Talk:1112: Think Logically

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Cueball is clearly a chess novice as demonstrated by the comic (at the very least he knows what the goal of the game is and how the pieces move), however he lacks higher knowledge of the game (which is gained through education) and is very inexperienced (experience is obviously gained by playing the game regularly). Given his non-expert position he attempts to deliver well-meaning advice as best he can (in this case through "thinking logically"), however the player receiving the advise (a clearly more knowledgeable and experienced player) immediately realises how utterly useless that advise is. Cueball approached the situation by "thinking logically", but his logic was flawed, possibly due to his lack of knowledge. Just because the goal of chess is to deliver checkmate does not necessarily mean that every move must be pushing a piece closer to the opponent's king. The best thing to do would be to first research and study the abundance of chess knowledge out there, practice it and then one can come up with tactics and strategies for every possible position (even if those aren't perfect). Chess is so complex that even if we wished to arrive at the absolute logical move for every position, this would be beyond us most of the time, it is just too complex. Not even computers know the perfect move for every position, although they do come up with great moves through the use of complex algorithms. Note: I thought the explanation given in the "Explanation" section above had some merit (it also explains some things I didn't include), and that is why I did not modify it and instead chose to provide mine here. Let me know what you thought, together we can explain everything.--DelendaEst (talk) 13:01, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Feel free to add your explanation to the actual page if you think it's lacking in information. Wikis are meritocracies, and anyone is welcome to voice their opinions. Davidy22 (talk) 13:21, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
A good explanation. My takeaway was more about Dunning Kruger, and chess just happened to be a convenient backdrop. The expert proceeds to pwn the know-it-all... and even having been pwned, the braggart can't find the lesson in the defeat. But as with Randall's work, YMMV. (Or to paraphrase Euell Gibbons: "ever analyze an xkcd? Many interpretations are possible.") -- IronyChef (talk) 14:52, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
I think your explanation is the best one, you managed to find the essence of the situation. I can very easily see what you explained happening in the comic.--DelendaEst (talk) 00:18, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Just a quick point on the explanation. Chess is not a perfectly balanced game due to the first move advantage enjoyed by white. This advantage is very small, however, and the pieces themselves are well balanced. Heyart (talk) 13:53, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Please note that experts are not in universal agreement about the supposed first move advantage held by white, and it's unwise to state it in such absolute terms as "Chess is not a perfectly balanced game" 03:54, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

I found Cueball's demeanor in this comic to be very remeniscent of Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory in that he thinks he knows better than everyone even though chess has been around forever. Also, there was a specific episode of TBBT in which Cooper invents three-player chess including several new pieces. Cooper does not, however, do so considering the traditional rules of chess to be flawed (other than not allowed a third player). The characters do consider chess to be too easy, however, and often play Star Trek's three-dimensional chess. TheHYPO (talk) 16:27, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

I see this comic, as so many comics before it, to be a description of nerd-dominance. The author seeks to entice the reader into inquiring about his own ill-thought out rules for chess. Do not inquire.

Is the first character really wearing a "hat"? To me, it looks like a headband, similar to the one worn by Spock in the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. This would give another meaning to "Think logically"... -- 11:27, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Nope, not a headband -- there's hair below the brim but not above it. What you are seeing is a subtle clue that the chess expert is a Canadian, in that he is wearing what we call a toque, known in America as a stocking cap. Noni Mausa (talk) 12:19, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Your point about the hair is interesting; however, a Vulcan is much better at explaining logic than any earthling... Canadians included!
-- 13:52, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't want to make a huge generalization, but in America they're known as beanies, stocking caps extend out from the head and end with pointed tips (or those silly poof balls). lcarsos (talk) 17:02, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
And thus it is a Knit cap as taken from the wikipedia article: This article is about the knit cap also known as a "beanie" or "tuque" (or as the Canadian guyy wrote toque). Of course somewhere they do call it Beanie, but even here they refer to knit cap. As a knit cap is for cold weather and the same drawing is used to protect hairless heads when lost the hair to chemotherapy or in cold conditions, and since a similar character was called Knit Cap Girl in the extensive comic 1350: Lorenz, I have changed (what had become Skullcap?) to knit cap in the explanation. Here it is a guy though as the official transcript calls him Knit hat guy, thus also making it clear that this is a knit cap.--Kynde (talk) 22:07, 31 March 2016 (UTC)

