What is it all about or Much ado about Oops

Z, a mathematician and S, a master of chess, represent two different ways to speak about chess. Z´s viewpoint is based on logic, S´s viewpoint is based on rules derived from experience.

Can these two points of view be united consistently? Is there, besides Snosko-Borowsky´s Thou shalt not play chess this way also a Thou shalt not speak about chess this way?


Oops and his target group

A chess player with little understanding of chess, called Oops the goof in remembrance of A. A. Milne´s Winnie the Pooh, is searching for enlightenment. Why do chess players and authors of chess books talk about chess as if it were a football match?

Oops web site is intended for chess players who wonder, while reading chess books with annotated games or studying chess training materials, what are, or what should be, the fundamental terms, principles, rules and training material to speak about chess. Chess, in any case, is not football!

Oops tools and perspective

In order to resolve the partly contradicting views, Oops uses a tool, which he calls a magnifying Zermelo-glass. It shows the fundamental result of a chess position, like atoms of a piece of material can be seen looking through an electron microscope: Positions are either won +, drawn = or lost -, by Black or White, on a move by move basis.

Annotations of chess games are dominated by another viewpoint: Oops calls it looking through a magnifying Steinitz-glass, because the name of the first official chess world champion is closely related to the manner of how to speak about chess.

Oops wants to change the conventional view through a magnifying Steinitz-glass in unclear positions in such a way, that it does not contradict the view through a magnifying Zermelo-glass.

Today that is not always the case: Every annotation, which contradicts the principally correct view through the magnifying Zermelo-glass, is wrong. Frequently reported comments like Black´s position has become difficult. White won. are not very instructive. They may disagree with the logic of chess.

Oops is looking for a Zermelo-corrected magnifying Steinitz-glass, the correct tool to annotate a chess game!

Oops 8 theses to correct the magnifying Steinitz-glass

The following terms are of crucial importance in chess: advantage oder disadvantage, Nullzug, threat oder prophylaxis, initiative, trap, mistake, single move, Zugzwang

  1. The starting position of a chess game is drawn.
  2. You can only win a chess game by an error of your opponent, or: There are no ingenious moves to win.
  3. A single move which changes the value of a position by minus one half point or, starting from a won position, by minus one point is called an error. There are no other errors in chess.
  4. The Anti-Münchhausen-Principle applies: Nobody can improve his own position, or: Nobody is able to pull himself out of the swamp by the scruff of his own neck.
  5. Nobody is able to put somebody into zugzwang. Or: The right to move and zugzwang are different terms.
  6. There are no more or less big advantages or disadvantages in chess, even when the position is still unclear.
  7. Statements based on statistical methods concerning a deterministic game like chess cannot taken for sure (There is no winning or loosing chance!).
  8. Primarily chess is a game of entrapment (in quiet positions it is called pressurising or put pressure on your opponent) and prophylaxis.