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The Controversial Computer

User Rating: / 0
Written by Natalia Pogonina   
Thursday, 21 May 2009

Recently we have asked you to submit your ideas and questions (my e-mail is still so that I could share my opinion and personal experience with you. The #1 responder was Phiseiskii Stanislav who asked me to write a bit about playing advanced chess and my home computer preparation. Heres the story:

The attitude towards PCs in the modern world is controversial due to the changes they have brought into our favorite game. The obvious advantage of using chess engines is that they help find new ideas and speed up the preparation process, while the downside is that the game becomes more dry, mechanistic. Often the game becomes a struggle between their chess engines, a lets see whose home prep was better competition.

I use chess engines in two main ways:

  1. Opening analysis
  2. Game analysis

Nowadays great attention is paid to the opening. A strong novelty, extensive home prep, and your opponent may already start packing up his suitcases. Or, vice versa: you forgot to do your homework, made a dubious move, and now are struggling for a draw.

My ratio (human/engine) in home preparation is about 50/50. First of all I and my coaches choose the direction in which were moving, search for strong and humanlike moves, then check all these variations with the engine and pay attention to its suggestions, new ideas. Its essential to determine the search direction yourself and not to follow the first engine line thoughtlessly.
Sometimes the first line variations dont work out, while the 2nd, 3rd or even worse (while you feel that its interesting) proves to be just great.

While analyzing games my main priority is not to just find mistakes and the right moves, but learn something new. Thats why I prefer analyzing myself first and only switch the engine on from time to time. Of course, its much easier to become a spectator and just enjoy the PCs performance, but this hardly helps develop your own thinking. So, once again, first I look at the game myself and only then I unleash the cyborg and let him do his filthy job.

Talking about advanced chess I have a little experience in it. Namely, I used to analyse a certain opening variation and then play it in advanced chess against my coach. A man using an engine is a chess lethal weapon! PCs are great at calculating variations, while experienced chess players know how to choose the most promising, strongest ones from the suggested. These training games were tough, especially from the psychological point of view. For example, a sacrifice that could be just great in a regular game against a human would fail against an advancer. So you arent sure against whom youre playing: this very opponent or his chess engine. That was confusing. At some point I decided to quit playing advance chess matches although I agree that they might be useful in terms of analyzing openings and memorizing them.

To sum this all up, I would like to say that one cant do without using chess engines, but to a certain extent: at the tournament you will have to play for yourself, without the help of the silicon monster. So its your brain cells that matter, not his transistors!

Comments (10)
1. Written by Mortu on 19:08 21 2009 .
: : , , , ( , ). =^_^=
2. Written by on 00:05 22 2009 .
, / ? ( )?
3. Written by Natalia on 08:13 22 2009 .
, . . . - . .
4. Written by on 14:52 22 2009 .
! ! ! !
5. Written by on 17:47 22 2009 .
, ... , ? , ?
6. Written by Natalia on 19:58 22 2009 .
, . - , , Age of Empires, Dune 2, . , ?
7. Written by on 08:24 24 2009 .
. , . : Heroes, Disciples, Civilization, Panzer General (Fantasy, Space), . : Space King's Quest-, Lands of Lore, Lost of Time, , Might&Magic. , MUD-(, ), - Lineage2. , , , - , , , .
8. Written by Wayne from Alberta,Canada on 06:45 24 2009 .
Hi Natalia,thank you for sharing your perspective on how you use computers in your preparation and practise. Can you please tell me how you practise and try to improve your tactical abilities in chess? Thank you. :grin
9. Written by Ja on 14:26 24 2009 .
Natalia, which chess programs do you prefer?
10. Written by Natalia on 18:49 24 2009 .
To Wayne, I solve a lot of tactics every day. 
To Ja, I prefer using Rybka and Fritz for game analysis, Chessbase and Chess Assistant for preparation, and a lot of other studies programs for everything else

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 21 May 2009 )
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