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A nice miniature December 14, 2008

Posted by dorigo in Art, chess, games, internet, personal.
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Just played a quick 5′ game on the Internet Chess Club. I was rather pleased to play a nice miniature (a game lasting very few moves, and usually concluding with a fine mating combination). The game tactics centers around the theme of the pin. On a diagonal, on a file, and even on a rank!

Here is the transcript, with very few comments. My handle is Tonno, and I am black. I feel compelled to say that I did not check the moves on a computer, since my Fritz 8 has stopped running until I show it the original CD again… Oh well. A 5′ game is not too meaningful to analyze with a computer anyway!

Nyudrev (1929) – Tonno (1931)

1.g3 d5 2.Bg2 Bf5 3.d3 Nf6 4.Nd2 e5 aggressive. Black should be ok in this system already now.

5.e4 dxe4 6.dxe4 Bg4 7.Ne2 Nc6 sort of threatening Nd4…

8.c3 Qd3! A very ambitious move, showing that black is in a fighting mood. Move 8 by white was a weakening of the d3 square, and black exploits it at once. Now white cannot castle, and the pin of the Ne2 is very unpleasant, so…

9.f3 trying to get rid of the assault, but I feel inspired…

9…. 0-0-0!

A piece sacrifice that grants black a continuing initiative against the exposed white king.

10.fxg4 Nxg4 Now if white castles, black can either check on e3 with the queen, and then on f2 with the knight; or even better, play Ne3 forcing the white queen away, after which the Ne2 is lost.

11. Bh3 pinning the knight and preventing its use for a while.

11… h5 12.0-0 white has managed to castle, but his troubles are by no means over.

12….Bc5+ 13.Kg2 Be3 Suddenly, white is in danger of losing the Nd2, which is pinned on the d file.

14.Rf3 appears to save it, since the Be3 is now pinned on the black queen on the third rank, but

14….f5!! frees the activity of the Ng4, at the same time threatening fxe4 which would force the Rf3 to move away. If now Rxf5 the Nd2 is lost, and if instead exf5 e4! the rook has to move with the same effect.

15.Bxg4 hxg4 opening a deadly file aiming at the white king.

16.Rxe3 Qxe3 17.Ng1 if white can now play 18.Qe2, he will soon untangle, and a draw might be fought for. But black has a winning move:

17…. Rxh2+! a final sacrifice decides the game. White resigns.


1. Odysseus - December 15, 2008

Hooray, a chess post after all! I was afraid you had stopped posting about chess altogether. Also, a nice game; exactly what I think those KIA players deserve – go learn some theory, Nyudrev! 😉

2. BooRadley - December 15, 2008

How about publishing the transcript of that Anand interview?

dorigo - December 15, 2008

Hi Boo,

too much work – the tape is not of good quality. What I remember is that I asked him who taught him chess (his mother), then I asked him about his experience in the world junior championship. I asked him whom he had played among the players then taking part in the GMA event at the Sheraton, and he said he’d played Sax and he’d won, and he mentioned another player – I think it was a woman, maybe Chiburdanidze ? We discussed time controls and the GMA organization, and at the end I showed him that puzzle.


3. carlbrannen - December 17, 2008

I switched laptops (dropped the last one and it started getting iffy), and still haven’t put Fritz on the new one. However, re the problem where you have to keep inserting the CD, I ended up solving this problem with the assistance of an uh, well, um, “patch” that fixes the program so it no longer needs the CD.

The version I had was bought for $10 at one of the (should be world famous (for their unique and singular appearances) Fry’s Electronics stores and was an older version of Fritz and all that, but it is more than enough for me. The reason I had to do this was because otherwise I couldn’t get it to do infinite analysis. Try searching for chessbase+generic+patch.

4. carlbrannen - January 20, 2009

When I showed this game to one of the obnoxious chess geniuses at Crossroads Mall he said it was horrible and that it consisted of blunder after blunder.

In retrospect, we must have missed the capture of the pawn at e4 because there was a pawn in the way which made the move Qd3 into Qxd3. So he was probably right, in a way.

Fritz says that white had the advantage midway through the game, after black castled queen side, but threw it away. White’s big mistakes were 15 Bxg4 and 17, anything other than Qf1. But even with Qf1, White ends up losing another minor piece, then another, and it’s bad. So turning points, by Fritz, not much time thinking about it:

4..e5 best by Fritz
5 e4 -0.31 best was Ngf3
6 Ne2 -0.59 best was Ngf3
9 f3 -1.03 best was h3 -0.72
9.. 0-0-0 +1.78 best was Be6 -1.00
12 0-0 +1.03 best was Ng1 +1.59
12.. Bc5+ best was
13 Kg2 -0.97 best was Kh1 +0.47
13.. Be3 +0.44 best was f5 -0.97
15 Bxg4 -3.34 best was Qf1 -0.28
17 Ng1 only move was Qf1 -3.75


P.S. My paper for Phys Math Central is done and I’m looking for suggestions. It is supposed to be readable, I look forward to your comments (which should be over on my blog if I’m not going to miss them). So here’s a link to the discussion.

5. dorigo - January 20, 2009

a blitz game cannot be analyzed as a normal game, as I am sure you know. Decisions are taken that are meant to make the opponent think, rather than creating the best position. Then, what game did you show to your chess genius, if an e4 pawn was there which should not have ? How could his assessment be relevant given that premise ?

