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).