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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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1 answer
101 views

Are all moves or types of moves (see details) in chess possible?

Inspired by this video The rarest move in chess, in which moves are categorized based on the format of their algebraic notation, so for example the rarest type of move (according to the author and ...
22 votes
11 answers
15k views

What are the things that a 2000 player knows that a 1800 player doesn't know?

I'm stuck at 1600-1800 in chess.com. My rating fluctuates within that range. There must be something that I still don't understand that is already understood by a 1900-2000 player. So I am asking for ...
0 votes
0 answers
24 views

What makes alternative winning conditions good or bad in chess variants?

For chess variants that keep all or most of chess movement rules but with different winning conditions (can be in addition to the normal winning condition or replacing it), what properties/...
1 vote
1 answer
37 views

Relationship between having a selfmate and having a checkmate?

Usually in selfmate problems white has material advantage to be able to force black to checkmate white, so white likely has a conventionally better position or has a forced checkmate. But not always, ...
-1 votes
1 answer
56 views

Up to which number of moves has the result of chess been calculated?

Chess hasn't been completely solved yet, even though it is completely deterministic. However, can't we "solve" it up to a certain number of moves (e.g., up to 50 moves)? Then, considering ...
9 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why isn't 3.e4 more popular in the QGA?

According to the chess.com DB, 3.e4 is the third most popular reply in the Queen's Gambit Accepted - but why isn't it the most popular by a long shot? Isn't the entire point to remove black's central ...
2 votes
0 answers
59 views

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 ...
30 votes
9 answers
18k views

Has anyone attempted to characterize chess mathematically?

From years of being student, researcher, and practitioner of chess, I feel like it possesses completeness and elegance that are found in mathematical proofs and theories. Thus, it seems only natural ...
15 votes
3 answers
5k views

Is it possible to get a professional degree in chess?

I am a software engineer by profession, and a chess enthusiast (around 1600 rated). I would like to know is there any professional university certified course like Masters etc. in chess? Can someone ...
1 vote
2 answers
577 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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
399 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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
202 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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
67 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 ...
4 votes
4 answers
1k views

Learning chess theory

I have played a lot of chess in my childhood. And I'm quite a decent player as well. However I stopped playing for few years now. Only after I realized that there are lot of opening/middle/closing ...
0 votes
1 answer
72 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 ...
15 votes
3 answers
6k views

What are the common themes in the Catalan?

I have looked over some of the main lines of the Catalan in MCO-15 and feel pretty lost as to what's going on in them. What are some of the key positions and goals for either side? Or is the opening ...
0 votes
1 answer
142 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 ...
14 votes
3 answers
3k views

Maximum number of pieces on board in dead position

It is possible in a chess game to have a dead position in which both players have all eight pawns, one bishop, and a king--20 pieces total. If the two players' pawns are interlocked in "zig-zag" ...
5 votes
1 answer
197 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 ...
3 votes
0 answers
118 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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
544 views

Fixed games in chess-is it real or just a conspiracy theory? If real, how bad is it?

One famous case of fixed chess games is the Keres vs. Botvinnik World Championship 1948. I ran across this example while looking for other such chess games from history. It is known that Stalin was ...
0 votes
2 answers
185 views

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....
7 votes
3 answers
15k 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
104 views

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?
7 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

What is the theory behind Bishop's Opening, Philidor Counter-Attack?

What is the theory for this opening for black? [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 c6 I've started playing the Bishop's Opening because it is something ...
35 votes
12 answers
15k views

How do you win with a queen against a rook?

What's the technique behind the moves of the stronger side in order to win? Are there situations where the side with K+R can force a draw against K+Q? I've read plenty of examples of K+Q vs K+R, but ...
7 votes
8 answers
12k views

Which are the ideas in the Van't Kruijs Opening?

In a game with a friend, he made a really unexpected move, e3: [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/4P3/PPPP1PPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] Afterwards, when analysing the game I found its name is Van't Kruijs ...
32 votes
11 answers
58k views

Is chess a solved game?

Chess is a zero-sum game of limited decisions. The number of possible moves at any given point, and the number of possible states of the board, are all finite. Tic-Tac-Toe, is one of the easiest ...
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 ...
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 ...
24 votes
10 answers
5k 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
135 views

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. ...
6 votes
2 answers
792 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
344 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?
10 votes
3 answers
562 views

Second Troitzky line, where knight and pawn could be located?

I am trying to understand where the pieces should be located for the second Troitzky line (checkmate 2 knights vs a pawn in 50 moves limit) and fail to get it. So from wikipedia: Black's pawn is ...
25 votes
4 answers
4k views

What is the theory behind center control?

Center control is an important aspect of playing chess, most openings are built around controlling the center, but why? Is center control really that important for winning a game?
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 ...
19 votes
5 answers
2k views

Top sources for opening theory

Can anyone recommend any good sources such as periodicals, websites, or what not to stay up to date on the latest opening theory? I am willing to pay if the source requires such. How do the top ...
2 votes
1 answer
111 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 ...
-6 votes
1 answer
162 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 "...
3 votes
3 answers
3k views

Morphy Defence in Ruy Lopez

I don't get the point of Morphy's Defence in the Ruy Lopez opening: [FEN ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 If White's purpose was to exchange Bishop for Knight and take the e5 pawn after ...
5 votes
5 answers
341 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 ...
7 votes
2 answers
458 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 ...
3 votes
3 answers
374 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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
62 views

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 ...
6 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is the farthest away a game can be from a guaranteed checkmate?

What is the maximum number of moves away from checkmate that a player can be where checkmate is guaranteed? There are many positions that are a guaranteed win for a player if played perfectly, right? (...
5 votes
5 answers
8k views

If there was perfect play from both sides, will it be draw or win for one?

If there was perfect play from both the colors, will white win because of the first move advantage or will it be a draw?
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Pawn confrontations: capture, push past, or leave the tension?

When your opponent moves a pawn to a position where it can be captured by one of your pawns, how should you determine whether to capture it, push past it or leave the tension on the board and make a ...
5 votes
3 answers
2k 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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