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1.g4 opening is losing?

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:20 pm
by Jouni


When I played 30 games between SF10 and SFdev 16 games were 0-1 (here 10 first). Other games were draws. Does this indicate, that 1.g4 is losing move? BTW in TCEC superfinal 12 SF and Komodo each won with black after 1.g4. In second game white played 2.h3 which didn't help either.

Re: 1.g4 opening is losing?

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:09 pm
by mclane
No.

Re: 1.g4 opening is losing?

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:00 pm
by jdart
I think it's objectively inferior compared to alternatives but wouldn't say it is "losing."

Re: 1.g4 opening is losing?

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:38 pm
by Ovyron
I'm willing to defend 1.g4 against anybody that seriously think it is losing, and I guarantee that I can draw them. The main reason it's ? is because you give any chances of winning whatsoever, so it's only black that can win if you're not careful.

And I'm not saying something like "1.g4 is a draw with perfect play", even at some imperfect playing level it's a draw.

I propose the following experiment:

Use Stockfish at Depth 24 at MultiPV=4 and try to beat it. Write down all its scores and moves for every position it plays. Once you get it to show a -2.00 score, you assume you beat it, then you jump back to the best scored position that it didn't play. You call this a "takeback". The question is: can you beat Stockfish after 24 takebacks?

I estimate that somewhere around takeback 12-16 it'll have found the mainline of 1.g4 (for your attacking line) and no matter what you do, you'll not be able to beat it from there. So you'll have to change your attacking line. My condition is that if you do this, you reset the takebacks back to 24, and try again.

You wouldn't be able to beat Stockfish Depth 24 MutliPV=4 like this (once you make it reach -2.00 and it has ran out of takebacks), so this exercise will help you find and see the drawing moves against the attacking lines you throw at it. This can only happen if 1.g4 is drawn (unfortunately, you can never run out of attacking lines, so you can only prove 1.g4 isn't losing against any line, but never prove it isn't losing against every line.)

Re: 1.g4 opening is losing?

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:40 pm
by Uri Blass
jdart wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:00 pm
I think it's objectively inferior compared to alternatives but wouldn't say it is "losing."
objectively if it is not losing then it is drawing or winning.

I think that we do not know because chess engines are not strong enough to tell us.

Re: 1.g4 opening is losing?

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:46 pm
by Uri Blass
Ovyron wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:38 pm
I'm willing to defend 1.g4 against anybody that seriously think it is losing, and I guarantee that I can draw them. The main reason it's ? is because you give any chances of winning whatsoever, so it's only black that can win if you're not careful.

And I'm not saying something like "1.g4 is a draw with perfect play", even at some imperfect playing level it's a draw.

I propose the following experiment:

Use Stockfish at Depth 24 at MultiPV=4 and try to beat it. Write down all its scores and moves for every position it play. Once you get it to show a -2.00 score, you assume you beat it, then you jump back to the best scored position that it didn't play. You call this a "takeback". The question is: can you beat Stockfish after 24 takebacks?

I estimate that somewhere around takeback 12-16 it'll have found the mainline of 1.g4 (for your attacking line) and no matter what you do, you'll not be able to beat it from there. So you'll have to change your attacking line. My condition is that if you do this, you reset the takebacks back to 24, and try again.

You wouldn't be able to beat Stockfish Depth 24 MutliPV=4 like this (once you make it reach -2.00 and it has ran out of takebacks), so this exercise will help you find and see the drawing moves against the attacking lines you throw at it. This can only happen if 1.g4 is drawn (unfortunately, you can never run out of attacking lines, so you can only prove 1.g4 isn't losing against any line, but never prove it isn't losing against every line.)
I am not a strong player so I probably cannot beat it but I suspect stockfish depth 50 with a single line has good chances to beat stockfish depth 24 with these conditions even after 24 takebacks by stockfish depth 24 at multi-pv=4.

It is better to have some interface to do it automatically instead of a human that take back moves manually.

Re: 1.g4 opening is losing?

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:56 pm
by Ovyron
Uri Blass wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:40 pm
I think that we do not know because chess engines are not strong enough to tell us.
I'd rather say "we know, but can't prove it."

It's like, I know that 1.e4 doesn't lose, after 1.e4 is played, no string of moves exists by black that ensure white loses, or, the position after 1.e4 isn't a "black to move and mate in X" position.

But I can't prove it.
I am not a strong player so I probably cannot beat it but I suspect stockfish depth 50 with a single line has good chances to beat stockfish depth 24 with these conditions even after 24 takebacks by stockfish depth 24 at multi-pv=4.

It is better to have some interface to do it automatically instead of a human that take back moves manually.
I have tried stuff like this actually, and these conditions are surprisingly though to beat, specially in other positions where Stockfish shows some 1.50 score yet one can't find an attack that defeats it. This has become useful because you can rank moves by how many takebacks are required to needing to search for a different attack, if after just 8 takebacks you need another attack the defending move is though.

If there's some Depth N of Stockfish that manages to beat 1.g4 under these conditions, there's also a Depth N-x that might do it, so I'd suggest starting from a lower depth such as 34, see how long does it take for you to get a drawn game where D34 needs a different attacking plan, and my estimation would be less than 24 games (because, reaching D34 in a position is much faster than D50).

Re: 1.g4 opening is losing?

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:57 pm
by Graham Banks
I'd never play 1.g4 against a top engine. Loss guaranteed.

Re: 1.g4 opening is losing?

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:20 pm
by Zenmastur
Graham Banks wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:57 pm
I'd never play 1.g4 against a top engine. Loss guaranteed.
Maybe, but I figure you can play 1."ANY move" against a top engine and you will still lose. :D :D :D

Regards,

Zenmastur

Re: 1.g4 opening is losing?

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:41 pm
by lkaufman
I think that the best we can do at the present time to tell if a given opening position (not one that is obviously apt to be solved by brute force) is a win or a draw is to run the strongest version of Lc0 on it for a few minutes on a 2080 or better GPU with win prob. display. The threshold for a won position is probably about 70% or perhaps slightly higher, 71 or 72%, based on everything I've observed. For 1 g4?, it is about 68% for Black with 1...d5, so probably not a forced win although close enough to the line to leave that as a possibility.