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 ...
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  • 31.9k
34 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 ...
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  • 13k
30 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 ...
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  • 596
23 votes

Is there a single best move in every position?

If it were possible to analyse every possible outcome of a position, would there ever be a single move that could be considered "best"? No. Just to give an example: [FEN "k7/6Q1/1K7/8/8/8/8/8 w - - ...
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  • 1,799
22 votes
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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 ...
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  • 3,450
21 votes
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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 ...
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  • 620
17 votes
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Proven ways to improve calculation speed

You say: "Do the same puzzles over and over? I'm worried that once I've memorised a puzzle, then I'm not doing so much calculation as memory retrieval." Memory retrieval is exactly what you should be ...
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15 votes
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How do players "see" several moves ahead?

The answer is that you only consider the most sensible and most critical options. This prunes the tree down to manageable proportions. One easy example would be the fact that retreats are usually not ...
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15 votes
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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. ...
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14 votes
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How to fix 1 turn tactical errors

It is a common problem to calculate all the variations and then suddenly realize that the first move was simply terrible. Actually, there is a rule that should be applied after finishing a complicated ...
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  • 6,524
14 votes

CPU v. GPU for chess engines

EDIT: Few other points raised in http://web.archive.org/web/20201022142829/http://rybkaforum.net/cgi-bin/rybkaforum/topic_show.pl?tid=32317 GPU not so good for recursion GPU not so good for floating ...
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  • 21.4k
13 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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 13k
10 votes
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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 ...
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  • 21.3k
9 votes
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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 ...
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  • 74.5k
9 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 ...
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  • 74.5k
8 votes
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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....
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8 votes
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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 ...
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  • 3,465
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 ...
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  • 647
7 votes

CPU v. GPU for chess engines

I have no experience with GPU programming, but, typically, GPUs are very efficient in executing simple commands in a parallel way. Apparently, this is not the case for the search tree that is used for ...
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  • 5,428
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 ...
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  • 641
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 ...
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  • 74.5k
6 votes

Chess Puzzles vs Laziness

From personal experience doing puzzles has no effect on my level of laziness. What it does, which is more important for me, is widen my thinking. I become less narrow in the possibilities I will ...
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  • 74.5k
6 votes

How to fix 1 turn tactical errors

The answer is simple and cruel -> evaluation of the position. Unfortunately, being inactive for 10+ years, I suffer from the same problem so I know what I am talking about. You will not find a ...
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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 ...
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  • 6,073
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 ...
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  • 25.8k
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 ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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  • 15.1k
6 votes
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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 ...
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