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Sicilian, Alapin (B22)
1 e4 c5 2 c3

Number of games in database: 12014
Years covered: 1842 to 2021
Overall record:
   White wins 32.2%
   Black wins 33.9%
   Draws 33.8%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
PRACTITIONERS
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Dusko Pavasovic  225 games
Evgeny Sveshnikov  130 games
Drazen Sermek  104 games
Sergei Movsesian  38 games
Zdenko Kozul  35 games
Loek van Wely  31 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Deep Blue vs Kasparov, 1996
Capablanca vs M Czerniak, 1939
Alekhine vs J Podgorny, 1943
Ljubojevic vs J Polgar, 1994
Zakar vs Szabo, 1933
Sveshnikov vs Kasparov, 1979
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 page 1 of 481; games 1-25 of 12,014 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J Schulten vs Saint Amant 0-1201842ParisB22 Sicilian, Alapin
2. Zytogorski vs T Barnes 1-0441855Kling's Coffee HouseB22 Sicilian, Alapin
3. Alapin vs Maroczy  ½-½251898ViennaB22 Sicilian, Alapin
4. Alapin vs Schiffers 1-0441898ViennaB22 Sicilian, Alapin
5. Alapin vs Tarrasch 0-1381898ViennaB22 Sicilian, Alapin
6. Alapin vs J Mieses  ½-½211901Monte CarloB22 Sicilian, Alapin
7. Alapin vs Blackburne ½-½421901Monte CarloB22 Sicilian, Alapin
8. C S Howell vs W Napier 0-1481901BuffaloB22 Sicilian, Alapin
9. Marshall vs Loman 1-0461902MatchB22 Sicilian, Alapin
10. Albin vs W Napier 1-0341902Monte CarloB22 Sicilian, Alapin
11. J De Soyres vs B Leussen 0-1451903DCA Congress 31stB22 Sicilian, Alapin
12. H Wolf vs Schlechter 0-1531904Coburg (Meisterturnier)B22 Sicilian, Alapin
13. S Levitsky vs G Helbach 1-0261905St. PetersburgB22 Sicilian, Alapin
14. Alapin vs Dus Chotimirsky 0-1481905St PetersburgB22 Sicilian, Alapin
15. Nimzowitsch vs Schlechter 0-1261905Austro-Hungarian championshipB22 Sicilian, Alapin
16. Nimzowitsch vs K Satzinger  1-03519051st simulB22 Sicilian, Alapin
17. H Wolf vs Blackburne 1-0351905OstendB22 Sicilian, Alapin
18. Nimzowitsch vs Przepiorka ½-½251905Barmen Meisterturnier BB22 Sicilian, Alapin
19. J N Berger vs Marshall 1-0521905Barmen Meisterturnier AB22 Sicilian, Alapin
20. H Wolf vs J Mieses ½-½611905Barmen Meisterturnier AB22 Sicilian, Alapin
21. Nimzowitsch vs I Kopa 0-1541905Barmen Meisterturnier BB22 Sicilian, Alapin
22. J Perlis vs B Leussen 0-1341905Barmen Meisterturnier BB22 Sicilian, Alapin
23. Nimzowitsch vs H Fahrni 0-1361905Barmen Meisterturnier BB22 Sicilian, Alapin
24. H Wolf vs J Mieses  1-0481906OstendB22 Sicilian, Alapin
25. J Perlis vs Tartakower 0-1111907Ostend-BB22 Sicilian, Alapin
 page 1 of 481; games 1-25 of 12,014 
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-22-09  chessman95: This opening seems to have gotten much more popular in recent years. However, it does not do very well for white, and on this site it is even better for black. I think this may be partly because too many players play this opening in mind of getting a classical pawn center, but in the Alapin this rarely actually happens. However, when played by people who are experts in this opening is has fared solid for white, and even though it is not as strong as some other choices, it's a good way too avoid the amazing amount of theory on the Sicilian. I use this and the Morra Gambit as my surprise weopons, or when I'm just sick of all the main lines.

