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
62 views

Analysis of a position in order to find the best move

I am trying to learn to play chess, but it is not an easy task. I am playing as much as possible and try to watch games an reading in order to learn. I am playng on Chess.com, and a lot of times I ...
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2answers
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Improving the endgame: Principles

I find I am weakest in the endgame, which is arguably the most important part of chess. Usually when I reach the endgame I have an advantage, often a pawn or a "winning" pawn formation, but I am not ...
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2answers
172 views

Improving my skills is getting harder

I am new to chess and I am playng mostly online at sites like chess.com. Now I have a rate around 800, so it is still low, but my problem is that improving my skills is getting hard. The arrival to ...
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4answers
179 views

The exsistence of IBM’s Deep Blue

How would IBM’s Deep Blue fair against modern day champions like Carlsen? Was it decommissioned after Kasparov's game?
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3answers
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Can you recommend a closed opening for black against 1.e4?

What is a good opening system for black that leads to closed play against 1.e4? E.G. - against 1.d4 I like to play the Slav & am looking into the Czech Benoni. I am looking for something similar ...
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5answers
272 views

Why aren't 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bh6, and 1.e4 b6 2.d4 Ba6 considered by theory?

As the title above, why aren't 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bh6, and 1.e4 b6 2.d4 Ba6 (or eventually beginning with 1.d4) for Black not even considered by theory? Isn't the eventual early trade-off of White's strong ...
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3answers
254 views

Are there any moves in the opening stage that are perfectly sound but not book moves?

In the opening stage, are there any moves that are perfectly sound but are not book moves? Here a book move, is defined in Wikipedia as follows: Opening moves that are considered standard (often ...
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1answer
178 views

Anderssen's 'immortal game'

I came across Anderssen's 'immortal game': [FEN ""] 1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Bc4 Qh4+ 4. Kf1 b5 5. Bxb5 Nf6 6. Nf3 Qh6 7. d3 Nh5 8. Nh4 Qg5 9. Nf5 c6 10. g4 Nf6 11. Rg1 cxb5 12. h4 Qg6 13. h5 Qg5 14. ...
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4answers
764 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 ...
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3answers
599 views

How does one know if a position is not reachable from a series of legal moves from the starting position?

If one of the following is true, a position is not reachable from the starting position by a series of legal moves: One side has two or more kings or one side has no kings; One side has a total of ...
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2answers
235 views

Are certain tactics always good or does it really depend on the game?

I've recently joined chess.com at the suggestion from chess club. Something I've always struggled to understand with chess is why certain moves are "good" and why others are "bad" I got thinking ...
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2answers
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Positional opening for Black

I have recently (two months ago) become very interested in chess, after playing it for about 10 years at a club, spending time on it only one evening per week. Previously, I did not think about my ...
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1answer
263 views

What is the best move in this situation?

This is my first post on CSE, so I appreciate any guidance on how to frame my questions from now on. Here is my question: I want to know what the best move is in this sitiation. [FEN ""] 1.e4 c5 ...
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7answers
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Should I practice openings of a famous player if I want to play like them?

I have always liked the way Mikhail Tal played and I noticed on chessgames.com, that his most played openings are: As White: Sicilian (B46, B43, B82, B32, B40) Ruy Lopez (C92, C95, C93, C96, C84) ...
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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 ...
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8answers
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Is learning opening theory necessary?

I have never studied opening theory. The closest I've gotten was briefly reading about several openings in books, but never memorizing or using any. While I haven't ever played in tournaments I have ...
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3answers
578 views

Novice - Capitalizing on players not knowing their openings?

I am a 1400-rated player currently working on my theory and understanding of openings. I am good at learning lines, much more so than others at my rating. But I'm less sure on where/how to learn the ...
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1answer
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What is the theoretical consensus on the Roscher Gambit?

Edit: My mind played a trick on me after the fact. As Akavall notes in a comment, the Chadaev-Carlsen blitz game that I mention below actually proceeded 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nf3, a different gambit ...
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3answers
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Is there an easy way to detect a draw in a King + Pawn vs King endgame?

I know the basics of opposition, but I am struggling to evaluate positions for drawishness in King + Pawn VS King endgame. A lot of times it is useful to know whether you should make an exchange. For ...
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4answers
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?
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Queen's Gambit Declined: Alatortsev variation, is there a high quality resource covering this line?

I am working on my opening repertoire, and I need ways to dodge the Exchange variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined with Nge2. Many masters use the Alatortsev variation to do this. After the ...
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5answers
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Best books on middlegame strategy?

What are the best works trying to systematically summarize all middlegame themes and strategies: e.g. space advantage, pawn structures, exposed king, minority attack, isolated pawn, hanging pawns, etc....
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5answers
295 views

When can king and pawn win against another king and pawn?

Assume such a situation: Both players (Black and White) only have two pieces, that is a King and a Pawn. They have the liberty of placing them according to their wishes on the first row of their side ...
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5answers
857 views

Struggling to find a good opening with black? (Fide Elo 1950)

Okay so, I'm rated around 1950 on the FIDE rating list, and I struggle finding a good opening with black so basically my game with white is more or less perfected (3 different openings where I learned ...
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3answers
466 views

What is zugzwang in chess?

