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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Curious Questions for a Quiet Day (Read 3039 times)
Heuristic
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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #18 - 05/17/20 at 13:46:06
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It could also be argued that certain structures favor White practially even If he gave away the lead in development.

You see this with very passive lines that still win for White in practise
  
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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #17 - 05/17/20 at 13:44:30
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cathexis wrote on 05/11/20 at 17:45:06:
When you check the win/draw/loss stats it seems that no one should ever play black except that the rules of the game occasionally require it. If one had the same odds of winning the Powerball as white does or playing the Mega Millions with black’s odds of winning only a fool would ever play anything but the Powerball – assuming equal prizes.  And yet people do play black and do win.

Is the Theory of Steinitz at work here? That is, since there is no such thing as a winning move than therefore if black is losing more often it must be that moving 2nd confers a greater likelihood of blunder? If so, would it then follow that those times when black snares the win it is because he out-lasted white by either remaining error-free or quickly capitalizing on the fatal error of white despite white’s extra tempo? AND, if all that is true then would that imply that there is no best opening (defense) for black per se ? Rather, his best chance is to try to equalize through best play contra-whatever white opens with and wait for that fatal error by white.


White wins more often because he is one move ahead,which makes it easier to play for White more often than nlmot.
  
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cathexis
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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #16 - 05/17/20 at 13:39:28
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Thank you!
  
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LeeRoth
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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #15 - 05/17/20 at 00:52:31
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cathexis wrote on 05/14/20 at 13:33:40:
Part of the reason I asked my questions in the first place was that I was speculating on the reason for white's initial advantage by moving first. To say white has a tempo and that's why sounds a lot like circular reasoning to me. If you accept the theory of Steinitz, as I do but you may not, then it would seem to imply that the root of white's initial move advantage and greater win stats vs. draw or loss in most opening theory is that moving second confers a greater likelihood of exploitable error on black's part.


Not according to Steinitz.  Steinitz believes that White has an advantage in the initial position due to the fact that he moves first.  However, he thinks that this advantage is worth less than a pawn, so that if the game is perfectly played it should be a draw.  All this, btw, is part of a caution not to unsoundly pitch pawns in the opening for the sake of a speculative attack.  Such an attack can only work if Black makes mistakes and runs the risk, if he doesn’t, of throwing away the initial advantage/draw.








  
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Seeley
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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #14 - 05/14/20 at 15:53:11
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MNb wrote on 05/14/20 at 15:11:58:
You define winning move as a move that turns a not won poisition into a won one, correctly remark that that is impossible and then conclude that winning moves don't exist.

I did nothing of the sort: please don't misrepresent what I've said and put words into my mouth. At no point anywhere in my post did I refer to a 'winning move', or attempt to define what a 'winning move' is.

My post was an attempt at clarification for TNich of what I understood ErictheRed to mean by 'a move that can improve your position', as should be apparent from the part of his post that I quoted at the start of mine.

MNb wrote on 05/14/20 at 15:11:58:
So let me quote the Simpsons:

Duh.

Thank you very much for that. Most people here manage to conduct discussion and debate courteously and without belittling the contributions of others with childish insults. It's unfortunate you're not able to do the same.
« Last Edit: 05/14/20 at 16:53:24 by Seeley »  
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ReneDescartes
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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #13 - 05/14/20 at 15:13:49
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Sorry Eric, I didn't see that you had made the same point more clearly.

There is no practical application for the obvious finitude of chess as a whole, any more than there is in knowing that relative placement of the electrons in the chess set is, strictly speaking, unknown, so that the pieces have a small, but not zero, probability of sinking into the board.

Chess is finite, but for us it is, as Botvinnik said, a "typical inexact problem."
  
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MNb
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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #12 - 05/14/20 at 15:11:58
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Seeley wrote on 05/13/20 at 23:12:41:
What I understand by it is

Like I wrote, empty semantics.
You define winning move as a move that turns a not won poisition into a won one, correctly remark that that is impossible and then conclude that winning moves don't exist.
But you fail to notice that that's not what chessplayers mean with winning move.
So let me quote the Simpsons:

Duh.

Next topic: how many angels can dance on the tip of a needle?
Equally insightful.

It's simple, really. Winning moves only can be played in won positions. And not all moves in won positions are winning, because (duh again) it's totally possible to ruin them.
So we can accept that the initial position is drawn and still meaningfully talk about winning moves. I just did in the example I gave.
  

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cathexis
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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #11 - 05/14/20 at 13:33:40
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@ Seely - Bingo! As for its practical value, there's a lot for me. Note that theory goes both ways; if you're losing it is not because the opponent is smarter per se, but rather that you made an expolitable error which your oponent is now capitalizing on. You could say, "well that's obvious." Or, "so it's all just positional analysis or some such." But then I think you're ignoring that you didn't start off life with the knowledge & talent you now possess and what you have acquired is built on over a hundred years of practice that has gone on before you.

Part of the reason I asked my questions in the first place was that I was speculating on the reason for white's initial advantage by moving first. To say white has a tempo and that's why sounds a lot like circular reasoning to me. If you accept the theory of Steinitz, as I do but you may not, then it would seem to imply that the root of white's initial move advantage and greater win stats vs. draw or loss in most opening theory is that moving second confers a greater likelihood of exploitable error on black's part.
  
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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #10 - 05/13/20 at 23:12:41
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TNich wrote on 05/13/20 at 21:52:00:
ErictheRed wrote on 05/13/20 at 16:40:09:
...there just isn't such a thing as a move that can improve your position.


