PDA

View Full Version : Acceptable practice in correspondence games



Desmond
26-06-2006, 08:28 PM
My first ever game was against HD, so I am a real n00b at correspondance chess.

I want to know what is generally accepted as being "ok" to use as a tool in such a game.

(For the record HD and AC, I have only used my wooden board and my head in our games)

ElevatorEscapee
26-06-2006, 08:35 PM
Hi Boris, remember the rules from when I was playing snail mail correspondence chess, it was ok to consult books, move the pieces around on the board, etc.

It wasn't ok to ask advice from a friend, or use a computer's playing function to help you analyse the position (a computer database was ok, as it was considered just an electronic form of a book).

Hope that is of help. :)

Basil
26-06-2006, 10:24 PM
Huh? I moved pieces around on a board. I was under the impression that was the only permssable.

But that's the point of this thread, so I'll shut up now and learn!

antichrist
26-06-2006, 10:27 PM
I was making the bed and swishing the sheets around and sent the pieces flying - took me two days to find them under everywhere so no move - sorry Boris

Davidflude
26-06-2006, 10:32 PM
Australian Corrrespondence chess League specifically bans use of computers for
analysis.

IECG specifically bans them


ICCF rules are not as clear.

Jesse Jager
26-06-2006, 10:36 PM
calculations for what?

Desmond
26-06-2006, 10:40 PM
calculations for what?
For determining which move you will play.

Jesse Jager
26-06-2006, 10:48 PM
most of the above options appear to be braking accepted chess rules. I must be missing something very obvious here:wall:

Desmond
26-06-2006, 11:10 PM
most of the above options appear to be braking accepted chess rules. I must be missing something very obvious here:wall:
By "accepted chess rules" do you mean over-the-board rules or correspondance rules?

antichrist
27-06-2006, 07:14 AM
By "accepted chess rules" do you mean over-the-board rules or correspondance rules?

He means the non-skid all-weather variety

Kevin Bonham
27-06-2006, 05:46 PM
My view is that a player should have recourse to any previously published or derived information (this could include a computer database provided any accompanying analysis engine was switched off, or printed output of an analysis engine based on pre-game preparation) but should not seek any fresh advice on the position from any human or silicon source, unless the rules of the competition permit.

Igor_Goldenberg
28-06-2006, 11:33 AM
The players should abide by the rules of the competition, which clearly prohibits usage of the computer program engine to analyse the position.

However, any law should be enforcable and make sence. Stupid laws are broken much more often. How on earth usage of computer engine can be monitored?

I also think that the team of strong player plus computer program will beat the team of weak player plus computer program (in correspondence chess).

MichaelBaron
28-06-2006, 03:25 PM
Australian Corrrespondence chess League specifically bans use of computers for
analysis.

IECG specifically bans them


ICCF rules are not as clear.

It is well-known that all of the top correspondence players are using computers

Sutek
28-06-2006, 05:26 PM
Australian Corrrespondence chess League specifically bans use of computers for
analysis.

IECG specifically bans them


ICCF rules are not as clear.

Hi David,

IECG and ICCF allow the use of programs and engines and have done for sometime.

If you look at their rules you will see that the paragraph that was once there which said something along the lines of "programs and engines are forbidden" has now been removed.

ICCF stated that it was impossible to police such a rule which made it unfair for the honest people.

Sutek
28-06-2006, 05:36 PM
It is well-known that all of the top correspondence players are using computers

Hi Michael,

I can tell you from my own experience that a good CC player will beat any program/engine at CC.

Good example would be CC GM Nickel smashing Hydra in their recent 2 game corro match.

Games and notes can be found at
http://amici.iccf.com/issues/issue_05/issue_05_nickel_hydra.html

from what I've read on the net I believe that original agreement was to play a return match (regardless of the result) but the Hydra team has now ceased all communications with Nickel!

Igor_Goldenberg
29-06-2006, 10:43 AM
Hi Michael,

I can tell you from my own experience that a good CC player will beat any program/engine at CC.

