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Old 04-08-2010, 04:31 AM   #1
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Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

Just curious, how do chess players practice thinking multiple moves ahead of time, and is this what great chess players can do that mediocre players cannot do? Can great chess players think of every possible scenario ahead of time, many moves in advance?

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Old 04-08-2010, 04:44 AM   #2
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

but how much did you lose?
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:48 AM   #3
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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but how much did you lose?
I don't lose at chess, cause you can't lose if you don't play

Anyways, what are you talking about...?
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:08 AM   #4
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

Well, this question has been asked one gazillion times and is sort of a joke in the chess world so don't be surprised if you are laughed at when you ask it. I will try to answer it to the best of my ability though:

"Can great chess players think of every possible scenario ahead of time, many moves in advance?"

No, even the best chess players cannot think of every possible scenario. Yes, they can think of many moves in advance (well I guess it depends on what do you mean by "many"). There is no set number of moves that one can see in advance - it depends on the position. In some simple positions, mainly endgames, it is fairly easy to see 10, 15, maybe even 20 moves ahead. In complex positions I'd say seeing some 6, 7, 8 moves ahead is really really good. Mainly because when you are calculating some line in a complex position, it is not just "I will move here, he will move here, I will move here..etc." , but rather "If I move here, he can move here(a), here(b) and here(c), to A I can go here (a1), here (a2) or maybe here (a3), he can respond to a1 with this (a1a), this (a1b) or this (a1c) etc. " And then same for B and C. Basically it is a move tree, not just individual moves. Therefore in complex positions with a lot of possibilities it is really hard to see a lot of moves ahead because that move tree is growing exponentially larger. In simple endgames that is not the case.

Just curious, how do chess players practice thinking multiple moves ahead of time, and is this what great chess players can do that mediocre players cannot do?

there are a lot of ways to practice this. You can solve a lot of chess problems that are designed to improve your calculation, you can play blindfold chess, etc. What I think a lot of guys miss though, is that you can practice this without practicing chess at all! Calculating moves ahead has a lot to do with your imagination in general, as you have to "see" a lot of things that are not there yet. So (at least in my opinion), developing your imagination will help you with chess calculation too.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:33 AM   #5
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

cool, ty!
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Old 04-08-2010, 06:57 AM   #6
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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...and is this what great chess players can do that mediocre players cannot do?
You can test this yourself. Find a friend or just somebody online who's pretty strong at chess, then offer him a challenge. You both play a slow unrated game. He plays 'normal' chess, and you get to play with a board in real life where you can move around the pieces as much as you want. With a board in front of you, you could 'think' 50 moves in advance but the reality is that it won't change your strength much at all.

Another reality is that a strong player and a weaker player could both look at the same position, and the strongest idea could be immediately apparent to the stronger player yet the weaker player could study and analyze the position for hours and still not find it.

It's really a matter of quality over quantity.
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:18 AM   #7
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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Just curious, how do chess players practice thinking multiple moves ahead of time, and is this what great chess players can do that mediocre players cannot do?

... you can play blindfold chess...
How do you get started with this? I know I couldn't just play a game of blindfold chess right off the bat. Is it something you build up to by practicing or is it something that you can just naturally do once you've got enough experience of regular chess or are there set exercises you can recommend to improve at it?
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:29 AM   #8
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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How do you get started with this? I know I couldn't just play a game of blindfold chess right off the bat. Is it something you build up to by practicing or is it something that you can just naturally do once you've got enough experience of regular chess or are there set exercises you can recommend to improve at it?
That is a very interesting question. I, for one, honestly don't remember when did I play my first blind fold game (neither age, nor rating wise). I would assume that a certain chess expertise is required though, I highly doubt that any 1500 would be able to play the full blindfold game.

I assume there should be some sort of exercises that would help you with that, for example just trying to solve as many 4, 5 move puzzles without moving any pieces or something like that. The easiest way, however, should be just playing it on constant basis. When you start, you might see that you cannot remember the position after 10 moves or so. If you play constantly for some time maybe you will be able to remember the position after 15 moves or so and so on.

