Very interesting conversation, and I like getting the insight of experienced coaches on these issues. It does in the end seem to me that we just don't know a lot of the answers -- and do not have enough information to figure it out. (Maybe I'm wrong about this.)
I don't mind the not knowing everything from the start. But I wish we had a few more tools or hints from WiS/GD in order to figure some of this stuff out. Shouldn't that be the key to the game, and the point of it? Experimenting, learning, improving? Which I mean, sure, we're all doing.
But based on this conversation, my own experiences, and the conversations in the positional-ratings threads, we seem not to know very much at all. For every successful owner who thinks one thing about how the engine works, another owner seems to think the exact opposite. And I guess I'm just not sure it's possible to figure anything out with any degree of certainty.
Not complaining ... well, maybe a little ... but mostly just musing.