Good example would be CC GM Nickel smashing Hydra in their recent 2 game corro match.

Games and notes can be found at
http://amici.iccf.com/issues/issue_05/issue_05_nickel_hydra.html

from what I've read on the net I believe that original agreement was to play a return match (regardless of the result) but the Hydra team has now ceased all communications with Nickel!

The question is whether he used the help of the computer or not. Man plus computer is much stronger then a man or computer alone.

Kevin Bonham
29-06-2006, 02:07 PM
Hi Michael,

I can tell you from my own experience that a good CC player will beat any program/engine at CC.

Good example would be CC GM Nickel smashing Hydra in their recent 2 game corro match.

However I was also following a match in which Nickel was playing against six unnamed engines by correspondence and I think there the results were pretty even although I don't remember the final score. (The engines were disguised with names like Venus, Pluto etc so he would not know what computer he was up against in each game.)

On the basis of Sutek's comments that two major CC organisations have now allowed computer use, I've changed my view to that computer use is OK unless the rules of the competition specify otherwise. I was only aware of ICCF allowing computers. There is actually a Tasmanian player, Bruce Oates, playing at a very high standard in computer-assisted CC events although we have never seen him at any OTB event.

ElevatorEscapee
29-06-2006, 07:46 PM
Hi Kevin,

I know that there were specific "computer assisted" tournaments where the use of chess engines was allowed when I was still playing postal Correspondence Chess in the mid 1990s (admittedly I haven't played this form of chess for a very long while).

I would be greatly surprised, astounded, agog, flummoxed in fact! if computer engine assistance was permitted in general correspondence chess play!

The main reason is because it would be just like asking another chess player for advice (only instead of the other chess player being human, it happens to be a very strong electronic chess engine).

If both players were aware that they were particpating in a "computer assisted" match before the start of the game, I would have no troubles with it all, however if one player was getting help from Fritz without the other player's knowledge, I would consider that akin to asking advice from a third party.

I vaguely remember a demonstration "computer assisted" match between a couple of grandmasters in the 1990s (Karpov & Anand perhaps, maybe won by Anand?)... they called it "Advanced Chess", however it failed to capture the imagination of the chess playing public despite the funds from the chess paying (computer) sponsors! ;)

If correspondence chess allows 'computer assistance' in such a manner, then it will die a slow but sure death as players will become ever more disgruntled after each loss wondering if they were playing a human being or a computer. :(

Kevin Bonham
29-06-2006, 08:17 PM
I just saw an interview in "Chess Life" with the winner of the last ICCF (I think it was) world champs where he talked openly about using computer assistance and about using computer assistance being permitted.

Sutek is an extremely strong correspondence player and I'm sure he knows what he is talking about. I was actually not aware that more than one group had removed the restriction; I had thought that most still banned it.


I vaguely remember a demonstration "computer assisted" match between a couple of grandmasters in the 1990s (Karpov & Anand perhaps, maybe won by Anand?)... they called it "Advanced Chess", however it failed to capture the imagination of the chess playing public despite the funds from the chess paying (computer) sponsors!

This continues to be held but is not attracting that much attention. I think the Karpov and Anand match (which Anand won easily) was the second, after a Kasparov-Topalov match which was tied.


If correspondence chess allows 'computer assistance' in such a manner, then it will die a slow but sure death as players will become ever more disgruntled after each loss wondering if they were playing a human being or a computer.

Not being a regular CC player (due to lack of time) I can't make an informed comment but I doubt the outlook is so pessimistic. I assume that even with the computer there would still be a great role for human skill. I have noticed that analysing with a computer (eg when annotating a game) is something where you can't just follow the computer blindly, otherwise you come out with rubbish. I imagine the same is true in CC.

ElevatorEscapee
29-06-2006, 09:01 PM
If this is truly the case, then I am extremely disappointed and saddened in CC to see that it has degenerated to such a state. :(

If computer assistance is allowed, where does this leave current online "Correspondence Chess Games" such as those played on this site? (eg, can Axiom now start using a computer to work out his moves in his game against Kevin Bonhman in their game in the Correspondence Chess thread? ... or if both players have agreed prior to the game to only use their wits, would such a practice be deemed as illegal?)

