chess vs computer

Chess Vs Computer

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jeffz_2002 50 ( +1 | -1 )
Is it cheating to study an opening during a game? I'm not sure what the rules/etiquette for correspondence chess are in this situation.

I'm currently playing a game with a higher-rated opponent who has just opened with the Sicilian defense (shame on him). I've played against Sicilian in some blitz (15 minute) games, and just been wiped off the board. Is it OK for me to go through a book of openings and familiarize myself with some of the lines? If I don't, my lack of understanding and my opponent's greater knowledge may end this game before it's started.

Jeff
philaretus 23 ( +1 | -1 )
That is... ....part of what correspondence chess is about --- being able to think and study theory before making your next move. Getting a computer to do your thinking for you in a particular game is another matter.
jeffz_2002 8 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks No computer, just a book or two. The Sicilian is so intimidating, but I've got a few days to learn a bit about it.
philaretus 18 ( +1 | -1 )
May I make a recommendation about the Sicilian Defence? A good way of staying out of the jungle of theory is to play the Closed Sicilian 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3, where White either postpones d4 or doesn't play it at all.
jeffz_2002 22 ( +1 | -1 )
I'll keep that in mind but I hope that this isn't bad form (taking advice from others on a current game). I'll certainly be looking at the more popular Sicilian responses, and if I find that this is the most straightforward you can bet I'll be all over it.
chris21 21 ( +1 | -1 )
I don't agree with sitting at the PC with a book in hand. However I see nothing wrong with reading, memorising, and then bringing your knowledge to the computer. After all memory is a big part of chess.
halfpast_yellow 59 ( +1 | -1 )
There's nothing wrong with sitting at the PC with a book, or several, ie BCO or MCO or a book on a specific opening. This is correspondance chess, it is governed by different rules to OTB chess, and the beauty is you CAN have material to assist you, you can set up a board with the position or use the 'analyze board' feature on gameknot, or you could have a database with 3million+ games in it and do a search for similar positions. There is absolutely, absolutely no question on the ethics of such assistance as this. Save reading and memorisation for your OTB tournements. The only rule is, if it can play chess, ie reason moves, you can't consult it. That's all.
bogg 51 ( +1 | -1 )
jeffz_2002 A side note on your Sicilian study. The book 'Sacrifices in the Sicilian' By David Levy, copyright 1974, ISBN: 0-679-13039-X is a great book for learning the standard tactical motifs of the Sicilian defence. You may be able to find it in a used book store, but make certain that it is the book mentioned as there was another book written more recently with the same title. I don't remember why but I wasn't impressed with the second book. Sorry that I can't be more specific.
chris21 43 ( +1 | -1 )
So this is what I'm doing wrong! I'm being too honest!

I'll go and start bringing my books down and be 2000 in no time. Bet Cyrano and everyone wishes they'd thought of this instead of doing it the hard way. Only problem with this now I think of it is that I'd get no satisfaction out of having my books win games for me. There would be no point in playing chess anymore:(

Nah I've decided to play from my head still after all:)
halfpast_yellow 81 ( +1 | -1 )
chris21 I don't think you understand. There is no 'being honest' about it. Books don't win games, there is 'still a point'. If people thought there was no point in playing then why is correspondance chess so popular? If you want to set yourself unnessercary handicaps then you may, but it's like tying your legs together in a sprint race. And to say that 'I bet Cyrano and everyone wishes they'd thought of this instead of doing it the hard way' is laughable. They did think of it and they are doing it. Of course the good players use outside material, because they're correspondance players and its the done thing. Feel fine to play how you want, but it just seems as though you're trying to claim some sort of moral highground for handicapping yourself, and in effect degrading those who take correspondance chess seriously for what it is.
dervish 76 ( +1 | -1 )
I don't get the impression that chris21 is degrading anyone, I'm curious if one's game becomes stronger OTB if they don't delve into databases and books and maybe play 1000's of correspondence chess (turn based) games and learn through repetition or osmosis? I personally enjoy reading about the history of chess but looking at past moves or playing past games is a drag for me, and I'm still waiting for the osmosis thing to kick in so I guess if one wants to reach the elite level they must go that route. I prefer chris21's way and handicapping ones self sometimes can reap other benefits.
jeffz_2002 106 ( +1 | -1 )
Of course opening books are only useful to a point, and then middlegame and endgame knowledge take over. Also, books aren't much help if people go out-of-book! It's probably better to use the books to explain the "whys" of a given move in the opening, rather than just following the moves as written (but this is obvious).

