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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5answers
1k views

How to avoid falling into unfamiliar traps in the opening stage?

I will be playing with a player in a few days and his level (1400ish) is slightly lower than mine (1500ish). However, he is very familiar with dubious gambits and opening traps and I can easily lose ...
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9answers
7k views

Systematic approach to learning opening/endgame theory?

Some relevant information: I've been playing chess for 4 years, and for 3 in tournaments, although I've only played in about 10 tournaments so far (3 big ones, like the Pan Ams and Chicago Open). My ...
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0answers
73 views

Why reaching expert level is hard? [closed]

I was looking at the rating chart of Magnus Carlsen here's what I found: He learned chess at age of five(1995), On April 2001 his rating was 2064.Which means it took the best player in the world 6 ...
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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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1answer
144 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
251 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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4answers
708 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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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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3answers
621 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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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
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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
121 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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14answers
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An aggressive opening for Black against 1. e4

I am a novice at chess. I am around 1400-1600 chess rating. I have struggled to find any sound aggressive openings for black against E4. As white I play the Scotch Gambit which I have great success ...
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2answers
147 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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2answers
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In the books Wojo's Weapons, why was Wojo occasionally known to say “I'm too lazy!” when asked why he didn't play 1. d4 instead of 1. Nf3?

In Wojo's Weapons: Winning With White (Volume 1) by Jonathan Hilton and Dean Ippolito, it is written: Wojo's move order to reach any opening position almost always started with 1. Nf3 and then ...
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2answers
247 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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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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6answers
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Beginners question: The double pawn

Question: Are there rules of thumb that every chess player should know about the double pawns?
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4answers
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Starting positions in Chess960 where black is definitely worse

In article in wiki about chess960, it is stated that: It has been argued that two games should be played from each starting position, with players alternating as White and Black, since some ...
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1answer
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What is the longest proven forced win (including 50 & 75 move rules)?

What is the longest (currently discovered) number of moves for a forced mate position where players will use both the 50-move draw rule and the 3-fold repetition rule if it will help them avoid losing?...
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4answers
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What is the longest forced win with 3 to 6 pieces (ignoring 50 & 75 move rules)?

I am wondering, what endgame, with 3 to 6 pieces, has the longest checkmate with optimal play? Right now, the longest I'm aware of is the two knights versus one pawn endgame, which in certain ...
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4answers
870 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? (...
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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
137 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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6answers
14k 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 ...
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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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3answers
1k views

Longest Sequence For Any Piece To Reach A Certain Square

What is the longest sequence of moves (by both White and Black) wherein White attempts to move one of their pieces from one square to another? Assume Black makes every move optimal towards the purpose ...
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2answers
488 views

Longest series of mutual “!” moves

Normally I'd pester the/a computer chess forum, but I couldn't register yet... On the Matplus chess forum, the following construction task came up. Both White and Black are on the brink of ...
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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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4answers
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What are good openings for White during a blitz game?

It seems as though White can easily dominate the tempo in a blitz game through a strong, aggressive opening. Is this the case? What openings are strong for White when there is a short time limit (e.g.,...
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2answers
402 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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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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5answers
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In the game of shogi, what is the meaning of “sabaki”?

I'm reading the book Sabaki at a glance by Madoka Kitao. It's a very nice book with many good examples one can learn from. The problem I have is that I am left with only an intuitive understanding of ...
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3answers
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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
222 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
166 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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4answers
3k views

How to break through their “Great Wall of China”

It's my move as White. I have no idea what to do. I feel like I'm going to get squashed to death. What would be my best move or strategy in situations like these? [FEN "r2q1rk1/4b3/p1n1p1b1/...
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1answer
91 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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5answers
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1. e4 e6 2. Nc3 - how should Black respond?

I had White deviate from the French main line in a blitz game by playing: [FEN ""] 1. e4 e6 2. Nc3 Since this line is not discussed in the Wikipedia article on French defence I am thinking that ...
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1answer
241 views

What effects would being able to capture while castling have?

Capturing an enemy piece while castling has been illegal for many decades, and the concept has been solidified in chess history. But what effects would it have if it were allowed? First, some ground ...
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2answers
253 views

Does White have any feasible way to break through this position?

I recently played as Black in a 1+0 blitz game on Lichess in which the below position was reached. [FEN ""] 1. e4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. d4 d5 4. e5g Nfd7 5. f4 Nb6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Bb5 Bd7 8. O-O g6 9. Bxc6 ...
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2answers
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Is 6 the limit for the most pawns possible on a single file?

As far as I can calculate, 6 is the limit for the most number of pawns on a single file possible. Is 7 possible at all, ignoring promotion? I only took into account using the edge of the board, not ...
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3answers
313 views

Is this the quickest way to clearing the board to two kings? [duplicate]

Is 21 moves the least needed to get board down to 2 kings? [FEN ""] 1. e4 d5 exd5 Qxd5 Qh5 Qxa2 Qxh7 Qxa1 Qxh8 Qxb1 Qxg8 Qxb2 Qxg7 Qxc2 Qxf8 Kd7 Qxf7 Qxc1 Ke2 Qxd2 Kf3 Qxf2 Ke4 Qxf1 Qxe7 Kc6 Qxc7 ...
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1answer
407 views

What is the highest number of en passants possible?

Out of curiosity, how many en passants can theoretically be done by both sides? Additionally, what is the quickest sequence to reach that amount?
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3answers
451 views

Is an Arabian mate possible without the king’s help?

Can an Arabian mate be enforced without the king's help in this position? [FEN "r6k/8/8/8/8/8/8/K6n w - - 0 1"]
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3answers
341 views

What are the quckest helpmates delivered by the rook, knight, bishop, and pawn?

What are the quickest helpmates, which is where both sides help administer checkmate to one side, delivered by the rook, knight, bishop, and pawn? The said piece has to deliver the checkmate on the ...

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