Hmmm, a brief glimpse at the ICCF site doesn't enlighten overmuch. The rules neither seem to suggest legality or illegality of such a nefarious practice, so people can assume that it is permissable... all in all I suggest this to be a p*ssweak/p*sspoor effort on behalf of the ICCF. :doh:

However, much more pleasant news can be obtained from the CCLA forum! :) "The CCLA forbids the use of engines or chess programs." (as per a CCLA Council member on the CCLA website).

Yay! Yay! CCLA! Hooray!

A number of people abandoned the CCLA back in the late 1990s, using the excuse that they didn't know if they were playing against a human or a computer... a strong stance such as this one taken by the CCLA, is just what people need to be drawn back! (I am tempted to join again myself!)

So if you want a decent correspondence chess game, free of computer cheats (or at least those who own up to it!), join the CCLA! :D

Kevin Bonham
30-06-2006, 06:23 PM
If computer assistance is allowed, where does this leave current online "Correspondence Chess Games" such as those played on this site? (eg, can Axiom now start using a computer to work out his moves in his game against Kevin Bonhman in their game in the Correspondence Chess thread? ... or if both players have agreed prior to the game to only use their wits, would such a practice be deemed as illegal?)

I suggest that players continue such games as they have started - however before any future CC games I play on the site I will seek clarification from the opponent as to whether computers are to be allowed or not.

Desmond
30-06-2006, 06:44 PM
I suggest that players continue such games as they have started - however before any future CC games I play on the site I will seek clarification from the opponent as to whether computers are to be allowed or not.

That is my point, and why I started this thread. We have differing opinions on what is acceptable. I'm sure people will be amicable as long as it is known upfront what the rules are.

Basil
09-07-2006, 10:42 PM
From Graham Burgess' Mammoth Book of Chess,
Robinson Publishing 2000.

Correspondence Chess:
... I should explain that while some correspondence chess organisations explicitly ban the use of computers, others, including The International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF), do not. ...

ElevatorEscapee
18-02-2009, 05:10 PM
Mention of this thread came up a couple of weeks ago. Given that there has been a number of new members since 2006, would there be any value in having this thread as a "sticky"?

I personally applaud the practice of players labelling computer assisted games as "freestyle" before the game starts. :)

Kaitlin
18-02-2009, 06:14 PM
I would have also clicked 'consult a chess book' but didnt cause its teamed wif sumtn else :rolleyes:

Kevin Bonham
18-02-2009, 07:37 PM
Mention of this thread came up a couple of weeks ago. Given that there has been a number of new members since 2006, would there be any value in having this thread as a "sticky"?

I think it is a very good idea to have a sticky thread of some kind on this issue.

Whether it should be this thread, or whether it should simply be a brief official statement about what is generally considered acceptable practice here is something re which I will wait for further comments.

CameronD
18-02-2009, 08:00 PM
Before my first correspondence game, I researched the rules and followed what a chessbase article stated what the rules are for proper correspondence chess.

1. No computers or engines in anaylsis mode
2. Players can use any material available (books, databases, articles) as these are considered available information.
3. You can move pieces around on the board.
4. You could put a position into fritz and get information on played moves and their scores as this is historical information.
5. You can not ask someone else for advice.

Ian Rout
19-02-2009, 09:02 AM
Before my first correspondence game, I researched the rules and followed what a chessbase article stated what the rules are for proper correspondence chess.

1. No computers or engines in anaylsis mode
2. Players can use any material available (books, databases, articles) as these are considered available information.
3. You can move pieces around on the board.
4. You could put a position into fritz and get information on played moves and their scores as this is historical information.
5. You can not ask someone else for advice.
Points 2-5 are generally accepted and there probably won't be any argument.

There is no correct answer on the use of engines as there are CC events which allow them and others which don't. It seems to me that any competition that does not explicitly state the rule one way or the other is asking for trouble.

