Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

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Thomas Rendle
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Re: Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

Post by Thomas Rendle » Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:07 am

A lot of what I'm saying has been said already but here goes:

Publishing games obviously gives an advantage to opponents. For juniors it is even more important to have their latest games as they often change openings a lot and have improved massively over a period of a year (or less).

Paolo claims that Andrew is "taking junior games way too seriously". Well, at the World Youth is it the norm for the players not only to be preparing themselves but to have coaches/trainers helping. If they have access to the latest games it can be a massive edge as a surprise in the opening can make a big difference. With the help of a coach/computer/latest theory it is possible for a player below 2000 to play the opening, and in some cases large parts of a middlegame (when the plans have been discussed beforehand) to a much higher level. Of course this doesn't happen in every game but when it does happen it can be extremely effective.

With the specific request made by Andrew it seems to me to be a very sensible one. The games will be downloadable from the website but they won't appear on TWIC until after the World Youth. It may make a small difference and it isn't hurting anyone.

On a larger scale I would be very uncomfortable with junior games being omitted in general. As Richard says it is already difficult enough playing juniors without an already limited supply of games to prepare with becoming non-existent. Part of playing in tournaments is accepting that sometimes your games get published and are freely available. It's the same for everyone.

For me part of the beauty of chess is that is allows players of all ages to compete on an equal footing. It is a peculiarity of the chess world that young and old can compete like this - of course this can/will have an impact on children taking part in the chess world, but I'm not sure that overall it is a negative one. As every child growing up knows they are rarely treated on equal terms with adults - chess is a wonderful exception as a child can prove their knowledge objectively over the chessboard and gain respect in this regard.

Of course it is for every parent to decide if/when they want their children to play in adult tournaments but I generally feel that junior tournaments tend to do more harm than adult ones, largely due to the competitiveness of the parents (far more often than the children) - which can often lead to an uncomfortable atmosphere.

I don't agree with a culture of reporting sporting results between children differently (such as 1-0 if a team lose a football game 9-0). I think it's naive to assume that in a playground such competitiveness doesn't exist in any case. The only case that I think should be made is that explicitly mentioning a child who has performed badly serves no real purpose (singling them out for a poor performance in a team game or at a chess tournament).

andrew martin

Re: Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

Post by andrew martin » Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:53 am

Thomas understands the situation very well. Any edge that you can get, however small, helps at these events where the standard is so high.

Ian Kingston
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Re: Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

Post by Ian Kingston » Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:11 pm

Thomas Rendle wrote:With the help of a coach/computer/latest theory it is possible for a player below 2000 to play the opening, and in some cases large parts of a middlegame (when the plans have been discussed beforehand) to a much higher level. Of course this doesn't happen in every game but when it does happen it can be extremely effective.
This is undoubtedly true. Here's van der Wiel-Karpov, Amsterdam 1987:



And here's me (er... Rybka) improving on van der Wiel's play in a league game from a couple of years ago:



I think White's improvement at move 14 was found shortly after the 1987 game (someone with the relevant Informator might be able to check), but the point is that it was just a few minutes' work for an ordinary club player armed with a computer to improve on the play of a very strong GM. That Black collapsed in short order was probably due to the psychological impact of being outprepared in his pet line.

Michael Jones
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Re: Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

Post by Michael Jones » Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:02 pm

Above a certain level (I wouldn't be sure exactly what), having access to the games of one's opponent is clearly advantageous; at lower levels I'm not at all sure that it is. There are probably a few dozen of my games scattered around the internet, which any potential opponent could find without too much effort - how much use it would be for them to do so is open to question. I'm graded ~150 ECF, and anyone significantly stronger than that is likely to beat me regardless of whether or not they study any of my games beforehand - even if I manage to guide the game down an opening line I'm more familiar with than them, they'll probably still outplay me due to their superior middlegame/endgame knowledge. If someone of a similar standard chooses to study my games, it may still not help them: what I've played before is not necessarily a reliable predictor of what I'm going to play again. Someone preparing an improvement on move 14 for me would be likely to find it rendered completely irrelevant when I deviated from the previous game at move 3 or 4 (although they'd probably still win...).

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Paolo Casaschi
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Re: Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:13 pm

Ian Kingston wrote:This is undoubtedly true. Here's van der Wiel-Karpov, Amsterdam 1987:

And here's me (er... Rybka) improving on van der Wiel's play in a league game from a couple of years ago:
Did you (Rybka) find the improvement before your game, while preparing for that specific opponent, in the knowledge that he might play that line?
Or during the game you just remembered an analysis you saw long time before?

