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ChessOK.com » Sending Games and Position to IDeA
Sending Games and Position to IDeA 01 December 2011

In this column I describe various methods of sending games and positions to IDeA. In addition to (or instead of) letting IDeA choose positions to analyze, you let it analyze the positions that interest you.

I assume that you are using Aquarium 2011, which has greatly improved support for sending positions to IDeA. Furthermore, I expect that your IDeA project is linked to a database game, as it allows you to send infinite analysis variations automatically to IDeA. For information on linking a game to an IDeA project, see IDeA Master Trees and IDeA Game Links. In general, I recommend linking games to IDeA projects instead of running the analysis from IDeA mode, as was necessary in previous Aquarium versions.

There are many different ways to feed interesting positions into IDeA for analysis. You can use the following methods at any time and it doesn’t matter if the project is active or not:

● Let one or more chess engines analyze a position and send the results from all of them to IDeA. The variations can be sent manually or automatically. Both methods are described.
● Copy a line from infinite analysis and paste it into the notation. Depending on your settings, it will be automatically added to IDeA.
● Send moves from a game to IDeA. You can send the whole game, all the moves up to the current position, all the moves following the current position, or a range of moves. Variations can optionally be included.
● Read positions from an EPD file and add them to the analysis queue. You can also read analyzed EPD records that will be added directly to the IDeA tree.
● Search for a position in a database and send a specified number of moves, starting from the search position in each game, to IDeA for analysis. This is a great method for populating the IDeA tree when doing opening analysis.
● Let Aquarium automatically pick up the lines produced by infinite analysis and send them to the IDeA queue or directly to the IDeA tree, depending on which engine was used. This method works fine even if you run infinite analysis with several engines simultaneously.

When Can These Methods be Used?

You can use these methods any time after you have created an IDeA project. They can be used regardless of the status of the IDeA project and IDeA itself. IDeA doesn’t have to be running and the project doesn’t have to be active. Of course, the positions you send to IDeA won’t be analyzed until you start IDeA and make the project active.

Traditional vs. Linked Project

The methods described below can all be used in games linked to IDeA projects. The methods that can be used both in traditional and linked projects are usually more convenient for the user when a linked project is being used. One of the reasons is that Aquarium will know what the target project is, so you don’t need to specify it. Some of the methods for automatically sending positions to IDeA only work from games linked to a project.

Do Some Other Settings Affect These Methods?

When you install a chess engine in Aquarium, you can decide if it is allowed to send positions either to the IDeA queue of a linked project or directly to the IDeA tree (along with their evaluation). This is done in the Advance Engine Setup.

Even if a chess engine is allowed to send positions to IDeA, it doesn’t mean that a project is forced to receive the positions. You can decide on a project by project basis if positions are automatically accepted from infinite analysis. The parameters, which are set in the IDeA Project Properties, also allow you to specify the minimum time/depth for positions accepted from infinite analysis.

These settings are described below in the section about sending positions automatically from infinite analysis to IDeA.

Manually Send Infinite Analysis to IDeA

This method can be used when the Analysis window shows some lines from infinite analysis. It doesn’t matter if analysis is running or you’ve stopped analyzing while keeping the Analysis window open.

If you see an interesting variation in the analysis window, you can send it straight to IDeA for analysis.

chessok60aYou can send any of the variations displayed in the analysis window to IDeA – not just the most recent (deepest) one. Here I have selected the second variation from the top (see the cursor highlighted in the image above), rightclicked, and selected “Send line to IDeA: B43-2″ from the menu. Aquarium will send the corresponding positions to IDeA for analysis.

This already shows the advantage of linking a project to a game. That’s the reason why Aquarium knows that I want to send the line to the B43-2 project.

You can also define the target project for this operation without linking the game to the project. Click the tool button (highlighted in the image below) in the “Send to” group. The “Select IDeA project” dialog box will appear.

chessok60b Here you choose the project that will be the target when you send infinite analysis lines (in this example I have selected the project “B43-2″). Note that you can link the current game to the project by selecting “Link the IDeA project to current game.” With all the advantages of linked projects, I would not hesitate to do that.

Note that if the project is not linked to the game, infinite analysis is never sent automatically to the project and if you send a line manually, it will always go to the IDeA queue. Linking the game to the project gives you additional options, such as sending the analysis (with evaluation) straight to the IDeA tree. This is described later in this column.

You can use this method when analyzing in single variation mode, multivariation, and when you are analyzing simultaneously with several engines. Just choose the variation you are interested in (with a mouse click) and send it to IDeA as described above.

