Thursday, 2 August 2012

One-colour Chess (Go)!?

by Junta

After the Gold Coast Open finished in late June, Moulthun and I were watching a couple of episodes from our favourite anime, Hikaru no Go - where the main character, Hikaru Shindō is challenged to a game of one-colour Go by a master. Go, like chess, has one side take the white pieces (stones) and the other the black. However, playing where only pieces of one colour are used, keeping track of which pieces are who's is more difficult than in chess, because all the stones look the same!

A scene from the episode on the English manga version (publisher: Viz Media).
Read from right to left, top to bottom

Nevertheless, we wanted to see how a game of one-colour chess would turn out. What started out as a casual game in a new variant (with a time control of 10+10), quickly turned competitive...

(for maximum enjoyment, set up a board with one colours yourself and follow)

Junta-Moulthun, 25 June (with annotations just on the crucial moments)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.f3 b5 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.g4 Nb6 10.g5 Nfd7 11.a4 b4 12.Nd1 (12.a5!) d5 13.Nf2 Qc7 14.b3 e5

(in two colours)

15.Nf5 (again, I missed 15.a5 - no doubt the unorthodox colour of the pieces had its effect) d4 16.Nxd4 exd4 17.Bxd4 Ne5 18.Be2 Bc5 19.f4 Ng6 20.Bxg7 Rg8 21.Bf6 Nxf4 22.0–0–0 Be6 23.Bxa6

White now has three pawns for the knight, and threatening pieces...

23...Nd7 24.Bb5 Rb8 25.e5 Rxb5 26.axb5 Nxf6 27.gxf6 Rg2 28.Qxf4 Rxf2 29.Qe4 Qc8 30.b6 [30.Rhg1 Bf5 31.Rg8+ (31.Rd8+ Qxd8 32.Qc6+ Qd7 33.Rg8+ Bf8 34.Rxf8+ Kxf8 35.Qc5+ Ke8 36.Qxf2 Qc8=) 31...Bf8 32.Rxf8+ Kxf8 33.Qxb4+ Kg8 34.Rd2±]

After 30.b6

30...Bxb3 31.b7 Be3+ 32.Rd2

This looks more chaotic when the white pieces are black as well..

Bxd2+ 33.Kb1 Ba2+ [33...Bxc2+ 34.Qxc2 Qxb7 35.Rg1 Kd7-+] 34.Kxa2 b3+

35.Kxb3 [I should have been able to calculate and choose 35.cxb3 Qc7 36.Qa4+ Kd8 37.Qd4+ (37.Qa8+ Kd7 38.b8N+ Ke6 39.Qa6+ Kf5 40.Qd3+ Kxe5 41.Nd7+ Ke6 42.Nf8+ Ke5=) 37...Ke8 38.Qxf2 Qc2+ 39.Ka3 Bc1+ 40.Rxc1 Qxc1+ 41.Ka2 Qc7 42.Qg2 Kd7 43.Qd5+ Ke8 44.Qb5+ +-] 35...Qc3+ 36.Ka2 Qa5+ 37.Kb3 Qb6+ 38.Ka2 Rf4 39.b8Q+ Qxb8 40.Qc6+ Kd8 41.Qd5+

Ke8 42.Qc6+ Kd8 (42...Kf8 43.Qc5+ Kg8 44.Qg1+) ½–½ A fun game.

Along with blindfold, I think playing games and solving problems in one colour is good training for the abilities of visualisation, not to speak of calculation and assessment of the position.

Here's the full replayable game:

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