2023-02-04

Draw by resignation?

Draw by resignation: Under FIDE Laws, a game is drawn if a player resigns and no sequence of legal moves would allow the opponent to checkmate that player.

5.1.2    The game is lost by the player who declares he/she resigns (this immediately ends the game), unless the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player's king by any possible series of legal moves. In this case the result of the game is a draw.


Apparently, this is a new rule.  Common practice would be that the player who resigns loses the game regardless.

This doesn't seem to be part of the U.S. Chess Federation rules, meaning that this rule would only apply to international tournaments.




2023-01-28

Over The Board Mouse Slip?!

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/u_zl4_i_N08

Levy Rozman is fond of saying that if you make this move then he will call you an idiot.  But if Magnus Carlsen makes this move then it is brilliant.

The Woodpecker Method

https://zwischenzug.substack.com/p/the-woodpecker-method

Before Michael De La Maza published his book "Rapid Chess Improvement", he wrote an article by the same name.  Before he published this article, he sent it to me to get my suggestions, because I had a website since around 1996 that advocated the same idea.  I believed in doing a large number of tactical problems repeatedly to build pattern recognition.  When I did this myself, I saw my rating go from 1800 to 2000.

I can't guarantee that this is the best way to improve one's chess tactics.  For myself, my goal was to be able to see the vast majority of 1, 2, and even 3-move combinations instantly.  However, doing new puzzles might also be good.

My website hasn't changed much since I first published it.  It is dated.  At that time, the Internet (World Wide Web) was relatively new, and most people didn't have access to it.  Chess Life gave me an "award" for the website, but there weren't many chess websites at the time.

Testing old chess computers through emulation

In the days before everyone had computers, if you wanted to play chess, your only option was to play with another person. In the late 1970's Fidelity introduced a series of electronic computer chess games. These early models played rather poorly, but I knew people who bought them just to be able to play and practice whenever they wanted. I managed to borrow a few of these so that I could get a feel for how well they played.

Although the early machines did not play well, things started to improve in the 1980s. There was a golden age of dedicated chess computers that went from 1983 to about 1993.  In 1984, I purchased the Novag Super Constellation electronic chess game for what I think was $200, which was quite a bit of money in 1984. The U.S. Chess Federation had given it a rating of 2018, which is better than at least 90% of all adult tournament players. Any rating between 2000 and 2199 is considered to be the skill level of "Expert" and a higher rating of 2200 is considered to be "Master."

Although I am currently rated 2016, at the time I bought the Novag Super Constellation I was rated just a little over 1700. In a few months, I would reach a rating of 1800 which is considered to be "Class A." Nevertheless, what I remember about the Novag Super Constellation is that it played better than me, which is surprising since it only contains an 8-bit processor running at just 4 MHZ. That is not very fast compared to modern 64-bit processors with multiple cores running at gigahertz speeds.

Over time, I bought a couple of better chess-playing computers and I have fond memories of practicing with all of them. I sold all these machines when I got a desktop computer in the mid-'90s, but I kind of regret it because they all were fun to play with it.

This became an issue when I was researching these old chess-playing computers where I saw many online claims that these computers were not as good as the ratings that had been assigned to them. For example, I saw the claim that the Novag Super Constellation was only about 1750 strength, and two other computers that I owned rated 2100 and 2265 were also claimed to be weaker than their advertised ratings. None of these claims match my experience, since all of the computers played better than I did.

I was so curious about this that I wanted to get my hands on one of the old chess computers, assuming that one can be found, however unlikely, and see how it compares to my current chess ability. Fortunately, I found software that allows me to emulate dozens of old chess computers on my Windows PC.

In my first game against the emulated Novag Super Constellation on level 1, the lowest level, I was able to win by only the slimmest of margins. I tried the same thing on the Fidelity Designer 2100, a slightly better machine, and I lost. I have no doubt that the other computer I owned, the stronger Fidelity Designer 2265, would stomp me like it used to when I played it 30 years ago. I will confirm this eventually.

So I tested a variety of chess computers with a somewhat difficult chess problem..



Most serious chess players have seen this problem already and know the answer. However, if they were not familiar with it, the solution might be difficult for them to find in a real game. There is the more direct solution of 6. Nxe5 Bxd1 7. Bxf7+ Ke7 8. Nd5# (checkmate). However, for a computer to see the solution it also has to see 6... Nxe5 7. Qxh5 Nxc4 8. Qb5+ c6 9. Qxc4. There is also 7... Nf6 8. Qe2 Nxc4 9. Qxc4. Either way, that is 7 half-moves deep, which is pretty deep for ancient chess computers to look.

Based upon my testing, this is how long various chess computers take to solve this chess problem...



