Human beats Computer – Elements, Logic, Strategy – Part 2

Computer Junior – Alterman,B [B51]

Nir Galim blitz, 1995

 1. e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.0–0 Bd7 5.Re1 Nf6 6.h3 a6 7.Bxc6?!  

A typical computer move, as we saw in the previous game. Junior gives up a bishop for a knight.

7…Bxc6 8.Nc3 e5!  Important to fix the center due White’s development advantage .  


  9.Kf1? Many computers still play moves like this, which mean, “I don’t know what my plan is”.

9…g6 10.d3 Bg7 11.Bg5 h6 12.Be3 0–0 13.Qd2 Kh7 After the opening Junior has found himself in a very passive position. Black has a clear plan: to attack on the kingside with f7-f5.

14.a4?  A clear mistake – White himself kills any potential for counter-play with this move. Worthy of attention was 13.a3 and next b4 to open the game on the queenside.                  

14…Ne8 15.a5 f5 16.Qd1 Nc7 17.Bd2 Ne6 18.Nd5 Rf7 19.Nb6 Finishing his plan, the computer has set up what the program might have considered a powerful “dream-knight” on b6, but in reality it looks more like a “paper tiger.” Now Black will start execution on the kingside.19…Rb8 20.h4? This only creates another target for Black’s pieces.

20…fxe4 21.dxe4 Qf6 22.c3 Rbf8 Looks like nothing can help the computer , Black’s attack continues smoothly.



23.Qb3 Nf4 24.Bxf4 Qxf4 25.Nd5 Bxd5 26.Qxd5 g5!

This pawn move decides the game. White has no defensive moves against g4.

27.hxg5 hxg5 28.Re3 g4 29.Kg1 Rf6 30.Rf1 gxf3 31.Rxf3 


31.. Qxf3!!

Easily winning was 31.Qg4, but I was in a human-computer fight and decided to finish the game with the final beautiful combination.

32.gxf3 Rg6+ 33.Kh2 Rf4 34.Kh3

34…Rxf3+ ?!  [Better was 34…Bf6! 35.Qf7+ Kh6–+ And white has no defense.]                      

35.Kh2   Bh6? A pity. After spending so much energy and creativity to reach this position I, under heavy time pressure, missed the simple win. [35…Rf4! 36.Kh3 Bf6 and White may resign.]  

36.Qxb7+ Rg7 37.Qc8! This move was an unpleasant surprise for me. In the tactical game Computer always feels like a fish in a water.


37…Rf6 38.Qh3 Kg8 39.Qc8+ Kh7 

After my mistake position is drawish and  I offered a draw, but to my surprise Computer decided to continue. 

40.Rg1 Bf4+ 41.Rg3 Bxg3+ 42.fxg3 Rf2+ 43.Kg1 Rf3 44.Qh3+ Kg8 45.Kg2?? 


The last mistake. The pawn endgame may be difficult for White or may be losing, but the computer can’t evaluate this, because it sees a pawn advantage on the queenside and prepares to create a passed pawn. But I have a surprise in my pocket!

 45…Rfxg3+ 46.Qxg3 Rxg3+ 47.Kxg3


47..c4!! This is a key move. I fixed the pawns in the queenside and may create a passed pawn in the center. This move Junior totally overlooked. A great mistake would have been [47…Kf7 48.b4! and White is winning.]  



48.Kg4 Kf7 49.Kf3 doesn’t help either 49.Kf5 Ke7 50.Kg5 Ke6 51.Kg4 d5 52.exd5+ Kxd5 53.Kf5 Kd6 54.Kg4 Kc6! and black is winning.


49…Ke6 50.Kg4 Kf6 51.Kg3 Kg5 52.Kf3 Kh4 53.Kf2 Kg4 54.Ke3 Kg3 55.Kd2 Kf3 56.Kc1 0–1

Human beats Computer : Elements, Logic, Strategy – Part 1


Silicon Monsters are  still beatable…         

When you have a match between such different opponents, you have to look at the different strengths and weaknesses of both sides during the competition.

Playing against a chess computer means facing something that doesn’t have any nerves – similar to sitting across the table from an IRS agent during a tax audit.

 It’s quite clear, what the weaknesses of a human being are – primarily our vulnerability to an outside interference. We could catch a cold, be easily distracted, and so on. Obviously, we are not in the position to calculate as deep as the machine, but we can compensate for it with other factors.

 It’s less clear what the weaknesses of the machine are, but for a computer specialist or a chess specialist, it is not difficult to indicate them either.

Of course, on the top of any evaluation in machine’s rank, we always see the material. It always tries to translate quality and time factors into the numbers that are representing the mathematical balance of the material.

As for the opening strategy, which is quite a dangerous part of the game now, since there is too much of theory and many lines that can be exploited further by the GM-team supporting the machine.

My first principles in the game against Computers to avoid the main lines and to accept inferior position after the opening, hoping that outside of the theoretical routes the machine would lose its horizons and would start making positional mistakes. The negative side is that such a strategy dramatically limits your active opportunities, but anyway, this decision worked perfectly well in many examples. Computers may overestimate their chances and will made several positional mistakes, which gave me a serious positional advantage.

