Welcome to ChessKnowHow - a wiki aimed at collecting together chess knowledge. This is part of a research project at the School of Electronics and Computing Science, University of Southampton. The research is into how knowledge can be organised in a human-readable and also machine-readable format.
You will need a user name and password to be able to edit or create pages. To avoid accounts being created by automated programs, please email me at email@example.com with the subject "New ChessKnowHow Account", and I will set up an account for you. Please remember to include your real name (your account name doesn't have to be your real name, but it is encouraged).
Current list of rules
"Rules of thumb"
We chose chess as it has a large number of "rules of thumb" that can be used to simplify the player's task. Also, these rules seem straightforward, but are often difficult to express concisely. For example, consider Bähr's Rule which deals with a particular type of pawn ending. The underlying idea seems easy enough, but if you try to express it in words or diagrams, you find that there are lots of exceptions and special cases that have to be covered. In using a wiki, and opening up such rules for discussion, we hope to find simpler and more concise ways to express such rules.
Another example is the Rule of the Square, another (very simple) rule for pawn endings. Here, there is a simple exception when the pawn is on its original position, but there is also an important condition that is obvious to human players but difficult to express - the side with the pawn shouldn't be able to use their king to help the pawn promote (otherwise it's a simple win). How do we express this condition in a simple way so that a computer can understand it? Also, the rule of the square can be applied in situations where there are several other pawns or even pieces on the board. How can we write a program that will decide that the rule is relevant to a particular situation?
What sort of chess knowledge are we talking about?
We are mainly interested in "rules of thumb" that simplify a player's calculations. You can think of it as a player's "background knowledge" or "technical knowledge". So, many rules will come from endgames (e.g. use the king actively, how to mate with king, knight and bishop, Philidor's draw in rook endings, etc). But there's no reason why "rules of thumb" can't be applied to openings and middle games, it's just that calculation and analysis tends to play more of a role there. We're not really interested (on this site at least) in the latest developments in specific openings.
Rules for the site
- You will need a user name and password to be able to edit or create pages. To avoid accounts being created by automated programs, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "New ChessKnowHow Account", and I will set up an account for you. Please remember to include your real name (your account name doesn't have to be your real name, but it is encouraged).
- Try to express the knowledge in as simple a way as you can, but note any special cases and exceptions. Some rules are very difficult to express in words, but have a go anyway. Other readers may find a better way of wording the rule.
- Use diagrams where appropriate, but try to explain rules verbally as well. This helps when we try to formalise the knowledge (diagrams are hard for computers to process). However, we also want to aim for readability for humans too, so use whatever means you need. Look at Template:Chess diagram and existing pages on this site for details and examples of how to produce diagrams.
- Give references where possible. If you find an interesting rule in a book or on the web, please give details of where you found it.
- Spamming, or other misuse of the site will lead to your account being deleted. Keep the discussions to chess, and you won't have any problems.
- Finally, don't be shy! Don't feel that you have to produce well polished, lengthy articles. Do what you can, and others will be sure to rearrange, reorganise, and generally polish it up. And if you spot any ways to improve any articles, go ahead. If you make a mess, it can always be undone. If you're new to wikis, check out the "Help" section in the menu on the left.