What's The Most Fun Chess Program Out There These Days

peterk1

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Lurker has it. In WWII wargaming terms, the tactical player would be the company commanders on the ground trying to figure out how to capture the building across the street in the next hour or so. The positional player would be the general a couple of miles away looking at the whole battlefield figuring out how to eventually win the whole battle. Chess programs like Chessmaster tend to be great at tactics but not always so sharp at long term strategy, so always keep playing even if you're a little behind.
In chess, I think you have to become very fluent at tactics before you start gaining confidence with having long-term strategies (ie. your long-term strategy often goes out the window the second you blunder a piece).
 
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Lurker

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peterk1 makes a good point. I think most novices feel more comfortable at first with tactical play, where they try to resolve the entire game with a 'sharp' combination. What they find though, when they are playing an opponent with some experience, is that the obvious combination is usually easily refuted. So a good rule of thumb is to analyze closely before you launch that tactical missile; it could be a dud that backfires on you. :)
 

peterk1

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A little example of strategy and tactics that don't involve going for a mate or necessarily winning a piece:

Strategy 1: White has his knight on f3 with only a pawn defense. If I capture with a bishop or a knight and he recaptures, he has a doubled pawn which is a weakness (but not right away!). He also gets an open rank for a rook which will be bad for me unless I neutralize it.

Tactics: The next move or two or three where I try to get his knight and make him double his pawns and get pieces in position to make sure his rook can't do much in the resulting opening.

Strategy 2: If I can manage to capture the e-pawn without letting one of his f pawns be the return capture. Then he has ISOLATED double-pawns which is really bad.

Tactics: Again, the next few moves trying to set that up.

Strategy 3: Wipe out the doubled pawns. he can no longer defend them with pawns himself and they can be blocked and frozen in position by a single piece, so there is nice possibility for winning combinations,

Up until the last bit, if the opponent is not aware of playing strategically, he will be happy and think he is doing well because material is even. The last strategic decision there will be the one that finally turns the game over.
 

peterk1

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I hate this game, I really, really hate this game.
I was playing a tournament game against Chessmaster this afternoon...final game in the tourny.
I ended up in an endgame, where I had two knights versus a rook. Ahead on points but I always have an inferiority complex when I'm rookless and the other side has one.
Offered a draw on move 42 and was very happy to get out with something.

Turned the game over to Fritz for analysis. Frikking +5.8 for me. GRRRRRR. Not happy! Not happy!
 

kcdusk

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Thanks for the positional v tactics explaination.

Peter - I have been rookless also, i think i over value them because they are worth 5 points but maybe moreso because in the end game they always seem a powerful piece to either clean up pawns or mate.

And the lesson as always is .... play on to the finish! Theres a lesson in how to win an end game there, plus the bonus of not giving up (drawing) when your ahead! You've given me motivation that our current game isnt "Peter Proof" :)
 

kcdusk

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Another question: Whats the most games you've started and finished in one day (regardless of time controls)? Either against the PC, OTB or on-line?
 

peterk1

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Normally I would play to the end, but in a tournament those stupid points enter into play. I still would have had a chance to finish in the top 3 with a draw. Oh well.
I usually play 2 "serious long" games Fri->Sun (I've been taking Friday's off most of the year) and one game a night the other days. Three a day would be the tops for me.
I find I learn more from analyzing games and doing problems, so it doesn't make sense to get carried away with the games.

There's a guy on chess.com who's playing something like 20 at the same time and not spending any time at all on puzzles. He told me he wanted to learn and not to be shy giving advice. BUT...he resigning early as soon as he sees his initial attack didn't work (he attacks llike a barracuda straight from move 1) and he's definitely not learning at all. Three easy wins, all due to knight forks even though I told him to watch out for them.
 

peterk1

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Just wondering what everyone's Chessmaster rating is. I'm finding the newer version 10 or 11 is absolutely brutal. I used to be 1600, but now I can't even crack 1200 (about 30 games played already).
 

kcdusk

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i normally try and keep 6 games going on chess.com. Normally making a move a day, sometimes 2.

I'm playing against chessmaster each night. Normally 1 game. 30 minutes each side. After 10 games my rating is "up to 1200". I just played a "player" rated at 1250 and beat them 4 out of 6. My rating is 1199 or something. I hope i can beat the next opponant whose at 1256 or something. After that its going to get harder. If i can cut down on my own mistakes i'll be doing well.

I want to play a couple of long games (2.5 hours) but just dont have the time to sit there. Even walking away and coming back i get frustrated if my timer has been running on me.
 

peterk1

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I want to play a couple of long games (2.5 hours) but just dont have the time to sit there. Even walking away and coming back i get frustrated if my timer has been running on me.
You can try what I do. If the position's not too complicated, I do my chess.com games at the same time. Gives you that "chessmaster playing in a simultaneous exhibition" sensation. :)
Just moved to a fun time-control - 40 for 40 and then 40 sudden death. I used to do Fischer with 45/30 but that takes too long. I had a 126 move game a little while back take 4.5 hours to play. Ouch.
 

peterk1

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Chess thread is a little slow these days, so thought I'd just post for the sake of posting.

Having tons of fun with my Chessmaster 10 and am heavily into my tournament career. Still wavering on time-controls. Fischer clocks can lead to a very long game, so I've been using 40 in 40 plus 40 sudden death. I'm playing well against lowish opponents (I'm lowish right now too), but first 40 in 40 minutes can be a little hectic. If the game is complex, it leads to time trouble right at the point in the game where the most important decisions are made. I'll be trying 40 in 60 + 20 sudden death for the next batch.