The Closed Sicilian is another solid choice for black that I think may be underestimated. It avoids a ton of theory, but unlike most "anti" openings, it is perfectly normal and does not involve any gambits or strange moves. One of the best benefits of using this variation is that while white's position is usually more cramped than usual, black does not have an open C-file, so white really doesn't have anything to worry about. Even though all the critisizm given to this variation's many weaknesses is completely true, there's no reason to worry because black doesn't have any conterattacking chances until well after white is developed and has a solid position.

The last variation I sometimes use is the Wing Gambit. This is the ultimate anti-sicilian opening. Although a very poor choice for white, not many people acutally know how to exploit this variation's weaknesses, so it will practically do better than it will theoretically. The main problem with this opening is that after the gambit pawn is taken at b4, white's knight cannot go to c3 to protect the weak e-pawn, so I am usually forced to passively put it at d2. Besides that though, white has open peice play and attacking chances all over, and if black does not play near perfect, white can get a solid advantage. It is good to note that at higher levels this is not played very much not because it is that bad, but because the players are so good. It's a dangerous option against anyone who will make a few slips every game.

Feb-22-09  chessman95: By the way, I ran a computer analysis of this position (1.e4 c5 2.c3) and the results showed that black has an almost-equal game. Of the other variations I analyzed, white is able to get at least a slight advantage with optimal or near-optimal play.
Feb-22-09  FiveofSwords: <chessman95> computers understand nothing. If I disagree with a computer's evaluation then the computer is wrong.
Feb-22-09  chessman95: <FiveofSwords> I disagree. While we shouldn't base our play on computer analysis because they assume optimal play, a long computer test looks far into the game and sees future advantages and disadvantages that no human can be aware of except after a lot of experience. The computer analysis that I had done on the Alapin had been an over-night one, so it based a lot of it's results on how the middle and endgame turned out.

I think a key mistake of humans is that we focuse too much on contolling the center, getting the bishop pair, etc., which are all things that practice and computer analysis have shown to usually be advantages. But a computer's goal in the openings is not to acheive any of this, just to win the game. If it sees that in thirty moves it will need to have control of a certain square, it controls it, not because it's a center square but because in that certain game it needs to. The problem is that usually the squares a computer needs to control are ones in the center, because of how the board is set up, so humans think that the goal of the opening is to control the center, not to work towards mate. Humans take things that usually get advantages and think that in all games they will help. Many times in the opening stage I find myself trying to control every center square, and when I do I am satisfied. But I am not looking at what is actually going to help me checkmate the king, so many of those dominated squares in the center don't end up mattering at all. In fact I don't even look into the future when playing the opening anymore, but instead focuse on pawn structure, center squares, etc.

I am not saying that the way humans play is bad, but that because we don't have the brain power of computers all we can do is take the patterns by which they play and apply them to our own game. So if a computer says a position favors one person, it is not becuase of the immediate factors like who is more developed, but who will end up having a better chance at checkmating. Also, humans think too much in stages: opening, middle-game and endgame. A computer just thinks about the game as one part, and from move one it's goal is checkmate. Because of this, I think that we should respect a computer's opinion of openings.

Feb-22-09  square dance: its an almost universally accepted fact that computer evaluations are meaningless in opening theory.
Feb-22-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: <chessman95: <FiveofSwords> I disagree. While we shouldn't base our play on computer analysis because they assume optimal play, a long computer test looks far into the game and sees future advantages and disadvantages that no human can be aware of except after a lot of experience. The computer analysis that I had done on the Alapin had been an over-night one, so it based a lot of it's results on how the middle and endgame turned out. >

As others pointed out, you have this entirely backwards. Humans have been working on this opening for at least 157 years. Collectively, our minds are the most massive and powerful thinking tools on this planet. Through game after game of trial and error, we have figured out what does and doesn't work in the opening. Theory is constantly refining lines, but the refinement is starting at deeper and deeper points.

