Albert Frank

In December 2002, during a chess tournament in Spain, I won a very short game against a FIDE (International chess federation) master. This game shows particularities about the comprehension of chess positions and some problems with computers. Here it is (I have white):

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 Bb4

This is a very old move, played more than a century ago. What’s the idea? The move 3…Nge7 has been played before, but there where problems with the development of the Bishop on f8. So, let’s develop this Bishop first.

4. 0-0 Nge7
5. c3 Ba5
6. d4 exd4
7. cxd4 d5

Here is the critical position. If you look in the Megadatabase 2003 (more than 2 millions games), you find this position in more than 100 games, and in no recent game (in chess, there are also habits). In all of these games, white has played 8. exd5 or 8. e5. The score gives (for both moves), nearly equality for black. When I put this position in the chess programs Fritz 6 and Hiarcs 7, they both propose exd5 and e5 as the best moves.

When looking at the position, my reasoning was the following:

Why is black’s position “ok”? Answer: Because, if the centre opens, the black’s king will not be in check by the move Re1, because Black’s Bishop on a5 covers the square e1. So, how to change that? And I found:

8. b4

Back to the computer: He did not considered this move before (a pawn sacrifice, apparently for nothing, a lot of branches of the tree of variations has been cut to win in rapidity). When I submitted (after the game of course) this move to the two programs, they immediately indicate a clear advantage for white. The position has also been analysed be two international masters, they considered it as “nearly desperate” for black.

8. ….. Bxb4 (to keep the control of the square e1)
9. Qb3 Ba5
10. exd5 Nxd5 (Qxd5 was better, but white has a tremendous attack)
11. Qa4 Black resigned (he loses material)