Monday, November 21, 2005

World man versus machine Chess Championship

WebIndia123 reports that the second World man versus machine Chess Championship started in Bilbao, Spain on 20th Nov. 2005.

Three FIDE World Champions Kasimdzhanov, Ponomariov and Khalifman will face three chess software programmes - Fritz 9, Junior 9 and Hydra - in the four-day event. The tournament will have four rounds played in a Scheveningen system. Each man will play two games against the same machine, Ponomariov against Junior 9, Kasimdzhanov against Hydra and Khalifman against Fritz 9.

Update (24th Nov.): Susan Pogar is talking about how unfair it is for humans to play against these computers and Chessbase is covering these games with regular updates.
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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Famous Chess Players: Richard Reti

Famous Chess Players: Richard Reti
Richard Reti was born on May, 28th 1889 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He was one of the top players in the world during the early 20th century. The Reti Opening (1. Nf3 d5 2. c4), with which he famously defeated the world champion Jose Raul Capablanca in New York in 1924, is now a commonly used opening on the grandmaster circuit. This defeat marked the first time Jose Raul Capablanca had lost since he had acquired the world championship title. Reti composed numerous endgame studies.

Here's a short game (Caro Kann) played by Richard Reti. Savielly Tartakover was a formidable player but then all Grandmasters are also human! What in your opinion was Tartakover's mistake or Reti's brilliance?

[Event "Vienna -"]
[Site "Vienna -"]
[Date "1910.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "0.44"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "R Reti"]
[Black "Tartakover"]
[ECO "B15"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "22"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qd3 e5 6. dxe5 Qa5+ 7. Bd2 Qxe5 8. O-O-O Nxe4 9. Qd8+ Kxd8 10. Bg5+ Kc7 11. Bd8# 1-0

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Famous Chess Players: Bernhard Horwitz

Bernhard Horwitz was from Germany and was born on 10th May, 1807. He went to a school in Berlin where he studied art. From 1837 to 1843 he was part of a group of German chess players known as 'The Pleiades'. After settling in England in 1845 he played in the 1851 tournament, beating Henry Edward Bird but then being knocked out by Howard Staunton. His true love was problems and together with Josef Kling wrote the classic book 'Chess Studies'. He was the winner of the first study composing tourney in 1862.

Even chess masters make mistakes. I reproduce here a game (Giuoco Piano) played by Bernhard Horwitz, where this chess master keeps on blundering and finally is suitably punished by the opponent. Can you point out the various moves by Horwitz, that cost him this game?

[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "1837.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Bernhard Horowitz"]
[Black "Ludwig Bledow"]
[ECO "C53"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "28"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Bb6 5.d4 Qe7 6.d5 Nd8 7.Be2 d6 8.h3 f5 9.Bg5 Nf6 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Nh4 fxe4 12.Nxe4 Nxe4 13.Bxe7 Bxf2+ 14.Kf1 Ng3# 0-1

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Brainpower Drugs

I just read an article in the Nov. 2005 Indian edition of the Reader's Digest, titled 'China Cleans Up Its Game." This made me think of the possibility of using drugs to boost one's chess performance - Brainpower Drugs. I did a quick Google search on this subject, but it posed more questions than answers. Here's a small list of URLs talking about Brainpower Drugs.The International Chess Federation (ICF) has already adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) universal drug code, subjecting chess players to the same standards as Olympic sprinters. Susan Polgar once said that "Even if a drug makes you bigger and stronger, it won't help you think better, You need logic, planning, concentration. To my knowledge, there is no drug that would help us play better chess."

What about the cognitive enhancement drugs (CED)? Is WADA covering CED too? How does it ensure that chess players do not use these drugs during tournaments and competitions? Has any chess player been found using these CED and if found, what action was taken against such players? What's the real status today of these Brainpower Drugs? Any pointers?
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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Winning Chess Opening Moves

How does one remember the plethora of chess openings? I for one, can never remember names, leave alone names of chess openings! Is there a way out; a solution to this? I follow some basic principles (KISS Principle - Keep it simple, silly) while playing and that with time has helped me to become a better player.

This time around I decided to look at a few winning chess opening moves with the help of Chessgames Chess Opening Explorer.

