Chess and Checkers

When I was in High School, and just beginning to understand the theories of chess, an old man came to visit us at the table. This episode probably then happened a park.

 

He watched with some intensity, as I and my opponent were engrossed in our game. After the game ended (I think I won), he asked, almost with a sneer, “so what is the difference between checkers and chess?”

 

 

I didn’t exactly why he was asking this question. But I gave him my best answer and replied, “Chess is more complicated”.

 

 

With that, the old turned around and departed. Maybe he thought I was rude and me being a male teenager, that may be true. Or is because he didn’t expect the conversation to go that way. Or he may have thought he has interacting with younger teens (after all, when I was 14 I could still pass for a 12 year-old).

 

 

So, I got to thinking, what are differences between chess and checkers. And I drew up a list. Which I promptly lost. But I remember most of it. And now with the magic of the Internet, and blogging in particular, here is my list (corrected for spelling and grammar).

 

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WHAT IS THE SAME

 

The boards are identical in size (8 x 8).

 

Each board has 64 squares.

 

A man moving to the 8th rank is promoted.

 

 

MakingChessComputer1

 

It is a game usually played by only two competitors.

 

 

WHAT IS DIFFERENT

 

Checkers is played on a red and black board. Chess is typically played on a white and black board.

 

In checkers, each player starts with only 12 men. In chess, each player starts with 16 men.

 

checkers

 

In checkers, all the men look the same, move the same way, and are of equal value. In chess, the pieces look different, move differently, and are worth different values.

 

 

pawns-3467512_960_720

 

In checkers, Black moves first. In chess, White moves first.

 

In checkers, a man reaching the 8th rank can only be promoted to a King. In chess, a man reaching the 8th rank can be promoted to a Queen, a Rook, a Bishop, or a Knight. But never to a King.

 

In checkers, players use only 32 squares of the board. In chess, both players use all 64 squares.

 

In checkers, players may only move their men diagonally. In chess, players may move their pieces diagonally, forward, backwards, and horizontally.

 

In checkers, a player captures a man by jumping over them. In chess, a player can capture a man by occupying their place on the board.

 

In checkers, only a king can move backwards. In chess, Knights, Bishops, Rooks, Queens, and Kings can move backwards. Pawns are the only units that may only move forward.

 

 

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In chess, there are rules for en passant and castling. No such rules exist for checkers.

 

In checkers, captures are mandatory. In chess, players may decline a capture.

 

In checkers, openings are decided by lot. In chess, opening play is determined by the players.

 

 

And for us chess enthusiasts:

 

Chess has a high cultural value. People equate us chess players as possessing great intelligence, a fantastic memory, and in its purest form; grace.

 

It is possible to be a prodigy in math, music, or chess.

 

Two examples;

 

Frank Brady wrote “Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy”.

 

 

 

Wikipedia has an article titled, “Chess Prodigy”.

 

 

No checkers player has ever been known or labeled as a prodigy.

 

Attacking by Castling, Part 2

You probably want to again read the first part of this series. I have greatly updated and enlarged Part 1 to cover more games and ideas. I hope you enjoy the additions.

 

And now onto Part 2.

 

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Perhaps the best well-known, as well as the first known case of mating, while is this game.

 
Please remove the R on a1 as the combination at the end does not work with the extra rook.

 

Morphy-N.N.
New Orleans, 1858
[Ra1]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7 (The Fried Liver Attack was more popular in the 19th century. It’s largely due to the idea that the sacrifice is too strong for Black to survive. But strangely, it now appears that Black is doing O.K.) 6…Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6 8.Nc3 Nd4 9.Bxd5+ Kd6 10.Qf7 (with the idea of Ne4#) 10…Be6 11.Bxe6 Nxe6 12.Ne4+ (White has a large advantage here. The only question is whether position is a +/- or a +-.) Kd5 13.c4+ Kxe4 14.Qxe6 Qd4 15.Qg4+ Kd3 16.Qe2+ Kc2 17.d3+ Kxc1 18.O-Omate! 1-0

 

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George B. Spencer-N.N.
Minneapolis Chess Club, 1893
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ (The Lolli Gambit. It’s unclear if Black should play 5…Ke7 or the text move. In this case, Black can expect little respite from the checks.) 5…Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke6 7.Qxg4+ Kxe5 8.d4+!?

 

[Greco-N.N., Italy, 1620?, continued with 8.Qf5+ Kd6 9.d4 Bg7 10.Bxf4+ Ke7 11.Bg5+ Bf6 12.e5 Bxg5 13.Qxg5+ Ke8 14.Qh5+ Ke7 15.O-O Qe8 16.Qg5+ Ke6 17.Rf6+ Nxf6 18.Qxf6+ Kd5 19.Nc3+ Kxd4 20.Qf4+ Kc5 21.b4+ Kc6 22.Qc4+ Kb6 23.Na4mate 1-0. Both moves seem good enough to win the game.]

