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Old 29th April 2020, 15:23   #1
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Default The Chess Thread!

In this "Shifting Gear" section, I have seen threads on Cricket, movies, and many other non-automotive topics. But no thread on the royal game of Chess. So I thought of starting one. So here we go.

Chess is my "other" passion (other than cars and driving). I used to play competitive chess in the US and India from about 1997 to 2007, but later, due to job and logistical reasons, gave up over the board play. I still play casually on the internet, and more than playing, now-a-days I enjoy problem solving.

This thread is about everything and anything in chess. Please feel free to share any interesting game you saw, any problems/puzzles, some new opening ideas that you saw, the chess engines you use, the book you are reading or you liked, any interesting chess news you saw etc etc. All chess related posts are welcome!

As a warm-up, let me share this position that is quite famous from an old game (I will share the game details along with the answer later), and let's discuss White's move. In fact, the move is quite known and famous, so many of you would already know it. But even if you don't know, the position is not that hard and the solution is simple. So let's start with this problem:

Problem 1: What is White's best move and the continuation?

The Chess Thread!-evansreshevsky1963w..jpg
Problem 1. White to move.

Note: When we share a problem for others to solve, let's give a sequential problem number under the position (in the caption) so that others can refer to it while posting the solutions.


Now coming to books, in this lock-down, I am enjoying several chess books. I have a good collection of chess books I purchased over last 20 years. However, recently I purchased several e-books too, and now-a-days I read e-books more than the old physical books. One e-book that I am currently enjoying is "The Magic Tactics of Mikhail Tal: Learn from the Legend": https://books.google.co.in/books/abo...page&q&f=false

Since I love tactics and combinations, it goes without saying that Mikhail Tal is one of my heroes!

So to wrap this post up, here is one position discussed in the above-mentioned book. This is from Tal-Korchnoi, 1987.


Problem 2: Tactics of Mikhail Talk. What is White's best winning attack?

The Chess Thread!-talkorchnoi1987w.jpg
Problem 2: White to move


Please feel free to share you answers to the above problems, and of course, please feel free to post anything else related to chess!

Thank you!

Last edited by Dr.AD : 29th April 2020 at 15:26.
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Old 29th April 2020, 16:46   #2
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Default Re: The Chess Thread!

Many thanks for creating a thread on this. Chess has been a part of my school days and even played a bit at the university level in college. Sadly, somewhere along the line, lost in touch with chess.

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Originally Posted by Dr.AD View Post

Problem 1: What is White's best move and the continuation?
This is a position that I will never forget. When I was in Chennai, my coach had given this as part of a regular problem set. At first, we were perplexed over this and literally pulled our hairs out. But the winning move of Qg8+ was a masterpiece. Even in such a terrible position, even the thought of getting a draw is win in itself. This is followed by ... Kxg8, Rxg7+ forced Kxg7 or Qxg7 else lose the queen. This leads to a stalemate!

Quote:
Problem 2: Tactics of Mikhail Talk. What is White's best winning attack?
I would go with Ng4 hxg4, Nh6+ Kg7, Rxf7+ Kxh6, Qxf8+ Kg5, h4+ Kxh4, Qh6+ Qh5, g3+ Kxg3, not sure after this but here's a guess Qf4+ Kh4, Qf2+ g3, Rf4+ Kg5, Qxg3+ Kh6, Rh4 and queen for a rook.
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Old 29th April 2020, 17:02   #3
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Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Many thanks for creating a thread on this. Chess has been a part of my school days and even played a bit at the university level in college. Sadly, somewhere along the line, lost in touch with chess.
Oh, great to hear that you played at the university level. Very happy to meet a fellow chess player!

Quote:
This is a position that I will never forget. When I was in Chennai, my coach had given this as part of a regular problem set. At first, we were perplexed over this and literally pulled our hairs out. But the winning move of Qg8+ was a masterpiece.
Yes, this is a very well-studied position. Of course, you answer Qg8+ is correct, but it is not a "winning move", although it it the "best move" which happens to be a drawing move! White is in otherwise dangerous position, so white finds this brilliant Qg8+ which leads to stalemate and fetches a draw!

Quote:
Even in such a terrible position, even the thought of getting a draw is win in itself. This is followed by ... Kxg8, Rxg7+ forced Kxg7 or Qxg7 else lose the queen. This leads to a stalemate!
Correct!!

