Skip to main content
35 votes

Positional thinking by Grandmasters

When a GM, or even lesser strong players reach a position that is totally unfamiliar, they have to break it down into components. They evaluate the following for BOTH sides. In general, a lot of this ...
PhishMaster's user avatar
  • 32.6k
33 votes

{Landa vs Zhu Chen, Bad Wiessee, 2006} Lichess giving a +4.7 to white. Why?

The material balance is only temporary. After White goes c4, Black will lose a piece. If Qf5, White has f3 trapping the bishop. All alternatives to Qf5 leave a piece unprotected (for instance c4 Nxc4 ...
David's user avatar
  • 16.4k
31 votes
Accepted

Given a legal chess position, is there an algorithm that generates a series of moves that lead to it?

The task you are considered is usually called a proof game, named such because the task is to prove that the position is legal. As a genre of puzzles, there are various aesthetic constraints, most ...
A. Rex's user avatar
  • 780
24 votes

Wrong ELO calculation

The first thing to note is that FIDE make the rating calculations not Chess Stack Exchange. We can try and explain their calculations but we cannot change them or influence them in any way. Here is ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 99.2k
22 votes
Accepted

What was Anand thinking in the 1994 Armageddon blitz semifinal?

From a YouTube comment section dedicated to the game (I did not find the primary source, so it may be untrue): Anand was asked about this in the interview after. Smirin did not play the opening Anand ...
B.Swan's user avatar
  • 3,498
21 votes
Accepted

Do grandmasters think on every move?

I will try to answer this in a different manner, the way I understand this topic. Do we think on every signal, turn, fork when we drive? Do we think every time we eat food or walk on the street? The ...
Vikrant's user avatar
  • 620
15 votes
Accepted

Lichess puzzle 87510: How much calculation would a strong player do before playing Bg4+ when white has a range of (all losing) responses?

I'm an FM, and my calculation process would be as follows: See that after 2.Rxg4 Qxh6 2.Rg8 Bf8, I'm clearly winning and White has no follow up. Look at White's king moves to get out of check. ...
Inertial Ignorance's user avatar
12 votes

Which methods can be used to prove that a position is illegal?

Easy illegality is easy: not exactly 1 king on both sides, both kings in check, pawns on the final ranks. It's also fairly easy to tally promoted material and subtract the missing pawns. A quick ...
Hauke Reddmann's user avatar
11 votes

How to quickly calculate two pawns facing two pawns

Since this is happenning so early in the game, the best idea is probably not to get involved in deep calculations, but rather to get some knowledge about the pawn structures that could arise from ...
David's user avatar
  • 16.4k
10 votes
Accepted

How come it's actually Black with the advantage here?

White's actually quite close to busted in that position after 16...Qd5. Of the two points you bring up, note that White doesn't actually control the e-file because Black is ready to play a rook to e8 ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 28.1k
10 votes

Given a legal chess position, is there an algorithm that generates a series of moves that lead to it?

If you are familiar with mathematical induction then it should be clear to you that the answer is trivially "Yes". Just as for any position (legal or otherwise) it is possible to use the ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 99.2k
9 votes
Accepted

Systematic ways to approach more difficult problems

for example this one below,don't even know where to begin.Earlier the way I solved problems was finding all the checks,captures and threats and the solution used to come within few seconds but now ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 99.2k
8 votes
Accepted

Calculation skills beyond 2000 Elo

As somebody, who's tactical ability is hopefully still above 2000, let me contrast your description with my own thought process: I only considered 1...Nh4. 2.Qg4 Rf2 I saw basically instantly. 2....
BlindKungFuMaster's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Why do GMs look up during calculations?

