Better than an engine: Leonardo Ljubicic (1/2)

by Martin Fischer
2/21/2016 – Leonardo Ljubicic is the 28th World Champion in Correspondence Chess. In an extensive interview he talks about his way to the title and reveals how he prepares for his games. He talks about his openings and what is important to play successful correspondence chess and explains how humans use engines to play better than engines - an art and a science.

Leonardo Ljubicic

You are the 28th World Champion in Correspondence. Tell us something about your background.

I am 49 years old, married, and father of three children, two sons (23, 17), and one daughter who is 20. I live in Omiš, a small, beautiful town at the Adriatic Coast, about 25 km south of Split.

I think I learned to play chess when I was about nine years old. In 1977 I played my first club games and my name appeared for the first time in the archives of our local chess club. Around that time I also started to play correspondence chess.

My father Ante was a high school teacher of mathematics and a chess enthusiast. He was also the alpha and omega behind our local chess club and a keen correspondence chess player. I got addicted pretty fast to both disciplines: over-the-board play and correspondence chess. If I recall correctly, my father thought that to play correspondence chess at such a young age would help my chess and my character. It would teach me to organize myself (order and a systematic approach is needed to keep track of all the games and the many postcards that kept coming in bringing new moves) and to be more patient. It worked!

I also noticed very early that time pressure was my greatest enemy in over-the-board chess, and here correspondence chess came in very handy. Correspondence chess also helped me to explore the laws and theory of chess deeper.

You are not a chess professional. Is your work and profession related to chess?

Indeed, for me chess is “just” a hobby. I studied to become a Mechanical Engineer, B.Sc.., but during the course of my career I have worked in all sorts of managerial jobs, and thus I think I might best be seen as an expert in business administration and marketing. But no, nothing connected to chess.

The final of the Correspondence Chess Championship was a 17-player round-robin tournament, in which you scored 10.0/16 to become clear first. Modern correspondence chess is very different from the time when you made the first steps in correspondence chess. What has changed and how are todays’ World Championships organised?

Outdated: a postcard for correspondence chess

Correspondence chess has indeed evolved over the years. We don’t use postcards anymore but play on the webserver of the ICCF, the International Correspondence Chess Federations. The players come from all parts of the world and are members of their national federations – very similar to the organisation of OTB chess.

What FIDE is to OTB chess, the ICCF is to correspondence chess and they adhere to a strict set of rules that govern play in general and play in tournaments. With all due respect to many chess servers, the ICCF is by far the world’s most serious place for online chess. We have a wide range of tournaments, world and zonal championships, team Olympiads, friendly matches, invitation, class and promotional tournaments, world cups, and so on. There is also a small but ever growing group of players who play Chess960. The ICCF maintains its own rating list, officials and national delegates meet every year to discuss and, if necessary, revise rules and guidelines, and to talk about the development of the server and correspondence chess in general.

All in all, I would say the ICCF made a well-balanced and timely transformation from the age of postal chess to a contemporary, modern and respectable organization that keeps the spirit of correspondence chess alive.

The World Championships are played in cycles. Every year a new cycle starts and finals are played every two years. The standard time control is 50 days for 10 moves and competitive tournaments are finished within a period of two years – though not every game lasts that long.

You have to pass three preliminaries (Preliminaries, Semifinals, Candidates) successfully before you can play in WCCC Final. However, if your rating is high enough or if you hold a prestigious title you might enter the cycle in the Semifinals. So, on average, you need four to six years to qualify for a world championship final.

However, that is not easy task: not surprisingly, world championships are the strongest series of tournaments within the ICCF. The Preliminaries are typically category III tournaments (2300+), Semifinals are already category VIII (2425+) tournaments, and if you somehow manage to win both levels you qualify for the Candidates – which is essentially a horrible place to be J. Here the absolute best, the most promising and the most agile compete. The Candidates usually are category XI-XII (2525) tournaments and only the winners and sometimes the players finishing second qualify for the final.

Hard work but fun

How did you qualify for the final?

Up to 2007 I was merely a casual CC player, indulging myself in human-computer interaction, lingering around 2450 level. But I had once played a Candidates tournament and despite my decent result I was overwhelmed by the sheer strength of the 2600+ players I had to play against.

