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What do you consider as "hope chess" ?

shoushisenban

Hey there,

I very often read that one should not play subpar moves expecting their opponent to react in an imperfect way (e.g. "fall into their trap"). However, very often, finding the "perfect answer" is outside of even strong GM's capabilities. For example, in the Stonewall Dutch:

 

 
In this Stonewall mainline where black reacts to 7.Ne5 with 0-0, he then chooses to play Ng4 in response to 8.Bf4, as most other options are bad for black, as shown in the PGN. According to theory, Ng4 is a good move, as it gives black some serious counterplay on the kingside. However, GM Erwin l'Ami thinks that the best move for white is Nf3, as the resulting position will transpose to a Bf4 mainline where the black knight is missplaced on g4. For this reason, 7...0-0 is considered a suboptimal choice by both GM L'Ami and Stockfish.

"Hope chess" if very often used when talking about unsound gambits, such as the Urusov gambit or the Blackmar-Diemer gambit. Because said lines are well-known, it is indeed well conceivable that they are regarded as "hope chess". But let us imagine, for the sake of argument, a position where one is able to play an objective bad move, but where only few people know the appropriate response. Would you also consider that as "hope chess" ? For example, in the following French Defence line:


White played a pretty rare pawn sacrifice in the French Advance (9.Nbd2) and obtained a winning position very quickly (and the players had 2500 and 2200 ELO). However, black would have been fine after both 9...Nc6 or 9...Bc5. Would you also consider this pawn sacrifice as "hope chess" ?

My question is the following: what is the difference between "hope chess" and "human play" ? Aren't we all, finally, playing hope chess ?

Being just a patzer, I just wanted to know what you guys think of that topic ^^
 
godsofhell1235
BobbyTalparov wrote:

Hope Chess is defined as playing a move that is easily refuted, hoping your opponent does not see the refutation 

 Not exactly . . .

 

BobbyTalparov wrote:

 It means you failed your safety check step of your thought process. NM Dan Heisman has several Novice Nook articles that cover the topic.

Yeah, this is right.

The "hope" part has nothing to do with hoping your opponent doesn't see something. The hope part is "I hope I don't immediately lose next move, because I didn't bother blunder checking." 

godsofhell1235
shoushisenban wrote:
White played a pretty rare pawn sacrifice in the French Advance 
 

 Sort of... it's basically the Korchnoi gambit a tempo down (because black didn't play Nf6). Both players were likely familiar with this type of position. 

 

shoushisenban wrote:
My question is the following: what is the difference between "hope chess" and "human play" ? Aren't we all, finally, playing hope chess ?

Being just a patzer, I just wanted to know what you guys think of that topic ^^
 

 Yeah, it can be a mistake to make a reperitoire with the "best" moves.

Objective best isn't practical best. If the position is complicated enough, you can get away with going into a losing position against even the best players in the world (although positions that complicated right out of the opening are rare / will be avoided by the best players in the world).

For me personally, as black, I take it as a danger sign if the engine is giving me close to 0.00 early. This means it's probably a boring drawing line. What I look for are (unbalanced) positions that keep me down by about half a pawn (at least according to the engine), that way there's still a lot of play.

Which now that I type that, it's kind of funny... because as white I'll choose sidelines that give 0.00 early as long there is a lot of play and I think the position is interesting heh.

But anyway, more important than engine eval is picking something you can get excited about playing. If you like really dry technical games where it's 0.00 for 40 moves and then you win due to persistence and accuracy, great, go for those positions. If you want to sacrifice a lot and make it so either one player or the other will be winning by move 20, sure, you can do that too. Ideally though, whatever you play, you are picking something that at least a few GMs have been willing to play more than once. That's where'd I'd draw the line if you're interested in a serious repertoire.

godsofhell1235
shoushisenban wrote:
GM Erwin l'Ami thinks that the best move for white is Nf3, as the resulting position will transpose to a Bf4 mainline where the black knight is misplaced on g4. For this reason, 7...0-0 is considered a sub-optimal choice by both GM L'Ami and Stockfish.

null

 

When the evals are this close at depth 30, the engine's #1 choice can be safely ignored, especially if we're talking practical play.

What's much more important is understanding the middlegame ideas you're choosing between.

If 7...0-0 and 7...Nbd7 lead to the same ideas, then play whatever you want, it seriously doesn't matter beyond being an esoteric academic point. In practical play it's guaranteed that both you and your opponent will make many inaccuracies much larger than a few 10ths or 100ths of a pawn before the game is over. The way to make fewer inaccuracies is being rigorous in both your OTB analysis and home preparation (like playing over many GM example games to understand the ideas in the positions you will reach). Trying to finesse move 7, if all options are roughly the same, will not improve your actual results and will be a waste of time.

kindaspongey

"Hope Chess - You don't consistently see if your candidate moves can be defeated by a forcing reply before you make your move ..."

https://web.archive.org/web/20140627071059/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman111.pdf

https://www.chess.com/article/view/passive-vs-basic-hope-chess

shoushisenban

I see, thanks a lot for your detailed answers and for the articles ^^

I'll keep in mind that, as you said, general ideas are in most cases more important than trifling details, although I also believe that a succession of seemingly meaningless small differences can lead to a significant advantage.

ChessOfficial2016

Hope Chess is setting up a threat or a trap and your opponent doesn't do the correct thing.

tygxc

Hope chess = you win if he does not see it, you lose if he sees it, you hope he does not see it.

vamsimuppala

This opening could be considered hope chess:

At the end, Black is way ahead in development, and has a better position than White, who only developed a bishop and a queen.