Chess Computers in 1977

Before we start, I capitalize the name of chess playing computers to clarify who (or what?) is playing White or Black. Now let’s get to the main event.

 

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computerchess1

 

Chess computers, of course, had been in development for a couple of decades before 1977. But in that year, several notable events brought the chess computer to the public’s attention.

 

But let’s first mention that the International Computer Chess Association was established, which is important to this article, even if the public was not aware of it.

 

More worthy for public interest was the first microcomputer chess playing machines, CHESS CHALLENGER and BORIS, were created and sold to the general public. You could now buy a computer to play chess. Even better was the fact they were not too strong and existed more of a novelty than a challenge, making them easy prey to most players. Nevertheless, I heard many people brag how they “beat the computer”, or they were “better than a computer”. What they sometimes forget to mention they played the same opening repeatedly, until they got the result they wanted. Not exactly cheating, but not entirely honest either! (I must pause and smile here, as I the only reason I didn’t do such things was that I couldn’t afford these machines).

 

Also, in 1977, CHESS 4.6, a stronger machine than either CHESS CHALLENGER or BORIS, became the first chess computer to win a major chess tournament. That occurred at 84th Minnesota Open in February of 1977. It achieved an Expert USCF rating.

 

In August, SNEAKY PETE played in the U.S. Open. It was the first machine to do so, was promoted and gathered much attention, but its results were not impressive.

The December 1977 issue of Chess Life and Review had this to say;

 

“Computers were everywhere during the U.S. Open. A major attraction for the entire tournament was SNEAKY PETE. The poor machine had to stick it out on Board 69 for the entire two weeks and was constantly surrounded and scrutinized by Class As and Experts. SNEAKY rated 1209, was so nervous he lost seven games in a row. And every back-rank mate was immortalized in the daily games bulletins.”

 

In 1977, Michael Stean, who earlier in the year earned the GM title, became the first Grandmaster to lose a computer program.

 

CHESS 4.6-GM Michael Stean
Blitz Game
London, 1977
1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Nc3 c5 4.dxc5 (This does not seem best. 4.d5!? is probably better.) 4…bxc5 5.Be3 d6 6.Bb5+ Nd7 7.Nf3 e6 8.O-O a6 9.Bxd7+ Qxd7 10.Qd3 Ne7 11.Rad1 Rd8 12.Qc4 Ng6 13.Rfe1 Be7 14.Qb3 Qc6 15.Kh1 O-O 16.Bg5 Ba8 17.Bxe7 Nxe7 18.a4 Rb8 19.Qa2 Rb4 20.b3 f5 21.Ng5 fxe4 22.Ncxe4 Rxf2 23.Rxd6 Qxd6 24.Nxd6 Rxg2 25.Nge4 Rg4 26.c4 Nf5 27.h3 Ng3+ 28.Kh2 Rxe4 29.Qf2 h6 30.Nxe4 Nxe4 31.Qf3 Rb8 32.Rxe4 Rf8 33.Qg4 Bxe4 34.Qxe6+ Kh8 35.Qxe4 Rf6 36.Qe5 Rb6 37.Qxc5 Rxb3 38.Qc8+ Kh7 39.Qxa6 1-0

 
But this was a blitz game. Chess computers still could not compete against World Champions, either current or past, in blitz games, or under tournament conditions.

 

Fischer (yes, that one!) play three games against a chess computer. The first one is the most well-known and perhaps his best effort.

 

Greenblatt was the name of the programmer. I do not know the name of his computer, or if it even had one, so I’ll just use his name.

 

Here are the three games Fischer was known to have played after his 1972 World Championship win.

 

GM Fischer-GREENBLATT
Cambridge, 1977
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 d5 4.Bxd5 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Nf3 O-O 7.O-O [Fischer liked to experiment with the Bishop’s Gambit, probably as a result of publishing an article titled, The King’s Gambit is Busted, where he showed how Black should win after 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d6. Here’s a game from his simul tour of 1964: GM Fischer-Nyman, Simul, Cicero, May 20 1964, 7.O-O Bxc3 8.dxc3 c6 9.Bc4 Qb6+ 10.Kh1 Nxe4 11.Qe1 Re8 12.Bxf4 Nd6 13.Bxd6 Rxe1 14.Raxe1 Bd7 15.Ng5 Na6 16.Rxf7 1-0.] 7…Nxd5 8.Nxd5 Bd6 9.d4 g5 10.Nxg5 Qxg5 11.e5 Bh3 12.Rf2 Bxe5 13.dxe5 c6