One minor correction again: After Rxg7, if Black does not take, then "else lose the queen" is not correct. Because if White just grabs the Queen with Rxg3, then Black still has winning material advantage. So the idea is not to win the Queen.

The correct idea is to keep giving checks with the Rook and force black to take the Rook or else repeat to a draw. For example, if Rxg7+ Kh8, Rh7+ Kg8, Rg7+ Kf8, Rf8+ and so on... And of course, the moment Black takes the Rook, it is stalemate!

BTW, this game is Larry Evans - Samuel Resevsky, US Championship, 1963. Here is the whole game: https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1252040

Quote:
I would go with Ng4 hxg4, Nh6+ Kg7, Rxf7+ Kxh6, Qxf8+ Kg5, h4+ Kxh4, Qh6+ Qh5, g3+ Kxg3, not sure after this but here's a guess Qf4+ Kh4, Qf2+ g3, Rf4+ Kg5, Qxg3+ Kh6, Rh4 and queen for a rook.
Correct!!

This is one of the typical Tal attacks, with actually a correct sacrifice! Tal is also known for many speculative sacrifices, but this time it was actually correct. Also, the alternative move order of Nh6+ first also works and transposes into the same line.

There is the game: https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1083130

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrishnakj View Post
So In problem 1, if I was black , and I do not do the forced Kxg7, but am ok to sacrifice my queen for the white Rook in return for the Q, I can still win with black. White just deferred the time of loss isn't it ? .
Added a note to clarify this above. You are right that if White grabs the Queen, then Black still wins! Therefore, White does not grab with Rxg3. Instead, keeps giving perpetual checks next to the King as I added above.

Last edited by Dr.AD : 29th April 2020 at 17:09.
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Old 29th April 2020, 17:04   #4
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Default The Chess Thread!

So In problem 1, if I was black , and I do not do the forced Kxg7, but am ok to sacrifice my queen for the white Rook in return for the Q, I can still win with black. White just deferred the time of loss isn't it ?

I'm still doing problem 2. I shall be back with that soon.

Last edited by jkrishnakj : 29th April 2020 at 17:06.
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Old 29th April 2020, 17:12   #5
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Default Re: The Chess Thread!

www.chess.com is the best chess website. This is my profile - you can view some of the games I've played with opponents:
https://www.chess.com/member/AshwinIddya

I regularly play 'correspondence chess' with people all over the world. In correspondence chess, one doesn't have to be infront of the computer all the time. Once the opponent makes a move, you will have 24 hours to make yours. You will get an email notification or chess app notification.

The ranking system used by chess.com is similar to FIDE rankings. You start from 1200. My data:

Name:  chess1.jpg
Views: 1923
Size:  44.7 KB

If Team-BHPians want to play chess against eachother online, this is the best website for that! After creating a profile, go to Play -> Daily Chess -> New Game PLAY -> Play A Friend. Enter the username to issue a 'challenge'.

Last edited by SmartCat : 29th April 2020 at 17:17.
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Old 29th April 2020, 17:26   #6
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Originally Posted by SmartCat View Post
www.chess.com is the best chess website.
Nice! Yes, this is a very good site. However, this is not free, right? You have to pay a membership fee after trial period.

A very good website which is free is LiChess (https://lichess.org/). This is one of the most thriving websites now, and even most Grandmasters play on Lichess now-a-days. I have friends who play in professional circuits in Europe, and they are all active members on LiChess.

Further, Playchess.com used to be a very popular site for online chess, and it still is. But now-a-days LiChess is slowly taking over the position of most active site from Playchess.

But yes, all of these (chess.com, LiChess, Playchess) are great sites for online playing and even watching live events!

Quote:
I regularly play 'correspondence chess' with people all over the world. In correspondence chess, one doesn't have to be infront of the computer all the time. Once the opponent makes a move, you will have 24 hours to make yours. You will get an email notification or chess app notification.
Very nice! I use to play some correspondence chess back in 1999 or 2000. Currently, with the advent of chess engines, and with everyone having to access to one freely, correspondence chess has lost some of its charm. You never know when your opponent uses an engine to analyze the position. I stopped playing correspondence chess due to this reason.

Last edited by Dr.AD : 29th April 2020 at 17:38.
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Old 29th April 2020, 17:37   #7
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Nice! Yes, this is a very good site. However, this is not free, right? You have to pay a membership fee after trial period.
It's totally free. Paid membership gives you access to tutoring videos, game analysis and other stuff that helps you improve your rankings.

