Since my last post was about my best game (possibly) against the computer, fairness requires that I now show you my worst game, which I played yesterday. As ghastly as it is, there is still a fascinating train-wreck-in-slow-motion beauty to it.
Shredder — Dana Mackenzie
(40 moves/10 minutes)
1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. f4 d5 4. Nf3 …
One thing that constantly amazes me about the computer is its ability to find holes in my opening knowledge. Here, for instance, humans always play 4. fe. It’s just a given. So when Shredder sprang 4. Nf3 on me — a perfectly reasonable move that has almost never been played before (only 3 times in the chess.com master database) — I had no idea what to do.
Probably best for Black is 4. … ef, when either 5. ed or 5. e5 transpose into perfectly playable variations of the King’s Gambit. That’s one good lesson for me from this game — if the opponent plays something weird, see if you can transpose into something you know.
4. … de 5. Nxe5 Be6?
I was trying to discourage 6. Bc4, but I missed the fact that White’s next move wins a pawn.
6. Qe2! …
Getting in the way of his own development, pawn-hunting with the queen… Nevertheless, computers can get away with this sort of thing.
6. … Qd4? 7. Qb5+ Nbd7 8. Qxb7 Rb8 9. Qxc7 Bd6?
According to Shredder, 9. … Bc5! 10. Nd1 Bb6! and I am still very much in the game, even two pawns down. The main point is that 11. Nc6 is met by 11. … Qc5 12. b4 Qf8! and White’s queen is trapped. Let’s be honest — this is the sort of position that only a computer can play well.
10. Nb5 Rxb5 11. Qc8+ Ke7
… and here I was still daydreaming about my attacking possibilities after 12. Qxh8? Nxe5 when I was rudely awakened by
12. Nc6 mate!
Lessons from this game:
- Always go pawn-hunting with your queen. It’ll be fantastic.
- Don’t bother developing your pieces. Black has developed all of his pieces here; how well did that work out?
If your teacher tries to teach you not to go pawn hunting, or to develop your pieces as rapidly as possible, just show him this game and tell him he’s wrong.