Friday, July 25, 2008

LifeChess - Judge not the Outcast


People has a tendency to put image above performance. If you look at the cheery ads, especially soft drink ads, you'll see this in action. And yet, if you look at the technical details of the drink, they are mostly corn syrup concoction. Considering that a lot of money goes toward paying for those commercials, are the drinks worth the price difference between those with clever ads and those without?

I have been playing chess for quite some years, now, and in those times, I have been experimenting with quite a bit of opening. Usually, they're just simple openings, but sometimes, the opening falls into what is known as "fun" unsound opening. That reflects me just fine. I like playing chess for fun. I also like winning chess from behind. Any monkey can memorize opening, but do you really understand chess? Can you calculate different positions?

When I play chess on the internet, some people who are sore loser would complaint that I cheated, usually accusing me of using a computer. It's true that my play style is thorough, simplistic, and usually without obvious error. In other words, unless my brain is off, it takes a very clever and thorough person to beat me. I have beaten lesser computer programs or computer set at lower level of playing. So, I'm rather capable of playing well. These people who complaint that I use a computer are just loser who would blame the world, rather than themselves.

It does annoy me, though, that this happens a lot, so much that I discourage people from playing on the Internet. There are times that I just want variety, though, and the internet does provide a good alternative to your local chess club and chess computer. Anyway, I started to use these unsound opening, just so that people cannot complain that I use a computer. They can't really accuse me of using a computer when the play is something that no computer or sane person would play!

That brings another factor into play. My opening is so bad, that I usually fall behind in development. That's okay, though. I'm perfectly happy to play a fun position. Some people, upon seeing a novelty opening would immediately pegged me as weak, and play carelessly. Only later on when I beat them would they realize their error! Judge not the outcast. Just because somebody played a weak move does not mean you are better than that person!

The game also highlights the lesson of making the best move in a bad situation. My opponent could have won with a mate in 2, but didn't. If you look at the position, he lost all advantages and was heavily discouraged. I took advantage of that and play a very provocative move. It works. If you're in a bad situation, play your best move! It may not work, but maybe it will! Is a glass half empty or half full? Keep your optimism high even if the position is bad. Life works better that way.

The following game was played over the internet. Imagine my surprise to see that Chessmaster do not give me any error on my playing except for the mate-in-2 blunder. Perhaps this is a sound opening after all? I call this barbarian king opening because King Leads the Way!

White: Ramstrong
Black: alain.chiffonade
Date: 2007-08-26
Event: Yahoo Chess
1. f4 d5 2. Kf2 (Barbarian King opening - theoretical novelty by Ramstrong)
2. ... e6 (Nf6 would be sharper)
3. g3 Be7 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. e3 Bd6 6. Bb5 Bd7 7.Bxc6 Bxc6 (this is rushed. Black has the two bishop)
8. d4 Qe7 9. a3 O-O-O 10.b4 a6 11. Nbd2 Ba4 12. Ne5 Bxe5 13. dxe5 (Taking with d pawn means I protect the king with my pawn, achieving good pawn chain, and opening line of attack to Black's King. Also, Black no longer has the bishop pair. Board situation: Different color bishop. Advantage: White)
13. ... b5 (I don't like this move. It traps the bishop. Also, once I took it, Black's pawn structure would be damaged.)
14. Nb3 h6 15. Nd4 Qd7 16. Qd3 Ne7 17. Bb2 f6 (White spends too much time setting up. Black tries to take advantage)
18. Nb3 f5 19. Nc5 Qc6 20. Nxa4 bxa4 (Black's pawn structure is damaged. Once I trade Queen, I would bring King to that side to help with the attack)
21. Bd4 Qb5 22. Ke2 Qxd3+ 23. Kxd3 Kb7 (So far so good)
24 c4 dxc4+ 25. Kxc4 (King pusher! No computer would play this move, but strangely enough, Chessmaster is okay with it.)
25. ... c6 26. Rhe1 Rc8 27. Rab1 Rc7 28. e4 (This is to prevent Knight from taking d5, but is really weak)
28. ... g6 29. Bc5 Rd7 30 Bxe7 Rxe7 (That's another way to prevent Knight from taking d5!)
31. Kc5 (This is my mistake! I should have taken control of the D file. Game may continue with advantage)
31. ... Rd7 32. exf5 Rhd8 (Diagram - 3r4/1k1r4/p1p1p1pp/2K1PP2/pP3P2/P5P1/7P/1R2R3 w - - 0 33) (I stare with horror at that mate in 2! Then I decided to just press him on. Normally, I'd play fxg6 here to separate the pawns, but instead, I decided to egg him on by attacking his rook!)
33. fxe6 Rd5+ (and it works! I'm so happy! Black can still draw, but he didn't see it)
34. Kc4 Rd4+ 35. Kc3 Rd3+ 36. Kb2 Rd2+ 37. Ka1 Re8 (This is slightly passive, but I guess it's understandable in his situation. I definitely unnerved him)
38. Rbd1 Rxd1+ 39. Rxd1 Rxe6 (Advantage: White. I'm up a pawn, and the position is worth another pawn. Now, to push the king back up.)
40. Kb2 Kc7 41. Kc3 Re7 42. Kc4 Rd7 (Offering to trade rook is a mistake. This simplifies my task)
43. Rxd7+ Kxd7 44. Kc5 Black resigned.
There is simply no way for Black to save the situation. Kc7? Kingside pawn marches on. Ke7? Kxc6 and Queenside pawn marches on.
Had I secured the d file, the game may have continued with this:
31. Rbd1 Kb6 32. exf5 gf5 33. Rd6 Rc8 34. Red1 Ree8 35. Rd7 Rc7 36. R1d6 Rxd7 37. Rxd7 h5 (And White wins, but the continuation isn't forced by any means. Black still has dangerous counterplay if White is sleeping.)

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