So, I'll use the books, trying to figure out why such-and-such was played, instead of blah-to-blah-blah, and take my way to an acceptable point in the game, after which I'm on my own.

dervish, you may be right about the improvement without books and dbs (I don't use the latter), but you're depriving yourself of past knowledge which others gleaned through repetition and osmosis (and thought). Why not read a book? It's what you did in school (unless you went to Brown). Handicapping yourself may inspire you to probe more deeply with your own thoughts analyzing a position, but you'd be far better off if you took that same discipline and used it together with a book, questioning everything therein. ... just my 2 cents Canadian, which is really only 1 cent US ... Jeff
cairo 19 ( +1 | -1 )
Bent Larsen once wrote:

CC-games are not a fight between libaries, but between critical readers!!

Best wishes
Cairo
desertfox 129 ( +1 | -1 )
jeffz, Using books Will help you in finding out how to play variations of certain openings which are to your liking. I just solved my problem with the French by finding an opening in an old book: after e4, I play d3 and Ktd2, then I play g3 and prepare for 0-0 by bishop g2, c3 etc. Its a type of king's indian with colors reversed. Until I found this variation, the French was the opening that gave me most troubles (an ocean of theory, and variations that don't suit my style of play.
I found out that the classical variation of the Sicilian is playable. But when I tried getting out of the book, I got better results. I play e4, and then Ktf3, pawn c3, g3, bisop g2, and prepare my rooking. Anyone knows what is this variation called, or is it a novelty of mine?
Anyway, following books blindly can bring about bitter surprises. Your opponent can get out of the book before your book analysis is finished, or he can play a perplexing move one move after the analysis in the book ends. You have to be critical as GM Larsen said. You also have to feel what move will embarrass your opponent. It can be a move which is not the best objective move, but Lasker proved that playing moves (openings) disliked by your opponent can be a good policy.

Desertfox
desertfox 129 ( +1 | -1 )
jeffz, Using books Will help you in finding out how to play variations of certain openings which are to your liking. I just solved my problem with the French by finding an opening in an old book: after e4, I play d3 and Ktd2, then I play g3 and prepare for 0-0 by bishop g2, c3 etc. Its a type of king's indian with colors reversed. Until I found this variation, the French was the opening that gave me most troubles (an ocean of theory, and variations that don't suit my style of play.
I found out that the classical variation of the Sicilian is playable. But when I tried getting out of the book, I got better results. I play e4, and then Ktf3, pawn c3, g3, bishop g2, and prepare my rooking. Anyone knows what is this variation called, or is it a novelty of mine?
Anyway, following books blindly can bring about bitter surprises. Your opponent can get out of the book before your book analysis is finished, or he can play a perplexing move one move after the analysis in the book ends. You have to be critical as GM Larsen said. You also have to feel what move will embarrass your opponent. It can be a move which is not the best objective move, but Lasker proved that playing moves (openings) disliked by your opponent can be a good policy.

Desertfox
omus 54 ( +1 | -1 )
personally i use nothing but my brain and would feel at unease with myself if i referred to a book that told me the move to make. I am not saying I am right. But anyone playing me can know that they are playing ME alone.
Quite frankly, I think it is an absolute joke that this site now allows the use of computer base databases. Er...what move shall make next..I know lets see if the position has occured before and is on my database of 1000's of games....

But,hey, if the two players agree then o.k.
Feel free to criticise my post.
omus 54 ( +1 | -1 )
personally i use nothing but my brain and would feel at unease with myself if i referred to a book that told me the move to make. I am not saying I am right. But anyone playing me can know that they are playing ME alone.
Quite frankly, I think it is an absolute joke that this site now allows the use of computer base databases. Er...what move shall make next..I know lets see if the position has occured before and is on my database of 1000's of games....

