14 June 2013

Pattern Recognition

In a bullet game* yesterday, I had a position that I recognized immediately from my work on Andre Danican Philidor.

Philidor was of the opinion that a gambit played well on both sides should result in a draw, but he demonstrates many ways that it is possible to err. In his first King's Gambit model game in Analysis of the Game of Chess (1790), he offers a variation on his main game in brief comment.

After the moves 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 Bg7 5.h4, he gives 5...h6 with the comment:
There were two other ways of playing this; the first, by pushing his King's Bishop's Pawn one step, in which case you should sacrifice your Knight, in order afterwards to give check with your Queen, which would insure you the game; ... (Philidor, 65)
His suggestion became one of my tactics exercises for the youth players.**

White to move

One of my bullet games yesterday was a King's Gambit, but some of the moves differed from Philidor's example. The essential pattern, however, was the same when my opponent made the error mentioned by Philidor.

1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 exf4 4.Bc4 g5 5.d4 f6??

White to move

6.Nxg5! fxg5? 7.Qh5+ Ke7 8.Qf7+ Kd6 9.e5+ Nxe5

White to move

10.dxe5+ is an inaccuracy.

I should have played 10.Qd5+ Ke7 11.Qxe5#. Having instantly seen one pattern from my tactics problems, I missed another. I missed a checkmate that is the solution to one of the tactics problems that I extracted from Greco.

White to move

White checkmates in four moves.

After my error, my opponent was cooperative and stepped back into a mating sequence.

10...Kc5? (10...Kxe5 hangs on longer) 11. Qd5+ Kb6 12.Qb5#

Fifteen seconds of fun seduces me into believing that bullet can be useful reinforcement for pattern training.

Another game yesterday that featured a pattern resembling one that can be found in Greco reveals the sort of junk that is the norm in bullet.

1.e4 b5 2.f4 Bb7 3.Nf3 b4 4.d4 Bxe4 5.Bc4 Bb7 6.Bxf7+?? Kxf7 7.Ne5+ Ke8 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Nxg6 hxg6?? 10.Qxg6#

*I had given up bullet because it hinders my quest for improvement. But, earlier this week in a discussion on a chess.com forum about internet lag and premove and how it affects the game clocks in online play, I played some bullet to document the discrepencies via video. See "Bullet Junk".

**My annual youth chess camp is next week. For this camp, I always create a new workbook with fresh tactics exercises. Each year, I pick one or a few chess players. The annotated games and tactics problems in the student workbook comes from the games of these players. I have built the camp around the games of Adoph Anderssen (2010) and Vasily Smyslov (2011). Last year, I featured a different player each day of camp: József Szén, Paul Morphy, Mikhail Tal, Alexander Chernin, and Yasser Seirawan.

This year, I have taken to heart Max Euwe's assertion, "the development of a chess player runs parallel with that of chess itself" (The Devopment of Chess Style, 1966). Hence, I have gone back to early chess masters and spent a bit of time looking through the games of Pedro Damiano, Ruy López, Gioachino Greco, and Andre Danican Philidor. My camp workbook this year features lessons from Greco and Philidor. Because some of Greco's games were copied from Damiano and López, their influence is present.

From William Lewis, Gioachino Greco on the Game of Chess (1819), I expanded my database of Greco's games. Do not believe that his total number of illustrated games comes to 77 as someone wrote in Wikipedia. That number comes from Louis Hoffmann (pseudonym for Angelo Lewis), The Games of Greco, 1900. Hoffmann reduces the number of variations that are found in the Lewis book to expand the number of "games" from 47 to 77. However, as Lewis explains, he combined separate games in Greco's manuscripts, organizing them by openings. What Greco has as separate games, others have reproduced as games and variations. Rendering these as separate again expands the number to 168. Most of the variations (games) are not in modern databases.

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