Databases - what is allowed?

WanderingWinder
richie_and_oprah wrote:

Yes, Gonnosuke.   That is my argument.  Eliminate all databases. Stop using books during the game.

 

Play chess.

 

One need experiment and learn on their own time.   It is a better honor to the game by playing it the way it was originally meant to be played, by two human beings with their own learned praxis that flows from their brains on demand and subject to the imperfectation that may happen in those moments.

 

This idea that there is some great "chess truth" that is being pursued by people is the silliest and most horribly disguised way to admit to the pure pleasures of mental masturbation for its own sake that I've ever seen.  (not that you made this argument...yet    hehe).

 

Why don't you play online using only Praxis?  Rating concerns?

What is really to be gained (besides winning and rating points) in playing with assistance?

 

Sincerely asking so as to develop understanding.  Who knows, you might even be the person that convinces me to change my perspectives. 


My contention is that you CAN'T play chess turn-based like this. It is NOT chess. That was my reaction when I was first introduced to the site by a friend of mine. "Three days per move? That isn't chess." The clock is irreducibly a part of chess, and anything this slow, and especially when you can use an analysis board... it's irreducibly significantly different from anything like "real" chess, which is OTB. This is my contention, and this is why I play like I do. I absolutely understand and respect your position, though I think it doesn't exactly work for the slow time control, but it just doesn't work here. If you want a "praxis only" slow chess variant, you would have to prohibit note-taking and analysis boards too, and there's just no way to enforce that. It's perfectly admirable, but pragmatically, it isn't going to happen. This is the world we've been given, and I'm dealing with it how I will.

Furthermore, I see positives in it that you are apparently blind to. I quote again "This idea that there is some great "chess truth" that is being pursued by people is the silliest and most horribly disguised way to admit to the pure pleasures of mental masturbation for its own sake that I've ever seen.  (not that you made this argument...yet    hehe)." This incredibly provocative and rather offensive language clearly shows that you don't understand what I mean by "chess truth". This is not truth about who the best chess player is; this is truth along the lines of finding the perfect moves for a game, or refuting perhaps an entire opening system. The best example I can give for this is the refutation of the Fried Liver. This was done with computer help, as I have already admitted. But I, as I always do, played through every move. When I don't understand something the engine is saying, I play through several lines until I can understand it. The Fried Liver refutation has a handful of moves that could be found by hand, but white has so many threats, and the way in which they are parried is so non-obvious that it would take a very, very long time. But at this point, I have learned the opening myself; I could play it OTB; I understand the moves; I would relish the opportunity to play it against anyone OTB, be they my best friend, a run-of-the-mill GM, Kasparov, Anand, Rybka, you name it. I believe that I would win. Use of the engine has helped me understand the opening much better.

Modern OTB play at high levels is filled with at-home computer analysis. World championships, Over the Board, are now often decided by who has prepared their openings better at home with their team of seconds and computers. Of course there they have to remember everything, but in correspondance you can of course use notes.

Finally, this is still way different from using an engine in-game. Alternatives are left by the wayside, and furthermore most openings come to a point where there are many roughly equivalent options. This is where my analyses generally end. After that point, I'm on my own, with analysis board, pen, and paper.

Twarter369
TheGrobe wrote:
Twarter369 wrote:

Its The exact same! except instead of pouring over books to get theory you are pouring over DB's containing THE EXACT SAME INFORMATION. Heck some DB's ARE books that have been converted over for the new era. The only way this effects chess at all is if you use an engine DURING the game. Anything else is just studying.

...


I would caution against blindly considering databases and books equivalent.  Search-ability aside, there are databases that are actually equivalent (if not superior) to engines.  Namely, endgame table-bases.

These are basically a subset of positions for which chess has actually been solved with the aide of engines and as a result can be played perfectly based on these databases.  There is an important distinction, however, between endgame table-bases and engine versus engine databases such as Costelus has described.  That is that endgame table-bases are exhaustive, and cannot be taken out of book -- they will always provide the best possible move no matter what the opposing player does.  This is simply not the case for engine versus engine databases as the sheer complexity of chess prohibits anything close to resembling an exhaustive examination of the possibilities for the stage of the game where they are relevant.

