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Old October 16th 16, 04:18 AM
Radrook Radrook is offline
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First recorded activity by ChessBanter: Oct 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 17

Originally Posted by Andy Walker[_2_] View Post
On 17/06/14 19:34, Jules W. wrote:
Say I'm down by 2 to 5 points. The general consensus seems to be
that it is bad for me to trade in this situation.

In addition to what Martin says, this is a chess-specific
example of a more general game-theoretic concept, namely that of
variance reduction. If you are winning, then you want to reduce
the variance [randomness] of the position, even if this involves
returning some of your advantage, so as to increase the chance that
you will be able to turn your advantage into a win. Conversely, if
you are losing, then you want to increase the variance [even if this
involves handing your opponent a bigger advantage], on the grounds
that the more random/complex/difficult the position, the bigger the
chance that the opponent will go wrong. "Trading" is one way to
reduce, in typical positions, the variance, so it is, broadly, good
for the player who is notionally winning, bad for the player who is
notionally losing.

As with all chess "rules", there are few, if any, absolutes.
Chess is not played by rote.

Should I run all
around the board avoiding trades


looking for the perfect opening,

If you're losing. there is no "perfect opening". At best,
there may be ways of setting your opponent problems that s/he is
unable to solve. This is more likely if there are still lots of
pieces on the board, less likely if the position is simple.

is there more to this. Perhaps someone can suggest a book to study
about this.

There used to be a Fred Reinfeld book "How to Win when you're
Ahead", which had a companion whose title I forget, but it finished
with "... when you're Behind". Amazon and Bookfinder don't seem to
know anything about it. Caution: Reinfeld's books are not uniformly
excellent. But I once watched a small boy losing in short order in a
simultaneous display against the local champion, and it turned out that
he'd been sitting on a pile of books in order to raise himself enough
to see the board properly; the pile included the above two books and
also "How to Win Quickly". Perhaps he hadn't read them.

Broadly, if you're at the stage where you need to ask the
above, then more important than studying books is to get yourself
to your nearest chess club and play, play and play again. Study
books when you know enough about chess to know what you're studying.
When you do start studying, learning about tactics is Numero Uno,
followed by basic endgames, followed by middlegame strategy. Leave
openings until you've reached the degree of experience where they
matter. Playing real, live opponents face-to-face is much better
than playing against the computer.

Andy Walker,

Sometimes playing a computer is better.
If the opponents are too weak you won't have to delve too deeply into a position since decisive combinations will be handed to you on a silver platter by the mindless moves your opponent makes. Some persons play chess virtually without thinking. A computer makes you work to both avoid getting caught by tactical surprise and to work in finding tactical motifs in positions where they aren't staring you in the face. So human opponents can only improve your game if they can play as competitively as computers of respectable strength play.

Something similar happens in boxing. For example, we have boxers who enter the ring with undefeated records they have attained against pushovers. Their boxing skills have never really been tested. They have become sloppy in execution. Careless in defense. Overconfident in a nonexistent skill. Such boxers are immediately exposed when they suddenly encounter someone who really knows how to box. So all that supposedly beneficial practice did more harm than good.

Gee! I am really surprised idiot hasn't popped up and moronically proclaimed all this as total BS as done on my other response on another thread.

Last edited by Radrook : October 17th 16 at 04:36 PM