But,hey, if the two players agree then o.k.
Feel free to criticise my post.
omus 10 ( +1 | -1 )
apologies for the double message...I have a new computer with a touchpad and no mouse and its difficult to get used to quickly
philaretus 53 ( +1 | -1 )
omus Do you think that players should be allowed to use books in order to learn openings? If so, it seems harsh to argue that they should put the books away when they're actually playing, increasing the burden on their memories. But I agree with you about databases --- they're virtually the same as getting a computer to choose your next move. That being said, there's no way of preventing the use of either databases or computer programs, so all we can do is develop anti-computer and anti-database strategies.
omus 51 ( +1 | -1 )
philaretus Thankyou for replying to my comment.

Players who want to improve their game must use books but where is the pleasure in winning or playing a good game when copying moves from a book? Why not just play a computer program to learn.....these days i am told they can educate and tell you what move you should have played etc. Or why not just play the game and then download it and go through it book(computer) in hand?

I only give my viewpoint and I realise I am in the minority.
jeffz_2002 148 ( +1 | -1 )
omus I agree that if you are merely copying the moves from a book blindly that you will gain little pleasure from winning (at least, that's the way you sound to me, and I'd agree); however, as cairo noted above, "CC-games are not a fight between libaries, but between critical readers!!" A book won't win for you, a book won't even necessarily give you "the" move for a position, since /you/ still have to finish the game, and the "correct" move may not be to your taste. Also, sometimes books don't have all the possible variations to a given line, and even if they do, you still have to go through all the variations and see where each ends up, again to see if it suits your playing style. Finally, the book won't help you understand the deep ins-and-outs of a position, it will just get you there, and after that point your own knowledge and experience takes over. Therefore, even with a book, you still need to critically read every play, and justify for yourself why a given move was made over the others. If you can do this, you're learning a great deal, and you may very likely come to the "correct" (i.e., book) lines for any opening or position.

Your final point, just playing through the game and then going through it again afterwards, is absolutely the best way to learn IMO, particularly if you can get an advanced player to walk through the game with you.

Of course, you're entitled to your own opinion, I'm just trying to show the flip side to the coin.

Jeff
omus 44 ( +1 | -1 )
jeff If two players agree to play like this then great and good luck.You could also read the books beforehand and put into practise what you have studied.
As I said, I am in the minority in these threads on this matter and perhaps the majority view is better than mine.
I would like to see an OTB competition between the top players here to see who is the best without DB's/computer programs etc. Perhaps it will happen one day.
cairo 147 ( +1 | -1 )
Sorry to disappoint some peoples illusions, but this site is and correspondence chess site, so please don't speak about:
"I would like to see an OTB competition between the top players here to see who is the best without DB's/computer programs etc. Perhaps it will happen one day."
There are plenty of other sites out there, where this can be done every day.

Everyone can have an opinion about almost everything, but it doesn't change the fact, that the rules in CC-games allow players to use books, databases as sources for opening, middlegame and endgames. It is all written here:

Q20: What is considered cheating? How to report cheaters?

A: It's quite simple -- you can not use anything besides your own brain, and you can not consult anyone besides yourself. That includes chess programs, chess engines or chess computers, your friends, colleagues etc. etc. Chess books and game/move databases are allowed (as they are permitted in correspondence chess too). Feel free to analyze your games with chess engines or discuss them with your friends after the game is over, but not while the game is still in progress. If you suspect someone is cheating, please contact webmaster with a formal complaint. Don't forget to include specific details of why you think someone is cheating.

Can we then move on to play some exciting chess, thank you and good luck.

Best wishes
Cairo
achillesheel 53 ( +1 | -1 )
What is the Difference between a chess engine/computer and a database? Is it that the engine/computer chooses your best move while the database merely suggests the best move (which, of course, you then choose)? Perhaps the FAQ should explain this, because it is not obvious, at least not to me.

I wrote a long msg on this yesterday, but apparently got distracted and failed to post it (lucky y'all). Can someone explain the difference and (if the difference does not make it readily apparent), why one is OK and not the other (an answer other than, "that is the rule")? Thanks.
philaretus 27 ( +1 | -1 )
A computer.... ....also merely suggests a move. It's up to you to choose whether or not to play it. Add to that that a computer may give several moves an equal rating, so you would inevitably have to choose in this case even if you had resolved to obey blindly the computer's orders.
peppe_l 125 ( +1 | -1 )
Differences Database does not suggest moves, you can merely check what has been played before - just like books, actually! Also there are practical reasons - you have to play your own moves eventually, because sooner or later you will be out of what your ECO book or database says.