 
8…Kxd4 9.b4 Bxb4+ 10.c3+ Bxc3+ 11.Nxc3 Kxc3

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12.Bb2+! Kxb2 (If Black was to play 12…Kd3!?, then White would castle queenside to continue the attack.) 13.Qe2+ Kxa1 14.O-Omate 1-0
Black get his revenge in these games.

 

N.N.-C. Meyer
Ansbach, Germany, 1931
1.b3 d5 2.Bb2 Bg4 3.h3 Bh5 4.Qc1 Nd7 5.e3 e5 6.Be2 Ngf6 7.Bxh5 Nxh5 8.Qd1 g6 9.f4 Qh4+ 10.Ke2 Ng3+ 11.Kd3 Nc5+ 12.Kc3 Nge4+ 13.Kb4 Nd3+ 14.Ka4 b5+ 15.Ka5 Bb4+ 16.Ka6 Qf6+ 17.Kb7 Qb6+ 18.Kxa8 O-Omate 0-1

 

Lodewijk Prins-Lawrence Day
1968 Lugano Olympiad
Switzerland, 1968
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 a6 4.Be2 Nc6 5.O-O Nf6 6.Nc3 Qc7 7.a3 b6 8.d4 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Bb7 10.Be3 Bd6 11.h3 Be5 12.Qd3 h5 13.Rfc1 Bh2+ 14.Kf1 Ne5 15.Qd1 Nxe4 16.Na4 Nc5 17.Nxb6 Qxb6 18.Nf3 Qc6 19.Bxc5 Bf4 20.Be3 Bxe3 21.fxe3 Ng4 22.hxg4 hxg4 23.Ne1 Rh1+ 24.Kf2 g3 25.Kxg3 Rxe1 26.Qxe1 Qxg2+ 27.Kf4 g5 28.Ke5 Qe4+ (There are some sources which claim that White resigned here. Personally, I prefer that the game continued to the mate.) 29.Kf6 Qf5+ 30.Kg7 Qg6+ 31.Kh8 O-O-Omate 0-1

 

 

Now you might believe that mating by castling can only happen when the enemy king is on your first rank. But that isn’t true.

 

 

Antonin Kvicala-N.N.
[B20]
1.e4 c5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 e6 4.Nc3 a6 5.d4 b5 6.d5 bxc4 7.dxc6 d6 8.e5 d5 9.Bg5 f6 10.exf6 Nxf6 11.Ne5 h6 12.c7 Qxc7 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Qh5+ Ke7 15.Qf7+ Kd6 16.Qxf6 Be7 17.Ne4+ dxe4 18.O-O-Omate 1-0

 

N.N.-Ryan Marcelonis
Internet Game, Sept. 15 2015
[Believed to be the fastest game ending in a castling mate.]
1.e4 c5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 d6 4.e5 Qc7 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.d4 dxe5 7.Nxe5 Nxe5 8.dxe5 Bxb5 9.a4 Qxe5+
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10.Kd2? (White has the better 10.Be3 Qxb2 11.axb5 Qxa1 12.O-O e6, and while he is losing, he is not completely lost.) 10…O-O-Omate 0-1

Attacking by Castling, Part 1

Most players know that castling is usually considered a defensive move as it tucks the king into a corner where it is harder to attack. Experienced players also know that castling also places a rook on a file that is closer to center, where it can more easily participate in an attack against the enemy king.

 

And those who really understand the game, or at least get lucky, can find positions where the rook, far from being a bystander, is the main piece in a king attack.

 

So how does a rook attack? Mostly by checking.
Let’s take a look from the Levenfish variation of the Dragon (see also, “A Dragon Trap” from the December 19, 2019 posting on this blog for other ideas of this almost bad variation of the Sicilian).
Kalinchenko-Chekhov
Moscow, 1971
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ fxe6 11.Qxd8+ Kf7 12.O-O+

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1-0

Black is obviously busted here. But he can still fight on. The only question is, “How many moves must occur before he gives up?”

 

Glenn Cornwell-Jerry Gray
Southern Amateur
Tennessee, 1972
12.O-O+ Nf6 13.Rxf6+ Bxf6 14.Qd4 Bg7 15.Bg5 Nc6 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Rf1+ Kg8 18.Qc5 1-0

 

B. Probola-A. Plicner
Polish U16 Ch.
Zakopane, Jan. 21 2001
12.O-O+ Bf6 13.Rxf6+ Nxf6 14.Qxh8 a6 15.exf6 exf6 16.Bh6 1-0

 

 

The Dragon seems to have many examples of checking from castling.

