I certainly didn’t expect that so many people would take an interest in these articles, but of course I’m delighted that the SC2 community seems to find this interesting.
I’d like to take this opportunity and comment on some of the things that were said on the show. I should clarify that I am blogging about teaching chess to an SC2 Grandmaster, but I do not necessarily believe that the two games can or should be compared in each and every aspect. On the contrary, the games are quite different, and only in a few areas are comparisons permissible.
Thanks for calling my articles “fascinating” and “fucking cool”. I appreciate the compliment. And you are right. SC2 is frequently compared to chess, and these – often erroneous – comparisons are one of the reasons why I decided to start this series.
I think you hit the nail on its head when you said that SC2 skills transfer to chess only to a very limited extent. However, the “meta-skills” (not sure if that’s a word) are most certainly transferable. To take Pyre’s example. His knowledge of SC2 build orders and strategies, his APM etc. are obviously useless in chess, but the same kind of skills he needed to become an SC2 GM in the first place (dedication, hard work, aptitude for strategy games etc.) will most certainly go a long way in helping him become a better chess player. The way I explain chess to him is also a bit different from how I'd explain it to a non-SC2 player (e.g. when I compare the typical Bishop sacrifice on h7 to a baneling bust)
I agree very much with Idra’s comments that the two main differences between chess and SC2 are real time vs. turn basedand perfect vision vs. imperfect vision. However, I think the second point is often misunderstood and needs clarification:
In SC2 the fog of war prevents you from seeing what your opponent is doing. But once you scout your opponent, it is usually easy to draw conclusions. For example, if you scan your opponent, and see a robotics bay that is being chrono-boosted, you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out what your opponent is going to throw at you.
In chess, on the other hand, you have perfect vision of what your opponent is doing, but that does not mean you have perfect understanding of what he is up to. It is quite common to misinterpret what you are seeing. Misreading my opponent’s intentions is the reason behind many of my losses in chess.
This is also the reason why I - despite only reaching Top 8 diamond league in SC2 - can perfectly appreciate Code S SC2 games. However, despite being a very strong chess player, I do not understand many grandmaster chess games simply because perfect vision of what’s going on is not enough.
I very much agree with EG.Incontrol’s statement that many of the strategic concepts in chess and SC2 are best suited for comparison.
For example when I teach Pyre that in chess when you are far ahead of your opponent, you can start trading inefficiently, he immediately understands because the same concept holds true in SC2 as well.
Or the reason why many double-pronged attacks work so well in SC2 is closely related to the ideas behind the “Principle of Two Weaknesses” in chess.
I also agree that the mainstream media doesn’t do a good job in comparing SC2 to chess. But that’s just because most journalists simply don’t know anything about SC2, and only very little about chess.
I regularly read The Economist, and once in a while they have an article about e-Sports. To me it always seems as if these articles were written by people who regurgitate second and third hand knowledge of SC2, and not by people who really know what they are talking about. The mainstream media also does a poor job at covering chess. The number of simple factual errors in their reporting never stops to amaze me.