Expanding on the great comments of @David and @Timothy Chow, GM Nikolai Krogius talks about the role of the residual image in his book Psychology in Chess. This is an image that stays and blurs the ...
Kortchnoi's user avatar
  • 3,525
8 votes

Suggestions for blindfold exercises

A friend of mine (and a stronger player) suggested one exercise which has helped me in developing my visualization skills. Take a game, any game and read the first two moves of both sides (ie total ...
srk_cb's user avatar
  • 677
7 votes

Positional thinking by Grandmasters

Depends a lot from player to player and also position to position I think. The fundamental is that their intuition (built up from studying and playing and solving a lot) will suggest a few moves (or ...
Hamish's user avatar
  • 651
7 votes

Is calculation the most important aspect of playing chess?

Would the person who calculates better normally win? If everything else is equal then the answer is obviously "Yes". However, everything else is rarely equal. Fixating on calculation is ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 99.2k
6 votes

How can minimax chess engines do alpha-beta pruning without reaching the final positions?

You are confusing several concepts. Alpha-beta pruning Alpha-beta pruning is not "where they don't calculate positions that are obviously winning or obviously losing." It's pruning branches where ...
RemcoGerlich's user avatar
  • 28.3k
6 votes

Calculation skills to 2000 and beyond

If you can play three games blind-folded, it is unlikely that your problem is calculation. I dare say that there aren't many 1900 USCF players that can do that. You say you "lose a lot of games due ...
BlindKungFuMaster's user avatar
6 votes

Calculation and visualisation exercises - do they work?

My performance rating was four to five hundred points above my actual rating in tournaments where I prepared primarily with calculation/visualization exercises; while tournaments without tactical ...
Ywapom's user avatar
  • 6,111
6 votes
Accepted

How many different knight's tours are there?

Wikipedia quotes several sources for a count of 26,534,728,821,064 for the number of closed directed tours of the 8x8 board. As Brian Towers notes in his answer, that is equivalent to the count of ...
Noam D. Elkies's user avatar
6 votes

How come it's actually Black with the advantage here?

It seems that, for tactical reasons, White is going to have to give up material to stop Black's attack with best play from both sides. That seems to be why the evaluation is so in favor of Black. ...
D M's user avatar
  • 19.8k
6 votes

Given a legal chess position, is there an algorithm that generates a series of moves that lead to it?

The natural approach to this problem is a tablebase-like approach like outlined by Brian. But doing something similar to that for just 7 pieces (namely, 7 men tablebases) with current algorithms ...
koedem's user avatar
  • 3,616
6 votes

Do grandmasters think on every move?

I can also answer this from AlphaGo's perspective because we know fairly precisely how it works. We can then reason by analogy for the human perspective. From a bird's eye view AlphaGo has 2 ...
csiz's user avatar
  • 181
6 votes
Accepted

Do strong players (2400+) really not double-check their calculations?

At shorter time controls, there is little time for conscious double-checking - perhaps there is a kind of parallel awareness of tactical risks and opportunities? But at longer time controls: there is ...
Laska's user avatar
  • 13.1k
6 votes
Accepted

How to calculate corresponding squares

I think the term 'intersect' is not really intuitive here. From c2, the white king can go to d2 and c3 in one move. That means the black king must find a square from which it can reach f3 and e3 in ...
Glorfindel's user avatar
  • 24.9k
6 votes
Accepted

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

This is a very interesting question. I may be just marginally qualified to answer it. My highest-ever rating was about 2300. I am a successful research mathematician in an applied area. There are ...
Philip Roe's user avatar
  • 8,658
5 votes

How many different knight's tours are there?

Please share some solutions. If you use the search function (top left corner of the screen) you will find this answer with a beautiful picture of the moves. And also has this puzzle solutions from ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 99.2k
5 votes

Would a player or computer with infinite proccessing time be unbeatable?

No, a player who can calculate for infinite time can play a perfect game of chess, but this does not automatically mean that he always wins. From the game theory perspective, we know that chess is a ...
LeibnizGW's user avatar
  • 1,149
5 votes

Endgames: How was "maximum moves required" determined before tablebases?

Nothing was calculated. They arrived at their results by trial and error. Some guy would start with a seemingly disadvantageous position and tried to find the shortest mate. His result remained valid ...
Queeg's user avatar
  • 61

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible