This is based on chess principles and on observations of what people have been saying on the MSNBC Kasparov World Team Strategy Bulletin Board. In 30 steps (yes, despite having only 7 pieces left this game is still that complex!), any player can understand the state of the game, and any player doing that can make real contributions to the World Team as shown in point (30). A "Key" with info on FAQ, FEN, EGTB, IMHO, sources and useful links, and chess annotation symbols is at the bottom. White is "he" for Kasparov, and Black is "we" for the World.
This was originally written at Move 47, with the position after both sides queened their pawns at move 50 in view. The following snap of Wikipedia's diagram with White to move was added later.
(1) Even though Black has an extra pawn, White has the winning chances because his g-pawn is unopposed and closer to queening than either of Black's pawns.
(2) If Queens are traded and Black can only get his b-pawn or d-pawn to the 7th after White queens, Black will lose. (I do not think any exceptional positions where White has no check or covering or pinning move can arise here.) Q vs. b,d,e, or g-pawn is a textbook win. Hence many if not most trades of Queens are bad for Black.
(3) It is possible for Black to have an a-pawn or
c-pawn if a pawn recaptures when Queens are traded. In isolation, an
a-pawn or c-pawn on the 7th is a textbook draw if White's King is far
enough away. However: (a) if both pawns are present, the stalemating
defense used in the textbooks will not work, because the other pawn
can still move, and (b) if White's King is close enough, he may get a
mating attack. A good illustration is: White King on b6, Queen on e2;
Black King on b2, Pawn on c2. Black to move draws by 1...Kb1 2. Qd3
Ka1! (or even 1...Ka1) since 3. Qxc2 is stalemate, and other moves
that stop ...c1Q allow ...Kb1 again. But White to move begins an
attack by 1. Kb5. Now 1...Kb1? loses: 2. Kb4! c1Q 3. Kb3!, and Black
can only stave off mate on a2 or b2 by surrendering his Queen. But
1...Ka1! still draws: 2. Kb4 c1Q 3. Kb3 Qb1+ 4. Ka3, and now besides
4...Qc1+, Black has a saving move that would work even if White's
Queen were on d2. If you can't find it, try playing through this line
with Ken Thompson's database of perfect play in endgames up to 5
pieces, which is available on-line at http://chess.traveller.com/scripts/chess_kt_endings/.
Indeed, one can look up the verdict on a position by typing its FEN
code after this in your browser's address line---it's neat that the
"/" separating ranks in FEN is the same as the directory separator
"/" in URLs. For example, the FEN code for the above illustration
position with White to move is 8/8/1K6/8/8/8/1kp1Q3/8+w, and the
whole URL becomes http://chess.traveller.com/scripts/chess_kt_endings/8/8/1K6/8/8/8/1kp1Q3/8+w.
[Note: On the Microsoft World Team Strategy BBS, these URLs get
line-chopped and become unclickable, so my posts say to mouse-copy
the FEN code, click on the following URL
(ignore the blank screen with "White has been stalemated" that you get), make an insertion point after the end of the URL in your browser's web-address window, and Paste the FEN code there, hitting Return to send it.
(4) Two Queens always win against one queen, *except* for some positions where Black can give perpetual check. Almost the only such position is the "Corner Triangle", in which White has King on h8 and Queens on g8 and h7, and Black's Queen is checking from (say) f6. Whichever Queen interposes, Black will check from d8 or h4, and the rotation among h8,f6,d4 will continue indefinitely. The Corner Triangle draw also works from other squares on the a1-h8 diagonal---all so long as Black's King (or Pawns) do not interfere with Black's Queen and Black's King is not exposed to an interposition with check. A line where the Triangle actually comes up is 51. Qh7 d5 (or maybe better ...Ka1) 52. Kf7+ Ka1 (or ...d5 if Black played 51...Ka1) 53. g6 d4 54. g7 Qf3+ 55. Kg8 Qd5+ 56. Kh8 Qd8+! 57. g8Q Qf6+, and here note how Black's d-pawn shields his King from pinning interpositions on g7.