However, I had qualified for two more Candidates and I remember that one day in 2008 I had a long and hard thinking session wondering whether I should really give it a shot or not? I finally decided to go for it but I knew that it would never work unless I gave it everything – my free time and the “machinery”. At that time my kids were already half-grown and after my wife reluctantly gave me green light to go ahead I equipped myself with an early version of a 4-core PC, acquired all sorts of opening books, databases, and the Nalimov five piece tablebases – I thought it was necessary to cover all phases of the game with the best the chess world had to offer.

I then entered the two Candidates tournaments I had qualified for simultaneously, hoping for a success in one of them. I prepared and played seriously in both and the result was overwhelming: I won both tournaments and became a grandmaster doing so. However, I was too late for the final of the 27th WCCC 27 Final and had to wait till early 2013 to receive and accept an invitation for the 28th final. All in all it took me about five to six years of serious work and play to reach that stage.

But the finals were really time-consuming: I invested about twice the time I would usually invest in a standard category XIV tournament.

Today chess engines are much stronger than the best humans and many people wonder about the role of humans in correspondence chess. What can you do that the engines cannot do?

It is indeed impossible to achieve any significant result in today’s correspondence chess without engines and databases. But we humans play, not the engines, and the input of humans mainly affects two areas: a) the choice of a suitable opening, and b) steering the engine toward (or away) from certain types of position.

If you want to be successful in top correspondence chess you can only play a certain set of openings because you simply cannot afford one single sub-optimal move – if you do, you will sooner or later regret it. That’s as certain as death and taxes.

How well you guide your engines depends on your general chess knowledge. The better your chess knowledge (the significance of pawn structures, good bishop, bad bishop, etc.) the better you will do here – today’s engines are very strong but they still misjudge positions. If you have enough time and patience and composure you can feed the computer with more good ideas than your opponent – exactly the process described by former World CC Champion GM Ron Langeveld in an interview on the ICCF website.

I used Rybka for a number of years but around 2012 and 2103 I switched to Stockfish. Of course, I tested other engines as well but these two are my main engines. I firmly believe that the top CC players must not change their engines too much because you have to understand and recognize the strengths and weaknesses of your engines. Otherwise, you again and again have to choose between two or three moves the engines suggest, however, without understanding the differences these moves.

In my case, this would basically mean that I, as a player with a FIDE rating of about 2200, had to evaluate the moves of several 3300+ “players”. That cannot up well. If you stick to one engine you gradually get to know it better, you know where it is strong, you know where it is weak, you know, which positions it plays well and which positions it does not like.

But you should not let the engine do all the work, for instance, by giving the engine a certain position, then leave the computer for a couple of hours, and when returning just check what the computer proposes. You will do much better if you watch the thinking process, to try to recognise and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the machine and to guide the analysis.

You also need a lot of patience! If you are unsure what move to make, wait – and sleep one night over it. Use your 24 hour time buffer. Let the engine finish the iteration. All top engines today prune very heavily, so using the “Next Best” function is the main tool for correspondence play.

I use the ChessBase GUI which is non-negotiable because of its stability and because it is easy use. I also use several databases, particularly the ICCF archive database. I also use the ChessBase MegaDatabase and the Playchess games database but ONLY for getting new ideas – human games are just too unreliable.

The Megadatabase - not all moves in there are correct but it
contains an enormous amount of ideas and inspiration.

I form opening trees in these databases but I do not rely on statistics. I analyse all variations carefully and only decide on my move after I’ve checked and prepared for all worst case scenarios. In CC you cannot rely on a “if he doesn’t see” strategy.

As much as my time allows I try to follow the latest in chess engine development. From what I’ve seen, the best engines of today are Komodo and Stockfish. Both have their virtues and ... well, almost no weaknesses. Stockfish calculates variations fast, and excels in tactics and attacking, while Komodo is solid in style, and its positional play is second to none. They are very close in strength continuously developed further. Both are an excellent choice for serious correspondence chess.

I have seen the latest ChessBase features such as Cloud, LiveBook and Let’s Check, and I find them exciting. They might be somewhat too “light” for elite correspondence chess players, but coupled with the amazing “Sampled Search” in Rajlich’s Fritz 15 they offer very exciting insights and help any chess player to enter the world of computer aided chess - highly recommendable for any OTB or casual CC player! In fact, I consider “Sampled Search” the biggest invention in computer chess ever.

Fritz 15...

