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August 06, 2016

Saturday Afternoon Chess/Open Thread 08-06-2016 [OregonMuse]

Garfield chess by mail.jpg

Good afternoon morons and moronettes, and welcome to the Saturday Afternoon Chess/Open Thread, the only AoSHQ thread with content specifically for all of us chess nerds who pay homage in the temple of Caïssa, goddess of knight tours and the 8-queens puzzle. And, for those of you who aren't nerdly enough for chess, you can use this thread to talk about checkers, or politics, or whatever you wish, only please try to keep it civil. Nobody wants to get into a pie fight on a Saturday afternoon.


Based on feedback I've received last week, I'm going to experiment with something new. I am no longer going to announce the goals of each of the problems I put up, like "How does White win material?" or "Black mates in 3". Instead, all you'll know is whose move it is, and it is up to you to find the best possible move, whether it be a checkmate, or some killer combination, or whatever.. But, I also will be providing a whited-out hint for each problem, which you can access by swiping your mouse over it, and then you can see "How does White win material?" or "Black mates in 3", etc. That's in case you get stuck. I encourage everyone to try them out without the hint first.

So let's give it a try:

What Is the BEST Move For White?

Hint: White Mates in 3

20160806 - Best move for white 2.jpg
FEN: [r3rb1k/p4Rpp/1qp2N2/1p6/3n1N2/8/PP4PP/2QR2K1 w - - 0 1]

Notes on Notation

Last week, there was a comment from a moron who genuinely did not seem to understand the notation I use to describe the chess moves under discussion. I had just assumed that everybody already knew, but maybe not. So perhaps this would be a good opportunity for me to say a few words about it.

I use what is known as the algebraic notation system to record chess moves. In this system, the chessboard ranks (horizontal rows) are designated by numbers from 1 through 8, and the files (vertical rows) are designated with lower-case letters a,b,c,d,e,f,g, and h. So each of the 64 squares as a unique designation from a1 through h8. The wiki page that explains algebraic notation is really quite good.

I encourage everyone who comments on the chess thread to use algebraic notation. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. If you're used to using the old-school English Descriptive Notation, that's fine. You're actually in good company. I once read somewhere that Bobby Fischer *hated* algebraic notation. I forget his reasons, but I thought they sounded more like excuses, and that the real reason is that he had used descriptive all of his life and didn't see why he had to change. When you're the world champion, you can afford to think like this. I myself used descriptive notation for years and only switched to algebraic because everyone else already had. But after I got comfortable with it, I came to realize it really is a better system.

Having said all this, I would also encourage all of you morons use the following conventions:

1. Letters that designate pieces (K,Q,R,N,B) should be in CAPITAL LETTERS, and the files (a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h) are in small letters. So Nxf7 is correct, not nxF7.

2. There's no 'P' for 'Pawn' in algebraic notation. It's simply not necessary. So, for example, the correct way to describe moving your pawn to e5 is not 'P-e5', or even 'Pe5' but simply 'e5'. That's all you need. The convention is, if there is no piece designated, then it's a pawn move. So 'e5' is a complete, unambiguous move, as there is only one of your pawns that could ever move there at any given time.

3. I have seen chess moves in a few comments that are neither completely algebraic nor completely descriptive, but look like a weird hybrid of the two. Pleasse avoid doing this. Something like, for example, "KP-e5", which I guess means move the king's pawn to the e5 square.

4. "Queen to queen's level 3" is not a valid chess move under standard rules.

5. You don't need to use the clumsy 'e.p.' addition to designate en passant capturing. Sometimes you see it used with algebraic, but it's not necessary. So, for example, if you you have a pawn on e5, and your opponent moves a pawn to d5, then the en passant capture is described as exd6. Personally, I don't like this convention, where you designate the destination square where your pawn will end up, rather than the square of the pawn being captured (which makes more sense to me), but I'm not the world champion, so I am in no position to complain. But, whatever the case, the cumbersome 'e.p.' is superfluous.

5. The symbol for check is +, and even though the symbol for checkmate can be ++, The USCF instead recommends #, and so do I. This allows ++ to be used unambiguously as the symbol for double check.

6. There is no #6.

7. There are other systems, such as ICCF numeric notation used in correspondence games, and Smith Notation, but good luck using them, as I think few, if anyone, will understand them.

The only notation more universal is figurine algebraic notation (FAN), which looks exactly like standard algebraic, but instead of capital letters 'K', 'Q', 'N', 'B' 'R' to designate the pieces, little icons of each piece are used instead. Here is an example of a game in FAN:


Figurine algebraic isn't my favorite. It's always had a Eurotrash/UN/commie vibe to it, like Esperanto, that I've never liked. But despite my personal distaste, FAN is actually a useful universal system that any chess player can read, no matter what language is spoken. The above game, though, is a piece of a screen grab. I could never even attempt to use it on here. Pixy's software would probably have a heart attack.