Why using opening books etc is allowed? Well, let me give a practical example : I want to deepen my understanding of Caro-Kann main line for CC or OTB games, so I pick up a book to play trough some games or have a look at few critical lines. But then I remember I have a game in progress where we are in Caro-Kann main line. Darn, I cant study Caro-Kann main line before the game is over, and that can take months or even years...

In other words it is very easy to point out why it is impractical - and ridiculous - to ban books or even databases (further example : technically you have to ban ALL types of books because even if you are not in endgame yet, reading a book on endgames may still have an effect to your game in progress). But it is very difficult to point out any good reason to allow chess engines...

Plus, who wants to use chess engines in CC games anyway?

halfpast_yellow 2 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe_l Good explanation
honololou 79 ( +1 | -1 )
my two cents worth… Databases can not suggest the best move, they only show you what moves have been
played from a given position with statistics showing the success rates of each move. This
can be deceiving. For example a certain reply may enjoy great success for decades until a
refutation is found. The statistics in the database will still show a winning percentage even
though the move in question is no longer considered strong.

Databases are useful only in the opening moves of a game. I find that most of my games
are out of the database before the tenth move and my database is sizable (2.5 million
games) though there are a fair number of duplicates. A chess engine will make moves for
you throughout the entire game.
achillesheel 146 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks For the explanation. There does seem to be SOME distinction there, though I am not sure I buy the notion that a database merely scans 2.5 million games and tells you a move, but it does not "suggest" that you make that move. How often does one make a move other than the top or second choice offered by the database? Put simply, does use of the database lead you to make moves other than the moves you would choose on your own to make? The answer must be "yes" or there would be absolutely no point to using a database. So it is suggesting moves. I am not complaining about databases here. I am only taking issue with the view that somehow they do not "suggest" moves.

Peppe_l had some good reasoning regarding books, but it is not necessarily convincing. Peppe's hypothetical applies just as well in OTB play. The issue here is using a book/database DURING a game, which I understand is OK under the rules. I do not think the rule is that way because otherwise no one would be able to read chess books in their spare time. The rule is that way because there can be no other rule. One can effectively ban use of books DURING OTB play. One cannot do so in correspondence play.

All of this was just to say that I do not understand the distinction drawn between chess engines and databases. Honolulu, I think you set me straight on it. I do not agree that the database suggests no moves, but I understand why it is more benign than a chess engine.
peppe_l 174 ( +1 | -1 )
Achillesheel "Peppe_l had some good reasoning regarding books, but it is not necessarily convincing. Peppe's hypothetical applies just as well in OTB play. The issue here is using a book/database DURING a game, which I understand is OK under the rules. I do not think the rule is that way because otherwise no one would be able to read chess books in their spare time. The rule is that way because there can be no other rule. One can effectively ban use of books DURING OTB play. One cannot do so in correspondence play."

I have to (partly) disagree - first, IMO my reasoning does not apply to OTB play because there "reading chess books in spare time" is not an issue...secondly, you suggest the real reason why books & databases are not banned is because one cannot effectively ban them. Well, what is effective? Can you effectively ban using chess engines or consulting a friend? No, it is no more than "gentlemans agreement" where one promises not to use chess engines or consult a friend. There is no way to monitor it and it is up to a player to keep his promise and play fair & square. While you have a point - after all the rules of correspondence chess were created before the time of chess engines, consulting a friend was banned even though there was no way to monitor it. Furthermore, as some strong GK players (for example Baseline) have pointed out using books is not allowed only because there is no way to monitor using them. No, the other reason is they are allowed because, in fact, they are an integral part of what correspondence chess is : not only playing, but studying & analyzing chess as well. Of course this is all semantics, perhaps it is more or less irrelevant why current rules were created, IMO you are correct - there can be no other way.



achillesheel 64 ( +1 | -1 )
You Have a Good Point I agree with your point about banning chess engines, but not databases. That was what prompted me to write to begin with ... I didn't see a difference. Now I see a slight difference, but you are right that if the ONLY reason for the rule permitting databases is that any other rule would prove unenforceable, then it would follow that chess engines should be allowed as well given that one cannot enforce a ban on chess engines.

