Is there any luck in chess?

Sanjin2285

What is wrong with you people, there is no such thing as luck, obviously.

letsplaychess1996

If your opponent plays an opening variation that you have prepared for in depth that is obviously luck.

Sanjin2285
SorryImAnon wrote:
Sanjin2285 wrote:

What is wrong with you people, there is no such thing as luck, obviously.

That's determinism and in a way,  you're not wrong.  I like it.  Thanks for sharing.

It's reality, everything else is superstition.

UltimateCreatorofBob

The better you are, the less luck required unless playing against a better rated player. live.png

Rocky64
btickler wrote:
Rocky64 wrote:
SorryImAnon wrote:

Or you can describe chess as a battle of ideas when objective performance as compared to an ideal doesn't even matter,  which is how most strong players in any sport think.  (Ex WNBA here)

The question is about whether luck can play a part in deciding a game. Of course skill or performance is the primary factor and a GM can beat an average player 100 times in a row. But that doesn't mean luck never plays a role in chess.

Actually the question posed by the OP is:  Is there any luck in chess?  Asked and answered.  Not adjacent to chess, nearby chess, indirectly affecting chess, or anything else .

Your "reductionist" point above is correct, it's just mislabeled.  A game of chess *is* the moves played.  A game of chess:

- Does not require human players (engine games)

- Does not require a physical board or pieces (online games)

- Does not require any visual representation at all (blindfold vs. blindfold games)

The algebraic notation in a PGN that stores/conveys the moves of a game does not have any codes for "I felt sick that morning", or "my opponent forgot the move order of his prepared variation", or anything but the moves themselves.  Because...the PGN conatins all of the logical construct that *is* a game of chess.  None of the external stuff is part of the game.  Not the weather, not the condition or mindset of the players.  Not the tournament competition rules or the time controls piled on top of the game itself.  None of it. 

So the key to answering the question "Is there any luck in chess?" is using a clearly and logical definition of luck, and a clear and logical definition of what constitutes a game of chess.

Thanks for agreeing that you believe in a reductionistic view of what is a chess game - that it consists of nothing more than the moves played - though like most reductionists, you don't like to be labelled as such. This narrow definition ignores the reality that random external factors, e.g. some tournament conditions, which have nothing to do with whether a move is good or bad, can affect the outcome of a game. I understand your point that you can strip away these factors or luck and give the exact same chess position to a stronger player (e.g. Stockfish), who will then come up with a better move (i.e. skills).

But the OP question is "Is there any luck in chess?" and chess is a broad term that covers a lot of things, not just the positions and moves. That's why FIDE rules cover how tournaments are run, and not just how a particular game should be played. Your too-narrow definition of chess leads to a view that few people would agree with, that these FIDE tournament rules aren't really about "chess". 

romannosejob

I feel when I'm lucky has been when I move, for example my Queen, making a vague threat because I'm lost at what else to do then notice I've accidentally played a brilliant double attack which will net me free material.

btickler
Rocky64 wrote:
 

Thanks for agreeing that you believe in a reductionistic view of what is a chess game - that it consists of nothing more than the moves played - though like most reductionists, you don't like to be labelled as such. This narrow definition ignores the reality that random external factors, e.g. some tournament conditions, which have nothing to do with whether a move is good or bad, can affect the outcome of a game. I understand your point that you can strip away these factors or luck and give the exact same chess position to a stronger player (e.g. Stockfish), who will then come up with a better move (i.e. skills).

But the OP question is "Is there any luck in chess?" and chess is a broad term that covers a lot of things, not just the positions and moves. That's why FIDE rules cover how tournaments are run, and not just how a particular game should be played. Your too-narrow definition of chess leads to a view that few people would agree with, that these FIDE tournament rules aren't really about "chess". 

You are incorrect, but that's okay.  FIDE has rules for chess, and rules for chess competitions and tournaments.  These are separate entities.  Some people cannot make logical distinctions and like to lump things together into a vague cloud that they can handle better wink.png.

Here's something that might help you along though.  The game of chess exists as a standalone concept, and FIDE, tournaments, clocks, and ratings are not required at all...and in fact did not exist for hundreds of years.  I know you already know this, so the problem is connecting the dots in your head and reaching the only logical conclusion available.

alain978
glamdring27 wrote:
alain978 wrote:

Lately I had a couple of "lucky" wins. I won 3 or 4 games on time and 2 or 3 games because my opponent's account was closed. In all these games, I was in losing positions. All my games are 3 days move. I can say it's luck ! ..

 

Well, if your opponent's account was closed for cheating then that quite possibly had something to do with why you were in a losing position in the first place so him then getting his account closed is just the consequence of his actions, not really luck.  Unless you're going to also say it was bad luck to be playing a cheater in the first place and etc etc basically the whole world is luck!

You're right. I checked the last 2  closed accounts and it says: closed for fair play policy. So they probably were cheaters. Why I called it luck was because I made a blunder in the 5th move!!! And after I blundered, I won... Maybe you will ask how can a 2200 rated player can blunder at the fifth move in a game. But I did!....

Rocky64
SorryImAnon wrote:

You can claim there is no luck in chess without being a reductionist.  That is only one of the ways to arrive at the conclusion "there is no luck in chess" (albeit it takes a little conceit and some false premises if you want to go about it that way)

Sure, you take what may be called a pragmatic view-point, with your emphasis on performance or "excellence". In practical terms, there is indeed not much point in focusing on factors that we have no control over, whether it's called "luck" or not; instead we should focus on our skills. You made the distinction between "luck" and "probability", I think, so perhaps you would say that luck doesn't exist even in poker. Professional poker players of course think in terms of probability and odds, as "luck" isn't a useful concept for how to win. But ask these players if luck affects who wins, and they will obviously answer yes.

