Is chess still 99% tactics?

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Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:39 pm
Location: Portugal
Full name: Alvaro Cardoso

Is chess still 99% tactics?

Post by Cardoso » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:06 pm

in the olden days here at the forum we used to say chess is 99% tactics and 1% strategy.
In face of Alpha Zero performance against SF can we still make this statement?
To answer this it would be very nice to have the scores of each move made by Alpha Zero to see how early it could see it was in advantage and how early it could see the win. But for now we don't have that.
I understand the NN connects the pieces on different squares to each other at several levels and so it can see deep tactics.
Anyway since A0 made only 80k nodes per second and with a fantastic evaluation I guess it can afford to be highly selective in node expansion. So what is your impression? Is A0 a tactical monster of a strategy monster? Or both?

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Re: Is chess still 99% tactics?

Post by jdart » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:30 pm

It may not be a meaningful distinction. What we call a strategic win tends to be the accumulation of small advantages until finally a won position emerges, while a tactical win tends to mean that there are one or more discontinuities where suddenly a piece is won or a winning attack appears. Often in human games the latter appears after a blunder. But in these computer games sometimes there is a winning tactic and it is being prepared but the actual execution is outside the horizon, so the eval does not indicate it until it is too late. I think this happened in the AlphaZero games. Game 1 for example was pretty much a tactical win, and Stockfish's eval did not drop until it was already in danger.


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