was a mate danger (ex: last rank weakness or something like that). The score of the site I am playing only shows the 3 best moves, not the WORST moves.

I am formulating this question here in the hope that someone knows other sites for beginners, with an engine that can be tuned to warn if there is a risk of blundering and being prematurely mated. If I do not find such feature, well, I will have to be patient and continue with the learning process:). The frequency of blunders should decrease as I gain experience.

Thank you for your help.

  • 4
    I doubt such a thing would exist (although it would be possible to program) because really bad moves exist very often - it's trivial to hang your queen in an open position. – D M Mar 28 '18 at 2:40
  • 1
    @DM, Maybe what Diedrsch is really looking for is not warnings about bad moves, since like you say there can be too many, but warnings about threats. Threats can be identified by analyzing what happens if you "pass", and usually there are only one or two threats, while there can be dozens of bad moves (moves that don't meet a threat, or that actively give away material, or that fail to recover material). – itub Mar 28 '18 at 11:37
  • Yes, I leave hanging pieces, and I think it's not reasonable to expect much help from an engine. If I lose pieces, that's part of the learning process; next time I will think my moves more carefully. But leaving a "hanging king" means the end of the game; as it is a special case I thought that this could be warned by some beginner-friendly option. – Diedrsch Mar 28 '18 at 23:16
4

Showing only the worst moves for a position is not something you'll find. Computer engines are not appropriate for warning against risk of blunders. My suggestions:

  • Take back a move against computer if you make a bad move
  • Review your game

You're asking the question because you're afraid of losing. There's no shame to lose against a computer. You learn more by going back your game (or takeback) then explicitly being warned.

  • Reviewing the game is a good idea and my site allows it, thank you. There is also the feature of undoing a bad move, and I use it when I get prematurely mated: I continue the game from the move immediately before the blunder. But I still have this unpleasant feeling at my throat each time I see the progress bar turn 100% black (yes, you are free to laugh :) – Diedrsch Mar 28 '18 at 23:18
2

Many engines have a "teacher is watching" feature which tell you if you make a bad enough move. Lucas chess will provide a dialog which includes the options to make your move, the suggested computer move or provide a hint why your move is bad.

Most engines which shows lines, also let you adjust the number of line to include all lines available.

  • Lucas chess appears to run only on Windows, and the .exe file is downloaded from a domain on on Dan Pollock's blacklist. – Ben Crowell Jan 21 at 0:32
1

If you want to be able to see the evaluation for the worst moves, you could download stockfish, run it, and enter: setoption name MultiPv value 499. To then evaluate a position, you would use the go command, such as go movetime (ms), go depth (depth), or go infinite.

The MultiPv option just allows you to view as many principal variations as you want, and for a sufficiently large number this is just all of the pvs.

  • 1
    But it would take a bit of programming for it to show just the evaluations and not the moves. – D M May 27 '18 at 6:01

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