Besides being less convenient, the main difference between this manual method of sending positions to IDeA and the automatic method described below is that it always sends the positions to the analysis queue. They can’t be sent straight to the analysis tree. It bypasses the Advanced Engine Options and the project settings regarding acceptance of infinite analysis.

Sending Moves From the Notation to IDeA

You can send moves from the game you are viewing to IDeA as long as it is linked to the IDeA project or the target project has been specified (as described above). Switch to the Analysis tab in the Ribbon, click “Other” in the “Send to” group and select “Send Game” from the menu.

chessok60c The “Send positions to IDeA” dialog box will be displayed.

 

 

 

 

chessok60d Here you only need to specify “From move,” “to move,” and “Filter tree.” The “IDeA project” field is automatically filled in with the target project. In this example, I’m sending moves thirty to thirty-eight to IDeA. Since “Side” is set to “Both,” moves for both sides will be sent. “Include variations” means that both the mainline and variations will be included. The moves in the variations are limited to the same range as the mainline (thirty to thirty-eight).

I’ve set “Filter tree” to the project tree. This prevents positions that have already been analyzed from being sent to the project and analyzed again. When you click OK, Aquarium will send the positions to IDeA.

The fields in this dialog box are described in more detail below.

There are two other ways of sending positions from a linked game to IDeA: “Current Position” and “All Positions.” These two buttons are familiar to all serious IDeA users.

If you switch to the Home-IDeA tab in the Ribbon, you will find the “Current Position” button in the Interactive group.

 

chessok60e Usually, you will click “Current Position” after manually adding some moves to the notation; e.g., by following a line in the tree until you run into a position that hasn’t been analyzed. When you click “Current Position,” the current position and all preceding positions in the variation are added to the queue, until a tree position is encountered. The queue itself is also checked to prevent that the same position is analyzed more than once.

There is also another “Current Position” button in the Analysis tab.

chessok60f As you can see, it is in the “Send to” group that we encountered above. This button only sends the current position to IDeA (unless it has already been analyzed). Therefore, only one position will be analyzed and not the positions that connect it to the tree, as will happen when you use the corresponding button in the Interactive group shown above.

The other button in the Interactive group, which sends positions from the notation to IDeA, is “All Positions.” In previous versions it has done exactly what the label says: It sends all positions in the notation window to IDeA.

chessok60g A menu has been added to this button in the beta version of Aquarium, so users can expect it soon. Instead of the default “Whole game,” you will be able to send all positions following the current position to IDeA, as shown in the image above. The third menu item sends all positions in the game up to the current position to IDeA. If you want to specify a range of moves to be sent to IDeA, you can do so by using Other - Send Game, which was described above.

Manually Copy/Paste Infinite Analysis into IDeA

You can copy any line from the analysis window by selecting it and pressing Ctrl-Ins or using the right-click menu, as shown below.

chessok60h After copying the line you can paste it into the notation window of a game linked to a project (or directly into the IDeA notation). If you copied it with Aquarium 2011, IDeA will know which engine produced the analysis, the analysis depth and the duration of the analysis. Therefore, IDeA will treat it just as if it had come straight from the engine and add it to the task queue or directly to the project tree depending on the Advanced Engine Options of the engine and the project settings. This means, for example, that you can exchange infinite analysis with another Aquarium 2011 user, copy/paste between your own computers, or pick up analysis lines from a forum and add them directly to your IDeA project.

There are many uses for this feature. For instance, you may run into an endgame position that has an incorrect evaluation if you do not use tablebases (or other endgame databases) in your IDeA analysis. In that case you can run an engine in Aquarium 2011 (even on a different computer) that uses tablebases and come up with the correct evaluation and variation. Copy the variation and paste it into IDeA and you will immediately get the correct evaluation of the position.

Add Tasks and Analysis Results From EPD-files

If you have an EPD file with positions that are relevant for your IDeA project, you can load them into the analysis queue via the “Manage” menu in the Stage Status window. Clicking the “Manage” link opens the following menu.

chessok60i Select “Add Tasks” from the menu and a standard Windows file open dialog will be opened, allowing you to locate the EPD file and open it. All the positions in the file will be added to the analysis queue of the project.

If you have an EPD file with analyzed positions, you can add them directly to the project tree by selecting “Add Results” from this menu.

Send Positions From Many Games to IDeA

This method of sending positions to IDeA is of great importance for opening analysis. Basically, it allows you to analyze all games from a database that have been played in an opening variation, starting from the position that you are interested in. You can decide how many moves are sent for analysis from each game (e.g., five moves starting with the search position). Aquarium automatically cleans up the collection of positions sent to IDeA, so that the same position is not analyzed multiple times even if it occurs in several games.

