P vs. NP - The Biggest Unsolved Problem in Computer Science


A crude chess program in order to look 10 half moves ahead would take the hypothetical 25 moves possible and do roughly 25 to the 10nth power calculations, which would take a very long time. However, the alpha-beta algorithm eliminates mathematically unnecessary calculations making this more like 5 or 6 to the tenth power, which is a huge difference.

What surprises me is that program Stockfish reduces this to more like 2 to the N power, which is considerably less. Exactly how it does this I'm not sure, although I have some idea.

I would contend that looking deeper in chess will always involve an exponential increase, by definition. To not be exponential means that we could look infinitely far ahead and completely solve chess. This is kind of the point of the video.


Judit Polgár

Many years ago I had the privilege of seeing all three Polgar sisters walking together at the National Open.  Almost 20 years ago I played Susan Polgar in a blitz tournament and got creamed. 

I noticed that none of the Polgar sisters are on the top Woman players list, even though they really should be.  https://ratings.fide.com/top.phtml?list=women

"On 13 August 2014, she announced her retirement from competitive chess."

Old joke

A joke I heard maybe 30 to 40 years ago in the
pages of Chess Life:

There are 4 types of chess players:

1. Jewish players.
2. Russian Players.
3. Jewish and Russian players.
4. Everyone else.

During the 13 years I went to the National Open in Vegas, I have lost to people in all 4 categories. I knew that when my 1900+ rated opponent was named Kasparov that I was in trouble.

Best wishes,

John Coffey


Don't Memorize Moves! Understand your Openings | Road to 2000

This lecture is interesting.  I noticed right away a couple of tactical errors on his part, but fortunately, his audience pointed them out.


Since this is a lecture to an audience, he often asks obvious questions and then waits awhile for the audience to answer.  Youtube has a feature where you can skip ahead by 10 or more seconds.  On the PC it is done with the right arrow key.  On the iPhone, it is done by multiple-tapping the right side of the screen.


I tried to Master Chess in 30 Days

This guy wanted to see if he could master chess in 30 days.  He improved, maybe going from beginner to 1000 or 1100 in 30 days.  On day 30 he has a rematch with a 1500 player that does not go well.  I had much to say about that game in the comments section of the video.

Bobby Fischer teaches chess is very much at the absolute beginner level.  Game 1 the Ne5 move was way premature, but you explain that.

To really master chess you might want to learn 1. d4.   The book "Logical Chess Move by Move" is useful in this regard.

The en-passant rule has to do with the fact that pawns used to only move one square from the start.  Moving two squares was a way to speed up the game (and so is castling), so enemy pawns can normally capture your pawn if you move up one square and this is important for allowing pawns to blockade other pawns.  En-passant allows a capture as if the pawn had only moved up one square, which maintains the ability to blockade.

My experience is that you are unlikely to reach a memorized opening past move 11.  There are some exceptions where certain openings, like the Dragon, don't really get started until around move 10.  Everything up to that point frequently follows the same sequence.

In the last game, I don't like 5. Bd3.  It is not a great spot for the Bishop, which is serving the purpose of a pawn.  The move b2-b4 creates weakness on the C file with a backward pawn on c2.  Here your pawn is well guarded but there is a big hole on c3 creating a weak spot that your opponent should try to occupy.  Your pieces (bishops and knights) are somewhat passive and in defensive positions, and eventually you will want to get them to better spots.  (Grandmasters really like to have active pieces.)  Ouch, you got skewered with Ba6!  The game is technically lost at that point.  The Bb6 response is probably bad.  I think that he should respond with Qb7 and try to pin your b6 bishop.  He didn't have to capture the queen immediately.  Instead of Nb3, the knight taking on e4 makes more sense to me because material is important.  When you played Nf6+ (check) you had two attackers on the square and he had two defenders on the square, but you moved one of your attackers to the square meaning that he was going to win the piece.  You really need more attackers than defenders on that square to make that move.  After he captured the knight it is better not to trade your bishop because you should not trade when you are down material, because your percentage of the total material becomes worse.  Likewise, you should not have traded your last piece, but the game is pretty much over by that point.  (Overall, you were too anxious to trade pieces.  Many beginners do this, but I only trade when I think that it is to my advantage.)

Best wishes,

John Coffey (rated 2016)

My free online chess lessons:  http://www.entertainmentjourney.com/index1.htm

Pattern recognition is a huge factor in this game, and on my website I stress doing tactical exercises to improve pattern recognition.

