Chess: playing the computer

The tutor gives some commentary on playing computer chess.

I mainly play computer chess – always as Black. The engines I play against have tendencies that I guess are typical: they are materialistic and they like passed pawns. (A passed pawn is one that is unopposed by an enemy pawn in front.) Even early in the game they start incubating passed pawns if they can.

To that end, it’s common to face an attack from the White queen down the b file, which is possible after Black’s queenside bishop has been developed towards the centre. The White queen aims to take Black’s b-pawn, which gains material advantage and creates a passed pawn for White. Unless White’s white bishop is also set up along that diagonal, the attack usually ends after the pawn snatch; the White queen just retreats.

For Black, a reflex might be to protect the b pawn if possible, either by advancing it (once again: as long as White’s white bishop is not trained on it as well), moving the rook behind it, or some other defensive move.

I’ve met with best success by letting the White queen take the b pawn. Typically, my queen hasn’t moved, but my knight and bishop have, so the a-rook is guarded by my queen. White’s queen, to snatch the pawn on b7, decentralizes. Moreover, the White queen has already moved at least once in order to be in position to snatch Black’s b-pawn. As Nimzowitsch says, moving the same piece more than once during the opening is generally not recommended. Furthermore, an adage cautions against bringing out the queen too early.

Seeking material advantage can be tempting, but can also lead to overextension. In many cases, White’s snatching Black’s b-pawn during the opening is an example. It leaves Black to develop pieces towards the centre.

I’ll be sharing more about my chess experience in coming posts:)


Killegar Chess

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.