Questions tagged [theory]

Theory commonly refers to the erudite study and the philosophy behind the moves in chess (like opening or endgame theory) but this tag can also be used for questions about the game theoretic study of the game itself.

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1answer
143 views

Number of distinct checkmate positions

What is the number of distinct checkmate positions in each of the following categories given the following conditions? We are not interested in whether the position can be forced or not or even what ...
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2answers
250 views

How many games of optimal chess are there?

Assume that we have weakly solved chess, in the sense that we have an algorithm that when used, allows us to force a win if possible, and if that is not possible, force a draw. Define a ply as optimal ...
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1answer
126 views

How many sensible games of chess are there?

Analytic procedures for estimating the number of possible games of chess typically reason that on each ply, a player has some limited number of sensible options, O, and the average game of chess lasts ...
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1answer
66 views

Which line(s) pose Black problem(s) in the King's Indian defense on the highest level of competition?

King's Indian defense is rarely seen in the highest level these days. Queen's gambit declined took over for now. I am trying to find out if there are any lines that put so much pressure on Black that ...
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3answers
169 views

How good is 1. e3 2. c4 as an opening for White?

How good is 1. e3 2. c4 as an opening for White? Afterward, developing the knight on b1 to c3, and developing the bishops too, it seems good. Castling is preferably done on opposite sides as well.
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1answer
165 views

Does anybody knows about how the Polgar sisters were trained?

I know they did a lot of hardwork and stuff like that but i just want to know what exactly process did they went through(books,how did they practice,etc),is there any biography on them?cause I just ...
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4answers
3k views

What is meant by openings with lot of theory versus those with little or none?

I just started playing chess one week ago. I've done a bit of reading but can't find anything that explains what is meant by openings with a lot of theory versus ones with a little or no theory. Can ...
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1answer
112 views

Why are retreating moves unintuitive?

Apologies if this is a poor question for the site and feel free to close it if it's too vague or not appropriate for this site: I've heard commentators (IMs/GMs) on chess tournaments (from the Opera ...
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2answers
118 views

What are some “quick start” openings?

First of all, I'm sorry if it looks like I didn't really research before asking the question, but I really did put in some effort and couldn't find a satisfying answer. My problem is, I don't want to ...
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2answers
145 views

Why does castling in the Four Knights: Double Spanish opening inadvertantly stop Bxc3?

So I am currently working through Chess Fundamentals by Capablanca and he said something I find opaque: following 1.e4, e5 2.Nf3, Nc6 3.Nc3, Nf6 4.Bb5, Bb4 "5.0-0 an indirect way of preventing 5.....
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0answers
125 views

Three pieces vs Queen in the opening [closed]

Please, does someone have good information on the Grünfeld Defence, Russian System, three minor pieces vs Queen variation?
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1answer
120 views

Guessing who has to play next

Assume an observer sees a chessboard in the middle of a game. At which point in a game does it become impossible to determine who has to play next between White and Black?
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1answer
105 views

Why is this a better move?

Playing on chess.com against the first advanced bot, "Antonio", I've lost a game and looked at the analysis. The following is the state of the game not far from the beginning, where I had ...
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1answer
136 views

Patterns in Chess960 positions

I have two questions. Where can I find more studies like this Lichess one, please? I got it from this answer elsewhere on this site. The Lichess study is talking about this position [White "...
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3answers
2k views

What is the earliest queen move in any strong, modern opening?

I have noticed a tendency of weaker players to move their queen out very early (e.g. move 2-5), and conversely, a tendency for strong players to move their queen much later (usually later than move 5, ...
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2answers
398 views

How do you read this opening table presented in Modern Openings?

How do I read this table presented in the book "Modern Openings"? Specifically, what do the rows, columns and the dashed lines represent? Finally, there are also little letters like (a) ...
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3answers
2k views

Is there any obvious disadvantage of not castling in a game?

The opponent has the option of castling but can I still play a solid game without castling either side? I won some games in bullet time controls but only because position was too complex and opponent ...
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2answers
140 views

Is the Four Pawns Attack against the Alekhine opening promising for White?

