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I'm a bit confused
About conditional moves. I don't really know what they are, nor where they come into play. I just came across the term in one of the forum threads. Could someone please shed a bit of knowledge my way?
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Conditional moves are a feature that let's you move your moves "automated". If you mean you can predict your opponent's move (e.g. if it's forced), and you already know with which move you want to answer, you can enter this "sequence", and if your opponent really makes that particular move, then it will trigger your answering move, and automatically execute it. You can learn to use it best in an unrated game with a friend!
You can use this feature from the game board screen (it's in the lower right, where you have
[ How to move? | Offer draw | Resign | Cancel the game ]
[ Analyze the board | PGN | Game DB | Printer friendly version ]
[ Game settings | Annotate | Game notes | Conditional moves ] <----------------
Click the link, then you'll find in the upper left:
If my opponent makes the following move:
There you can enter the sequence (make the opponent move on the board, submit, your move submit, etc.) At the right of the screen your sequence appaers in notation. Max. turns that can be entered per sequence are ten moves. Last step: SAVE. All active sequences are displayed below the game board.
But beware: if the sequence is saved, and it is triggered, you'll have to live with it. You can delete the sequence, but only if it isn't triggered (for one-move sequences, don't know for more move sequences).
Hope that helps.
P.S. Personally, I don't like c.m.
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Oh, I forgot
If your opponent makes a different move, then nothing will happen. It'll be your turn, just as normal. Your opponent won't notice that you entered a sequence.
If your opponent used that feature, you'll get noticed on your game board that a conditional move has been triggered. It'll be your turn again immediately, since your opponent's move has been made automatically.
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The biggest advantage of conditional moves is that they speed up the game. I use them in the early part of the opening a lot, and sometimes in forcing combinations. They also help reduce the frustration if your opponent insists on playing out a dead lost endgame: I once set up a conditional mate in 6 in an endgame where I had two bishops against a lone King.
But, as Rally V. pointed out, remember that you are stuck with a conditional once it's triggered. Be really sure it's what you actually want.
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It's a bit off topic, but I've been thinking that a nice extension of this would be an option for the system to automatically make forced moves. It would need to be a setting that users can turn on or off. With it on, any time that user has only one legal move in a game, the system would make it for them rather than waiting for them to do it themselves. This could speed things up as well.
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I once set conditional moves for a mate-in-10 with 34 variations against a certain player who was stalling in a dead-lost game. He seemed to be employing a "win by longevity" strategy, hoping I would die before mate so that he might win by timeout. I set conditional moves so that I could win from the grave, if necessary. After the game, my computer found a shorter mate with fewer moves, but more variations. 34 was more than enough! It took a whole night to enter them, but the effort saved me ten weeks of mindless stalling.
An interesting use of conditional moves is to send "messages." For example, I pinned a queen to a king with my rook, only to find the queen taking the rook by conditional move. My opponent was telling me, "I knew you could do this to me. I saw it coming." Indeed, he ended up with R+N for the Q, and made it very difficult to bring home the win. Anyway, conditionals can send signals to an opponent which might interfere psychologically with his/her play.
I often opt not to set conditionals in combinations, since it may seem arrogant and disrespectful to beaten opponents. But people who stall in lost games will get the conditionals as soon as the position is clear enough to be worth entering the moves, and then they get a trip to the old ignore list.
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I've used them for mate before. Kinda like the masters of old announcing mate in 7600 moves... I just wish it had a branching mechanism so that when the first X moves are the same, we wouldn't have to enter them twice or three times or whatever. Also, a 'on any move' thing. Could be dangerous, but if you're absolutely certain, why not?
vanleeuwenhoek : I've seen this suggested here before, and it turns out to actually not work so well. Let's say you have this switch on. Then, your opponent makes a move and you think you have only one move. But the system doesn't make that move for you. Now you know that you actually have more than 1 move. This feature would let you know that you missed something when that should be something you either do or don't discover on your own. Otherwise, it would be a good idea.
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ganstaman: That's a good point, I hadn't thought of that. I personally would not have a problem with my opponents getting this bit of information, but I can see where other players would. Perhaps there would need to be a switch on both players' settings to allow for this. But maybe it's not really worth it as an idea after all.