Ian Kingston
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Re: Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

Post by Ian Kingston » Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:28 pm

Paolo Casaschi wrote:
Ian Kingston wrote:This is undoubtedly true. Here's van der Wiel-Karpov, Amsterdam 1987:

And here's me (er... Rybka) improving on van der Wiel's play in a league game from a couple of years ago:
Did you (Rybka) find the improvement before your game, while preparing for that specific opponent, in the knowledge that he might play that line?
Or during the game you just remembered an analysis you saw long time before?
It was specific preparation for that opponent. We'd played the same variation in a previous game, but on that occasion I retreated the knight at move 9. I knew there was a sharp line, but I couldn't remember it. In the post mortem, my opponent specifically mentioned the older game (which I remembered seeing), so it wasn't hard to predict what he would play. I spent about an hour on it over lunch on the day of the game.


Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:40 pm

Paolo Casaschi wrote:
Jonathan Bryant wrote:Simply that what you always hear is the 'it doesn't matter if you're 7 or 107' as Matt Fletcher puts it and as you say for yourself. I'm not saying that this is wrong, just that there is another side to the coin and it almost never gets an airing.
Again, I don't understand the point;
My point is that there's another side to the 'chess is great because all ages can play together' coin. That's all. I'm not being specific for two reasons

1. I don't have time today
2. (And I explained this in my initial post which I think I must have accidentally deleted) I've often thought about writing on this topic but haven't done so because I couldn't write about what I wanted to without a junior being identified. Same problem here.


Unsatisfactory I know, but there you are. Putting children in an adult environment can ask a lot of them. That's all I'll say for now.

kishanpattni
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Re: Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

Post by kishanpattni » Thu Oct 13, 2011 5:11 pm

Just out of interest will any of the english juniors have access to games from their potential opponents in Caldas Novas? Or to be more specific recent games?

As far as I am concerned chess is a meant to be a battle of intelligence. He or she who triumphs, with or without coaching or revision does so deservingly. :)

Richard Bates
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Re: Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

Post by Richard Bates » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:07 pm

It could perhaps be pointed out that having your own games freely available doesn't have to be an advantage (indeed can be an aid to preparation) as long as you remember to include their presence when preparing. If you have no games published then an opponent will quite likely be on their guard, and wary of running in to any prepared lines. The moment they sense danger they may seek to deviate.

On the other hand if you have enough games published that the opponent has a reasonable expectation of what you will play then BOTH sides can focus on preparing for each other. As long as you make sure you run all your own games through a computer programme then you should be OK. The opponent's "advantage" is neutralised.

Personally i express great sympathy with the view expressed above that preparation doesn't have to be about "winning the game on the computer". For me ideally preparation is just about getting the ball over the net without allowing a clean winner in response. Beyond that you can play chess.

Ian Thompson
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Re: Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

Post by Ian Thompson » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:39 pm

Having lots of your own games available to your opponent can be advantageous. I recently played a game where I commented to my opponent in the post-mortem that I'd been expecting him the play the X variation of the Z opening, not the Y variation of the Z opening. He said he'd varied from the X variation because he thought I'd know it better than he did, so, instead, he played the Y variation which he admitted he didn't know very well at all. That was pretty clear, because he didn't play it at all well. One up to me I think. Having close to 500 of my games published does have its advantages.

Obviously, I couldn't possibly tell you what the X, Y and Z variations and opening were - that might help with future preparation against me :lol:.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:55 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:Obviously, I couldn't possibly tell you what the X, Y and Z variations and opening were - that might help with future preparation against me :lol:.
We could all have fun, guessing, though... :mrgreen:

George Szaszvari
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Re: Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

Post by George Szaszvari » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:02 am

Ah, yes, an old favorite of yours to burst into song with when playing blitz at the YMCA :)
I prefer Frankie Lane's version, but the Blues Brothers are fun... :wink:

andrew martin

Re: Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

Post by andrew martin » Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:52 am

Yes, great to see them adapting when confronted with a bunch of hillbillies.

Niall Doran
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Re: Does publishing games give anyone an advantage?

Post by Niall Doran » Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:13 am

So, if I’ve understood the meaning of the video correctly, it’s important to maintain an approach to the game, and to the opponent, which is, in a word, flexible.
While it’s important to know your typical plans in your chosen opening, it’s also important to take into consideration what your opponent is doing. If you try, at all costs, to play your set sequence of moves, ignoring your opponent’s plans, you will end up with a broken bottle sticking out of your neck.

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