P.S. Your hypothetical example of where trading pawns might be favorable to Black is really bad because after 1. e4 g6 2. d3?! f5? White can play 3. exf5 and then if 3... gxf5???? 4. Qh5# (checkmate), which is a variation on "Fools Mate."

Won the ICC tournament

I did something that I rarely do, which is win the ICC USCF Online rated tournament.

>uscf You won!!! Congratulations! This is your 11 1st place finish
> During the 5 rounds, you collected 4.5 points
>   4.5 john2001plus
>   4.0 pawninthegrass Kausy trivialpursuit BillietheKid
>   3.0 ROWLAND tenchess CL123789 Lo eeec1
>   2.5 mrneale BotanicalKnight
>   2.0 IAlwaysWin Easy-Win fisherino kaps-ak
>   1.5 edwin9015 rjp1888 A4-H5 BIRDSMAN aslan777
>   1.0 eeec2 weakfish
>   0.0 alonzob
>    __________  __  ______  _   __________  __   ____ _    ____________
>   /_  __/ __ \/ / / / __ \/ | / / ____/\ \/ /  / __ \ |  / / ____/ __ \
>    / / / / / / / / / /_/ /  |/ / __/    \  /  / / / / | / / __/ / /_/ /
>   / / / /_/ / /_/ / _  _/ /|  / /___    / /  / /_/ /| |/ / /___/ _  _/
>  /_/  \____/\____/_/ |_/_/ |_/_____/   /_/   \____/ |___/_____/_/ |_|
>    Congratulations john2001plus and Thanks to all :-)
AlonzoB(TM)(231): john2001plus Congratulations! Thanks to all for playing and I hope you  enjoyed the tournament. :-)

john2001plus(231): Thanks to all.  Good games!

The time control was 12+3.

Against potentially my toughest opponent (USCF OTB 2100+) I tried to play sharp.  However, my record is pretty positive against this guy.

[Event "ICC tourney 1751 (12 3)"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2019.11.16"]
[Round "4"]
[White "john2001plus"]
[Black "IAlwaysWin"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D25"]
[WhiteElo "1719"]
[BlackElo "1654"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]
[TimeControl "720+3"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 dxc4 4. e3 b5 5. a4 b4 6. Bxc4 e6 7. O-O Bb7 8. Nbd2
Be7 9. a5 O-O 10. a6 Bd5 11. Ne5 c5 12. Qa4 Bxc4 13. Ndxc4 cxd4 14. exd4 Qd5
15. Be3 Nbd7 16. Nc6 Qxc4 17. Rac1 Qe2 18. Rfe1 Qxb2 19. Nxe7+ Kh8 20. Rb1 Qa3
21. Ra1 Qxa4 22. Rxa4 b3 23. Rb1 Rab8 24. Nc6 Rb6 25. d5 Rb5 26. dxe6 fxe6 27.
Nxa7 Rbb8 28. Nc6 Rbc8 29. a7 Nc5 30. Bxc5 Rxc6 31. Bxf8 b2 32. Ba3 {
Black resigns} 1-0

I had one draw against a lower-rated player.  I was winning that game but blew it somehow.

I appeared to be losing my last round game.  I was in a "must-win" situation to win the tournament.  I thought that if I simplify the ending that I might outfox my opponent.

[Event "ICC tourney 1751 (12 3)"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2019.11.16"]
[Round "5"]
[White "pawninthegrass"]
[Black "john2001plus"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A00"]
[WhiteElo "1528"]
[BlackElo "1727"]
[PlyCount "138"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]
[TimeControl "720+3"]

