As easy as XY but not Z

Russell Sherwood  Friday, March 2, 2018

The majority of modern CC players realise after a while that simply allowing a Chess Engine to analyse to depth is not the most effective strategy. There are numerous reasons for this, all of which boil down to the fact that all of the mainstream engines are not designed for the needs of CC players. To be competitive they adopt a number of strategies to find a good (great?) move quickly rather than trying to find the absolute best move.

There are many “workarounds” to this but three of the most basic are:

Next Move (Y)

Here we encourage the Engine to look at the next best move (and then the next best and so on). The purpose of this is to look at a number of moves which the Engine may consider to be inferior.

Pass (Ctrl Alt 0 aka Null Move)

A fairly simple idea – “pass – Don’t make a move”. The purpose of this option is to determine the threats your opponent has.  Under normal circumstances t, e evaluation will swing massively, especially if you are playing black and any threats in the position become obvious but what is more interesting is that if the evaluation does not move much. These positions are ones where the premium on planning and creative play cannot be underestimated as we are no longer in a position where we are simply responding to the opponent’s moves.


Show Threat (X)

Here we show the threat in the position if our opponent did not have a move.


These three basic ideas allow the bedrock of starting to dissect a position and if you don’t know how there are implemented in your GUI perhaps its time to find out!

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