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For me I prefer to play the player true strength not some games data base or opening manuel, where he or she can look up opening line and play like a grandmaster, or refer to endgame books and data base endgame: In correspondence games that is the problem, it is not cheating but it is real chess. If going to play corespondence games again it will be only 960 chess, there is no opening manuel to refer to or grandmasters game to get middlegame ideas,and I will be playing a player true strength. Blitz and bullet is probably the nearest to otb chess, but some players play for speed and not quality chess move and try to beat a player on how quick they can move the mouse; this is not good for chess improvement and can hurt you in the long run.
Yes, it is real chess. Maybe the realist chess available.
However, there's not much opportunity for research on endings. Tablebases are against the rules.
Even without tablebases, there are plenty of excellent endgame encylopedias and books.
Yes. And I have no qualms about using them despite it being a gray area. However, in more than 1000 correspondence games since the 1970s, the vast majority in the past eight years, I may have consulted Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual once for a game in progress. I have used the analysis board extensively in maybe half a dozen endings. In the past few months I remember a simp,e pawn race that looked superficially like a loss for me, but was in fact a technical draw. I used the analysis board every move to confirm that my king could get across the board fast enough to hold the draw.
"Bobbing for Dlugy W/ Host GM Max Dlugy"
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