Of course, you can use any criteria you like to limit the set of games used as the base for this operation, such as limiting it to higher rated players. If some of the games are commented, you can include all the variations in the set of positions sent to IDeA.

If you want to extend the analysis at a later time by adding more moves from the games, you can do so without any duplicate analysis taking place. Simply increase the number of moves from the search position (e.g., from five to ten). There is an option to exclude all previously sent moves, so only moves six through ten will be sent to IDeA this time.

First, use a position search to find games containing the position that you are interested in. The search will return a list of games. Right-click over the game list and select “Mark all.”

chessok60j After marking the games, right-click again and this time select “Send Games to IDeA”.

chessok60k A dialog box will be displayed where you can select a move interval and if variations should be included. You can also select all moves, or limit them to “White,” “Black,” “Winning,” or “Losing” side. The most powerful feature is the tree filter, which can be used to exclude positions that exist in the selected tree. One obvious option is to use the project’s analysis tree to filter the games, so that only new positions are sent to the project, but there are many other uses for the tree filter.

chessok60l Starting at the top, you can see that “From search position” is selected and “Moves” is set to 5. This means that I want to send five moves starting from the search position to IDeA. Note that the move order that leads to the position doesn’t matter.

“From move” and “to move” specify a range of moves to copy from the game to the IDeA queue. In our example it is much better to specify the number of moves relative to the search position since it doesn’t necessarily occur at the same move in every game because of transpositions, repetition of moves, etc.

“Side” can be “Both,” “White,” “Black,” “Winning,” or “Losing.” It determines if moves for both sides or only one side (and then which side) are sent to IDeA.

If you select “Include variations,” as I have done in this example, both the mainline and the variations in the game are sent to IDeA. Otherwise, only the mainline is sent.

“Filter tree” is used to filter out certain positions in the game. If a position from the game is found in the tree, then it is not sent to IDeA. The tree could be an opening tree, which would filter out known opening moves, or it could be your IDeA tree, which would prevent positions already in the tree from being analyzed again. That’s the option you would normally choose as I have done here.

“Generate Alternatives” is used in connection with “Alt tree.” When it is selected, each position that is sent to IDeA will be used to find an alternative move instead of analyzing the position normally. The move in the game and the moves that are found in the “Alt tree” will be excluded in the search for the new alternative. One method of using this feature is to send the moves of the losing side to IDeA and search for improvements that have not been analyzed before.

“File name” is only useful if you want to save the positions to an EPD file.

The positions will be sent to the project specified in “IDeA project” for analysis (B43-2 in this example). If you have specified “File name,” you can select “none” from the project drop-down list and the positions will only be saved to the EPD file, but not sent to an IDeA project.

Automatically Send Infinite Analysis to IDeA

The option to send infinite analysis directly to IDeA is one of the most powerful new features in Aquarium 2011. In order to take advantage of this feature you need to set up your chess engines so they are prepared to send positions to IDeA and then you must decide for each project if you allow it to receive positions from infinite analysis. I have all my engines configured to send analysis to IDeA and all my projects accept the positions. In other words, it has changed the way I use IDeA.

The place where you decide if and how an engine interacts with IDeA is the Advanced Engine Options mentioned above. Note that the options you set here only apply to the currently selected engine in the Engines list.

chessok60m The “Add infinite analysis to IDeA (if it is new)” panel gives four options.

None. There is no direct interaction between infinite analysis with this engine and IDeA. Regardless of how deeply you analyze with the engine in a game linked to an IDeA project, no positions will be sent to IDeA.

Send positions from analysis line into IDeA queue. If the IDeA project accepts positions from infinite analysis, then any new positions that come up in infinite analysis will be sent to the IDeA queue. The positions will then be analyzed by the IDeA engines before they are added to the project tree. You might want to use this option for engines that are different from the one you base your IDeA analysis on.

Add moves and evalutions to IDeA tree. Instead of sending the positions from the infinite analysis line to the IDeA queue, they are added directly to the tree along with evaluations in the same way as if they had been analyzed by IDeA itself. This is a good choice for an engine that matches the one you are using for your IDeA analysis.

Add analysis to IDeA tree and generate alternative tasks. Besides adding the positions and evaluations from the infinite analysis line directly to the tree, IDeA creates tasks for generating an alternative in each position and also extends the line by one move. This option ensures that moves and evaluations that are added to the tree are properly checked. Because of the way that this option works, you might even consider using it for other engines than the one you use for IDeA analysis.

