Questions tagged [theory]

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

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Incorrect upper bound on number of possible chess positions (10^41)?

I've written a script implementing a basic idea to count the number of chess positions. I've not even accounted for legality of the positions or difference in light and dark square bishops. Despite ...
Yash Jain's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
387 views

DTM in a random N-piece position

Formulate how many plies are the DTMs if there are multiple checkmate variations (Depth to Mate ignoring 50-move rule) for a random N-piece chess position if any checkmate exists, (and also consider ...
nirates biadenroc's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
190 views

Why hasn't any new endgame theory been developed from the endgame tablebases?

With all 7-man endgame tablebases completed years ago, and the 8-mean endgame tablebases in the works now, why have we not seen new strategies outlined for, say, how to win with rook and two knights ...
prestokeys's user avatar
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0 answers
64 views

What is this wide split in the Kmoch nimzo between stockfish's evaluation and master-level move choice?

In the Kmoch Nimzo Indian (sometimes called the f3 nimzo) [FEN ""] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3 6. bxc3 c5 (6... dxc4!? 7. e4) The move 6...c5 is the most popular ...
Awalrod's user avatar
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1 answer
67 views

Which Chess Notation is Most Commonly Used in Grandmaster Classic Games?

I'm interested in understanding the preferred method of notation used in classic games played by grandmasters. Specifically, I'd like to know which version of writing the moves of a game is more ...
Iman Mohammadi's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
134 views

After 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3, what are the differences between 2...e6 and 2...Nf6?

Black plays 2...e6 8% of the time, 2...Nf6 77% of time. It seems that by playing 2...Nf6, Black keeps open the option of playing ...Bg4 and ...Bf5 (which would be the Slav if White plays c4 and Black ...
Fate's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
168 views

What's the easiest way to hold this 4 vs 3 pawns on same side rook endgame?

After having been under tremendous pressure due to a mistake in the middle game and with only 30s on the clock, I was very relieved to find a way to liquidate into this endgame, which I knew was a ...
Hauptideal's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
108 views

Can previous and continuing research on N-piece tablebases be used toward human theory of chess?

This follows another questions here: What is the status for EIGHT piece endgame tablebases? My answer there was appropriately removed as being question in reaction to that question, well in light of ...
dbdb's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
5k views

Theory behind the Cow Opening

Recently IM Eric Rosen played the Cow Opening every game in Titled Tuesday, scoring 6.5/11 and increasing his rating. He streamed it and put it on YouTube. It is a Hippo style opening which can play ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
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1 answer
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Why is Nf6 a blunder here?

With Nf6, I'm trying to bring my Knight out. If the Bishop takes it, I can take the Bishop with by g7 pawn. Why is this a blunder?
csmathhc's user avatar
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London system move order nuances Qb6 without Nc6

In the London system, playing early Nd2 is recommended to react against Qb6. For example if we take this move order [FEN ""] 1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 Nf6 3. e3 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nd2 Qb6 6....
cmgchess's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
6k views

Forced mate from move one - what is this train of thought called?

I have intuitively thought that one of the following must be true: White has a forced mate from move one. White doesn't have forced mate, but does have a forced draw from move one (and in turn, black ...
TKoL's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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London system plan against Qxb6 when white has time to go a3 and Rc1 getting out of pin

In the London system where white doesn't develop the b1 knight early the Qxb6 followed by a3 is considered a mistake due to the following sequence [FEN ""] 1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 Nf6 3. e3 c5 4. ...
cmgchess's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
768 views

QGD is 3... Be7 better than 3...Nf6

3...Be7 a.k.a the Alatortsev Variation is a possible response as black for QGD players When I checked with the database 3...Nf6 is the most played move instead of 3...Be7. When black plays Nf6 they ...
cmgchess's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
1k views

When did this chess game against ChatGPT diverge from theory?

I have recently been tinkering on and off with ways to make ChatGPT play chess. This has worked somewhat well, even with ChatGPT3.5, using a prompt crafted to make ChatGPT re-prompt itself at every ...
Polytropos's user avatar
-6 votes
1 answer
159 views

Are all main lines and variations of chess openings necessarily SOUND?