I add that I suppose reading in "spare time" IS reading "during" a correspondence game, while it is not reading "during" an OTB game. So perhaps there is no difference there.
loreta 20 ( +1 | -1 )
Ufs While reading this thread, I was shut by a thought:
Is it allowed in OTB to refer to (to use) books (DBs) when analyzing an adjourned game?
Especially, of course, that have to be a books related to endgames...
anaxagoras 88 ( +1 | -1 )
This is not all semantics There's a big stinking confusion going on here between "enforceable" and "practical."

Obviously, the rule against having a computer analyze a position is not enforceable. I could go out tomorrow and buy a chess program (I currently own none), install it, let shredder make my moves for me here at GK, and no one would know.

However, it is not impractical for me to abstain from having a chess program analyze my games and make moves for me.

Now imagine the following scenario: You buy a book on the dreaded opening xyz, take it home, put in on your bookshelf, and stare at it for a long, long time. Why don't you read it? Because you're playing the dreaded opening xyz here at GK, and wouldn't it be unfair for you to read your book during the next *three months?*

Of course not! To repeat the obvious:

Abstaining from chess engines during a GK game: enforceable? no. Impractical? no.
Abstaining from the chess book you just bought: enforceable? no. Impractical? YES.
achillesheel 190 ( +1 | -1 )
Anaxagoras You assume that the sole purpose of a chess engine is to suggest moves in actual games. That may be a fair assumption---I frankly have no idea what a chess engine is. But it SOUNDS as if a chess engine (an animated computer database?) could be used for precisely the same purpose as your hypothetical book, i.e., to master opening xyz by walking through various positions/lines, etc. If so, then under your approach it is likewise impractical to abstain from using chess engines and your distinction breaks down.

The converse is also true. You assume the purpose of the book is only to read in one's spare time---a pleasure denied because one does not wish to affect his ongoing correspondence games. You are right that a rule prohibiting books used for that purpose would indeed be impractical. But if the very purpose for purchasing the book is to assist in determing whether to move 4. ...h3 or 4. ...g4, then a rule against books would not be impractical for the same reason you suggest a rule against chess engines would not be impractical ... and again your distinction breaks down. FWIW, I think the "ethical" concerns people have raised over use of books/databases (despite the rule permitting them) are aimed primarily at the notion that one might consult the book in order to determine a specific move. I seriously doubt anyone objects to me reading over a period of weeks a book on the Queen's Gambit while I happen to be playing the QG in a number of games during that time.

Still, it is true that the rule prohibits chess engines and not chess databases/books. And were enforceability the only reason for the rule, chess engines would be permitted/acquiesced to. I'm simply raising the point, not saying what the rule ought to be, or even complaining about the rule---just probing it is all.
anaxagoras 90 ( +1 | -1 )
"But it SOUNDS as if a chess engine (an animated computer database?) could be used for precisely the same purpose as your hypothetical book, i.e., to master opening xyz by walking through various positions/lines, etc. If so, then under your approach it is likewise impractical to abstain from using chess engines and your distinction breaks down."

Your argument is specious. The distinction does not rest on the purpose of a chess book or a chess engine, rather on their role in a game of chess here at GK (we are not discussing teleology). How does a player conduct himself at a game of correspondance chess when he consults a book or database, and how does he conduct himself when he uses a chess engine? I can think of some similiarities, and I can think of more differences; especially that the latter would seem to lack thought, whatever activity it is we call "thinking."
achillesheel 105 ( +1 | -1 )
Anaxagoras The distinction DOES rest on the purpose of a chess book or chess engine if that distinction is implicit in your argument, which it is. You assert that it is impracticality rather than enforceability that is the key, but implicit in that assertion is that books and chess engines are used for distinct purposes, or at least that is how you presented it hypothetically (the book to be used for general edification but not to manipulate specific game moves, versus the chess engine used to manipulate specific game moves, but not be used for general edification). Your argument is perfectly sound so long as those are in fact the respective uses to which the book and chess engine are put. But if one can in fact be used to the same purpose as the other, then your argument loses force. I don't know where that leaves us as to databases, which strike me as a hybrid, though again I am not perfectly clear what a chess engine is (which is why I do not claim that it can be used to edify just like a book ... only that IF it can do so, your argument fails).
atrifix 140 ( +1 | -1 )
Well I agree with pretty much everything peppe_l and baseline have said.

