21 February 2012

Instant Gratification

This week, I am avoiding bullet garbage. Although I would like to say that serious training has taken its place, the truth is that I've become obsessed with beating a weakened Shredder on my iPad. Last November, I wrote about the Shredder iPad app's tactics training feature. It also has a playing feature that automatically adjusts its strength up or down as the user wins, loses, or draws. There is no timer limiting human think time, but Shredder moves instantly, or nearly so. At least it so moves at the weakened level merited by my demonstration of skill, or lack thereof. I'm playing these games at a pace between the instant moves of bullet and the almost leisurely pace (in comparison) of three-minute games. I am seeking the instant gratification of immediate victories. The quality of my chess is hardly worth discussing.

Shredder throws the game. If I recognize the error, I win easily. If I miss the chance, I may lose.

Black to move

Black has a slight advantage despite the apparent exposure of the machine's king.


Shredder makes a horrendous move. Without taking a moment to consider the tactics, I opt to win back the pawn and get a pig.


34.Qg6+ was the correct move, as it keeps the Black queen off the b1-h7 diagonal.

34...Qxa3 35.Rxb7

White has an overwhelming advantage.


Black moves into a mate in four.

White to move

But, I go for the mate in eight. Again, Qg6+ was the correct move.

36...Rfd8 makes it mate in four once again.

37.Qh8+ Kf7 38.Qg7+ Ke8

White to move
And now I miss the mate in two.


39.Qg8+ finishes things.

39...Kf8 40.Bg7+ Kg8 41.Bh6+ Kh8 42.Qg7#

At least there was some gratification from instantly working out a mate in four from this position. It would be better to have found the mate in two. Perhaps that's another reason to set aside junk play and concentrate on the 320 problems in Lev Alburt, Chess Training Pocket Book II.

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