Monday, 30 January 2012

A Tale of Two Knights

By Moulthun Ly

“The universe is made of stories, not atoms”

“This single-combat between Gologras and Sir Gawain is long and very evenly fought, but at last Sir Gawain gains the upper hand. But Gologras will not ask for mercy. He prefers death to the dishonour of surrendering to Sir Gawain. The victorious knight tries to persuade the other to capitulate and Gologras replies that if Sir Gawain will pretend to have been defeated and to walk off the field as his prisoner, then he will see that matters are resolved to Sir Gawain’s liking once he is in his castle. Despite not knowing Gologras at all, Sir Gawain agrees to this plan, sensing that his adversary is honourable. They pick themselves up from the ground, pretend to fight for a while, then Gologras leads Sir Gawain off the field as his prisoner. Roles have been reversed. King Arthur groans in anguish and begins to weep.”

“Once inside the castle, however, Gologras addresses his noblemen, lets them understand the situation and they tell him that they would rather that he remained as their lord, even though he may have been defeated in battle. Gologras and Sir Gawain issue from the castle together, unarmed, and Gologras approaches King Arthur in submission. Three days’ feasting ensues in celebration, and at the end of it, as King Arthur prepares to leave, he relinquishes his sovereignty of the land and gives full control back to Gologras.”

So what exactly is the point of this story? Short answer is that, there is nothing quite as exciting as the stories of chivalry, honesty, loyalty and courage, which is prevalent throughout medieval history.  I'm sure I could have mentioned a much better story. Besides, this was one of the shortest to highlight. For anyone who has read Jonathan Rowson’s book, Chess for Zebras then you will understand the importance of storytelling for chess players. Simple put it is a way for us to create meaning of a situation, to find a beginning and mark an end.  I do this all the time during my games, sometimes even subconsciously. 

But, I suppose I should end it with it least something chess related. Looking through some games of one of my favorite openings, the “Blackmar-Diemer Gambit”, I found a nice game. Which if nothing else, is befitting the title. 

Saturday, 28 January 2012

FailChess #1

                                                                                                                                         By Moulthun Ly

It is very often the case in chess that one will put aside their objective judgements of a position, in place of an aesthetically pleasing combination. The term chess aesthetics is well known to all competent chess players, and is the reason why many still continue to play.

In fact, there has been surprising amounts of research into computing the beauty of chess positions. Something i believe only humans will ever fully understand. However, this entry is not about the most beautifully played games, nor will it look at tactically brilliant combinations. But rather, the pitfalls which players will suffer along the way to achieving their best game prize.

Although a perfectly played game is a sight to behold. A well played tragedy is just as entertaining, if not more so. For these games i prefer to look for master level or near master games, making them all the more interesting. The first entry was a game played at Queenstown tournament, which i had recently finished several days ago. I finished on 6/9 after tragically losing my last round to Rozentalis from a very equal ending. We might finish off the second half of the Queenstown post soon. But enough of me, lets have a skiwz at the game. I won't mention the players names for the sake of these posts, but it is the positions which we are more interested in! :)

White has played quite oddly up to this point, but managed to hold his advantage the whole way through the game. It is now white to play, for those of you suggested such natural moves as Rc1or h5 or Rd2 then you get a 0 for artistic flare.

The move played was Qf5!! and the double exclamation marks are given for its artistic humor, considering this was a serious tournament game.

Rc2+ 31.Ke3 Ra2 32.Rg1 32...Ne8 33.Rc1+ Kb7 34.Kd4 Rxa3 35.Re1 Nd6 36.Re7+ Kc8 37.Re5 37...Nb5+ 38.Ke3 d4+ 39.Ke4 Kd7 40.Rd5+ Ke7 41.Re5+ Kd7 42.Rd5+ Kc7 43.Re5 Kc6

 44.f6 gxf6 45.Rh5 f5+ 46.Kxf5 Rxd3 47.Rxh6+ Kc7 48.Rf6 Rxf3 49.Rxf7+ Kd8 50.Kg4 Re3 51.Rf5 d3 52.Rd5+ Ke7 53.h5 Ke6 54.Rd8 Nd6 55.f5+ Ke7 0–1

To finish things off white has gotten himself trapped in a sort of zugswang, which deserves a diagram position of its own. White's pawns have created a barrier for its own king leaving no escape. Anyhow, that is it for the first post will be sure to keep adding more games as I stumble across them.