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Is Chess No Longer a Thinking Game?

ninjaswat
WALKINGLOSS wrote:
Musikamole wrote:

In my previous topic, I expressed my new found joy in bullet chess. If someone said I would be playing bullet one day, I would say they were nuts. 

Playing chess back in the 60’s, yep, a child of that special decade, it was well understood that chess was a thinking game. The king of thinking games. It required considerable thought. 
It was not a game to be rushed. A quiet game to pass the time, slowly. My 6th grade teacher and I would play chess. We would think.

Is the human mind evolving into something it was not before? Has technology changed the way we think? The depth at which we think? Do we even feel the need to think that much anymore?  Google has all the answers, I think. 

Do I dare attempt hyperbullet? Where does this all end? 

P.S. Students, at least in the U.S., have little time to think deeply, increasingly pressured to score higher on standardized tests. Teachers pushed to teach to the test. 

I'd say it is a thinking game generally speaking, but at the higher levels, it slowly is becoming memorization (for the opening phase at least). I've seen GMs play ridiculous moves that nobody would obviously play without checking with the engine first. And most Ruy Lopez games do not show complex thinking, but rather pattern recognition and memorization that spans several moves.

That's because they play a lot of theory, but I don't use those lines... other than accidentally.

thebigbangz
Bro chess is not deep they learn like everything else
ninjaswat
thebigbangz wrote:
Bro chess is not deep they learn like everything else

There are more possible chess games than there are atoms in the universe. I remember reading that somewhere... happy.png

noobskull

Games of chess are mathematical problems. And much like every math problems, you can either solve it with formulas or remember all the answers. In this way, are mathematicians thinking less or more in mordent time compare with ancient times

play4fun64

Chess is a thinking game if you Calculate at least 5 ply deep. Many players rely on intuition and pattern recognition. The Bxh7 sacrifice for example. Many do it without second thought as he have viewed dozens of such sacrifice.

ninjaswat
play4fun64 wrote:

Chess is a thinking game if you Calculate at least 5 ply deep. Many players rely on intuition and pattern recognition. The Bxh7 sacrifice for example. Many do it without second thought as he have viewed dozens of such sacrifice.

he or she happy.png I remember @Gothamchess covering Judit Polgar's best came included something like that, right?

Musikamole
play4fun64 wrote:

Chess is a thinking game if you Calculate at least 5 ply deep. Many players rely on intuition and pattern recognition. The Bxh7 sacrifice for example. Many do it without second thought as he have viewed dozens of such sacrifice.

Excellent post. Thank you. 

Respectfully, and I could be way wrong, is calculating 5 ply deep...well...is it thinking?  I’d say it’s a mental skill. I’ve seen our club NM rattle off long variations during our thinking/calculation sessions without any thought, seeing the end of any line as well as someone physically moving the pieces and taking a picture.  Five ply calculation, a wonderful skill,  enables the chess player to clearly see a future position and who it favors. The deeper and faster the calculation, the more time available to think and evaluate. 

Our club NM would lead us through these long visualization/calculation exercises. We were presented a chess position, then asked to come up with plans (the thinking part). This thinking part required all manner of cognitive activity - imagination, intuition, creativity, dream positions. Deep thinking stuff. The kind of thinking he would do in tournament practice. We would spend anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour a position - ouch - really running down that tournament clock, and getting through just a few positions per session. My brain would hurt. I don’t ever remember thinking that hard. 

When the ideas/plans were done being thrown around in the group, we were instructed to first determine candidate moves, then calculate continuations, along with all the alternate variations, I.e., “what if Black does this instead of that”? Alternate variations gave me a headache, but were necessary, since he would often say that chess is not checkers, and that your opponent can always surprise you. 

I see calculation, visualization, tactical pattern recognition and endgame technique as some of the wonderful things in a chess players tool box. The more the better, freeing up more time to think. This tool box full of chess stuff pretty much sums up a players strength, like going to a gym and building muscle. In this case, chess muscle. So when we play 5 0 and 10 0 at the club, it’s that chess muscle that mostly decides games. It will be fun when our club reopens to ask my playing partners, “what were you thinking when you made that move?” 😄

———
Puzzle Rush Survivor

Regarding puzzle rush survivor, I recently set a personal best sore of 35. I missed the last puzzle rated over 2000. Hard stuff. Was any of this activity thinking, the way I am describing thinking? In the beginning, with my current store of patterns, no. As it progressed, calculation was required. Still no real thinking. Towards the end, with all patterns exhausted from my memory bank and calculation failing me at the start, I found myself stepping back, taking a breath, and digging deep, listening to my intuition, tapping into my imagination. What is this position asking of me? Okay, those who blitz through 2000 rated puzzles are probably laughing. But what is your brain doing when you hit your wall? Probably thinking your butt off! 😁

Onlysane1

Standard chess is for thinking of the best possible move in a reasonable amount of time (if time is limited at all).

