Trapping the queen

by ChessBase
4/11/2021 – It isn't often one sees a game between top programs in which a queen is trapped in the middlegame, but just such a thing happened in a game shared by Peter Grayson. What stood out was how both programs differed on a key juncture, leading him to comment, "Fat Fritz 2 exhibits almost human-like qualities to threaten the snaring of the queen". Enjoy this fun tussle and his kind analysis. | Photo: National Portrait Gallery, London

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Today's programs are all so strong that they seem to really differ in the details more often than in a decisive statement of strength, and there is no question that when arguing the differences at the stratosphere, it seems almost ludicrous. Engine A is 3568 Elo, while Engine B is inferior because it is only 3565 Elo. So stated by the humans all hovering under 2800 barring a small fistful.

Still, the game made such a powerful impression on Peter Grayson that he declared,

"Considering the fast time control that was quite amazing by Fat Fritz 2 and its subtlety was of a sophistication I would associate more with the human mind than an engine particularly for the follow up that confirmed the engine can execute a long term strategy. Perhaps the Fritz network does provide a more human rather than mechanical, logical approach?"

The game starts quietly, almost innocuously. An English line that has seen proponents on both sides at the highest echelons. 

 

Yet by move 12 they had both left most of the known cases behind, with only an Italian correspondence game cited in Mega 2021. The key move that incited so much enthusiasm and which got Black into such a dangerous situation came here:

 

"On the face of it this looks to be in line with the idea of controlling an open file where the controlling side tends to have an advantage. The following moves question that idea when it is a wing file and also whether it is advisable for the queen to lead on the rank that will likely be the first piece to come under attack. White's reply may not be immediately obvious until it is seen and few other engines find it, certainly not within the context of the game."

 

"How important this move was to the outcome of the game should not be understated. With Black seeking to gain control of the open a-file, suddenly the queen looks cut off and potentially a liability. That is the theme of the ensuing moves. Perhaps it deserves !!! What is fascinating is that Fat Fritz 2 exhibits almost human-like qualities to threaten the snaring of the queen."

While Black does manage to avoid the outright loss of the queen, it comes at a heavy price that ultimately costs the game.

 

White now threatens to win the queen in two moves with 30. ♗b4 ♛a4 31. ♘a4. Black avoids this fate by giving up the exchange, but this in itself proves fatal.


Fat Fritz 2

Fat Fritz 2.0 is the successor to the revolutionary Fat Fritz, which was based on the famous AlphaZero algorithms. This new version takes chess analysis to the next level and is a must for players of all skill levels.


Here is the full game with the generous comments by Peter Grayson.

 

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