1. g3 e5 2. Bg2 d5 3. d3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Bc5 5. e3 c6 6. d4 exd4 7. exd4 Bd6 8. Ne2
O-O 9. O-O h6 10. Bf4 Bg4 11. f3 Bf5 12. g4 Bg6 13. Qd2 Re8 14. Nbc3 Qc7 15.
Rae1 Nbd7 16. Bxd6 Qxd6 17. h3 b5 18. Nd1 Re7 19. Nf2 Rae8 20. c3 a5 21. Nd3
Bxd3 22. Qxd3 Re3 23. Qd2 Qe7 24. Kf2 Nh7 25. Ng3 Rxe1 26. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 27. Qxe1
Rxe1 28. Kxe1 g6 29. f4 Nhf6 30. Ke2 Kf8 31. Ke3 Ke7 32. g5 hxg5 33. fxg5 Nh7
34. h4 f6 35. gxf6+ Nhxf6 36. Kf4 Nh7 37. Bh3 Nb6 38. b3 Kf6 39. h5 Ng5 40. Bg4
gxh5 41. Nxh5+ Kg6 42. Ng3 Kf6 43. Bf5 Nf7 44. Nh5+ Ke7 45. Bg6 Nd6 46. Ng3 a4
47. Nf5+ Nxf5 48. Bxf5 Kd6 49. Kg5 axb3 50. axb3 c5 51. Bd3 c4 52. bxc4 dxc4
53. Be4 Na4 54. Kf4 Nxc3 55. Bf3 b4 56. Ke3 b3 57. Bh5 b2 58. Bg6 b1=Q 59. Bxb1
Nxb1 60. Ke4 Kc6 61. Ke5 c3 62. Ke6 c2 63. d5+ Kc5 64. d6 c1=Q 65. d7 Qe3+ 66.
Kf7 Qf4+ 67. Ke8 Qe5+ 68. Kd8 Kc6 69. Kc8 Qc7# {White checkmated} 0-1

Perhaps the most important thing is that I didn't make any losing blunders that I know of.  I haven't analyzed the games yet.  I did fail to win a game that I should have won against a lower rated player and I will be examining how I messed that up.



Chess Game

Click here for 9. dxe5.
Click here for 11... dxe5.
Click here for 14... Ke8.
Click here for 15... Kd7.
Click here for 17... Bd6.
Click here for 19... Qf6.


Mad Queen Chess

Between the years 1475 and 1500, a new variant of chess arose called "Mad Queen Chess." The previously weak queen suddenly became the most powerful piece on the board. This made games more exciting and allowed them to finish faster. This is the version of chess we play today, with only minor differences.

I thought that "Mad Queen Chess" originated in England during the reign of Queen Mary I during the 1500s, but it actually originated in Spain in the late 1400s because Queen Isabella was a very powerful Queen.

I think that chess is being played now more than ever, but it has shifted to online.  When I first got on the board of the Utah Chess Association around the year 2000, the membership was down to 500's, compared to the heyday of around 800 to 900. By the time I left Utah, it was 350.  Some of this decline happened while I was President of the Utah Chess Association.  If it wasn't for the kid's tournaments it would have less than 100.

Best wishes,

John Coffey



Checkmate in 4 moves

For those who might be interested, this is a unique mate in 4.  I know that some people will say to not focus on the trivial, but I find it interesting because this produces a pattern that I never would have predicted.




Play online chess
Click here for 6.Bd2.
Click here for 8... c6.
Click here for 13. O-O.
Click here for 22... e5.
Click here for 24... e5.
Click here for 25. Rxd1.
Click here for 25... e5.
Click here for 29. d6.
Click here for 29... Be8.
Click here for 31. d6.
Click here for 31... Re8+.
Click here for 41... Bb6.
Click here for 45... Rg8.
Click here for 52... Bxa4.
Click here for 55. d6.


4 Year Old Chess Prodigy Misha vs 95 Year Old GM Yuri Averbakh


The game starts pretty good but has some really big mistakes from both players.  I'm not sure how to evaluate the play of the 4-year-old, but it is a good starting point.

Around 2007 or 2008, eight-year-old Kayden Troff had a draw against me in a major Utah tournament. Actually, I was down at least a pawn but figured out how to get to a book drawn ending.  Two years later he won the Utah state speed chess championship beating a life master twice.  Six years after that he earned the Grandmaster title.

Utah produced a few prodigies, so I was used to losing to kids.

Tonight I had a couple of interesting games against ten-year-old Evan, who has an impressive 1500 rating.  The first game I won without too much problem, but the second game was a difficult struggle.  Evan plays with a maturity way beyond his years.  

Best wishes,

John Coffey

3 Year Old Chess Prodigy Misha vs Anatoly Karpov

Although a couple of moves are inaccurate, this is still an amazing short game by a 3-year-old against a former world champion.  Just the fact that he didn't do anything really bad is an accomplishment.


Chess Level 0: White to play

I present this for your consideration only because my opponent thought that he had me in checkmate, which I found amusing.

Play chess online