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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Correspondence Chess and Databases

These days with the use of engines in CC DB’s are very important because when it comes to opening selection, gone are the days of playing risky openings.  At high level CC you see mostly solid, mainline stuff: Ruy Lopez, Sicilian, Nimzo-Indian, Q-Indian, etc.  In the past I have been using my own personally constructed DB consisting of 3.5 million games, NOT the Fritz opening book, to select opening lines.

Yesterday I finished making a new DB consisting of about 350,000 correspondence games which I think will be an even bigger help in my CC games.  I can search opening lines that have been played by strong CC players.  This has an advantage of telling me what lines have been successful plus I know that they have in all likelihood been engine checked.  I checked a couple of my current CC games that are in the opening stage and here’s what I found:

After the following moves where I am playing Black: 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 e6 4.Bd3 c5 5.b3 Nc6 6.Bb2 Bd6 7.0–0 0–0

Fritz’ opening book shows a result of +4 -5 =2 and my database of CC games with at least one player rated over 2200 results: +9 - 8 =22, so the chances are about equal and a draw wouldn’t be unexpected.

 On the other hand in the following game where I am also playing Black, after the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 Be7 8.0–0–0 0–0

The Fritz book shows +25 -11 =15 and my new database with both players rated over 2400 results are not good either: +20 -7 =16, so it looks like I’m going to have an uphill battle in this one!
A final example where I am White: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 cxd4 8.Qxg7 Rg8 9.Qxh7 Qc7

After 9.Qxh7 Fritz’ opening book shows only two moves for Black 9…Nbc6 and 9…Qa5 with results of +2 -0 =1; not much help.  My DB gives a different picture because after 9…Qc7, which isn’t given in the Fritz book, a search of the diagrammed position where both players were rated over 2400 shows +11 -1 =11, so that’s very encouraging.

Hopefully, this new DB will help me avoid inferior lines and bring better results.  We’ll see.

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