27 June 2009

Find the Best Move

Assess White's chances.

White to move

For those who wish to cheat, the position stems from Leko - Kramnik, Wijk aan Zee, 2008 and was published as Informant 102/219.

Other News

I'm playing in the Spokane City Championship Contenders Tournament today and tomorrow. The winner gets to play a match against FM David Sprenkle, the current City Champion. Last year, I won the contenders tournament and scored 1/2-2 1/2 against Sprenkle.

This year I am the third seed of six. Today, I have White against Adam Attwood, then Black against Ryan Ackerman, then White against top seed John Julian.

14 June 2009

Whither the Truth

The content of a game should be a search for truth, and victory a demonstration of its rightness.
Vasily Smyslov
Back in 1997 in a simul put on by the then strongest local player, a high school student named Nate Fewel, I forced the exchange of rooks to go into a king and pawn endgame. I won this ending against Nate that day, and against Fritz 9 this morning.

Black to move

Against Nate, the game continued 34...Rd2+ 35.Rxd2 cxd2 36.Ke2 Kf8 37.Kxd2 Ke7 38.Kc3 Kd6 39.b4 g5 40.fxg5 hxg5

White to move

Here, Nate played 41.bxa5, and his king became immobile defending against the onslaught of my pawns rolling down the center; my king was free to mop up the queenside.

Fritz 9 played differently: After 34...Rd2+ 35.Rxd2 cxd2 36.Ke2 Kf8, Fritz played 37.b4. After 37...Ke7, we reached this position.

White to move

Fritz played 38.bxa5 and had the same problems as Nate.

After beating Fritz, I tried the position anew, this time against Hiarcs 12, which played 38.b5!.

The engine continued to evaluate the position as winning for Black, but I could not find the way to promote a pawn soon enough to prevent White's equalizing promotion of the b-pawn. I tried using the suggest a move feature with the same results. Black seems to have a clear advantage, but good moves by both sides appear to lead to a drawn queen and pawns versus queen and pawns endgame.

In 1997, postgame analysis with Chessmaster 3000 confirmed that 34...Rd2+ is a winning move. Play against Fritz 9 seems to confirm this judgement; but, a stronger engine introduced doubts. What is the truth?

10 June 2009


First of all, you have to have a good memory because there are a lot of variations you have to remember. Second, you have to have a lot of imagination; you have to be able to see a lot of variations in advance, maybe ten moves, twenty moves in advance sometimes.
Bobby Fischer, CBC Retrobites (1963)
This position did not occur over the board in Moiseenko - Ivanov, Moscow 2008. It did, however, appear in the variations in the annotations in Chess Informant 102 after 12...f6 (12...Qf8 was played in the game).

White to move

What is the critical line that justifies Ivanov's rejection of 12...f6?