Chess

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The Independent Culture
A leading aspirant for the International Master title gives his thoughts on men and machines.

I despise chess computers, mainly because their style of play is perfect against my own. I rely heavily on intuition. A computer, by contrast, has no 'gut feeling' but relies on concrete analysis. At present, against suitable hardware, my own gut feeling is not enough.

The following game is not a guide on how to beat your chess computer but merely a triumph of soul over silicon.

White: Chess Genius 2

Black: A Mortazavi

London 1994

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. 0-0 Qc7 7. Nc3 b5 8. Bg5 Be7 9. Qe2 d6 10. a4 b4 11. Nb1?

I was more worried by 11. Na2.

11 . . . Bb7 12. Nd2 Nbd7 13. Rfe1 0-0 14. a5 Rfc8 15. N2f3 Bf8 16. Qd2 e5 17. Nb3 Re8

In the style of the great strategist Aaron Nimzowitsch, I have over-protected e5 in preparation for the liberating d5 pawn break. A curious thought entered my mind: it hasn't even heard of Nimzowitsch]

18. Nh4 d5 19. exd5 Bxd5 20. Nf5 Qb7]

I need to induce some weaknesses. Now White must make an unhappy pawn move.

21. f3 Rad8?

Stupid, the rook is needed on a8 to defend the a-pawn.

22. Qe2 h6?]

Call it what you like, human ego, pride, I just couldn't face playing the rook back to a8.

23. Bxa6 Qc7 24. Bxf6?]

The first whiff of compensation. Most humans would have preferred 24. Be3, meeting e4 with f4.

24 . . . Nxf6 25. Bb5 Re6 26. Rec1?]

Giving me just the half-move I need to get my attack rolling.

26 . . . e4] 27. Nfd4 Re5 28. c4 Ba8

I had seen 28 . . . exf3 29. Qf2 Ng4 30. Qh4 f2+ 31. Kh1 and decided to keep up pressure with Ba8. I forgot computers are immune to psychological pressure.

29. f4 Rh5 30. Qd2 g5] 31. g3 Bd6 32. c5 Bxf4]]

When I played this move, the software's assessment of its position shot to levels indicating a winning advantage. My intuition, however, told me that White is losing.

33. gxf4 gxf4 34. a6 Bd5?]

After 34 . . . e3 35. Qxb4 Rxh2?] 36. Kxh2 f3+ 37. Kh3] I saw no good continuation, so reverted to intuition and saved my bishop from being cut off with c6.

35. Qxb4 f3 36. Rc2 Rg5+ 37. Kf1 Ng4 38. Ke1 e3 (see diagram)

Even a computer can see that Black has enough for the piece.

39. Bf1 Nxh2 40. Nd2 Qg3+ 41. Kd1 exd2 42. Rxd2 Nxf1 43. Rd3 Re5 44. Raa3 Qg1 45. Kc2 Ne3+ 46. Rxe3 Rxe3 47. Rxe3 Qxe3 48. Qc3 and White gave up.

Every genius must pay a price. It should have read Nimzowitsch.

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