For example, Fritz may to weaken its King without big hesitation, simply destroyed its King’s pawns’ protection and did not pay much attention to the King’s safety before it becomes too late.

Now we will see some examples “How to beat your computer”.

 I would like to start with some very illustrative games to demonstrate my first experience against Computer Junior, that was played in Nir Ganim tournament with the rapid time control 15 minutes +10 seconds per move. We played two games and I will show my first principles already combined many years ago.  

Alterman,B – Computer Junior [A12]

Nir Galim blitz, 1995  

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c6 3.b3 d5 4.Bb2

 First of all would be good to escape from the book Opening theory. Almost always the Computer has a problem , when it’s out of the Opening book immediately after first 3-4 moves and  when it has too many pieces on the board. 

 4…Bg4 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Be2 e6 7.h3



Of course mistake. “Junior” doesn’t like to lose a tempo and just exchanged his bishop, now white gets the bishops pair, which is promising slight , but long term advantage for me . Better was 7…Bh5  

8.Bxf3 Bd6 9.Be2 dxc4?                

Another positional mistake. White has a dream to open the position for their bishops, but “Junior” opens the position for White’s favor!    


10.bxc4 0–0 11.0–0 Qc7 12.Nc3 Rfd8 13.Qc2 a6 14.Rac1 e5 15.Rfd1  

White has already clear positional advantage, but still not a winning position. I continue to play without risk and tactical complication, and once again “Junior”  goes astray.  

 15…Nc5 16.d3 Ne6 17.Bf1  


It works ! My prophylactic  moves finally gives “Junior” some feeling that he may activate his position on the kingside.    

18.Ne2 h4 19.d4  

Finally after a good preparation I start an action in the center. Black has created himself a clear target – weak pawn on h4, in the nearest future I  should launch the kingside attack.  

 19…e4 20.d5!  

 20… Nc5

“Junior” doesn’t feel a danger , allows me to destroy his kingside. Better was [20…cxd5 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.Rxd5 with a clear advantage].  

21.Bxf6 Bh2+ 22.Kh1 gxf6 23.Nd4 Rac8 24.dxc6 bxc6  


Finally white’s Queen is just a move away from the kingside. White’s attack becomes unstoppable. 

 25…Be5 26.Qg4+ Kf8 27.Nf5 Ne6 28.Qxh4 Kg8 29.Qxe4 Kf8 30.Qh4 Kg8 31.c5 a5 32.Bc4! 

 One more piece comes into attack, which completely ruins black’s position.    

32…Rb8 33.f4 Bb2 34.Rxd8+ Rxd8 35.Rf1 Rd2 36.Rf3 Rd1+ 37.Kh2 Rd5                               

 And black resigned due forthcoming 38.Rg3+ and 39.Qh8 mate.  


The Alterman Wall

Alterman,B (2564) – DEEP FRITZ [A03] Event  2000

1.f4 My idea was to get the Stonewall set-up, with all the pawns remaining on the board. Another way to achieve the same formation would have been with 1.d4 d5 2.e3, but then 2…Bf5 gives Black a comfortable game, without the need to build a kingside fianchetto. After 1.f4, White’s biggest danger is 1…e5. In that case I intended to play 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4. Nf3 g5 5.d4 g4 6.Ne5, offering Black the ending ensuing after 6…Bxe5. In other words, to give back the pawn in order to swap queens.

1…d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 g6 4.Be2 Bg7 5.d4 0-0 6.c3
This is not a new formation. I’ve played a lot of lightning games with the same set-up, and the location of the bishop on e2 (instead of d3) is of no significance. White’s main objective is to keep all the pieces on the board, since the more pieces remaining on the board, the more calculations are required for the computer after each move, decreasing its ability to focus on the crucial lines. The calculations become very complicated for the computer under such conditions.

6…Bf5 7.Nbd2 In order to eliminate any possibility of capturing on b1. 7…e6?! The first evidence that it is playing without a plan. Natural was 7…c5. After the text move the possibilities of Bf5 are limited.

8.h3 Ne4? A mistake. He should have kept this square for his bishop. Fritz’s colleague, Deep Junior, tends to play 8…h5? in such positions. However, this also would have been a serious mistake, as it desperately weakens the kingside.

9.g4 Ng3? Losing a pawn. After the alternative, 9…Nxd2 10.Nxd2 Be4 11.Nxe4 dxe4 12.h4, White has a clear positional advantage thanks to the pair of bishops, the strong center, and the excellent attacking possibilities on the kingside. All these factors caused Fritz to evaluate this position as bad for Black. But I’m sure this was the least of evils, since at least the material is balanced. Still, his main problem was that he erroneously considered the pawn sac as satisfactory.

10.Rg1 Nxe2 11.Kxe2! Be4 12.Ng5 Na6 The machine’s evaluation at this point was only +0.31 in White’s favor. Why this assessment? First, he is motivated to deprive his opponent from castling; second, White’s bishop looked extremely poor in this structure; third, his assessment assumed that he might open up the position quickly, by attacking White�s center. But this evaluation is mistaken because White’s pawn formation is immune, and the king finds a satisfactory shelter in the center.

