Monday, July 18, 2005

Game One: ME v. ME

July, 2005

In this game, black will go first and show how great that advantage is. A normal first few moves are played, but then some in-depth analysis shows in just how much trouble red is in no matter how solidly he plays. The ending is slow because of red's solid play, but very forced as black skillfully exploits his advantage. HINT: use a Connect4 board to look at this game!

  • 1. d1, g1
  • 2. a1, c1 – Stopping the 3. c1, b1; 2. b2 trick.
  • 3. d2, a2 – Red doesn’t want him to get c&a2 as well, threatening b2.
  • 4. g2

<--Position after 4. g2

Now red is in kind of a pickle. He doesn't want to play b1 or f1 because black will play b2 or f2, and c2 and d3 are off limits for basically the same reason. That leaves the a, e, and g files. A3 doesn't do anything, but on the plus side, it is solid and doesn't give black an immediate win.

If red tries to get something going on the other side of the board, either with his g1 piece or on the third rank, by playing e1 or g3, he is doomed. This is because after 4. ... e1; 5. e2 and black has f2 threats and g3 is and always was of limits for this moe because of g4, winning for black. So after 4. ... e1; 5. e2, e3; 6. c2, e4; [6. ... c3; 7. d3, d4; 8. c4 1-0] 7. c3, c4; [7. ... a3; 8. c4, c5; 9. d3 1-0] 8. a3, a4; 9. d3, d4; 10. b1 1-0.

a3 seems to be the only option.

  • 4. ... a3
  • 5. d3, d4
  • 6. c2, c3
  • 7. c4 - If red e1 or f1, black simply plays e2 or f2, and then it is just a matter of time because red has no three in a row threat, and there are an even number of squares.
  • 7. ... a4
  • 8. a5, b1
  • 9. g3 d5 - Now black just has to be patient If you count the number of squares, they're even. That's a significant detail right now.

<-- Position after 9. g3, d5

  • 10. d6, a6
  • 11. g4, g5
  • 12. g6, c5
  • 13. c6, f1
  • 14. f2, f3
  • 15. f4, f5
  • 16. f6 b2
  • 17. b3! - Black has used up all the passive squares, and now red must move!
  • 17. ... e1
  • 18. e2 1-0, Game Over.

This game was a good example of how black can, without even playing any blindingly brilliant moves, slowly dominate then force red to play in a crucial square.

Here's the ending position: