How To Play Chess Against A Computer

Playing chess against a computer engine is very different from playing with a human opponent.

All that matters on the chessboard is good moves blog image

Computers have undeniably improved the overall level of chess, and we should learn from these changes to understand the strengths and weaknesses that computer chess engines maintain.

A human might value material over positional or strategic factors, but a chess engine will see to the heart of the position. We can learn to do the same in our games and punish materialistic players.

GM Aleksandr Lenderman has done an excellent study of what we can learn from chess engines. Here is a video from his superb Master Method course that teaches us how to punish materialistic players.

How To Play Chess Against A Computer
Levon Aronian

Chess Engines Excel at Crystal Clear Calculation

A chess engine identifies and evaluates the essential factors of a position to find concrete, forcing variations.

Chess engines can calculate perfectly because they cannot be distracted, especially not by unstable emotions. This must be the single significant factor in computers – absolute objectivity.

“Chess programs are our enemies, they destroy the romance of chess. They take away the beauty of the game. Everything can be calculated¨ – Levon Aronian

One thing is clear about how to play chess against a computer: don´t try to out-calculate them!

Avoid highly wild and dangerous complications because the computer is guaranteed to navigate these unclear lines better. It is simply unreasonable to think you can beat a computer in a tactical slugfest.

Other Computer Chess Engine Advantages

How To Play Chess Against A Computer
GM Judith Polgar

¨Chess is thirty to forty percent psychology. You don’t have this when you play a computer. I can’t confuse it¨ – Judit Polgar

When humans play regular chess against each other, there is a considerable element of psychology. If one side is constantly attacking and creating threats, this wears down the mental resolve of the defending side over time.

If one side becomes accustomed to attacking and believes they possess the advantage, it might be challenging to react objectively to a dramatic counterattack.

However, computers are immune to these psychological disadvantages, and you should remember this if you want to beat a computer at chess.

It would be best to keep in mind that it is impossible to bluff a computer. While you shouldn´t be trying to bluff humans at chess, you don´t want to come close to bluffing a computer.

The Sicilian Defense is the most popular defense to 1.e4, and it is interesting to see how chess engines play both sides of this fascinating opening. Take a look at how Komodo and Bobcat played this great defense.

Komodo 1692.19 – Bobcat 070916

Learn From Chess Engines to Beat Them

How To Play Chess Against A Computer
GM Gary Kasparov

Chess is far too complex to be definitively solved with any technology we can conceive of today¨ – Kasparov

While training with a computer chess program, learn from the machine – try to mold your thought pattern to the iron objective style that makes chess engines so incredibly strong.

One of the things many chess players find challenging is making the most of the bishop pair. We know it’s an advantage but getting the most out of it is the biggest challenge.

How to use the bishop pair effectively is something we can learn from chess engines. GM Aleksandr Lenderman shows us how chess engines get the most out of having the bishop pair.

Final Thoughts on How to Beat a Chess Engine

To have any chances of beating a computer chess engine, you must play away from their strengths. Direct play away from complicated openings and double-edged chess tactics; instead, aim for a longer, quieter game full of subtler positional concepts and maneuvers.

Openings of a positional nature are most likely to surprise chess engines because their virtues are not as pronounced nor as quickly calculated as gambits or open games. You could also go for the rock-solid Petrov Defense, which is about as computer-proof as you can get.

Above all, it pays to remember to play the position and not the person or, in this case, the chess engine.

Although almost all of us train and refine our games with chess engines, we must never forget that we will play most of our games against humans.

There are several skills unique to playing other chess players that enrich the game of chess.

There is nobody better suited to help you improve your chess than GM Danny Gormally, who never loses sight of the psychological aspect of chess. Along with sharing these challenges, he also shares lots of practical chess wisdom you can incorporate into your games.

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