Monday, December 25, 2017

Invisible moves part 2

Once I got the questions of an exam in advance from a classmate at the university. His cousin followed the same studies at another university. Besides one of those courses was teached by the same professor. As his exams for that course were a couple of days earlier than ours, we were able to study carefully the questions he got. Later it became clear that the professor didn't take this scenario into account as we got exactly the same questions of the cousin. Of course we all scored extremely high at the exam.

This is also valid for chess. Things which we saw earlier, will be recognized and solved much easier. This effect we clearly see at tactic-servers. Although some solvers have very moderate otb-ratings, they manage to obtain very high online tactic-ratings. 2012VAChamp is the leader today with a stunning rating of 6482 elo (best Belg at Superdog-II has only 2900). 2012VAChamp explains at his profile that he has memorized all +3000 elo excercies. He estimates that there are about 500-1000.

For me this is the most important reason to not solve more than 5 each day. As non-paying member you are anyway not allowed to solve more than 5 but I could bypass this limit by using my FM-title and request the diamant-status. Besides I see that Warre De Waele has just requested this status as his tournament-victory in Le Touquet (see e.g. holidays part 3) put the foundation of the new FM-title. Nonetheless despite maximum 5 exercises each day, I notice some I have solved once before. The one below I managed recently to solve in only a couple of seconds as it was already the second time presented to me. I was able to recognize the position instantly and only the mouse-clicks took a couple of seconds.
[Event " opgave 65143"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "?"] [Black "?"] [Result "*"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/1p6/7p/5p1P/5P2/1p6/6RK/k7 w - - 0 2"] [PlyCount "15"] [WhiteElo ""] [BlackElo ""] [ECO ""] [CurrentPosition "8/1p6/7p/5p1P/5P2/1p6/6RK/k7 w - - 0 2"] { (Black last move Ka1 was a mistake.) } 2.Rg5 ( 2.Rg8 b2 3.Ra8+ Kb1 4.Ra5 Kc2 5.Rc5+ Kb3 $10 ) ( 2.Rg1+ Ka2 3.Rg7 b2 4.Rxb7 b1=Q 5.Rxb1 Kxb1 $19 ) ( 2.Rg7 b2 3.Rxb7 b1=Q 4.Rxb1+ Kxb1 5.Kg1 Kc2 $19 ) 2...hxg5 ( 2...b2 3.Rxf5 b1=Q 4.Ra5+ Qa2+ 5.Rxa2+ Kxa2 6.f5 ) ( 2...b6 3.Rxf5 b2 4.Rb5 b1=Q 5.Rxb1+ Kxb1 6.f5 $18 ) 3.h6 b2 4.h7 b1=Q 5.h8=Q+ Ka2 ( 5...Qb2+ 6.Qxb2+ Kxb2 7.fxg5 $18 ) 6.Qa8+ Kb2 7.Qxb7+ Kc1 8.Qxb1+ Kxb1 9.fxg5 $18 { (The second time that I solved this problem, I only needed a couple of seconds.) } *

Some people indicate that they solve the same exercises 20 or more times. This has nothing to do anymore with practicing tactics but rather shows how eager they are to get an extremely high tactic-rating. Vanity is still a very wide-spread human weakness and at the same time a source of schadenfreude. It is why the English program Keeping Up Appearances was extremely popular in the 90's.

Once those people are sitting at the board then not much is left of their tactical wizardry. Then simple exercises are unsolvable. Without the memorization they are helpless. Their online tactic-ratings would be very different if the server would process only fresh positions. Unfortunately this won't happen soon as you need a huge database to keep track of all the records of all members (today this is only done for the 25 most recent solved exercises).

The megadatabase seems to me a better tool to define the difficulty of a specific position not only more accurately but also at a much larger scale. In my previous article invisible moves I already indicated this can be done only for opening-positions. This time I want to add that we should only focus at positions not played at the professional-level as mistakes are immediately detected and corrected.

Especially the first round of open tournaments very often generate some interesting stuff to study. Besides the miniatures where the stronger player swiftly punishes the mistakes of the weaker player, we also detect games in which the win occurs less smoothly. That was definitely the case in my first round of the last Open Leuven against Mats Bakker.
[Event "Open Leuven 1ste ronde"] [Date "2017.??.??"] [White "Bakker, M."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C47"] [WhiteElo "1693"] [BlackElo "2284"] [PlyCount "25"] [Round "?"] [Site "?"] [CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bb4 6.Qd3?! { (Almost 5000 master-games in the database with this position but my opponent was already out book! I am already ashamed when I don't know a position when only 100 master-games are existing.) } 6...O-O 7.f3? Ne5 { (I played the much weaker d5 in the game just as I did twice before online but those blitz-games I never studied. In the megadatabase I found 8 games but in none of them the winning Ne5 was played. One of them was even played by a grandmaster of Azerbaijan: Azer Mirzoev.) } 8.Qe2 ( 8.Qd2 c5 9.Nf5 ( 9.Nb3 d5 10.a3 Bxc3 11.Qxc3 dxe4 12.Bd2 c4 13.Nc5 $19 { [%eval -212,34] } ) 9...d5 10.Nxg7 d4 11.Qh6 dxc3 12.b3 Kh8 13.a3 $19 { [%eval -202,31] } ) ( 8.Qe3 c5 9.Nf5 ( 9.Nb3 d5 10.a3 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 dxe4 12.fxe4 Re8 13.Be2 $19 { [%eval -228,34] } ) 9...d5 10.Nxg7 Kxg7 11.Qg5+ Ng6 12.h4 Ng8 13.Qxd5 $19 { [%eval -209,30] } ) 8...c5 9.Ndb5 ( 9.Nb3 c4 10.Bf4 Ng6 11.Qxc4 Bxc3+ 12.Qxc3 Nxf4 13.O-O-O $19 { [%eval -224,34] } ) 9...d5 10.Bf4 a6 11.Bxe5 axb5 12.Kf2 Bxc3 13.bxc3 $19 { [%eval -196,31] } 0-1

Afterwards I found 8 games in the megadatabase with the same position after white's 7th move. In none of them the right move was played while 1 time it was even missed by a grandmaster of Azerbaijan: Azer Mirzoev see game. Further online I also missed it already twice but I very rarely study blitz-games see the (non-)sense of blitz.

This position breaks my previous personal record as most invisible move in my career. In my article scholar's mate I wrote about how popular books about tricks and traps are. So I think it could be a good idea once to collect the most invisible moves from the megadatabase and bundle this into a book. Likely this will be a very original piece of work for which surely some interest will exist.


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