Sunday, June 3, 2007


Well, having discovered the fact that chess books probably make a whole lot more sense if you have a chess set handy, I took a look at the index of Euwe's book and decided to take a look at the Blackmar gambit. Of course by the time that I get there I find it is a classic screed against the Scandinavian.

Oh well, I will give it a shot. What I do is that I put Fritz into infinite analysis and start entering the moves. The advantage of this, is that I can read them in Algebraic notation, which is easier to read. I can then step through the game, and I take a gander at what looks important. Guess at what moves I think are important, "human-like", and in this case what seems amateurish.

The fun thing is, that even though I am not a grandmaster, I have one at my side, that I can control, and with a few mouse clicks here, and there, I can get a pretty darn good picture of the game. It is like playing the game with a grandmaster. I have to pay attention to not let Fritz have the final say. Sometimes it's like, "Yeah, if I am a computer" But, sometimes, you find a bust, like this game. Below you will find the PGN.

This game goes into a long, long complaint about tempo, and uses the Scandinavian to demonstrate the problems with tempo. The Amateur plays the opening pretty poorly, but he is an amateur, he is supposed to. Modern theory has black much better. But this is not why the game is a bust. After all the rigmarole about timing and pawn structure and stuff. The Master commits a pretty severe strategic error on Move 29. This move allows the Amateur to recover from all the errors of his way and get to what looks like a near drawn position if not better. By forcing a simplification of the game with Rd5. This trades the rooks off, dramatically repairs the pawn structure, and gives black the bishop v. knight in an open board. Surely, this is where black wants to be.

The Master then commits two(!) one-pawn blunders by not pressing his advantage in the game. These would be perfectly acceptable errors by the Amateur, but the Master should have just been trying to bring the game home, instead of leaving a draw on the table.

But even worse. The worst bust of them all. Euwe marks move 33 for black with a (?) claiming that the mating net is inevitable. In a shootout, the computer drew twice, and black won once from that said position. Fritz and Rybka consider it the best move available. Unfortunately Euwe doesn't discuss the quality's of the mating net, or blacks difficulties or else he would have seen that black has just enough time to get out of them, unless he doesn't see it and plays poorly. But Euwe remarks that it would be inevitable, but it is not at that point.

Ultimately, he was wrong about the conclusions that he was trying to raise about this game, and he was wrong about how it ended, and worse the Master made a really bad blunder in the middle. The Amateur eventually made a game ending mistake, but it had nothing to do with the "lessons" that the author was trying to make.

However, this is very good practice, and it is a great way to go through a game. Computers are amazing, and they help dramatically in the process of understanding what is going on in the book. You have to fill in the reasons, and try things out, and find what works and doesn't. But having a grandmaster always present can help you learn. Try it!

[Event "Chess Amateur V Chess Master"]
[Site "Euwes book"]
[Date "2007.06.03"]
[Round "15"]
[White "Master"]
[Black "Amateur"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B01"]
[Annotator "Hisbestfriend"]
[PlyCount "79"]

1. e4 d5
{e5 tends towards the french, d4 tends towards the Blackmar Gambit}
2. exd5 Qxd5
3. Nc3 Qa5
{This is the standard way back when in Euwe's day. Qd6 is more
successful in the database, and I think is the more played line, and tends to
make more sense.}
4. d4 e5
{This is a rarely played move in this opening. But this is about black not knowing what to do. pxp followed by qxp is the short term plan for black.}
5. dxe5 Qxe5+
6. Be2 Bb4
7. Bd2 Nf6
8. Nf3 Qe7
9. O-O O-O
10. Re1 Nc6
11. a3 Bd6
12. Bg5 Qd8
13. Bb5 Be7
14. Bxc6 bxc6
15. Ne5 Bb7
16. Nd7 Re8
17. Bxf6 Bxf6
18. Rxe8+ Qxe8
19. Nxf6+ gxf6
20. Qd4 Qe5
21. Rd1 Re8
22. Qxe5 Rxe5
23. h3 Re7
24. Na4 Ba6
25. b3 Be2
26. Rd2 Kg7
27. f3 Bb5
28. Nc5 Re5
29. Nd7
{The master has made a mistake here. The amateur has a reasonable way to dramatically improve his position. Rd5 requires a simplification, that improves black's pawn structure and gives him a bishop vs a knight in an open position, and probably all of his problems melt away. Nd3 was a much better move.}

29. ... Re1+ ?!
{Rd5 is much much stronger here. And not hard to find. This foray is mostly senseless and is going to move the rook out of play, giving white free reign in an position that already has bad features.}
30. Kf2 Rf1+
31. Kg3 Ba6
{Black is just wondering about without a plan at this point.}
32. Nc5 Bc8
33. Kf4 !?
{Euwe thinks this is important, because it removes basically all of the bishops squares. Fritz thinks this is too slow by an order of about 100 centipawns. A blunder.}
33. ... Re1
{Euwes says this prevents Rd2-e8, but that is precisely what Rybak/Fritz say to do anyways.}
34. Ne4 !?
{Again Fritz and Rybka thinks this is a blunder, and Euwe thinks this is good.}
(34. Rd8 Be6 35. Nxe6+ Rxe6)
34. ... Be6
35. Ng3
{Fritz and Rybka thinks that the next move is best. Euwe, gives it a question mark and says it is amateurish. This was at a depth of 16 and 18.}
35. ... Ra1

{Running this position through a shootout resulted in a tie twice and black winning once. Hardly a ?}

36. Nh5+ Kg6
37. g4
{And again, we come face to face with an amateur that refuses to improve his
pawn structure. At least here he gets a pawn. But he is missing the thread.}
37. ... Rxa3??
{This is the mistake. Not the stuff before hand, but this. Black has just enough time to give himself escape squares here and will draw the game even at this point, with reasonable play, he may lose the endgame, but not for any of the reasons that Euwe was kevetching about up to this point in the game, it is a pretty mate though from here}

(37...f5 38. gxf5+ Bxf5 39. Rg2+ Kxh5 40. Kxf5 Rxa3)

38. Rd8 Ra2
39. Rg8+ Kh6
40. Nxf6 1-0

1 comment:

chessloser said...

great post. i really need to get into the fritz thing and figure out how to use it...