Monday, November 24, 2014

Kasparov on Kasparov part 3

The newest book of Kasparov arrived and... it is a small disappointment. Pity that I have to start the review in this way, but I really was expecting him to discuss the worlchampionships after the Karpov-area and now it seems there are barely 10 pages per WC (Short, Anand and Kramnik). Kasparov went in such depth in his games with Karpov that I assumed a similar approach would be used for his other WC-matches. Kasparov managed to make the long string of draws in the first match to look interesting. But about each non-Karpov match only 2 games are shown, e.g. of the match with Kramnik only 2 games and 2 fragments. And that while - a.f.a.i.k. - the match against Short was the most spectacular of all the matches which he played. Beautiful openings and middlegames, a Western challenger, some arguing outside the playingroom, a good coverage by the BBC, in brief finally a match with some spirit - a big contrast with the matches against Karpov which mainly took place on the board and produced marvelous chess. The attractiveness of those matches was solely depending of Kasparov.

A global minus-point is that the book only counts 3 + 1 chapter. For a book of 501 pages this is too little. The first chapter (pages 7 - 170) treats immediately already “Short, Anand and Las Palmas”, which is a reflection of the brief coverage of those WC-matches (Short 24 pages, Anand 17 pages). This is a gigantic cut compared with the attention given to the matches from 1986 and 1987 against Karpov ( a full book!) and a forecast of the mix WC/ tournament-chess in this and the next chapter. This mix isn't good for the structure of the book - it would have been much better if the World-championships were covered in separate chapters and in between the often very successful tournament-results. With the chosen approach the chapters are too big and they don't form a unit in time nor theme. So why was this classification chosen? At the end of chapter 1 Kasparov calls the tournament of Las Palmas 1996 the modern variant of the AVRO-tournament of 1938 - the new and old topplayer (Aljechin/ Kasparov and Capablanca/Karpov) against the youth. The end of an era - since then Kasparov plays against the new generation. It is a valid argument (which does not absolve that the chapter was better split in several smaller parts). 

Chapter 2 (Second Peak) covers Linares 1997 (page 171) till the lost match with Kramnik (page 330). Also here I can agree with the end of the chapter but not with the size.

Chapter 3 (Life after Death, pages 331-460) lasts till his final tournament-game (against Topalov in Linares 2005). Also logical. That chapter 4, the fourth wheel on a tricycle is pity, but it is what it is.

What I notice at the content is that it looks he could only prepare well on Karpov in a match-situation. Short and Kramnik surprised him completely with their openings and also by extra chess-worries those matches clearly kept a bad aftertaste in Kasparov's mouth. This also generates the impression that Kasparov poorly prepared himself and that it was not him steering the situation but the opponents. Here not "Kasparov the Great" was playing but just Kasparov the super-grandmaster. About those moments he clearly doesn't like to write. Fortunately for the match with Kramnik we can use the detailed description of Bareev in the book “From London to Elista” (no idea if books of such level are available about the Short and Anand match).

On the other hand it is only a semi-disappointment as the tournament-chess which he played since 1993, is very well explained. Not fantastically but good till very good. Good because the keygames are well covered and now explained by the analysis of "the master". Kasparov played so many model-games that even summarizing them in this short review is a bit too much.

My personal favorite is Shirov-Kasparov (a model-example for everybody playing the Svechnikov with black), but this time I use the opportunity to show a "normal"game of Kasparov. Nikolic was for a long period just not top 10, but he was a regular customer in top-tournaments in the 90-ties. Nevertheless Kasparov scored 13,5/16 against Nikolic. In this game Kasparov sacrifices temporarily a knight to complicate Nikolic's task but Nikolic plays well. As a consequence this is in fact a very high class game, the analysis can easily resist the engines of today. Only due to timetrouble-errors black lost the game. The game is covered over 6 pages with comments - not only moves - i copied the comments of Kasparov on move 9, 13 and 15. The annotations are from Kasparov.
[Event "Horgen CS"] [Site "Horgen"] [Date "1994"] [Round "7"] [White "Kasparov, Garry"] [Black "Nikolic, Predrag"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C18"] [WhiteElo "2805"] [BlackElo "2655"] [Annotator "HK5000"] [PlyCount "77"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. Qg4 Kf8 8. h4 Qc7 9. Qd1 $1 {I was not able to invent something better than sacrificing the d-pawn. If 9.Kd1 then 9...h5 is annoying while the gambit of the pawn with 9.Bd2 cxd4 10.cxd4 Qxc2 seems not to give much prospects of an advantage: 11.Rc1 Qe4 12.Qxe4 dxe4 or 11...Qa4!? (Ponkratof-Fedoseev, Taranrog 2011).} cxd4 10. cxd4 Qc3 11. Bd2 Qxd4 12. Nf3 Qe4 13. Be2 {Here I was already more at ease; the position is rather open, the black king is misplaced, white has excellent compensation for the gambit. Now it is blacks turn to think how do I neutralize whites growing initiative?} b6 $1 14. O-O Ba6 15. c4 $1 {Pawns are not important anymore - it is more relevant to open files to attack (and at the same time white also solves his weaknesses). Now a very interesting tactical phase starts.} Nbc6 16. Ng5 Qxe5 $1 17. Re1 Qf6 18. Bh5 $1 g6 19. cxd5 $1 exd5 20. Bg4 h6 $6 21. Ne6 $1 fxe6 22. Rxe6 Qf7 23. Qa4 $6 Bc4 $1 24. Rxc6 Nxc6 25. Qxc6 Re8 26. Bd7 $1 Kg7 $1 27. Bc3 Kh7 28. h5 $5 Rhf8 29. hxg6 Qxg6 30. Bxe8 Qxe8 $1 31. Qd6 $1 Qf7 32. Bd4 Re8 33. Rc1 Re4 34. Be5 $1 Rg4 $6 35. Rc3 Rg6 $2 36. Qd8 $1 Rg8 37. Qh4 Rg5 $2 38. f4 Rh5 39. Qd8 1-0
It becomes clear from the analyses that Kasparov refreshed the analysis with an engine afterwards. At move 16 he shows an improvement on his analysis by using a computer in 2012. The level of the analysis is high and gives a good image of the rest of the games in the book (comparable with the analysis of the other books). The next game (Kasparov-Shirov from the same tournament in Horgen 1994) is by the way once called " the game of the 21st century". Kasparovs rook-sacrifice against the bishop of b7 is still not found by engines today (see a previous article on this site). If the analysis are of excellent quality and readable (not a jungle as Hubner) then the attached comments are often colored. If Kasparov wins then it was almost against all odds. If he loses then he was a bit sick, his mind absent or just a bad day. Apparently a healthy Kasparov never lost.

