Sunday, 29 September 2019

056. Computer Says Yes

Black: K.J. Bowyer - C&DCCC Ward-Higgs Trophy, 2000

Another main line Ruy Lopez, another sideline defence by Black, this time 10...Qd7!? in the Zaitsev Variation.

Searching MegaBase shows that Averbakh played this first (in 1962) and won, and Geller later won twice, albeit all against weaker opposition. More recently, GM Igor Kovalenko has tried it a couple of times, both winning and losing.

Objectively, it probably isn't very good. I say that because, facing this line as White, I just played natural, obvious moves and won very smoothly indeed. For instance: 15 d5, 17 a4, 19 Bf4, 20 e5, 26 Nc6, 27 a5, etc. I'm sure Ken saw all these coming and yet was unable to do anything about them.

Which is perhaps the definition of a dubious opening. You play something "unusual", your opponent replies with natural, obvious moves, and you lose without ever having any chances at all. All very depressing.

But what does Stockfish have to say about it?

Computer says yes.

And that's a total yes. Stockfish would have played every single one of my moves. It did stall for a moment over two or three but quickly came round. In other words, the engine says it was a perfect game.

Well, that's really quite gratifying :)

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