Quote:
I use to play some correspondence chess back in 1999 or 2000. Currently, with the advent of chess engines, and with everyone having to access to one freely, correspondence chess has lost some of its charm. You never know when your opponent uses an engine to analyze the position. I stopped playing correspondence chess due to this reason.
If somebody is using a chess engine, their rating will shoot up to 2000+ levels. I play with opponents who have a rating + or - 100 points from mine.

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Old 29th April 2020, 18:00   #8
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Originally Posted by SmartCat View Post
It's totally free. Paid membership gives you access to tutoring videos, game analysis and other stuff that helps you improve your rankings.
OK, great! Thank you for that information!

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If somebody is using a chess engine, their rating will shoot up to 2000+ levels. I play with opponents who have a rating + or - 100 points from mine.
Yes, that is true. At levels above 2000 or so, I think correspondence chess is dead due to the engines. Of course, people still play that even at master level as a hobby, but only with close friends they know will not cheat!

By the way, talking about correspondence chess, it was very popular in 1960s and 70s (when it used to be real snail mail - post cards sent to each other with chess moves!). That book on Mikhail Tal I mentioned above has one position from his correspondence game in 1961. Below is the position.

The Chess Thread!-talcorrespondecnew.jpg
Problem 3. White to play and win.

Tal was White, of course. What is the best continuation for White? I will post the answer later.

Last edited by Dr.AD : 29th April 2020 at 18:03.
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Old 29th April 2020, 18:54   #9
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Tal was White, of course. What is the best continuation for White? I will post the answer later.
- White's Bishop goes to h6 and check
- Black's Knight on g4 takes out White's bishop on h6.
- White's Rook on e6 takes out Black's knight on h6.
- Black's King takes out White's Rook on h6.
- White's Queen moves to f8 and check
- Black's Queen takes out White Queen
- White pawn on e7 takes out Black Queen and gets a promotion (to Queen), and check.

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Old 29th April 2020, 19:14   #10
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Originally Posted by SmartCat View Post
- White's Bishop goes to h6 and check
- Black's Knight on g4 takes out White's bishop on h6.
Correct upto this point.

The moves you mentioned are: 1. Bh6+ Nxh6

Quote:
- White's Rook on e6 takes out Black's knight on h6.
This move is not correct though.

If you take that knight (Rxh6) then in return, instead of taking the Rook (Kxh6), Black can play Qxe7 and Black is winning. Thus, Rxh6 is a mistake. Remember that Black is not forced to take your rook back with his King (i.e. Kxh6 is not forced, and instead, Black simply plays Qxe7).

Instead of Rxh6, there is a much better move (hint: forcing move!) here for White to continue this attack.

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Old 29th April 2020, 19:23   #11
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Since I love tactics and combinations, it goes without saying that Mikhail Tal is one of my heroes!
Tal certainly. But not of Fischer? Or will we see his games later on?

What are your views on AlphaGo. Does not seem to play (ie think) like a human.

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Old 29th April 2020, 19:59   #12
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Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Tal certainly. But not of Fischer? Or will we see his games later on?
Well, Fischer is of course one of my favorite players and we will definitely see a lot of Fischer games and tactics as this thread develops!

However, Fischer, like most other World Champions was a great player who almost always tried to play "correct" chess. Where Tal was so unique was that he often played sacrifices which were speculative. He often did not calculate every line till the end (if he had done that, he would not have played some of his sacrifices because he would have seen they were wrong), but had a "belief" that his moves would win, and played some really daring moves! Such moves were never seen at the absolute top level before Tal, and to a large extent even after Tal. Tal must be the only World Champion who played in such daringly attacking style, to the extent that some of his moves were theoretically wrong!

As a "complete player", Fischer, Kasparov, and in fact most modern World Champions would be better than Tal. But as a pure attacking player, using his creativity instead of theoretical preparation, and showing the world some beautiful combinations, Tal was in a league of his own!

Of course, this are my opinions and I could be wrong. Others could have different opinions and we could have a debate about this.

