25 February 2023

Chess.com Reviews a Chess960 Opening

In last week's post, Chess.com Pinpoints a Tactical Error (February 2023; see the post for a copy of the game's PGN), I used 'Chess.com's Game Review Tools' to find out where I had made the first mistake in losing a chess960 game. This week I'll use the same tools to extract comments on the opening moves.

The following diagram shows the start of the same game featured in the 'Tactical Error' post. There's more I can say about the look and feel of the 'Analysis' tool itself, but I'll save that for a series I'm doing on my main blog. The most recent post in that series was Chess.com's Game Review Tools PGN (February 2023).

Shown on the left is the start position for the game, 'SP350 NRKQRBBN'. On the right is a summary of the overall quality of the players' moves ('Brilliant', 'Great Move', ..., 'Blunder'). For example, the tool considers that both players made one 'Great Move'.

AV vs. bemweeks | Analysis (chess.com)

The following table shows the tool's comments on the first 12 moves of the game (24 ply deep). I stopped the analysis when I reached the move where I committed the 'Tactical Error'.

Move Short
1.e4 is excellent This prepares the bishop for development. This threatens to reveal an attack on a pawn. +0.13
1...e5 is good This prepares your bishop for development. +0.30
2.f4 is excellent This exposes an attack, threatening a pawn. +0.27
2...Nb6 is excellent Your piece jumps in to protect a pawn! +0.41
3.fxe5 is best Right on target. +0.41
3...f6 is an inaccuracy You are threatening to attack a trapped rook. +1.09
4.Nb3 is a mistake This loses a pawn. +0.05
4...fxe5 is best That wins a free pawn! +0.05
5.Ng3 is excellent One of the best moves. -0.02
5...Qf6 is best You activate your queen by moving it off of its starting square. -0.02
6.Be3 is good This moves the bishop to a better location, allowing it to control more squares. -0.30
6...O-O-O is good Your rooks can see each other now, allowing them to provide mutual defense. +0.02
7.d3 is best That's what I would have recommended. +0.02
7...d5 is best You are threatening to kick a bishop. +0.02
8.Qd2 is an inaccuracy This ignores a better way to develop a queen off its starting square. -0.47
8...Qc6 is good You are threatening to kick a bishop. -0.10
9.Bg5 is good This wins a tempo by threatening a rook and forcing it to move away. -0.38
9...Be7 is a mistake You are threatening to win material. +0.56
10.Bxe7 is best After all captures, this is an equal trade. +0.56
10...Rxe7 is best You trade off equal material. +0.56
11.Nf5 is good This attacks a rook, winning a tempo when it moves away. This threatens to fork pieces. +0.27
11...Red7 is good You have now doubled your rooks, allowing them to team up to create threats. +0.62
12.exd5 is best This exposes an attack, threatening a pawn. +0.62
12...Qxd5 is a mistake You overlooked a better way to recapture a piece. +1.63

There's much more I could say about the comments, but it would not be useful at this point. Here are a few comments that jumped off the screen at me.

  • 8...Qc6; 'You are threatening to kick a Bishop.' • The move defends against a nasty x-ray threat.

  • 9.Bg5; 'This wins a tempo by threatening a Rook and forcing it to move away.' • The move doesn't win a tempo, but it might lose a tempo by forcing the Rook to a better square.

  • 9...Be7; 'Is a mistake. You are threatening to win material.' • It's a mistake to win material? Something does not compute here.

And so on. The long comments are generally lame and show little understanding of chess960 opening objectives. What happened in the fight for the center?

The most valuable part of the exercise is to see the change in evaluation from one move to the next. It reaffirms the severity of my mistake on the 12th move.

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