2019_08_22_A
14.Bxf4 +- Qg7 15.Nf6+ Kh8 16.Qh5 Rd8 17.Qxh3 Na6 18.Rf3 Qg6 19.Rc1 Kg7 20.Rg3 Rh8 21.Qh6mate 1-0

 

GREENBLATT-GM Fischer
Cambridge, 1977
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.Nc3 cxd4 [Black tried the original 4…b6 in GM Božidar Ivanović-Grigic, Vinkovic, 1982 and lost after the spectacular 5.dxc5! bxc5 6.Qd5 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Qa5 8.Qxa8 Qxc3+ 9.Kd1! 1-0.] 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng8 9.f4 f6 10.exf6 Nxf6 11.Bc4 d5 12.Be2 Rb8 13.b3 Ng4 14.Bd4 e5 15.fxe5 O-O 16.Bxg4 Qh4+ 17.g3 Qxg4 18.Qxg4 Bxg4 19.Rf1 Rxf1+ 20.Kxf1 c5 21.Bf2 Bxe5 22.Be1 Rf8+ 23.Kg2 Rf3 24.h3 Rxc3 25.Bxc3 Bxc3 26.Rf1 Bf5 27.Rf2 h5 28.Re2 Kf7 29.Re3 Bd4 30.Rf3 Ke6 31.c3 Be5 32.Re3 d4 33.cxd4 cxd4 34.Re1 d3 35.h4 d2 36.Rd1 Bc3 37.Kf2 Bg4 38.Rh1 Bd4+ 39.Kg2 [Any player would automatically see that promoting the pawn would force White to part with his rook for bishop (winning the exchange and eventually win the game). Fischer, however, wants the rook for free.]
2019_08_22_B
39…Kd5! 40.a3 Ke4 41.Rf1 Kd3 42.Kh2 Ke2 43.Kg2 Bh3+ 44.Kxh3 Kxf1 45.b4 d1=Q 46.Kh2 Qe2+ 47.Kh3 Qg2mate 0-1

 

GREENBLATT-GM Fischer
Cambridge, 1977
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Be3 O-O 9.Qd3 Be6 10.O-O Nbd7 11.Nd5 Rc8 12.Nxe7+ Qxe7 13.f3 d5 14.Nd2 Qb4 15.Nb3 dxe4 16.Qd1 Nd5 17.Ba7 b6 18.c3 Qe7 19.fxe4 Ne3 20.Qd3 Nxf1 21.Qxa6 Ne3 22.Bxb6 Qg5 23.g3 Ra8 24.Ba7 h5 25.Qb7 h4 26.Kf2 hxg3+ 27.hxg3 f5 28.exf5 Rxf5+ 29.Ke1 Raf8 30.Kd2 Nc4+ 31.Kc2 Qg6 32.Qe4 Nd6 33.Qc6 Rf2+ 34.Kd1 Bg4 35.Bxf2 Qd3+ 36.Kc1 Bxe2 37.Nd2 Rxf2 38.Qxd7 Rf1+ 39.Nxf1 Qd1mate 0-1

 

 

It would take another two decades for chess computers to score a win against World Champion.

FIREWORKS

Fireworks-pastel-colors-jpg

 

Fourth of July in the US is considered our Independence Day. A day we love to celebrate with parades, hot dogs, ball games, barbeques, and fireworks.

 

We can’t provide the parades, ball games, barbeques, and our hot dogs are reserved. But we can give you fireworks. Check out these games.

 

Keres-Siitam
Estonia Jr. Ch.
Parnu, 1933
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nc3 (This opening is known as the Mason or Keres Gambit. By either name, it leads to many tactical games.) 3…Nc6 4.d4 Bb4!? 5.Bxf4 Qh4+ 6.g3 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Qe7 8.Bg2 d6 9.Nf3 Qxe4+ 10.Kf2 Bf5 11.Re1 Qxe1+ 12.Qxe1+ Nge7 13.d5 O-O 14.dxc6 Bxc2 15.Qxe7 Rae8 16.Qxc7 Re4 17.cxb7 Rfe8 18.b8=Q Re2+ 19.Kg1 Rxg2+ 20.Kxg2 Rxb8 21.Qxb8mate 1-0

 

Here are is another Keres/Mason Game. Black has the advantage after 6.…Ba6+. Now try to find Black’s best moves from this point.