Again, what Is the BEST Move For White?

Hint: White Wins A Piece

20160806 - Best move for white 1.jpg
FEN: [rn3R2/pp4p1/2p3k1/8/8/2P1B3/PPP3PP/6K1 w - - 0 1]

Best Move For White?

Hint: White Mates in 4

20160806 - Best move for white 3.jpg
FEN: [1rq3nr/2p1k1pp/p2b4/3BN1p1/P1p5/6P1/1P2QP1P/R3R1K1 w - - 0 1]

A Call For Submissions

It has been suggested to me that the chess thread needs a little bit more variety. I agree, unfortunately, my time is not unlimited, so the thread is what it is because that's all the time I can spare on it.

So, in order to jazz things up a bit, I'd like to set up some sort of "readers forum" for your input. I know you're playing games against each other and some of them are fantastically interesting battles, so if you get a position where you (or your opponent) executes some brilliant tactic, or gets a sweet checkmate or combo, or you just get a position that strikes you as interesting or noteworthy, send it to me at my yahoo e-mail address, along with a little analysis of what you think is important about the position. And then I might add my own comments, kind of like GM Lev Alburt does in his Chess Life column with games readers send him.

About the only thing I would not like to receive are long, unannotated games. I just don't have the time to do the analysis and find out what would be interesting about it. Miniatures, though, should be fine. If you beat some guy in 6 moves, and wish to crow about it, I can help out with that.

Or, and this might be entertaining, if you've got a chess set that you're proud of, like you made it yourself, or it was owned by your great-grandfather, or even if you just think it looks great, send me a photo. Heck, you can even cross the streams a bit with the pet thread and send a pic of your kitteh playing chess, if you like.

In the spirit of Tom Sawyer getting the other boys to paint the fence for him, let's have some fun: send me your stuff.

Endgame of the Week

20160806 - Endgame of the week.jpg
FEN: [8/p4K2/P7/8/8/8/1k6/8 w - - 0 1]

This position is from an actual game (Schlage - Ahues, Berlin 1921), and the ending was a draw. It went like this:

1.Ke6 Kc3
2.Kd6 Kd4
3.Kc6 Ke5
4.Kb7 Kd6
5.Kxa7 Kc7

Do you see why they agreed to a draw at this point? In order to queen his pawn, White needs to move his king out to the 'b' file so his pawn will have a clear path. Only he won't be able to, because Black can simply shuffle his king back and forth between c7 and c8 and White's king will be contained.

But it didn't have to be this way. Subsequent analysis determined that this position is actually a won game for White. So the only reason Black was able to get a draw out of this was because White derped it up. So your task her is to show how White can win this game, even with Black making the best possible moves.


Solutions Update:

What Is the BEST Move For White?

This is a mate in 3 for white, and it's straightforward:

1.Ng6+ hxg6
2.Qh6+ gxh6

Again, what Is the BEST Move For White?

White wins a piece here by

1. Bf4!

There's not much Black can do to prevent the loss of his knight. Except by moving it, in which case he would lose his rook instead.

Best Move For White?

White has a mating attack. Black can hold out for, at the most, 4 moves:

1.Nd7+ Be5
2.Qxe5+ Kxd7
3.Qe6+ Kd8
4.Qe8# 1-0

Black could always try 1...Kxd7, but that will only get him mated 1 move earlier:

2.Qe6+ Kd8

Endgame of the Week

White forgot one of the basic rules of the endgame:

The King is a strong piece - use it!

2.Kd6? is the move that allowed Black enough time to get his king into position to bottle up White on the 'a' file. So, instead:

1.Ke6 Kc3

This in-your-face move pushes Black away just enough to prevent him from getting to c7 in time.

2...Kb4 (2...Kd3 is no help: 3.Kc6 Ke4 4.Kb7 Kd5 5.Kxa7 Kc6 6.Kb8 and wins)

3.Kc6 Ka5
4.Kb7 Kb5
5.Kxa7 Kc6
6.Kb8 and White wins


Note: that cryptic line of letters and numbers you see underneath each board diagram is a representation of the position in what is known as "Forsyth-Edwards Notation", or F.E.N. It's actually readable by humans. Most computer applications nowadays can read FEN, so those of you who may want to study the position, you can copy the line of FEN and paste into your chess app and it should automatically recreate the position on its display board.


So that about wraps it up for this week. Chess thread tips, suggestions, bribes, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to my yahoo address: OregonMuse little-a-in-a-circle yahoo dott com.

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posted by Open Blogger at 04:50 PM

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