15 August 2010

Gambling Moves

After looking at a game by Chess.com's highest rated chess960 player (see Mystery Moves), I turned my attention to the second highest: alfloran, currently rated 2233. His 'Best Win' was as Black against an opponent rated 2179: Steinar vs alfloran (SP717 RKQBNNBR). After the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 the players reached the following position.

I'm not sure what I would play here, but I doubt that I would think of playing Black's move, 4...c5, leaving a backward Pawn on the d-file. On top of attacking the Knight, this interesting move prepares to bring the Queen out on the c-file and opens a more promising diagonal for the Bishop on e8.

The Knight on d4 has a number of retreat squares, but White chose 5.Ne2. The point appears to be that after 5...Qc6, the Knight defends the e-Pawn by 6.Nc3. After the further attack on the Pawn by 6...Nd6, White switched to an indirect defense with 7.h3, taking advantage of the open diagonal to Black's King. Black achieved a satisfactory game in the ensuing complications, when White decided to sacrifice the e-Pawn for an attack. The attack eventually fizzled, leaving White a piece down. For the complete game, see the PGN from Chess.com.

[Event "Let's Play!"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2010.01.03"]
[White "Steinar"]
[Black "alfloran"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2179"]
[BlackElo "2221"]
[TimeControl "1 in 7 days"]
[Termination "alfloran won by resignation"]
[Variant "Chess 960"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "rkqbnnbr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RKQBNNBR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 c5 5.Ne2 Qc6 6.Nc3 Nd6 7.h3 Ng6 8.Bh2 Ba5 9.Nb5 Qxb5 10.Bxd6+ Bc7 11.Qd2 Qc6 12.Bxc7+ Kxc7 13.Ne3 Qxe4 14.Bf3 Qb4 15.c3 Qb6 16.O-O Rc8 17.b4 Ne5 18.Nd5+ Bxd5 19.Bxd5 Kb8 20.bxc5 Rxc5 21.Rfb1 Qd6 22.Rxb7+ Kc8 23.Qd4 Qxd5 24.Rxa7 Nc6 25.Ra8+ Nb8 0-1

How many players would think of a gambling move like 4...c5?

1 comment:

HarryO said...

Yes it is a really interesting idea and this is a great example of not sticking to old habits from standard chess. Rybka3960 finds the move almost instantly.

The beautiful features that really stand out for me are:

1) White's dark bishop cannot get access to the king despite the dark diagonal opening up.

2) If white develops his dark bishop with f3, he blocks his light bishop developing and black can strengthen c5 with b6 totally disabling both white's bishops.

3) If white develops his dark bishop with h3, he finds that black has a perfect system to defend against the bishop operating on the h2-b8 diagonal.

That system is:
...Ba5/Ng6/Ne5 followed by ...Bxd5/Nec4/Qb6 and black not only has big king attack happening but can trick everyone by castling to the other side if needed! By exchanging with Bg8xd5, black manages to totally block the long light diagonal leaving both white's bishops either blocked or without a target. So for me the idea is really about how white's bishop become so ineffective so quickly.

The big smile for me is that I think black's idea of c5 is a very nice response to white's very first move e4. The bizarre bit is that by move five we have pawns deployed to e4 and c5 like the Sicilian defense in position 518 where c5 is also a nice reply to e4!!?