 

N.N.-Chadwick
corres.
PCCA Gambit Tournament, 1911
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.d4 Qh4+ 5.Ke2 b6! 6.Nf3 Ba6+ 7.Kd2 Qf2+ 8.Ne2 Nb4 9.a3 Nf6 10.Qe1 d5 11.Kc3 Nxe4+ 12.Kb3 Bc4+ 13.Ka4

2019_07_04_A

13…b5+ (Alex Dunne, writing in the Dec. 2000 issue of Chess Life, notes that 13…a5 14.Nc3 Qxc2+ 15.b3 Qxb3# wins faster. Would you have found that idea?) 14.Ka5 Nc6+ 15.Ka6 b4+ 16.Kb7 Rb8+ 17.Kxc6 Rb6+ 18.Kxc7 Bd6+ 19.Kc8 Ke7mate 0-1

 

Victor Knox (2320)-Krzysztof Pytel (2381)
Manchester, 1981
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.Bd2 Ne7 6.Nb5 O-O 7.c3 (7.Bxb4 doesn’t seem to fare too well. Vasiliev (1703)-Lysakov (2032) Petr Izmailov Memorial, Tomsk, Russia, June 13 2013, continued with 7…cxb4 8.Nd6 Nbc6 9.Nf3 f6 10.Bd3 fxe5 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Nxc8 Nxd3+ 13.Qxd3 Rxc8 14.O-O-O Ng6 15.h4 Nf4 16.Qe3 Qf6 17.Qxa7 Ra8 18.Qd4 Ne2+ 0-1) 7…Ba5 8.dxc5 Bc7 (> 8…Ng6) 9.f4 Nd7 10.b4 b6 11.cxb6 Nxb6 12.Nf3 Bb7 (Black is coming close to equality, or at least an unclear position. However, he needs to either active his kingside or defend it. He does neither.) 13.Bd3 Nc4? (Now comes the thematic Bxh7+ and subsequent king walk.)

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14.Bxh7+! Kxh7 15.Ng5+ Kg6 16.Qg4 f5 17.Qg3 Qd7 (17…Qc8 18.Nc7) 18.Nxe6+ Kf7 19.Qxg7+ Kxe6 20.Nd4mate 1-0

 

Escalante-“Me4ok” (1846)
corres.
http://www.chess.com, 2019
[B57]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nh5 9.e6?

 

(This is what sometimes happens when I analyze a game in my head. Most of the time, this is not problem. But this time I thought he had played 8…Ng4, and 9.e6 works well in that variation.

 

By the way, after 8…Nh5, 9.Qf3 is considered the best move here. A few games illustrate the possibilities.

 

GM Fischer-N.N.
Simul
New York, 1963
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nh5 9.Qf3 e6 (9…d5? 10.Nxd5! cxd5 11.Bxd5) 10.g4 Ng7 11.Ne4 Qa5+ (11…d5? 12.Nf6+ Ke7 13.Qa3+ Qd6 14.Qxd6#) 12.Bd2 Qxe5 13.Bc3 (The black queen is trapped.)
2019_07_04_C
1-0

 

Sarapu-Cornford
New Zealand Ch.
Christchurch, 1967
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nh5 9.Qf3 e6 10.exd6 Qxd6 11.g4 Ng7 12.Bf4 e5 13.Bxf7+ Kd7 14.Rd1 exf4 15.O-O Ba6 16.Ne4 Bxf1 17.Nxd6 Bxd6 18.Qxf4 1-0

 

Mayerhofer (2203)-Klimes (2365)
IPCA World Cup
Czech Republic, 2003
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nh5 9.Qf3 d5 10.Nxd5 e6 11.Nc3 Bb7 12.O-O Be7 13.Bh6 Bg5 14.Rad1 Qe7 15.Bxg5 Qxg5 16.Ne4 Qe7 17.Nd6+ Kf8 18.Nxf7 Qxf7 19.Qxf7+ Kxf7 20.Rd7+ Kf8 21.Rxb7 Ng7 22.Rd1 a5 23.Rdd7 Nf5 24.Bxe6 1-0

 

De Haas (2171)-Bakker
Nova Open
Haarlem, July 2 2004
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nh5 9.Qf3 d5 10.Nxd5 cxd5 11.Bxd5 Rb8
2019_07_04_D

12.Bxf7+ Kd7 13.Qd5+ Kc7 14.Qc5+ Kb7 15.Bd5+ Ka6 16.Qc6+ 1-0

 

Now let’s get back to the original game.)