Another point I want to bring up is that it's generally not really a good idea to share your own strategy with your opponents (or potential opponents). I once participated in a Chess tournament, and before it began I encountered this guy who was bragging about his strategy, how he likes to move only his pawns at the beginning and form a sort of wall into which his opponents will invariably run their pieces and, in his words, "kill themselves." Of course, it just so happened that the first game I played in was against this same guy. And so I knew what he was trying to do, and I ended up destroying him. Granted, Cueball's "strategy" in this comic has very little to do with actual established Chess practices, but it's a similar idea. Erenan (talk) 18:53, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

As an avid chess player, I'd have to agree that we should keep our strategy to ourselves (unless we are planning to use deception). Also, I'd like to point out that your opponent's strategy to only move pawns in the opening is a very poor choice (unless the opening in question is a variation by Alekhine, which is considered to be sound). In the opening we are advised to mainly move pieces and only a few pawns and there are very good reasons for this, which I cannot go into here. Moreover, he plans to build a pawn wall for your pieces to destroy themselves? Typical novice threats, doesn't he realise you have an equally matched army and that you wouldn't purposefully endanger your pieces with his pawn wall? (Your pawns can neutralise his). His reasoning is laughable. If you'd like to learn lots about chess in a fun and painless way, I recommend the Chessmaster game. Anyway, good on you for beating that opponent!--DelendaEst (talk) 12:27, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, indeed, he was clearly very inexperienced, and while I'm not exactly a seasoned expert, I did spend the weeks leading up to this tournament studying openings and playing Chessmaster (and other Chess games on my mobile phone while not at my computer), and to my surprise I ended up in second place. Of course, this wasn't an official tournament, but rather one organized by the business and economics club at the community college in the area. So really I prefer to attribute my ultimate loss not to my lack of skill but to being more tired than my final opponent (final game was played at Denny's around midnight). More to the point, I was going to say that Kasparov had moved only pawns for something like the first eight moves for one of the games he won against Deep Blue, but after looking again at those games, that doesn't appear to be true. So what am I thinking of? I could have sworn I saw this from Kasparov somewhere... Erenan (talk) 04:13, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

I was reminded of the scene from A Beautiful Mind when John Nash criticized a game (Go, I think) because he played flawlessly and yet still lost because he didn't go first. So he invented his own game, called Hex. 17:31, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Does anybody else think the chess player could be Randall's wife? You see her depicted with a beanie and short black hair in the biopsy versary comic {{ 18:56, 19 December 2012 (UTC)|}}

The transcript calls the chess player "hat guy," so I doubt such.
Also, sudo sign your discussion comments by entering four tildes in the end. Greyson (talk) 11:20, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes not his wife as it is a guy according to official transcript which calls him Knit hat guy, thus also making it clear that this is a knit cap. --Kynde (talk) 22:07, 31 March 2016 (UTC)
I've always thought of this comic as being one of those nerdy 13 year olds that are chess geniuses (I call them geniuses because I can't play chess, it's too complicated for me, my cat beats me), and for some reason, these brilliant kids are almost always portrayed as beanie toting. lcarsos_a (talk) 16:47, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Just to add a comment as a chess player, "thinking logically" does not always work in chess. Sometimes, one must go with their 'intuition', or gut feeling. Of course, these gut feelings are usually backed by subconscious logical reasoning, but sometimes, a chess player plays a move because it FEELS right. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I understand this as meaning "there's only so much logic power I can spend on the next move before I run out of time" - even if there's no chess clock in play, there are social and biological factors like needing to eat and sleep eventually or a desire not to bore the other player. At some point, the amount of time and energy one needs to better evaluate which of two or three or four plausible moves is the best one is just not worth it at the margins. 16:32, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

I tend to feel that people who use the phrase "think logically" actually mean "think the same thing I think, because I am *obviously* without bias, am incapable of flawed reasoning, and I am above petty things like history or context, so I'm right and shut up". They are usually wrong, by the way. And an asshole. -Pennpenn 03:40, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

The first two paragraphs are useless. Nobody doesn’t know what chess is! And if they don’t, they don’t have to learn about it here. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Anyone else think that "guy with knit cap" might actually be Megan? Wearing a cap to cover up hair loss?

Please sign your comments. You'd be right, except of 2 things: There is nothing to indicate that, and, as the explanation already states: "The guy with the knit cap could either have been a man or a woman as from the drawing, but the official transcript calls him knit hat guy." --Lupo (talk) 11:26, 20 September 2019 (UTC)