# Model Year Processor Speed ROM Time Depth Nodes/S
1.
Fidelity Chess Challenger 10
1978
Z80
4 MHZ
4K
Fails
2.
Fidelity Chess Challenger 7
1979
Z80
4 MHZ
4K
12 hours
3.
Novag Savant
1981
Z80
6 MHZ
24K
12:40m
4.
Novag Savant II
1982
Z80
6 MHZ
32K
12:33m
5.
Novag Constellation
1983
6502
2 MHZ
16K
6:46m
6.
Constellation 3.6 ROM set 1
1984
6502
3.6 MHZ
16K
3:30m*
7.
Constellation 3.6 ROM set 2
1986
6502
3.6 MHZ
16K
3:33m*
5 ply
8.
Novag Super Constellation
1984
6502
4 MHZ
56K
2:10m
5 ply
9.
Constellation Expert
1985
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
1:54m
5 ply
10.
Novag Forte A
1986
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
2:15m
5 ply
~1000
11.
Novag Forte B
1986
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
1:58m
5 ply
~1000
12.
Novag Super Forte
1987
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
1:13m
5 ply
~1350
13.
Novag Super Expert A
1987
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
1:00m
5 ply
~1100
14.
Novag Super Forte B
1989
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
30s
5 ply
~1400
15.
Novag Super Expert B
1989
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
19s
5 ply
~1375
16.
Novag Super Forte C
1990
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
11s
5 ply
~1500
17.
Novag Super Nova
1990
HD6301Y
4 MHZ
32KK
10s
4 ply
18.
Novag Super Expert C
1990
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
6s
5 ply
~1050
19.
Novag Scorpio 68000
1990
68000
16 MHZ
98K
9s
20.
Novag Diablo 68000
1990
68000
16 MHZ
98K
9s
21.
Fidelity Excellence
1985
65C02
3 MHZ
16K
2:16m
5 ply
22.
Fidelity Excellence
1985
65C02
4 MHZ
16K
2:00m
5 ply
23.
Fidelity Designer Display 2000
1989
65C02
3 MHZ
32K
1:45m
5 ply
~81
24.
Fidelity Par Excellence
1986
65C02
5 MHZ
32K
1:22m
5 ply
25.
Fidelity Designer Display 2100
1988
65C02
6 MHZ
64K
54s
5 ply
~180
26.
Fidelity Designer Display 2265
1989
68000
16 MHZ
64K
5s
3 ply
27.
Fidelity Designer Display 2325
1991
68020
20 MHZ
64K
3s
4 ply
28.
Chessmaster NES
1990
6502
1.79 MHZ
48K
7:00m
5 ply
29.
Chessmaster Super Nintendo
1991
65816
3.58 MHZ
110K
4:43m
5 ply
30.
Chessmaster 2000 (DOS)
1986
?
?
NA
1:33m
31.
Chessmaster 3000 (DOS)
1991
?
?
NA
4s
4 ply
32.
Stockfish 14.1 2017-iMac
2022
i5
3.4 GHZ One Core
NA
<1s
<12 ply
~880,000

It is noteworthy that the Super Constellation solved the problem in roughly 2 minutes, which is within tournament time controls. I am disappointed in Chessmaster on the Super Nintendo because it failed to achieve this. It is running on a similar processor, and it is a port of Chessmaster 2000 written by Dave Kittinger, who also wrote the Super Constellation program!

* The second version of the Constellation 3.6 solves this problem on its top two tournament levels, but the first version moves too quickly to see the answer.  It can only solve the problem on its infinite level, even though it takes about the same amount of time to see the solution. The second ROM set is based upon the Novag Expert program.

Super Constellation game #1.

Chess Game against Novag Super Constellation level 1.

This game is interesting because I don't normally beat level 1.  Here I blew the endgame, but so did the computer.   The 39-year-old chess computer can't see deep enough to play the endgame correctly.