All in all, I am not exactly sure what is needed in order to be playing blindfold chess on a decent level. Maybe someone who has a better idea will chime in
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:05 AM   #9
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

I'm pretty bad at 'pure blindfold' as in playing a game out loud, but with an empty board in front of me that I can stare at - I can play entire games pretty easily. I have no idea what this means.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:41 AM   #10
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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Just curious, how do chess players practice thinking multiple moves ahead of time, and is this what great chess players can do that mediocre players cannot do? Can great chess players think of every possible scenario ahead of time, many moves in advance?
Thinking ahead is somewhat impressive to outsiders, but it isn't really that special. You do it in Poker too. When you raise pre-flop and get called or even raised, you have to think ahead if you want to make a continuation bet and if you get called if you want to bet again. If you got 4-4 this thought process might even make you fold to the initial raise.

In chess thinking ahead means exploring something like two or three different options. It is not that you consider 20 moves and all the possible branches 8 moves deep. You usually calculate nothing but forced lines. Once the forced sequence ends you cut it off and evaluate the resulting position.

It is possible to play chess purely on intuition without virtually calculating nothing at all. If you know the patterns you don't have to calculate anymore. In Poker we call it clearvoyance.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:31 AM   #11
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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In chess thinking ahead means exploring something like two or three different options. It is not that you consider 20 moves and all the possible branches 8 moves deep. You usually calculate nothing but forced lines. Once the forced sequence ends you cut it off and evaluate the resulting position.

Well, I'm trying to picture, what it is that the chess player is doing in their head, that allows them to think multiple moves in advance.

I mean, yeah in poker, it is very important to think multiple moves in advance. It can be analyzed through multi-street games or tree nodes in game theory. Of course, poker is only a game of a few streets, and moderate complexity.

I'm trying to figure out if this is what chess players do as well, and if it is what makes them great.

In other words, are great chess players those with a pentium processor for a brain (I.E. they can do the game theory calculations in their head). Or is it just something else completely different.

I mean, I'm assuming a software program already knows what it will do 50 moves in advance, if a...b...c...d...x...x...z all happen. I'm just curious if chess is analyzed like this...
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Old 04-08-2010, 01:42 PM   #12
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

You are overestimating chess players. The game can be played by everyone and that even up to a decent level. Yes, there are some freaks in chess, people very close to autism and maybe chess draws more than the fair shair of strange people. Still, it is a game for everyone and all ages can learn and enjoy it.

In Russia they taught it at school and when some german IMs travelled to Moscow to play in the Central Chess Club, they even lost some blitz games to the janitor. Leonid Stein for instance was one of the strongest players of the late 60s and early 70s and he was a factory worker. There is no magic and you don't need IQ 180 to succeed.

Computers on the other hand were far inferior to humans for a long time, simply because they analyzed every possible move. Humans can make a difference between "important" and "pointless", computers can't. Their hardware simply became so powerful over the years that it doesn't matter anymore.
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Old 04-08-2010, 01:45 PM   #13
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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In Russia they taught it at school and when some german IMs travelled to Moscow to play in the Central Chess Club, they even lost some blitz games to the janitor. Leonid Stein for instance was one of the strongest players of the late 60s and early 70s and he was a factory worker. There is no magic and you don't need IQ 180 to succeed.
Learning stuff when you're still at school is almost magic.
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:22 PM   #14
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Smile Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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You are overestimating chess players. The game can be played by everyone and that even up to a decent level. Yes, there are some freaks in chess, people very close to autism and maybe chess draws more than the fair shair of strange people. Still, it is a game for everyone and all ages can learn and enjoy it.

.

Again, I theoretically know practically nothing about chess. But is chess about pattern recognition, intuition, creativity, etc? What makes a strong chess player other than knowledge/strategy and experience...?

Again, just curious to see, I've been reading a little about chess, but I'm already sure that it would take a while and playing experience to understand it.
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:49 PM   #15
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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But is chess about pattern recognition, intuition, creativity, etc?
Yes.
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What makes a strong chess player other than knowledge/strategy and experience...?
Self-discipline, patience, good memory, the ability to concentrate throughout the whole game, good physical condition, good time management during the game.
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:28 PM   #16
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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What makes a strong chess player other than knowledge/strategy and experience...?
The longer I think about it the more I realize that I cannot answer this question. I cannot tell you what makes a good chessplayer, but I can tell you that chess makes players better. Besides learning to think about the consequences of your actions you also learn to take responsibility. In chess you constantly have to make decisions under pressure and stand behind them. There is no place to hide.
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:35 PM   #17
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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The longer I think about it the more I realize that I cannot answer this question. I cannot tell you what makes a good chessplayer, but I can tell you that chess makes players better. Besides learning to think about the consequences of your actions you also learn to take responsibility. In chess you constantly have to make decisions under pressure and stand behind them. There is no place to hide.
So how comparable is a good poker player to a good chess player in your opinion...?
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:42 AM   #18
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