 

9…fxe6! (Oops! Black definitely has the advantage.) 10.Qf3 (Trying to keep Black from castling.) 10…d5! (Another good move. This bolsters his pawn structure.) 11.Bb3 (Forced. White wants to keep the bishop on the diagonal.) 11…Bg7 12.Bg5 Nf6? (Black could have tried 12.Rf8, and forgo castling to use the open “f” file.) 13.O-O-O O-O!? [Seems safe. But White’s bishop is still on the diagonal. If Black’s plan is king safety (always important), then he probably should hide his king on h8.] 14.Qg3 c5? (Again, …Kh8 is called for. All this move does is loosen his pawn structure. Perhaps he wanted to push …c4, getting rid of the bishop. But this approach is too slow.) 15.Rhe1 (White’s development is now superior, for the cost of a pawn. His bishop is about to become very active.) 16…Bd7? 16.Bxf6! (The start of a combination to open lines against the enemy king.) 16…exf6
2019_07_04_E
17.Nxd5! Kh8 [Now he moves his king to safer square. But he loses a critical tempo in the process. By the way, taking the knight leads to immediate disaster. I’ll let the reader figure it out the moves (it’s more fun that way!)] 18.Nc7 +- Qe7 19.Nxa8 Rxa8 20.Qc7 Rd8 21.Rxe6 Bh6+ 22.Kb1 Bxe6 23.Rxd8+ 1-0

 

GM Fabiano Caruna (2652)-GM Konstantin Landa (2664)
Torneo di Capodanno
Reggio Emilia, Italy, June 1 2010
[C42]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2 Be6 9.O-O-O Qd7 10.Kb1 Bf6 11.h4 h6 12.Nd4 Nxd4 13.Bxd4 Bxd4 14.Qxd4 O-O (So far, we are still in “book”.) 15.Rg1 [White played 15.Be2 in GM R. Ponomariov (2751)-GM Hao Wang (27433), Kings Tournament, Bucharest, Oct. 11 2013, with the continuation of 15…Rae8 16.Bf3 b6 17.g4 Qb5 18.g5 Qc4 19.gxh6 Qxd4 20.Rxd4 gxh6 21.Bc6 Rd8 22.Ra4 a5 23.b4 axb4 24.cxb4 Bd7 25.Bxd7 Rxd7 26.Re1 Kg7 27.Kb2 Kg6 28.Ra3 Kh5 29.Rg3 f5 30.Re6 b5 31.Kb3 f4 32.Rgg6 Rh7 33.f3 Rf5 34.c4 bxc4+ 35.Kxc4 Re5 36.Ref6 Kxh4 37.Rxf4+ Kh3 38.Rfg4 h5 39.Rg3+ Kh2 40.Rg2+ Kh1 41.Rg1+ Kh2 42.R6g2+ Kh3 43.Rg7 Rxg7 44.Rxg7 Re3 45.a4 Ra3 46.Kb5 c5 47.bxc5 1/2-1/2. Caruna’s move seems clearer and stronger.] 15…Rae8 16.g4 Qc6 17.Bg2 Qa6 18.b3 Bd7 19.g5 h5 20.g6 Re7 21.Bd5 Be6 22.Rde1 c5 23.Qd1 Rfe8 24.Qxh5! +- fxg6
2019_07_04_F
25.Rxe6! (Black resigned as he gets checkmated after 25…Rxe6 26.Qxg6. Or he could play on by taking the queen first, and then still get mated after 25…gxh5 26.Rxe7+ Kh7 27.Be4+ Kg8 28.Rgxg7+ Kh8 29.Rh7+ Kg8 30.Rxe8# .) 1-0

 

