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Is it considered cheating to simply get an engine score for the current position in an ongoing game without looking at any of the generated lines? I'm guessing the answer is yes, but just curious (and yes, I'll admit to doing this before in casual games!).

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From Wikipedia's article on Correspondence Chess: "However, the influence of computer assistance remains controversial in both official and casual play, and consensus on the issue of whether to allow computer aid is still lacking" It depends on the organization. Although I think looking at just the evaluation is fine, there is no definite rule on engine use, as in correspondence it can be extremely hard to detect who's using an engine when the players are given so much time to analyze their games. In casual games between your friends it should be perfectly fine, but on a website or through an organization, you should ask them.

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For example, knowing whether to look for win or a draw can give a significant boost to your playing strength. You won't lose because you played for a win in an endgame when there was none, you won't miss any combinations you might have etc. Therefore I think it should be explicitly mentioned in the rules if they getting only the score from an engine is okay but using engines to find moves is not.

And of course: If the rules of the place where you are playing allow you to use engines, it is allowed. If they prohibit using engines, it is not allowed. If they don't say, you should ask someone who knows about that particular organization/website.

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Yes it is !

And not only doing engine evaluation, but I would include:

  • Looking at games (videos, .pgn),
  • Reading (books, magazines) game analysis, strategy,
  • Check for a mate in x moves with the engine,
  • Study opening traps,

that matches the opening (or ending) that you are playing in your correspondence game.

You can still read/train/study chess, but at the first moment you realize that you can benefit directly in the game you are playing, you must stop and look somewhere else.

Advice: just wait till the game is over. Then you can do all analysis you want, you will feel a lot better, and learn much more.

  • How do you play chess if you can't check for mate in X moves? =) – Alan Jul 18 '14 at 3:27
  • @Alan well , I meant with a chess engine. I edited my answer. Thank you. – Francisco Corrales Morales Jul 18 '14 at 15:50
  • @bof but what about read books/magazines that matches your current state of the game ? – Francisco Corrales Morales Jul 18 '14 at 15:51
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    @FranciscoCorralesMorales, yes, the use of any available chess literature has long been considered a key component of correspondence chess, e.g. an opening book that touches on the line the game is in, or an endgame reference with information on an ending one might reach. Consulting such material is an accepted/encouraged part of correspondence chess. Much like performing research, making the best use of such material is a skill in itself, and one that is simply a part of the game of correspondence chess. – ETD Jul 20 '14 at 1:10

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