The good news is that the use of these table-bases is also extremely easily detected.


And Before DB's there were end game books containing the same positions and the same information for the most part. A DB doesn't make recommendations it stores large amounts of data, so that it can be recalled later. NO DB IS SUPERIOR TO AN ENGINE BECAUSE DB's DONT MAKE CHOICES they display all the games from a position, who played. what moves were played. when, and the outcome. An engine will say (-+3.04)12...Nxc3 13 dxc3 Qe2+ for example. It doesn't care if no game in your DB has played that way. A huge problem with this logic is that again, A LOT of DB's are books that have been converted for training.

TheGrobe

No, endgame table-bases are equivalent to an engine.  They are exhaustive catalogues of best play from any given position with a set number of remaining pieces (or less) and have been generated by engines.

As I said, these are the subset of positions for which chess has been solved, and their directed path towards the best possible result -- every time for every position under the set number of remaining pieces.

In contrast to an opening database, which is a divergent tree, endgame table-bases always converge towards an idea result.

Twarter369

 

 

Why don't you play online using only Praxis?  Rating concerns?

What is really to be gained (besides winning and rating points) in playing with assistance?

 

Sincerely asking so as to develop understanding.  Who knows, you might even be the person that convinces me to change my perspectives. 


If you NEVER play a game un assisted I agree then you are not learning anything. However if you play a game lose add it to your DB and find "Hey on move 12 when my opponent played Nf4 there was a trap there. It has a 52% success rate. I bet next time you are playing that line you will be looking for that trap. I like the Dragon myself so I use it to study the different outcomes from different positions.

The only thing that should be banned is people who can't play without engines. Because if I wanted to play Fritz I would open it up and play it (which I do a lot to practice opening or end games).

I wish we could take a poll of GM's, IGM's, WGM's, and such that use DB's to study and store their collection of games, since we all know that they all keep collections of games to study.

costelus

Twarter:

1. Please ask Richie to tell you that, if you play on ICCF with an engine, making always its first choice, your rating will be quite low. Because everybody there has an engine and the difference is made if you know how to steer the engine in order to obtain an edge over another engine. Thus, a database of such cyborg games is better than an engine.

2. I want to buy a good chess book. It should contain about 500.000 games, and the searching time for a certain position should take less than 5 minutes. Please recommend me a title. Thanks!

Twarter369

And what engine did you use to analyze the Kasparov game? It doesn't matter this argument is silly. If you don't like the tools available to you, don't use them. but don't expect to be as good as someone who spends 2 hours a day pouring through a DB, even in an OTB game. I use online chess as a training ground, truthfully I prefer OTB chess because I agree chess shouldbe a competition between my brain and yours. So why wouldn't I give myself the informational edge? that undoubtedly was the driving idea behind DB's in the first place. I have said tons of times that I don't use DB's DURING a game, not even the one that you want allowed from Chess.com

Which by the way creates the problem of then only paying members get to use the DB, so then they have the advantage always. No thanks, I will keep my DB and would go play somewhere else if that is the way they made it.

 

Your argument about A DB being better than an engine makes no sense, I am sorry but as a hobby SQL Database builder I know what it is. An engine has massive amount of conditional programmimg, while a DB only has lines of Information, either static or dynamic. So while yes an endgame DB leads down to one move from any position, don't you think being able to learn that and then take it into an OTB would be useful. Take the Phildor position, a well know position, that many books have been written about and tons of solid theory behind. This leads down to one move no matter whether it comes from, a DB, a book, or a GM friend standing over your shoulder saying "you can get to the Phildor from there."

