Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer 960 Tournament Starts With 14 Players and a Bang!

Everyone wants to see how a 960 game plays out!
Just because the tournament started, doesn’t mean you can’t play the first round. This tournament is running each round for two weeks! We know it is summer and people have other activities to get in. So you only have to show up every other week to play your round – if you want or need to.

On the weeks you don’t have a round, the Club will still have the Ladder Tournament, casual games and lessons going on. So stop on by any Monday night for a fun night of chess.

Now for the bang! There was one big upset in the tournament’s first round. The winners in the first round were Ken T, Gene M, Mike N, Luke S, Luigi and Paul M. Nice job guys.

But the slight shocker was the win by Zach Romeos over his much higher rated opponent!

Fischer Random or Chess 960 is a variation of chess where the back rank pieces are randomly placed on the board. A couple things are certain in this type of chess; One is that the regular chess openings theory does you no good, and Two - White hass an even bigger advantage at the start in most of the position, than in regular chess. Black is usually on his heels right away.

Zach did have the White pieces in this game. That being said, lets watch how this upset unfolded.
The position started as Position 501 (yes, someone actually numbered all 960 of them) – which starting from left to right has the pieces NBRNKRBQ. And the game when as follows:

1. c3   e5
2. Bc2   d5
3. Nb3   c6
4. g3   Bd6
5. d4   e4
Black is building a strong center. Always a good idea in standard chess. Black is a very strong opening player in regular chess and wants to get to familiar territory.

6. f3   f5
7. fxe4    fxe4
8. Rxf8+   Kxf8
9. Be3   Be6
10. Nf2    Nb6

White to make move No. 11
The first ten moves are over and the game is essentially even. Black cannot castle and his king is exposed, but for compensation, he does have the stronger center and more active bishops. According to Fritz, Black stands slightly better at (-.11). This is big for Black as in 960 chess, White has an even bigger starting advantage with the first move since he can sometimes attack an unprotected pawn right away.

11.  O-O-O    Nc4
12.  Nxe4!?     dxe4
White instinctively realizes he needs to trade the piece for two of the center pawns or get smothered by them. There were other move options - but this option gives White some play, rather than being on the defensive against a strong opponent.
13. Qxe4   Nxe3
14. Qxe3   …….
Black has improved his lead to (-.77) as his more active pieces are stronger than White’s two center pawns. But he has to get active with them and his Queen out of the corner and into the game….with g6.

14. …..     Rc7?
Looks natural and right, but not so. It leaves his pieces outgunned with the White Lady dominating the board. The lead evaporates and the game is dead even - after White’s best next move.

15. Nc5   Bf7
16. Qg5   Be7?
Blocks the rook from helping defend the King. Re7 was preferred by Fritz.

17. Qe5!   Rc8
White has a (+2.5) advantage with that best move. Other options of decent moves lessens the lead to less than half that - around (+.9).

18. Bf5     Bg5??
White continues to make the strongest move and Black…..not so much. Ra8 to hide the rook from attack was needed. It’s looking bleak for Black (+6).

19.  e3     Bf6
20. Nd7+   Kg8
Black is essentially a Queen down because His Lady is entombed in the corner.

21.  Qd6    Resigns
Black did not like the looks of 21. ….Ne6, 22. Bxe6, Re8 23. Bxf7+, Kxf7 24. Rf1, h5 25. Ne5+, Kg8 26. Qd7, Re7 27. Qc8+, Kh7 28. Qf5+, Kg8 29. Ng6

Great game Zach R!
If you have never played Fischer Random / Chess 960, you are missing a fun time at the chess board. Come on out on Monday and check it out.

1 comment:

  1. This was an unexpected and thrilling win for me.
    These were a couple things I felt helped contribute to my win:

    1) King Safety!!!

    This is a pretty obvious one, but it takes a little more effort when dealing with the complex positional issues that sometimes arise in Chess 960. When playing 960, I strongly recommend allotting some time at the beginning of your match to find an efficient and safe way to castle.
    I knew from move one that I wanted to castle long, as castling short would require a weakening of the castled position in order to activate the Queen.

    2) When looking for candidate moves - always consider forcing moves!

    After the forcing move 8. Rxf8+, Black's King is exposed and no longer reserves the right to castle. White has ideas like 0-0-0, Rf1, Ne4 with discovered check winning a Pawn. However, Black had other intentions, and after 11...Nc4, the only reasonable reply I could find was 12. Nxe4. Which brings us to another principle...

    3) When you're ahead in development, look for ways to open the position!

    Looking back on this game I feel like 12.Nxe4 was the critical move of the game because even though White is sacrificing the exchange, doing so opens the position and allows White's active Queen to get right into the battle while Black's Queen watches from the sidelines.

    And lastly, but certainly not least...

    4) When you find a good move, stop and look for a better one!

    I was delighted to discover while reading this blog posting that many of my moves were the "right" moves according to computer analysis. Were all my moves the best moves? Certainly not! However, this game proves that two or three good moves during a critical point in a game can turn a losing position into an advantage.

    Looking forward to the continuation of the 960 tournament!