17 January 2010

Strange Moves, Strange Game

Behind every move there should be an idea, behind every good move there's a good idea, and behind every great move there's a great idea. Sometimes no matter how much I look at a game between other players, I don't understand the idea behind certain moves and can't judge whether they are bad, good, or maybe even great moves.

In my previous post -- Tartakower and Chess960 -- I used a game between a co-winner and an also-ran of the SchemingMind 2008 Chess960 Dropout Tournament (see that post for explanation and links). In this post I'll use a game between two of the strongest players in the event. In the last round both players were on the brink of elimination, making the game a better-to-win, but can't-lose for both. The game started 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3, and Black played a move that I simply don't understand, 2...Qg5, arriving at the diagrammed position.


The game continued 3.h4 Qh6 4.Nb3 Nc6 5.f3 Be7. Note that Black's last move threatened the lightly protected Pawn on h4. White could have played 6.Bf2 or 6.g3, but tried instead the surprising 6.Qe2. After Black took the loose Pawn with 6...Bxh4+, White played the equally surprising 7.Kd1, forfeiting the right to castle.

Now the game entered a long phase where White attacked on the Queenside (to use the familiar terminology of traditional chess), while Black worked to unscramble the misplaced pieces on the Kingside. The full PGN game score, courtesy SchemingMind.com, is below.

[Event "2008 Chess960 Dropout Tournament"]
[Site "SchemingMind.com"]
[Date "2009.07.24"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Apocalypse"]
[Black "pjl1015"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Variant "fischerandom"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "nnrqkbbr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/NNRQKBBR w KQkq - 0 1"]
[WhiteCountry "USA"]
[BlackCountry "USA"]
[WhiteElo "2593"]
[BlackElo "2461"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Qg5 3.h4 Qh6 4.Nb3 Nc6 5.f3 Be7 6.Qe2 Bxh4+ 7.Kd1 Qg5 8.Nc5 Rb8 9.Nd5 Bg3 10.Be3 Qg6 11.Qb5 b6 12.Nxd7 Kxd7 13.Qa4 Kd8 14.Bb5 Na5 15.b4 a6 16.Bxa6 Nc6 17.c4 Bf4 18.Bxf4 exf4 19.Nxf4 Qg5 20.Ne2 Nxb4 21.Qxb4 c5 22.Qa4 Nc7 23.Rc3 Ke7 24.Rd3 Kf8 25.Bb7 Rd8 26.Rd7 Rxd7 27.Qxd7 Qe7 28.Qc8+ Ne8 29.Bc6 f6 30.Nf4 Bf7 31.Nd5 Qe5 32. Ke2 g6 33.Bxe8 1-0

Chess960 games become very strange sometimes.