Poker is still in its infancy while chess has been around and been studied for many hundreds of years. So comparing poker players to chess players doesn't make much sense at all. I mean your average modern SSNL grinder is vastly better than your average guy who was crushing high stakes 7 years ago. The games are changing really fast. In 10 years who knows what the state of the games will be.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:15 AM   #19
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

In the vast majority of chess positions the number of possible moves is so large to make calculating everything impossible.

The difference between players is not in how many moves they calculate ahead, it is in the ability to rapidly reduce the number of variations considered to only the most promising ones. An illustration of this is that oftentimes when analyzing chess positions, stronger players will describe some move as "the only move," where a weaker player might consider other possibilities. While weaker players will often play moves that a stronger player would dismiss immediately as not even worthy of consideration.

That's why a GM with 5 minutes on the clock plays better than a 2000 player with 2 hours. The GM will, due to his chess experience and knowledge, "automatically" consider mostly good moves, while calculating only a few moves ahead at a time. Meanwhile, the 2000 player has the time to calculate many moves ahead if he wants, but it won't matter because he will mostly be thinking about the wrong moves.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:01 AM   #20
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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So how comparable is a good poker player to a good chess player in your opinion...?
The chessplayer should do well in formulating a plan on how to play on later streets. He will think ahead about which cards are good for him/or his opponent and which cards are bad, but that's about it.

The problem with it is the need to ballance your play. In other words, you only play a limited number of betting patterns and the main skill of the good player is simply assigning certain hand types to certain betting patterns and finding the most profitable mix. Intentionally playing second best moves for the sake of ballancing your play is totally alien to chess players. Also, chessplayers hate variance. The idea of losing to a player, who did everything wrong, but sucked out in the end, potentially drives them mad. In Chess short term luck isn't much of a factor.

In my opinion Poker is more closely related to Backgammon than to Chess.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:02 PM   #21
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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The problem with it is the need to ballance your play. In other words, you only play a limited number of betting patterns and the main skill of the good player is simply assigning certain hand types to certain betting patterns and finding the most profitable mix. Intentionally playing second best moves for the sake of ballancing your play is totally alien to chess players. Also, chessplayers hate variance. The idea of losing to a player, who did everything wrong, but sucked out in the end, potentially drives them mad. In Chess short term luck isn't much of a factor.
But aren't these skills that come with time and/or patients. I mean, no poker player knows how to balance once they start playing, and nobody in general likes to be sucked out on, but you get used to it with poker.

Anyways, I don't know where I'm going with this, maybe nowhere. Just interested in hearing what people would say.

But still if a computer can beat most if not all chess players today, would that mean chess requires more technical skill than poker, which requires both technical and soft skills (I guess you could call it). I mean, from what I've read online and on this board, chess requires creativity, imagination, technical knowledge, experience, etc. Which in my opinion is the same skills that many poker players have. Is poker just chess with adhd?


Quote:
In my opinion Poker is more closely related to Backgammon than to Chess.
Not going to bother with backgammon, or what it's like etc. Never played, and may never play it. At least I've played chess before
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Old 04-09-2010, 11:29 PM   #22
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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But still if a computer can beat most if not all chess players today, would that mean chess requires more technical skill than poker, which requires both technical and soft skills (I guess you could call it). I mean, from what I've read online and on this board, chess requires creativity, imagination, technical knowledge, experience, etc. Which in my opinion is the same skills that many poker players have. Is poker just chess with adhd?
If this is the perspective you're looking at it from, I think the best answer would be to say that yes, chess and poker do use the same general skill set, however they each require many unique applications of those skills that aren't necessary in the other game.

As for chess computers, it's worth keeping in mind that they do two different things. One is calculation, the other is evaluation. Yes, computers have the ability, through raw number crunching, to calculate every possible line in a position out to depths at which no person could ever come remotely close to, but eventually the computer still hits its limit and has to decide which of those possible positions it would most like to reach 20 moves down the road, in order to decide what move to play now.