To give you an idea how my approach to correspondence chess works in practice here is a crucial game from the final of the World Championship:

 

(Part 2 will follow soon)

 


Martin Fischer has been tournament director on the playchess.com server for many years. He plays in Germany for the club of Johanneum Eppendorf, in the season 2013/14 in Germany's second league.
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Catastrophe Catastrophe 2/21/2016 10:56
Love it! Keep it coming!
Mindhunterr Mindhunterr 2/21/2016 11:02
OMG the game dragged on for another year!!! "New Classical" chess, anyone?! :P
Eigenfunction Eigenfunction 2/22/2016 12:15
Great insight into correspondence chess and amazing game!
Papatactics Papatactics 2/22/2016 01:16
Fide sites shows his rating is 2087, did he mean a high of 2200? So it seems to me that correspondence chess now is basically chess without calculation, if all the human does is "guide" the machine in selecting candidate moves/possible plans and then evaluating the resulting positions
Papatactics Papatactics 2/22/2016 01:28
I am sceptical how much the chess understanding of a 2000-2200 player can affect the results of these computer marathons. As others have pointed out in the comments to the first article, it is not likely that Mr. Ljubicic would be able to repeat the performance unless the advantage was in hardware etc. It is interesting that there has not been one repeating champion in recent times with the exception of Van Oosterom, who as we know paid Jeroen Piket to retire so as to help him as an assitant
Dragon Mist Dragon Mist 2/22/2016 01:49
@Papatactics: the hardware "advantage" I used was a $250 i5-4670k 4 core processor. :)
babycroc babycroc 2/22/2016 02:45
Very insightful, thank you for that. Looking forward to part 2!
genem genem 2/22/2016 06:21
Lots of specific insights into engine-assisted Corr. Chess, great article.
littlecapa littlecapa 2/22/2016 09:10
According to Schandorff (The Semi-Slav, page 90) Black equalizes with 16. .. g4. He is quoting another correspondence game, Lukasova-Ntirlis in 2013.

@Dragon Mist: Would you reveal, what you planned after 16. .. g4?
Bendigo Bendigo 2/22/2016 12:54
Fascinating. An excellent insight into a form of chess I had feared was lost to technology. Many thanks!
runawaypawn runawaypawn 2/22/2016 04:20
Great interview! Can't wait for the second part.
Dragon Mist Dragon Mist 2/22/2016 06:38
@littlecapa: I've checked my notes, and they do not contain anything on 16..g4. So either I was too lazy to write it down, or more likely, I did not consider that move. At the time of the playing (08/2013) "the only" move was 16..a6. But it does seem like 16..g4 holds very good chances for black; although the author should probably refer to a preceeding (and more relevant) ICCF game Wunderlich 2648 - Simakhin 2521 WC 32 Candidates 02 Tournament where 16..g4 was first time played ever. Another good try seems to be 16..Rd8 also.
littlecapa littlecapa 2/22/2016 06:44
@Dragon Mist: I just checked; Schandorff also quotes Wunderlich - Simakhin.

BTW: Great article. Looking forward to part 2.
Edward Labate Edward Labate 2/22/2016 11:44
I don't understand any of this! I was 2234 CC more than 20 years, when we use to PLAY the game ourselves, without computers or even suggestions from other players. From time to time friends would ask me how my games were going, and I would respond pretty good, or I might be in trouble in one game. They'd ask to see the game, and I would look at them as if they has asked for my password or SS#.

"What. This is my game, I want to do this myself, or what's the point?"

I read most of the interview, and then got sick to my stomach.
"But we humans play, not the engines..."
Delusional!! Close the engine and you won't draw one game!!

"How well you guide your engines depends on your general chess knowledge..."
Let me translate: I'm going to use my 2200 FIDE and determine where this 3300 FIDE engine stinks!

"If you have enough time and patience and composure you can feed the computer with more good ideas than your opponent..." ...
"...as long as they're not my sub 2200 FIDE ideas!"

"But you should not let the engine do all the work, for instance, by giving the engine a certain position, then leave the computer for a couple of hours, and when returning just check what the computer proposes. You will do much better if you watch the thinking process, to try to recognise and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the machine and to guide the analysis."

Every sentence shows 100% dependence on the engines. I would laugh in his face if he said, "Now here, I had to determine if the engine was correct!" You clueless buffoon, you're nothing without your engine, but now it's up to you to step in and rescue your 3300 FIDE 'helper'!!