And still I can't call the collection of games fantastic as a number of games are only fragments - sometimes of only 1 move. Then it is a bit of a delusion to announce the book as a collection of 100 best games after the matches with Karpov. I expect at least 100 complete games. And I am sure that Kasparov can present more stuff, considering his oeuvre - it would improve a lot the empathy with the covered tournaments.

For sake of clarity, there are more than 100 games, but the + 100 games are in chapter 4 with the simul-games, rapid and blitzgames. This chapter goes through the complete chronology (which is a bit pity - it is a missed chance to get some variety with the 440 pages of Kasparov the Great), but it is nothing more than a collection "best of" less important games. The games in that chapter averagely get 2 pages - a clear difference with the "real" games of the first 3 chapters.

Kasparov touches very briefly his usage of the first Chessbase release - again a half missed opportunity to discuss this. Kasparov also chose not to show any tournament-tables which saves space but it interrupts less the text. It is one big, long text - and the number of anecdotes fall a bit short too - apparently Kasparov doesn't like to gossip about colleagues. He does discuss the incident in Linares with Polgar, when he did/ didn't release the piece and made another move with the knight. According to Kasparov nothing happened - or what did you expect?

At the end he hints clearly that no WC-match is granted anymore to him (probably because of his political ambitions in Russia) but also the other players treat him more like a has-been, somebody to free space to the new generation. Remark that Kasparov till the end of his career was the number 1 at the world-ranking! Personally I think that he stopped far too early; the fact that he still pops up at large events clearly indicates that he will never give up chess. His losses are not only against the world-top, but now also against lesser gods (e.g. Huzman). However Kasparov does show generosity by commenting his last official game (a loss against Topalov in Linares).

Once I made the remark that Kasparov after his predecessors and his own chess-biography could also write about his successors (see bookreview). However now that I read this book, I hope he doesn't. It became clear to me that for Kasparov it is only about himself. He seems not capable of writing in objective praise about what happened after him in chess.

On one side too bad, it would be interesting to get his view about the 10 years after his departure - of tournament chess to be understood (on chess-politics I don't have any illusions - and his criticism that chess is now hidden in remote places like Khanty-Mansyisk or Elista, instead of the forefront like London or New York is very justified). Especially the break-through of the new generation, which Kasparov barely knew (Carlsen, Caruana, Nakamura) would be interesting to get his views upon. However taking into account my previous critiques, namely Kasparov considering himself as the culminating point of chess-evolution, the chances are that his comments won't be so objective.

Maybe the game hasn't changed much since Kasparov and we had to wait till Carlsen won everything, often without sophisticated openings, the trademark (but later also the self-created weakness) of Kasparov. But chess is now more than ever alive, only unfortunately without Kasparov as he could have continued surely 10 years at the top. However the pain of the lost image was too big and in fact he stopped just like Fischer (and Judit Polgar) when he was still at his best. It is not a coincidence  that he often mentions the total-score against other top-players - which are often heavily in his favor. Only Kramnik, Lautier (only standard chess) and Gulko (3/8) have a plus-score (over multiple games) against Kasparov. Probably very few players can show such dominance.

And now that we are talking about engines - almost not a word about the games and matches Kasparov played. Deep Blue gets a half line (!), the other matches are not even mentioned at all and I could not find the game against the world - for sure a gap in the mixed bag of chapter 4.

I conclude that Kasparov better split the book in 2 to at least discuss the WC-matches completely, to expand the fragments to full games and to protect the chronology (the only reason to put rapid and simul-games in chapter 4 seems to be that the 100 best games since 1993 should be together). This would also offer the chance to get the book more organized.

Why is it not done? Tiredness of the project or was 5 books predecessors, 4 books Karpov and 3 books about himself sufficient?

Finally some small remarks. A glance at the index behind - which seems a bit mangled (the alphabetic ordered references to the games are neither time-ordered, neither page-ordered) - shows that Kasparov was mainly playing against the world-top - his preparation against familiar opponents was half of the work. That is why the book consists of 90% games against approximately the top 10 players of the world and only rarely against a lesser god. A remarkable name of these "lesser gods" is by the way our Russian-Belgian player Chuchelov, which Kasparov promotes as a good grandmaster (he is now by the way the second of Caruana). Concerning chapter 4, this is a little minuspoint: other opponents or shorter time-controls produce often interesting games too. And the linguistic mistake "an historic tournament" keeps popping up as in his previous books.

All in all I would give this book 3 out of 5 - it is maybe the worst from the series. This sounds negative, but the other books were also of a very high quality.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Commenting games

Often the winner in top-tournaments is invited to explain his game in front of the camera. This gives the spectators the opportunity to get a glimpse of what the top-grandmaster saw during the game and which emotions he experienced. Personally I find those post-mortems the most interesting and entertaining part of the complete broadcast. Nobody except the players are able to provide those insights so it also logical that a game is best commented by one of both players.

If I demand in my previous article live boards for a commentator then I also realize that this task should not be taken lightly.  Providing good comments on a game which you don't/ didn't play is not easy. I often catch oneself that I am so annoyed by the live comments that I switch off the sound and only look to the variations and evaluations of the engines. So I do understand HK5000 in his last article.

You won't find many detailed comments on my blog about games which I didn't play. Many of the published games from other players have the sole function to illustrate a certain theme. To dissect a game I almost exclusively do when I was involved myself in it. My article which games to analyze explains that I sift to the bottom all my own games. Hereby I imply the 2nd main reason why I often don't comment so deeply games from others. Somebody a bit active as player already has sufficient work with analyzing his own played games. To create high quality analysis needs a lot of time as explained in my article to analyze with an engine.

Of course time is a relative notion as motivation is closely connected. I also notice this behavior on my blog. Most reactions happen by players noticing their own name in the article. To abstain from commenting is much harder in such case which does not mean that I don't want to see comments, at contrary. The delicate balance between time/ motivation was also the reason why I refused polity a few times in the past to contribute at some analysis (e.g. for the praised book of the Tarrasch defense). 

Today anybody can create decent analysis with engines, see article theory. You search in the germane databases for the important games and you scrutinize the moves. Which databases to use and which games are important was covered in my article improvisation. To only prepare your own repertoire is already a gigantic task or maybe simply impossible. It is clear that only a thorough opening-study is made if you are pretty sure that you will reuse this later.