This evaluation portion is something computers do wholly numerically, by assigning values to the different pieces, and to positional considerations, and whatever other factors the programmer designates, and ultimately coming up with a single number that combines all of that information into a specific evaluation of the position.

Humans also do the same two things, calculation and evaluation. Obviously we can't compete with computers in calculation (the "technical" side), but we do have an edge in our ability to evaluate, through pattern recognition and creativity. Now, computers have progressed far enough that the best computers are better than the best humans, thanks to their sheer computational power, but that doesn't mean chess doesn't have a place for creativity or "soft" skills. The best human players are definitely very strong in areas like creativity and imagination.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:56 AM   #23
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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Humans also do the same two things, calculation and evaluation. Obviously we can't compete with computers in calculation (the "technical" side), but we do have an edge in our ability to evaluate, through pattern recognition and creativity. Now, computers have progressed far enough that the best computers are better than the best humans, thanks to their sheer computational power, but that doesn't mean chess doesn't have a place for creativity or "soft" skills. The best human players are definitely very strong in areas like creativity and imagination.

So is their an ability needed to trap someone into a checkmate, as in the psychological and creative aspect of the game? I mean, that's what I'm assuming by people saying that you need imagination and creativity to be good at chess, you basically need to imagine everything that is likely to happen, etc, etc, etc, to get your opponent in the position of losing to you.


One way I like to think of this is a spider trapping its prey in a web without the prey knowing what is going on. I see this in many situations in poker where you trap your opponent because you're thinking ahead of them, and can read them like a book (which of course is why balance is important).

But is this the creative ability and imagination that a chess player needs, and that computers lack (as compared to real people)?
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Old 04-10-2010, 05:02 AM   #24
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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So is their an ability needed to trap someone into a checkmate, as in the psychological and creative aspect of the game? I mean, that's what I'm assuming by people saying that you need imagination and creativity to be good at chess, you basically need to imagine everything that is likely to happen, etc, etc, etc, to get your opponent in the position of losing to you.


One way I like to think of this is a spider trapping its prey in a web without the prey knowing what is going on. I see this in many situations in poker where you trap your opponent because you're thinking ahead of them, and can read them like a book (which of course is why balance is important).

But is this the creative ability and imagination that a chess player needs, and that computers lack (as compared to real people)?
Hmm... sort of. The difference here, I think, is that poker places a stronger emphasis on inducing mistakes, while in chess you generally aren't trying to trap people, most of the time. In chess, the goal is simply to find the strongest move. You will win when you can do this better than your opponent, but you don't necessarily try to trick your opponent into making mistakes as your post sort of implies. Creativity comes into play in evaluating positions, and the different options at hand, and figuring out what lines are most worthwhile to calculate. A creative player will be more likely to find the best line, and that's how they'll get their edge.

And if that doesn't make sense, I blame the fact that it's 2 am. Good night everybody!
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:18 AM   #25
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Re: Thinking multiple moves ahead of time...

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So is their an ability needed to trap someone into a checkmate, as in the psychological and creative aspect of the game? I mean, that's what I'm assuming by people saying that you need imagination and creativity to be good at chess, you basically need to imagine everything that is likely to happen, etc, etc, etc, to get your opponent in the position of losing to you.


One way I like to think of this is a spider trapping its prey in a web without the prey knowing what is going on. I see this in many situations in poker where you trap your opponent because you're thinking ahead of them, and can read them like a book (which of course is why balance is important).

But is this the creative ability and imagination that a chess player needs, and that computers lack (as compared to real people)?

I'll try to explain what creativity in chess means to me:

In any given position there may be up to 20-30 legal moves. No human player will consider every single one, they will normally consider only a limited number of "candidate moves" and calculate the likely consdquences of them. Also good players do not think in terms of single moves, but in terms of overall strategic plans that take multiple moves to carry out.

Creativity comes in in terms of which moves (or which plans) you consider in the first place. There are hundreds of generally accepted strategic principles in chess (for example "don't move the pawns in front of your castled King") and standard ways of playing positions with certain pawn configurations or material balances. For most players, the moves they consider will be those that fit within these accepted strategic lines. But creativity comes in when you start thinking about moves that might be good even though they go against one or more accepted principles.

Now the technical skill in chess, which is also important, lies in accurately calculating the consequences of each candidate move and evaluating the results. Computers are much better than humans at that, but the reason humans are able to compete with computers at all is their ability to think more efficiently by reducing the number of moves considered.
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