Chess Engines : Training With The Best Player
16/04/2023 - Actualizado: 21/06/2023
Chess engines are computer programs that play chess based on brute force, they calculate all the possible moves in the position, assigning a number to each move in order to choose the best one.
It is a unique way of playing chess, a way that we humans cannot imitate, because they do these calculations at an unattainable speed, calculations that would cause us to lose the game because of the time invested if we tried it, besides getting exhausted.
But this does not mean that we cannot learn from them, that we cannot take advantage of them; if we think about it, we have in our power a player capable of beating the best players in the world.
It's true that it can be a bit frustrating to play against someone we can't beat, but we have to focus on our goal, not on the result, focus on improving what we want to improve, the opening, testing some new idea, etc.
(don't forget to visit our special article on AI vs. humans)
In this article, we will tell you some ways to get the most out of the chess engine.
Chess Engines for the training
Practicing Our Openings
We can use chess engines as sparring partners to test our understanding of the openings we play and improve them little by little. This will help us keep our openings fresh (our memory tends to be fragile, we forget the things we do not use).
They will also help us find new ideas, find positions that are difficult to play, which will give us a great advantage by already knowing the right moves, which in chess is called "preparation".
As in the openings, it is also a perfect companion for practicing the endgames, which, unlike the openings, always have the same plans, the same ideas to play them.
It is always advisable to practice the endgames that are most often given to us in the openings we play.
Endgames are a deadly weapon, especially at the club player level, where the level of knowledge of endgames is very low.
Identifying Our Weaknesses
Knowing our weaknesses and strengths is the key to improving our game so that we know what we need to improve on to stop being a weakness and what we need to continue training on to stay a strength.
To identify our weaknesses, it is advisable to play several games against the chess engine, about 10 or 20 games at a rhythm of play of one hour per side or similar to be able to play seriously.
The result of the games, as we have already repeated in this article (it is very important to be clear about this, that's why I repeat it so much 😅, if we are clear about it, we will not get frustrated), is not important.
When we have played all the games we set out to play, the second part is to see where we fail the most, to analyze our games and find the pattern where we fail the most, for example in the opening, due to tactical or strategic mistakes. This way we will know what we need to improve and we will also know what we are doing well.
Helping Us Against Our Opponents
As well as helping us identify our weaknesses and strengths, they also help us identify our opponents' weaknesses, the positions where our opponents usually make the most mistakes, and with this information we can steer the game in that direction, as well as knowing the positions where they are more comfortable and stronger, in order to avoid those positions where they have an advantage.
To know the weaknesses and strengths of our opponents, we have to do the same things we do to know our own strengths.
From a series of games we will see where they make the most mistakes, if we don't have games with the classic rhythm of our opponents, the games played online (on platforms such as chess.com and lichess.org) will help us anyway, it is only necessary to know their username and we will be able to have access to their games.
Testing Our Thinking Algorithm
It is no secret that chess engines play at an inhuman level and are getting more powerful every day, so they are the perfect opponents to test our decision making at the chessboard.
In order to test ourselves, it is advisable to play with a clear goal in mind, such as making no tactical mistakes, developing the opening comfortably, having a comfortable middlegame, and so on.
The important thing is to be clear about what our goal is, so the result of the game is not important, what is really important is to train the theme we want.
To Keep in Mind
The depth of the analysis of the engine depends on the components of your computer, if your computer is powerful enough, the analysis will be deeper. Although it is not necessary a great depth to help us with our levels, having a good computer is key at a professional level.
At the beginning when you start working with the chess engine, especially when you play against it, it is better to do it once a week and gradually increase the frequency, this is to avoid the frustration of not being able to win and end up abandoning the training.
What else can we practice with our friend the chess engine?
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