Correspondence Chess CEASED to be a NOBLE game between two humans 20 years ago. That's why you have a sub 2200 'becoming' the world ENGINE champion and why the USA has a 1650 OTB player on Board 1 for it's international matches. It's all about engines and software.
At least athletes on Steroids still have to train hard doing more than 90% of the journey to champion on their own!! How can anyone take pride knowing that 99%+ of their 'achievement' was NOT their doing??
Correspondence Chess is worse than if I brought a fork lift to a weightlifting contest, and claimed, "Hey, I still have to turn the key, and know which levels to pull on."

Does this man really deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Purdy, Zagorovsky, Berliner, Estrin, etc., ALL OTB IMs...to take a seat at the Champions of Champions Table??
The days when we use Correspondence Chess to experiment with our gambits and learn about how to analysis and endgames while the game was ongoing are gone forever.
An OLD FRIEND has died!!
Szymon Radzinski Szymon Radzinski 2/23/2016 01:41
Mr. Ljubicic you said ''Correspondence chess has indeed evolved over the years. We don’t use postcards anymore but play on the webserver of the ICCF, the International Correspondence Chess Federations.'' I am ICCF member and I still play using postcard. ICCF organize a number of tournaments using postcard including European Championship. It is very sad that current World Champion don't know noting about that.
Dragon Mist Dragon Mist 2/23/2016 02:35
@Szymon Radzinski: of course I know there are still classic post tournaments/games (I am a National Delegate for my country, too, I should know these things) that ICCF facilitate. According to data available for last year's congress, there are about 1-1.5% of games/players in this niche, if I'm not mistaken. I do apologize for not mentionig it, I should have. But please bear in mind the information provided here was meant to be concise and I had to keep the interview within reasonable size, otherwise it would be a 20-page document.
NSRINATH NSRINATH 2/23/2016 08:24
I am curious about one aspect, how are the Corr players able to sustain themselves financially for the massive investment of time, energy and resources? How is the financial prizes aspect in Corr Chess?
slika slika 2/23/2016 09:09
Well said, Edward Labate! I absolutely agree with you. Kudos!
Michael Collins Michael Collins 2/23/2016 09:50
@ Edward Labate:

OK, you do not like Correspondence in the way it is played today. No problem. However, what I definitely do not like is your way to handle the achievements of other People and simply deny the fact that they done something, very hard, on their own.

As mentioned before, Correspondence Chess nowadays is more a science contest as a sporting - or gaming - event between two humans. Besides some Chess understanding the main skills are how to handle the Information which is available. As these information is provided by machines which many are able to effort these information is more or less common knowledge. The skill is to make the best use of it. You simply failed to get the message. In order to play good Correspondence Chess it is not enough to let your engine run.

If you want to be successful in Correspondence Chess you need to fulfil different requirements as 20 years ago. However, it is the same in OTB-Chess. You need to know how to prepare an opening with a program, how to use an engine etc. You need to play the endgame without adjournments. It is different, but no one make the remark that it is unfair to mention Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand and Carlsen in the same line as Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca Alekhine, Euwe and Botvinnik. Yes, time goes on, and to be on the top you need to be good in your time.

Maybe todays World Champions of Correspondence Chess may have not won the title 20 or 30 years ago. However, maybe the Champions from former times may have no chance to be successful nowadays. But any of them were the deserved World Champion.

I express my admiration to Mr. Ljubicic for his stamina and energy when fighting for the title and congratulate him to his achievements.

brabo_hf brabo_hf 2/23/2016 12:09
When a developer writes an algorithm to let an engine play chess better than any human being, nobody will complain that the developer plays much worse independently than their creation.

