The Moral Lesson
I love this video. We’ve all been there, so we can relate. We’ve all screwed up. You don’t have to play chess or even understand the rules of the game to know exactly how Alexandra Botez feels.
Chess is a very difficult, humbling game. But that’s the point. If we only attempted to do what was easy, we never would grow and mature as chess players, as human beings.
I love the raw energy of this video: Alexandra Botez’s obvious frustration. Her cathartic scream…
How she wards off tilt and steels her nerves. Her determination to play on and make her opponent prove they can win. Her war cry of…
… when she regains the initiative. The anxiety-inducing ticking of the clock in a one minute bullet game with no increment. (I don’t know how people can play 1 minute bullet. I have enough difficulty managing my time in 3 + 2 blitz .) Her ultimate triumph with only 0.4 seconds left on her clock.
Plus the backing music sounds like an outtake from Metallica’s Death Magnetic album.
The game begins 1.Nf3 f5 2.d3 Nf6 3.g3 e6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.O-O O-O 6.Nbd2 d6 7.c3 e5 8.e4 fxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.dxe4 Qe8 11.Be3 Qh5 12.Qd2 Bh3 13.Ne1 Nd7 14.Bxh3 Qxh3 15.Ng2 Nf6 16.f3 a5 17.Bg5 Rae8 18.Bxf6 Rxf6 19.Qe3 Rh6 20.Kf2 b6 21.Rh1 d5 22.exd5 and arrives at this first critical position.
The game continues 22…Bc5 23.Rae1 Bxe3+ 24.Rxe3 Rf6 25.c4 Qf5 26.Rhe1 Qc2+ 27.R1e2 Qxc4 28.Rd2 Rd8 29.Rxe5 Rfd6 30.Ne3 Qc5 31.Ke2 h6 32.Rc2 Qd4 33.Re4 Qf6 34.Rd2 c6 35.Rf4 Qg6 36.Rg4 Qe8 37.Kf2 cxd5 38.Nf5 R6d7 39.Nxh6+ Kh7 40.Nf5 d4 41.Rh4+ Kg8 42.Rg4 d3 43.Re4 Qf7 44.Rg4 Kh7 45.Nh4 g6 46.Ng2 Kg7 47.Nf4 Qf6 and arrives at a second critical position.
Alexandra Botez captures her opponent’s queen to even the score- actually she’s up one pawn. Capitalizes when her opponent hangs a rook. Then wins two pawns, promotes a pawn to a queen, drives her opponent’s king to a corner, and maneuvers her rook and queen to deliver mate on the back rank a split-second before her time runs out. Amazing!
I gave my chess engine, MadChess (rated 2700 Elo = super Grandmaster), one minute to analyze the game. I also gave one minute to a world-class engine, Komodo Dragon (rated 3500 Elo = much stronger than the best human player). It seems appropriate to give the computers the same amount of time the human players had for the game. You can play through the game below, review suggested improvements by MadChess and Komodo Dragon, and read a few comments and explanations I added.
If you’ve never played chess online, and this video piques your curiosity about what you’re missing, consider signing up at chess.com. Don’t worry, you can play slower-paced games (or games with no clock) than what you see in the video above. You’ll be matched with players of a similar strength as you.