Commenting a game played by others and moreover with an opening completely outside of your own repertoire is no fun. I often read comments which are completely wrong. 2 examples of the internet on which I could not resist to react : schaaksitechessbase. In the book My Great Predecessor Part 2 I even caught Kasparov committing a serious shortcoming in the analysis. It regards the game Bronstein - Ljubojevic of which I already covered a fragment in my article the horizon.
[Event "Petropolis Interzonal"] [Site "Petropolis"] [Date "1973.08.07"] [Round "11"] [White "Bronstein, David I"] [Black "Ljubojevic, Ljubomir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B03"] [WhiteElo "2585"] [BlackElo "2570"] [PlyCount "81"] 1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5. f4 dxe5 6. fxe5 c5 7. d5 e6 8. Nc3 exd5 9. cxd5 c4 10. Nf3 {(The best move according to Kasparov but nothing about d6 which was well known in advance of the publication of the book.)}Bg4 {(After Bb4 Kasparov admits that it is unclear if white can claim any advantage. I have not studied this in detail but black scores more than 50 percent with Bb4.)} 11. Qd4 Bxf3 12. gxf3 Bb4 13. Bxc4 O-O 14. Rg1 g6 15. Bg5 Qc7 16. Bb3 Bc5 17. Qf4 Bxg1 18. d6 Qc8 19. Ke2 Bc5 20. Ne4 N8d7 21. Rc1 Qc6 22. Rxc5 Nxc5 23. Nf6 Kh8 24. Qh4 Qb5 25. Ke3 h5 26. Nxh5 Qxb3 27. axb3 Nd5 28. Kd4 Ne6 29. Kxd5 Nxg5 30. Nf6 Kg7 31. Qxg5 Rfd8 32. e6 fxe6 33. Kxe6 Rf8 34. d7 a5 35. Ng4 Ra6 36. Ke5 Rf5 37. Qxf5 gxf5 38. d8=Q fxg4 39. Qd7 Kh6 40. Qxb7 Rg6 41. f4 1-0
The analysis explains us that 10.Nf3 is the best move but I have serious doubts about that especially because Kasparov admits later that he is not sure if which can obtain some advantage with this move. Besides the critical move 10.d6 is not mentioned at all. Although the move is already known from 1976 so several decades before the book was written. I played 1 standard game in this line.
[Event "Open Gent 3de ronde"] [Date "2008"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Passchyn, M."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B03"] [WhiteElo "2319"] [BlackElo "2036"] [PlyCount "73"] 1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5. f4 dxe5 6. fxe5 c5 7. d5 e6 8. Nc3 exd5 {(I encountered in 1997 the more obscure Qh4 line by Geert Danneel.) } 9. cxd5 c4 10. d6 Nc6 11. Nb5 Qh4 12. g3 Qe4 13. Qe2 Qxe2 $6 $146 {(I evaluated the critical main-line with Qh1 already in 1997 as very good for white. The unknown Bf5 looks to me the only way to avoid bigger damage.)} 14. Bxe2 Nxe5 15. Nc7 Kd8 16. Nxa8 Nxa8 17. Bf4 Bxd6 18. O-O-O Kc7 19. Nf3 Nd3 20. Bxd3 Bxf4 21. gxf4 cxd3 22. Rxd3 Be6 $6 {(This inaccuracy is too much for blacks position. Better is Bf5 but also then black has a very difficult defense ahead.)} 23. Ng5 Nb6 24. Re1 Bd5 25. Nxf7 Rf8 26. Re7 Kb8 27. Ne5 Rxf4 28. Nd7 Nxd7 29. Rxd5 Nb6 30. Rd8 Nc8 31. Rxg7 Rh4 32. Rdd7 Rxh2 33. Rxb7 Ka8 34. Rxh7 Re2 35. a4 Re5 36. Kc2 Re3 37. b3 1-0
Of course we ask ourselves what happens if black takes the rook on h1. Online I've won already countless blitz and bulletgames in this variation. A short summary can be viewed below.
[Event "Rated game, 3m 0s"] [Site "Main Playing Hall"] [Date "2012"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Spezial"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B03"] [WhiteElo "2294"] [BlackElo "2349"] [PlyCount "35"] 1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5. f4 dxe5 6. fxe5 c5 7. d5 e6 8. Nc3 exd5 9. cxd5 c4 10. d6 {(Kasparov ignores completely this move in his analyses of the game Bronstein - Ljubojevic played in 1973.)} Nc6 11. Nb5 Qh4 12. g3 Qe4 13. Qe2 Qxh1 14. Bg5 {(I was already familiar with this move from my analysis made in 1997. In the databases the move pops up since 1999.)} f6 (14... Be6 15. O-O-O Qxg1 (15... Kd7 16. Bg2 Qxh2 (16... Qxg2 17. Qxg2 Rc8 18. Nf3 h6 19. Be3 Nb4 20. a3 Nd3 21. Kb1 Bd5 22. Nc3 Be6) 17. Bxc6) 16. d7 Nxd7 17. Nc7# { (Blitz 2008 Brabo - Bebysitter 1 - 0)}) (14... Nd5 15. O-O-O a6 (15... Qxg1 16. Rxd5 Qb6 17. Nc7 {(Bullet 2014 Brabo - Virginiax 1 - 0)}) 16. Bg2 Qxh2 17. Bxd5 axb5 (17... Qxe2 18. Bxc6 bxc6 19. d7 Bxd7 20. Nc7#) 18. Qxh2 {(Blitz 2009 Brabo - Furago 1 - 0)}) (14... Qxg1 15. Nc7 Kd7 16. Qg4 f5 17. Qxf5# { (Bullet 2012 Brabo - Guest 1 - 0)}) (14... Bf5 15. O-O-O Qxg1 16. d7 Nxd7 17. Nc7# {(Bullet 2013 Brabo - Guest 1 - 0)}) 15. Nc7 Kf7 16. e6 Kg6 17. Be3 { (I follow my own old analysis but current engines consider 0-0-0 as stronger.)} Bxd6 (17... f5 18. e7 Nxe7 19. Bxb6 axb6 20. dxe7 {(In 1997 I ended here my analysis and assessed the position as won for white which is still correct.)}) 18. Qg4# 1-0
I don't reproach anything Kasparov as it is an opening which he never played with any of the colors and probably never studied. By the way the other games of which he does possess opening-knowledge, largely compensate. I do have problems when a commentator hides on purpose elements because it does not fit the story or because it would show some own shortcomings. Unfortunately there are many of such type. Honesty is at my opinion the main asset to captivate the reader or spectator.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Computer chess

Today the internet provides us an abundance of information. If you follow Chessbase (and I don't mention on purpose Chessvibes, which after the acquisition by only remains a shadow of the initial site) then you know what I mean. There are not only the toptournaments which are successive but there are also national and local events, twic and many other blogs and sites. I forget the DVD's, chessmagazines, books which have some more or less some lasting value.

Currently the 7th season of TCEC is ongoing, and the games can be watched live. For people not yet familiar with TCEC, it is the unofficial WC for engines in tournament-chess. In the previous years this format earned credibility, the tournaments run smoothly and the site is exemplary. With the worldchampionship ahead (I wrote this article on 6-7th of November), it will be a difficult choice. In the previous WC between Anand and Carlen I did follow some games live (this was possible considering the time-difference with India as it was after office hours) and I really enjoyed it. Especially the game in which Carlsen in a rook-endgame sacrificed 2 pawns to challenge Anand with the advanced king and pawn made live a big impression. Running an engine in the background allows the kibitzer to easily understand the ongoing events. This is the big asset of live watching grandmaster-games.