Top correspondence players figure out methods to improve the standard output of engines which they would never be able to find independently.
Still many players consider the accomplishment of creating the best engine unlimited x more clever than the accomplishment of creating the best method to succeed in correspondence chess.
I am sure in both domains you need to be exceptional and I don't want to make a ranking between both.
brabo_hf brabo_hf 2/23/2016 12:17
I also want to thank the writer for responding to the comments of the readers immediately under the article in a very concrete and informative way. I read a lot of stuff on the internet and this is something very exceptional. It clearly shows the commitment of the writer to the subject far beyond any money interests.
Karbuncle Karbuncle 2/23/2016 12:34
@ Dragon Mist, you might like my recent win that gave me the SIM title. I employed the 9.h4 move and anticipated the line my opponent opted for. I then prepared the entire middlegame well in advance and busted a new move to improve on a previous ICCF game. It worked like a charm to pull my opponent into unknown territory, and I was able to press for the winning endgame:

https://www.iccf.com/game?id=786483
Dragon Mist Dragon Mist 2/23/2016 07:26
@NSRINATH: exactly as in any other hobby, you decide how much time and money you're willing to spend. I spend very little money, and couple of hours per day of my free time. There is not much prize money in CC, but if you're good enough you may win couple of hundred $ here and there, works great as a suppression from one's better half's nagging. :)

@Karbuncle: saw it already, and noted it down for future considerations :) Well done! Not sure if black played his best, though.
stemis stemis 2/23/2016 11:52
Congratulations on winning the championship and thanks for the great interview!
What I would like to ask you is how do you approach the decision on what moves to make on the middlegame(after reaching a position not existing in a database and before having to consult endgame tablebases)?
Do you first set the position on a chessboard and brainstorm with your own ideas and evaluation first and then check with an engine; or do you first let the engine make suggestions and then choose the one suggestion that you evaluate as strategically best?
Dragon Mist Dragon Mist 2/24/2016 12:53
@stemis: I'd say it is a combination of the two; there is usualy a reason why I go for a certain position in opening phase - let's call it a plan (could be king side attack, spatial advantage, active bishop pair, realistic play against isolated pawn, etc.). If I can see the plan and the moves that will help go through with it, than that's it, I go for it. Of course I check with the engine not to oversee something trivial. But I will also give the engine a good and long run also, to see what other moves I missed, too.
Snajdan Snajdan 2/24/2016 06:22
The idea of using an engine to help you in a whole game sounds like a joke. I completely agree with Edward Labate. For me, a true world champion is someone who can work his way out during a game without any help from the engine (of course you can use it to analyze but not during the game). This way of playing correspondence chess looks just like a TCEC tournament.
flachspieler flachspieler 2/24/2016 06:54
Thanks for the nice article.
Edward Labate Edward Labate 2/24/2016 08:13
Sorry Michael Collins, you couldn't be more wrong if you tried. Today's correspondence chess has 1% to do with chess, and 99% to do with engines and software, and there isn't one HONEST chess correspondence compiler (you can't even call them players anymore since they are not doing the playing!!) that will disagree with you, unless they're delusional or dishonest or both!!
maurizio maurizio 2/24/2016 09:33
a lot of misinformation in mister Labate's writing.
25 years ago commercial engines were already strong in CC - Jonathan Penrose abanoned CC because of them - but before that self-developed engines were already a huge help. But before engines there were books, I have won many games in a silly way only because I spended more money on books than my opponent, CC has always been and always will be about managing the flow of information at your disposal.
The comparison between OTB and ICCF Elo to diminish CC achievements makes no sense - let me say it: it is just stupid - in OTB play there is a lot of factors at play - time, stress, anxiety, mood et cetera - that will influence your performance and your rating: chess understanding is only one factor in OTB chess, in CC it is the factor. In his interview the 28th CCWC has made only one mistake: he should have stressed that CC has nothing to do with OTB chess, different games requiring different approach and attitude.
brabo_hf brabo_hf 2/24/2016 01:16
CC has its own rules and I don't speak about only engines.
In CC the 50 moves rule is not applicable. So different result for same position. Nowadays you can even claim a win by just referring to tablebases.

Edward Labate says correspondence has only 1% anymore to do with chess. I guess he means the type of chess we humans produce full of mistakes. Don't we have enough alternatives for that? Seems some people are after all these years still angry that iccf didn't protect their interests. There exist alternatives to ICCF where you can play correspondence chess without engine support. Unfortunately you will see very few strong players there which just confirms that the so called honest correspondence play is simply not interesting despite the nostalgie of some former correspondence players.

