More strange searches and curiosities

by ChessBase
5/30/2006 – In his search for chess abnormalities, our ChessBase Workshop columnist didn't stop with pawns. In the latest column he switches the focus to Queens to try to discover just when "much" becomes "too much". Workshop...

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I had so much fun searching Mega Database 2006 for stupid pawn tricks that I decided to investigate further to uncover even more weirdness.

Many, many chess games which end in a decisive result (i.e. 1-0 or 0-1) don't end in mate. It frequently occurs that a player will promote a pawn to a Queen or Knight and his opponent will resign on the spot, seeing no point in continuing the slaughter. But this made me wonder -- has there ever been a game in which one player had two or more Queens on the board compared to his opponent's zero or one Queen, and which the player blessed with multiple Queens still lost?

Hmmmmm...think about that one. Is a Queen advantage always enough to ensure victory?

That's actually a pretty easy one to check using ChessBase 9. In CB9 right-click on the database you want to search, select "Search" from the popup menu, and then select the "Material" tab. To make the search possible, we're going to break this one down into separate searches for White and for Black (you'll see why in a moment). Our first search will be for Black wins in which White had two or more Queens while Black had one or no Queens. So we'd set up the "Material" parameters as shown below:

The first thing to do is change a default setting: the "Ignore colors" box is checked by default, so we must first uncheck it (otherwise we'd get games in which Black has multiple Queens, and this won't work for this particular search -- you'll see why in a minute). Next we have to set a range of Queens for White. Since it's (at least theoretically) possible for a player to have as many as nine Queens (the original plus eight promoted pawns), we'll set the upper end for "9". And since we've already decided that White needs to have multiple Queens, we'll set the low end for "2". Our stated search parameter for Black requires that the range of numbers for that player be "0" to "1".

But we're not ready to search yet. I'm sure that there are tons of games in which White had two or more Queens agianst zero or one for Black, but you'll recall that we're looking for games in which White had this advantage but still lost. This means that we have to click the "Game data" tab and tell CB9 that we want only games which were Black wins:

So we make sure that the "0-1" box is checked. Now we can click "OK" and let 'er rip. (And you should now see why we had to uncheck "Ignore colors" under the "Material" tab -- otherwise we'd get games where Black won with the overwhelming material advantage).

I'll be honest here: I didn't expect to uncover any games with this search. To my surprise there are twenty-four games in Mega 2006 which Black won despite White's embarassment of material riches (and, in this case, I do mean "embarassment"). Here's one I particularly enjoyed:

Hoang Thi Bao, Tram [2267] - Hoang, Tri [2207] Budapest FS08 IM-A, 2005

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Bf4 Nc6 8. Qd2 Be6 9. Nd4 Nxd4 10. cxd4 d5 11. Bd3 Qd7 12. Be5 f6 13. Bg3 Bd6 14. O-O-O O-O-O 15. Rde1 Rde8 16. Re3 Bxg3 17. hxg3 Bf5 18. Rhe1 Bxd3 19. Qxd3 Kd8 20. Kd2 g6 21. Qb3 c6 22. Rh1 h5 23. Qd3 Qf7 24. Rhe1 a6 25. Qe2 Kd7 26. Qf3 Rxe3 27. Rxe3 Re8 28. Rxe8 Kxe8 29. Qf4 Qe7 30. a3 f5 31. f3 Kf7 32. Qh6 Kf6 33. Qh8+ Kf7 34. Qh7+ Kf6 35. Qg8 Qf7 36. Qh8+ Qg7 37. Qb8 Qe7 38. b4 Kf7 39. Kd3 Kf6 40. c3 Qe1 41. Qf8+ Kg5 42. Qd8+ Kh6 43. Qf6 Qd1+ 44. Ke3 Qc1+ 45. Kf2 Qxc3 46. Qh8+ Kg5 47. Qe5 Kh6 48. Kg1 Kh7 49. Kh2 b5 50. Kh3 a5 51. Qe7+ Kg8 52. Qf6 Kh7 53. Kh4 axb4 54. Kg5 Qe3+ 55. Kh4 Qe8 56. axb4 Qd7 57. f4 Qg7 58. Qxc6 Qe7+ 59. Kh3 Qxb4 60. Qxd5 Qc4 61. Qe5 b4 62. d5 b3 63. d6 Qc1 64. Kh4 b2 65. Qe7+ Kh6 66. Qf8+ Kh7 67. d7 Qd1 68. d8=Q

White's been so intent on winning the pawn race that he misses the fact that Black's not required to trade Queens on d8:

68...Qg4# 0-1

And Black pulls it out of the fire just in the nick of time.

