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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:27 am 
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Has the topic of 6-man and 5-man endgames in adjournments ever been discussed here? I recently ended up in a 6-man endgame, and adjourned the position (I sealed move 73). Does the fact that the position can be looked up on Shredder or in other forms of tablebases, make adjournments pointless here? Which positions are complex enough that humans playing them can still go wrong? Is adjudication better than adjournment, and is forcing a rapidplay finish acceptable, or does it depend on the position? Oh, and would it breach etiquette to mention the position I have before the game has finished? :)

EDIT: Doh! My opponent doesn't know what move I sealed, so of course I can't give the position!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:45 am 
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I'm looking forward to the time when I can adjourn in a game with 6 pieces or fewer left on the board. I'd be interested to hear the "You deviate from your analysis after the first few moves anyway" brigade then. :D

My opinion on this is well-known, adjournments and adjudications are pointless, without any need for a caveat on the number of pieces left on the board.

Adjudication is actually against the FIDE Laws of Chess, in that it doesn't provide any provision for them. Adjournments are still there as guidelines, but in the days of FIDE tournaments with incremental time controls, they're probably only there in case of freak scenarios where a game might reach move 421, and the venue wants to close for the night...

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:42 am 
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Does the fact that the position can be looked up on Shredder or in other forms of tablebases, make adjournments pointless here?


In over the board play, probably not. In correspondence play (or the server equivalent) certainly. You might wish to remind your opponent that the position can be looked up and save both of you a journey. If it's a difficult one, both of you might wish to play.

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Which positions are complex enough that humans playing them can still go wrong?


Unless you are Keith, Rook and Bishop against Rook is amongst them.

There was a practical example in the Olympiad where Gawain Jones had Queen against Rook and two Pawns. This was a win according to the tablebases but not so easy unless you found the correct ideas.

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Is adjudication better than adjournment, and is forcing a rapidplay finish acceptable, or does it depend on the position?


I suppose there are still leagues which have the bluffing session after three hours play where you decide whether the game is to continue, but it's better really to decide how the game should be finished before play starts. In my opinion if you cannot abolish adjudication and adjournment, you can at least minimise their gamesmanship effects by
(a) only adjudicating at a high number of moves, say 60 plus. This would be a move rate of, say 60 moves in 90 minutes.
(b) arranging the time and place of the adjournment session before the start of play


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 9:08 am 
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Alex Holowczak wrote:
...in case of freak scenarios where a game might reach move 421...


Quite possible in some tablebase endings!
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Which positions are complex enough that humans playing them can still go wrong?


To take an example from The Mammoth Book of Chess third edition, 2009 p 416, and assuming what is said is correct, king and queen against king and two knights is a theoretical draw but the side with the queen has a lot of practical winning chances. If sent for adjudication and the adjudicator plugged it into tablebase, you might be awarded a draw when you might have won it over the board.
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Oh, and would it breach etiquette to mention the position I have before the game has finished? :)

I refer you to the following:

The London Chess League Notes for Match Captains
...
8. The disclosure or discussion of sealed moves during adjournments is to be discouraged. It is a dangerous practice and can lead to dispute.


While you are not discussing the actual sealed move, a similar principle should apply IM(NS)HO.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:48 am 
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"To take an example from The Mammoth Book of Chess third edition, 2009 p 416, and assuming what is said is correct, king and queen against king and two knights is a theoretical draw but the side with the queen has a lot of practical winning chances. If sent for adjudication and the adjudicator plugged it into tablebase, you might be awarded a draw when you might have won it over the board."

You should be awarded a draw if the position is drawn! Adjudication is supposed to assume "best play"....

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:51 am 
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Richard Thursby wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Oh, and would it breach etiquette to mention the position I have before the game has finished? :)

I refer you to the following:

The London Chess League Notes for Match Captains
...
8. The disclosure or discussion of sealed moves during adjournments is to be discouraged. It is a dangerous practice and can lead to dispute.


While you are not discussing the actual sealed move, a similar principle should apply IM(NS)HO.


I was initially shocked you managed to work out which league to look the rules up for, but then I realised you would know which league it was, by the time controls for one thing. The funny thing is, I always thought that rule was there to avoid the scenario where someone bluffs that they have sealed move A, discuss with their opponent, and a draw is agreed, but the opponent then opens the envelope and find move B has been sealed. And does disclosure just refer to your opponent, or is that rule saying that the person who seals the move should not tell anyone (even fellow team members) what they have sealed?

But then I got to thinking about why it is generally accepted that people analyse positions between adjournments (there are many stories from GM-level tournaments of adjournment analysis sessions). I would have thought, back when adjournments were introduced, that the upstanding Victorians that played chess would have agreed, like the gentlemen that they were, to not look at the position until the time came to resume the game. In practice, that wouldn't happen, human nature being what it is, but is there any logical reason at all that discussion and analysis of a position is allowed under these circumstances (is it actually allowed in the rules or just not mentioned at all?), when it is strictly forbidden at the board?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:27 am 
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
hat the upstanding Victorians that played chess would have agreed, like the gentlemen that they were, to not look at the position until the time came to resume the game. In practice, that wouldn't happen, human nature being what it is, but is there any logical reason at all that discussion and analysis of a position is allowed under these circumstances (is it actually allowed in the rules or just not mentioned at all?), when it is strictly forbidden at the board?