Even then there can be grey areas. If a player has just played 5...a6 in the Sicilian is their opponent allowed to research variations on move 12 of the Najdorf? On the one hand this is still using an engine. On the other hand the position has not actually happened, a ban in these circumstances would prevent players using computer preparation for OTB games, and if somebody else did the same research and published it then it would be OK. Or what about if the player had done the computer-aided research before the tournament started?

I think the simplest would be to allow engine use generally, on the basis that it is difficult to stop, it is unclear where the boundary is, and the original motivation for prohibiting it was in part that it disadvantaged those who didn't have a computer and chess software whereas now most players do. Players who wanted to play computer-free games could then still join or start tournaments which expressly banned engines.

Basil
19-02-2009, 09:16 AM
My preferred rule:
Only moving pieces around on a board is permitted

My rationale is
• this practice retains the game to the player (self)
• access to other materials and databases is using other people's ideas
• access to other materials and databases is seldom likely to be exactly equal for both players
• this is chess, not research!

Desmond
19-02-2009, 09:40 AM
I would have also clicked 'consult a chess book' but didnt cause its teamed wif sumtn else :rolleyes:Seems to me to be a logical grouping. Why do you approve of one but not the other?

Ian Rout
19-02-2009, 01:21 PM
My preferred rule:
Only moving pieces around on a board is permitted

My rationale is
this practice retains the game to the player (self)
access to other materials and databases is using other people's ideas
access to other materials and databases is seldom likely to be exactly equal for both players
this is chess, not research!
This last point, that CC is not research, is interesting because many many years ago a senior CC figure (don't remember who) wrote just the opposite in the CCLA newsletter. He expressed the view that the essential feature of CC is that it is about research, rather than just a different way of playing the same game.

As I recall part of his argument, apart from the obvious point that it gives the opportunity to examine positions more deeply, was that it can never be an equal contest because some people have (or are prepared to use) so much more time than others, so it is only worth playing when viewed as more than just another game of chess.

People have many reasons for playing CC and many permutations of rules are valid (so long as there is compliance) but I think it is true that part of the attraction for at least some players is to delve more deeply which includes using sources to play endings accurately and play openings according to and to test current theory.

Garvinator
19-02-2009, 02:31 PM
I think also for acceptable practice, or for what is part of the rules, is what can actually be reasonably enforced.

Kevin Bonham
19-02-2009, 07:30 PM
I think also for acceptable practice, or for what is part of the rules, is what can actually be reasonably enforced.

Yes, which makes rules of the you-can-use-Fritz-in-database-mode-but-you-can't-switch-the-engine-on type a bit silly. People may be too easily tempted.


• access to other materials and databases is using other people's ideas

But this happens all the time anyway. Players who learn openings at pretty much any stage of their learning about the game (instead of playing entirely their own openings made up from scratch) are using other people's ideas. Players who swot up on theory to prepare for an OTB game are using other people's ideas. The difference between CC and OTB in this regard is that in OTB, it matters whether you can remember what you read.

I'm making this thread a sticky thread as it is; should something near a consensus on a set of default rules for non-tournament games here emerge I will post them as an announcement.

Basil
20-02-2009, 12:11 AM
Players who learn openings at pretty much any stage of their learning about the game (instead of playing entirely their own openings made up from scratch) are using other people's ideas.
That's right.


Players who swot up on theory to prepare for an OTB game are using other people's ideas.
That's right.


The difference between CC and OTB in this regard is that in OTB, it matters whether you can remember what you read.
That's right. :hmm:

I'm fine with all of that just like swotting up before an exam. I object to to referring to the answers during the exam.

Kevin Bonham
20-02-2009, 12:27 AM
I'm fine with all of that just like swotting up before an exam. I object to to referring to the answers during the exam.

It's more like the difference between closed-book and open-book exams than like the difference between closed-book exams and looking up the answer.

Even freestyle isn't looking up the answer. You can ask your computer for the answer and it still doesn't know. It will just have a much better idea of which answers are tactically wrong.

