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Types of Chess Players: A Classification Analogy

Jul 23, 2012, 9:29 AM 1
Types of Chess Players: A Classification Analogy
By manavendra

It should be noted that every Chess player falls under certain Class. Basically all Chess players can be classified as:

1) Brute force Type
Brute force implies using the current position to solve for mate in a straightforward manner. Brute force type chess players are usually the entry level players who have started to appreciate the game. Their type of chess play is easy to learn and implement tactics and positional play. But the disadvantage brute force type of Chess players is that it is usually very slow and can be applied only to chess positions where number of pieces on the board is small.

2) Divide and conquer Type
The divide and conquer type chess players, divide the given chess position by a constant factor (positional advantage) in each move by visualizing the next position mentaly (usually positions 4 to 5 moves ahead). This means they have to analyze lesser and lesser part of the original position in each move. Some of the fastest and highly rated Chess Players belong to this class.

3) Decrease and conquer Type
This type of Chess Players are the same as divide and conquer type, except, here they are decreasing the current chess positional complexity in each move by a constant size (attack+defence) instead of constant factor (checkmate).

4) Dynamic Type
The ‘dynamic’ chess players type refers to the method and style of play using which these chess player arrives at the end result, and chess players who have previously exhibited such methodoly of their play in thier adopted field of chess research. Sometimes, a solution to the given instance of chess position depends on the smaller instance of sub-positions. It exhibits the property of overlapping sub-positions.

Hence, to move ahead from a chess position, they may have to reconsider same positional advantage again and again for smaller sub-positions. Hence, it may waste their 'brain cycle time' with every next move. To remedy this, they basically, “remember” the result of each sub-position. Whenever they need it, they will use that known expected result instead of re-evaluating it again and again. Here, we are trading memory power of the chess player for time, to increase his move speed drastically.

Dynamic type are a very important class of chess players to identify solutions to chess positions that have many overlapping sub-positions.

5) Greedy Type
For many chess positions, making greedy choices leads to an optimal positional advantage. These type of chess players optimize the current equally distributed position. The greedy type chess players, in each move, will make a locally optimum chess position such that it will lead to a globally optimal chess postion resulting in mate. (sacrifice move)

Once a choice about next move is made, these type of players usually do not retract it in later stages. Proving the correctness of a such greedy move is very important, since not all greedy moves lead to globally optimum chess position.

However, the approach of greedy type chess players is not always the correct approach to solve a given chess position, for example, taking the opponent's piece of largest count value at next move. Infact, dynamic type chess players arrive at much more optimal and justifiable set of moves for that position.

6) Transform and conquer type
Sometimes it is very hard or not so apparent as to how to arrive at the next move for a particular problem. These type of chess players, transform the chess position into something that they recognize, and then think in terms of that position to arrive at the next move.

7) Backtracking type
Backtracking type chess players are very similar to brute force type chess players. But the difference between them  is that, brute force chess players, we are generating every possible combination of next move and predicting if it can result in better chess position. Whereas, backtracking type chess players, each time they generate a solution, they are also observing if it satisfies all condition, and only then they  continue thinking subsequent moves, else they will backtrack and go on a different path of finding the correct next move.

The difference can best be understood by comparing their approach to N Queens problem. The advantage of backtracking type chess players approach over brute force type chess players is that the numbers of positions they have to analyze are very less compared to number of positions to be analyzed by brute force approach. The backtracking type chess players can isolate valid chess positions quickly.

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I will stop here. Please point if there are any errors in this classification and also provide examples for each class of chess players. (Original article by manavendra. Shared by Asorski)

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