Wednesday, February 07, 2018

February 7, 2018

Area Man Beats Computer in Chess For First Time

Chennai, February 3, 2018 - After more than two years of battling it out with the Chess Free app in Adept mode, area man Rajesh Jayaprakash finally clinched his first victory. "Well, technically my first victory, as I had forced the $#&% computer to sue for peace by the threefold-repetition rule sometime back", a visibly elated Rajesh said. Asked how he felt after this momentous achievement, he mentioned a feeling of relief and a surge of self-confidence. Reliving the moment immediately after 74. ... Qb2#, he added that it was actually quite anticlimactic, since victory was assured ten moves earlier when his King captured the enemy Rook on d8, as the game then became a checkmate-with-King-and-Queen ending. "Although, to be fair, you still need to finish White off",  he added with a nervous laugh, with his thoughts already turning to his next battle of wits with the computer. At the time of going to press, Rajesh was observed peering intently at his phone, replaying the entire game for the 13th time on Analyze This, his favourite chess analysis app, with a triumphant smile breaking out on his face each time his Queen checkmated the opposite King on move #74.


Jokes aside--that was my poor imitation of The Onion, in case you didn't know--, I thought I'd record my first victory for posterity.

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 Adopting Korchnoi's maxim of never refusing material.

3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Nc3 d6 5. Bb5 Bd7 6. d4 g5 Goodbye to kingside castling, let's see how far we can go to defend the f4 pawn.

7. h3 Bg7 8. O-O Hmmm, he doesn't seem to mind castling without sufficient pawn cover, maybe I should as well and avoid a Queenside pawn storm.

8. ... Nge7? Hanging the g5 pawn.

9. d5 On first glance, it's surprising the g5 pawn doesn't get captured, but 9. Nxg5 Bxd4+ is good for black, especially since 10. ... Bxc3 screws up White's pawn structure.

9. ... Ne5? Aaannd we shoot ourselves in the foot, blocking Bxd4+.

10. Nxg5 N7g6 Attacking the Knight with our Queen, and also eyeing h4 for our Knight.

11. Qh5 h6 12. Nf3 Nxf3+ 13. Qxf3 Be5 Providing support for our lonely f4 pawn. Also, e5 is a solid square for our Bishop, as it's not possible for White to threaten it with a pawn.

14. Bxd7+ Qxd7 15. Bd2 O-O-O 16. Kh1 f5 The f7 pawn will become a long-term liability, might as well exchange it for a central pawn.

17. Qf2 Kb8 Sneaky move by White to take on a7 and finish the game quickly. We're too clever for this.

18. exf5 Qxf5 19. Nb5 b6 You'll not give up, will you?

20. c3 Removing the pawn from danger, also shielding the b2 pawn from the Bishop.

20. ... Rdf8 Shoring up support for the f4 pawn.

21. Rac1 h5 22. Qe2 h4 The White Queen is up to something, but h4 is an excellent square for our pawn: we now have iron control over g3.

23. Qc4 Qd7 Attempting Qxc7+ followed by Qxa7#. Duly thwarted.

24. Qc6 Qc8 Sorry, we're not ready for the exchange. Not to mention losing the b7 square to the White pawn.

25. Qc4 f3 Now we're talking. Time to up the pressure on White's kingside pawn structure. It also helps that our Queen is off the f-file where there was the danger of being exposed to the Rook.

26. Qe4 fxg2+ 27. Qxg2 Nf4 28. Bxf4 Bxf4 29. Rxf4 Rxf4 30. Rf1 Rg8 31. Rxf4 Rxg2 32. Kxg2

And the game is pretty much over. Still need to finish it though.

32. ... Qg8+ 33. Kf1 Qxd5 34. Nd4 Qh1+ 35. Ke2 Qxh3 Here's where the power of the Queen shines through, slicing through White's pieces. Ser Arthur Dayne would approve (and here were nay-sayers doubting my ability to sneak in a Game of Thrones reference).

36. Rf2 Qg4+ 37. Kd3 Kb7 Never hurts to insulate our King from pesky checks by the Rook. Also, you will notice that the King is pretty safe from the White Knight as well, as the only safe place it can  check the King from is d8, which is a long way off.

38. a3 h3 Proceeding to promote the pawn.

39. Ke3 Qg5+ 40. Kf3 Qg1 41. Nf5 h2 42. Ng3 h1Q+ 43. Nxh1 Qxh1+ Bye-bye, Knight. And farewell, Pawn; though your time as Queen was brief, you performed your duty admirably.

44. Kf4 Kc6 45. Kg3 Kd5 46. Rd2+ Kc6

Now I must admit I was in two minds here: should I go for a Queen vs Rook endgame right away, on the kingside, or should I first try to demolish White's pawns and coast to a victory? A quick visit to Wikipedia suggested complications with the first approach, so I decided to target White's pawns. But can we get the White Rook off the second rank?

47. Rf2 Kc5 48. Re2 d5 49. Re7 Kc6 50. Re6+ Kb7 51. Re3 a5 52. Re7

As a famous man once said, "Yes, we can!"

52. ... Qd1 Putting paid to any hopes of the rook returning for defence duties.

53. Re5 Qc2 54. Rxd5 Qxb2 55. Rd3 Qxa3 Ser Arthur Dayne in action again.

56. Kf3 Qb2 57. c4 a4 58. c5 a3 59. c6+ Kc8 60. Re3 Got be careful here, danger of an Oberyn moment by 61. Re8#.

60. ... Qf6+ 61. Ke2 a2 62. Rg3 a1Q 63. Rg8+ Qd8 64. Rxd8+ Kxd8 65. Kd3 Qa4 66. Kc3 Qe4 67. Kb2 Qd3 68. Ka2 Ke7 69. Kb2 Kd6 70. Ka1 Kc5 71. Kb2 Kb4 72. Kc1 Qe2 73. Kb1 Kc3 74. Ka1 Qb2#

Cue the credits.