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Maybe this is relate to the difference between memoricing something and actually understanding it?
If you really want to know, you could do a simulation experiment with chess engines. Find engines around that strength and run one with and without an opening book. (Depth of book about equal to the average depth of MCO.) I might do that myself one of these days if I get really bored.
There is a decent statistical pool of chess players who indulge in both correspondence as well as OTB chess. And further, some of the correspondence chess is (based on honor system) played without an engine, as in CCLA, some with an engine as in Chess.com and ICCF. All correspondence chess allows the use of opening reference books...
From anectdotal evidence, my understanding is that the usual difference in ratings is around ~200 points. For example a USCF rating may be 1400 and the correspondence is around 1600.
This doesn't precisely answer the question ... which is to add that perfect knowledge within THE SAME statistical pool. I've never seen that type of experiment done.
For me, my USCF is around 1400, Chess.com (online) around 1700, ICCF around 1750 (no engine), and CCLA close to 1600...
I totally buy this. To win or lose, you have to come out of book. :) I don't think either pill would make much difference (to a 1400 player).
Chess.com correspondence does not allow engines, hreedwork.
I would guess a 1400 player would be a 1400 player if they had a photographic memory and memorized MCO-15 (but having a photographic memory should give a player a fair amount of rating points) while a 2200 player might get to 2300 or 2350 with this additional knowledge. Openings mean less at lower levels and more at higher levels from my experience and from what I've heard from others.
I doubt that there would be no ratings gain at all, simply because they would then know all of the traps in each opening, which should give them *some* advantage, even if its only 50 or so points.
Would they really know the traps from having the MCO embedded in their brain? I haven't cracked my copy in a while, but I didn't think it invests much ink on dubious lines that lead to traps...
Just flicked through my copy of MCO 11, and it seems you are right. it occasionally mentions that line x is inferior, but doesn't actually list any traps.
Right on. So.. as soon as the opponent steps out of book, the pill-popper is just a 1400 player facing an unfamiliar and (often) relatively even position.
Anyway, I enjoy this theme because I feel it validates my decision to more or less abandon any structured study of openings as part of my ongoing yet fruitless chess-improvement endeavours.
I would like a magic pill to memorize the endgame tables! Now that would change things dramatically!
Pretty good lesson there I think... assuming I am right, and I am pretty sure I am.
THAT pill is much more expensive!!
THAT pill is much more expensive!!
Are we talking PEDs for chess? Then Barry Bonds should become a Master.
Memorizing a bunch of tactics puzzles and patterns would probably take a 1400 to 2000 or 2200 though. Especially if they learned basic endgames.
Just memorizing tactics wouldn't get you very far. You need to learn the ideas and be able to apply them in other situations.
I don't think endgame databases would help much either, because at least for me I rarely reach a position where I could've used one. Most of the 7 or less man endgames are simple enought that they aren't too hard to play against equal opposition.
Well a 1400 player that suddenly plays perfect endgames isnt going to be a 1400 player for very long!
Agreed! I think the generic advice is that you study endgames for two reasons:
To win endgames (Duh!)
To learn how the pieces interact(!)
Of course it all depends on your interpretation of "Knowing the endgame tables".... I have asked Dan Heisman for his guesstimate of the effects of the Magic Endgame Pill.
The largest completed endgame tablebase is a 7 man tablebase. That includes kings. How often do you get to such a simplified endgame where a tablebase would be useful? I doubt it would improve the rating much. Maybe 1500 tops.
Thank you all for interesting contributions to these thought experiments!
Information from my test:
Two identical engines playing each other at about 1400 elo, except one is using an opening book, and the other is not. The opening book is Sedat's Perfect v10 book, with the depth limited to no more than 15 full moves. My guess is that this opening book is a decent approximation for MCO. So far, 700 games have been played. The engine with the book is +28 elo, with a possible error of plus or minus 12 elo at a 95% confidence interval.
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