Hot answers tagged

35

I think any real answer to your question will have to be statistical in nature. There's rationale behind the advantages and disadvantages of having the first move, but really, we'd be mostly guessing regarding how important these factors are. With that in mind, I quickly ran some code to check what patterns I could pick up through the million base PGN ...


35

Very simple. Join a chess club and play people face-to-face.


34

These statistics come from a database of over 600,000 games: White wins 37.35% Black wins 27.41% Drawn 35.23% http://www.chessgames.com/chessstats.html The stats suggest that White has a significant, measurable first-mover advantage. Not an overwhelming advantage, but better than the house advantage in any casino game. Is that advantage ...


33

There is nothing wrong in entering a tournament if you have the time and if you can afford the entry fee. However, I think you should really consider your first tournament as a discovery experience and enjoy the pleasure of chess and the atmosphere of the tournament rather than worry at once about winning prize money. Whether you can win something depends ...


31

I believe your question essentially boils down to the topic of whether it is possible to completely "solve" chess. Wikipedia has an excellent article on the topic which should give you a good overview. To summarise, the number of possible game variations in chess is estimated to be 10^120. This is a staggeringly huge number, for comparison, consider that ...


28

There are many different aspects of chess which can be formalized mathematically. Since the 19th century at least, chess has been mined as a resource to drive mathematical innovation. So when talking about a mathematical characterization of chess, it's not a single modeling that we are talking about, which grabs every feature, but rather a number of models, ...


27

I will preface this by saying that I'm a 2150 USCF player who has had the same issues that you are struggling with in the past. What I'm about to tell you comes straight from my own experiences playing chess all these years. Don't study or memorize any theory straight up. I find it difficult to retain information like that and the potential for it to be ...


27

Sure black's a6-b5 come with tempo, but let's say at a very basic level, if you just compare pieces, structure and development progress, you can see that white is: Ready to castle whereas black hasn't yet developed either kingside pieces, so at least 2 tempi away from castling. This translates into white having a safer king 1-2 tempi earlier, which means ...


26

Because of the observation you make, that the tree of possible game paths for chess is finite, chess is indeed solvable in exactly the same sense that tic-tac-toe is. So optimal strategies for chess do exist; however, no one has any idea what they are. Whereas tic-tac-toe is solved thanks to a quite small space of possible games, chess is nowhere near solved ...


24

One option is to play 1... e6 against 1. d4 anyways! After 1. d4 e6, white doesn't really have a choice other than to transpose into a standard opening anyways. If white plays 2. e4, well that's just the French Defense that you know and love. If white plays something else, like 2. c4 (as most Queen's Gambit players will), then you have a few options: ...


24

Depending on whether occupied squares need to be covered as well, the number is: [Title " 12 knights, Without Covering Occupied Squares"] [FEN "8/5N2/1NN1NN2/2N5/5N2/2NN1NN1/2N5/8 w - - 0 1"] [Title " 14 knights, With Covering Occupied Squares"] [FEN "8/2N1NN2/2N1N3/2N3N1/2N1N3/1NN1NNN1/8/8 w - - 0 1"] Problems like this are called domination problems and ...


22

The first thing to learn once you know how the pieces move is basic tactics and general strategy. Tactics: In certain positions it is possible to gain an advantage doing a certain move or sequence of moves. This is referred to as tactical motif/pattern and for a list of all kinds of motifs take a look here. You don't need to start learning all of them at ...


22

It's not a ridiculous question. Before discussing your precise example, let's cover some basic grounds: Purely from an optimal play perspective: having more space translates into having more activity and thus more options for your pieces, and that's really the key point here. The more space your pawn structure provides, the more maneuvering possibilities ...


21

[fen ""] 1. a4 b5 2. b4 bxa4 3. c4 c5 4. d4 cxb4 5. e4 d5 6. f4 dxc4 7. g4 e5 8. h4 exd4 9. Ba3 g5 10. Nc3 gxh4 11. Qb3 f5 12. Kf2 h3 13. Kg3 h2 14. Bd3 Qa5 15. Kh4 dxc3 16. Kg5 h5 17. Kg6 cxb3 18. g5 Rh7 19. Ra2 Rc7 20. Bc4 Rxc4 21. Kh7 Bd6 22. g6 fxe4 23. Kg7 hxg1=Q 24. Kh7 h4 25. Kg7 h3 26. Kh7 h2 27. Kg7 bxa3 28. Kh7 bxa2 29. Kg7 Qgb6 30. Rg1 hxg1=Q 31. ...