I came up with a fun way to do the tournaments. I'll alternate between 6 round Swiss tournaments and 10 round round robin.
For the Swiss, I use the groupings 1000-1200, 1200-1600 and 1600-2000 and just dump all of the CM players who can play at that level in.
For the Round Robin, I use 1000-1200, 1200-1400, 1400-1600... and play against 5 opponents chosen at random.

The Round Robins are used to solidify against similar players and slowly work up into the next group. The Swiss tournaments are where you can see your rating rise or fall very fast because you may be up against someone 400 points higher or lower than you.

I've got 2 games left in my current Round Robin (sitting pretty in 2nd place with a chance to finish ahead against that bratty mosquito Josh -6 who has beaten me twice) and I think if I can get 1.5 it'll be enough to see me up to the 1200-1600 group in the upcoming Swiss round.

One problem is I'm playing the games so fast, I've got a huge backlog of games to send to Fritz for analysis...and I don't even want to think about actually reading and studying the analysis.

A couple of things I hate about CM 10 tournaments. They seem to give a great preference to actually playing their predefined tournaments instead of doing your own. There's no opportunity to check out a player's profile before playing. There's no opportunity to save a PGN file after the game is over (you can wait til the whole tournament is over and then load the PGN for all your games at once though). And they don't give you the nice post-game recap that you get with the normal Rated Games. Don't know if they changed any of that stuff in CM11.

Have been playing fairly well on chess.com. Scott is taking a risk in our game with some power seeping exchanges coming up. Don't know if he has a knockout punch at the end of that combo yet, but seeing as he's in the top 8% of players on there...odds are there's something sneaky.

Kcdusk and I have a nice split of two games happening. These were funny. he won the game I was supposed to win, and I won the game that he had locked up. We both made fatal blunders in games we were winning. Played fairly well in all my other games, but these are among the toughest.

Almost threw a queen for nothing in a Kcdusk game this morning over my morning coffee. For some reason I gave my king queenlike powers for a few almost fatal seconds....and then the caffeine kicked in and I found an actual checkmate move.
 
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kcdusk

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I'm using Chessmaster Grandmaster Edition, which i think is CM11.

When playing tournaments, you cant read an opponants "blurb" or profile to see their playing style, no ability to save a games PGN file (same as CM10), and as Peter said there is no post-game recap either.

I've played two tournaments, but cant even see how to save a tourny, so it looks like you have to play all the games in one sitting. Which is crazy, when you consider in some pre-defined tournys there can be 10 or so games. I'll need to get the user guide out to see if you can save tournaments. But all the normal options are blacked out so i cant see that any "save" options work.

I plan to put my own tourney together so i can choose 3 players ranked just lower than me and another 2 ranked just higher, to see how it plays out and how easy it is to design your own tournament. But CM does offer allot of predefined tournaments to choose from - i dont know if thats a bad thing though (sounds like you think it is PeterK?), unless making your own really is too hard.

Peterk and i have just finished a game, where i put together one of the best combinations of attacking chess i've every played. I remember one night staring at the board and i could suddenly see 3 or 4 moves ahead and doing the maths in my head i thought i could win a piece and put his king under pressure all at the same time. I took the chance, to see if what i "saw" would work. If it failed i figured at least playing some agressive chess i might learn something even if my rating took a dive. It came together beatuifully. Running the game through CM i was up 3.78 after all was said and done. I was stoked. Promptly exchanged queens off the board, to make it less complicated. Then (Bang, smaking forehead on table) plonked my Rook onto a square under fire and lost him for nothing ... (bang bang bang) ... and the game turned -4.88 in Peters favour. Just devastated. I gave away a bishop and .... did i tell you about the great attacking chess i played and the risks i took back at the start of this game? Man, wasted.
 

peterk1

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Tournaments save themselves automatically, so you don't have to play every game in one sitting.
It's actually very easy and even fun to define a tournament - no problems there. What I meant about CM giving the pre-defined tournamants preference, is that even though I never really plan on using the pre-defined tournaments, that big window of all the pre-defined tournaments always pops up. And it's a greedy dialog too...you can't select any menu items or do anything else while it's up. Small thing, but I'm a computer programmer and it is somewhat of a strange design.
Smile....at least we only made one big blunder in each of our games!
 

peterk1

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Had a fun chess week. Played a tournament game every day after work adding a bit of drama to an otherwise unremarkable week.

Ended up WINNING my last round-robin tournament last Sunday in the 1000-1200 group with a record of 7.5/10. Josh 6 was the only player I wasn't able to beat but he had a meltdown late in the tournament and I took the lead on the last day. Starting rating was 1152. Ending rating was 1208. Just enough to bump me into the 1200-1600 group for the next tournament.

Played a nice 6 round Swiss tourny as pretty much the lowest ranked player. Lost the first two games (blowing one I should have won) but then finished strong with 3 wins and a draw and 3.5/6 for the event. All games against much higher ranked opposition and it was much easier than I expected for the most part.
Starting rating 1208. Finishing rating is 1234 and now I'm nicely entrenched in the 1200-1400 tier looking to move up further.

I noticed a little CM bug/feature while playing. When you play a tourny you never get as many points for a win as you would if you were playing a normal rated game and you usually lose more if you lose. It seems that CM uses the "base" rating in tournaments and not the rating that is adjusted for your computer's performance. It's the adjusted rating that gets displayed on screen, but for scoring purposes, CM will always treat its rating as being a little lower than that in tournys.

Really cool to see that dramatic upswing on the graph. Wonder if that book I recommended a few threads down has anything to do with it? Or am I just "getting back into the groove"?
 
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peterk1

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That's where the passion and drama is! It's like running a 5-7 day marathon.
Besides....I have to do something while WAITING FOR MOVES!!!!
:)
 

Scott Tortorice

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Well, now that Elemental has crashed and burned on take-off, I should have a lot more time to devote to Chess. :D (but also :cry:)
 
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