I sent you a voucher before christmas, did you receive it ?

6. carlbrannen - January 20, 2009


Oh yes, I am aware of my limitations. I’m amazed you guys do that well that quickly. My analyzing your blitz games at my leisure, perhaps with computer assistance, is about the right ratio of time constraints.

While I don’t play at all well, I do recognize good play when I see it, and mostly that is the desire to complicate. Furthermore, I think this applies to more than just blitz games. The better players make more interesting games even if one cannot follow them at the speed they’re played at. This also creates the things of beauty which is where I enjoy the game. I prefer to watch than play but every now and then I do get forced into a game.

And the obnoxious chess genius ended up wasting his time looking at a position that was not played. I admit that my main concern was waiting for him to go away rather than making sure that his analysis was correct. In the places where he was looking at the correct position, Fritz disagreed with him. No matter.

Yes, sorry that you must not have gotten my email thanking you. It is a beautiful certificate, but it seems that it could have been emailed at less effort.

I’m getting a substantial amount of advice from friends on improvements and should have things fairly well taken care of by then. As an editor, you may have special insight. I figured that since Phys Math Central is an electronic journal, I should be complete rather than terse.

The paper is similar to Regge trajectories but having to do with radial excitations instead of angular momenta. So for it to be valid, it has to apply not to just a few picked examples, but to all hadrons. So it cannot be a very short paper, there are a lot of hadrons.

7. dorigo - January 21, 2009

Hi Carl,

it is very common to end up getting the wrong position and then drawing random conclusions while analyzing… I remember a few sessions of analysis with a Fide master of some of my tournament games, when I did not have the score of the game with me… Awkward feeling, when you think you remember a game and then you realize you wasted somebody’s time.

I’m glad you got the voucher, and I am looking forward to seeing your paper. I understand it is a big effort to try and be general with all the hadrons that are out there! Let me know how it is going.


8. carlbrannen - January 23, 2009

I’ve been getting a lot of advice on the paper, mostly spelling and the like, and maybe it is getting better. The latest version is here.

I’ve decided that I’m going to have to apologize to the obnoxious chess genius for being rude to him the other day. I knew his 15 second analysis of your game was lacking and told him to go away. He had insisted on giving me his opinion and compared the situation to physics, wouldn’t I want the best possible advice on physics as well, etc. It’s annoying when people won’t let you think things out for yourself, and it’s even more annoying when they are wrong in their help and won’t go away. But I will apologize nevertheless.

dorigo - January 23, 2009

Carl, you seem to have found a real nagger there. But analyzing in company is always a lot of fun.
The last time I looked at your draft I found it very complete, but lacking a lot of polishing here and there. My worst criticism would be that you need to quote numbers with errors. Also, an attempt like yours should be accompanied by an analysis of the significance of the matches, including the trial factor.


9. carlbrannen - January 24, 2009


I’m a slow chess thinker and our obnoxious guy, (who is nowhere near the best player at the club), talks way too fast for me to understand. He might as well shout down a well.

I once saw him blunder at blitz, failing to take a crucial pawn. It was clear to me and an onlooker that the pawn was toast. After the game ended a few moves later, I asked him about this and he said that he had counted the number of attacking and defending pieces and concluded the pawn was safe.

This was when I realized part of why I am so inefficient at chess. Instead of using algorithms like counting, I do all the moves in my head. So I’d known that after two or three of the exchanges, one of the pieces he was counting on to retake was going to end up pinned by a side effect. The only reason I was able to see this in real time where he was not was because I was looking at just that area of the board, he was responsible for the whole side’s moves.

The problem with significance of matches is that there are an infinite number of choices of mathematical function, hence there always exists an infinite number of functions that fit any data to any desired accuracy. This is the basic postdiction problem for theory, which is even worse than the bump postdiction problem for experiment.

For a while I messed around with coming up with a way of analyzing things where one took into account the number of bits used in defining the function, as compared to the number of bits in the data that are fitted. It turns out that it takes a lot of bits to do this. Eventually I decided that I would simply include 41 example fits. That way, to get a 1 percent overall probability, I only need 0.01^{1/41} = 0.89 probability on each, assuming independence (which is at best only arguable).

Also, I didn’t want to include this for negotiating reasons. It appears to me that there are too many ways it can be done and no two people will agree on which is the correct one. The peer reviewers are likely to insist on this being done in precisely their preferred way so, why should I type up something they’re going to reject.

The paper has error bars for mass figures but not for the values v and s. The computer program which spits out the best s and v values (by a least squares fit), also can spit out the errors on these so if these are desired, I can add them easily enough, and I think it’s a good idea to go through and redo everything like this, just to check the numbers. I left them out because the point of the paper is not those values, but instead the masses.

I’m happy with the response to the paper, the abstract must have been sufficiently attractive that some people who are rather busy have told me that they are reading it anyway.

10. carlbrannen - January 31, 2009

Okay, I ran into the obnoxious chess genius and apologized for being rude. And I held my tongue and didn’t explain that his analysis was in error. God I love being old enough that I can manage human relations.

11. dorigo - January 31, 2009

You know Carl, that’s very true – we learn to hold our tongue with time. Just to make our life easier sometimes…
Unfortunately I still have to learn how to hold my fingers from typing 🙂

12. carlbrannen - February 3, 2009

Along the line of “holding one’s tongue”, you might compare with the recent rant by Christian Bale.

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