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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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Originally Posted by buymeariver9 View Post
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...

Quote:
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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