What is the zugzwang? I have read this term in chess book but the term not much clear to me. Anyone know to to use this and what are the advantage of this?
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1answer
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Best Continuation for this Counter to Queen's Gambit Accepted

[Title "White to move"] [fen ""] 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e3 e5 I've tried just taking the pawn at c4, but he takes my pawn at d4 and after exchanging some pieces I end with a broken pawn structure while ...
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2answers
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Pushing the e-pawn

I am having trouble understanding why the move e5 which I played in the position below is not correct according to Stockfish (6th move for White) I am not doing this move by winning a tempo, but I ...
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9answers
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1. c4 vs c3 Sicilian

I am a chess player ranked at around 1400. As white I play 1. e4 and am confident playing against most responses except for the Sicilian. I don't want to go into the main lines so I am studying the c3 ...
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4answers
503 views

How to know how good an opening/defense scores?

I play Philidor defense, Lolli attack, Fried Liver attack... Other people choose to play well known openings/defenses, so i decided to ask the following questions. Everyone learns the Najdorf defense ...
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2answers
267 views

Sacrifices, initial loss and a volte-face?

What is the most famous example where player was losing heavily (down on material) in the beginning with lots of sacrifices but came back strongly to beat or "pwn" their opponent? I am not asking for ...
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7answers
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If there is a winning strategy, is it for White?

We do not know, given two perfect players White and Black, whether the game would necessarily end in a draw, or necessarily end in a win (for either Black or White). However, can we prove that if ...
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8answers
4k views

Does the first-move advantage for White have real meaning apart from the highest levels of play?

Most games that involve taking turns, with one player going first by lot or agreement, have some sort of advantage to going first. Tic-tac-toe, for instance, is a guaranteed draw for player 1, ...
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2answers
497 views

Conceptually, what makes the Sicilian opening sensible for black?

We all know the Sicilian as shown below, is one of the most famous and commonly employed openings in chess. But compared to the other replies, which tend to be more about fixing the center (such as e5,...
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7answers
2k views

For Black, against the Caro-Kann Advance Shirov variation 4. Nc3 which move tends to lead to the most positional, slow, solid and strategic positions?

I'm a 1800 Elo player that likes positional, quiet, drawish, slow, boring and strategic openings. As Black against 1. e4 I play the Caro-Kann. But there is one variation of the Caro-Kann that I ...
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4answers
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Theoretical relationship between Caro-Kann exchange and Queen's Gambit exchange

Is there a book, or an article, which examines the relationship between these two openings? The Caro-Kann exchange (non-Panov) is 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5, and the Queen's Gambit exchange is 1.d4 ...
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6answers
9k views

What is a good French-like defense against 1. d4?

I enjoy playing the French Defence as black against 1. e4, for the following reasons. It often creates a closed position without wild tactics It takes white away from the more familiar lines (1... e5 ...
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2answers
2k views

Soundness of the King's Indian Defence

It is rarely seen at top level nowadays, but in the times of Fischer and Kasparov vs. Karpov matches, it was a very popular opening for Black. I heard that Kramnik made Kasparov stop playing KID and ...
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3answers
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What is the worst possible first move for White: 1.f3 or 1.g4?

After making my engines evaluate the starting position for more than 10 hours each, here is what I got: . Fritz 12: Depth = 25/65 Time = 10 hours and 30 minutes 1.f3 : -0.90 1.g4 : -0.77 1.Nh3 : ...
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1answer
157 views

Comparing 9…a6 to 9…b6 in the Panov-Botvinnik Attack

This question is motivated by a recent LiChess game where I was black where I played the Caro-Kann and white played the Panov-Botvinnik Attack: [fen ""] [Site "https://lichess.org/J9cdDkL5"] [Date "...
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3answers
351 views

What are unsolved problems in chess? [closed]

What I want to know is: are there any problems in chess that remain unsolved?
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Is the number of possible chess games infinite?

This question is somewhat related to Can the total number of possible wins/draws/losses be calculated?, but slightly different. There is a recent TV show episode that claims that there are "more ...
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2answers
497 views

Can anyone recommend a Chess platform that, well, you better read further

I thought I might take a minute to share a project I started about 20 years ago. Essentially, I used my ChessMaster program to make a "Chess Explorer". In 1998, I noticed I could add notes into ...
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0answers
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Daily chess self-training plan? [duplicate]

Here I am asking suggestions on plans to systematically improve one's chess skills. I am aware of questions such as this one, but I am seeking advice based on the following criteria: I am willing to ...
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1answer
697 views

Is the queens gambit declined getting more popular than the slav?

Back when I used to study chess, like 10 years ago or so, all the text books and all the super GMs recommended either the slav or the semi slav against queens gambit, they said it's better than the ...
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2answers
93 views

Do someone found if there exists a ever winning side? [duplicate]

Have chess science advanced enough to determine if there is a a chess side that always win if both sides are given unlimited time to think for the next move? Note the question Is not dumb as might ...
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3answers
388 views

Do the King's side and Queen's side pieces have different values because of which square color they start on?

I wonder if the Bishop and Knight that start out on the same color square as the opponent's King, is worth more than it's twin on the other flank. And if that is of significance when making choices ...
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1answer
472 views

Would a chess game go on indefinitely if both players played the absolute best move each turn?

Just as the title says: Would a chess game go on indefinitely if both players played the absolute best move each turn? (assuming there is no draw) Or is it white that's going to win? Is it even ...
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3answers
5k views

Why is the Ruy Lopez a sensible opening for white?

As an amateur, I prefer the Scotch game as opposed to Ruy Lopez, since I feel that White loses tempo and Black seems to gain tempo with queenside counterplay in the main line. [title "Ruy Lopez"] [...
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3answers
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 ...
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10answers
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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 ...

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