Monday, February 8, 2016

Computer-Style Moves

As a way of lightening up a bit after the last post "Nightmare" I wanted to present a human vs computer engine game where the human wins - thanks, in part, to some very odd computer-style moves. 

I remember, many years ago, when I would play against Fidelity's "Chess Challenger 7", it was apparently programmed so that when it could see no way to improve its position, it would advance either its a-pawn or its h-pawn. (Yes, I have played the Jerome Gambit against it.)

Wall, Bill - BBchess engine
Palm Bay, FL, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 Qf6

8.Rf1 g6 9.Qh3+ Ke7

Already seen:

9...Kf7 10.fxe5 Qxf1+ 11.Kxf1 d6 12.Qc3 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest1690223,, 2012; and

9...Ng4 10.Qxg4+ Ke7 11.Nc3 d6 $2 12.Nd5+ Kd8 13.Nxf6 Bxg4 14.Nxg4 h5 15.Nf2 Kd7 16.Nh3 Re8 17.d3 Nf6 18.Ng5 Ng4 19.h3 Nh2 20.Rh1 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest3164644,, 2013.

10.Nc3 d6 11.Nd5+ Kd8

Or 11...Kf7 12.Qb3 Qh4+ 13.g3 Qg4 14.fxe5+ Kg7 15.d3 dxe5 16.Nxc7 Rb8 17.Ne8 checkmate, Wall,B - Guest5541035,, 2014

12.Qg3 Nd3+ 

Or 12...Qe6 13.fxe5 dxe5 14.d4 Ne7 15.dxc5 Nxd5 16.Bg5+ Ke8 17.exd5 Qxd5 18.Rf2 Be6 19.Rd2 Qxc5 20.O-O-O Rf8 21.Qh4 h5 22.Bh6 Rf5 23.Rd8+ Rxd8 24.Rxd8+ Kf7 25.Rf8+ Qxf8 26.Bxf8 Kxf8 27.Qd8+ Kg7 28.Qxc7+ Kh6 29.h4 Rf1+ 30.Kd2 Rf2+ 31.Ke3 Rf5 32.Qd8 a6 33.Qh8 checkmate, Wall, B - Aburasian,, 2010. 

13.Qxd3 Qg7 14.c3 Ne7 15.b4 Bb6 16.Nxb6 axb6 17.Qc2 Qh6 18.h3 Qh4+ 19.Rf2 Be6 20.d3 Rf8 21.a4 Qg3 22.Kf1 Qh2

It is not clear what the computer "hopes" to accomplish with this Queen infiltration. Her Majesty ultimately gets imprisoned in her forward outpost. 

23.Rf3 Qh1+ 24.Kf2 Bd7 25.b5 Be6

*What to do? What to do? What to do?*

26.c4 Kd7 27.Qc3 Rg8

28.Bd2 Qh2 29.d4 Bf7 30.e5 Nf5 31.d5 Rge8 32.Re1 Nh4

Perhaps BBchess first looked at 32...Rxa4 33.e6+ Bxe6 34.dxe6+ Rxe6 35.Rxe6 Kxe6 gaining 3 pawns for its piece, only later to uncover the sharp 36.c5!? 

33.e6+ Kc8 34.Rg3 Bxe6 35.dxe6 Rxa4

Black's pieces are uncoordinated, especially the Queen.

36.Qb3 Ra8 37.Qb2 Kb8 38.e7 Nf5 39.Rg5 d5

The advanced e-pawn is untouchable, as 39...Rxe7 leads to mate after 40.Qh8+ while 39.Nxe7 is well met by 40.f5!?

40.Rxf5 gxf5 41.cxd5 Ra4 42.Qe5 Ra2 43.Qd4 h5 44.d6 cxd6 45.Qxd6+ Ka8 46.Re6 Rc2

Black has found a round about way to link Rooks, but it is too late.

47.Qd8+ Rc8 48.Qxb6 Rg8 49.Rg6 Rxg6 50.Qxg6 h4 51.e8=Q Black resigned

Saturday, February 6, 2016


I have seen computers grind people down, and punish them for tactical oversights. I was a bit disturbed by the King hunt in the following game, too.

It's important to remember: it's not Bill so much as it's the Jerome Gambit, responsible for the loss.

Wall, Bill - Andscacs engine
Palm Bay, FL, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 d6 

The computers' favorite, the "annoying" or "silicon" defense.

8.fxe5 dxe5 9.Qh3+ Kf7 10.Rf1+ 

This is a change from 10.Qh5+ as seen in Wall,B - Bison engine, Palm Bay, FL 2015 (1/2-1/2, 67) but it may not be an improvement. The Andscacs engine declines to transpose into that game, and for White there may be an advantage in using the earlier Queen check (at h5), provoking ...g6, before Black's King can retreat to g8, as it does in this game.

10...Nf6 11.Qh5+ Kg8 12.Qxe5 Bd6 13.Qg5 h6 14.Qh4 Qe7

White's King, not Black's, is at risk. Ominous.

