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How to continue if the chess engine shows an evaluation you do not understand or believe

Mats Bengtsson mib over the years

How to continue if the chess engine shows an evaluation you do not understand or believe

This happens quite often to me. And then you need to use your judgment instead of trusting the advice. What I like to do at this stage is to put the cursor at the suggested series of move, and watch them being played on the screen. Which can lead to many things:

  • I see what happens and understand this is better than what I had done, and I realize it is a better move
  • I see something that looks better, but still the thought that during the time of the game kept me back from doing that move (a risk for a piece being taken, or a move I expected the opponent to do if I did like that) does not happen in the evaluation lines.
    • Then I go back in the suggestion to the time I thought the opponent could do something, and insert the move myself to see how the chess engine reacts. It is automatically entered as a variation in the line. The ongoing analysis now changes to show the evaluation of what to do after that possible move from the opponent. It will most likely show me what is the counter move I could have made in that case, which is the reason it was not a move to fear. This is a very good learning. It shows me combinations I did miss in the game.
  • I see something that when played indeed looks better, but it also looks too complicated for me. Such moves I may discard as being good ideas for computers and better players, but out of my league. Sometimes I note it down as a possibility but too complicated, sometimes I just note it in my mind and decide to keep my way of play.


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