In fact something very similar happened in OTB. Also in OTB the influence of engines has been enormous with theory expanding at a very fast pace. The time that you could just play a game without preparation at a high level has been behind us for decades. Many grandmasters have quite the game because of that. Others adapted themselves.
Karbuncle Karbuncle 2/25/2016 12:59
@ Edward, here's a thought: Instead of bashing the hobbies and passions of others, how about just have fun with what you like? Why do you have to speak so ignorantly and negatively about accomplishments you yourself haven't matched to even know what you're talking about? Also, since engines are allowed on ICCF, where do you get off comparing it to cheating and steroid abuse? At least on ICCF, there is no worrying about cheaters. Take a look at ANY top 10 CC site the prohibits engine use, and I guarantee you ALL 10 are using engines. THOSE are the cheaters. For example, look at the USCF top 10. Every one of them cheated to get there. That's why I refuse to participate in USCF CC events. I'd rather play on ICCF, where I know I'll get a fair shot just like anyone else.
chessmatt chessmatt 2/25/2016 05:08
I think some are missing the point that no one is hiding the fact that Engines are a significant element in correspondence chess today just as no one hides the importance of databases and tablebases. No one is bringing a forklift to a weightlifting contest. That analogy simply demonstrates a misunderstanding of what the nature of the contest actually is today. Also, no ICCF player is trying to make any comparison to OTB achievements. Nor are titled ICCF players today trying to draw comparisons to achievements of correspondence players in the pre-engine era. An ICCF title today is indicative of strength under today's ICCF conditions with today's technology and achievements in ICCF are in that context.

Regarding the sense of pride, I would imagine it is not much different than the sense of pride in any research field that is supported by strong computers and technology today. Think of ICCF as academia/research and OTB as applied practice.

The knowledge gained in ICCF play is transferable to OTB preparation which is what makes it of interest to OTB players even if you don't "get" why people might enjoy ICCF play under the conditions of today or if you don't understand what may separate a strong ICCF player from the pack all other things being equal (access to engines, databases, and tablebases).
Edward Labate Edward Labate 2/25/2016 05:14
@ maurizio

"But before engines there were books, I have won many games in a silly way only because I spended more money on books than my opponent"
"CC has always been and always will be about managing the flow of information at your disposal."
EXCEPT that YOU had to ASSESS if the information was accurate or not, whereas now, the ASSESSMENT is determined by the engines!!

"The comparison between OTB and ICCF Elo to diminish CC achievements makes no sense - let me say it: it is just stupid"
30+ years ago it was not stupid, it was an indicator of a chess player's overall ability, now it's irrelevant!!

" - in OTB play there is a lot of factors at play - time, stress, anxiety, mood et cetera - that will influence your performance and your rating"
Correct Maurizio...this is called the HUMAN element, which is why we play chess in the FIRST place!! Chess is not a THEREOM, it is a game/science that is played between humans!!

"...chess understanding is only one factor in OTB chess, in CC it is the factor."
And this is the most ignorant comment of all. Turn off your engines and then LECTURE me about 'CHESS UNDERSTANDING', not while the engines are running.

Engines in correspondence chess is just as honorable as if I brought a forklift to a weightlifting contest, and claimed that without me, the forklift wouldn't lift anything...correct, but the forklift is still doing 99% of the work, while all I'm doing is pulling on the levers which I guess is my 1% involvement...eh??

One of my all time favorite books is T.D.Harding’s “Games Of The World Corrsepondence Chess Championships I-X”, when chess players WERE chess players, working an average of "4 hours per move" (Berliner!), searching, discovering, rejoicing in the beauty and depth of chess.

Another all-time favorite book of mine is Grandmaster Preparation where Polugayevsky spends over 100 pages in the chapter, "Birth Of A Variation", talking about his 7...b5 move, the joys, anguish, and pain in the years that he toiled trying to discover the truth.
I guess if that chapter were to be written today, instead of "Birth Of A Variation", it chapter would be named "Turn On The Switch!"

What POSSIBLE pride could there be in today's correspondence chess as a HUMAN achievement. There isn't one TN that could ever be attributed to a HUMAN!!

Give it up correspondence players, you folks are worse than the worst STEROID cheats in history, and it's about time you finally admit that without your engines, you would all seep back into the crevices of anonymity!
dansafee dansafee 2/25/2016 10:25
@Edward Labate

Can you give it a rest? The amount of anger you've poured into these comments is getting a little tiresome. We've heard your opinion.