15.d4 Nxe4 16.Qxe7 Bxe7 17.Bf4 Bh4+ 18.Ke2 Bg4+ 19.Kd3 Bf5 20.Kc4 b5+ 21.Kxb5 Rb8+ 22.Ka5 Rxb2 23.Bxc7 g6

24.g3 Be7 25.c3 Rh7 26.g4 Bd7 27.Rc1 Bd6 28.Bd8 Nc5 29.dxc5 Bxc5 30.Ka6 Bb6 31.Bxb6 Bc8+ 32.Ka5 axb6+ 33.Ka4 Ra7 checkmate 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Can A Computer *Blink*?

Image result for free clip art bison

In the following game the computer was meandering its way toward victory, when suddenly it made an odd move, losing half a point. Machines don't blink, do they?

Wall, Bill - Bison engine
Palm Bay, FL, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 d6

The "silicon" (i.e. popular with computers) or "annoying" defense.

8.fxe5 dxe5 9.Qh3+ Kf7

For Bill's experience with 9...Ke7 (which Stockfish 7, at 30 ply, sees as equivalent) see Wall,B - Redom,T,, 2010 (1/2-1/2, 59), Wall,B - Qi,H,, 2011 (1-0, 14), Wall,B  - ubluk,, 2012 (1-0, 35) and Wall, B - Guest3551214, 2013 (0-1, 35.)

10.Qh5+ g6

About 1/2 pawn better than 10...Kf8 (in Stockfish 7's evaluation) as in Wall,B - Guest1839713,, 2013, (1-0, 25). 


11...Bd4 12.Rf1+ Nf6 13.Qf4 Rf8 

13...Re8 was seen in Wall,B - Guest3789034,, 2013(0-1,35) 

14.c3 Bb6 15.d4 Qe7 16.Qh4 Kg8

Black has castled-by-hand, leaving White with the insecure King. Although Bison has a piece for two pawns, Stockfish 7 sees it as only about 2/3 of a pawn ahead. Bill Wall is creeping up on the computer!

17.Bh6 Rf7 18.Nd2 Qe6 19.Rf4 Bd7 20.Nf3 

Or 20...0-0-0!?.

20...Nh5 21.Rxf7 Qxf7 22.Ne5 Qe6 23.Nxd7 Qxd7 24.O-O-O Qf7


Bill tests the computer's willingness to pawn-grab, a traditional silicon weakness: 25...Qxa2?! 26.d5!? Re8 27.Qg4!? which looks unclear. The computer declines.

25...c6 26.g4 Ng7 27.b3 Rf8 28.Kb2 Bd8 29.Qh3 Be7 30.Qg2 g5 

Black's pieces are finally cooperating, and his advantage is clear.

31.Rd2 a5 32.a4 Qe6 33.Bxg7 Kxg7 34.h3 Rf4

White is battening down the hatches.

35. Rd3 Qf7 36.Qc2 h6 37.Rd2 Rf3 38.Rd3 Rxd3 39.Qxd3 Qf2+ 40.Kc1 Ba3+ 41.Kd1 Qg1+ 42.Ke2 Qh2+ 43.Kf1 Be7

It is not clear what, if anything, Black has gained with its checks, but it probably has not lost anything, either.

44.Qe3 Qb2 45.c4 b6 46.Kg1 Qa2 47.Kh1 Qc2 48.Kg1 Bd8

Bill refuses to crack under pressure. Can the computer find anything to make progress?

49.e6 Qd1+ 50.Kf2 Be7 51.Qe5+ Bf6

This is not Black's best defense - in fact, it leads to an equal game - and it is not clear what the computer missed.

52.Qc7+ Kh8 53.Qc8+ Kh7 54.Qd7+ Bg7 55.c5

White riskily tries for more than the draw by repetition, which he could have forced the computer to find after 55.Kg2, especially after the dangerous 55...Qxb3 56.e7.


An accurate evaluation of the winning response 55...bxc5!? 56.dxc5 Qxd7 57.exd7 Bf6 was probably over both the computer's and the human's horizon.

Now the combatants cooperate to split the point. 

56.Ke2 Qe4+ 57.Kd2 Qg2+ 58.Ke1 Qg3+ 59.Ke2 Qe5+ 60.Kd1 Qa1+ 61.Ke2 Qb2+ 62.Kf1 Qxb3 63.e7 Qxh3+ 64.Kf2 Qh2+ 65.Kf3 Qf4+ 66.Kg2 Qe4+ 67.Kf1 drawn


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Lacking Any Insight

I have been sharing games (starting with "Irrational") where Bill Wall has given various chess-playing computer programs "Jerome Gambit odds" - and won.

There were some losses, however.

Curiously, while I have been wordy and full of "insight" in presenting Bill's wins, I am at a loss for many words concerning the following game. As the "Talking Fritz" program might have said, "Q.E.D."

Wall, Bill - Alfil engine
Palm Bay, FL, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 d6

The computer favorite.

