Chess Codex and Computer Chess

 Face to face chess vs. Correspondance Chess and Computer Chess 


A lot of people compare correspondance chess (eChess) with close up chess (face to face chess). Well, that’s nonsense. It’s a completely different game and a very different way of playing chess.

The time is a major difference in close up chess where you will have around 5 min. in average or less to make your move. In eChess you can have 1 – 3 days per move or more. Plenty of time to analyse the position and consequences. No one to disturb your concentration.

You can play around 3.000 games of echess in the same period you can manage to play around 50 games of close up chess. This will affect your rating due to the differences in the way the games are played.

In close up chess there is no Analysis Board, where you can make ‘What If’ analysis. You can spend as much time you want to analyse and try different moves until you get the best move or make a good plan to progress the game. You also have the option to do the same on a real chess table. In close up chess everything have to be worked out in your brain in a short time. No tools available. Most internet chess places allow the use of a position database where you can find a similar situation. However you have to judge and make the evaluation yourself to figure out if the move is healthy or not and the best in the situation. If you have your own database with your earlier games you might find a similar situation and have found the right move after an analysis of the game.

Psychology and a bit more:

In eChess you can’t look at the opponent. It’s hard to influence your concentration in echess. It’s entirely up to you when to move and you can walk away from the table if your concentration is not good and return again hours later or a day to make your move. There is no smell of the other guy and no one throw coffee all over the table, no one to irritate you 🙂  etc. A beautiful woman might give you some problems with your concentration 😎

The way you look at the table: eChess is a 2 Dimentional game looked at from the top and close up chess have a 3 Dimentional board where you can look in between the pieces and at times forget squares or rows. Some can’t look very well at a 2 dimentional board. Maybe they grow up playing face to face chess.

A major difference is also the option to regret the move you have in mind. Most places on the internet gives the chess player an option to regret the move in mind and chose another move because they can see the position on the board once the piece is placed before they accept the move. In close up chess it often occurs that you touch the piece and in that split second realize that the move is wrong but you have to move the piece you touch. Also you can realize the wrong move immediate after because you now can see the new position on the board and analyse what went wrong and maybe find a better move but it’s too late!

Who will you cheat if you are using a chess program while you’re playing. The opponent and yourself. Most echess places have cheat programs that will reveal if you cheat. If you win a match against a guy with rating past 2400 and loses to a guy below 1600 something is wrong. You can have a bad day but if it happens 3 – 5 times it will indicate you’re using a chess program while you play. If all your moves are the same as one of the chess programs on the market you definitely cheat. The possibility you can make these moves for an entire game is Zero. The systematic moves in a chess program will be picked up by a cheat program. If you win or play draw all the time it’s most likely you cheat as well unless you’re a Grand Master. You cheat yourself and learn nothing also you will ruin the other guys rating and the rating at that playing place will be wrong. It will not give a real picture of the actual strength.


A chess program don’t think much like a human brain. It’s a calculator that can find good lines up to 20 – 25 half moves. Not many or any human can do that. Maybe 10 – 12 half moves and that’s all it takes because often you need to adjust plans due to the opponents next moves. A chess program have it’s limits. It can’t calculate when a game is lost before you’re long into the game and close to the end. If it evaluate +3 to +6 in pawns it can’t give the solution that the game is lost if you play at same rating level or the strongest moves for the rest of the games. Typical the game will end up in 50 half moves or less, which a chess program can’t calculate but the human brain can evaluate that it is what will happen.


A good way to use a chess program is to play it at different rating levels, so you develop your game. Learn openings. Learn new combinations. Endgames and analysis of games you have played. Never trust a chess program 100%. Even today where some chess programs have ratings above 3000 it will not come up with the best move. You can still find better moves. A computer is stupid in the sense that it is only cable of playing what a person have programmed it for. 

Example of why you can’t only rely and use a computer

In move 47. Stockfish with a rating over 3300 suggest Queen c4. ‘Crazy’ move suggested by Stockfish. Queen takes black pawn on g4 or h3 pawn takes the pawn would make more sense. Or pawn h5 just walks up to make a Queen. What do you think ? Anyway you can’t use a computer to analyse your end games. Study end games and think. Use the chess table or the analyse board. Please also notice that a chess computer will usually take the longest way to a mate.


Here is another game with analysis in the end game:

In Move 39. The computer suggest a4. As a ‘golden rule’ you will exchange Queens. It’s not about material in the end game but to make a quick or secure check mate.

Comments to expand this article are welcome and the article will be expanded with new knowledge on the subject.

There are more examples on where chess programs makes mistakes.

 © Claus Gamborg