Most of the twenty-four games didn't have the multiple Queens on the board at the game's end; it frequently occurs that the second Queen gets sacked pretty quickly. Here's one in which White could easily have hung it up as a "no hoper", but played on in order to get a "consolation Queen" ("Sure, I was losing, but I still had an extra Queen on her"):

Ademasova, Nadezhda - Tomilova, Ekaterina RUS-ch U10 Girls sf, 2000

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. cxd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Bg5 Bb4 7. e3 O-O 8. Bd3 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 Bg4 10. Rb1 Qe7 11. Rxb7 Rab8 12. Rxb8 Rxb8 13. O-O Nd8 14. h3 Bd7 15. Ne5 Ne6 16. Bxf6 gxf6 17. Nxd7 Qxd7 18. Bf5 Qc6 19. Qc2 h6 20. Rb1 Rxb1+ 21. Qxb1 Qxc3 22. Qc2 Qe1+ 23. Kh2 Ng5 24. f4 Ne6 25. Bxe6 fxe6 26. Qd3 a5 27. a4 Qa1 28. Qb3 f5 29. Qb8+ Kf7 30. Qxc7+ Kg6 31. Qxa5 Qa3 32. Qa7 Qxe3 33. g3 Qf2+ 34. Kh1 Qxg3 35. a5 Qxf4 36. a6 Qe4+ 37. Kh2 f4 38. Qb7 f3 39. a7 Qf4+ 40. Kg1 f2+ 41. Kf1 Qd2 42. a8=Q

42...Qe1+ 43. Kg2 f1=Q+ 44. Kh2 Qg1# 0-1

I'm hoping that the gal playing White gets the last laugh on me by growing up to become a WIM or WGM. That'd be cool.

Here's one where Black turned the tables on his opponent:

Riedel, Hartmut [2230] - Appel, Helmut [2105] Landesliga N Bayern 9596, 1996

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 f5 4. Bg2 Nf6 5. c4 c6 6. Nc3 Bd6 7. O-O O-O 8. Bf4 Bxf4 9. gxf4 b6 10. Ne5 Bb7 11. Rc1 dxc4 12. Nxc4 Nd5 13. Nxd5 cxd5 14. Ne5 Nd7 15. Nxd7 Qxd7 16. Qd2 Rac8 17. Rxc8 Rxc8 18. Rc1 Rc6 19. a3 Ba6 20. Bf1 Qc8 21. Rxc6 Qxc6 22. Qe3 Kf7 23. Qd2 Qc4 24. h4 Bb5 25. f3 Qb3 26. Kf2 Kg6 27. Bg2 a5 28. Qc1 Bc4 29. Bh3 Kf7 30. h5 Qb5 31. Qc2 Kf6 32. Qd2 Qe8 33. Qe3 Qxh5 34. Qe5+ Kf7 35. Kg3 Qg6+ 36. Kf2 Qf6 37. Qc7+ Kg6 38. Qxb6 Kh5 39. Qa7 h6 40. e3 g6 41. Qh7 Qh4+ 42. Kg2 Bf1+ 43. Kxf1 Qxh3+ 44. Kf2 Qh2+ 45. Kf1 Qd2 46. Qe7 Qxe3 47. Kg2 Qxf4 48. b4 Qxd4 49. bxa5 Qd2+ 50. Kh3 Qf2 51. Qxe6 Qxf3+ 52. Kh2 d4 53. a6 d3 54. a7 d2 55. a8=Q

55...Qf4+ 56. Kg2 d1=Q 57. Qxg6+ Kxg6

58. Qe8+ Kg5 59. Qe7+ Kh5 0-1

It was a bit distressing to see that there were no games among these twenty-four in which White had three or more Queens. So, in search of further weirdness, let's reverse the colors: now we want White wins in which Black had two or more Queens against one or none for White:

Of course "Ignore colors" is off and we'll check the box for "1-0" in the "Game data" dialogue. After clicking "OK, ChessBase 9 comes up with twenty-two games in Mega 2006 which meet our search requirements. But here again none had one side with more than two Queens versus one or none for the other.

There's been a problem with both of our searches, however. Do you know what it is? Take a look at this and see if you can figure it out:

If you said "We've been searching for nothing but Queen and pawn endings", go to the head of the class. The right way to do our first search (White loses with multiple Queens) would have been like this:

Clicking "OK" now to repeat our first search (for Black wins) we now get the much higher total of 543 games. While I have a perverse need for wretched excess here, it applies only to the material imbalance, not to the number of games. So let's try it again but we'll change the range of White Queens to run from "3" to "9" and see what we get:

Unfortunately, we come up with bupkis. So let's reverse the parameters and look for Black Queens between "3" and "9" where White still wins. And if you're playing along at home, you've doubtless discovered that no games meet this criterion either. Dang! I guess it just goes to show that while too much of a good thing can be fatal, too too much of a good thing just doesn't happen.

The real lesson here, of course, is that when you're using the "Material" tab in ChessBase 9 you have to remember to fill out the ranges for all of the pieces and pawns -- otherwise you'll get some of what you're looking for, but you might not get all of it.

Until next week, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments on ChessBase Workshop. All responses will be read, and sending an e-mail to this address grants us permission to use it in a future column. No tech support questions, please.

© 2006, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

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