8.fxe5 dxe5 9.Qe2 Ke7

Alfil's move is a small improvement over 9...Nf6 which was played 10 years ago in two human vs computer games, Shredder 8 - RevvedUp, blitz 2 12, 2006 (1-0, 25) and RevvedUp - Yace Paderborn, blitz, 2 12, 2006 (0-1, 14), 

10.Nc3 Nf6 11.d3 Bg4 12.Qd2 Qd4

13.Nb5 Qd7 14.b4 Bb6 15.a4 Rhf8 16.Nc3 Rad8 17.h3 Be6 18.Ba3 Qd4

19.O-O-O Nxe4 20.dxe4 Qxd2+ 21.Rxd2 Be3 White resigned

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A) Good B) Bad C) Ugly D) None of the Above


IM John Watson and NM Eric Schiller's new Taming Wild Chess Openings Good, Bad, and Ugly (New In Chess, 2015) is a revised and expanded print version of their 2014 same-titled EPlus ebook; which, in turn was an updated version of their Big Book of Busts (Hypermodern Press,1995).

Alas, call the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bx5 4.Bxf7+) "good", "bad" or "ugly" - it does not appear "wild" enough or in need of "taming" as it does not appear in Taming Wild Chess Openings.

One can certainly make the case that the Jerome Gambit is "annoying," however, so it is not suprising to find it in the authors' earlier Survive and Beat Annoying Chess Openings The Open Games (Cardoza, 2003),

As the Jerome can be thought of as both "unorthodox" and a gambit, it is understandably found in Schiller's Unorthodox Chess Openings (Cardoza, 1998, 2002) and his Gambit Chess Openings (Cardoza, 2002).

Friday, January 29, 2016


Is the pawn that White gets in return for his piece in the "annoying defense" variation of the Jerome Gambit enough for equality? "Objective" modern theory would say no, but you could not tell that from the following game by Bill Wall.

Wall,B - Alaric engine
Palm Bay, FL, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 d6

The "annoying" or "silicon" defense. It limits White's attack, but it also limits Black's counterplay.

8.fxe5 dxe5 9.Nc3

For variety. The only game in The Database with this move was played by Bill's brother.


Or 9...g6 as in Wall,S - Guest648596,, 2013 (1-0,57). 

10.Qe2 Ke7 11.Na4 Qd4 12.Nxc5 Qxc5 13.d3 Bg4 14.Be3 Qb4+ 15.Qd2 Qxd2+ 16.Kxd2 Rhd8

The "Theory of Infinite Resistance" suggests that if White makes no further concessions, he can hold on.

17.h3 Be6 18.Bc5+ Kd7 19.Ke3 Nh5 20.Rhf1 Nf4 21.Rf2 g5 22.Bb4 Rg8 23.Bc3 Kd6

A plan for Black to convert his advantage appears to be byond the computer's horizon. On the other hand, White has plans for his "Jerome pawn".

24.b4 a6 25.a4 Rg6 26.Bb2 Rag8 27.c4 Bd7 28.d4 exd4+ 29.Bxd4 a5 30.b5 c5 31.Bc3 Ke7 32.Bxa5 b6 33.Bc3 Rd6 34.Rd2 Rxd2 35.Kxd2 Rd8 36.Kc1 Nxg2

The exchange of pawns on opposite wings has given White an opportunity. It appears that the Manhattan Chess Club epigram, mentioned by Irving Chernev in Capablanca's Best Chess Endings - "Black passed pawns travel faster than White" - will not rule the day in this game.

37.a5 bxa5 38.Rxa5 Bxh3 39.Ra7+ Bd7 40.Be5 Rf8 41.b6 Nf4 42.Kd2 Ke6 43.Bc7 Bc6 44.b7 Bxb7 45.Rxb7 h5

Black's passers look dangerous, but Bill has things under control, especially since he has recovered his sacrificed piece.

46.Rb6+ Kd7 47.Bd6 Re8 48.Ke3 Ne6 49.Bh2 h4 50.Rb7+ Kc6 51.Rh7 Kb6 52.Bd6 Ka5 53.Kd3 Kb4 54.Rb7+ Ka4 55.Ra7+ Kb3 56.Rb7+ Ka2 57.Be5 Rd8+ 58.Kc2 

The Black King's travels have resulted in nothing.

58...Ra8 59.Bc3 Nd4+ 60.Bxd4 cxd4 61.Rg7 Ra3 62.Rxg5 h3 63.Rh5 Rc3+ 64.Kd2 Re3 drawn

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Balancing Out


The second round of the Italian Game Tournament has concluded. After racing to the top of my group, I had to wait while one player, then another, also finished their games and overtook me. I was able to take third place on a tie-break (thanks, in part, to "My Bodygurard!?"), even though my record against the fourth place finisher was only a draw and a loss; and I will advance to the next round. (Will I finally play a Jerome Gambit there??)

This seems likely to balance out what will happen in the Giuoco Piano Tournament, where the last game is almost over (there is a mate in one), and the expected winner will vault into a tie for first place in the group with me. I have a win and a draw against him, but his tie-break points will be better than mine; and only one of us will advance to the next round.