I'm not sure I understand what you mean by this. I assume you mean that's true if the only evaluations are win, lose or draw?

What I understand by it is that, if 32-man tablebases existed, the correct evaluation of every possible position would be known. So before you make your move, the position is objectively either won, drawn or lost, and no move you make can improve your position by changing the tablebase evaluation from lost to drawn, from lost to won, or from drawn to won. In a practical sense, it could be argued that you improve your position if you narrow your opponent's path to victory or to a draw, but this isn't an improvement in an absolute sense, as the objective evaluation of the position remains the same.
  
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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #9 - 05/13/20 at 21:52:00
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ErictheRed wrote on 05/13/20 at 16:40:09:
...there just isn't such a thing as a move that can improve your position.


I'm not sure I understand what you mean by this. I assume you mean that's true if the only evaluations are win, lose or draw?
  
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ReneDescartes
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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #8 - 05/13/20 at 19:52:39
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What Steinitz said makes the most sense against the background of the then-prevailing Romantic conception of chess, in which it was presumed that the more brilliant player can force victory with an ingenious attack. After all the history that Steinitz himself set in motion, it has little fresh meaning.

By the way, no matter what we suppose the starting position's evaluation to be (won for White, drawn, or White in zugzwang on move 1), there would be no such thing as a "winning move" in this trivial sense. This idea follows merely from the finite nature of chess.

And since we're nowhere close to having or understanding a full tablebase of chess, there's no reason not to play like Tal or like Karpov if it works for you.
« Last Edit: 05/14/20 at 14:51:04 by ReneDescartes »  
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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #7 - 05/13/20 at 19:05:27
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I suppose that a practical application may be that with the realization that we can't win without our opponent making an error, that we adopt a more practical approach to the game in trying to induce our opponent to make a mistake.  I don't think that we need this philosophy of the game to adopt that approach, though.  It's also very vague.
  
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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #6 - 05/13/20 at 17:56:38
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ErictheRed wrote on 05/13/20 at 16:40:09:
However, I think that this is all very esoteric with no practical application.

Worse, "there is no such thing as winning move" is empty semantics. A simple even banal example will show what we mean with "winning move".

White, Kc6, Qe5.
Black: Kc8, Qf8.

Winning move: Qc7 mate.
Drawing move: Qd6 check.
Losing move: Qe8 check.

In the last case Black later can play drawing moves.
  

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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #5 - 05/13/20 at 16:40:09
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I understand.  Yes, chess is a game of complete information (unlike poker where some cards are hidden), and from that point of view people have said that you cannot play a move that improves your position, only worsens it or maintains the current evaluation.  From that point of view, "there is no such thing as a winning move," though that isn't a very precise wording, I don't think.  Naturally there is such a thing as a winning move (if one side has made enough mistakes to reach a losing position), there just isn't such a thing as a move that can improve your position. 

However, I think that this is all very esoteric with no practical application.  It follows logically from the supposition that the correct evaluation of the position exists, and that it is the final outcome of the game if both players play the absolute best moves for the entire rest of the game.  But those best moves are not normally known, hence the correct current evaluation of the position is also not normally known, etc.  It's an interesting thought experiment, but there is no application for a human player that I can possibly imagine.

Thinking in these kinds of philosophical absolutes completely ignore the sporting side of chess, as well.  The very best players in chess history have all been excellent practical players that pose difficult problems for their opponent to solve.  They have gone about this in different ways (Karpov vs. Kasparov vs. Carlsen), but all human players use their judgment and what they think is an acceptable amount of risk to push for a win.
  
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Re: Curious Questions for a Quiet Day
Reply #4 - 05/11/20 at 23:46:20
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Steinitz was right.  The perfect game of chess is a draw.  There is no proof of this, but if you consider that even an extra piece (king+piece vs king) isn’t enough to win, it seems like it must be right.  This hasn’t stopped some, such as Weaver Adams, from trying to prove that the starting position is a forced win for White.  But no one has succeeded in this.  It’s a draw, and we are all just playing what amounts to a much more complex version of tic-tac-toe.  The person who wins is the one who makes the next to last mistake.

This does not, however, mean that the starting position is dead equal.  Statistics show that White wins more often than Black, from which we conclude that having the first move or the initiative confers some advantage.  Not enough to win by force, but enough to slightly tilt the odds in White’s favor.  There have been dissenters.  Andras Adorjan famously argued that Black has more information than White, since Black gets to see White’s first move before having to make his own first move.  But the statistics are what they are and they favor White.

It is little known, but chess was once solved.  Before he died, Alexander Alekhine revealed that, one night during the great St Petersburg tournament, an old Russian peasant showed up at Alekhine’s hotel room and claimed that the initial position was a forced win for White in 26 moves, regardless of what Black tried.  Alekhine tried to get rid of the old man, but he was insistent.  Finally, Alekhine decided that if he was going to get any sleep, he’d have to play the old man and disprove his claim.  To his great surprise, Alekhine found himself mated in 26 moves.  They played again, and again, and yet again. Alekhine tried different defenses.  But each time, it was the same result.  Alekhine found himself mated in 26 moves.  Desperate, Alekhine ran down the hall and woke up Capablanca.  Alekhine dragged the Cuban back to his room, and Capa put the old peasant to the test.  No change; no matter what Capa tried, he found himself mated in 26 moves.  Every time.  The old man had solved chess!  So why doesn’t anyone else know the solution?  Alekhine answered, “Well, what were we going to do?  We couldn’t very well let this get out.  So we dragged the old man out into the woods, and we killed him, of course!” Wink
  
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