Missed Clever Tactical Shot

Recently I reviewed some blitz games I’ve played on Chess.com over the past few months. I found an enjoyable game where I played very well but missed a clever tactical shot near the end of the game. When reviewing the game, I recognized this position. I remember wishing, during the game, that I had more time on my clock to think and work out the tactics. On second observation, I found the killer move. MadChess, along with world-class chess engines Stockfish and Komodo Dragon, confirmed it’s the best move. Can you find it? Very nice! Here’s the full game, with… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

Play Rather Than Code

Watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix nudged me to play chess online. I’ve spent time on chess over the last few years… programming an engine, not actually playing. I’m very rusty. Though my puzzle rating is decent. It’s much higher than my game rating, suggesting I need to work on time management. Thinking fast is not my strength, but everyone online plays blitz or bullet so here goes nothing… Last night I joined a bullet tournament with a 2+1 clock. Each player has 2 minutes to make all their moves in the game, plus 1 second added to their clock… Continue Reading

Missed Opportunity in the Endgame

I’ve been playing chess against my engine recently, using a beautiful 23″ wooden board by Drueke, with my notebook PC off to the side.  I set the time control to 25 min + 10 sec / move and give myself an extra 5 minutes per game (more time than MadChess) to make the moves on the board and the PC.  I figure that’s fair- it averages to 5 seconds per move over 60 moves. Since MadChess plays chess as well as an international master (slightly below a grand master), and I am nowhere near that strong, I handicapped it to… Continue Reading

A Game with All the Right Moves

I played a blitz game recently on Chess.com where throughout the entire game I felt a sense of heightened alertness- that I just understood the position and was quickly spotting threats and tactics. My opponent made a number of weak moves (yes, we’re both patzers), but I felt I found all the right moves- the most forcing, decisive replies to capitalize on his mistakes. After the game I asked my chess engine, MadChess, to analyze the game and suggest where I could have played better. To my surprise, MadChess could not find any improvements in my play. OK, I thought,… Continue Reading