What algorithms and heuristics are popular in computer chess?
What is an accurate way to evaluate chess positions?

These questions were asked right around the time the site opened. The first one currently has 3 close votes, all for off-topic. Any thoughts on whether it is on topic or off topic? Per the comment link, this is off topic for the site: https://area51.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5056/can-i-ask-questions-related-to-chess-ai-and-algorithms.

While I think there is a fairly large population of programmers on the site currently, I think that the Area 51 discussion is still on target and questions like this are off topic. I'm not convinced that the questions would get good responses on a site like Computer Science, but those answers will almost certainly be better than what chess experts can come up with.

  • In light of votes to close on a recent question (chess.stackexchange.com/q/6178/167), I have featured this now two-year-old thread so that newer users can weigh in on whether such questions should be, as a matter of policy, considered on-topic or off-topic.
    – ETD
    Aug 30, 2014 at 16:20
  • I believe informed questions pertaining to specific topics of chess programming (e.g. piece values, contempt, atrophy) have a place here as opposed to more generic AI/CS questions that are not relevant to chess experts.
    – prusswan
    Sep 1, 2014 at 7:39

2 Answers 2


I disagree with the Area 51 comments in the link above. As it is stated in the about section of this site, "This is a free, community driven Q&A for serious players and enthusiasts of chess." The linked comment chose to highlight the "serious players" aspect and therefore made the statement that this is not a technical forum. While the site might not be designed to be a technical forum first-and-foremost, if technical questions arise that are relevant to "serious players and enthusiasts" then they should be welcome in this community. Just because something might ALSO be appropriate on a different stack exchange site it doesn't mean it doesn't belong here too.

In short, is a question about a chess heuristic relevant to serious players and enthusiasts? If so, it belongs.

  • 1
    If I sought information on a chess algorithm or heuristic, Chess.stackexchange.com is one of the first places I would look, rather than a non-chess-specific programmer's site. (Of course, were the site overrun with such questions, it might be another matter, but this does not seem to be the case.) That's just me, of course; others might differ.
    – thb
    Sep 2, 2014 at 12:26

I believe most AI-for-chess questions do not fall into the scope of this site.

“Serious players and enthusiasts of chess” can well be programmers, computer scientists, or AI researchers, but that's not intrinsically unrelated with their chess interest. Them being way over-represented on this site is just a temporary SE feature, I hope.

Also, Chess questions are well answered on, say, SO. Maybe part of them should be migrated, or are already cross-network duplicates, but that's just a matter of community sizes…

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