Rocky64
btickler wrote:
Rocky64 wrote:

Thanks for agreeing that you believe in a reductionistic view of what is a chess game - that it consists of nothing more than the moves played - though like most reductionists, you don't like to be labelled as such. This narrow definition ignores the reality that random external factors, e.g. some tournament conditions, which have nothing to do with whether a move is good or bad, can affect the outcome of a game. I understand your point that you can strip away these factors or luck and give the exact same chess position to a stronger player (e.g. Stockfish), who will then come up with a better move (i.e. skills).

But the OP question is "Is there any luck in chess?" and chess is a broad term that covers a lot of things, not just the positions and moves. That's why FIDE rules cover how tournaments are run, and not just how a particular game should be played. Your too-narrow definition of chess leads to a view that few people would agree with, that these FIDE tournament rules aren't really about "chess". 

You are incorrect, but that's okay.  FIDE has rules for chess, and rules for chess competitions and tournaments.  These are separate entities.  Some people cannot make logical distinctions and like to lump things together into a vague cloud that they can handle better .

Here's something that might help you along though.  The game of chess exists as a standalone concept, and FIDE, tournaments, clocks, and ratings are not required at all...and in fact did not exist for hundreds of years.  I know you already know this, so the problem is connecting the dots in your head and reaching the only logical conclusion available.

The distinction between FIDE basic and tournament rules doesn't help your argument one bit. The OP question wasn't specifically about non-tournament chess, but chess in general. Presumably you don't believe that "in chess under basic rules, there's no luck, though under tournament rules, there's luck involved." For your answer to be useful ("there's no luck in basic and tournament chess"), I'm afraid you'd have to lump the two ideas together.

My point of course wasn't specifically about tournament rules but that they are an example of external factors that affect a game's outcome. You want to use a narrow concept of "chess" that excludes all such external factors, and by ignoring these factors you'd show that luck doesn't exist in "chess". But what exists and affects a game's outcome (the OP's question) isn't determined by your reductionistic definition. Competitive chess is and always has been more than about the moves played. Just ask the 16th century priest Ruy Lopez who advised that you should sit with your opponent's eyes in the sun.

btickler
Rocky64 wrote:
SorryImAnon wrote:

You can claim there is no luck in chess without being a reductionist.  That is only one of the ways to arrive at the conclusion "there is no luck in chess" (albeit it takes a little conceit and some false premises if you want to go about it that way)

Sure, you take what may be called a pragmatic view-point, with your emphasis on performance or "excellence". In practical terms, there is indeed not much point in focusing on factors that we have no control over, whether it's called "luck" or not; instead we should focus on our skills. You made the distinction between "luck" and "probability", I think, so perhaps you would say that luck doesn't exist even in poker. Professional poker players of course think in terms of probability and odds, as "luck" isn't a useful concept for how to win. But ask these players if luck affects who wins, and they will obviously answer yes.

Yes, because there *is* luck in Poker.  Once again, though, the only luck in chess is the selection of who goes first/plays white...if you play 960, then your starting position is also something you could consider luck that is part of the game itself.  Nothing else.

btickler
Rocky64 wrote:
 

The distinction between FIDE basic and tournament rules doesn't help your argument one bit. The OP question wasn't specifically about non-tournament chess, but chess in general. Presumably you don't believe that "in chess under basic rules, there's no luck, though under tournament rules, there's luck involved." For your answer to be useful ("there's no luck in basic and tournament chess"), I'm afraid you'd have to lump the two ideas together.

My point of course wasn't specifically about tournament rules but that they are an example of external factors that affect a game's outcome. You want to use a narrow concept of "chess" that excludes all such external factors, and by ignoring these factor you'd show that luck doesn't exist in "chess". But what exists and affects a game's outcome (the OP's question) isn't determined by your reductionistic definition. Competitive chess is and always has been more than about the moves played. Just ask the 16th century priest Ruy Lopez who advised that you should sit with your opponent's eyes in the sun.

Yet, that advice would not constitute luck in the game of chess, any more than advising players to run their opponents over with a horse and carriage would.  Players can try all sorts of stunts whose goal is to distract their opponent from playing the game correctly...it doesn't matter how many of them you name, none of them are part of chess.

Your first 2 sentences are also flawed. 

First, read the 2 sentence OP again.  There's not one iota of implication there that the question is about tournament chess, or "chess in general"...which doesn't mean you *might* not be right about the OP's unwritten intentions, but it does mean you certainly made a clear assumption without any basis for it.

Second, there is no such thing as "chess in general" any more than you could say that a fruit salad with apples in it constitutes "apples in general".  You also try to come at it from the negative, implying that "non-tournament chess" is like a variant wink.png.  Nope. 

"Non-tournament" chess *is* chess.  Tournament chess is the variant, with additional agreed upon rules and constructs that are bolted on/separate.  

Chess is played by two entities, and events/factors that affect these entities outside the context of the "instance" of chess they are playing are immaterial.  You can talk about "luck" that affects the two players 'til the cows come home, and a thousand ridiculous ways that the universe may affect the outcome indirectly, but it doesn't have anything to do with chess.