Computers, on the other hand, are looking relatively shallowly at the position. You can let your computer work on this position for an entire week and it simply can't look enough ply deep at a time to get an accurate idea of how the moves it plays early impact the situation much later on. There is too much complexity in the game from the start to expect several hours to be sufficient to simplify it.

Even more to the point, the computer selects moves based on its evaluation of the position. Guess what sort of things it uses to evaluate positions? The very things we tell it to. So if the human way of analysing is flawed, then the computer is built upon the same flawed reasoning.

Feb-22-09  FiveofSwords: antoehr mistake Ive seen, which is very funny when it happens, is a person will trust a computer evaluation of something like +2.5, because they win the exchange or something, but the position is a complete mess and disaster, ordinance is flying all over the board and their king is exposed. Then they reach this position over the board, and I suppose they think they are winning, but very quickly lose because they simply cannot defend as perfectly as the computer can. Humans and computer are good and bad in very different sorts of positions, and they make very different sorts of mistakes. You will never play like a computer, and if your evaluation is based on computer evaluation, then either the computer's performance is suffering because of it, or yours is.
Feb-22-09  chessman95: <gangstaman> I see your point. But the problem with human analysis is that we are vary biased and cannot look at any position fairly. And the fact that humans have analyzed an opening for 150 years does not mean a lot, becuase chess players have widely accepted certain lines as "main lines." This is one of the reasons that the Sicilian is so popular: few players hesitate to let black open up the c-file, so Sicilian players can expect good counterplay. A computer on the other hand does not play something because it is expecting a response which it likes, but becuase it is good no matter what the other person plays.

And the thing about computer engines evaluating the way we tell them to is not entirely true. The best computers are simply told the rules and evaluate, having to find the relative value of the peices and positions by themselves. Even better are computers programmed with Artificial Inteligence, which are very accurate and involve no human interference.

Feb-22-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: <chessman95: <gangstaman> I see your point. But the problem with human analysis is that we are vary biased and cannot look at any position fairly. And the fact that humans have analyzed an opening for 150 years does not mean a lot, becuase chess players have widely accepted certain lines as "main lines." This is one of the reasons that the Sicilian is so popular: few players hesitate to let black open up the c-file, so Sicilian players can expect good counterplay. A computer on the other hand does not play something because it is expecting a response which it likes, but becuase it is good no matter what the other person plays.>

How do you think main lines became main lines? Years of trial and error and analysis. We've determined that there are easy ways to handle deviations, just as the computer would.

<And the thing about computer engines evaluating the way we tell them to is not entirely true. The best computers are simply told the rules and evaluate, having to find the relative value of the peices and positions by themselves. Even better are computers programmed with Artificial Inteligence, which are very accurate and involve no human interference. >

This is actually false. The best chess engines are the ones with predetermined evaluation functions (take Rybka for example). Can you show me one of the other, more AI-like engines? I imagine that it will take these engines much more time to get any good at the game, if they can even become 'good' at such a complex game.

Feb-22-09  chessman95: <gangstman> I still disagree about the chess engines. Ones with predetermined things like peice values, etc. are too inaccurate. The relative value of peices is always changing as the game changes, and one relative value system (like p=1, n=3, b=3, etc.) is not correct for most positions in chess.

<I imagine that it will take these engines take much more time to get any good at the game, if they can even become 'good' at such a complex game.> That's completely wrong. AI is always becoming better and better, and chess engines programmed with AI can become near-optimal. Also, it does not take a long amount of time to get them to a high playing-level, assuming the computer has good proccessing power. They are much more effective than you think, and can teach themselves very quickly. Also, chess is not as complicated as you think for computers. For humans it is because of all the things required to learn and all the years of practice it takes to get good, but our brains learn chess very slowly (through an inefficient sort of trial and error system). For an AI engine though, it does not take very complicated programming to teach it chess, and all the rest it does by itself.