Speed chess is for thinking of a good-enough move in the fastest possible time.

They are two types of thinking for two different ways to play chess, one is no less legitimate than the other.

Now, to an extent there is pattern recognition, where you have seen that same board layout 5,000 times so you know exactly what your next move is, but in any game you eventually reach a point where you just haven't played on this board before, so you have to deduce for yourself what the best move is.

DarkKnightAttack

If two absolute beginners are playing, Chess is definitely a thinking game from the beginning.

For two Super GMs, it is still a thinking game after home preparation is over.

B1ZMARK

IMO chess really only has the thinking aspect only in rapid and classical, and occasionally, in blitz. And almost never in bullet, as you just rely on pattern recognition (assuming you/opponent aren't playing some random 1.h4 2.h5 thing)

B1ZMARK
DarkKnightAttack wrote:

If two absolute beginners are playing, Chess is definitely a thinking game from the beginning.

For two Super GMs, it is still a thinking game after home preparation is over.

unless your opponent falls into your prep, then it's theory all the way to checkmate happy.png

play4fun64

Chess 960 is the Thinking Game. No Opening preparation or memorization.

MisterLoco76
albacored wrote:

I was wondering about this a little recently. In some interviews from the Candidates Tournament, a couple of players had said they'd forgotten the lines they'd prepared, and so subsequently messed up. How talented are they if they're relying on memory to this extent? Obviously a lot, but it's an interesting thing for them to have said.

Yep... in Chess, memorization trumps thinking, sadly.

MadLuc
Musikamole wrote:

In my previous topic, I expressed my new found joy in bullet chess. If someone said I would be playing bullet one day, I would say they were nuts. 

Playing chess back in the 60’s, yep, a child of that special decade, it was well understood that chess was a thinking game. The king of thinking games. It required considerable thought. 
It was not a game to be rushed. A quiet game to pass the time, slowly. My 6th grade teacher and I would play chess. We would think.

Is the human mind evolving into something it was not before? Has technology changed the way we think? The depth at which we think? Do we even feel the need to think that much anymore?  Google has all the answers, I think. 

Do I dare attempt hyperbullet? Where does this all end? 

P.S. Students, at least in the U.S., have little time to think deeply, increasingly pressured to score higher on standardized tests. Teachers pushed to teach to the test. 

I too was raised where OTB was the only chess option and that typically meant thinking to some extent, deeper thinking, than other activities that we were involved in. But chess is now online, and, where everything in today's world is online, everything is instant access: you want to know a better move? click the engine button. While this has it's benefits, I do believe it has had an affect on today's online chess players ability to deeply think for long periods. In fact, today's online chess players call a 30/15 a 'long' time format and to a large extent, are not interested in playing that long. Online chess has almost made chess a disposable version of chess. If are going to play 20, 3 minute games in a day, and in some games you don't like your position or you blunder a piece early, hit the resign button and move onto the next game. You want to know where you went wrong, skim through it with an engine. But if your playing experience was 1-3 games a week of 90/30 OTB or online, I am pretty sure the games would not be viewed as disposable: you would put a lot of prep and thought into each game and each move. COVID has put a damper on OTB tournaments, and coffee shop OTB games with friends, but hopefully that comes back soon, so those of us that want it, have the option to once again return to the longer time formats, dare I say, 'thinking game' we love. 

ninjaswat
MadLuc wrote:
Musikamole wrote:

In my previous topic, I expressed my new found joy in bullet chess. If someone said I would be playing bullet one day, I would say they were nuts. 

Playing chess back in the 60’s, yep, a child of that special decade, it was well understood that chess was a thinking game. The king of thinking games. It required considerable thought. 
It was not a game to be rushed. A quiet game to pass the time, slowly. My 6th grade teacher and I would play chess. We would think.

Is the human mind evolving into something it was not before? Has technology changed the way we think? The depth at which we think? Do we even feel the need to think that much anymore?  Google has all the answers, I think. 

Do I dare attempt hyperbullet? Where does this all end? 

P.S. Students, at least in the U.S., have little time to think deeply, increasingly pressured to score higher on standardized tests. Teachers pushed to teach to the test. 