In general, the positions you analyze with infinite analysis are of special interest to you. You could say that they are of much more interest than the average IDeA position. Therefore, you want a special treatment for them by IDeA and this feature gives you the options for that.

As mentioned above, you can decide on a project by project basis if results from infinite analysis are accepted or not. There is an option in IDeA Project Properties that determines if a project accepts infinite analysis positions.

chessok60n Here we are looking at the Common tab of the IDeA Project Properties. There is an option at the bottom of the window: “Insert infinite analysis from linked games.” If you want your project to automatically interact with infinite analysis, you should select this option. You can also decide the minimum requirements for accepting positions from infinite analysis. In this example I have set “Min. time” to ten seconds and “Min. depth” to fifteen. This means that the project will not accept infinite analysis from any engine unless it has analyzed the position for at least ten seconds and also reached depth of at least fifteen. Note that the depth is the calculated depth, which is influenced by “Change analysis depth by” in the Advanced Engine Options.

The number of positions sent from infinite analysis to IDeA increases as the analysis gets deeper. In the example given in the image above, only the first move of the infinite analysis line will be sent when depth 15 is reached. Aquarium continues comparing the line to the positions in the tree as the analysis gets deeper. Let’s say that we have reached depth 20 and infinite analysis is showing the following line:

[+0.44] d=20 22.Re4 Be6 23.Rxe6 fxe6 24.Qxc4 Kf7 25.Re1 (0:01:00)

Looking at the time given at the end of this line, we see that the analysis has been running for one minute, which exceeds the ten second minimum specified in IDeA Project Properties. The depth also exceeds Min. depth (15) by five, which means that the first six moves of the line (displayed in bold) will be sent to IDeA if the corresponding positions are not already in the project tree.

The engines that you use for your IDeA analysis should get a special treatment regardless of the settings you have given them in the Advanced Engine Options. You probably want to add all analysis produced by them directly to the project tree, provided it is deep enough. The Engine Setup dialog box in IDeA has been modified to allow this, as shown below.

chessok60o Here you see the same choices as in the Advanced Engine Options and they apply to the chess engines that you use for your IDeA analysis; i.e., the engines listed at the top of the dialog box. I have selected “Add analysis to IDeA tree and generate alternative tasks.” The reason is that I will only create infinite analysis tasks for positions that are of special interest to me and I want them to be analyzed thoroughly. There are two ways to create infinite analysis tasks within IDeA to take advantage of this special setting. The first method is to use the Infinite button shown in the next image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

chessok60p This button adds an infinite analysis task for the current position. When you click the button, the following dialog appears where you can choose an engine.

 

 

chessok60q You must select one of the engines from the list (or click Cancel). Selecting the item at the top of the list “IDeA engine” will assign the task to one of the IDeA engines and the analysis results will be handled according to your choice in the IDeA Engines Setup dialog shown above.

Below the IDeA engine there is a list of recently used engines, followed by a black horizontal line, below which all other engines are listed in alphabetic order. If you select an engine other than an IDeA engine, the option you selected in the Advanced Engine Options will be applied to the analysis results.

If some of the engines in the list are busy analyzing, they are displayed with a yellow background.

Note that using this method you can analyze many different positions in the game at the same time.

The other method of creating an infinite analysis task within IDeA is to turn an active task into an infinite analysis task by clicking it in the IDeA queue, as shown below.

chessok60r There are two active tasks in the IDeA queue shown in this image. I have selected the second from the left by clicking it with the mouse, resulting in four actions being displayed below the queue (underlined blue links). One of them is Infinite and when I click it, the task is turned into an infinite analysis task and the background color turns to white. When the analysis time and depth reaches the limits specified in the IDeA Project Properties (Min. time and Min. depth), positions from the analysis line will start to be added to the tree and alternatives will be generated. The engine will continue analyzing until it is manually stopped by clicking the Finish link, which is displayed for all active infinite analysis tasks.

Conclusion

IDeA is a unique and extremely flexible analysis tool. In this column I have brought together the different methods to send positions to IDeA. The source of the positions can be a database of games, your own analysis, a game notation, an engine running infinite analysis, a file with EPD records, etc. If the positions you are sending to IDeA are already analyzed, you have the option to add them directly to the analysis tree. Otherwise, you can add them to the analysis queue and let the IDeA engines take care of the analysis. One of the most important improvements in Aquarium 2011 is the improved interaction between infinite analysis and IDeA. On one hand, infinite analysis can send positions directly to IDeA; on the other hand, you can start infinite analysis from IDeA and add the results to the analysis queue or directly to the tree.

These methods let you to take advantage of IDeA while making sure that the positions that you are interested in are analyzed.

Dadi Jonnson

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