17 March 2012

The Best Chess960 Weapon

A few years ago, when I first started playing chess960, I studied the openings of the best chess960 players I could locate in order to learn some tricks of the trade. One of the players I studied was a fellow nicknamed doodledandy, who won the first two chess960 championships on SchemingMind.com. I featured one of his games in an early post on my main blog, Pyramids and Dropouts.

In the nearly three intervening years since that post, I've played many of the same players who lost to doodledandy way back when. They are good players in their own right and I've come to gain even more respect for doodledandy's play. The position shown in the following diagram is a good example.

The player of the White pieces was the same opponent who beat me handily in a game I posted under the title Castling Misjudged. The start position was SP025 NQNBBRKR and the first few moves were 1.c4 c5 2.Nab3 b5 3.cxb5 Qxb5 4.Qf5, bringing us to the diagram. White's last move attacked the c-Pawn, which is not easily defended. The d-Pawn is pinned, while after 4...Bb6, White has 5.d4. How would you continue?

After 4.Qb1-f5

Black played the surprising Pawn sacrifice 4...e5 (!). Now after 5.Qxe5, the d-Pawn is no longer pinned, allowing 5...d6, which not only protects the c-Pawn, but also attacks the Queen and develops the light squared Bishop. The game continued 6.Qc3 Nab6 7.e3 Bf6 8.Qc2 c4 9.Nd4 Bxd4 10.exd4 Bc6 11.f3 Re8 12.Bf2 O-O, where Black is developing, attacking, or both, on every move. After the last move, 12...O-O, Black is far ahead in development while White's extra Pawn looks worthless. To see how Black converted his advantage, follow the game score, courtesy Scheming Mind.

[Event "Chess960: 2006 Chess960 Dropout Tournament, Round 5"]
[Site "SchemingMind.com"]
[Date "2007.05.08"]
[Round "-"]
[White "Tyler"]
[Black "doodledandy"]
[Result "0-1"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "nqnbbrkr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/NQNBBRKR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1.c4 c5 2.Nab3 b5 3.cxb5 Qxb5 4.Qf5 e5 5.Qxe5 d6 6.Qc3 Nab6 7.e3 Bf6 8.Qc2 c4 9.Nd4 Bxd4 10.exd4 Bc6 11.f3 Re8 12.Bf2 O-O 13.d3 cxd3 14.Nxd3 Bb7 15.Be2 Ba6 16.Rd1 Nd5 17.Bf1 Qb7 18.Qd2 Re6 19.h4 h5 20.Rb1 Ncb6 21.b3 Rfe8 22.Rd1 Ne3 23.Bxe3 Rxe3 24.Kf2 Nd5 25.Qa5 R8e6 26.Rd2 g6 27.Nc1 Bxf1 28.Rxf1 Nf4 29.Rc2 Qe7 30.Qg5 Rf6 31.Kg1 Kg7 32.Kh2 Qe8 33.a3 Rf5 34.Qg3 Nd5 35.Kg1 Rf4 36.Rc4 a5 37.a4 Qe6 38.b4 axb4 39.Rxb4 Rg4 40.Qf2 Rxg2+ 41.Kxg2 Nxb4 42.Kg1 Rc3 43.d5 Qxd5 44.Ne2 Rc4 45.Rc1 Nd3 46.Rd1 Qb7 47.Qe3 Ne5 48.Nd4 Qb2 49.Kh1 Rxa4 50.Qd2 Ra2 51.Qxb2 Rxb2 52.Kg1 Kf6 53.f4 Ng4 54.Ra1 Ne3 55.Ra6 Rg2+ 56.Kh1 Rg4 57.Rxd6+ Ke7 58.Rb6 Rxh4+ 59.Kg1 Rxf4 60.Nc6+ Kd6 61.Ra6 Rf1+ 62.Kh2 g5 63.Nd8+ Kd5 0-1

It's obvious that doodledandy had excellent positional judgement. This must have been his best weapon on the way to winning two consecutive tournaments.

1 comment:

HarryO said...

Wow a reasoned pawn sacrifice for position it's really enjoyable when we find one thanks Mark.

Ok here is the thing. Both Critter and Rybka4 find this pawn sac almost instantly with Critter more certain that it is good (it's evaluation is more clear). So I'm not sure that your opponent is playing by head (they well might be). I only checked because I was curious to see what an engine would play.

It is obvious that you are playing by head because your moves are very different from the machine a lot of the time and it's great to see unassisted ideas as well.

Whatever, it's enjoyable that's the main thing and it's great to see some interesting moves.

Enjoy 960