The computer doesn't come up with a move instantly and then wait X amount of time to move; it's really looking for the best move in the amount of time it has, and with the specific settings of the personality.
Look at it this way, if you were playing a higher rated human in a tournament, he can take as much time (or as little) as he has available on his clock. You couldn't force him to move in 30 seconds.
You just need to learn patience... but it doesn't come instantly.
However, keep in mind that you don't necessarily need to set aside 80 minutes to play a rated game... you can always adjourn it and resume it later.
As to the computer taking more than it's time in a rated game... you must be overlooking something; I've never seen that happen.
I looked at the program again. In the unrated training area if you set the timer at 30 seconds sometimes the person spends more time on deciding to move. But, can you tell me why there is no such option in the rated-games? Perhaps that is not part of the official rules that I am not aware of. I set it for 30 seconds and the time was up and I lost rather quickly - which was kinda funny. At any rate, it's not quite the same as the unrated section.
As I said before, it would be nice to play the top players to get an understanding of their patterns and opening moves if they are forced to move in 20-30 seconds without comprimising their ELO rating/skill.
Would playing against a higher-rated opponent, (greater elo), but allowing less time for it to move, help?
(I suppose that's what was asked: a feature-request, really: allow the user to select and set different time controls even in rated mode, (to allow the user to give himself more time than the computer), but if he does so, also adjust the ai's elo downward, (according to the ratio of times), so that the user cannot cheat in rated mode.
Some engines may do this already, though its feasibility could possibly depend on the type of engine.
You can do what you ask in Training Mode, but it's not available in Rated Play for a reason (that being Rated Play is supposed to reflect getting a real-life rating).
If you want to get a rating (in Chessmaster or in real-life), you have to put in time and effort. There's no shortcuts.
It reminds me of a recent interview with Garry Kasparov... someone asked how to improve their game when they didn't have the time to devote their life to chess. Kasparov responded, "if you don't have time to devote your life to chess, why do you want to improve your game?"
When will you people realise that rated game is a simulation of a real competition, and real competitions are contested on equal terms only
Training mode is for your purpose - there you can give computer as little time and yourself as much time as you want. And have fun beating chessmaster playing with 1 minute while you have whole day to make your moves (try it - it takes quite a chess player to defeat him)
But it wont make it a real competition because it wasn't played on equal terms. Rated game is supposed to be a real competition. Get it?
So:<UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI> rated games - if you want a simulation of real competition
<LI> training mode - for training (with takebacks, advice, opening coach, etc.) or if you want to have fun[/list]
Actually, his request for an engine setting that replies quickly doesn't seem particularly unreasonable. You're probably right about ratings, though .. One shouldn't be able to customize too much in rated mode, in case the rating actually appears to others. As you say, it could be used to cheat.
(Though, on second thought, there's no reason to lose sleep over it, as according to some reports, cheating through external computer aid is already endemic on many online chess sites, which is most likely the greater cause for concern, as it's public, and affects the ratings of other real players).
It is probably useful, even in practice mode, though, to recalculate the computer's stated rating, (namely, to revise it down, smart-aleck), if one gives the computer only a fraction of one's own time. As for 'beating chessmaster', there would be no need to face a stronger opponent if lower-rated opponents adjusted their effective, rather than stated, strengths upward for reduced time, (an equally valid option).
Btw, do you actually know anything about programming a chess engine, because from what you said, it seemed implied. With that established, one finds it difficult to believe you've never encountered a chess program which adjusts its own (stated) rating down to account for less time. They're quite common.
As to 'beating chessmaster', (your suggestion; your words), there would be little point if the computer had less time, so it would be only a hollow victory in any case. However, with that said, I imagine there are already engines out there, or soon will be, which can still beat 99% of players, even given such limitations.
Regarding the element of simulation, not everyone plays computer chess to simulate a tournament. Some are rather more impatient, and some, probably, use the computer for training purposes.
In any case, it's a basic fact that computers can calculate faster than humans likely ever will independently, so creating a top-rate engine which can defeat any of us whatever the constraints should be easy, wouldn't you agree?
This should have the added benefit of improving user-friendliness for the impatient.
On a separate note, the benefit from accurate rating of the engine with respect to its allotted time is useful in training, one assumes, because it implies that the actual strength of the computer opponent is revealed, rather than ambiguous. Unless you'd prefer to permit those who give themselves all day and the computer only minutes a move, to be free to claim otherwise..
All of this is fairly apparent, in any case, so I'm not quite sure what precisely the argument is about. How could adding new features possibly constitute a negative?
Even if such a feature were to be implemented, you would still be free to disable it as you chose.
If, as you imply, you'd like to claim you 'beat the computer' at a higher level, where its effective strength was reduced, then, you'd still be free to do so. As for those who'd prefer to enable a more accurate rating system, one which would reflect any advantage they'd gained over the computer from additional time, and so revise their own rating downward to compensate, these too would be accounted for.
I have yet to see any plausible argument for why this would be 'a bad thing'.
The only drawback, probably, is that the human would gain less 'pondering' time to think on his opponent's moves, where he would more typically have additional pondering time equal to his own. Likewise, the computer would gain greater pondering time than merely that equal to its own. But this could probably all be accounted for with a sufficiently accurate formula.
To determine an empirical formula for rating adjustment versus time, it would probably suffice to test the chessmaster engine against separate engines of known and established strengths, at known and established settings, turning pondering off, at different ratios of time for the respective engines.
All of that said, I personally would rather just give the computer equal time. There could be some benefit to an 'auto-pause after computer's turn' feature, though, as not everyone has the time and patience to wait for the computer to move, or may actually have other obligations which draw them away from the terminal.
For everything that you just said, that is exactly why training mode is for! There you can set up any conditions you like:
<LI> you can chose whatever opponent you like (in rated games there is a 400 rating points limitation while your rating is provisional)
<LI> you can have separate time controls for yourself and computer
<LI> you can pause games
<LI> you can force computer to move at any time
<LI> you can have takebacks, ask for advice, etc.
But no, people want all of this in RATED mode. Well you can't have it there!
In rated mode you are on your own, without any shortcuts and emergency exits. And that is exactly how it should be! Who forces you to play in rated mode? Just play in training mode.
And when you talk about adjusting engine to play at lower levels - well, why do you think there are over 100 different computer personalities there for? Some move fast, some move slow. Some play for material, some for position, some agressive, some passive, some value pawns, some value pieces,...
And no, there is no other chess software that limits the strength of play to such low levels as Chessmaster does. Not even close. So I really don't know what you want.
I think for most people it is only about the rating. You can't get it in training mode thats why they insist to rated mode. But they would like all the benefits of training mode there. You can't have it! Rating would be completely meaningless (as if it's not meaningless anyway ) if you achieved it on unequal terms. THATS why rated games have to be fought out on equal terms.
To sumarize; Everything you wrote and most complainers want is already possible in training mode, and it should NEVER be posssible in rated mode.
Johan de Koning wrote the engine (TheKing). In fact, he's made improvements in recent years, and he still uses it in computer chess tournaments. But aside from that, he has nothing to do with Chessmaster. Ubisoft owns the Chessmaster franchise, and they are responsible for releasing patches and/or new versions.
Many people (myself included) prefer Chessmaster's interface to that of Fritz. Many issues could be fixed with some updates, but at this point, it's not likely to happen.