Feb-22-09  MaxxLange: --long post deleted since I got everyones's name mixed up---

I agree with chessman, and I don't actually know of any AI chess programs. THe AI people seem to be interested in other stuff since about 1970. The evaluation functions are all programmed, and they have to change weights or even switch to a new eval function (like an endgame one, say) to react to changes on the board.

Feb-22-09  square dance: the level of diplomacy on cg.com blows me away. one person in this debate makes basically one reasonable statement and someone comes along and points out how they agree with that person because of that statement, or at least agrees with that particular point.
Feb-22-09  FiveofSwords: chessman, in many sorts of positions I could completely blow the strongest engine out of the water with knowing and being able to calculate the possible results of this posiiton, because I am familiar with the position and humans are absurdly better than computers at 'instant recall'. NO computer can take a database of knowledge of say, 5000 gigs, and look at a position and instantly realize they know this position. We are about 5,0000 years from computer technology like that. But with humans, we have that. Another thin humans have is the ability to break a position down logically. A human can look at an opening, get basic idea of the possibilities, and then know what moves they need to 'hurry' with and what moves they should wait on because they might get different options depending on how the opponent reacts, that sort of thing. I can take an opening and immediately know that if you play this way, i wil get an 'improved' version of a completely different opening, a tempo up perhaps. COmputers cannot do this sort of stuff. If you turned the book off on a computer there is no doubt i could get a huge advantage against it out of the opening. It probably would play me later, but still, the advantage I get from the opening would drastically increase my chances. Even in pure tactics, its not all that uncommon for me to see in seconds a line that takes my fritz11 about 3 hours to finially notice. Because its a thematic idea that im familiar with. what computers do is simple for computers, but computers dont play chess. It just looks like it. Yes, computers are obnoxiously accurate with calculation, and this makes them difficult opponents, especially with fast time controls. probably a human could specialize in beatintg computers and be quite consistent with it. But that sounds really boring. Use computers to spot unusual and difficult tactical ideas in various positions. Dont use them to teach you about who really has more central control in the alapin sicilian.
Feb-22-09  parisattack: The real test for AI will not be in chess, but in the game of Go. If Moore's Law holds good another 20 years (who knows?) there won't be a need for much if any heuristic paradigm in a chess engine - but in Go, that's a different story. There is some work on Go being done in the UK using genetic algorithms and Monte Carlo sampling that shows great promise.
Feb-22-09  chessman95: <FiveofSwords>

<No computer can look at a position and instantly relize they know that position> This may be true for most computers (soon all will be able to do this) but this is not actually a disadvantage. A computer will look at a position and find the same 'best' move every time, so it does not need to remember it.

<Another thing humans have is the ability to break down a position logically> This is not a strength, but a weakness. Of course, when a game is played with human vs. human, this gives an advantage to the one who's better at this, but against computers it's a disadvatage. A big problem with humans is that we set short-term goals in a chessgame: often in the opening we try to get something, and in the middlegame the strategy is usually to attack a certain peice or area. Computers on the other hand do not break down the game into smaller segments, but look at chess as one game. They are inbiased evaluaters because they look at short-term and long-term weaknesses, and also how to exploit them, or if they are exploitable.

<If you turned the book off in a computer there's no doubt I could get a huge advantage against it in the opening> You may think you have an advantage, but usually you don't. I've actually done this to computers, but even when I have complete control of the center and the bishop pair, it always ends up exploiting minor weaknesses that no human would have payed attention to. My "great" position never ends up helping me, because if a computer lets you get a good position like that, there's something wrong with your defense.

Feb-23-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: <chessman95: <gangstman> I still disagree about the chess engines. Ones with predetermined things like peice values, etc. are too inaccurate. The relative value of peices is always changing as the game changes, and one relative value system (like p=1, n=3, b=3, etc.) is not correct for most positions in chess. >

I believe that engines actually look at the position of the pieces before giving them value. Also, position pluses of pieces (blockades, squares they control, etc) are taken into account. So having a knight is worth something, but what it's doing where also matters. The engines take care of everything, so all is good with them.