Twarter369
costelus wrote:

Twarter:

1. Please ask Richie to tell you that, if you play on ICCF with an engine, making always its first choice, your rating will be quite low. Because everybody there has an engine and the difference is made if you know how to steer the engine in order to obtain an edge over another engine. Thus, a database of such cyborg games is better than an engine.

2. I want to buy a good chess book. It should contain about 500.000 games, and the searching time for a certain position should take less than 5 minutes. Please recommend me a title. Thanks!


No problem I reccomend getting Mega DB 08. OR the 1,000's of books that it comprises. If your main issue is the searchability of a DB then really your problem is the LACK of searchability from a book. Which is why DB's were made. I seriously reccomend getting a DB of training books and comparing studying from them to studying from whatever tactics book you choose.

TheGrobe
Twarter369 wrote:

...

Your argument about A DB being better than an engine makes no sense, I am sorry but as a hobby SQL Database builder I know what it is. An engine has massive amount of conditional programmimg, while a DB only has lines of Information, either static or dynamic. So while yes an endgame DB leads down to one move from any position, don't you think being able to learn that and then take it into an OTB would be useful. Take the Phildor position, a well know position, that many books have been written about and tons of solid theory behind. This leads down to one move no matter whether it comes from, a DB, a book, or a GM friend standing over your shoulder saying "you can get to the Phildor from there."


I'll try one more time, for your benefit:

The difference in the results between an exhaustive data-set that has been pre-generated by engines (e.g. an endgame table-base), and an exhaustive search that is done on the fly (e.g. an engine) is nil.  When the calculation is done is not relevant.  That the calculation was done is all that matters.

This equivalence does not hold, however, for opening databases, as they are divergent rather than convergent and the sheer complexity that is introduced with each move (as opposed to removed with each move, as is the case with an endgame table-base) prohibits any possibility of their being complete.  That completeness, or exhaustive nature of endgame table-bases is the key distinction.

TheGrobe

It could be argued that the point of finding refutations for an entire opening system is making permanent improvements to the evolution of our collective understanding of the game as a whole regardless of the means by which this knowledge is attained.

The same question could asked of your truth.

TheGrobe

They solved tic-tac-toe!?

TheGrobe

I take it then, that you feel finding better opening lines and generally developing our collective understanding of the game is a headlong rush towards ultimately solving, and thus ruining, the game of chess.  I hate to break it to you, but this has been going on since the inception of the game.  Every new novelty, or discovery of a better move than had previously been accepted as best (refutation or otherwise) represents one step closer to this ruination.

I've also got some good news though:  We're nowhere near solving this game.  I doubt we'll see it in our lifetime, and even if we do our human capacity for playing perfect chess will never materialize.  At our level this game will always be an art.

Twarter369

You think chess will not be playable in 10 years??!!! Iam sorry Ihave to pull myself from this discussion. You have obviously not researched this deep enough. Have fun with this debate guys :)

ozzie_c_cobblepot
richie_and_oprah wrote:
TheGrobe wrote:

They solved tic-tac-toe!?


Monopoly too.

Grab the Orange properties and you will win.


Game on.

ozzie_c_cobblepot

The problem I have with this debate is that each side seems to be arguing a self serving point.

Costelus is angry that he gets beaten by someone with a better DB.
Gonnosuke is a supporter of what he already does and is good at, the building of the better DB that costelus is against the usage of.

Myself, I don't own an engine or a DB. If I became more serious about the game then one of the first things I would do is to analyze my opening repertoire to find out where are the holes.

It seems to me that it all depends on how you use chess.com. I totally get that a casual player who comes on here to play asynchronously will be surprised and angry when they find out that their opponent is using a DB. I also totally get the point made by costelus, that he just wants a more convenient way of playing high level games with a fair playing field. Then there's my point of view, which is that this site helps me in my OTB play in numerous ways

  1. I learn openings better by consulting the games explorer during the game I'm playing. I can think of no better way of learning openings than this, having already spent a lot of time learning from books. There is something about having it be in-game which makes me learn better. I would compare it to the difference between spring training and the regular season. The games matter.
  2. I have learned to better structure my thoughts in my usage of the "notes" tab on the analysis board.
  3. My tactics are better after my usage of tactics trainer.
  4. I have (re)learned how quickly one can lose a game, right out of the opening, against a high quality opponent (human or silicon). This is one thing that being in book provides - the comfort that you're not playing a losing position, at that point in time.