Maybe some people will consider evaluating a position with a single number too simplistic for chess but for many modest players - and I am one of them- this evaluation plays the role of a grandmaster-commentator.
Recently - in fact still ongoing- I am following the 7th season of TCEC. We are now in stage 2 and I catch myself that I daily do a quick check how the ongoing game is folding out. The tournament is extremely strong - Carlsen would not have any chance as all engines are stronger than him. E.g. the average calculation-depth is 25-30 plies and it often happens that at the end of a main-line we have an endgame on the board, while the opening isn't finished yet. Another example: Chiron announced against Naum mate in 93 moves. It is not a record (in the Lomonosov database there are mate-sequences of more than 500 moves), but still it is impressive how deep chess-software gets. The fun part is that they play this time without real openings - engines have to invent theory themselves and try to achieve nice positions (engines better have to use some early middlegame-knowledge which otherwise is only necessary if the opponent leaves book early).

The 4 top-engines (Komodo, Stockfish, Houdini and newcomer Gull) have their own characteristics. Especially Komodo's analysis of his game against Houdini impressed me a lot.
[Event "TCEC Season 7 - Stage 2"] [Site ""] [Date "2014.11.04"] [Round "9"] [White "Houdini 4"] [Black "Komodo 1318"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D12"] [WhiteElo "3224"] [BlackElo "3230"] [PlyCount "219"] [EventDate "2014.10.24"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nh4 Bg6 7. Nxg6 hxg6 8. Qb3 Qc7 9. g3 Be7 10. Bg2 O-O 11. O-O Rd8 12. Rd1 Nbd7 13. a3 Nb6 14. c5 Nbd7 15. Qc2 e5 16. f3 Nf8 17. b4 b6 18. Rb1 Ne6 19. Ne2 e4 20. fxe4 Nxe4 21. Bxe4 dxe4 22. Rf1 Rab8 23. Qxe4 Bf6 24. Qc2 Qd7 25. Bd2 Re8 26. Nf4 Bg5 27. Nxe6 Rxe6 28. Rfe1 Rbe8 29. Qd3 b5 30. Qb3 Re4 31. Rbc1 R8e6 32. Rc3 Rf6 33. Qd1 Qh3 34. Qe2 Rfe6 35. Qg2 Qg4 36. h3 Qf5 37. a4 a6 38. axb5 axb5 39. Qf1 Qd5 40. Ra3 Qd7 41. Qf3 Qe7 42. Kh1 Rf6 43. Qe2 Qe8 44. Rd3 Rfe6 45. Qf3 Qa8 46. Rb1 Re7 47. Rbb3 Re8 48. Be1 Qc8 49. Kg2 Qe6 50. Bf2 Rd8 51. Ra3 Rd5 52. Kh2 Rf5 53. Qe2 Bh6 54. Qa2 Rd5 55. Kg2 Kh7 56. Qb3 g5 57. Ra1 g4 58. h4 Qf6 59. Qc2 Qf3 60. Kg1 g6 61. Qd1 Qf6 62. Ra2 Rf5 63. Re2 Rh5 64. Qf1 Qf5 65. Be1 Qe6 66. Bd2 Kg8 67. Rf2 Bxe3 68. Bxe3 Rxe3 69. Rf6 Qxf6 70. Qxf6 Rxd3 71. Qxc6 Rxg3 72. Kf2 Rb3 73. Qc8 Kg7 74. Qxg4 Rf5 75. Ke2 Rxb4 76. Qg1 Rc4 77. Qa1 Rd5 78. Kf3 b4 79. Ke3 Rh5 80. Kd3 Rc3 81. Ke4 Rc2 82. d5 f6 83. d6 Rcxc5 84. Kd4 Rhd5 85. Ke4 Ra5 86. Qc1 Rdc5 87. Qd1 Re5 88. Kf3 Rf5 89. Kg2 Rfd5 90. Qe1 Ra2 91. Kg3 Rd3 92. Kf4 Kh6 93. Qe7 Rf2 94. Ke4 Rff3 95. Qd8 Kh5 96. Qb6 Kg4 97. Qg1 Rg3 98. Qc1 b3 99. Qf4 Kh5 100. Qf2 f5 101. Ke5 Rge3 102. Kf6 Rxd6 103. Kg7 Rd7 104. Kf8 Rc3 105. Ke8 Rb7 106. Kd8 Rb8 107. Kd7 Rc4 108. Qe2 Rg4 109. Qb2 Rb7 110. Kd6 0-1
Komodo sacrificed a pawn for permanent pressure on the whites position and you could notice that Houdini never would escape out of it unless returning the material. Here Komodo showed constantly a minimal plus for white (despite the pawn extra for white) and kept this evaluation stable( the position did not change during 30 moves). Houdini evaluated the positions bit differently, although nothing substantially changed. It was clear that Komode made a much more 'human' evaluation of the position and surpassed the pure calculations of (in this case useless) small advantages. In the end Komodo broke through. I don't really care if this had to do with a better evaluation or a better calculation. Anyway Komodo evaluated the position more accurate and therefore deservedly won the game. Such improvement is a big advantage for each player and this is exactly the main asset of using Komodo for analysis.