"You assume that the sole purpose of a chess engine is to suggest moves in actual games. That may be a fair assumption---I frankly have no idea what a chess engine is."

A chess engine is a program that takes a chess position and returns the best move (according to the engine). Think of it like asking your good GM friend for analysis.

"But it SOUNDS as if a chess engine (an animated computer database?) could be used for precisely the same purpose as your hypothetical book, i.e., to master opening xyz by walking through various positions/lines, etc."

Yes, but this is perfectly legal. The purpose of the book, the chess engine, or your GM friend is irrelevant.

"Still, it is true that the rule prohibits chess engines and not chess databases/books."

The rule prohibits you from using a chess engine to analyze your current unqiue position, not from ever using a chess engine to analyze any game or opening you ever played or would play. In another context, you can ask your GM friend for advice on how to improve your game, or how to play the Sicilian, but you cannot ask him to play your current game for you.
anaxagoras 191 ( +1 | -1 )
"The distinction DOES rest on the purpose of a chess book or chess engine if that distinction is implicit in your argument, which it is. You assert that it is impracticality rather than enforceability that is the key, but implicit in that assertion is that books and chess engines are used for distinct purposes, or at least that is how you presented it hypothetically (the book to be used for general edification but not to manipulate specific game moves, versus the chess engine used to manipulate specific game moves, but not be used for general edification)."

Now you are merely denying what I have said without independent argument to show why. It is not implicit in my argument that the rule rests on different purposes of chess engines and chess books, though it may be implicit that they have different purposes (which you are free to deny or agree with as you wish). The point is that whether chess books and chess engines have different purposes is *irrelevant* to our discussion. Practicality is an important consideration for our rules, but it is not their justification.

"Your argument is perfectly sound so long as those are in fact the respective uses to which the book and chess engine are put. But if one can in fact be used to the same purpose as the other, then your argument loses force."

Now you introduce "use" instead of "purpose." Do you intend me to understand something new with the word "use"? Or something different than "purpose?" If so, say what that is, and if not, then don't equivocate.

Achillesheel, you are looking for crystalline logic behind the rule where you will find none, and where there needn't be any... as if every prohibitive rule were directed at someone's purpose, and not the action itself. Like I said before, if you want to understand the rule then consider the respective *role in a game* played by a chess book and a chess engine. As it has been said before, "Don't think! Look!" and then you will be truly edified.
achillesheel 424 ( +1 | -1 )
Anaxagoras "Achillesheel, you are looking for crystalline logic behind the rule where you will find none . . . ."

That may very well be the problem. Indeed, that is the problem I brought up: What is the logic behind this rule? Why permit books and databases but not engines and computers? In discerning the logic (if any) of the rule I agree we have to "consider the respective *role in a game* played by a chess book and a chess engine." I will call that the "use" to which the engine/book is put. This was precisely my point with respect to your argument---the role played by the engine/book (the use to which it is put) determines the validity of any argument that seeks to justify the rule on grounds that the engine/book is used in a given way. If the engine/book is not used in the way presupposed by the rule, then the justification for the rule is weakened (the rulemaker failed to predict the state of affairs governed by its rule---a fatal flaw in any rulemaking process).

I am not as concerned with the "purpose" for the tool as the use to which it is put. If a tool can be used for more than one purpose, then banning the tool is stupid unless its every potential use is illegitimate. You have to ban the specific use. An axe is fine for chopping limbs of trees, but not limbs of people. A rule banning axes would be silly, for while it would protect people, we could no longer chop the limbs of trees---a legitimate use for an axe. A rule directed at the illegitimate use of the axe (chopping human limbs) would be more sensible. (Incidentally, even if it were unenforceable, it might serve as a statement of agreed social moral values ... and, one hopes, a salutary normative purpose, i.e., it fosters a voluntary honor code to abide it despite its unenforceability). My question was/is whether the rule against engines is a rule banning axes rather than a rule banning the chopping of human limbs.

