Intense pleasure from a chess move June 18, 2007Posted by dorigo in Art, chess, computers, games, internet, personal.
I know, I am growing old… Do not get me wrong though – I still believe chess comes second as a means of providing pleasure to me. But this evening it came a close second indeed.
I was playing blitz chess on the internet – 5 0 games on the internet chess club (my handle there is tonno, by the way), which means five minutes for all your moves, and no move-by-move increments. After a French advance opening rather sloppily played by both of us, we reached the following position:
I am white, and black is to move. Can you see that white is better ? It should not be difficult to acknowledge, given the dominion of the c-file, the space, and the venomous “bad” bishop on g5 – a bishop which in similar positions white would love to get rid of, but which is instrumental in creating a bind here.
In the diagrammed position the correct continuation would have been 26. … Rc7 27.h3, Rhc8 28.Qb2 and the game could have gone on for many more moves. But I counted on the enticing position of my queen on c3, which had been only apparently placed there to hope for 26….Qxa3?? 27.Nc5+ (winning the black queen), as probably black thought, but to prepare a much meaner trick.
As black moved his knight with 26…. Na7, I felt a deep, deep wave of pleasure as I slid my queen up the c-file, only to stop it one square short of capturing black’s c8 rook: my move was played instantly, as if I were in a trance. I had not calculated the details in any way: it HAD to be the correct move. In these instances, which happen extremely rarely to me, I feel like a complete idiot savant: I do not have to compute, I see the solution.
27.Qc7!!!! is one of the most brilliant, beautiful, and esthetically pleasing moves it ever happened me to play in 23 years of “serious” chess practice. The queen stops en prise of the rook, immortal and yet certain of its own sacrifice. It can’t be taken, and yet it must be.
After 27….Rxc7 28.Rxc7+ Ke8 29.Rxa7, black paused and thought for a while. It is clear that he is utterly lost, but it is not easy to resign such a position. So he played 29…., Qd7 – a counter-queen sacrifice which is obviously not giving any hope. I replied 30.Ra8+, and black resigned. There follows 30….Qc8 31.Raxc8 Kd7 32.R1c7 mate.
Putting the position into Fritz 8 only diminishes my joy very slightly – everything is correct, there is nothing to blame about white’s play. But the fact that the silicon monster sees Qc7 in a fraction of a second is kind of annoying: it is just as if beauty was of no interest to computers: that move is worth 10 pawns, but it needs no more than a very quick look to them.
I now recall the last time I had such a vision during a chess game – and I reported about that experience in my Quantum Diaries blog too.