Live Book: thousands of novelties

by Albert Silver
11/10/2013 – Since the Live Book and Let's Check functions appeared, hundreds and thousands of opening moves in the Live Book have been deeply studied with engines and yet have never seen the light of day in a serious game. Some are already being scrutinized by legions of users, and may be just around the corner from appearing in a top game. Learn how you can use these unplayed novelties yourself.

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Live Book: thousands of novelties

When Deep Fritz 13 came out, sporting the new Live Book and Let's Check functions, it was obvious it would have a more than casual impact on chess, though some of the benefits would take time to manifest themselves. By now, there are hundreds and thousands of moves in the Live Book that have been deeply studied with engines and yet have never seen the light of day in a serious game. Some are already being scrutinized by legions of users, and may be just around the corner from appearing in a top game. Allow us to show how you can use these unplayed novelties yourself.

Before going on, it helps to understand what Let’s Check and Live Book are, and how you can benefit from them.

Let’s Check

When you run your engine on a given position in your computer, that analysis is yours alone. The problem with this is the massive overlap that occurs. For example, what if someone had already analyzed that very move for over an hour? Wouldn’t it be great if you could just see their results and not waste time? That is what Let’s Check does.

When you start the engine in Deep Fritz (or Houdini 3 Pro), the engine's analysis is
yours alone. If you click on the blue arrow, you will open the Let's Check and be
able to see the analysis of others.

To see the analysis, if there is any, you need to simply run your engine, and then turn on Let’s Check. If you see results, they are yours for consulting, but if during this time, your own engine produces worthwhile results, they will be stored on the server as well. To put it simply: to take you must be giving.

Here we can see that this position has already been analyzed by at least three people for an hour or more

Although you cannot see the exact time spent, the color says enough. If it is green, the position was analyzed for at least 20 seconds on a good quad. If blue then at least two to four minutes, and when brown, it was an hour or more.

Live Book

This is where Live Book kicks in. Suppose at this juncture, two of the three moves had never been played. They are added to the Live Book with the engine’s evaluation. You can then analyze one or more and the results will be stored. Thus moves that do not come from a game, and are only the top suggestions of an engine, become part of this giant cloud openings book. The question now is locating the unplayed moves are being studied closely, so that you can anticipate the trends around the corner.

Here you can see that Live Book has four games with a big winning edge for White, yet the
engines think it roughly equal after a solid hour of heavy computing

Finding novelties

Live book stores all moves, whether they come from games, or pure engine analysis, but it does not do so indiscriminately. If a move comes from a game, or several games, you will not only see the number of games and average Elo of the players, but the average result and computer evaluation if any. The percentage of the result is always from White’s perspective so a result of 55% means 55% of the points for White.

We'll start by examing a certain 16-move draw that took place today. Since the turning
point seemed to be before 9.Nc3, we take it from there.

When consulting the online or offline database from the ChessBase program, the number of games played is the natural indicator of popularity, as well as a measure of how reliable the stats are. If only three games exist, it goes without saying that the statistics won’t mean much.

The next major try is 9.Nbd2. Since Black will be more than happy to just kill
White's plans in their tracks, the question is how does he do exactly that?
The engines suggest 9...b5 as the equalizer...

... while Live Book suggests 9.Ne4 is by far the most popular continuation with 81 games
and 978 visits. 9...b5 has only three games, but a hefty 79 visits all the same. Let's take
a look.

More importantly, there is also a clear cut way to see what unplayed moves are being studied the most, immediately telling you there may be a secret just waiting to be unleashed. At this point it will be up to you to look at the moves and determine if there is a fire behind this smoke.

After 9...Ne4 the common reply is 10.Nh4 with a small pull
for White according to the engines. This leaves 9...b5 as
the mystery move worth investigating.
The combined work of curiosity, engines and Live Book should do the rest. We encourage you to investigate the Live Book since there is evidence of huge trends and heavily investigated lines that have never appeared in master play. Happy hunting!



Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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