Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Something I found in an old Chess Magazine

Theoretical Novelties
by Malcolm Pein

Pergamon Chess Vol 53 No 2, May 1988

This position did not occur in Short - Sax, Game 3 St. John 1988 but might have done so had the Hungarian played ... a5 instead of ... Rxh4?? on move 27 (see below).

Has anybody actually been able to achieve seven isolated pawns in a real game? How about all eight? Black has a couple too. Is nine isolated pawns on the board simultaneously a record?

after 27. ... a5 one line is 28. Re1 axb4, 29. Rxe4 Kf7, 30. axb4 reaching the position at the head of today's blog.

btw: the TN under discussion was 12. ... f4.


Anonymous said...

That's a question for Tim Krabbé, I guess!

David said...

As I believe I've previously mentioned (in the comments to a similar challenge), Chess Query Language is your friend here.

I have a query currently grinding through 750,000 games accumulated from TWIC. Having seven isolated pawns seems not to be all that unusual. I'll post back later if I find an example with eight; or if any of the sevens are particularly interesting.

David said...

So, seven isolated pawns is as I say fairly commonplace - I found 233 games with this configuration in the TWIC database. The highest-level was also one of the most recent: Kramnik-Ponomariov (briefly, after black's 24th) at the Tal Memorial last month.

Having 8 isolated pawns is rarer - 6 instances in the database. However, three of these are the same position (and a fourth is very similar), which I guess makes it practically established theory. Horvath achieved the full set against Berczes (after white's 18th); Peek-Greet and (as recently as February) Kozlov-Lushenkov reached the same position.

Jonathan B said...

Cheers David - excellent work.

I'm completely ignorant of Chess Query Language. Could you tell us a bit about it? Where you get it how it works, you apply it - that sort of thing.

David said...

You do know that we're on the internet...?

Seriously, if you put "Chess Query Language" into your favourite search engine then I'm pretty sure that the top links will tell you all you need to know.

ejh said...

This is the top link. It's OK, but mostly because of the links to other atricles. Some of the terms used in the piece itself would mean nothing to somebody who wasn't already familar with what was going on.

The Wikipedia article is probably a better place to start.

A qualified information profesional writes: "asking other people who are likely to know" is a much underrated search strategy in the information age. Many or most resources easily located on the internet depend on the searcher possessing some subject knowledge already: either in order to locate them, or in order to understand them when they are found. Much time and patience is often lost in this process!

(This an observation of general use and is not intended as a criticism of David's posting above.)