Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Re: The Limits of Positional Knowledge

Author: Steffen Jakob

Date: 02:39:52 11/11/99

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On November 11, 1999 at 04:45:50, Bruce Moreland wrote:

>On November 11, 1999 at 03:37:10, Michael Neish wrote:
>>This has led me to another question.  Supposing you stubbornly insist on using
>>alpha-beta, and not add any of the sophisticated embellishments that everyone
>>talks about (killer move, null move, etc).  How far can you expect to go just on
>>programming positional sense alone?  I ask this because it seems to me (as
>>someone mentioned only last week on rgcc) that positional sense in a program is
>>to a large extent only window dressing, and that the strength in a program lies
>>mainly in its ability to search deep.  From my meagre experience as a Chess
>>programmer it seems to me that positional sense provides nothing more than
>>general pointers to the program to play sensibly.
>If you don't refine the search, you'll get some nice evaluations of lost
>Positional terms can help you avoid voluntarily entering bad positions, but you
>can lose tactically in positions that aren't bad, and you can be forced into
>positions you know are bad due to tactical mistakes.

But positional scores can also produce good tactical moves, where you had to
search for ages to compute the same move if you didnīt have the positional
terms. E.g. I handle the classical bishop sac on h7 or some piece sacs at h6
where black has castled king side and has pawns like f7,g7,h6 and white can play
e.g. Bxh6 with a strong attack. I think in the original posting only small
positional scores where meant but thatīs not the whole story.



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