The latest version of Stockfish 12 thinks that the Four Pawns Attack is the most promising variation for White against the Alekhine Defense 1.e4 Nf6, But it evaluated the position resulting from the ...
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2answers
219 views

Is it possible to reach King vs King by moving each piece at most twice?

I'm interested in short games that reach a King vs King endgame. Sam Lloyd reached King vs King after only 17 moves. This has since been improved to 16.5 moves. (See this and that.) One can show that ...
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1answer
157 views

3…c5 in the Advance Caro-Kann

Consider the following side line of the Advance Caro-Kann: [FEN ""] 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.a3 Bxc5 In master OTB games, the move 3...c5 is one third as common as the main move ....
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1answer
90 views

Classical Scheveningen: Why is …Ne8 so rare in this position?

Black to move. This position from the classical variation of the Scheveningen occurs over 900 times in the Lichess database, yet ...Ne8 has been played only three times. The move seems strong: it ...
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1answer
140 views

Did the 2018 World Chess Championship feature any theoretical novelties in the Sveshnikov Sicilian?

I am interested in how the Sveshnikov theory developed in the last decade, and one of the biggest events heavily featuring it was the WCC match in 2018. Very few books on the opening were published ...
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2answers
246 views

Easy variation to learn with White against Semislav with not many lines and avoiding the Slav at the same time if possible

I'm looking for an easy variation to learn against the Semislav. Note that I play d4, c4, Nc3 against many openings. I tried to play the 5.Bg5 line but I felt that it was full of memorization: [FEN &...
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3answers
619 views

How good is 4. d3, the Anti-Berlin?

The Berlin Defense is drawish if we reach the Berlin endgame. Yet White doesn't have to go into the endgame, and can instead play 4; d3. However, I hear that the Ruy Lopez is getting less popular in ...
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2answers
75 views

How can chess be applied to other fields like politics or football tactics?

I just think that a strategy game such as chess can be applied to the real world and in that chess can make you a better strategical person, but how so?
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1answer
64 views

What is the theory if black goes 4 Nxc4 in evan's gambit?

Ive been learning the theory for this opening but cant find anything if black chooses this line.
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4answers
3k views

Is it good to have a tendency to exchange pieces?

This is how I am playing nowadays. I can beat ~1500 player 50% of the time (the rest is due to tactical errors): Play the opening (upto 12 moves) Don't blunder At the point where my pawns and pieces ...
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2answers
2k views

How long can a player hold off a draw by the 50-move rule?

Going by rules strictly about the board state, how long can a player theoretically hold off a draw by the 50-move rule? White will play as long as possible, and not want to lose. Black will claim a ...
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2answers
127 views

How many times can the king and its surrounding squares be attacked?

In a legal position, how many times can the king and its surrounding squares be attacked? There is a total of 9 possible squares to be attacked-the square the king is on and the eight squares ...
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4answers
2k views

How much do you actually learn from the book Modern Chess Openings by Nick de Firmian?

How much theory does the book actually cover and how far in terms of opening knowledge and building my opening repertoire will memorising every line of the book get me?
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3answers
1k views

Owen's Defence playability

The Owen's defence is a chess opening which starts with 1. e4 b6!?. This opening is playable if Black can get a quick c7-c5 break, where he has a pawn on e6, b6, and then he pushes c7-c5. However, ...
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2answers
90 views

Benoni setup defence

In the Benoni, there is a certain setup for White where there is a knight on g3, and a bishop on d3. White then starts a pawn storm with f4-f5, with a large attack. How am I meant to play against this ...
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1answer
371 views

Benoni Bc1-g5 move

In the Benoni, I often have opponents play Bc1-g5 as White, after I have fianchettoed my king's bishop. I don't know how to stop it. I know that it isn't the main theory, but I haven't found a way to ...
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1answer
376 views

Traxler Counterattack

I've had a few looks at the Traxler counterattack before. It seems fine for Black, but somehow the engine (Stockfish) says that White has a +2.57 advantage after Nxf7, but not much advantage after ...
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1answer
2k views

Stockfish is considering a move in a book by GM Mihail Marin as a blunder

In the book English opening volume 1 by Mihail Marin at this position [fen "3nrrk1/bppq2p1/p4p1p/2Pp4/1P1P3N/P1BQ2P1/5PKP/4RR2 w - - 2 21"] 1. Qg6 (1. Ng6) He suggests Qg6 whereas ...
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1answer
140 views

Benoni Defence Theory and Ideas [duplicate]

I have played the Benoni for a while, and I frequently play bad moves in the opening. How could I play the Benoni - Pawn Storm Variation safely?
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2answers
221 views

Why is my theoretical knowledge is not coming to any use?

