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In correspondence chess on this site (and on other sites), opening books can be used. I've always wondered why this is.
IMO, it's basically cheating: An opening book gives you a list of the best moves in a position, and this list has been verified by some of the best players in the world. It's even possible to get deep into the middlegame with an opening book, and I think sometimes you can even get into an endgame (at least with a website like 365chess.com).
Why are opening books allowed in correspondence chess? :)
BTW, I personally do use opening books when playing correspondence games, so I'm certainly not accusing anyone of cheating. My point is that I can't see why opening books are allowed in correspondence chess (on this site and others).
There would be no way whatsoever so enforce a ruling here, there are various ways of checking for computer assistance, but checking for book assistance in mainlines?
Even if I where to agree that it's cheating (which I'm not) I still wouldn't want it to be enforced, mainly since there is no way to actually check for book assistance.
Reference materials have been allowed (and encouraged) within Correspondence Chess for hundreds (if not thousands!) of years. I guess chess.com didn't want to be the first one to challenge the protocol.
Interesting point, but opening books are not allowed in Live Chess, and it would be pretty easy to break that rule.
1. No way to enforce.
2. There is no unfair advantage since any two serious players will have access to same materials. This would not prevent colaborative team play like when a GM goes into a (over the board) match with an army of seconds who prepare openings with (or for) him and any adjournment is a outright team effort on the game itself (sometimes with comic effect as with Taimonov vs Fischer or the Olympiad game Botvinnik vs Fischer, as the poor GM struggles to keep straight all the intricate analysis from his seconds and not mix it up and blunder). Imagine you vs the Soviet Union! Better to ask why seconds are allowed at over the board events.
3. One of the points of correspondence chess (and turn-based chess at Chess.com), at least, in modern times is to allow extended research that goes deeper than over the board play. You may as well complain that they probably are not playing touch-move as well.
It is not really a problem at all so long as it is the two individuals involved making their own decisions based on the static research in hand and their own analysis. What is a problem is analysis performed by the computer ("dynamic reseach" would be a nice euphemism) or by persons other than themselves.
1. The same could be said of Live Chess (where opening books are not allowed).
2. The same could be said of chess engines. If both players are allowed to use Fritz 9, neither side has an unfair advantage.
As for the final paragraph, opening books are often more reliable than engines, yet opening books are allowed while engines are disallowed. Besides, engines and Super GMs analyse and validate "book moves", and therefore engines and Super GMs contribute to opening books.
I still can't see the logic in allowing opening books at all. :)
Live chess is trying to be like OTB chess -- no notes, no books, just your brains.
Online chess is trying to be like correspondence chess -- books, written notes, the Internet, just not active help.
You say books shouldn't be allowed, what about your own pre-written notes? Can I just photocopy the bits of books that I use and call them my notes? Or do you want me to start from scratch for every new game? I think that misses the point of correspondence chess.
My main argument is that if X is playing against Y, then the game should simply be X versus Y. One human brain versus another.
But if X is using an opening book, then it's not really X versus Y anymore. It's X (+ human-expert analysis + engine analysis) versus Y. And if Y is using an opening too then it's the same thing: it's still not X versus Y.
As for your own notes, if X uses his notes from previous games, then I guess it's still X versus Y. But what if X asked Kasparov for advice and Kasparov wrote some notes for X? Then it's kind of X (+ Kasparov) versus Y, which would be different.
I guess people won't agree with me here, but I hope this is an interesting topic anyway. :)
Think about it for a minute. Correspondence chess games can take weeks or months, and in the days of postal chess could take years. I've been playing CC games continuously for almost a year now, and I bet there are some on this site who have been doing it for decades. If opening books are not allowed, then they would have been banned from reading any opening book for that entire time.
Just noting, there is a subtle difference in the capabilities of opening books and engines - namely that while opening books will take you through the opening, they usually don't continue too far into the middlegame. Hence after leaving the more well-known book lines, it then comes down to the individual skill of the players, making it a proper matchup from that point onwards. Sure, both players could follow a book line all they way down to an endgame draw, but that would be boring and stupid...one player will deviate from book lines sooner or later to try and play for an advantage. For chess engines, however, an engine could easily guide both players through the entirety of the game, essentially making it a case of the engine playing against itself (or two different engines playing each other) throughout the entire game. Who the heck wants to have something like that happen?
So the key idea here is that if both players use opening books, it still comes down to a skill matchup between the players after leaving the book lines. If both players use engines, you might as well go to a computer vs computer tournament and cut out the middleman.
That's a good point.
Database use is central to the appeal of correspondence/turn-based chess. Because time controls are slow and books/databases are accessible, it is possible to research and learn while playing. A player can hone his or her repertoire or develop new lines.
I probably would play turn-based chess if I could not use databases, but I would play fewer games. Even so, I use them in a fraction of my games: 20-40%. I plumb the depths of my databases with serious opening study in one or two games per month. Effective database use in time-consuming, difficult work. It's rewards include more prize money in OTB play.
Far more interesting than the question of why databases are permitted, would be some questions concerning how they are used. Let's stop this nonsense calling a legal, well established, and desirable practice "cheating". This is the 276th thread on this topic. In that time, I've contributed to two threads (other sites) concerning how databases can be employed to play well and improve skills.
I've also written about this more interesting topic on my Chess Skills blog. If you want a productive and interesting discussion, post comments there or here.
Beat me to it. I haven't played any correspondence games (here or elsewhere) in about a year, but when I do play them, it's usually to try out a new opening that I'm reading about at the time. I look up the opening in my game in the book, in databases, etc and it helps me learn more about the opening and become a better player. As far as I'm concerned, correspondence chess is a learning tool to help me become a better OTB player. I don't care nearly as much about the result of the correspondence game itself.
But even if I weren't using cc as a learning tool, the fact is that I'm usually reading chess books. How can you say that I can't read a book that might overlap the situation that comes up in a cc game I'm playing that could take months?
Well, I sometimes analyze opening variations with an engine too. I just avoid the specific variations that I happen to have ongoing game in, because that's not allowed. You could do something similar with opening books.
But I'd prefer allowing engines over disallowing books, myself.
I've had at least one correspondence game--postcard, email, turn-based--going continuously since 1996. During that time, my OTB rating has improved from 1490 to 1820. Had I been forbidden from study of books all these years, I would be wallowing in the 1500s.
But, it's not just the irrational, unfair, and impossibility of banning books/databases that is senseless. Databases and books are the reason to play CC.
its a great way to get stronger at OTB..
memorizing from a book doesnt do any good, as you will forget it and not know the key concepts as much as when you play through a game.
sometimes I call lines in my head the names of the play I played it first against on corr.
I agree, I use opening books for online chess, but not live chess.
databases and book use is why i prefer CC chess over real time, it is a great chance to learn and improve your game
I recently won a turn based game that was directly influenced by an annotated game I was studying where Petrosian seized the seventh rank with his Rook.
The conceptual subject I was studying matched perfectly with the game I was playing. Was I cheating? I don't think so.
To me correspondence chess = study chess.
That's the whole idea. Using an opening book fits perfectly within that reasoning. How else is one to learn about a particular opening and it's merits or drawbacks? Correspondence chess is the ideal environment for applying acquired knowledge.
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