Analysis of the adjourned position with your seconds and your friends was allowed ( and normal practice) for a hundred years or more. At one time they used to adjourn at move 30. That's still in the opening. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:58 am 
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I don't see why the existence of tablebases offers much difference to the existence of any comprehensive endgame book/manual, the like of which has been around for getting on for a century. After all, in principle there's nothing stopping somebody 'learning' every single tablebase position before the game and drawing on that knowledge subsequently.

Unfortunately/fortunately practice has shown fairly comprehensively that the human memory is just not that good. Players at club level struggle hard enough to get themselves to remember a dozen moves of mainline opening theory, so i wouldn't be too concerned about them remembering potentially hundreds of moves of endgame theory.

Of course very few people bother to even make any effort to study endgame theory these days - which is paradoxical if one argues the case that the decline in adjournments should make such study more necessary!

So the conclusion:

1) Adjournments, adjudications and quickplay finishes will all often produce different outcomes to games
2) Except perhaps at higher levels the existence of computers makes little practical difference to the outcome of adjournments. To argue that they are wrong because they have been made redundant by technology is an unconvincing argument. If they are wrong, they were ever thus.
3) If you want to (be forced to) learn you should play adjournments, because they provide a convenient and necessary opportunity to study endgames which few club players otherwise undertake voluntarily.
4) this is assuming the players have the capability and motivation to return on a subsequent occasion, which is usually lacking for the majority of players (and i include myself in that).


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:36 pm 
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With 2, I do argue that they were always wrong.

"8. The disclosure or discussion of sealed moves during adjournments is to be discouraged. It is a dangerous practice and can lead to dispute."

This is very much like the rule banning team orders in Formula One. It's not worth the piece of paper its written on.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:35 pm 
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Does the fact that the position can be looked up on Shredder or in other forms of tablebases, make adjournments pointless here? Which positions are complex enough that humans playing them can still go wrong? Is adjudication better than adjournment, and is forcing a rapidplay finish acceptable, or does it depend on the position?


1. No (see Richard's post above)

2. Any. I speak as somebody who just won W king on g3, W pawn on g4 against B king on g5 against somebody rated in the 160s.

3. No.

4. Forcing rapidplay finish? I'm not sure I understand that one. It's acceptable if the rules allow it, not if they don't.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:35 am 
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Jonathan Bryant wrote:
4. Forcing rapidplay finish? I'm not sure I understand that one. It's acceptable if the rules allow it, not if they don't.


I wasn't clear enough there. Some leagues allow players to force an adjudication after a certain number of moves. I suppose what I'm asking is when you get to certain positions where it is possible to look up forced (albeit sometimes complex) winning and drawing lines on tablebases, should either player have the option to force a rapidplay finish, rather than have the other player drag it on for session after session as they grind out the win, and is it any more acceptable for a player to force adjudication (and a win or draw from the adjudicator's tablebase), when they may not be capable of playing out the win or draw themselves? I've been looking at some league rules on adjudications and adjournments, and they seem to vary from league to league. Probably there is no ideal solution.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:35 pm 
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
should either player have the option to force a rapidplay finish


Pedantry alert: It's a quickplay finish. It's relevant, because it means they're governed under different rules...

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:42 pm 
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
I wasn't clear enough there. Some leagues allow players to force an adjudication after a certain number of moves. I suppose what I'm asking is when you get to certain positions where it is possible to look up forced (albeit sometimes complex) winning and drawing lines on tablebases, should either player have the option to force a rapidplay finish, rather than have the other player drag it on for session after session as they grind out the win....


Well if that amounts to the idea that you might have the option of requesting a rapidplay finish in certain positions but not others, I would suggest that would not be workable for practical reasons.

Personally I prefer deciding the way the game is ended before it starts ... although when I played in the Thames Valley League you had the option of forcing an adjournment (you would then travel for the second session) rather than accepting an adjudication and that has some merit too.


If you don't opt or request a quickplay finish at the beginning (and in my experience few club chessers makes this choice) one of the risks you take is that your opponent might end up in a position of the type you describe and you lose to his/her tablebase. If you don't want that to happen you can choose/try to get a different position in the first place.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:51 am 
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Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Does the fact that the position can be looked up on Shredder or in other forms of tablebases, make adjournments pointless here? Which positions are complex enough that humans playing them can still go wrong? Is adjudication better than adjournment, and is forcing a rapidplay finish acceptable, or does it depend on the position?


Now the game that prompted this has finished, I can give a few more details!
In what follows, I've requoted the questions Jonathan was replying to.

Are adjournments pointless?
Jonathan Bryant wrote:
1. No (see Richard's post above)


I agree, as the tablebase didn't help me that much. I still had to rely on calculating things over the board and working out the general principles.

Which positions can humans go wrong in?
Jonathan Bryant wrote:
2. Any. I speak as somebody who just won W king on g3, W pawn on g4 against B king on g5 against somebody rated in the 160s.


The position I had was one of those rook endgames that are still drawn even when you are two pawns down. White king on h2, Black pawns on h3 and g4, Black king on g5, Black rook on g6, and White rook on h8, with White to move. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't know that this position was drawn, but I still managed to seal the right move (Kg3). Finding out why it is drawn was quite interesting (the critical line is where the Black king ends up on g1). Anyway, the position after the move I sealed was this:

Image

Black to move. Position is drawn.

Are adjudications better than adjournments?
Jonathan Bryant wrote:
3. No.


I agree. You learn more from adjournments. Though I can't (yet) say that I know all the positions where you can be two pawns down in a rook endgame and still drawing, I can say that it is worth knowing them (from either side)! Rook endgames are, after all, the most commonly encountered endgames.


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