“jovialdick” (2178)-“blueemu” (2297)
Match
Team Malaysia vs The Canadian Team
chess.com, Aug. 2018
[This game can be found in a forum titled, “A Heroic Defense in the Sicilian Najdorf – Kids, don’t try this at home!” on chess.com. Notes in green are by Escalante, those in red by “blueemu”. I hesitate to include any diagrams, since virtually every move after White 10th would necessitate a diagram.]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.f4 (Another common move here is 9.Qf3, with the idea of activating pieces over using the kingside pawns to cramp and attack Black’s position.) 9…Bb7 (Black’s only good idea with his white bishop is to fianchetto it. He has play it soon anyway.) 10.e5 (This move is the direct result of White’s previous move. The attack, however, is double-edged as White’s king is not exactly safe if his attack should fail.) 10…dxe5 11.fxe5 Bc5 12.Be3 Nc6 13.exf6 Bxd4 14.fxg7 [Another crazy possibility (pointed out by one of the Master-strength players who was drawn by the carnage) was 14 Nd5!? instead of the piece sacrifice 14. fxg7 that White actually played.] 14…Bxe3+ 15.Kh1 Rg8 16.Bxe6 Rxg7 17.Bxf7+ Rxf7 18.Qh5 Ne5 [Florian, writing in Informant 19, game 453, gives this move “!!” and a -+. The game, Cervenka (2190)-A. Schneider (2266), Czechoslovakia, 1974, continued after 18…Ne5!! -+, with 19.Qxe5+ (19.Rae1 Qg5! -+ ; 19.Rf5 Qd2, are again Florian’s notes to the game.) 19…Qe7 20.Qh8+ Kd7 21.Rad1+ (or 21.Rxf7 Qxf7 22.Qe5 Bxg2+ 23.Kxg2 Rg8+ 24.Kh3 Qf3+ 0-1, as in Kaleb-Sostra, corres., Keres Memorial, 1982) 21… Ke6 0-1. Back to original game. ; Black is indeed winning after 18. … Ne5!! but I messed up on move 20 with 20. … Rd8?! allowing White to head into a very drawish position by swapping everything off on f7 after 21. Rae1 Kf8 and White takes on f7 then recovers his piece on e3.] 19.Qxe5+ Qe7 20.Qh5 Rd8 [20…b4?! is too slow. Miranda Rodriguez (2167)-Ruiz Sanchez (2392), Capablanca Memorial, Havana, May 11 2010 continued with 21.Rae1 bxc3 22.Rxf7 Qxf7 23.Rxe3+ Kf8 24.Qc5+ Kg7 25.Rg3+ Kf6 26.Qd4+ Kf5 27.Qf2+ 1-0 ; Black had a much better 20th move, playing 20. … Kf8! (instead of playing it one move later, as I actually did) 21. Rae1 Re8! and White is lost because he cannot recover his piece, while the Black King is now safe (for a given value of “safe”).] 21.Rae1 Kf8 22.Qxh7 Bd4 23.h3 Rd7 24.Qg6 Qh4 25.Re8+ Kxe8 26.Qg8+ Ke7 27.Rxf7+ Kd6 28.Qb8+ Kc5 29.Rf5+ Kb6 30.Kh2 Qe1 31.Nd5+ Rxd5 32.Rxd5 Bg1+ 0-1

Self-Destruction or the Big “Z”

ZUGZWANG is the compulsion to move in chess, where any move would result in loss of position, material, or game.

 

A player who is forced into this type of position does not want to move as any move by that player only makes winning the game easier for his opponent. In other words, he is forced to self-destruct, literally move by move.

Here are a few (simple) examples.
“abdo10000”-Escalante
Blitz Game
chess.com, Feb. 4 2019
[White made a miscalculation in the middlegame enabling Black to win a bishop. White could resign, but chooses to play on.]

2019_02_14_A46.Kh1 (White puts his king in a stalemate position. Unfortunately for him, he still has pawns he can move.) 46…Kf3 (Black can achieve the same result by …Kg3 or …Kh3. The important thing is to keep the white king trapped in the corner, when he must move his pawns.) 47.a3 bxa3 48.c4 a2 49.c5 a1=Qmate 0-1

 

Here two more examples, slightly more sophisticated.

 