13.b4! Closing the queenside and preventing 13…c5. Furthermore, this limits the scope of Na6. 13…c6 More chances are offered by 13…b6, in order to play 14…c5. 14.Bb2 Qe7 15.Ndxe4 dxe4 16.Nxe4 Rad8 17.Qb3 Fritz’s evaluation is +0.50, but Black has no compensation whatsoever.

17…Qh4? Facing the plan g4-g5, followed by h4-h5, Fritz does everything to prevent it, but his queen is ensnared into a trap.

18.Rh1! A surprise, Fritz expected 18.Nf2. 18…Rfe8 19.Rag1 With the threat of 20.g5, followed by 21.Rg4 and 22.Ng3. 19…f6? [19…Qe7 was forced. Now the Black queen finds herself in real trouble.] 20.Nd2 Nc7 21.Nf3 Qh6 22.h4

White is winning. Not only does he have an extra pawn, the black queen is completely paralyzed. 22…Rf8 23.Bc1 In order to enable e4, with f5 to follow. 23…Rde8 24.a4 My main idea was 24.e4 f5 25.g5 Qh5 26.e5, but then Black could play 26…b5 and he would have an active knight on d5. My intention was to avoid even the slightest counter-chance. 24…Nd5 25.c4 Nb6 26.e4

A picturesque and unprecedented position where all the pawns are on the fourth rank! This illustrates White’s complete domination. Interestingly, I didn’t notice this curiosity during the game!

26…f5 27.g5 Qh5 28.e5 The black queen is completely offside. There is no need even to try winning her. Amazingly, Fritz�s evaluation is a mere +0.56 despite his catastrophic position. But in a few moves he is going to feel all his problems.

28…Rf7 29.Be3 Rd7 30.Kf2 Red8 31.Rd1 Na8 32.b5 With the absence of the black queen, White starts activities on the queenside. The idea is to create weaknesses there, most likely on c6. 32…Bf8 33.a5 Be7 After [33…Nc7 34.bxc6 bxc6 35.Qa4 Black loses another pawn.] 34.b6 Now the knight is also out of play. 34…axb6 [The try to close the game doesn’t work either:34…a6 35.d5 cxd5 36.cxd5 Rxd5 37.Rxd5 Rxd5 38.Rd1] 35.axb6 Kg7 36.c5

Fritz evaluation: -2.34.

36…Kf7 37.Ra1 Rb8 38.Qc4

[38.Nd2 followed by Nc4-d6, would seal the game at once. But, convinced that the game is over, I started to play recklessly.]

38…Bd8 39.Nd2?! I shouldn’t allow the following sacrifice, but of course the endgame is also totally winning.

39…Bxb6 40.cxb6 Nxb6 41.Qe2 Qxe2+ 42.Kxe2 Kg7 43.h5 Nd5 44.Ra7 Rbd8 45.Nb3 b6 46.hxg6 [The simplest was 46.h6+ Kf7 47.Rha1 and the weakness on h7 will eventually tell.]

46…hxg6 47.Rha1 Kf7 48.Nd2 Ke7 49.Nc4 Rxa7 50.Rxa7+ Rd7

51.Ra1 The idea is to put my knight on d6, but I completely overlooked his reply. Fortunately, the damage is not irreversible.

51…Nxf4+ 52.Kf3 [52.Bxf4 Rxd4 53.Ra7+ followed by 54.Nd6 was also winning.] 52…Nd5 53.Bc1 I wanted to keep my bishop, in order to defend my pawns and to preserve attacking chances. 53…Nb4 54.Nd6 Nc2 55.Ra8 Rd8 56.Ra7+ Rd7 57.Ra8 Rd8 58.Rxd8 Kxd8 59.Bb2 Black loses a pawn now.

59…Kd7 60.Nf7 Ke8 61.Nh8 Ne1+ 62.Ke2 Ng2 An interesting defensive resource!

63.Bc1! The winning move. [Bad was 63.Nxg6? Kf7] 63…Kf8 [After 63…Nh4 64.Kf2 Kf8 65.Kg3 Kg7 66.Kxh4 Kxh8 White wins by 67.Ba3 Kg7 68.Bd6 Kf7 69.Bc7 b5 70.Bd6 and the white king penetrates through the queenside.]

64.Nxg6+ Kf7 65.Nf4 Nh4 66.Kf2 Ng6 67.Nxg6 Kxg6 68.Bd2 Kh5 69.Kg3 Kg6 70.Kh4 b5 71.Bb4 f4 72.Kg4 f3 73.Kxf3 Kxg5 74.Be1 Kf5 75.Bb4 Kg5 76.Bc5 Kf5 77.Be7 Kg6 78.Kg4 Kh6 79.Bg5+ Kg6 80.Bd2 Kf7 81.Kg5 Kg7 82.Bb4 Kf7 83.Kh6 Kg8 84.Kg6 Kh8 85.Kf6 Kg8 86.Kxe6 Kh7 87.Kd7 1-0