I thought the article was a very insightful look at the modern correspondence chess.
sava_ sava_ 2/26/2016 12:20
Edward Labate, you just should stop publically embarrassing yourself. There are already enough different kind of haters in this world and nothing useful will never come from them.
Edward Labate Edward Labate 2/26/2016 02:33
@Sava
"Haters?" Nope, just think it's disrespectful to take credit for something NOT accomplished!!
Michael Collins Michael Collins 2/26/2016 12:07
@ Edward Labate

Sorry, but your statement that here somonee is taking credit for something he has not accomplished is simply wrong, regardless what do you think about the influence of engines in Correspondence Chess. Mr. Ljubicic has achieved the World Championship title under the current rules. If you think it is not worth the same as the title 50 or 60 years ago, OK, this is your opinion. But your opinion do not justify all your disrepect in the statements.

And why do you not proove your statement, take up Correspondence Chess and show everyone that Chess-understanding doesn't matter?
brabo_hf brabo_hf 2/26/2016 06:40
" Do you think Leonardo Ljubicic could draw ONE game WITHOUT the use of engines?? "
Do you think a driver can win one race without using a very good car ??

"Why bother?!"
Because some people want to create the best possible games and only care about the truth in chess. Personally I don't find it useful to spend analyzing for days/ months positions which anybody with an engine can refute in minutes.
handikap handikap 2/27/2016 08:23
@Dragon Mist

Thanks for Your insights. Never the less, I did not find anywhere in Fritz 15 the option at witch You point in "the amazing “Sampled Search” and " In fact, I consider “Sampled Search” the biggest invention in computer chess ever".
What/where is "Sampled Search" in Fritz 15? :-) Thank You.
Edward Labate Edward Labate 2/27/2016 10:51
@ Michael Collins
As you know, there's now 'airport-security' type check-in for all OTB FIDE events.

"Sorry, but your statement that here someone is taking credit for something he has not accomplished is simply wrong..."
Really, then explain to me what he has accomplished, and if had NOT used engines, would the results have been different??

And btw, the United States Chess Federation still has a ban on outside assistance:
"Q: Can I use my chess computer?
A: No. Using the chessplaying algorithms of a software program, except when such computers/programs are expressly permitted by special rules, is prohibited.
Q: Can I refer to chess books?
A: Yes. Players are free to consult chess publications or literature but are not permitted to consult with other players."

"...regardless what do you think about the influence of engines in Correspondence Chess."
What I think?? How about asking former top CC players who left CC because it was no longer the same game. Three that come to mind are Hans Bernliner, Jonathan Penrose and Frank Camaratta...all between 2560 - 2780, pre 1990!
But here’s the REAL question: What do you think about the influence of engines in Correspondence Chess. Do you think Leonardo Ljubicic could draw ONE game WITHOUT the use of engines??

"Mr. Ljubicic has achieved the World Championship title under the current rules."
CORRECT: The current rules allow outside interference wherein a player can play 1000 ELO above his actual strength...now tell me again how this qualifies as an achievement!

"If you think it is not worth the same as the title 50 or 60 years ago, OK, this is your opinion."
Well then, 2 questions:
1] Do you think the title title today is just as earned, revered and respected as it was when say...Hans Berliner won the title??
2] Do you think todays ENGINE WIZARDS should be given the same respect as players in the first Ten World Championships?

"But your opinion do not justify all your disrepect in the statements."
Of course it does...that's what this whole exchange has been about, players rated 600 - 1100+ ELO below Carlsen, Kasparov, Anand, Kramnik,etc. being given equal respect while employing
outside assistance that is banned in EVERY FIDE tournament. If forklifts were all of a sudden legal for weightlifting contest, would you still have respect for 120 pound forklift operators with 'souped-up' forlifts crushing the old models??

"And why do you not prove your statement, take up Correspondence Chess and show everyone that Chess-understanding doesn't matter?"
Ah yes, the old "Well, if you're so hot, why don't you try it?"
I played Correspondence Chess for 20+ years, 1976-1999, achieving a top rating of 2234. I've never owned an engine, even today. Don't care what a computer thinks, I already know I can't beat a cell phone engine, there's no point in trying. And since I refuse to EVER use an engine even for personal analysis, why would I bother, knowing that I couldn't even draw ONE game today?? That’s why I quit almost 20 years ago, and am quite surprised that CC still exist today. I would have thought that open ‘CHEATING’ would have lead everyone to the same conclusion: WHY BOTHER?!