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  1. #1
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    Post Research on the mostly done first move in Chess [poll]

    Hello,

    I am a 2nd year student at the Fontys ICT.
    I got an assesment about data visualization, for this project I need to collect as much results as possible.
    Thats why I made a form.

    Filling out the form will take less than one minute.

    form

    The project is about "The Zipf Mystery".
    If you want to learn more about this, I would recommand to watch this video, maybe it will be usefull for chess as well

    Zipf

    You would really help me by filling in the form.

    Thanks in advance,

    Nevin Wouters

  2. #2
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    This year in rated games I have played 1.Nf3 six times, 1.e4 three times, 1.c4 three times and 1.g3 once. I believe this is the first year in which 1.e4 hasn't been my most common first move as white, and possibly the first year in which 1.e4 has been my first move in less than half of my games.

    First chess moves don't obey the power law very well. Rather than using a small set of data from this survey, if you look at the chessbase database (http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/database/?lang=en) you can see the top four account for about 98% of moves. The gradient is steepest proportionally between moves 4 and 5 not moves 1 and 2.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by nevin123 View Post
    Hello,

    I am a 2nd year student at the Fontys ICT.
    I got an assesment about data visualization, for this project I need to collect as much results as possible.
    Thats why I made a form....

    Thanks in advance,

    Nevin Wouters
    Your chessboard is not oriented correctly - there should be a white square in the lower right-hand corner. And the queens should be on the square of their colour.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    First chess moves don't obey the power law very well. Rather than using a small set of data from this survey, if you look at the chessbase database (http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/database/?lang=en) you can see the top four account for about 98% of moves. The gradient is steepest proportionally between moves 4 and 5 not moves 1 and 2.
    I suspect the problem may be that the first move in chess is often interchangeable with the second and even third moves: Playing 1.c4, 1.d4 or 1.Nf3 generally results in the same position, for example. This is not the case with the first letter of a word or the first digit of a number.

  5. #5
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Byrom View Post
    I suspect the problem may be that the first move in chess is often interchangeable with the second and even third moves: Playing 1.c4, 1.d4 or 1.Nf3 generally results in the same position, for example. This is not the case with the first letter of a word or the first digit of a number.
    It might be more interesting then to look at, for instance, the distribution of positions reachable after move four (or some other small number) by both sides, and see if their frequency conformed to the power law.

    No matter how it is looked at, Zipf's Law is just a tendency, albeit a remarkably strong one. There's no reason why every frequency distribution must conform to it, but there's some reason to suspect that certain distributions (for instance in language) might evolve towards it. In chess some moves just are seen as better than others and hence get played more often.

    When I ran the 2010 Australian Junior it amazed me how orthodox the juniors were in their choices of first move. Almost three in four were 1.e4 and only two games were a move outside the "top four", in both cases 1.g3. I made a comment about it in the bulletin with three rounds to go to see if it would prod anyone into playing anything outlandish, but it didn't. Made me wonder if juniors would be underprepared for meeting 1.Nc3, 1.b3, 1.b4, 1.g4 over the board.
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 26-11-2015 at 03:14 PM.

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