I too was raised where OTB was the only chess option and that typically meant thinking to some extent, deeper thinking, than other activities that we were involved in. But chess is now online, and, where everything in today's world is online, everything is instant access: you want to know a better move? click the engine button. While this has it's benefits, I do believe it has had an affect on today's online chess players ability to deeply think for long periods. In fact, today's online chess players call a 30/15 a 'long' time format and to a large extent, are not interested in playing that long. Online chess has almost made chess a disposable version of chess. If are going to play 20, 3 minute games in a day, and in some games you don't like your position or you blunder a piece early, hit the resign button and move onto the next game. You want to know where you went wrong, skim through it with an engine. But if your playing experience was 1-3 games a week of 90/30 OTB or online, I am pretty sure the games would not be viewed as disposable: you would put a lot of prep and thought into each game and each move. COVID has put a damper on OTB tournaments, and coffee shop OTB games with friends, but hopefully that comes back soon, so those of us that want it, have the option to once again return to the longer time formats, dare I say, 'thinking game' we love. 

My thinking exactly! I used to do one OTB game a week for a couple years... didn't gain much rating but I learned how to think through each game...

ninjaswat
Musikamole wrote:
play4fun64 wrote:

Chess is a thinking game if you Calculate at least 5 ply deep. Many players rely on intuition and pattern recognition. The Bxh7 sacrifice for example. Many do it without second thought as he have viewed dozens of such sacrifice.

Excellent post. Thank you. 

Respectfully, and I could be way wrong, is calculating 5 ply deep...well...is it thinking?  I’d say it’s a mental skill. I’ve seen our club NM rattle off long variations during our thinking/calculation sessions without any thought, seeing the end of any line as well as someone physically moving the pieces and taking a picture.  Five ply calculation, a wonderful skill,  enables the chess player to clearly see a future position and who it favors. The deeper and faster the calculation, the more time available to think and evaluate. 

Our club NM would lead us through these long visualization/calculation exercises. We were presented a chess position, then asked to come up with plans (the thinking part). This thinking part required all manner of cognitive activity - imagination, intuition, creativity, dream positions. Deep thinking stuff. The kind of thinking he would do in tournament practice. We would spend anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour a position - ouch - really running down that tournament clock, and getting through just a few positions per session. My brain would hurt. I don’t ever remember thinking that hard. 

When the ideas/plans were done being thrown around in the group, we were instructed to first determine candidate moves, then calculate continuations, along with all the alternate variations, I.e., “what if Black does this instead of that”? Alternate variations gave me a headache, but were necessary, since he would often say that chess is not checkers, and that your opponent can always surprise you. 

I see calculation, visualization, tactical pattern recognition and endgame technique as some of the wonderful things in a chess players tool box. The more the better, freeing up more time to think. This tool box full of chess stuff pretty much sums up a players strength, like going to a gym and building muscle. In this case, chess muscle. So when we play 5 0 and 10 0 at the club, it’s that chess muscle that mostly decides games. It will be fun when our club reopens to ask my playing partners, “what were you thinking when you made that move?” 😄

———
Puzzle Rush Survivor

Regarding puzzle rush survivor, I recently set a personal best sore of 35. I missed the last puzzle rated over 2000. Hard stuff. Was any of this activity thinking, the way I am describing thinking? In the beginning, with my current store of patterns, no. As it progressed, calculation was required. Still no real thinking. Towards the end, with all patterns exhausted from my memory bank and calculation failing me at the start, I found myself stepping back, taking a breath, and digging deep, listening to my intuition, tapping into my imagination. What is this position asking of me? Okay, those who blitz through 2000 rated puzzles are probably laughing. But what is your brain doing when you hit your wall? Probably thinking your butt off! 😁

I still do the same thing with an NM but on a smaller scale. Generally he leads us through a few 2700+ puzzles... and sometimes analyzes a couple games or shows opening prep happy.png

Musikamole
DarkKnightAttack wrote:

If two absolute beginners are playing, Chess is definitely a thinking game from the beginning.

For two Super GMs, it is still a thinking game after home preparation is over.

Thank you for my happy thought this morning. I play practice/competitive games with my two nephews. They are relatively new to chess. We wind up the clock to 60 minutes per side, their preferred time control. They said they wanted more time to think! Each game usually takes one hour total.

My nephews really like to think. The youngest was so inspired after one game, saying he was going to invent an opening. I love this age. Such imagination and wonder. 

play4fun64

If an adult have children, it's best the adult study chess to improve but don't expose the children to books and chess Apps. Let the.child THINK how to beat his dad or uncle in chess.