Are all main lines and variations of chess openings necessarily SOUND?. I mean since we can't know all possible games, unique games, which are so large, about 10⁴⁰, how can I be sure that all "...
salah's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
108 views

Can you suggest book references on chess theory?

as stated in the title I am looking for structured textbooks on chess. I have followed chess.com lessons and I have a rough idea of tactics (forks, pins, skewers, sacrifices, etc) but I feel like I am ...
Fede Rico's user avatar
5 votes
5 answers
335 views

How to Learn Chess Comprehensively

I'm a pretty new to playing chess - I understand the fundamentals and can implement some of the basic ideas like forks and pins, but have never properly learned how to play. I'm looking for a ...
Kobo's user avatar
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0 answers
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Please advise which books are about strategy with explanations [duplicate]

I have many books that show openings, endplays, tactics, different puzzle to find best moves, databases with games, articles... All this stuff shows specific moves, which I have to find by myself. I ...
Tamila Ambeon's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
314 views

Opening Theory in Hexagonal Chess?

Is there any opening theory in Glinski's hexagonal chess (rules here)? If so what are some standard openings?
Brian Towers's user avatar
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1 vote
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Is white winning in chess with the 1st and 8th ranks reversed?

Here is the position I am referring to: [FEN "RNBQKBNR/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/rnbqkbnr w - - 0 1"] It seems that there are no forced checkmates for white, any f3-Qh4# plans are thwarted ...
Yash Jain's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
389 views

Chess960 - can Black profit by being allowed to choose a custom setup?

In Chess960, the White position is mirrored. In some positions, White enjoys a larger first-move advantage than in standard chess. Could we make Chess960 fairer by allowing Black to choose his setup (...
Hauptideal's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
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Most advantageous starting position in chess [duplicate]

What is the most advantageous starting position in chess for White? All Chess960 positions are known to be roughly equal (the standard chess position being one of the fairest starting positions; in ...
Hauptideal's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
210 views

How to study highly theoretical openings like the Najdorf, the Grünfeld, or the Ruy Lopez

So I'm probably not at the stage where I'm ready to do this yet, but I'm curious. I know that some openings (like the Najdorf, the Grünfeld, and the Ruy Lopez) are considered highly theoretical ...
Adam Gluntz's user avatar
38 votes
5 answers
10k views

What do modern chess players understand about the game that previous generations did not?

In an interview, Garry Kasparow stated that each generation of chess players knows more about the game than the previous one. He applies this thought concretely to the question of who is better - him ...
boot4life's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
512 views

What is the idea behind the Nd7 Nb6 by black maneuver in the King's Indian Defence?

I have seen this idea often and want to know the idea behind it. White can create a doubled pawn weakness on b7 and b6 by doing Bxb6, but then would black have control over f4 and also c5? (unless ...
cmgchess's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
1k views

What are some good "club-player" Sicilians?

My criteria for good "club-player" openings are: objectively good as little memorization is needed as possible forgetting theory / messing up move orders / playing mediocre moves won't kill ...
Hauptideal's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
686 views

Estimation of "God's Elo"

Assume a 32-piece tablebase would exist. It would be a Chess God. Surely there have been estimations of its ELO? According to the very related question, two problems arise: a) At any point the ...
Hauke Reddmann's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
172 views

Why not e3 instead of e4 in Grunfeld Russian system?

In the position below White continues with e4 after, say, Black castles. grunfeld-defense: [FEN ""] [StartPly "10"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 ...
user avatar
7 votes
7 answers
3k views

How to learn endgame theory

Related: How to improve on the early endgame? How exactly do I study or learn endgame theory? Is it just memorizing certain positions that are quite common and knowing how to attack and counter?
DialFrost's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
286 views

Does chess intuition take over when you can't see all of the moves ahead? What does chess intuition look like?

This is a broad question about intuition and chess. I imagine that there is a limit to how far ahead even the best chess masters can see into the future, and how far they can stretch their memory. ...
yhkiz's user avatar
  • 31
4 votes
1 answer
285 views

How do super-GMs, with the white pieces, avoid drawish positions?

I'm an amateur, so I don't have too much knowledge of contemporary opening theory, especially now that engine analysis allows frequent innovation. But I would like to ask the following: If two super-...
Chris Sanders's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

d3 lines of Ruy Lopez vs. Italian

I haven't played the Ruy Lopez at all but I am curious about how it compares to the Italian. I've heard that one reason the Ruy is supposedly better is because White has an easier time playing d4 in ...
James Ko's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
562 views

Three Knights vs one Queen, which is better?