 

Alexander Thomson-Francisco Prieto Azuar
Munich Ol.
Germany, 1958
[B34]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.Be3 a6 8.Nxc6 dxc6 9.Qxd8+ Kxd8

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10.O-O-O+ Nd7 11.Na4! Ke8 12.Nb6 Nxb6 13.Bxb6 Be6 (Castling would have been preferable. But Black has already moved his king and his monarch is now stuck in the middle.) 14.f4 f5 15.exf5 gxf5 16.Bh5+ Bf7 17.Bxf7+ Kxf7 18.Rd7 Ke6 19.Rxb7 Rhb8 20.Re1+ 1-0

 

K. Njili (2305)-Said Medjkouh
Zonal Tournament, 4.1, Africa
Tipaza, Algeria, May 26 2011
[B27]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.h4 Bg7 4.h5 d5 5.exd5 gxh5 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Bb5+ Nbd7 8.d4 Qa5 9.Bd2 a6 10.Bd3 cxd4 11.Nxd4 Ne5 12.Qe2 Nxd5 13.Bb5+! axb5 14.Nxd5 Qd8 15.Nxb5 Kf8 16.Nf4 Ra4 17.Nxh5 Qd5 18.Nxg7 Bg4 19.f3 Bxf3 20.Nc3 Bxe2 21.Nxd5 Ba6 22.Nf5 e6 23.Bh6+ Ke8 24.Nc7+ Kd8 25.Bg7 exf5

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26.O-O-O+ Kc8 (Not 26…Kxc7? 27.Bxe5+ and 28.Bxh8 and White wins with less fuss.) 27.Bxh8 Rxa2 28.Kb1 1-0

 

 

There is no reason why a player must engage in a Dragon to castle and check.

 

 

GM Viswanathan Anand-GM Peter Svidler
Linares
Spain, Feb. 27 1999
[D97]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 O-O 7.e4 a6 (Black has a number of good responses here: 7…Bg4, 7…Nc6 and the text move.) 8.e5 b5 9.Qb3 Nfd7 10.h4 c5 11.e6 c4 12.Qd1 Nb6 13.exf7+ Rxf7 14.h5 Nc6 15.hxg6 hxg6 16.Be3 Bf5 17.Ng5 Rf6 18.g4 Be6 19.Nce4 Bd5 20.Qd2 Rd6 21.f3 Bxe4 22.fxe4 Nd7 23.Qh2 Nf8 24.e5 Rd7 25.Ne6 Qa5+ 26.Bd2 Nxe5 27.Be2 c3 28.Bxc3 b4 29.Nxg7 bxc3 30.Qh8+ Kf7

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31.O-O+ 1-0

 

 

Most players are aware of this tactical motif.

 
Dunbar-Chawkin
US, 1925
[C45]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Be3 d6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bxc5 dxc5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.c4 Rb8 10.Nc3 Rxb2 11.O-O-O+ 1-0

 

N.N.-Gerald Abrahams
England, 1929
[D31]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 Bb4 5.Bd3 e5 6.dxe5 dxe4 7.Bxe4 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Qxd1+ 9.Kxd1 Be6 10.Rb1 Na6 11.Rxb7? O-O-O+ 0-1

 

Ivan Feuer-Albéric O’Kelly de Galway
Liege, Belgium, 1934
[C68]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.Bxc6+ bxc6 6.d4 f6 7.Nc3 Rb8 8.Qd3 Ne7 9.h4 h5 10.Be3 Rxb2? 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.Qxd8+ Kxd8 13.O-O-O+ 1-0

 

 

And finally, some of the best castling moves do not involve checks.

 

 

GM Gligoric-GM Yusupov
Yugoslavia, 1980
[D48]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 9.e4 c5 10.d5 c4 11.dxe6 fxe6 12.Bc2 Bb7 13.O-O Qc7 14.Ng5 Nc5 15.f4 h6 16.e5?! (16.Nh3) 16…Nd3! 17.Bxd3

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17…O-O-O! -/+ 18.Nf3 Rxd3 (Yusupov, writing in Informator 30, notes that even stronger is 18…Bc5+ 19.Kh1 Ng4.) 19.Qe2 Bc5+ 20.Kh1 Nd5 21.Ne4 Rf8 22.Ne1 Rd4 23.Nxc5 Qxc5 24.Qg4 Qe7 25.Nf3 Rdxf4 26.Bxf4 Rxf4 27.Qg3 g5 28.Rae1 Qb4 29.Rf2 Ne7 30.a3 Qc5 31.Rd2 Nf5 32.Qh3 g4 33.Qh5 Kb8 34.Nh4 Qxe5 35.Qe8+ Ka7 36.Rdd1 Re4 37.Rxe4 Qxe4 38.Qf8 Qc6 39.Rd2 c3 40.bxc3 Qxc3 41.Rd1 Qc2 42.Qd8 Qf2 0-1

 

 

Marshall-Burn
Ostend Ch.
Belgium, June 3 1907
[A46]
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bf4 Nbd7?! (Black finds himself in a weak variation of the London System.) 4.e3 g6 5.Bd3 Bg7 6.Nbd2 O-O 7.h4 Re8 8.h5 Nxh5 9.Rxh5 gxh5 10.Bxh7+ Kxh7 11.Ng5+ Kg6 12.Ndf3 e5 13.Nh4+ Kf6 14.Nh7+ Ke7 15.Nf5+ Ke6 16.Nxg7+ Ke7 17.Nf5+ Ke6 18.d5 Kxf5 19.Qxh5+ Ke4

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20.O-O-O! 1-0 (21.f3# cannot be avoided. Notice the Rook on d1 closes the last escape square for the Black king.)

 
Which brings us to Part 2.  See you next week!