AH: Why are engines banned, but books OK? A rule banning either is unenforceable, so they should be treated the same (Or would someone explain to me why they are not treated the same? ... there could be a legitimate reason I fail to see.)

AX: It is not enforceability we are concerned with. It is practicality. The rule does not ban books because it would be impractical because I could not for general edification read my book on xyz opening if I happened to be playing xyz opening on GK. On the other hand, the rule can ban chess engines because it is not impractical for me to utilize a chess engine to make my moves ... that is what the engine is bought for!

AH: Clever (and *really* it IS clever!), but you could use the book to "make your moves for you," i.e., a book could be used to determine the best line to play in a current game, and if the book were put to that use the rule would have no practical implications, that is what the book was bought for! On the other hand, a chess engine could be used for general edification that is not applied directly to any current game you are playing. If put to that use, then the rule banning chess engines fails your practicality litmus, for now my chess engine must sit on the shelf for three months while I finish my games. Your "practicality" argument depends on what use the book and engine are put to, respectively. If those uses are interchangeable, then a rule premised upon them being put to distinct uses is a rule based on a fiction and is thus faulty. Either the rule is faulty or your explanation for the rule is faulty.

AX: The rule is not directed at the *purpose* it is directed at the *action itself*. "If you want to understand the rule then consider the respective *role in a game* played by a chess book and a chess engine."

AH: Aha! That is precisely what I am doing. It is the USE to which the book/engine is put that the rule SHOULD be targeting, but instead the rule targets the book/engine as if each has only one purpose and never the twain shall meet! I agree, Ax, we must consider the role in the game (the use) to which the tool is put, but if we do so, the rule makes no sense. It bans axes, not the misuse of axes. Chess engines for edification are OK. Books for edification are OK. Chess engines to determine your best move in a specific game are not OK. Books used to determine your best move in a specific game are not OK. The rule fails to make these distinctions.

AX: ??

OK, this has probably put everyone to sleep, Anaxagoras, but I am enjoying it; and your responses are delightful, so feel free ......
jeffz_2002 12 ( +1 | -1 )
I just wanted to say how proud I am to have fathered this little thread. It has succeeded and grown bountiful beyond my wildest expectations.
anaxagoras 166 ( +1 | -1 )
What a wonderful dramatic presentation of our argument...

"In discerning the logic (if any) of the rule I agree we have to "consider the respective *role in a game* played by a chess book and a chess engine." I will call that the "use" to which the engine/book is put."

And that is an assimiliation of words I do not endorse.

Let me suggest again that there is no single criterion that determines the rule that chess books are ok and chess engines bad; neither is there a cluster of criteria that provide necessary and sufficient conditions for the rule that chess books are ok and chess engines bad. That is how I answer your skeptical underdimining of the difference between chess books and chess engines: if you insist that there is no criteria for determining the rule that bans one and accepts the other, then it is precisely those criteria that I deny are needed. You see now that I am sympathetic to a conventionalist interpretation of rules, so here is my answer: one is ok and the other is not because the chess community agrees on it. To push further about what we agree on is to beg the question, for you are looking for a foundation precisely where there is none. Look at the role of a book in a game of chess, and compare that to a chess engine. Consider a useful fiction and imagine four people: two players, a consultant, and a dictator. If one player relied on the consultant and the other on the dictator, there would correspond to each a different process for determining his next move. One might ask questions, have a dialogue, or argue and finally make a move. The other takes orders from his dictator and moves. "But isn't the man with the consultant very much like the man with the dictator?" In some ways yes, and in others, no.
achillesheel 153 ( +1 | -1 )
Interesting I reject the consultant/dictator hypothetical as a straw man. There is some appeal to the analogy ala your comment on "thinking" above, but the engine is not *necessarily* a dictator, and the book is not *necessarily* only a consultant. That is the fallacy that give rise to the rule in the first place.

And this line really frightens me: "One is ok and the other is not because the chess community agrees on it." Civic republicanism? It presupposes an informed and inquiring public.