Quote:
What are your views on AlphaGo. Does not seem to play (ie think) like a human.
AlphaGo seems to be the best of the machines so far, and comes closest to the human style for any computer so far. The fact that AlphaGo was trained from scratch using real human games (this was one of the great experiments in "Reinforcement Learning", one of the recent advances in AI), gives it a fairly human-like playing style. This is in contrast to traditional engines designed on min-max or alpha-beata algorithm, which are essentially some optimization problems, and play in a weird style that minimizes their error functions.

When the position is open with clear tactics (like the problems posted earlier), all these engines will find the right combination immediately. However, when the position is closed without such clear tactics, most traditional engines play some abstract and inhuman moves which make them quite "boring". However, AlhaGo still plays human-like (to some extent) in those positions.

I have not used AlphaGo myself as an analysis engine, so I do not really know it that well. I use Fritz and Stockfish for analysis, and those are traditional engines.
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Old 29th April 2020, 20:18   #13
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^^^
I think there was an AlphaZero - Stockfish game where it kept on sacrificing pawn after pawn, not for a well calculated combination, but for opening up the game. And won.

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Old 29th April 2020, 20:39   #14
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Some random chess questions:

1) Can we beat a Grandmaster if they play against ordinary folks like us with their Queen missing at the start?
2) Will you sacrifice a Queen for two rooks?
3) What do your prefer generally -> defend & hope that opponent makes a mistake, or attack straight away?
4) Will the above strategy change if the opponent is stronger?
5) At later stages of the game, do you prefer a knight or a bishop? Would you exchange one for another?
6) Typically, how many moves do you think ahead - especially in mid and later stages of the game?

My random musings:

1) The king becomes pretty powerful once the Queen is out of the picture (exchanged). It needs to get into where the action is.
2) I would never give up a Queen for 2 Rooks.
3) I almost always play defense and hope that the opponent makes a mistake.
4) Our Pawn on opponent's side (especially the last 2 rows) is worth a lot more than just one point. I try to bait the opponent for an exchange, but move ahead instead (to get on the other side).
5) Under certain circumstances, I don't mind losing a knight or bishop for 2 pawns.

Last edited by SmartCat : 29th April 2020 at 21:06.
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Old 29th April 2020, 20:59   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.AD View Post

Problem 3. White to play and win. [/center]

Tal was White, of course. What is the best continuation for White? I will post the answer later.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartCat View Post
- White's Bishop goes to h6 and check
- Black's Knight on g4 takes out White's bishop on h6.
- White's Rook on e6 takes out Black's knight on h6.
- Black's King takes out White's Rook on h6.
- White's Queen moves to f8 and check
- Black's Queen takes out White Queen
- White pawn on e7 takes out Black Queen and gets a promotion (to Queen), and check.
Bh6+ Nxh6
Qf6+ Kh7 (... Kg8, Qg5+ Qg6, e8=Q+ ... and so on)
Qxh6+ Kg8
Rg6+ Qxg6
Qxg6+ and white can now promote his e8 pawn

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartCat View Post
Some random chess questions:

1) Can we beat a Grandmaster if they play against ordinary folks like us with their Queen missing at the start?
2) Will you sacrifice a Queen for two rooks?
3) What do your prefer generally -> defend & hope that opponent makes a mistake, or attack straight away?
4) Will the above strategy change if the opponent is stronger?
5) At later stages of the game, do you prefer a knight or a bishop? Would you exchange one for another?
6) Typically, how many moves do you think ahead - especially in mid and later stages of the game?
1. I think it will be a difficult based on the Level of the player. A queen is worth 9 pawns which is a big handicap. I would say if we practice and are prepared, I think it would be possible to defeat a grandmaster without a queen

2. Yes. I would sacrifice my Queen for 2 Rooks in most of the cases. Such a situations arises usually in mid / end games and having 2 coordinated rooks are better than a single queen. I can force and exchange and snag an extra pawn for a positive outcome.

3. I will tell from my experience. I was generally the weakest player in my team. So, to overcome this, I usually played defensive. In team games, even a draw on the 4th board is good if the other 3 win. Very few times I played aggressive in team games.

4. In my case, yes, I had decent success in not losing by playing defensively.

5. Bishops if I have passed pawns, else Knight.

6. Generally atleast 10 moves in tournaments with over 1 hr. For faster formats, maybe 5 moves. It also depends a lot on the openings. If the opponent plays as per the opening that I know, I don't need to think very far ahead.

Last edited by blackwasp : 29th April 2020 at 21:13.
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