Jonny Hector (2465)-Sergei Tiviakov (2490)
Stockholm, 1990
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.h3 (A waiting move. More common is 7.Bb3.) 7…a6 8.O-O b5 9.Bb3 Bb7 10.Re1 O-O 11.Bg5 Nbd7 12.Nd5! (White usually does well if he can get this move in.) 12…Rc8 13.Qd2 Rc5 14.Nf3 Re8 15.c3 Qa8 16.Rad1 Nxd5 17.exd5 Nf6 18.Be3 Rxd5 19.Bxd5 Bxd5 20.Nh4 Bxa2 21.Bh6 Bh8 22.f4 Bb3 23.Ra1 Ne4 24.Qe3 Bd5 25.Qb6 Bb7 26.Re3 Bf6 27.Nf3 Ng3 28.Bg5 Nf5 29.Ree1 Bg7 30.Nh4 f6 31.Nxf5 gxf5 32.Bh4 Kf7 33.Re2 Bh6 34.Bg3 Qc8 35.Kh2 Qc4 36.Rf2 Qe4 37.Rf3 Qc6 38.Rxa6 Qxb6 39.Rxb6 Bxf3 40.gxf3 Ra8 41.Rxb5 Ra2 42.Kg1 Bf8 43.c4 Ra1+ 44.Kf2 Rc1 45.b3 Rc2+ 46.Kf1 h5 47.Rxf5 Rc3 48.Rb5 h4 49.Bf2 Bh6 50.f5 Rc1+ 51.Kg2 Rc2 52.f4 Bxf4 53.Kf3 Bg3 54.Be3 (White is still winning after 54.Bxg3 hxg3 55.Kxg3 Rc3+ 56.Kg4. The text move keeps the tension on the board.) 54…Be1 55.Rb8 Rh2 56.Bh6 e5 57.Rb7+ Ke8 58.Bg7 Rxh3+ 59.Ke4 Kd8 60.Bxf6+ Kc8 61.Rh7 Rxb3 62.Kd5 Rb7 63.Rh8+ Kd7 64.Bxh4! Bxh4 65.Rh7+ Be7 66.f6 Ke8 67.Ke6 d5 68.c5 Rc7 69.Rxe7+ Rxe7+ 70.fxe7
2019_02_14_B
1-0

 

 

Of course, such self-destruction is not limited to pawns only endgames.

 

GM Spassky-GM Fischer
World Ch.
Reykjavik, July 11 1972
Game 1
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.e3 O-O 6.Bd3 c5 7.O-O Nc6 8.a3 Ba5 9.Ne2 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Bb6 11.dxc5 Qxd1 12.Rxd1 Bxc5 13.b4 Be7 (This position is more or less drawish. Mariotti-Tatai, Match, Rome, 1972 continued with 14.Nfd4 Bd7 15.Bb2 Nxd4 16.Nxd4 Rac8 17.Rac1 Rfd8 18.Bb3 Kf8 19.Rxc8 Rxc8 20.Rc1 Rxc1+ 21.Bxc1 1/2-1/2. Spassky’s move is more dynamic.) 14.Bb2!? Bd7 15.Rac1 Rfd8 16.Ned4 Nxd4 17.Nxd4 Ba4 18.Bb3 Bxb3 19.Nxb3 Rxd1+ 20.Rxd1 Rc8 21.Kf1 Kf8 22.Ke2 Ne4 23.Rc1 Rxc1 24.Bxc1 f6 25.Na5 Nd6 26.Kd3 Bd8 27.Nc4 Bc7 28.Nxd6 Bxd6 29.b5 Bxh2?? (Black, who is the aspiring to be the next world champion, makes a horrible beginner’s move. Black never recovered in this game. And didn’t show up for the next one. Only two games into the match and Bobby was down 0-2. The fact that he won this match, and the world championship, is simply incredible.) 30.g3 h5 31.Ke2 h4 32.Kf3 Ke7 33.Kg2 hxg3 34.fxg3 Bxg3 35.Kxg3 Kd6 36.a4 Kd5 37.Ba3 Ke4 38.Bc5 a6 39.b6 f5 40.Kh4 f4 41.exf4 Kxf4 42.Kh5 Kf5 43.Be3 Ke4 44.Bf2 Kf5 45.Bh4 e5 46.Bg5! e4 47.Be3 Kf6 48.Kg4 Ke5 49.Kg5 Kd5 50.Kf5 a5 51.Bf2 g5 52.Kxg5 Kc4 53.Kf5 Kb4 54.Kxe4 Kxa4 55.Kd5 Kb5 56.Kd6

2019_02_14_C

(White can play Kc7 protecting his pawn while attacking Black’s. Black has no choice but to play 56..Ka6. White will reply with Bd4 and Black can either give up protecting his pawn. or run his pawn down the a-file, and wait for White to play an eventual Bxa1. And then Black has to give up the a6 square.)

A First

My friend, A., started a writing class. Her first assignment was to make a list 10 things of her “firsts”, and then write about them.

 

Intrigued by this idea, I decided to write about one of my “firsts”.

 

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MY FIRST TIME I WON A GAME AT CHESS.