Suppose the end game contains three knights and king only for white, and one queen and king only for black. Which side is considered to be in a stronger position? Value-wise, the knights are worth 9 ...
Eoin's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
709 views

Is this theoretical novelty double-piece sacrifice actually sound?

Working my way through Hannes Langrock's book on the modern Morra Gambit (second edition), I came across an interesting sacrifice that he believes is at best worth a draw. Indeed that's also Stockfish'...
HTTP 410's user avatar
  • 557
1 vote
2 answers
554 views

Sharp lines in the QGD, for black?

As a 1.e4 player who deeply enjoys sharp lines and studying/memorizing openings, I have always struggled with responding to 1.d4 since it leads to slow positional lines which usually have multiple ...
hexaquark's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
7k views

Is there a mathematical theorem that you can use to win a chess endgame?

Have mathematicians created any theorem that determines the outcome of a endgame? If so, how could it be used to win a specific endgame?
user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why is this position in the 3.d4 d5 Petroff equal?

I'm trying to learn some theory about the Petroff and was reading about the 3.d4 d5 sideline. Eventually, the position below is reached. [FEN ""] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 d5 4.exd5 exd4 5.Qxd4 ...
AKemats's user avatar
  • 477
1 vote
1 answer
136 views

Is it computationally feasible to find a board with proven outcome, reachable in 2 plies?

As is well known, neither the 0-ply game, the starting state, nor 1-ply games, all of white's first moves, have rigorously proven outcomes. Not even first moves for white considered very bad (1. g4) ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Before Qe6 in game 6 of the 2021 World Chess Championship, was it really a draw?

In game 6 of the World Championship 2021 between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi, before Qe6 the engine says +0.9 at around depth 30/99, but I heard supposedly it's a (theoretical) draw. I know ...
BCLC's user avatar
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-2 votes
1 answer
279 views

"Strong ICCF players" What is your input into the game? [duplicate]

This question is directed to the experienced ICCF players. My question is basically what is the input that the human player has into the game. I was just wondering because with the use opening books, ...
SubhanKhan's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
3k views

What are the advantages of keeping the identity of a second secret?

At the top levels of chess the identity of the coach/assistant is sometimes kept secret. What are the advantage(s) of this? I found: That mystery [second] turned out to be the intensely creative ...
stevec's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
353 views

Could you recommend me game collection books of attacking players?

I have found a lack of aggression in my style and I want to study aggressive players' games to develop my style. Please recommend books that fulfill this purpose. I am an advanced player.
Rishi Mundhra's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
155 views

How feasible is 7.Qa4+ in this Ponziani sideline?

Recently I played a game with a fairly standard Ponziani opening when something slightly interesting occurred. The game started as thus: [FEN ""] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 Nf6 4.d4 Nxe4 5.d5 ...
AKemats's user avatar
  • 477
1 vote
1 answer
216 views

Why is 3...g6 the main line of the Pirc Defense?

I admit that I've only started taking chess seriously in the past few months, but I'm having some trouble wrapping my head around this bit of theory. To be crystal clear, when I refer to the Pirc ...
AKemats's user avatar
  • 477
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the longest possible forced checkmate sequence?

As title says. My question is about legal positions (positions which could be reached in actual games), but if there is a known solution with an illegal position to start the sequence, I'd be ...
Mauro Giliberti's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
289 views

Marshall Defense transposition to Gruenfeld

Can this move order be considered a good surprise weapon against 1.d4 players since the Marshall Defense is known to be dubious and now black is trying to transpose it to a Gruenfeld. From my ...
cmgchess's user avatar
  • 2,388
2 votes
1 answer
183 views

Is it possible to measure play strength by analysing games of a player?

I am thinking on a way, most ideally on a software tool, what could get one of more games of a player, analise them, and gives an estimate on his play strength (as Elo/Glicko rating). Is it possible? ...
Gray Sheep's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the the idea behind this popular double pawn sacrifice line In the Evans Gambit?

I am learning a bit of Evans Gambit theory lately, and when exploring a Master level games database, I have found this surprising line. [FEN ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. ...
Aviv Aviv's user avatar
  • 301
21 votes
2 answers
2k views

Definition of "theoretical" in chess context

I am a novice who has only picked up my first chess book recently. I want to study some common opening positions, and pick a line to go with & practice for the time being. While investigating the ...
Jayeon Yi's user avatar
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