Thursday, July 19, 2007

Checkers has been solved

From Tic Tac Toe, to Connect 4, onto Checkers, Chess then Go. Checkers has fallen. 24 Piece Tablebases have been created, and wired into an unbeatable game.

And currently we are of the belief that chess, while not solved, on standard laptop computers are of a strength that may be beyond any human play over the board. It may well never be solved because of storage problems. But it sure doesn't seem like a lot of moves from the multi-gigabyte opening books that are available, and the 6 piece tablebases at the end. It is alot, but it doesn't seem alot.

Chess, fortunately, has plenty of room for us to play through, including us class players that weren't going to add much to the theory of the game. But it does make you wonder if Skynet is going to become self-aware anytime now.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Hippocratic Oath

First, do no harm.

Tactics training has been taking a time off. While the tactics training and thinking had been working, it was clear that there was a blockage happening for him and me, and sometimes it seems the only way to let the blockage clear is to let your brain rest for a bit.

He has just taken his first chess camp of the summer. His instructor was GM Emil Anka.

It is actually very rare for GM class instructors to actually be the teacher for this class in this area. There are some camps that claim to have a GM. But they are mostly there in name only, and the majority of instruction is done by others.

A very interesting experience I think for him, and it also put him mentally, into a group of players that he had not thought he was apart of before, but now he does. He still has rating excuse. ("I lost because his rating is x"). And he didn't keep score all week (as far as I know).

But now we are back on, and PCT says, hi, you haven't been here awhile, would you like to review. Sure we say. Ok... Your review module is 750(!!) problems long. Well that put him into a funk, but we should be caught up by the end of the week.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

What is it with Chess UI??

In what I think was a relatively little noticed match, where the fans put up the money if a GM could beat their favorite engine, Rybka, even with it's arms tied behind its back (the program could only have an opening book 3 moves deep, was always black, had no table bases and only had 1/2 as much time to play as the GM).

Granted the GM was sub-2700, and in the bottom half of the top 10 in the US.  Gm Ehlvast in this six game match lost 3.5 to .5 in 4 games. 

But what really cheesed me, is that the crazed chess programmers make all of this fancy chess engines that can be the crap out of you know, anyone.  And LOOK at the UI we had to watch the match in.   My favorite part is when you go into a room and you get the sound of a dice cup shaking and a dice roll.   I had thought the freaking wizard in PCT was the pits, but COME ON.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Position Tactics -- Position 8

One of the common tactics happens when the C pawn is put in play. This obviously happens in the Sicilian Defense, but also happens in the Queen's Gambit, The English, Reti Systems, The Caro-Kann, and The Slav. And I am sure a bunch more.

The Key to the tactic is to remember that your Queen starts on the same color as your opponents King. And that when the Queen moves diagonally to either the H-file, or in this case to the A-file it either places the opponent's king in check, or creates an absolute pin. And remember, that check is often a fork with everything that is on the same rank!

This is the cornerstone to many known opening traps, and even fundamental to some openings like the Benoni.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Problem from the World Open

This was a position from what has been reported to be what I think is the first round of the world open. Black to move.

This is a high class tactical shot, that led to a direct checkmate of his unwitting opponent! A beautiful, beautiful play.

From the Chess Drum Blog...

After Bonin’s 1.Rc1-c4, Paragua took a few moments and then started a seven move mating sequence starting with 1…Bh2+!! On 2.Qxh2, the young Filipino Grandmaster played the following moves instantly 2…Qb1+ 3.Kf2 Ne4+! 4.Kxf3 Qf1+ 5.Kg4 h5+ 6.Kxh5 Qf3+ 7.Bg4 Qf7#

How do you do your training?

Well, the folks at blogger have given us this great new feature... Polls.

As you can see over there on the sidebar, is the question, how do you do your tactics training?

Vote early, vote often. And if you maintain absolute loyalty, maybe we will find a way to commute your sentence.

Monday, July 2, 2007

April Fools Day!

In honor of this very important day... This tom-foolery...

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Position Tactics -- Position 7

At this point we are moving to 1.d4 openings and the positions that are generally available.

If I have missed any positions that should have been included earlier, please comment so that I know and correct it.

One of the truths about Queen's pawn openings is that they are quieter, more positional, less tactical. As you can see from the diagram, and that should be obvious, is that there is only a single piece that is released from its back rank by playing 1.d4. And that piece doesn't directly attack the King, either before or after castling.

That is the Queen's bishop. The dark squared bishop. As you can see, it really only has a single tactical plan. That is to place a relative pin against the black queen.

As this is the only real thing that is available here it actually turns out to be very common. Against the million game database, I tried the pin against the knight, with queens and kings in their beginning positions and that were D00-D99 ECO codes. This position came up 45 thousand times out of about 180 thousand times.

Current theory says most of the time it is considered a general waste of time to prevent the pin with an early h6. You must still deal with the pin, but it is considered better to do so with tempo, and that in Queen's Pawn's openings that it you will be standing better if your opponent freely gives up the bishop pair.