# Intuition vs. Calculation

Any player with a decent amount of experience knows that sometimes your instincts and your calculations are at odds. What do you do then? Trust your instincts, or trust your calculation? This is a hard-to-resolve question! Sometimes I trust one, sometimes the other. One factor it often depends on for me is my familiarity with the position. If I'm very familiar, my instinctive evaluations or moves will come to me with a greater degree of certainty, and if I calculate a winning line, but my instinct says "you can't have a win in this position," I will trust that instinct and be patient. After the game with more time to analyze, I will find the refutation to my calculation.

Today I got a position I was quite unfamiliar with. And throughout the game my instincts told me that my position was not good. Maybe equal, maybe even a bit dangerous for me. So I tried calculating some desperate variations to bail out. But those variations did not work. My instinct was screaming at me: you have to try it, if you just keep playing normal moves, you may not even have a chance to fight. But somehow I trusted my calculations over my instinct. I think sometimes in the past, when my instincts are telling me my position is getting dangerous, I would be inclined to roll the dice, and try one of these messy lines I considered today. And then I would lose badly and quickly.

Today I calculated carefully, found the refutation to those moves, and then calculated a "normal" move instead that I had instinctively assumed would be bad. My calculations showed nothing wrong, even in some scary lines, and so I kept playing normal moves. And soon I won. I did not even really know why!

So it was off to a lengthy post-game analysis with my opponent and Shanky, in which we just could not quite figure out where black went wrong, and why the variations kept turning out well for white. In summary, I think this was an instance where because of lack of familiarity my instincts were not good, and it's a good thing that I somehow decided to trust my calculation more today.

Meanwhile in other round 1 action, Shankland won his first game with black. In the "GM" section (our section is the "master section" despite the presence of dozens of strong GMs), Carlsen-Nakamura was a draw, Wang Hao played a brilliant and crushing game to beat Bacrot's King's Indian, and Giri won the longest game, and up-and-down battle with Morozevich.

Someone asked me where they could watch the games online. As far as I know, you can only see the games from the super-GM round robin, and there is nowhere to see the games from my section. If I'm wrong, someone please provide the link!

• 3 years ago

i missed both of those ideas. they both look messy, nice ideas!

updates: i lost in round 2 and Shanky drew. got so tired i couldn't blog it, but it was a very interesting game as you'll eventually see.

• 3 years ago

Thanks for your thoughts David. In the 12...d5 line, 14...d4 followed by d3 was the point.  Maybe White is just up a pawn in the end but I thought Black had a certain compensation.  Also in your line I think Black would prefer to bring the queen back to d8, follow it up with Nce7 followed by contesting the long diagonal ideally.  I play the Black side of these structures a lot and do pretty well in them against most players not named Dean Ippolito, who I used to lose to a lot, but we have not played recently.  Additionally Black taking on c5 of course is an interesting alternative.  I've analyzed this c5 idea in the Saemisch and also in the g3 lines in which Black plays Nc6, a6, and b5, and have never seen a case in which objectively it was particularly good, although obviously playable - depending on how you support the pawn and ability to sustain d-file pressure.

Well, in the exchange down variation I thought Ba8, with the idea of Qd5 threatening mate looks pretty strong, especially since the White queen is on e1, and f3 is not a defense --- and the Bb8 has to move or White plays Qe5 and then Nd7, but of course White has Bc7, but after Qc8, okay, Qb7 is coming anyway, and it's very unclear.  So after Qe5 Ne8 may be better and Qd5 is coming after the queen moves, plus White has to watch for his three pieces as b3 hangs the rook also.  Anyway, it looks like a real mess with White's minors very loose.

• 3 years ago

Of course -very beautiful game.Sometimes we see too much details-too much.To see GENERAL LINE is all we need.Calculatings are ONLY CONTROL! Congratulations!

• 3 years ago

Sweet

• 3 years ago

Great article and analysis. Very nice game.

• 3 years ago

woowwww.......

• 3 years ago

about 5 moves deep. you have to be 100% sure it's winning before you play that kind of move (in a tournament).

• 3 years ago

man 26. Bxf7+ really is a beautiful move. how deeply had you planned this move, david?

• 3 years ago

sorry i did not include all my analysis obviously. i'll add what i thought on each of those two lines.

edit: added one line i intended after d5. i don't see where you think black has compensation though in the exchange down variation.

• 3 years ago

Black's play thru 10 moves is normal.  12...d5 has to be fine for Black, followed by taking on e4 and Be6 is solid.

16...Bb7 looks interesting, though maybe risky.  In your line, take on e1 and retreat the bishop and Black has massive compensation for the exchange, no?

Anyway, your play looks great.  Keep it up!

• 3 years ago

One of these days, Naka will beat Magnus.