Hey, I won another cool game against Shredder! Even though I know it doesn’t mean anything, I still feel like sharing.
I was White in the position below:
FEN: 3q2k1/1p1n1p2/r2p1Pp1/p1p1r1N1/P1P1PQP1/3P4/1P3R2/R6K w – - 0 32
Here, believe it or not, I was feeling just a bit frustrated. Yes, I’m a pawn up and with a much superior position, thanks to the “bone in the throat” f-pawn and the dangerous threats along the h-file. However, I was starting to think that I had screwed up my chances for a clean knockout. I wanted to play 32. R1f1, but then I thought Black might be able to play 32. … Nxf6, winning a pawn because of White’s dangling knight on g5. Alternatively, I could play 32. Nf3, but this seemed like a retreat. I couldn’t see a definite win after 32. … Re6 33. g5 Kf8 34. Rh2 Ke8. Or Black could give up the exchange but eliminate the “bone in the throat” with 32. … Qxf6 33. Qxf6 Nxf6 34. Nxe5 de.
In fact, I think that either 32. R1f1 or 32. Nf3 would have been fine, but suddenly, like the Grinch, I “had an idea. An awful idea! The Grinch had a wonderful, awful idea!” Do you see what it is?
Here’s the answer:
The answer to all of my prayers! First, it protects the “bone in the throat” pawn at f6. It keeps the king from running away to f8 and e8. It also keeps the queen from coming to f8 to defend mates on g7. And finally, the knight is taboo because of 32. … Kxh7? 33. Rh2+ Kg8 34. Rh8+!! Kxh8 35. Qh6+ Kg8 36. Qg7 mate.
The point of the knight-and-rook sacrifice is, of course, to lure the king to h8 so that the queen will come to h6 with check, and Black won’t have time to take on f6.
After this shot Black can only delay the inevitable. The computer played
32. … d5 33. Qh6! Nxf6 34. Nxf6+ Qxf6
A sad necessity. 34. … Rxf6 would be met by 35. Rh2 threatening mate on h8.
35. Rxf6 Rxf6 36. Kg2 dc 37. Rh1 resigns
Mate is coming on the h-file anyway.
I’ve noticed before that Shredder tends to underestimate the danger of giving me control over an open h-file when it is castled kingside. I’d even go so far as to say that attacks along the h-file are its Achilles heel. Unfortunately, the percentage of games where I am able to get such an attack is pretty small. The stars have to align.
Just for fun, here is a printout of my “rating graph” against Shredder, showing me scoring three wins and two draws in five games with its rating set at 2302. So my performance rating for the five games is 2542 — grandmaster strength! In more than 1000 games against it, I’m pretty sure that this is the first time I have ever had such a good five-game streak.
(Can you believe I’ve played a thousand games against my computer? I need to get a life.)