Basil
20-02-2009, 12:32 AM
Even freestyle isn't looking up the answer.
Yes but it is a very good guide and a blunder check.

I understand the point you are making. That style of play doesn't work for me. That's not the essence of corro in my book [/pun].

Rincewind
20-02-2009, 08:34 AM
I'm fine with all of that just like swotting up before an exam. I object to to referring to the answers during the exam.

The other problem is that this is not really practical in CC where game make take several weeks to complete (postal games used to take an average of around 18 months). During that time you would have to actively avoid books which dealt with the lines you happen to be playing in your many CC games. Also book endgame study would be difficult as you would have to avoid studying end games which may have a bearing on the games you currently have in progress.

I think a ban or research makes CC too much of an inconvenience to participate in. You require players to only read books which deal with general middle games ideas or openings that they don't play in CC.

Rincewind
20-02-2009, 08:37 AM
Just a quick point why has using a computer database of games and using a chess engine not been differentiated?

I think that is an important distinction as indicated by a message of Kevin's (#33).

Desmond
20-02-2009, 08:50 AM
Just a quick point why has using a computer database of games and using a chess engine not been differentiated?

I think that is an important distinction as indicated by a message of Kevin's (#33).I think I did differentiate them; when I said engine, I was referring to the latter. Database would be analagous to book or website.

Basil
20-02-2009, 10:13 AM
During that time you would have to actively avoid books which dealt with the lines you happen to be playing in your many CC games.

Yes. No problem with that in my ... eeerm book :uhoh:


I think a ban or research makes CC too much of an inconvenience to participate in. You require players to only read books which deal with general middle games ideas or openings that they don't play in CC.
Ditto. I should clarify that I'm not arguing for 'my style' to get up - my care factor is not great. I am saying that:

1. Where what you and Kev et al are advocating exists, I have no interest in that variant at all.
2. This correspondence variant is weighted in favour of assistance to such a degree that the essence of chess and individuality is lost. Hell, might as well go the whole hog and plug in Rybka.
3. That some issues of enforcement and practicality exist are not sufficient rationale for me to include them in a code of acceptable practice.

All of a sudden corro has become a dirty word ... eugggghhhh

Rincewind
20-02-2009, 03:31 PM
I think I did differentiate them; when I said engine, I was referring to the latter. Database would be analagous to book or website.

In that case I'll reword my question? ;)

Just a quick point why has using a computer database of games and using a chess book of games/openings not been differentiated?

I take the point that they are analogous but only to a point. As Kevin points out, when using a database that also has engine capability, there may be a lower barrier to employing the engine either licitly or illicitly. In Kevin's words...


... which makes rules of the you-can-use-Fritz-in-database-mode-but-you-can't-switch-the-engine-on type a bit silly. People may be too easily tempted.

Personally I feel that if books are allowed then so should computer databases but some people may decide to vote against them from a pragmatic point of view.

There is also considerable grey area with endgame tablebases. Generally these are electronically computed and then stored. Yes they are considered a part of the body of current chess theory. But what is the difference between using a move that a computer calculated yesterday and using a move that a computer calculated today?

Desmond
20-02-2009, 03:47 PM
Just a quick point why has using a computer database of games and using a chess book of games/openings not been differentiated?
Because I created the poll, and to me they are analagous, so I did not see any need to differentiate them.

Davidflude
13-04-2009, 12:42 PM
The situation with high level over the board chess is that many very strong over the board players are using computers to find theoretical innovations to spring on their opponents.

I was working on the King's Gambit some time ago and found a major improvement for black. I had entered all the moves on my database. Subsequently in a fied openings tournament three players followed analysis by Gallagher and walked straight into the line.

I did not need to use my analysis engine. However it would have looked to my opponent that I was using an engine.

However I am very suspect of engines. I am playing one game where the position just does not clarify after a sacrifice. I had a choice of totally unbalanced endgames where I would not trust computer evaluations one bit. When the game is finished I will let players look at it.

Suppose you let the computer program analyze a position and it says after say 30 half moves deep that one player has an advantage then how do you know whether to trust the final evaluation.