[Event "CB-Emu"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2023.01.05"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Coffey, John"]
[Black "Novag Super-Constellation lv1"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A05"]
[WhiteElo "2016"]
[PlyCount "117"]
[EventDate "2023.01.05"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 b5 3. Bg2 Bb7 4. O-O e6 5. d3 d5 6. c4 dxc4 7. dxc4 Qxd1 8.
Rxd1 bxc4 9. Ne5 Bxg2 10. Kxg2 Nbd7 11. Nxc4 Bc5 12. Nc3 O-O 13. Bf4 Nb6 14.
Na5 Nbd5 15. Nxd5 Nxd5 16. Rac1 Nxf4+ 17. gxf4 Bd6 18. e3 g6 19. Nc4 Rfb8 20.
b3 Rd8 21. Nxd6 Rxd6 22. Rxd6 cxd6 23. e4 f5 24. f3 Rf8 25. Kg3 Kg7 26. Rc7+
Rf7 27. Rxf7+ Kxf7 28. Kf2 Kg7 29. Ke3 Kf7 30. Kd4 Kf6 31. e5+ Ke7 32. exd6+
Kxd6 33. b4 h6 34. a4 g5 35. fxg5 hxg5 36. b5 e5+ 37. Kc4 g4 38. fxg4 fxg4 39.
a5 e4 40. Kd4 e3 41. Kxe3 Kc5 42. b6 {??} axb6 43. axb6 Kxb6 44. Kf4 Kc5 45.
Kxg4 Kd4 {???} 46. h4 Ke5 47. Kg5 Ke6 48. Kg6 Ke7 49. Kg7 Ke6 50. h5 Ke7 51. h6
Kd6 52. h7 Ke7 53. h8=Q Ke6 54. Qd8 Kf5 55. Qd4 Ke6 56. Kg6 Ke7 57. Qd5 Ke8 58.
Kf6 Kf8 59. Qd8# 1-0


Novag Super Constellation Level 1




[Event "CB-Emu"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2022.02.06"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Coffey, John"]
[Black "Novag Super-Constellation Level 1"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E21"]
[WhiteElo "2016"]
[BlackElo "2018 (on level 7)"]
[PlyCount "124"]
[EventType "rapid"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 b6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. e3 O-O 8. Be2
d5 9. O-O c5 10. cxd5 cxd4 11. Nxd4 Bxc3 12. bxc3 exd5 13. Bf3 Rd8 14. c4 Bb7
15. Rc1 Na6 16. cxd5 Bxd5 17. Bxd5 Rxd5 18. Qb3 Rdd8 19. Qb5 Nc5 20. Nb3 Nxb3
21. axb3 a6 22. Qc6 Qxc6 23. Rxc6 b5 24. Rfc1 Rd2 25. Kf1 a5 26. Rb6 a4 27.
bxa4 Rxa4?! {This barely favors White, whereas 27... bxa4 barely favors Black.  Even the infinite level makes the wrong move here.} 28. Rxb5 Raa2 29. Rf5 g6 30. Rf4 Kg7 31. g3 g5 32. Rf3 g4 33. Rf4 {Diagram.} Kg6?? {The game was technically a draw up to this point.  At first, it is hard to understand how the computer could drop a pawn when it is looking 4 plies ahead.  The computer is afraid of 33... h5 34. Rc7, but Black draws by playing both rooks to the first rank with a mate threat.   Then White has to go for a perpetual check with Rcxf7+.  Even the infinite level takes 12 hours to see the draw with a 10 ply search after 33... h5 34. Rc7.  To see that 33... h5 draws takes around 80 hours where the computer only reaches an 11 ply search depth!} 34. Rxg4+ Kh7 35. Rf4 Ra7 36. Rc6 Rb7 37. Rh4 Kg7 38. Rhxh6 Rbb2 39. Rhf6 Re2 40. Rf4 Rec2 41. Rxc2 Rxc2 42. h4 Kg6 43. g4 Kg7 44. Kg2 Kf8 45. g5 Kg7 46. Kg3 Rc1 47. Kg4 Rg1+ 48. Kf5 Rh1 49. e4 Rh3 50. e5 Rd3 51. h5 Rh3 52. h6+ Kf8 53. e6 Rh1 54. g6 {I thought that this was me trying to get too fancy, but Stockfish doesn't have a problem with it.} fxg6+ 55. Kxg6+ Ke7 56. Rf5 Kxe6 57. Rh5 Rg1+ 58. Rg5 Rd1 59. h7 Rd8 60. Kg7 Rd7+ 61. Kh6 Rxh7+ 62. Kxh7 Kf7 1-0

The Super Constellation fails at deep calculation.  It sees shallow tactics very well, which is where its strength comes from, so it appears to be pretty strong at speed chess.  It is not clear if the computer can calculate three-fold repetition or any repetition on a deep search because the 8-bit hardware limitations would make this check very inefficient.  This might be the reason the computer fails in the above position.  The computer would not normally search deep enough to see a three-fold repetition anyway.

Other than missing the draw, the Super Constellation played a very solid game.  According to Stockfish, I made no mistakes in this game.  This is what it takes because the computer will punish small errors.

2022-12-29

Fwd: HUGE CARLSEN NEWS!

My previous email might be wrong.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Bill 

The comments say, "Today is Dia de los Santos inocentes in Spain. The Spanish equivalent of April fools day. Whole thing is satire."


----- Forwarded Message -----
From: John Coffey <john2001plus@gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2022 at 03:39:28 PM EST
Subject: HUGE CARLSEN NEWS!