What I don't use chess.com for is to play some notion of a fair game. I readily acknowledge that my opening DB (games explorer) is flawed, and anybody with a DB at home with the associated analysis tools will be better prepared than I. That being said, I'm not a complete slouch at chess, so I make good use of the games explorer - play through some of the games, find the ones where the result didn't match my evaluation out of the opening, find the main ideas in the position by playing out several of the games, while filtering out what I think are the non-thematic ideas. All of this contributes to the learning process.

To costelus, I like the idea of joining the circle of trust. Perhaps you can create an invite-only tournament of players who agree not to use an opening DB or any books of any kind during the tournament(*). Ultimately though, the battle you are fighting is that of the salmon, and so therefore you should pick small battles that you can win.

To Gonnosuke, well, I don't have much to say here. I appreciate very much your contributions so far to my Budapest thread. I have some more questions for you, but I'll post them in that thread.

ozzie_c_cobblepot

Harpo, I just can't agree with you. I just played at a tournament against high level opposition, and I didn't run into this phenomenon that you speak of.

I only think of this as a real problem as you get up to the level of IM and above. Perhaps I am underestimating you?

DW_Batty

And do you think these young IM's and GM's will leave the game when they grow older?

When I look at the top-flight of the chess world, I simply see a changing of the guard. Within the next five years or so the new age of chess players will simply begin to replace the old. The Kamskys, Topalovs, Anads are just being replaced by the Carlsons, Nakamuras, and Friedels. This isn't the game dying off, just being passed to the next generation.

ozzie_c_cobblepot

With all due respect,

Can you explain further how you can play against "mostly IM strength and higher"? I am having trouble phrasing this without saying that I don't believe you. It's not that I don't believe you, it's that I've played in many OTB tournaments (US only) and I really have basically never seen a tournament where the open section has so many IMs and GMs that anybody on average ends up playing mostly them. Do you exaggerage? Do I misunderstand?

I'm sure you're well informed on the demographics issue. Here's my thoughts on that. At the tournament I was at recently (pretty big tournament), the top section did not have this average age problem. But I might agree that the tournament as a whole may have. The thing is, I don't see the hyper-silicon-preparation problem as really being an issue below the IM level. People FM and below just make too many mistakes to make any extra opening preparation have a material effect on the section.

Comments welcome

costelus

Wanderingwinder: what you describe is a great tool. I used it myself to prepare lines in the openings, to analyze and try to correct my mistakes. But, here is the difference, I play from those lines as much as I can remember. I never look up all the answers.

In a sharp opening like Fried Liver, there are a few critical moves. If I use my computer (even off-line, as a database of cyborg games) to help me go over those lines, I can make sure that, when I ran out of the database, my opponent has a worst position. Therefore, Fried Liver is not a playable opening against a very good database.

I am not totally against books and reasonable databases of human games. I think that studying a book and trying the results immediately against an opponent is a great learning tool. I also used references in my games (most often, I was following a game of a GM). Of course, as much as I could. If Shirov made a certain move to go for an all-out attack, it doesn't mean I have to follow him blindly.

ozzie_c_cobblepot

OK, thanks for your explanation.

For the record, I do not consider 2200+ to be IM strength. :-)

There is quite a bit of difference in playing strength over those 200 points from 2200+ FIDE to 2400+ FIDE. But this is just terminology. If I switch to your vocabulary, then yes, in fact, all 7 games I played in my most recent tournament were 2200+ strength opponents. But only 2/7 games were against IM/GM titled players.

TheGrobe

Wait -- AIM?  Is that a new title?  Aspiring International Master?