31 January 2010

Floating Square

According to Mark Dvoretsky, A. Studenecki suggested the floating-square rule in 1939.
If a square whose two corners are occupied by pawns (on the same rank) reaches the edge of the board, then one of those pawns must queen.
Mark Dvoretsky, Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual (2003)
Playing around with the diagrams given in Dvoretsky's text, I created this little problem.

White to move

If it is Black's move, the evaluation may differ.

28 January 2010

Partial Credit

I spent ten minutes looking at this position from Geller - Pribyl, Sochi 1984. It is problem 184 in Imagination in Chess (2004) by Paata Gaprindashvili. This book sometimes intimidates me because I rarely solve a problem with full success. Last Wednesday at lunch I looked at eight problems without setting them up on a chess board. I found the key move in two of the eight. Today, I set out to do better and brought a chess set into the cafe.

In seconds I realized that 1.Rd8 was the idea, but it took very little time to see Black's defense, 1...Kf8. As Gaprindashvili suggests, I found the idea, calculated, found a problem with the idea, then sought to correct the idea.

1.Be7 suggested itself. After several minutes of calculation, I decided I had the solution correct and checked the answer in the back.

I was wrong. In fact, I did not even look at the correct move, although its target was something I considered via another route. During the drive home, I began to comprehend the superiority of the correct move and became satisfied that the book's answer was correct. It is a far more direct route to the central objective preparing Rd8.

When I fed the position into Hiarcs 12, it liked my move for a few seconds. Then, my choice was its second choice for a bit longer. After several minutes of analysis, my choice dropped to third behind 1.Rd8 and the correct answer.

For finding the initial idea, finding the defense, and working to correct the idea with viable moves, it seems that I deserve partial credit.

17 January 2010

Database Use: Rules Confusion

In correspondence chess, players have always used study materials. Since the advent of computers, much has changed.

1. More people play turn-based chess than ever played traditional correspondence chess, and that includes growing percentages of players who play no other form of chess, often are beginners, and often have limited or no exposure to the traditions and culture of slow chess.

2. Engines are sometimes encouraged, sometimes banned, sometimes silently tolerated.

3. Databases are considered the equivalent of printed books, but not consistently.

01 January 2010

Giving It Away

I am playing a series of games against a Chessmaster personality that is programmed to blunder. In each game I get an advantage easily, but then I often blow the win through a monstrous error.

At least three moves keep the win in hand here.

White to move

I wrote the best move on my scoresheet, but played another.