Fritz, Rybka, or think for yourself after all?

Rooie2016
IM Rooie2016
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0 | Chess Event Coverage
In the glorious past grandmaster games still had something invincible, something you would look at with respect and would not dare giving your opinion about. Grandmaster games were something very complicated, something you should not show to beginners, since it would only confuse them. Since the rise of the computer, databases and engines, that is all gone. You can check in the database up to which point it was still theory and from that point on you can judge the players' performance with any engine. The audience at home knows exactly what is happening from move to move and top players are complaining about the decline of respect.

It is even as bad as that nobody seems to think for themselves anymore. ?¢‚Ǩ?ìFritz says +1.37?جø¬??, discussion closed. That Black may still have some nasty little threats and that the white king is not completely safe, does not matter. I found myself explaining many times that computers are not perfect either and for example often change their evaluation of a piece saccrifice after a while, but I never sound very convincing. I know this pitfall very well, but I have no idea how to explain it.

And then I fell for it myself again. While writing the report on the Dutch League match Homburg Apeldoorn ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú SO Rotterdam about three months ago, I quickly checked the games with Fritz and wrote about the game below: ?¢‚Ǩ?ìSiebrecht and Bosch played a bit of a sloppy game ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú after Jeroen missed a sudden winning chance and a bit later a sudden drawing chance as well, Sebastian decided the game in his favour.?جø¬??



Now it is January, I have switched to Rybka in the meanwhile and am currently collecting some positions. ?¢‚Ǩ?ìWhat was that win again, that Black overlooked??جø¬??, I kept wondering, without being able to find. Then it said click and I realised that Fritz, based on several bonusses that it awards (like king safety, heavy pieces close to the opponent's king, passed pawns, space advantage), fairly randomly evaluates the position as a win for Black without actually ?¢‚Ǩ?ìseeing?جø¬?? a concrete win. Rybka and other engines think that the position is about equal, which definitely looks like a more realistic starting point. Here we hit on the problem with the hero engine of the Microsoft of chess: while every human being is thinking ?¢‚Ǩ?ìno idea what the position is like, looks like nothing special, I guess it is about equal?جø¬??, Fritz is telling you that one of the sides is close to winning already. It reminds us a bit of analysing in the pub: first telling everybody that White is winning and then having a look at the position. That is why an engine like Rybka is a relief: unlike really something is going on, the evaluation is always around zero. But most of all I learned my lesson: always think for yourself.
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