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#1 » by J0E (m) (β1173) » February 15th, 2020, 8:27 am

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Can anything really be learned by having a student play chess against computer opponents? Many people believe that playing chess is a purely human skill. After all, the ability to formulate a plan and execute it against thinking opposition is one of the primary markers that defines us as human, or Homo Sapiens. The problem with this idea is that the top chess grandmaster in the world (Gary Kasparov) was beaten by a computer several years ago. The idea that computers have nothing to teach us about chess is quite wrong. While computer chess programs have as yet quite poor strategic thinking, they do excel in tactical awareness. For a player under a playing strength of Elo 2000 tactical awareness is probably one area in which they can gain the most benefit from the least effort and as we have already seen chess programs are already stronger in this area than any human teacher.

Playing strength in chess is determined by many things but at the lower end of the spectrum it is largely dictated by two factors only - tactical awareness and avoiding blunders. Of course knowledge of opening theory plays a role but please note that I do not here say that opening knowledge is important - opening knowledge is a different thing altogether. Far too many beginners spend too long attempting to memorise openings by rote with little understanding of why the pieces should be moved in a particular fashion already. If a beginner develops sound tactical awareness and avoids blunders they will grow in strength rapidly.

Providing a beginner has knowledge of basic chess tactics such as pins, skewers, overloading and so on, then a chess program can teach them to improve and develop this aspect of their game in a rapidly increasing manner. Some programs will show pieces under threat whilst playing in tutorial mode, others will allow takes back of poor moves or open a window where an electronic coach will offer "hints" to the player so they can avoid a poor move and so on.

The really great thing about a chess computer though is that it can often be set to play at a particular level of ability and will play like that relentlessly. If the machine is set to play slightly stronger (roughly 100-200 Elo) than the player then it is still possible for the player to win, but only if they concentrate and avoid blunders. This will focus the mind wonderfully and it will also instruct the player rapidly as they will always be playing against stronger opposition.

Overall a chess computer can be an exceptionally useful instructional tool, but only if applied in the correct fashion. So, is it possible to improve tactical understanding by playing chess against computer opponents? Of course and today even the grandmasters are doing it. :mrgreen:


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#2 » by Favour12 (β300) » February 16th, 2020, 6:02 am

orrr
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#3 » by Favour12 (β300) » February 16th, 2020, 6:02 am

:clap: :lol; :what:
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