Friday, December 11, 2009

Chess and Kings

Wednesday's sniffles turned into Thursday's head cold, so I stayed home from work. Around noon I passed time playing the Chess game that came installed on my home computer.

Computer Chess

It's been college since I played Chess with anything like serious attention, but with time on my hands I thought it would be enjoyable to review my matches with the computer to see where I could improve my game. I was out of luck, however: the Chess software is a simple version that does not allow me to review my matches. Bother.

I did some poking around online and came across an account of the Immortal Game between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky in London in 1851, and was able to see the match played via animated GIF. It was better than nothing.

Anderssen was a 19th Century German Chess champ; curiously, we have the loser Kieseritzky to thank for publishing the account of the game. The Immortal Game was a skittles match which Anderssen won by using combinations that involved the sacrifice of his bishop, both rooks, and his queen.

Kieseritzky was dominating the match, and he became so focused on acquiring pieces that he neglected to protect his king. Anderssen, meanwhile, went for position, and maneuvered with his lesser pieces. Though outgunned and seemingly exposed, Anderssen's king was able to maneuver; Kieseritzky brought out his big pieces early, which meant that his king was hemmed in by his pawn line -- and this cost him the match. Chess players still study the game; it is the stuff of exciting play.

Moral of the story? Perhaps it would be: take care of the King if you want to win.

Viva Cristo rey!

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