 

 

I was in grade school in the early 1970’s and in the fourth grade.

 

I played a simple Scholar’s Mate [For those who don’t know the moves, they are 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Qf3 Nd4? (played to attack White’ queen and threaten …Nxc2+, but actually loses) 4.Qxf7mate].

scholars_mate

I was joyful. Happy. My dad played it against me and I thought it was the best way to win and why did people need chess books?

 

Then doubt.

 

Was this it? Was this the best one could achieve in chess? To win a game in four moves? Was this the only, or at least the best, way to win? Why did Grandmasters Fischer and Spassky take so long to move in their match?

 

Spassky Fischer

 

Didn’t they know about Scholar’s Mate?

 

It was only later I discovered that the game of chess is incredibly complex.

 

And what I have learned in the last 40+ years of studying this game is;

 

(1) Black does not have to respond 1…e5 to White’s first move.

 

(2) There are opening variations that go past the 10th, the 20th moves.

 

(3) There is usually a middle game.

 

(4) There are endings to learn.

 

(5) Books exist to help the beginner, the novice, the merely good player, the experienced player, the expert and the master.

 

(6) And Grandmasters know Scholar’s Mate.

A Najdorf Tournament

I am playing in a Najdorf Thematic tournament at chess.com.

 
The tournament is organized into several sections with the winners of each round advancing to the next.

 
I won my preliminary section with a perfect score of 8-0. I didn’t think I would so well, but here I am being advanced to the next round with the other winners of their sections.

 
Here are a couple of games from this tournament.

 

“Leatherneck”-Escalante
Sicilian Najdorf Invitational
chess.com, 2018
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 (This position defines the Najdorf, the theme of this tournament.) 6.Bc4 e6 7.O-O Be7 8.Re1 O-O 9.Bg5!? (A move rarely seen in this variation.) 9…Qc7 10.Qe2 Qc5 11.Rad1? Qxg5 12.g3 Bd7 13.f4 Qg6 14.f5 Qg5 15.Qe3 Qxe3+ 16.Rxe3 e5 17.Nd5 Nxd5 18.Bxd5 Bc6 19.Ne6 fxe6 20.Bxe6+ Kh8 21.Bd5 Bxd5 22.exd5 Nd7 23.b4 Nb6 24.g4 Rac8 25.Rd2 Nc4 26.Rc3 Nxd2 0-1

 

Escalante-“MiddlegamerUmesh” (1531)
Sicilian Najdorf Invitational
chess.com, 2018
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 (The move constitutes the Sozin variation, a favorite of Fischer’s and the variation which I played exclusively in round one. Having a perfect score makes me want to try it again in round two. We’ll see.)  6…e6 7.Bb3 Qc7 8.Be3 Be7 9.g4 b5 (9…Nc6 10.g5, with the possibility of the same sacrifice.) 10.g5 Nfd7? 11.Bxe6! 1-0 (Black didn’t want to face 11…fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qa5 13.Nxg7+ Kf8, and White with three pieces for the piece, plus the attack, should win.)

 

Since I have not included any diagrams in my games, here is some artwork of Fischer, the (in)famous prodigy and world chess champion.

 

 

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A previously unknown Fischer game.

 

The August July 2017 issue of Chess Life published a previously unknown Bobby Fischer game. Here is the game you can add to your collection.

 

 
Fischer (1726)-Franklin Saksena (1400)
US Jr. Ch.
Lincoln, Nebraska, 1955
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 f5?! (A rare, but not unknown variation. Paul Weaver-Dean Rommeo, G/15, Portland, OR, 1993, continued with 5.d4 exd4?! 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 fxe4 8.Ne5 Nxe5 9.dxe5 Bxc3+?! 10.bxc3 Qe7 11.Bf4 b6 12.Bxg8 Rxg8 13.Qd5 Rf8 14.Qxa8 Kd8 15.Bg3 1-0) 5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 Bxd4 7.cxd4 Nf6 8.e5 Ne4 9.Nc3 Nxc3 10.bxc3 d5 11.exd6 Qxd6 12.O-O Na5? (12…Bd7 13.Bg5)

2018_11_29

13.Qa4+ Nc6 14.d5 O-O 15.dxc6+ +- Kh8 16.Ba3 Qf6 17.Bxf8 Qxf8 18.Qb4 Qxb4 19.cxb4 bxc6 20.Rfe1 Bb7 21.Re7 Rc8 22.Rae1 1-0