For the last few months, I have been reading "How To Reassess Your Chess (I expected at least this book to work), "Simple Chess," "The Art Of Attack," some ending book, "...
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1answer
218 views

Why is the Budapest Defense considered not fully sound or even dubious? What theoretical difficulties arise for Black?

[fen ""] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 Ng4 4. Bf4 (4. Nf3 Bc5 5. e3) (4. e4 Nxe5 5. f4) (4. e3 Nxe5 5. Nh3) White can choose from multiple setups, most common are 4. Bf4, 4. Nf3, 4. e4 or even ...
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2answers
134 views

Unable to confirm theoretical evaluation

Theory claims equality for Black in the below diagram. My engine claims White is better and demolishes the line with convincing moves. Since I have old laptop, with 2GHz dual core CPU, I was ...
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1answer
100 views

What is the idea behind this move?

I was watching Nepomniachtchi - Liren match on Chess24 Legends Day 2. After having a pretty significant advantage [+7.1 (Stockfish 11)], White [Nepo] has played g4, and according to the engine, the ...
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2answers
1k views

How to calculate the number of positions in chess?

For layman, can someone explain how you calculate the number of available positions in a chess game, and how do you get the huge number of 10^120 or 10^46?
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1answer
197 views

Checkmate without check beforehand

[Title "fucccommies-Diam0ndJake, chess.com, 7/8/2020"] [FEN ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 Nc6 4. d5 Nd4 5. c3 Nxf3+ 6. Qxf3 Be7 7. Bb5 O-O 8. O-O c6 9. dxc6 bxc6 10. Bc4 d5 11. ...
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11answers
8k views

What projects have been undertaken to solve chess completely?

Chess is not completely solved yet but what efforts have been undertaken to solve it? Has there been a large project like the HGP or is something like that even worth pursuing? What failed efforts ...
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4answers
1k views

Queen placement in the Dragon

[FEN ""] 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.f3 O-O 8.Bc4 e6 9.O-O a6 Here is a line from a game of mine. I made the movee 10. Qd3, but my computer program says Qd2 ...
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4answers
707 views

Is this endgame drawn after the rook sacrifice?

2R5/8/8/8/4Pp1P/3k1K2/2p2P2/1r6 w - - 0 46 In this position, the engine recommends 1. Rxc2 and evaluates the position as drawn. Is there a general rule in such positions or precise calculation is ...
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10answers
4k views

Is there value to learning openings as a new player?

Am a new player (had played before hadn't picked up a board for 3 years having never taken the game that seriously) and am going to try and commit to at least 1 rapid (10+5) game per day. Have made it ...
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2answers
378 views

Rossolimo 3.Bb5 vs open Sicilian against c5-Nc6 sicilian

Many chess players nowadays recommend the Rossolimo against c5-Nc6 Sicilian: [fen ""] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 However, I find the open sicilian to be easier to play: [fen ""] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 ...
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3answers
167 views

I read that Mikhail Tal claimed to have been able to see 50 variations ahead in a game. Any thoughts on this possibility?

Mikhail Tals' books on chess. Learning/analytic chess theory. Perception and intuition in the development of strategic and tactical chess play.
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1answer
103 views

Opening preparation

I have observed that I can beat the Lichess computer at level 5 most of the time if I use the computer hint function for the first 13 moves (basically the opening). If I do not so, I end up losing 6 ...
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3answers
3k views

When moves are randomized, is there an inherent advantage to the player who goes first, or the player who goes second?

Imagine we are pitting two automated players (bots) against each other, but instead of thoughtful moves made by the players, they make completely random choices. I realize that this is not really the ...

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