And now, the Newb presents... Game Explorer (pt 1)
Previous Posts: (Apology) (Groups) (Analysis Board)
You may have noticed a button labeled "Explore" in the "Moves" tab or the Analysis Board. Depending on your game, this will take you to the "Game Explorer" for the current state of the game. To the right of the board will either be the message "There are no games with this position found in the database." or a weird looking list of moves with bar graphs next to them.
Chess.com has a lot of cool features. This will blow your mind. You are looking at an analsis of Chess.com's game database tailored for the current state of your game. Each of those moves on the right is a response to your game position that's in their database. The next number to the right is the number of database games that feature that move and the bar graph is a representation of the results of those particular games.
This is not cheating (Yea!!!!).
Because Online Chess is not really chess (What?!?).
Bear with me here.
In Online Chess, we're actually playing a form of correspondence chess.
Back in my day, we had this thing called a Post Office and you could use it to send hardcopy messages to anyone that you knew the street address of. You could even play chess. You sent them a move. They sent their response. Now, these weren't sanctioned matches or anything. USCF didn't come over to your house to watch you open your letter (a hardcopy message), watch you ponder over your move, and then notarize your response. No. You were free to take your "letter" down to the library (a brick and mortar book rental facility), research a response, copy it down out of the book (including the typo), and send it back to your opponent as your response.
You could. And this is very similar to how Online Chess works. The key similarity is: Nobody is watching you. So, you're free to do research, ask your wife for help, buy moves off of eBay, whatever. Therefore the rules are rather more relaxed than in "real" chess.
Chess.com is merely providing you with some research data - research data that is also available to your opponent - provided that your opponent is at an equal or greater subscription level. If you're not a paid subsriber, you can't "see" more than three moves deep from the opening position.
The Game Explorer tool alone is worth the price of admission. I'm not saying you have to use it. I'm not saying it's the best way to learn openings. I'm saying it's been extremely useful to me and most of the complaints that I hear about using it come from people that I have a winning record against.
Both of them.