So I was doing some research to find what you were talking about in terms of AI. I found that there are engines that can learn relative values of pieces and other featurs of the game just by playing. I was wrong in that they do take not so long to become very good. However, I was right in that they still aren't as good as the more traditional engines. The one paper I was looking at had an engine that improved 400 points by playing, yet it was still hundreds of Elo points below Rybka.

When you said <Even better are computers programmed with Artificial Inteligence, which are very accurate and involve no human interference.> what did you mean? You said this after mentioning the ones that self-learn the values, implying that these engines are learning more than that. What sort of AI are you refering to? Can you find me a paper or a name I can look up or anything? As far as I knew, no engine that didn't simply build the game tree and then search through that was any good.

<Also, chess is not as complicated as you think for computers. For humans it is because of all the things required to learn and all the years of practice it takes to get good, but our brains learn chess very slowly (through an inefficient sort of trial and error system). For an AI engine though, it does not take very complicated programming to teach it chess, and all the rest it does by itself.>

When I'm talking about complexity, I mean the branching factor of building the tree. Chess is huge. Even for computers, they can't fully brute force the game, some pruning has to take place. Ask anyone who's worked on the numbers or tried to program an engine. They will tell you right away that even computers have trouble wading through the complexity.

Feb-23-09  DarthStapler: I beat a master with this opening
Feb-23-09  chessman95: <gangstaman>

<I believe that engines actually look at the position of the pieces before giving them value. Also, position pluses of pieces (blockades, squares they control, etc) are taken into account.> That is completely true, but it still does not make the evaluation extremely accurate, because there are some constants programmed into the computer that don't change with each position. The problem with evaluations like these is that they only look at what peices are doing now, and not what they will do later. A bishop that is pinning a knight may look "valuable" to a computer, but will it actually end up impacting the game? Often the answer turns out to be no. This is what experienced AI engines can know from practice.

<they still aren't as good as the more traditional engines.> I guess that was more something I was saying for the future. However, I wasn't talking about the AI engines that actually play the game, I was talking about the ones that evaluate and are used for finding strengths of openings, etc. These are good because they don't assume optimal play, but instead practices through any lines that get through the filter, so the evaluations are good for measuring how the openings or positions will do with only mediocre human play as opposed to near-perfect computer play.

<What sort of AI are you refering to?> Once again I'm not refering to chess engines that publically play, but private ones that are built by computer-scientists to evaluate chess. You might be able to find some info on these on college sites, where I've heard some have been programmed.

<Chess is huge.> This is absolutely true. We are many, many, many years away from the day when somebody will finally be able to build a chess engine to go through every line until checkmate or draw and find the absolute optimal move in every position (I can't wait to see what the true best first move is!). In fact, I doubt this will ever happen: I read on one site that the number of possible chess games is greater than the number of atoms in the entire universe. By then, I'm sure there will be no point to chess anymore, because everyone will know the best response to everything. But in the present, a good filter solves most of this problem, and also AI engines will stop a line if one person has such an advantage that it calculates there is no way for the other person to win, so between those two things and some other preprogrammed factors it greaty cuts down on the amount of lines it has to go through (still a lot of course).

By the way, when I googled "artificial intelligence chess engines" I got some interesting sites, if you're looking for real-life examples of these engines.