20

There is a very easy way to detect whether King and Pawn endgames are drawn or not. This method I use is a very easy to understand one from Karsten Mueller and Frank Lamprecht's excellent book Secrets of Pawn Endings It concerns key squares and opposition The rule states that if pawn has not reached or crossed the central line (5th rank for White and 4th ...


20

Should I focus on opening? Do you regularly fail to get out of the opening? Regularly get beaten whilst still in the opening? If yes then you definitely need to work on your openings. Do you usually come out of the opening with a playable position? If yes then you are wasting your time spending more time working on openings if your goal is to improve. Do ...


20

It'll depend on the rest of the position. If it's relatively open, chances are you can keep the opponent's king in the center and launch an attack. This might well be a decisive advantage; preventing castling on both sides can be much harder than just one side or none at all. It's worth noting that 'artificial' castling (e.g. Ke8-f7, Rh8-e8 and Kf7-g8) ...


19

There isn't a clear-cut definition of endgame, or a set of criteria where you could draw a line and say "after this move, we have reached the endgame." Quoting Glenn Flear in his excellent book Practical Endgame Play - Beyond the Basics: The word 'endgame' is widely used and generally implies the final phase of the game (however long!), assuming that ...


19

First, let's make a difference between knowing how to play in the opening and opening theory. You need to know how to play the opening. At first this means you need to know what your goal is in the opening (development, king safety, center control, preventing your opponent from reaching the same) and what that translates to in actual positions. Then you ...


19

It should be easily possible to get 18 queens. If white captures four enemy pieces, that's enough to get doubled pawns on four files (a, c, e and g, for instance). And black captures four times to get his pawns on the b, d, f and h files. Then they can all advance and promote, and it should be easy to avoid mate by storing them all in some corner. Here, ...


19

No, there are positions in which a lot of moves have the same effect or are the same but you can play them in a different order.


18

First, a side note: I play the black side of the French Defense almost religiously, and my results against the Exchange variation have traditionally been very good. It's not a variation that's feared by most French Defense practitioners. Neither, for that matter, is the Advance variation, which gives black a very clear plan of strategic counterattack based ...


18

I recognize that attitude. Remember, first, that chess is hard. That's why it took so long to get computers to be able to play it well. The rules are simple enough but understanding how those rules fit together to build strategy when the opponent is also building their own strategy, is very difficult. It's not even quite like backgammon, where I like to ...


18

Generally speaking, the side with the most pawns will win. The tempo provided by the extra pawn is usually enough to gain opposition and access to the key squares. Doubled pawns don't matter for this, unless they're blocked. The extra pawn can also limit the movement of the opponent's king, resulting in the possibility of a triangulation maneuver. Another ...


17

I think that this is a good question, but also that the most enlightening way to answer might be to point out what I think is a slight misconception behind it. You say that most analysis you have seen focuses on the development of pieces, rather than the development of unoccupied spaces. But when one focuses on the development of pieces, what does this mean? ...


17

I think you outline the balance well, that is what it is. You are talking about attempting to misdirect an opponent. In any game, misdirection is a dangerous tactic that takes skill to know when to make your move. If you can get to know your opponent you can try to judge how they will move on you. If you are dead set on castling to a particular side, and ...


17

The answer is twofold - learn your opening theory, and learn how to defend. If you can defend yourself against the attack, then you're not "castling into the attack", you're simply castling. Of course, you could be wrong, and castling could be a mistake, but that's chess - you have to make tradeoffs, trust your instincts, and calculate the position. In ...


17

If you really mean "dubious", then no one really fits this description since Steinitz, who liked to, for example, go for walks with his King when playing the King's Gambit as White. But people didn't really know better back then. If you're willing to relax "dubious" to "offbeat", the first player that comes to mind is Bent Larsen, one of the strongest ...


17

The maximum number of moves in a chess game is not infinite, it's 11797 plies = 5898 moves and a half. This is due to the fifty-move rule. So no, the number of possible chess games is not infinite. The maximum number of legal moves in a position is 218. So a crude upper bound for the number of possible chess games is 218^11797 = 10^27586 Wait, actually ...


16

There are several key positions from which it is easy to memorize the win. The basic idea is to drive the opposing king to the edge of the board, and then to the corner, where you can force the rook to separate from the king. [Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "King and Queen"] [Black "King and Rook"] [Result "*"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN ...


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