Apparently, Magnus Carlsen is taking a year-long break from playing in Over The Board tournaments.

He mentions hating having to travel so much.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKHKnUVlp2o



--

2022-12-28

HUGE CARLSEN NEWS!

Apparently, Magnus Carlsen is taking a year-long break from playing in Over The Board tournaments.

He mentions hating having to travel so much.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKHKnUVlp2o

My Goal: Reaching a 1000 Rating! #chess #shorts

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/tW_VpMw3llw

I shouldn't talk since I am an Expert, but this is the kind of combo that takes me a couple of seconds to see.

I believe that it is fairly easy to get to 1300. A person just needs to be able to see most 2-move combos. There might be a few unusual 2-move combos that a 1300 would not see, but being able to see most 2-move combos would make a person 1200 to 1300. I think that being able to see most 3 move combos would make a person 1400 to 1500.

A couple of weeks ago I was proud of myself for seeing a six-move combo in a speed game, but I made the same mistake that many players make where I didn't calculate the next move. After winning my opponent's rook I realized that he could trap my queen. My lower-rated opponent didn't see it, but he could have been winning.

2022-12-20

Stockfish 15.1 - Stockfish

The Stockfish chess engine has switched to a new evaluation method similar to what Alpha Zero or Lela Chess uses.  It is no longer about material but winning chances, which is dependent upon an AI that can train itself.  This method allowed the program Alpha Go to beat the best Go players, which was previously thought to be impossible.

"New evaluation

This release also introduces a new convention for the evaluation that is reported by search. An evaluation of +1 is now no longer tied to the value of one pawn, but to the likelihood of winning the game. With a +1 evaluation, Stockfish has now a 50% chance of winning the game against an equally strong opponent. This convention scales down evaluations a bit compared to Stockfish 15 and allows for consistent evaluations in the future."

https://stockfishchess.org/blog/2022/stockfish-15-1/

2022-12-18

INSANE FINAL MATCH: Magnus vs. Hikaru!

Chess player

Dale is a Utah chess player I haven't seen in 10 to 12 years who out of the blue sends me a text saying he wants to play me again and claims (presumably jokingly) that he used to crush me on the chess board.

2022-12-17

Introduction to the Catalan

Presented for your consideration.  

The Catalan is a popular opening at the Grandmaster level.  Magnus Carlsen scores very well with it.  The problem for amateurs is that it involves a great deal of theory.  The following playlist has 12 videos that go into the Catalan in great detail.  This is at least at the Master level, but if a person wants to become a chess master, like me, this might be worth studying.

I have already expended a great deal of effort trying to learn the opening from these videos.  My plan is to learn everything, but this might take months to fully accomplish.  I also think that it will take a great deal of practice, preferably at the club level, to understand the ideas behind this opening.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0mAzxJRHpk&list=PLssNbVBYrGcBwWsSqwig0dAymsPQd0dzy&index=1

2022-12-10

Bughouse chess - Wikipedia

It seems to me that the rules can vary from place to place.  For example, it was common to now allow a dropped piece to deliver checkmate.

"Pieces in reserve may be dropped on any vacant square, including squares where the piece delivers check or checkmate; however, pawns may not be dropped on the first or last rank. (A variant does not allow dropped pieces to deliver check.) Dropped pawns may promote, but all promoted pawns convert back to pawns when captured. In play over the board, a promoted pawn can be put on its side to indicate promotion.[5] A pawn placed on the second rank may move two squares on its first move. A rook placed on the rook's typical starting square (a1, h1, a8, h8) may take part in castling. Each player must keep the reserve or stock pieces on the table in front of the board, always visible to all players of the game."


I don't like Bughouse much, but it can be a fun diversion...

Controversy[edit]

Bughouse chess is controversial among chess teachers. While some instructors find beneficial learning outcomes for bughouse, most do not consider it to have a positive effect, especially for novice chess players.[54] According to Susan Polgar, "If your children want to play bughouse for fun, it is OK. But just remember that it is not chess and it has no positive value for chess. In fact, I absolutely recommend no bughouse during a tournament."[55] Arguments supporting a negative view of bughouse include that it distorts typical chess pattern recognition[56] and that it too heavily emphasizes tactical play at the expense of positional strategy.[57] For example, in bughouse, one can just drop a pawn to compensate for a weakness created by moving one, unlike normal chess. It also lacks endgame play due to pieces being recycled, thereby reducing the need for precise moves. In addition, the lack of control over teammates' boards introduces randomness that is not encountered in normal chess. Further, many claim that since there is no set order of moves between the two boards, normal calculation ability is diminished. It also shares criticisms with speed chess in general, potentially encouraging a habit of moving too fast or playing unsoundly with the expectation that one's opponent will be moving quickly.[36]