As white, I always tend to play 1.e4 as there's a 37.3% chance of winning one's game with this (based on 164,858 recorded games). Ofcourse black's responses can be varied, but let's do an abc analysis of the expected moves based on the assumption that he/she would want to control the center and would like to play the popular moves. This leaves us with the following responses: 1...c5 (winning chances 35% and 64,855 recorded games) or 1...e5 (winning chances 39.2% and 54,651 recorded games) or 1...e6 (winning chances 38.6% and 18,558 recorded games) or 1...c6 (winning chances 35.7% and 10,078 recorded games). Now, let's look at some of the various openings based on the above moves.
  • Sicilian, Najdorf (B94)
    1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bg5
  • Ruy Lopez (C88)
    1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5
    7 Bb3
  • French, Exchange (C01)
    1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 exd5 exd5 4 Nc3 Nf6 5 Bg5
  • Caro-Kann (B15)
    1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3
The number of chess openings and its variants could run into thousands (or is it millions?) and humanly impossible to master.

Now, based on the above brief analysis is it safe to assume that by studying the Sicilian, Najdorf, Ruy Lopez, French, Exchange and the Caro-Kann a chess player stands a slightly better chance of winning while playing white? Are these the best openings to begin one's study with? What's your opinion or your assessment of the analysis?
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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Awakening of the Dragon

The Chinese Chess team is leading in the current World Chess Team Championship 2005, being held in Israel. Is it the Awakening of the Dragon? There are over 10 million Chinese who have learned Chess and very soon China shall be a major player in world chess.

I wanted to analyse a game using my newly acquired software - Fritz 9 and decided to analyse a game between Ye Jiangchuan from China and Arnaud Hauchard from France. The annotations are of Fritz 9.

[Event "Belfort Comtois 4th"]
[Site "Belfort"]
[Date "1999.12.19"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Ye Jiangchuan"]
[Black "Hauchard, Arnaud"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B01"]
[WhiteElo "2593"]
[BlackElo "2518"]
[Annotator "Fritz 9 (30s)"]
[PlyCount "51"]
[EventDate "1999.12.13"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventRounds "6"]
[EventCountry "FRA"]
[EventCategory "15"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2000.04.05"]

{B01: Scandinavian Defence B01: Scandinavian Defence} 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3.
Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 c6 5. Bc4 Bf5 6. Nf3 Nf6 7. Bd2 e6 8. Nd5 Qd8 9. Nxf6+ Qxf6 10.
Qe2 Nd7 11. O-O-O Bd6 12. Bg5 Qg6 13. d5 cxd5 14. Rxd5 Be7 15. Bxe7 exd5 16.
Bxd5 Be6 17. Bd6 Rd8 18. Re1 {last book move} Nb6 19. Qb5+ Rd7 20. Ne5 (20.
Bxe6 $142 {seems even better} fxe6 21. Nd4 $18) (20. Bxe6 $142 {
might be the shorter path} fxe6 21. Nd4 $18) 20... Qg5+ $4 {a blunder in a bad
position. the position was bad, and this mistake simply hastens the end} (20...
Qh6+ $142 21. Kd1 Kd8 22. Nxd7 Qh5+ 23. Kc1 Qxd5 $18) (20... Qh6+ $142 21. Kd1
Kd8 22. Nxd7 Qh5+ 23. Kc1 Qxd5 $18) 21. Re3 Nxd5 22. Nxd7 a6 (22... Kd8 {
doesn't change the outcome of the game} 23. Nc5 Bc8 24. Ne4 $18) (22... Kd8 {
doesn't improve anything} 23. Nc5 Bc8 24. Nxb7+ Bxb7 25. Be7+ (25. Qxb7 $6 Nxe3
26. f4 Qf6 27. Bc7+ Ke8 28. Qa8+ Kd7 29. Qxa7 Qc6 30. Bb6+ Kc8 31. Bxe3 Qe4 $16
) 25... Qxe7 26. Rxe7 Kxe7 27. Qxb7+ Kd6 28. Qxf7 $18) 23. Nf6+ Kd8 24. Be7+ $3
{a decisive sacrifice. a decisive sacrifice} Kc8 (24... Nxe7 {Exploits the pin}
25. Qxg5) 25. Qc5+ Kb8 26. Nd7+ $3 {
Clearance to allow e7-g5. Clearance to allow e7-g5} (26. Nd7+ Bxd7 27. Bxg5 $18
) (26. Nd7+ Bxd7 27. Bxg5 $18) 1-0

Do you agree with the annotations made by Fritz 9?
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