This was only 1 example in favor of Komodo. In Komodo - Protector, the engine punished superbly an inferior queen-move in the endgame ( I wonder if somebody like Carlsen or Caruana would notice such opportunity). At move 54 Protector plays Qd7 instead of the anticipated Qb8 by Komodo. What follows is a long line in which black gets out of balance (Komodo's evaluation raises to maximally 0,85) but the advantage is not large enough to win as insufficient material remains on the board. So immediately also a counter-example but nevertheless a very instructive and epic game.
[Event "TCEC Season 7 - Stage 2"] [Site ""] [Date "2014.11.05"] [Round "10"] [White "Komodo 1318"] [Black "Protector 1.8b1"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E11"] [WhiteElo "3230"] [BlackElo "3000"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r5/5pk1/1nnqp1p1/1N1p3p/3P3P/4QPP1/R4PK1/5B2 b - - 0 54"] [PlyCount "253"] [EventDate "2014.10.24"] 54... Qd7 {(Db8 was expected by Komodo. It is instructive to see how this little mistake is exploited but is just not sufficient for the win.)} 55. Qf4 Nc4 56. Bxc4 dxc4 57. Nd6 Rb8 58. Rc2 Rd8 59. Ne4 Qxd4 60. Rd2 Qa1 61. Rxd8 Nxd8 62. Qc7 Qa8 63. Nd6 Kg8 64. Nc8 Nb7 65. Nb6 Qa7 66. Nd7 Qa8 67. Qc6 c3 68. Qxc3 Qd8 69. Nf6 Kf8 70. Qb4 Qe7 71. Nh7 Ke8 72. Qb5 Kd8 73. Ng5 Kc7 74. Ne4 Qd8 75. Qc4 Kb6 76. Qc3 Kb5 77. Qb3 Kc6 78. Qb4 Kc7 79. Qc3 Kd7 80. Qd4 Kc6 81. Qa4 Kc7 82. Qa3 Kd7 83. Kg1 Kc7 84. Qa6 Qd4 85. Kg2 Qb4 86. Qa1 Qe7 87. Qa7 Qd8 88. Qa6 Qd4 89. Qa3 Kd7 90. Qf8 Nd8 91. Ng5 Qf6 92. Qb4 Qe7 93. Qa4 Nc6 94. Qb5 Kc7 95. Qc4 Kd7 96. Qa4 e5 97. Qb3 Nd8 98. Qb6 Ke8 99. Nh7 Qe6 100. Qb4 Qc6 101. Qf8 Kd7 102. Ng5 Qd5 103. Ne4 Qd4 104. Qa3 Nb7 105. Qb3 Nd8 106. Qb8 f5 107. Ng5 Qd6 108. Qa7 Kc6 109. Qe3 Kb5 110. Qe2 Kb6 111. Qa2 Kb5 112. Qb3 Kc5 113. Qa3 Kc6 114. Qa5 Kb7 115. Qc3 Kb6 116. Qc4 Ka5 117. Qb3 Ka6 118. Kf1 Ka5 119. Kg1 Ka6 120. Kg2 Ka5 121. Qc4 Kb6 122. Qa4 Nc6 123. Qb3 Kc7 124. Qc4 Kb6 125. Nf7 Qe7 126. Qb3 Kc5 127. Ng5 Qe8 128. Qc3 Kd5 129. Qc2 Qe7 130. Qb3 Kc5 131. Qa2 Qf6 132. Ne6 Kd6 133. Nf8 Ke7 134. Qa3 Kd8 135. Nh7 Qe7 136. Qa6 Kc7 137. Ng5 Qd6 138. Qb5 Nd8 139. Qe8 Kb7 140. Qg8 Ka6 141. Kh3 Nc6 142. Qc4 Kb6 143. Qb3 Kc7 144. Kg2 Nd8 145. Qg8 Kb7 146. Nh7 Nc6 147. Nf8 Ne7 148. Qf7 Ka6 149. Qb3 Ka7 150. Nh7 Nc6 151. Ng5 Nd8 152. g4 hxg4 153. fxg4 fxg4 154. Ne4 Qd4 155. Nc3 Qc5 156. Kg3 Nc6 157. Qf7 Ne7 158. Kxg4 Ka6 159. Qf3 Ka5 160. Ne4 Qc1 161. Ng3 Qc5 162. Qe3 Qd6 163. Kg5 Nd5 164. Qd2 Kb6 165. Qb2 Ka5 166. Qa2 Kb5 167. Qb1 Ka5 168. Qxg6 Qf8 169. Qe6 Qf4 170. Kg6 Qd4 171. Ne2 Qe4 172. Kg5 Nb4 173. Ng3 Qf4 174. Kh5 Qf3 175. Kg6 Nd3 176. Kg7 Qxf2 177. Qd5 Nc5 178. Qxe5 Kb4 179. h5 Ne6 180. Qxe6 Qxg3 1/2-1/2
A second remarkable aspect which I noticed for Komodo, is that the program starts to calculate faster when the game proceeds. No other engine shows such behavior. In the game against Houdini Komodo starts at 17.000 knps and finishes at 40.000 knps – Houdini stayed for a very long time just below 30.000 knps during the complete game. It seems Komodo is programmed in such way that the number of parameters to be calculated are decreased in the endgame without a negative impact on the playing-strength. If you add a very clever searching-algorithm (Komodo often calculates much deeper than the other engines which calculate faster) then apparently you have a top-engine. Often a new engine is promoted as indispensable or a big step forwards but in the last years we can count the game changers on one hand:Fruit, Rybka, Houdini and maybe now also Komodo. In a world in which we can easily analyze with free engines, it is maybe again worth buying Komodo.

Stockfish has become less extreme in his evaluation, but at the moment of writing Komodo was still the only engine unbeaten. I am a fan of Stockfish, if only because it is a freeware project - an example of the force of cooperation on the internet. Besides it was the first program considered as stronger than Houdini on the CCRL-site. Cheng (nbr 46 on the CCRL-list) almost lost childishly in their mutual game -only 34 moves which is a bit like grandmaster against amateur.

Houdini is a known force but we don't see any big improvements anymore. The engine made moderate progression since version 1.5 and misses the consistent small steps of improvement which the Komodo-team demonstrates already in several releases (late Don Daily mentioned before his dead that he still had several ideas to improve the engine). Nonetheless the engine still plays super-human and almost wins every time against weaker engines. An occasional loss against an almost equivalent opponent (Komodo, Chiron) seems to be the price which must be paid. If people think that on a level of +3000 that combinations are not possible and a win/loss is only bad programming, must surely replay the game Naum - Houdini in which Houdini plays the temporarily exchange-sacrifice 19...Rxb3. It wins the white queen for the 2 rooks, shatters the white pawns and finally picks them up one by one.
[Event "TCEC Season 7 - Stage 2"] [Site ""] [Date "2014.10.30"] [Round "5"] [White "Naum 4.6"] [Black "Houdini 4"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B80"] [WhiteElo "3074"] [BlackElo "3224"] [PlyCount "151"] [EventDate "2014.10.24"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 7. Qf3 Qc7 8. a3 Nbd7 9. O-O-O b5 10. Qe2 h5 11. Bg5 Rb8 12. Qe1 Be7 13. f3 Nc5 14. h4 O-O 15. g4 b4 16. axb4 Rxb4 17. gxh5 Bd7 18. Rg1 Rfb8 19. b3 Rxb3 {(A temporary exchange-sacrifice after which black wins the queen for 2 rooks, shatters the white pawns and finally picks them up one by one.)} 20. Nxb3 Nxb3 21. cxb3 Rxb3 22. Rd3 d5 23. Kd1 Ba4 24. Nxa4 Rb1 25. Ke2 Rxe1 26. Kxe1 Qa5 27. Nc3 d4 28. Bd2 dxc3 29. Bxc3 Qxh5 30. Kd2 Qxh4 31. Rg2 Nh5 32. Kc2 a5 33. Be2 Qh1 34. Rg4 Nf4 35. Rxg7 Kf8 36. Rd2 Nxe2 37. Rxe2 Qxf3 38. Rgg2 a4 39. Rgf2 Qg4 40. Rh2 Bg5 41. Bd2 Bh4 42. Bb4 Ke8 43. Bc3 Bg3 44. Rhg2 Qf3 45. Kb2 a3 46. Kb3 Ke7 47. Rc2 Bd6 48. Rgd2 Qxe4 49. Rd4 Qh1 50. Rcd2 Qb7 51. Kc4 Qc6 52. Kb3 Bc5 53. Rc4 Qb6 54. Ka4 Bd6 55. Rcd4 Qa6 56. Kb3 Qb5 57. Bb4 Bxb4 58. Rxb4 Qa6 59. Ra4 Qb6 60. Ka2 f5 61. Rxa3 f4 62. Rb2 Qc6 63. Rbb3 Qc2 64. Ka1 e5 65. Ra7 Ke6 66. Rb6 Kf5 67. Rf7 Ke4 68. Rff6 f3 69. Rb4 Kd5 70. Rb5 Kd4 71. Rb2 Qc1 72. Ka2 e4 73. Rf5 Qc4 74. Rb3 Qe6 75. Rf4 Qa6 76. Kb1 0-1
The 3 engines split the final places of the previous TCEC seasons - over their supremacy there is no discussion.