Feb-23-09  chessman95: I found some other very interesting sites on AI chess. They pointed out some interesting advatages of AI chess engines. One is that sometimes they won't play the best move because of other known future advantages. An example is that often in openings people play what is considered the "theoretically best" move, but most people know how to respond. AI computers have the ability to play slightly weaker moves if it sees that the move will complicate the position, or do anything else that gives a computer an advatage. Also, AI computers have the remarkable ability to actually play gambits or sacrifice peices because it calculates that the attack it will build will not be refuted by its opponent. Another thing is that apparently some computers are told to set traps if the move is not too bad. Unlike regular computers, they are not restricted to just playing the best move, but instead play the most stratigic move. Of course these computers will never be better than normal computers because they will find refutations, but they have been proven to be better against humans, so it would probably be better to train against them then a regular computer like the one I play against at home a lot.
Feb-25-09  FiveofSwords: haha you really love computers eh? <A computer will look at a position and find the same 'best' move every time, so it does not need to remember it. > False. They have no idea what a best move is. Especially if you look at endgames, which is of course simpelr than non endgames, even the strongest will quite often play moves that give away the win, or give away the draw. <A big problem with humans is that we set short-term goals in a chessgame: often in the opening we try to get something, and in the middlegame the strategy is usually to attack a certain peice or area.> False. < They are inbiased evaluaters> True! and this uncomfortable consistency is one of the things that makes them so difficult. Humans should try to emulate this quality as much as possible. <it always ends up exploiting minor weaknesses that no human would have payed attention to> False. Look, its quite common that I get a position that both me and the computer agree is clearly better for me. Its not seeing some mystical thing that I dont. Unless its deceiving me when it sends the move by move eval (haha that would be some really great AI). Its just that in chess its very hard to get a clear and easy win position, theres always some possible messiness that a stronger player can outplay you with. I can even look at the position and know, if the computer gets counteprlay it will involve such and such. But I think i have it under control, but it finds some really bizarre tactic that gets there anyway. computers are not chess gods and theres a reason why, when humans want their program to play well in some computer tournament, they do NOT switch the opening book (which are mainly pure human moves) off.
Feb-25-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: <chessman95: <I believe that engines actually look at the position of the pieces before giving them value. Also, position pluses of pieces (blockades, squares they control, etc) are taken into account.> That is completely true, but it still does not make the evaluation extremely accurate, because there are some constants programmed into the computer that don't change with each position. The problem with evaluations like these is that they only look at what peices are doing now, and not what they will do later. A bishop that is pinning a knight may look "valuable" to a computer, but will it actually end up impacting the game? Often the answer turns out to be no. This is what experienced AI engines can know from practice.>

I don't think this is correct. The engines I looked at that involved self-learning would have all of the evaluation function set in place with only the values (the eventual 'constants') changing based on the learning. But for the computer to decide how valuable the bishop will be (as in 'in the future of the leaf node of its evaluation') requires the computer to be able to decide what it will do in order to evaluate. You seem to be giving AI too much credit -- you can't just say 'AI' and then assume anything is possible.

<<they still aren't as good as the more traditional engines.> I guess that was more something I was saying for the future. However, I wasn't talking about the AI engines that actually play the game, I was talking about the ones that evaluate and are used for finding strengths of openings, etc. These are good because they don't assume optimal play, but instead practices through any lines that get through the filter, so the evaluations are good for measuring how the openings or positions will do with only mediocre human play as opposed to near-perfect computer play.>

So you're saying that you can find better openings by assuming your opponent will play worse moves? This seems to require some logical leap that I am not willing to take. If you make a worse move than the best available hoping to trap your opponent, and then he doesn't fall for it, you are now worse off than you would have been. This sounds bad.

<<What sort of AI are you refering to?> Once again I'm not refering to chess engines that publically play, but private ones that are built by computer-scientists to evaluate chess. You might be able to find some info on these on college sites, where I've heard some have been programmed.>

I searched and didn't find anything more than the self-learning. Again, it sounds to me like you're just throwing the word AI around like it can mean anything. I was a computer science major in college and did some AI programming. There are very specific algorithms that can be used and they're not all the same.

Feb-25-09  chessman95: <FiveofSwords>

<False. They have no idea what a best move is.> That is true, but I didn't literally mean they will find the best move. I meant that depending on how they will evaluate positions, they are going to think a certain move is the strongest every time, so they will play that same move every time even though they don't "remember" it.