I say (with a wink and a nod) that it "frightens" me, because I have seen a number of posts on this topic (in an earlier thread) suggesting there is no ethical issue to debate regarding use of books/databases because the rules permit their use. I know you know better than that, but apparently others do not. The way I see it, one must question first whether the community truly agrees and, if so, why. In this instance, it was simple curiosity---is there a sensible reason for the rule to be the way it is? Perhaps others knew things about databases, engines, etc., that I did not know but would resolve my concerns. But if the answer is "consensus" I simply ask, "why is there consensus?" The community should be capable of expressing a meaningful purpose for or logic behind the rules it lays down (on SOME set of criteria, whether it be that we are lemmings or that I am an idiot and don't understand the grand elegance of the rule or whatever). Rules that are not perenially questioned become irrelevant at best.

FWIW, I do not suggest there are no criteria to validate the rule that bans engines but not books; only that the criteria (if any) are not apparent to me.

Enjoyed the thread.
anaxagoras 121 ( +1 | -1 )
"I reject the consultant/dictator hypothetical as a straw man."

That is very strange, because I was not attacking the metaphor. If I were to present a "straw man," that would be a position I disagree with, right?

You are right that the book is not necessarily a consultant nor the engine necessarily a dictator, and that is the beauty of the metaphor, because I have been arguing that our rule has no basis in logical inference. It is a custom, a piece of the cultural game we call 'correspondence chess.'

My opinion on the ethical dilemmas of using a book of openings is that you are at a disadvantage here if you don't. It has been proven to me many times, however, that numbskull reliance on what grandmaster Bob says about opening X leads to catastrophe. Reliance on one's own judgement is essential in consulting an opening book or database.

My answer may frighten you, but do you really believe there is something more rational about "everyday" rules? Rules of law, for instance? Certainly we give moral and functional reasons for them, but what prevents *misinterpretation* of rules is agreement and the threat of punishment.

I agree with your civic spirit and motive to question, questioning is good. Just make sure to aim your questions where they count.
baseline 222 ( +1 | -1 )
Reinventing the wheel. A lot of players here at GK have had little experience with chess other than casual games with friends and internet sites like GK. There is a much greater chess community out there! locol chess clubs, state affilations, national federations, international federations in many cases for both "over the board" and "correspondence" play. The rules of chess have been hotly debated over the centuries and the current rules indeed reflect a consenses of chess players as represented by their delegates to national and international federations. In OTB chess there are different rules for Blitz (game 5mins.), Quick Chess (game 25mins.) and standard chess, and you'll find that players play the style they preferr best. Correspondence Chess is a different animal, with different rules. Chess books are considered public domain and so are games you can download to a database. They don't tell you what to play they just tell you what other people have played. The annotators will try to tell you why some moves are good and some are bad, but they are not always right. A chess engine is basicly an electronic chess player who will analize any position and tell you what it would play. This would be consulting another chess player for advice.

Ethics - "The principles of conduct governing an individual or group." - Webster dictionary. Since Chess has well establish rules. The rules are the ethics of the group involved. Ethical questions would govern your conduct outside the rules. For example "Sportsmanship" vs "Gamesmanship" issues. Should you wish to govern your conduct according to additional personal ethics that is an individual choice and no one can say you are wrong unless you are in conflict with the group ethic ie; the "rules".

loreta

Your Question.."Is it allowed in OTB to refer to (to use) books (DBs) when analyzing an adjourned game?

The answer is yes, although international chess moved more and more to short time limits so that games can be finished in one sitting. In fact there are many accounts in chess books of how the GM and his second (sometimes another GM!) analyzed a position during adjournment.

honololou 53 ( +1 | -1 )
atrifix… You imply that it is okay to use an engine to analyze opening variations, but I think that
there is a very fine line between doing that and cheating. One could analyze positions a
few moves ahead of one's position in a current game and who can say when the opening is
over, anyway. Personally, I use engines only to analyze my games after they are finished.
I'm not suggesting that you should never use engines to help understand openings. It just
seems that there is more potential there for abuse.
honololou 27 ( +1 | -1 )
the difference is clear… at least for me. I ask myself one question. Can this tool provide me with a suggested
move for a unique position that has never been encountered before? Chess engine=yes.
friend=yes. endgame tablebase=yes. book=no, database=no. What further criteria is
needed?