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Practicing vs. a Computer : Adjusting ply-depth for a tactical workout?


  • 5 years ago · Quote · #1

    Shivsky

    Rather than play these "pseudo" levels (Hard?? Amateur??) or even a designated ELO-rating that a beast (Engine) can condescendingly play you at, I happen to have a Windows Mobile application that allows me to set the ply-depth to which the engine can go. For example => Ply depth of 3 means the machine will just not go more than 3 half-moves deep in its calculation.

    If I could destroy said machine (10 games out of 10), then move up to 4-ply....rinse, repeat and so on, I feel I'm doing myself more good than just solving tactical puzzles where I "KNOW" a solution exists.

    So would a setting like this make for excellent practice in the sense =>

    - If I win all games OR don't blunder tactically vs. ply-depth N (say 3), I must be playing right, atleast in the tactical sense.  Does this sound about right?

    - Likewise, if the machine cannot find a shot N (say 3) moves deep in the games we play, I must also be doing a good job looking at my opponent's checks,captures and threats and making sure I can deal with them effectively before I actually commit to a move?

    - Best of all, If I outsmarted a computer and actually managed a tactical shot of my own,  it must have been at a ply-depth well beyond the beast's "setting" ... which could be a pat on the back for yours truly.

    Once again => Wanted some critique on whether playing vs. an engine this way was more productive than arbitrarily selecting an ELO rating that my ego could agree with, or even worse, attempting to kick the daylights out of Josh Waitzkin at age 12, ala ChessMaster. *grin.

    Thanks in advance!

    S.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #2

    knightspawn5

    Sounds very practical to me.  Where can I get this mobile application????

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #3

    Shivsky

    Well a lot of engines out there have this. I just happened to pick Pocket Grandmaster (www.pocketgrandmaster.com) for Windows Mobile.  They have a demo you can try. Not too expensive and makes waiting in line/travelling in planes a whole lot more bearable :)

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #4

    AMcHarg

    Hi

    This might be a good way to practise tactical play but probably not the best way of improving versus other players.  If you increase the ply-depth then eventually you will get to a stage where you hit a ply-depth that you can sometimes beat and add one more on and it's at a stage you will never beat.  This isn't like playing a person so I don't think it's good practise (compared to other practises) to improve your OTB ability; if you get what I mean?

    Chessmaster levels are more likely to improve your ability against people because it's designed to simulate people.  I.e: a certain player will value knights slightly higher than bishops and will play positionally to suit.

    I am not sure exactly what the answer is to be honest; these are just my thought.  I suppose their are various answers for various people.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #5

    Shivsky

    AMcHarg wrote:

    Hi

    This might be a good way to practise tactical play but probably not the best way of improving versus other players.  If you increase the ply-depth then eventually you will get to a stage where you hit a ply-depth that you can sometimes beat and add one more on and it's at a stage you will never beat.  This isn't like playing a person so I don't think it's good practise (compared to other practises) to improve your OTB ability; if you get what I mean?


    my thought.  I suppose their are various answers for various people.


    Well you are right, I only specifically suggested this as a training exercise when one gets bored of solving tactical drills where the answers are "already out there" to be solved. This idea was SURELY not meant to be used to improve one's general playing in OTB against "real" players...just trying to find a way to make playing a beast more productive for tactical training.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #6

    AMcHarg

    Shivsky wrote:
    AMcHarg wrote:

    Hi

    This might be a good way to practise tactical play but probably not the best way of improving versus other players.  If you increase the ply-depth then eventually you will get to a stage where you hit a ply-depth that you can sometimes beat and add one more on and it's at a stage you will never beat.  This isn't like playing a person so I don't think it's good practise (compared to other practises) to improve your OTB ability; if you get what I mean?


    my thought.  I suppose their are various answers for various people.


    Well you are right, I only specifically suggested this as a training exercise when one gets bored of solving tactical drills where the answers are "already out there" to be solved. This idea was SURELY not meant to be used to improve one's general playing in OTB against "real" players...just trying to find someplace in between playing a good opponent vs. playing a machine with infinite calculation capabilities.


    Oh okay, maybe I misunderstood a bit then; I am tired! Embarassed

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #7

    eddiewsox

    Shivsky, I'm not sure how chess programs work but I would assume that the higher the rating is set the deeper the ply-depth gets. I have a chess computeer from Mephisto that goes up to 2500. I did like you, setting it at a level until I could beat it all lthe time and then raissing it a level. I now have it set such that I've gotten 1 draw in 20 games. But I think it's the same principle whether yuo go by ply-depth or rating. 

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #8

    Shivsky

    The motivation for this question was that I've heard enough strong players imply that seeing things with a ply depth of atleast "3" (seeing 3 half moves ahead is completely reasonable!!!) was as natural to their game as breathing. I just wanted to think of a training exercise to sharpen this skill.

    I agree it is ridiculous to assume that a depth of 6-7 (or higher) ply on EVERY move is human-ly possible and I know even the stronger players won't over-calculate things unless it is a critical position that warrants it.

    Though it is interesting to see that 3-ply is enough to ensure that you don't blunder in embarassing ways. :)

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #9

    Shivsky

    eddiewsox wrote:

    Shivsky, I'm not sure how chess programs work but I would assume that the higher the rating is set the deeper the ply-depth gets. I have a chess computeer from Mephisto that goes up to 2500. I did like you, setting it at a level until I could beat it all lthe time and then raissing it a level. I now have it set such that I've gotten 1 draw in 20 games. But I think it's the same principle whether yuo go by ply-depth or rating. 


    Thanks for bringing that up ... unless I got a document/spec. from the programmer/developer of that engine telling me what precisely rating level corresponds to what ply-depth, I'd prefer to have that knob under my control...hence my preference for one over the other.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #10

    Tommyohe

    I have 100 chess programs to use, and I am a Grandmaster now

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #11

    DrawMaster

    Two comments on this excellent thread topic:

    a) I'd guess that the rating versus ply correlation (if one were to go through the hopes to generate one) would be highly nonlinear, with a big bend somewhere in the 2 to 8 ply range (just a guess, of course), and

    b) This is a great idea for forcing players out of what Dan Heisman calls the Hope Chess model of playing. Dan Heisman (ChessCafe's Novice Nook author and chess coach) says that "Hope chess is when you make a move and don't look at what your opponent might threaten on his next move, and whether you can meet that threat on your next move." So, one can easily see that by setting the computer JUST at a ply level to punish you if you play Hope Chess might be a good way to teach novices how to get out of that mode.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #12

    Shivsky

    Glad you brought up Dan's Hope Chess mantra. As a former student, I sometimes wonder what kind of a chess monster I could create (ala Dr. Frankenstein if I taught a kid (Who knew nothing about chess) the rules with a "ahem" slight modification that they had to say out loud all of his opponent's checks/captures/threats and how he'd deal with them.  Imagine if this kid was then sent out into the world ... he'd be pretty shocked that people actually play this game without doing that. :)

    For those who already have bad hope-chess habits, you're right ... this ply-depth training might actually help them get around it.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #13

    mf92

    To conver Ply to rating here's a formula: 1500+40xnply, Lets say I've played 5 15 min game with 5ply set computer in the end it was 2.5/2.5. So u do the math..

    PS u can add a little if you're playing on this site about 150


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