Friday, June 22, 2007

Metaphysics of Chess

I. The game of chess is a draw. The only way a player can possibly win is if the other player commits an error, usually many errors. Taking advantage of errors is not always easy, and so, even in the presence of errors, wins are not always obtained.

II. Chess is a game of incremental improvement or degradation of one's position. Attempts to radically improve one's current position in one move are bound to fail. Fears that the opponent's previous move has radically degraded one's position are unfounded.

III. Chess is a game of virtually an infinite number of positions. Thus, calculation in non-forcing positions is filled with error. In any given game, most of the positions can be played very well without deep calculation.

IV. No matter the rating difference between player 'A' and 'B', the level of understanding of some positions and the skill in playing them may be 1) exactly the same, 2) greater for player 'A', 3) greater for player 'B'. Understanding and skill in some position does not guarantee understanding and skill in all, or even other, positions.

V. Most players have an average ability to visualize and calculate future chess positions and moves. A more skillful player is the result of having learned how to play more positions than the weaker player, not in having greater calculation ability.

.... more later ....


Blue Devil Knight said...

Attempts to radically improve one's current position in one move are bound to fail.

Indeed: the best you can do is keep the evaluation of the position the same!

The retired pawn said...

HDK: Item I. It is my opinion that this is the what Silman is always emphasising.

Item II. This is where Silman's 7 imbalances come into play. Imbalances are the means by which we can create advantage. If our opponent responds correctly to our new challenge (attempt to create an imbalance or improve on an existing one)then the result is equity. However, If these challenges are ignored or incorrectly responded to...well then the advantage shifts to the player with the most imbalances.

Item V. I experienced this first hand when I beat a player rated over 1800. I thought he could out calculate me, but he can't as our post-mortem exposed. What he did possess was positional experience and knew just what to do because he had been there and done that. Once I managed to lead him into unfamiliar territory...I won.

HardDaysKnight said...

BDK: Yes, exactly. Therefore, it is only the other player that can give you a better position. But I have never approached chess in this way, never thought about it this way. Or at least never to the point of asking how this truth should influence every aspect of my play and response at the board.

RP: I think Kasparov commented that espcially with the advent of computers, if the other player had been there, and you hadn't that it was virtually impossible to win.

Temposchlucker said...

Sounds like the 10 excuses to NOT work your ass off and learn some decent gambits:)

HardDaysKnight said...

Tempo: Rats! You saw right through me! :)