Garvinator
13-04-2009, 03:22 PM
Suppose you let the computer program analyze a position and it says after say 30 half moves deep that one player has an advantage then how do you know whether to trust the final evaluation.
And this is where the skill of a decent freestyle player comes in, when to trust the judgement of the engine, or to keep looking for more, believing that the engine is missing something, or even further, that you know more than the engine does in a given position no matter what eval the engine is screaming at you.

Kevin Bonham
08-07-2009, 04:26 PM
We (the mods) are currently discussing what if anything to do about the problem of move editing.

Suffice to say that it is not a good idea to edit any post containing your reply to a move made by your opponent (whether your post in reply contains your next move or not). Even if the edit is innocent (or the original move was a typo, for example) this may give rise to suspicion of cheating that you will be unable to disprove. Better to make a second post and ask the moderators to merge the posts if necessary.

Once a legal move is submitted by pressing send, that is your move and it cannot be altered, not even if you unintentionally typed a move that is not the one you meant to play.

I will support any tournament director who rules the game to be lost by any player who edits a post containing a reply to a move.

If there is any suggestion that posts are edited within the edit window in this manner it may be necessary to use the board software to ban all non-mod edits in this section.

Saragossa
08-07-2009, 04:34 PM
You could enforce that every edit must be accompanied with a screen shot which includes the time of edit and post.

Paul Cavezza
24-01-2010, 04:21 PM
So no opening books?
One thing to consider is maybe that many people use corro games as a study tool with this in mind. Personally I like playing a serious game with the option of looking up a line occasionally. It does get boring waiting 4 days for a 12th move of theory though:>

Desmond
25-01-2010, 01:46 PM
So no opening books?
One thing to consider is maybe that many people use corro games as a study tool with this in mind. Personally I like playing a serious game with the option of looking up a line occasionally. It does get boring waiting 4 days for a 12th move of theory though:>
I think if you want to do that you should get the opponent's approval in advance.

Paul Cavezza
25-01-2010, 02:59 PM
True- I don't unless agreed upon before. Pretty obvious I didn't in our game anyway:>

Davidflude
22-02-2015, 11:23 AM
To bring everybody up to speed.

ICCF permits the use of computers.

ICCF also allows you to claim results based on th Namilov 6 man databases.

So far I have lost one game in a difficult endgame and drawn one to my opponents great surprise. I had checked it out manually before I realized that I could claim the draw. Incidentally two strong programs both believed that my opponent was winning.

I only play tournaments where computer programs are allowed. One reason is that many of my opponents do not understand the strengths and weaknesses of computer programs.

They misjudge positional sacrifices.

They misplay endings.

They have trouble in stodgy positions.

antichrist
03-11-2020, 09:04 PM
It is well-known that all of the top correspondence players are using computers

Then why were you complaining 14 years later if you.already knew?

Garvinator
04-11-2020, 10:34 AM
To bring everybody up to speed.

ICCF permits the use of computers.

ICCF also allows you to claim results based on th Namilov 6 man databases.

So far I have lost one game in a difficult endgame and drawn one to my opponents great surprise. I had checked it out manually before I realized that I could claim the draw. Incidentally two strong programs both believed that my opponent was winning.

I only play tournaments where computer programs are allowed. One reason is that many of my opponents do not understand the strengths and weaknesses of computer programs.

They misjudge positional sacrifices.

They misplay endings.

They have trouble in stodgy positions.

ICCF has now moved to 7 man tablebase claims

MichaelBaron
04-03-2021, 11:36 PM
ICCF has now moved to 7 man tablebase claims

Correspondence chess is dying slowly (or may be not even so slowly)... but surely!

Desmond
05-03-2021, 02:26 PM
Correspondence chess is dying slowly (or may be not even so slowly)... but surely!

I was interested to hear from Wesley So in a banter blitz session recently, that he goes through correspondence games regularly (I think he said weekly) for new ideas etc.
Another top superGM, who's course I am currently studying, also made mention of the success of certain lines as by their recent top level corro results.