Gull is the new star - on CCRL40 (probably the most reliable reference for defining the strength of engines), it was already positioned at spot 4 - but here it seems to confirm. Some games it seems to win with luck but engine-chess exactly distinguishes from "human" chess that luck is absent (no bad day, no chess-blindness, no tiredness). Personally I don't know the engine well but it is surely has potential and maybe it can still bring surprises in the next steps (it is allowed to introduce a newer release in the later tournament-phases).

Junior is the number 5 - the program has a big collection of world-titles (although we can argue that some titles were obtained while not all top-engines were present). It also played a few fine games, in which his evaluation (which I always considered as very neutral - a bit like Komodo today) was often more accurate. A striking example was Junior-Chiron, in which the h-file (and the weak position of the black king) was of a higher importance than the 2 connected black pawns in the center.
[Event "TCEC Season 7 - Stage 2"] [Site ""] [Date "2014.10.31"] [Round "6"] [White "Junior 13.3"] [Black "Chiron 2"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D45"] [WhiteElo "3000"] [BlackElo "3049"] [PlyCount "120"] [EventDate "2014.10.24"] 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Be2 b6 7. O-O Bb7 8. b3 Bd6 9. Qc2 O-O 10. Bb2 Qe7 11. h3 Rfd8 12. Rfd1 Rac8 13. Rac1 a6 14. Bd3 c5 15. cxd5 exd5 16. dxc5 bxc5 17. Na4 Re8 18. Qe2 Ra8 19. Qd2 g6 20. Ba1 Bc6 21. Bf1 Bxa4 22. bxa4 c4 23. Qd4 Rac8 24. g4 h6 25. Bg2 Rb8 26. h4 g5 27. hxg5 hxg5 28. Kf1 Kf8 29. a5 Rb5 30. Qd2 Ne4 31. Qc2 Ndf6 32. Bxf6 Nxf6 33. Nd4 Rc5 34. Bf3 Qd7 35. Kg2 Be5 36. Rh1 Nxg4 37. Nf5 Nf6 38. Rh8 Ng8 39. Rh7 Rb8 40. Bg4 Rc7 41. Nh6 Qc6 42. Nxg8 Kxg8 43. Rh5 d4 44. Bf3 Qf6 45. Qh7 Kf8 46. Rch1 d3 47. Rh6 Qg7 48. Qf5 Re8 49. Rxa6 d2 50. Rh7 Qg8 51. Bd1 g4 52. Rah6 c3 53. a6 g3 54. f4 Bg7 55. Qd3 Rce7 56. Qd6 Rc8 57. a7 Rce8 58. Rh5 Rc8 59. Bc2 d1=Q 60. Bxd1 c2 {(Resiged because of Rc5.)} 1-0
Engine-chess boring? Well it won't be covered in detail in the chess-history but as it is represented on TCEC, it surely is enjoyable. And as all games are downloadable in the analysis-section (pretty redundant as the site already provides the service to replay them) it completes the fun. With this we arrived at the beginning: computer-chess-sites generate hundreds of extra games daily - games of a (very) high quality. Again an extra source to check materials for games ...


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Live boards

This year in the Dutch interclub the time limit is for the first time 40 moves in 90 minutes and 30 minutes for the remaining moves with an increment of 30 seconds for each move. Earlier this month this time control was also inconspicuously approved for the Belgain interclub. It is unclear to me if this is a necessary improvement for Belgian chess. Anyway many players do like the new time control. The role of the arbiters is reduced to a minimum and a game is averagely shortened with an hour. My teammate Thierry proposed even to also advance the starting hour to 13h like in the Dutch interclubs so the Sundayevening would become free. Personally I find the loss in quality due to the reduced duration of the game more important than a free sundayevening. If I want to play quick then I prefer to play blitz in a cafe or on the internet but of course preferences and priorities differ.

In tournaments with a strict schedule of 2 games per day like Open Gent or Open Leuven, an increment is not an option. Only 1 game must last longer than 100 moves and the organisation has to deal with delays. Because of that those tournaments still choose for the old K.O formula. In 2 hours for the whole game it is still possible to play till move 30 reasonable standard chess. After move 30 the cadence accelerates from rapid to blitz or even bullet. The regulations tell us if we have less than 5 minutes remaining that no more recording of the moves is necessary and that happens regularly when more than 40 moves are played. If a game continues to move 80 or 100 then it is often impossible to rebuild the game afterwards. My teammate Daniel reacted unperturbed when I mentioned him this issue. Analyzing rapid, blitz or bullet is brainless and time-trouble-errors are only a joke.

This is a dry practical view about chess. However I apply a scientific approach so I also like to know  the truth of the final phase. This edition I was lucky that all my games in Open Gent were live broadcasted. It is a fantastic service of the organisation. This way chessplayers but also friends or family (like my father-in-law sitting in Ufa) can follow my moves live. In a neighboring room of the tournament the organisation set up a gigantic screen on which the top 16 games were live projected. Every visitor was free to give comments and at the same time enjoy a drink or some food.
Neighboring room with gigantic screen in Open Gent (photographer: Dirk Gregoir)
Eventually all the involved players got afterwards a complete recording of their games as when players stop then the program still continues. I find it extraordinary how today the equipment succeeds doing this job with such high level of accuracy as in the final phase the pieces are often not nicely put on their squares.

