January 21, 2020

Hint & explanation: Or, mate, numbers, large and small

While many of us are triskadekaphobes, Garry Kasparov’s lucky number is 13. He is proud to point out that he was born on April 13, 1963 (1963 is divisible by 13). And he is in fact the 13th world chess champion.

But his putative luck was non-existent in the 13th game of his London title match with Nigel Short which he could only manage to draw.

Short, himself, (has) had some larger numbers to contend with of late. Until game 16 of the match, he had not beaten Kasparov in seven years. Before that game, he was, according to London bookmaker William Hill, a 1,000 to one underdog to dethrone the champ.

When the world’s strongest chess machine Deep Thought completes its metamorphosis to Deep Blue, it will be able, with the help of 1,000 parallel processors, to scan one billion positions a second.

But chess remains unsolvable even to such prodigals of number-crunching. It was once estimated that if a group of computers equal to the number of atoms in the universe were put to work scanning all possible chess moves, it would take eons to solve the game.

Yet there is one who thinks the game should be made even more difficult. Bobby Fischer has complained that chess is increasingly a game of data bases and memory.

Below is Nigel Short’s win in game 16 against Kasparov:

1. e4 c5, 2. Nf3 d6, 3. d4 cxd4, 4. Nxd4 Nf6, 5. Nc3 a6, 6. Bc4 e6, 7. Bb3 b5, 8. 0-0 Be7, 9. Qf3 Qc7, 10. Qg3 Nc6, 11. Nxc6 Qxc6, 12. Re1 Bb7, 13. a3 Rd8, 14. f3 0-0, 15. Bh6 Ne8, 16. Kh1 Kh8, 17. Bg5 Bxg5, 18. Qxg5 Nf6, 19. R(a)d1 Rd7, 20. Rd3 R(f)d8, 21. R(e)d1 Qc5, 22. Qe3 Kg8, 23. Kg1 Kf8, 24. Qf2 Ba8, 25. Ne2 g6, 26. Nd4 Qe5, 27. Re1 g5, 28. c3 Kg7, 29. Bc2 Rg8, 30. Nb3 Kf8, 31. Rd4 Ke7, 32. a4 h5, 33. axb5 . axb5, 34. Rb4 h4, 35. Nd4 g4, 36. Rxb5 d5, 37. Qxh4 Qh5, 38. Nf5ch! Black resigns(a).

Note (a): If 38. … exf5, then 39. exd5ch Kf8 40. Qxf6 Bb7 (White threatened 41. Rb8ch Rd8 42. Rxd8 mate) 41. Ra1 with the lethal threat of 42. Ra8ch Bxa8 43. Rb8ch, etc.

Solution to BEGINNER’S CORNER: 1. Rg6! Qmoves 2. Rxc6. Or 1. Rg6! hxg6 2. Qh2ch Qh4 3. Qxh4 mate.

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