<<A big problem with humans is that we set short-term goals in a chessgame: often in the opening we try to get something, and in the middlegame the strategy is usually to attack a certain peice or area.> False.> How can you say false?? Just take a look at some of the HUMAN MADE French lines, and you will see that they often obsess on attacking the d4 pawn, which they well know isn't going to get them any big advantage.

<<it always ends up exploiting minor weaknesses that no human would have payed attention to> False.> I was just saying that if the computer lets you get a strangly good position in the opening, it's not just playing stupid, in probably has something else in mind.

<when humans want their program to play well in some computer tournament, they do NOT switch the opening book (which are mainly pure human moves) off.> This is just because we don't have the computer technology to make turning off the opening book effective. However, once we do this will make computer's opening play stronger, because it will weed out any mistakes humans have made in the many openings that have been "invented".

Feb-25-09  chessman95: <gangstaman>

<The engines I looked at that involved self-learning would have all of the evaluation function set in place with only the values (the eventual 'constants')> The ones I've heard of do not have the peice values as constants (that are changing), but instead have a formula in place which is made up of the parts that give a peice its value (number of squares attacked, number of squares defending, mobility, escape options, etc.) and the computer "learns" how much each of these factors impacts each peice, and then finds the value of peices in each situation, so the peice values are never constants, but more accurate depending on the situation.

<So you're saying that you can find better openings by assuming your opponent will play worse moves?> No, I'm not saying that at all. What I'm saying is that I can safely assume that no human that I play will ever find a move that gets an advantage in every line after 15 perfect moves, which a very strong computer might (but probably won't) see. Instead, humans will only play according to what they see in the near future, or advice they have learned (like reading in an opening book that a certain move will give an endgame advantage).

Feb-26-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: <chessman95: <The engines I looked at that involved self-learning would have all of the evaluation function set in place with only the values (the eventual 'constants')> The ones I've heard of do not have the peice values as constants (that are changing), but instead have a formula in place which is made up of the parts that give a peice its value (number of squares attacked, number of squares defending, mobility, escape options, etc.) and the computer "learns" how much each of these factors impacts each peice, and then finds the value of peices in each situation, so the peice values are never constants, but more accurate depending on the situation.>

We're saying the same thing, though maybe I didn't make it obvious enough. However, note that with what you are saying now, the computer is basing it's view of the value of a piece only on certain predetermined factors. It cannot make up what factors it wants to consider, so it would see a bishop executing a pin and be happy. How is it able to guess how useful that will be in the long run?

<<So you're saying that you can find better openings by assuming your opponent will play worse moves?> No, I'm not saying that at all. What I'm saying is that I can safely assume that no human that I play will ever find a move that gets an advantage in every line after 15 perfect moves, which a very strong computer might (but probably won't) see. Instead, humans will only play according to what they see in the near future, or advice they have learned (like reading in an opening book that a certain move will give an endgame advantage).>

So what's the vaule in your statement? Are you actually considering playing less than the best move at some point hoping your opponent will make an even worse move back? How can you plan ahead and make moves without assuming your opponent will play back perfectly?

For example, let's say you see a line for yourself that generally works out in your favor. However, you are able to see that your opponent has a particular response to this line which renders it inferior to your alternatives. You can see its inferiority, yet you play it anyway hoping your opponent does not? And if you can't see that your line is actually worse, then how can you say that it is indeed worse? So when would you ever play less than the best move you can spot?

Feb-26-09  FiveofSwords: consider a computer that can see and evaluate, say, 10,000,000 positions a second. Thats fairly good. Thats a lot better than a human although we work around it by ignoring the vast, vast majority of those positions. But if you take a normal position, and consider how many different possible positions there will be in the next 3 moves, you will discover a number like 100,000,000,000,000,000. The consequences are pretty obvious and is all you really need to know about computers. Humans can deal with numbers like this in the long term because, unlike computers, we can see what is more or less temporary and what is more or less permenant in a position. A fairly simple permenant nature of the alapin, for example, is that white can develop just as quickly as black, and will easily keep the same number of center pawns as black, if he chooses.
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