GW-KW, Point Count Chess Raw Discussion, File #8:
Part of the Advanced Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 2)

Game 3, GW-KW v. Fritz 12 (Level 5), for Control of the Center
[July 5th-6th 2011]

GW-KW v. Fritz 12 (Level 5) GAME 3 + PGN


[Event "Game 3, Control of the Center"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2011.06.07"]
[Round "?"]
[White "GW+KW"]
[Black "Fritz 12 (Level 5)"]
[Result "*"]
[PlyCount "15"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O {Barcza Opening} b5 5. d4 c5 6. b3 Nc6 7. Bb2 Qb6 8. e3 Bd6 9. Qd2 Ne4 10. Qe2 Ba6 11. Rc1 b4 12. Qe1 O-O 13. c4 dxc4 14. bxc4 Bb7 15. Nfd2 Nf6 16. Nb3 Rfe8 17. N1d2 e5 18. d5

GW-KW v. Fritz 12 (Level 5)

Graham Wadden's Post-mortem ...

(GW, July 5th) The opening four moves in the Barcza Opening, for White is fairly straightforward: 1. Nf3 2. g3 3. Bg2 4. 0-0, no matter what Black's moves are. I like it because it gets one major objective out of the way, very efficiently (building a House and quickly Castling the King into it).

It's like one can play the first four moves on 'auto-pilot', almost regardless of what Black does.

After that, there's nowhere to hide; no routine for the brain to fall back on; you've got to be switched-on at all times, trying to juggle all the potential variations for every one of your Candidate Moves.

I felt some of my reasoning was misguided more often than not. I only seemed to propose a good move - one backed up by KW - when a positive outcome was obvious within the next move. However, when I tried proposing moves that entailed looking ahead 2-3 moves or more, that's when I didn't seem to fare so well.

Just to recap; the way we agreed to play the game was that, since KW was by far the more experienced and stronger player, his proposal would be the overriding move. As a relative beginner (and not a very good one!), my objective was to be the first to propose our move and see whether it matched KW's better judgement.

Here, I've made a list of the moves that I got wrong, next to KW's proposals (i.e. the ones we actually played in the game):

KW's Proposals ... GW's Proposals ...
6. b3
8. e3
11. Rc1
13. c4
15. Nfd2
17. N1d2
6. Bg5
8. c4
11. Rd1
13. Nbd2
15. a4
17. f4

Statistically, how did I do? ...
  • We finished this game on Move 18.

  • Take out - ignore - the first 4 moves, as they were the 'auto-pilot' moves from the Barcza Opening. That leaves 14 Moves where I had to think, reason and propose our next move, for myself.

  • So, 6 out of 14 Proposals weren't inline with KW's. In percentage terms, I got 6/14 = 0.43 = 43% Wrong*; 57% Matched KW's.
* Wrong, in the context that I'm trying to propose moves that KW - the stronger player - would select as his Candidate Move.

Actually, having looked at it statistically, I didn't do as bad as I'd assumed without having tallied up my mismatched proposals. However, the stats don't lie ... if I was in charge of my country's army and had to report back to the population that "we'd only lost 43% of our fighting force" ... you get the picture (not pretty!).

I'd say, the most valuable lesson that I learnt, during this game, was when KW explained Pattern #3, of his Major Digression: "A greater number of pieces is not the same as Control."

Up until that point, I just thought that a majority of units attacking a given square would Control it. I'd not appreciated the "qualitative" perspective; how a single, lowly Pawn could actually restrict the opposing army, denying Control of a square.

Ken Wilsdon's Post-mortem ...

(KW, July 6th) First, I would like to thank GW for playing the White side with me against Fritz. This is my first encounter with Fritz, and I must admit, I was a little intimidated, especially since I only recently began to study chess again (GW has been a big impetus to getting my mind into chess again - thanks for this too, GW!).

I was pleasantly surprised to find we were able to hold our own. Fritz at any level is a strong tactical player, and as one of the major purposes of this endeavor is to explore Control of the Center, I wanted to make a good showing as "the stronger player". Strategically, I believe we were at least equal to Fritz, maybe just slightly ahead.

GW also helped significantly on move 11 when we conferred and decided on Rc1 instead of Rd1.

This is my first game with the Barcza Opening. I, like GW, appreciate that on the first 4 moves you don't have to do much thinking. One issue I might have is castling immediately. Just as with the Center it is often advisable to maintain the tension until the right moment, so with castling. We undoubtedly would have done so soon, but by not castling immediately, it enables you to make use of that tempo to greater advantage, until castling is really needed or wanted. On move 4, castling was not really needed at that point.

Both strategy and tactics played a large roll in this game.

One of the differences between strategy and tactics is that strategy is long term, whereas tactics generally is short term.

Tactically, I made a mistake at move 9 (Qd2) not seeing the Knight attack of Nf6-e4. This moved the Queen pillar to post for a few moves, until we were able to regroup.

Strategically, throughout the game we limited Black's ability to use the dark squares, creating a Bad Bishop. Then systematically, by 13. c4 and 18. d5 we were able to lock in the Black light square Bishop. With the move 18. d5 as well, we remove one more defender for the Black Kingside. White now has an advantage on the Kingside flank, and should attack there soon before Black can regroup.

Strategically as well, we were able to gain Control of the Center. With the Advanced Pawn and Advanced Salient, White's game is better.

Many people use computers these days to play chess. This is a mistake if they rely on computer programs to help them make a move. It weakens their chess brains. However, after a game, it is useful to use a program to see what other moves are suggested that you might have missed, or to see other tactical or strategic possibilities.

One free program is Crafty. I placed Crafty on 12 ply (6 full moves), to examine the game. This catches virtually all tactics, and also sees if specific strategies have a short term significance. Doing a post-game analysis like this, helps you to see your game with a stronger player.

Not everyone has a Grandmaster handy to train with. Probably one of the best ways to learn an opening, or get better at chess, is after the game, go through a post-mortem as we are doing here. Here is my analysis with the help at times of Crafty.

Note that I do not always agree with Crafty. It does not always think in the best way, in my experience. That is why chess programs can often be beaten.

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