Monday, November 11, 2013

Blue or Red Pill? XXII

White to move

Now look, I understand that people are disappointed, but can we at least try to keep the bullshit to a minimum? Winner of S&BCB's brand new 'Biggest Load of Cobblers Yet To Be Spouted About Anand-Carlsen' award has to go to Hikaru Nakamura. Partly because as the 2786-rated World Number Four he really should know better and partly because of the tweet itself. Which was,

I am not feeling inspired by the start of the WC match in India. One thing @Kasparov63 always understood is that chess needs to be a show.

Oh aye, Hikky? A show like the two performances that Gazza himself put on when he faced the Caro-Kann in a World Championship match, you mean?

After Nakamura's vouchsafed us his opinion on those two gems, I wonder if he'll find the time to consider the 19 move and 21 move Queen's Gambits that Kasparov also played in the 1987 Seville match. After that he could try,
  • the 18 move Petroff against Karpov in 1990;
  • the 18 move flop and the 26 move effort when Kasparov offered a draw when clearly better against Short in 1993;
  • his 12, 16, 2021, 22 and 25 move draws against Anand in 1995;
  • those marvellous efforts where the curtain came down after 11 and 14 moves (game five's 24 move job was a marathon in comparison) against Kramnik in 2000.
And - do I really need to mention this? - the 20+ draws that lasted 25 moves or fewer in Moscow, 1984.

Kasparov responds to claims that he could be a boring fecker too

I don't agree with Mikhail Golubev when he says that matches with classical time controls are the "least attractive" of all possible formats for World Championship matches*, but it is at least a coherent argument. I have considerably less time for the folk who seem to want a match and then bitch and moan whenever an individual game fails to come up to their expectations.

You don't meet the whale in the first chapter of Moby Dick. That's how writer David Simon responded to critics who struggled with the pacing of The Wire. It's also the perfect analogy for how chess matches work. So while I have a lot of sympathy for Richard Bates' argument that cautious play is a function of the restricted length of modern matches, there's something else going on here too. Something that's absolutely fundamental to our favourite game.

Let's dispense with the 'things were so much better in the olden days' crap shall we? The fact is some games are short, some are dull and some are both short and dull. I understand that this is a problem for broadening the game's appeal, but it's how chess works. Get over it. Or failing that, go watch some WWF. You'll find something more appropriate for your tastes there.

Anyhoo, since there haven't been any rook endings in Chennai so far, here's a little something to keep us going. The position on the left is a study by Troitsky. On the right it's Berger's work**. White has the move in both cases, but there's only one forced win here. So,

Here's your full point

Nope, it's this one.

Rook and pawn Index
BORP? Index

Hear No Evil

By which I mean I like them - although I recognise that they're becoming a tougher and tougher sell, especially for a non--chesser audience.

** Keres (Practical Chess Endings) says the Berger study dates from 1922. Nunn (Secrets of Rook Endings) says 1890. Levenfish and Smyslov have the position but don't even credit it to Berger, let alone give a year. The Troitsky position isn't in Nunn.  Keres and L&S both have it but it isn't dated.


ejh said...

You don't meet the whale in the first chapter of Moby Dick

Indeed not. You don't meet it until about page 550 in my edition, by which time nearly every reader has given up and thrown themselves overboard.

I am yet to meet an American who actually likes the book. It's kind of their equivalent of Ulysses, the great classic that everybody acknowledges as such but doesn't actually like.

(Not that I've read Ulysses. And I did in fact finish Moby Dick.)

Nigel Short said...

Kasparov was not clearly better in the game against me which you refer to. Having analysed the game relatively recently, with the aid of a powerful computer, I concluded that the position is actually drawn with correct play. Nevertheless it would have been interesting to see it played out and there is no guarantee it would have been played well by either side.

John Cox said...

Nobody’s read Ulysses. It simply can’t be done. It’s not just the literary equivalent of climbing Everest without supplementary oxygen; it’s the equivalent of climbing a mountain on the Moon on the same basis.

The winning one is the one where you can get to c5 with the king and then go Rc8 Rxa7; Kb6+. I’ve lost sight of whether that’s Keres or Berger and/or blue or red. I’m also unsure of whether the king has to be on g4 or whether g5 would do, but I’m sure you’re going to tell us.

And yeah, Hikaru’s a berk for the reasons you enumerate excellently. Looking at those games you’d have thought Karpov might have tried the C-K a bit more often instead of getting mated in the Zaitsev the whole time, wouldn’t you? Wonder what opening has the best record in WC matches against e4? Bearing in mind Tal’s troubles in 1963, it could very well be the CK.

Jonathan B said...

Morning Nigel.

I'm happy to stand corrected about that game. If you say that objectively speaking it should be a draw anyway then I'll take your word for it.

Nevertheless, I think it's still valid as an example of Gazza clearly not giving a monkey's toss about putting on a show.

David R said...

Has anyone read Thomas Mann's 'Joseph and His Brothers'? Someone I know claims to have read it in two weeks. Improbable in my opinion. After two weeks, I'm ten pages in, leaving a further 1490 to negotiate. Fancy I'd be better spending my time playing through Kas-Karp CKs

Jonathan B said...

Thanks Nonny, you're too kind.

JC has the rook ending (It's Troitsky/Blue). The problem with starting with the king on g7 is that when you bring the kings to the c-file and then go Rc8, black has ... Rxa7 and in answer to ...Kb8+ which looks like it might win the rook, there's the simple Kb6.

Anonymous said...

The Shredder table-base as ever gives the solution. It's essentially the discovery trick as noted by John Cox. It appears that it can works with g2/g4 as shown, and also g3/g5 and g4/g6. It fails with g5/g7 as in the alternative study and also as one of the comments.

Adam FF said...

I missed the discovery trick but thought I had an alternative win: March the kings over to c4 an c2, lose a move with 1. Kb4, Rb1+ 2. Kc5 Ra1 3. Kc4 and now any move by Black destroys his a- and b-file checking plan. However, looking again I think that Black now has a new, alternative plan: 3. ... Ra2 4. Kb4 Kb2 5. Kb5 Ka1! 6. Kb6 Rb2+ 7. Kc5 Ra2 and White cannot make progress. I did find this line and the idea of switching plans quite instructive though.

ejh said...

After two weeks, I'm ten pages in

More than I managed of The Magic Mountain.

Anonymous said...

Should be WWE, not WWF. There was a lawsuit about, I think.