Tactical Minefield in Won Game

I played an interesting blitz game a couple nights ago against MadChess 3.0 Beta. The engine is strong enough for me to release it. Before I do, I’m improving features not related to maximizing engine strength. In fact, quite the opposite: I’m working on UCI_LimitStrength and UCI_Elo options that reduce the engine’s playing strength. This enables us mere mortals to configure MadChess for a more enjoyable game- competitive but with winning chances gifted to us by an engine purposefully playing inaccuracies and blunders.

The game began as follows. Playing white, I develop my pieces. MadChess 3.0 Beta mindlessly pushes a few pawns forward before belatedly developing its pieces. MadChess and I play the opening and middlegame inaccurately- including a significant blunder on my 6th move. (See analysis at end of this blog post.)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 h5 3.Be2 f5 4.Nc3 b6 5.Nxe5 a6 6.Ng6 Rh7 7.Nxf8 Kxf8 8.exf5 c5 9.Bxh5 d6 10.Nd5 Rh8 11.Qf3 Qd7 12.Nxb6 Qe7+ 13.Kd1 Bb7 14.Qg4 Nh6 15.Qg6 Be4

rn3k1r/4q1p1/pN1p2Qn/2p2P1B/4b3/8/PPPP1PPP/R1BK3R w - - 7 16

Here the game quickly gets very tactical. Keep in mind I’m playing MadChess 3.0 Beta at reduced strength. I’ve capitalized on its weak moves and have obtained a winning position. That my position is winning is not in doubt: White has won a bishop for a knight, has the bishop pair, and is up four pawns. However, MadChess’ defense complicates my winning position. Despite its moves being suboptimal, MadChess increases the chance a patzer like me spoils the position.

The game continues 16.Re1 Ra7 17.f3 {Another big blunder by me.} Qd8 18.Rxe4 Rf7 19.d3 Re7 20.Bg5 Nc6 21.Kd2 Qe8

4qk1r/4r1p1/pNnp2Qn/2p2PBB/4R3/3P1P2/PPPK2PP/R7 w - - 5 22

Here I miss a mate in two. Can you spot it? It’s easy when given the hint. In the game, with the clock ticking, I thought, “I have a strong attack here. My queen is leading the attack. I don’t want to swap it off.” Instead I play Qxd6, pinning black’s rook on e7. If black takes my bishop on h5, I thought I’d follow by moving my queen to the back rank to check the black king and win black’s other rook. I overlooked black’s knight on c6 covers my queen’s two infiltration squares (b8 and d8). Damn.

The game continues 22.Qxd6 Qxh5 23.Bxe7+ Nxe7 24.Nd7+ Kg8 25.Rxe7 Qg5+ 26.Kc3 Nf7 27.Qb8+ Kh7 28.Qg3

7r/3NRnpk/p7/2p2Pq1/8/2KP1PQ1/PPP3PP/R7 b - - 6 28

Now I’m willing to trade queens. But black isn’t. MadChess takes my rook. I sensed (correctly) it didn’t matter because of the strength of my attack, but I fail to press my advantage maximally.

The game continues 28… Qxe7 29.Qg6+ Kg8

6kr/3Nqnp1/p5Q1/2p2P2/8/2KP1P2/PPP3PP/R7 w - - 2 30

Here, under time pressure, I overlook a crushing move. Afterwards, when reviewing the game I saw it immediately. Nonetheless, I went on to win without making any more significant mistakes:

30.Qe6 Qd8 31.Re1 Rh7 32.Qe8+ Qxe8 33.Rxe8#

A very enjoyable game! I had MadChess 3.0 Beta do post-game analysis. I set it to full strength and asked it to identify moves where I erred by a pawn or more. You may review MadChess’ suggested improvements in the variations it added to the game below.

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