For rebuilding 3 of my own games I used the recording of the live boards. The first time was in round 2 against Martijn Maddens. I already covered a piece of that game in my article starflights. Below is the dramatic conclusion of the game.
[Event "Open Gent 2de ronde"] [Date "2014"] [White "Maddens, M."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C47"] [WhiteElo "2050"] [BlackElo "2333"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "4r1k1/p1p4p/1b6/3Rnp2/5B2/1NP3PP/P6K/8 b - - 0 30"] [PlyCount "75"] 30... Ng6 $4 {(Quickly played as approximately only 5 minutes was remaining on my clock. Immediately after releasing the move I realized that I missed a beautiful mate.)} (30... Nf3 31. Kh1 Re1 32. Kg2 Re2 33. Kxf3 (33. Kh1 Rh2#) (33. Kf1 Rf2#) 33... Rf2#) 31. Nd4 Bxd4 32. cxd4 Re2 33. Kg1 Nxf4 34. gxf4 Rxa2 35. Rxf5 Rd2 36. Rd5 c6 37. Ra5 $5 {(Rd8 is a much easier draw.)} Rxd4 38. Rxa7 Rxf4 39. Rc7 Rf6 40. Kg2 h6 41. Re7 Kf8 42. Re5 $5 { (Maintaining the rook at the 7nd line is again easier.)} Kf7 43. Kg3 Re6 44. Rc5 Ke7 45. Kf4 Kd6 46. Rc1 $2 {(Ra5 would still give a draw conform my analyses but it is not easy.)} (46. Ra5 $1 Kc7 47. Ra4 $1 Kb6 48. h4 $1 c5 49. Ra8 $1 c4 50. h5 Kc5 51. Rc8 Rc6 $11 {(The resulting pawn-endgame is a draw.)}) 46... c5 47. h4 Kd5 $2 {(The finalgen-tool tell us that I first need to transfer my rook to e8 as now white gets a new chance to ameliorate the position of his rook.)} 48. Kf5 $2 {(White misses his chance.)} (48. Rd1 $1 Kc6 49. h5 $1 c4 50. Rd8 Kb5 51. Rb8 Ka4 52. Rc8 Kb3 53. Rb8 Kc2 54. Rg8 c3 55. Rg6 Rxg6 {(If black does not exchange rooks then white captures the pawn and sacrifices the rook for the last black pawn. The remaining white pawn combined with the nearby king, guarantee a draw.)}) 48... Rc6 49. Rd1 Kc4 50. Ke5 Rc8 51. Rg1 Kb4 52. Rg6 Rh8 $2 {(Obviously with only a minute left, I play on instincts. Here I should sacrifice the c4 pawn as contrary to the variation at move 48, black is on time to stop whites remaining pawn.)} 53. Kd5 $2 {(Whites last chance was Rb6 and I can not find a win anymore for black.)} (53. Rb6 $1 Ka5 54. Rd6 h5 55. Ke4 Kb4 $11) 53... c4 54. Rb6 Kc3 55. Rc6 Rd8 56. Ke5 h5 57. Rc5 Kd3 58. Kf4 Rh8 59. Rd5 Kc2 60. Ke3 c3 61. Rc5 Kb2 62. Kd3 Rd8 63. Ke2 c2 64. Rb5 Kc3 65. Rc5 Kb3 66. Rc7 Rd1 67. Rb7 Ka4 {(Here the arbiter stopped the game due to an overstepping of the time-limit. First I thought that I lost but after checking the clock I noticed that Martijn lost. The live-broadcasting stopped a few moves earlier which probably means that the overstepping already happened earlier.)} 0-1
The second game was against Andrew Brown of which I already showed the conclusion in the article bricks. The 3rd game was my 100 moves-game against the Hungarian IM Adam Szeberenyi whom kept on playing a totally drawn-endgame as I had only 5 minutes against his 30 minutes. He pushed till the limit and even over it as on one moment I suddenly got an unique winning-possibility which I unfortunately missed as I was running out of time.
[Event "Open Gent 8ste ronde"] [Date "2014"] [White "Szeberenyi, A."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A81"] [WhiteElo "2310"] [BlackElo "2333"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "7k/p6p/1p2p3/3pPp2/3P4/2P2B2/PPb4P/6rK w - - 0 33"] [PlyCount "135"] 33. Kxg1 {(The endgame is clearly a draw but with less than 5 minutes left on my clock while my opponent still had a half hour, play is continued. Besides only a win still gave a reasonable chance for a serious price in this tournament.)} Bb1 34. a3 Kg7 35. Kf2 Bd3 36. Ke3 Bb5 37. Kf4 a5 38. b3 a4 39. bxa4 Bxa4 40. Be2 Bb3 41. Bb5 h6 42. h4 Kf7 43. Be2 Ke7 44. Bd3 Kf7 45. Ke3 Ke7 46. Bb5 Ba2 47. Kd3 Bb1 48. Kd2 Ba2 49. Be2 Bc4 50. Bh5 b5 51. Bd1 Kf7 52. Bh5 Ke7 53. Bg6 Bf1 54. Ke3 Bc4 55. Bh5 Bf1 56. Bd1 Bc4 57. Bc2 Kf7 58. Bd1 Ke7 59. Kf4 Kf7 60. Bc2 Ke7 61. Ke3 Kf7 62. a4 bxa4 63. Bxa4 Ke7 64. Bd1 Kf7 65. Bh5 Ke7 66. Kf4 Bd3 67. Bd1 Bc4 68. Ba4 Kf7 69. Ke3 Ke7 70. Bd1 Kf7 71. Bh5 Ke7 72. Bg6 Bb5 73. Kf4 $4 {(White plays very fast to win on time or to get the piece-sacrifice on f5 playable but by doing so blunders. Necessary was Bh5.)} Bc4 $4 {(Pity but understandable as I was playing the whole time at the speed of 2 seconds per move.)} ( 73... Be8 $1 {(Not difficult and an unique chance which passes by to play in the last round for the tournament-victory.)} 74. Bh7 {(The pawn-endgame is simply won with the protected passed pawn for black but now the bishop gets trapped.)} Kf7 75. Bxf5 exf5 76. Kxf5 Bd7 77. Kf4 Kg6 $19 {(Whites extra pawns are easily stoppable and black can quickly use the weapon of zugzwang to force the win.)}) 74. Bh5 Bb5 75. Bf3 Bc4 76. Bg2 Kf7 77. Bf3 Kg6 78. Kg3 Kf7 79. Bh5 Ke7 80. Bd1 Kf7 81. Ba4 Ke7 82. Bc6 Kf7 83. Kf4 Ke7 84. Ba4 Kf7 85. Bc2 Ke7 86. Bd1 Kf7 87. Bh5 Ke7 88. Bg6 Bb5 89. Bh5 Bc4 90. Bd1 Kf7 91. Ba4 Ke7 92. Bc6 Kf7 93. Ba4 Ke7 94. Ke3 Kf7 95. Bd1 Kg6 96. Kd2 Kf7 97. Bh5 Ke7 98. Bg6 Bb5 99. Bh5 Bc4 100. Bd1 {(Now we had both less than 2 minutes on the clock so white finally had seen enough.)} 1/2-1/2
So long games are invariably part of my practice which probably makes that I am averagely more active than the normal chessplayer (as earlier claimed in my article food and drinks). However the price for longest game of the tournament was not for me as it went to the dramatic game in round 7 between the Swedish grandmaster Thomas Ernst and our Belgian top-player Mehr Hovhanisian which lasted 108 moves. 
[Event "Taminco Gent Open"] [Site "KGSRL Gent"] [Date "2014.07.22"] [Round "7.1"] [White "Ernst T"] [Black "Hovhannisyan M"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C18"] [WhiteElo "2364"] [BlackElo "2515"] [PlyCount "216"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3 6. bxc3 Qc7 7. Qg4 Ne7 8. Qxg7 Rg8 9. Qxh7 cxd4 10. Ne2 dxc3 11. Qd3 {(I prefer to wait with this move till the black bishop is put on d7.)} (11. f4 Nbc6 12. Rb1 {(Qd3 would transpose to the game but with Rb1 I can avoid the played variation of the game.)} Bd7 13. Qd3 Nf5 14. h3 Rc8 15. g4 Nh4 16. Qh7 Nf3 17. Kf2 Ne7 18. Kxf3 d4 19. Nxd4 Rg6 20. Kf2 {(This way I won from Pieter Truwant in Open Gent 2011.)}) 11... Nbc6 12. f4 d4 {(Again Mehr shows that he is very up to date about the latest developments in his favorite French. In the last 5 years not less than 8 2700 players played this move. Besides in the latest Chessbase Magainze 161 this move is also covered in detail which does not mean that Mehr consulted this magazine as the edition was published after this game.)} 13. Nxd4 Nxd4 14. Qxd4 Bd7 15. Rg1 Nf5 16. Qf2 Qc6 17. Bd3 Qd5 18. Rb1 Bc6 19. Rb3 O-O-O 20. Rxc3 Kb8 21. Be3 {(A novelty probably invented at the board as it is surely not an improvement on the existing theory.)} Nxe3 22. Qxe3 Rxg2 23. Rxg2 Qxg2 24. Qg3 Qh1 25. Bf1 Qd5 26. Rd3 Qa5 27. Kd1 Rc8 28. Qe1 Qb6 29. Qe3 {(Here I started to follow the game live in the room where a big screen was installed so the audience could enjoy a projection of the first 16 boards. It was the only round in which I agreed for a premature draw in a position which I neither understood, neither trusted.)} Qb1 30. Qc1 Qa2 31. Rc3 Rd8 32. Rd3 Rh8 {(Despite the pawn less Mehr does not want a draw which is fully correct. The extra pawn is of little value here as the position is for white not easily playable. I already predicted a win for Mehr.)} 33. Qd2 Bd5 34. h3 Rc8 35. Qc1 Bc4 36. Rf3 Bxf1 37. Rxf1 Qc4 38. Rf3 Qe4 39. Rd3 Qh1 40. Kd2 Qg2 41. Ke3 Rc4 42. Rd4 Qxh3 43. Ke4 Qh7 44. Ke3 Qh3 45. Ke4 Rc3 46. Rd8 Kc7 47. Rd3 Qg2 {(It is easy giving comments when not playing but after missing Qxd3 I started to worry.)} 48. Kd4 Rc6 49. Qd2 Qg1 50. Ke4 Rc4 51. Rd4 Qh1 52. Ke3 Qh3 53. Ke4 Rxd4 54. Qxd4 Qxa3 {(The endgame may give very good chances, it is not easy to win with little time left on the clock. I also expect that Mehr already figured out that he missed some easier wins earlier. It is never easy to ban negative thoughts in a game.)} 55. Qc4 Kb6 56. Qd4 Qc5 57. Qd8 Ka6 58. Qd3 Kb6 59. Qd8 Kb5 60. Qa8 Qxc2 {(2 pawns extra so everybody thought it was over but it still turned out very different.)} 61. Kf3 Qc6 62. Kg3 a5 63. Qf8 Qd7 64. Qa3 a4 65. Qb2 Ka6 66. Qb4 b5 67. Kh4 Kb6 68. Kg5 Qd8 69. Kh6 Qc7 70. Kg7 Qc5 71. Qd2 b4 $4 {(Mehrs pawns are not advanced enough to sacrifice already the f-pawn.)} 72. Qd8 $4 {(Kxf7 was sufficient for a draw.)} Qc7 73. Qd4 Ka5 74. f5 exf5 $4 { (After this black can only lift up the checks by giving up the f-pawn. The resulting pawn-endgames seem to result every time in tablebase-drawns.)} 75. Qd5 Kb6 76. Qxf7 $4 {(After Qd4 I can not find quickly a clear win for black.)} (76. Qd4 Kb5 77. Qd5 Qc5 78. Qb7 Kc4 79. Qxf7 Qd5 80. e6 a3 81. e7 a2 82. Qf6 Qd4 83. e8=Q Qxf6 84. Kxf6 a1=Q 85. Kxf5 {(With a tablebase-draw.)}) 76... Qxf7 77. Kxf7 a3 78. e6 a2 79. e7 a1=Q 80. e8=Q Qd4 81. Qe6 Kc5 82. Qc8 Kb5 83. Qxf5 Qc5 $4 {(Only Ka4 wins. After perfect play from both sides it takes 76 moves. I do not think the 50 moves-rules is hit in the execution but of course no human can play this endgame perfectly without even considering the available remaining time.)} 84. Qd7 Kc4 85. Qg4 Kb3 86. Qd1 Qc2 87. Qf3 Qc3 88. Qd1 Ka3 89. Qd6 Kb2 90. Kg8 b3 91. Qd5 Ka2 92. Kh7 Kb1 93. Qd1 Kb2 94. Qd5 Kb1 95. Qd1 Ka2 96. Qd5 Qc2 97. Kg8 Kb1 98. Qh1 Kb2 99. Qd5 Qc8 100. Kh7 Qc7 101. Kg6 Ka3 102. Qa8 Kb2 103. Qd5 Qc3 104. Kh7 Kb1 105. Qd1 Kb2 106. Qd5 Qc2 107. Kg8 Ka1 108. Qa5 Kb1 {(Here Mehr called the arbiter to claim a draw with only seconds left on the clock which of course was approved. A dramatic end which both players exhausted for the last 2 rounds.)} 1/2-1/2
In fact I can recommend every organisation to install and use live boards. It is a small investment but the return is certainly huge via publicity and entertainment. Possibly still some improvements are possible. In Open Leuven not only a recording of the moves happens but also of the time-consumption per move. Personally I find this information very useful not only to understand better the game but also to make some conclusions as involved player later. Finally an organisation could also add a commentator in the room where a big screen is installed which projects the live games. This can quickly become expensive but I believe a 2200 player can already do the job for a broad audience. Cheating is surely a disadvantage of the technological advancements but there are a lot of advantages.