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Hi, I am a relatively new player on Chess.com. I have enjoyed my experience immensely and have met a few people here whom I am pleased to call "chess friends." I only look forward to getting to know -- and play -- more people.
Recently after challenging a player to a chess game, it turns out that the player was using the conditional move protocol that is available here. I am sure many players have found it convenient, if not necessarily useful. However, in a recent game wherein it was used against me, I found it downright unpleasant. This unpleasantness might have derived more from the quality of my play than anything else. However, I do believe there might be some negative aspects of this system that merit consideration. Therefore, I submit the following for the sake of argument -- hopefully I will receive answers that might clarify the purpose of this mechanism.
First, while it's no doubt a very clever programmin accomplishment, I really have to wonder what purpose it really serves. I find it difficult to believe that it is a useful learning tool insofar as it mostly detaches the player from the game. Because the player is not actually involved in the moves in question, there is less opportunity for learning.
Secondly, and most importantly, the experience left me with the impression that the player programmed the game and abandoned it, presumably to find more interesting endeavors. Yes, I KNOW that my own playing skills -- such as they are -- are still operative and intact -- although one might not have seen evidence of that in recent games. That is not the point. The point is that it left me with a feeling that the other player wanted to spend as little time as possible with that particular game. Regardless of what that player really intended, I found that somewhat disrespectful. It's as if I asked someone to play a game and they said "sure -- here's my computer, it will play you." If I wanted to play chess with a computer instead of another human being, I would use chess.com's computer play or the software I bought for my home computer!
So, despite my having laid a compelling argument before you, I'm guessing that some of you might have different ideas about this issue. So, I'd just like to ask players about reasons for using it. That is, what does it really do for you?
i find it useful to move games along quickly and to make obvious moves. i can then use chat to add a personal element. i don't use it to end games unless the other player is playing out obviously lost positions which is a waste of everyone's time.
i have never felt it impersonal, but i can see how one might. play with friends, chat with everyone, and enjoy the game! if one or two moves come back quickly, take it as a challenge to thwart their ideas!
OK, Thanks Eric!
You're not playing a computer when you play someone who uses conditional moves; you're playing a person who entered in her/his choices for moves under various circumstances.
When one plays several games simultaneously, it can be tricky to keep one's tactical plans in memory. The conditional moves allow you to enter the various combinations you had considered and then you don't have to worry about forgetting what you were thinking when you return to the game a few days later.
And if it speeds up play, all the better.
I don't see it as a problem; I use the conditional moves and I play against others who use them and I don't feel let-down in any way when I do.
I've encountered it from an opponent who uses them in the openings. If both players aren't ever really on at the same time, it can take a couple of weeks just to get these moves:
Another really good use of conditionals is an example of trading queens. I play Qxe7+. Opponent must recapture Kxe7. My next move is (for example) Nf3. I might conditional that one, because it almost seems like the polite thing to do.
Everyone has their own ideas on what is polite and what is not. Your views, expressed in the initial post, are not at all uncommon.
Ditto -- it just moves the game along through a lot of obvious impending moves. I very much like it when i see an position develop quickly because of conditional moves.
I like them -- particularly when used against me because they move the game along without my having to wait. I'd go as far as to say that using conditionals is downright considerate.
Now, when I'm able to attach conditional trash-talk to my conditional moves to be automatically deposited in the chat area when each move is made I may have to re-evaluate.
The games can be so slow. It's good if the conditional move can be used to speed up the process. I use them occasionally. But I do admit it is a bit unnerving if your own move kicks in a guy's conditional move -- at least earlier in the game.
I've just finished a game that I think is the longest I've played on the site. It started in August on a 3 day/move time control. I eventually managed to promote a pawn to an obviously won position (apart from minor possible stalemate possibilities). I finished it with a single line of 8 guessed unforced conditional moves to checkmate.
Now I've got to start the second game for the next half year...
Long live conditional moves!
Lots of good feedback -- I don't thing I have the experience, skill, or whatever to use it YET. I'm still working on calculation -- among other things! However, you guys have definitely provided food for thought. Although I'm not at a point where moves are obvious to me much of the time, it makes sense -- especially if one is playing a number of games.
How many games -- on the average -- do players manage at one time?
I also play at another turn-based (correspondence) chess site where the conditional moves are handled the old-fashioned way: your opponent can see your planned conditional moves. It's the subject of much discussion there, and I can see why. I'm honestly not sure which I prefer... one, I think, honors the traditions of the correspondence game, the other recognizes the technological advance and changes in correspondence chess. I wish it were an option we could choose... on both sites!
I wrote that while tying my bow-tie with one hand and mixing a martini with the other!
so you must be typing with your dick
Doesn't everyone? Touch-typing... it's the only way to go.
I've never played the long games, only really play blitz on the internet, and I hadn't even heard of conditional moves before reading this thread. However, I do feel a rather cruel and evil idea entering my head. Do people use conditional moves to play systems like the King's Indian and the Modern automatically, without having to wait for their opponent's reply? E.g. If I start with 1. d4, are the players who will reply 1...g6, then 2...Bg7 against anything?
If so, 1.d4 g6 2. Bh6!! should be enough to bring home the full point
I'm joking, before anyone has a go at me for bad sportmanship. But potentially there could be a loophole there to exploit if your opponent is using conditional moves to bang out a stereotyped opening setup.
I like the conditional moves, it is just a way to speed up the game. The opponent is not harmed in any way, so he shouldn't worry at all.
On the other hand, I did recognize a possible uncomfort one might feel when their opponent makes a very long series of conditional moves(often case in the opening, or in case of long forced sequence).
On one similar thread I proposed that chess.com consider to implement a solution which would enable a player to mask a conditional move (when used against him) as a regular move. So you would play e4 and you would go to the next game or home page, and after a few seconds your opponent would play e5. Of course, he entered the conditional e5, but you'd see it as a very quick move, so everyone is happy.
I think that the world should do something about chess.com's conditional moves program.
Conditional moves are also a great weapon against a stalling players. When your opponent wants to play out a lost game, and when he use all the allotted time just to play a forced move, then you enter the conditional move sequence.
You just fired a fire-and-forget missile, and your game will finish itself.
Many years ago (decades actually), I used to play old-fashioned correspondence chess through the US Mail with postcards. Correspondence players then often had little rubber-stamp sets that let you stamp your chess position on the postcard. In this slow-moving format, conditional moves were almost a necessity to keep the games from lasting for years. However, I learned a bitter lesson. One one occasion, I wrote, "If [this], then [that], if [this], then [that]. ON ANY OTHER MOVE, [that]." Critical error. My opponent came up with a loopy move that would have been an insane choice but for my having stuck myself with my final contingency "that" and took full advantage of it, causing me to lose the game. Since then (forty-five years ago!) I have been unwilling to use conditional moves. Back then I made a mistake in logic; I am even more afraid that I will mishandle the procedure in the computerized version, so I won't take the risk. But then, for many years I even resisted bank teller machines.
Yeah, that sucks.
It's probably a good thing that they don't have wild cards in the conditional move implementation here on chess.com. It would be useful in this scenario though:
White: Ka8, Qc8, Rd7
Black to move. White could do the following conditional:
any, Qc6+, any, Rd5+, any, Qc4+, any, Rd3+, any, Qc2+, any Rd1#.
For those of you who play bridge, hearts, or euchre, the wildcard conditional is similar to the claim. In the interest of time, you're saying that you can win against ANY move/strategy. If the opponent can find even a single hole in the move tree, you're toast. But it's also an etiquette thing. In euchre, if you're 1-1 on tricks, and you're sitting on the right and left, you can just claim.
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