(5) If Black gets a second queen right after White plays h8Q, the position is very dangerous, since White to move may have an immediate mating attack. But if not, then Black can expect to draw.
(6) Computers have compiled "tablebases" of perfect play for both sides in almost all endgames with 5 or fewer pieces---Ken Thompson did a full set, and it is publicly available at the link above. But most 6-piece endgames seem beyond the ability of today's machines to solve, at least within (say) a month, and Kasparov himself declared that the 7-piece position after move 50 "cannot be proved a win for White or a draw for Black". The lone 6-piece exception we know is that Dr. Eugene Nalimov has compiled all positions with KQQ vs. KQQ to help with judgments in (5)---though even then if Black's other pawn is still present it might change things! (Computer assistance is outlawed in most chess tournaments and matches but is allowed by the rules of this "correspondence" match.)
(7) As shown by the tablebases (and known in textbooks), Black would draw from the position after 50. h8Q d1Q if he didn't have his pawns, as shown by http://chess.traveller.com/scripts/chess_kt_endings/7Q/8/6K1/6P1/8/8/8/1k1q4+w. Try it with Black's King on a2, then a3, then a4, and finally on a5 as given by the FEN code 7Q/8/6K1/k5P1/8/8/8/3q4+w --- suddenly the ending turns into a loss, in 61 moves!!! Although some "tablebase loss lines" contain sequences where Black keeps White's Pawn from moving for 50 moves, which could be claimed a draw in over-the-board-play by the "Fifty-Move Rule", the general sense is that the moral flip-side of the World's using computers is our having to abide by their objective verdicts if-and-when that time comes.
(8) The main reason the defender is able to draw some inferior Queen endings like those above is the ability to give perpetual check when White moves his King out from in front of the pawn.
(9) In view of (7) and (8), Black's pawns are currently a liability, and in two concrete ways:
(a) they restrict the mobility of Black's Queen to give checks (this is being felt now), and
(b) they provide squares behind them on which White's King may go to hide from checks, while White's Queen escorts the g-pawn to coronation (this is our main worry later).
(10) Black's Pawns can be converted into assets, however, in two ways:
(a) catching up in a "queening race" with White's g-pawn---it is currently two steps ahead, but one step may be spent on getting White's King off g6.
(b) shielding Black's King from checks that would form part of White's winning strategy in the analogous positions without Black pawns.
(11) In view of (8) through (10), it is considered generally-good strategy for Black to advance his Pawns at every reasonable opportunity, not even caring if White can capture them! (Earlier in this game there have been lines where Black's only saving move has been to move a piece into take "Kamikaze"-style, and now we have lines with "Kamikaze Pawns".) This is but one of many paradoxical aspects making this position hard to play! Doing so opens lines behind them for Black's Queen to check White's King. The one exception is that advancing the d-pawn does restrict the mobility of Black's Queen if it stays on d1.
(12) If Black's pawns are captured and White's
g-pawn reaches g7, the position becomes
critical but not hopeless. An indication of how
delicate the difference between draw and loss can be
is emphasized by Brian McCarthy (see the
compendium that "steni" is maintaining from Denmark at
(scroll 2/3 down); or compare:
The only difference between them is whether Black's King is on a1 or b1! Also try interchanging the Queens in the latter:
---even though Black has a zillion checks, it is a 39-move road to doom!
(13) Both (7) and (12) illustrate a general principle: the closer Black's king is to the corner square a1, the better for us. The reason the exact corner is special is that it is the only square to which White's Queen cannot give check when interposing along the b-file or 2nd rank, his King having run to the a-file or the 1st rank, respectively. The squares near the corner are called the "drawing zone": a2, b2, and b1 are usually safe places to be, but even a3, b3, c2, and c1 (forget c3!:-) carry high danger. It deserves its own number:
(14) Principle: Keep Black's King near the "Safe Corner". The significant exceptions found by analyzing lines of play so far are:
(a) a4 or adjacent squares may be safe if Black's b-pawn is nearby to help shield Black's King (this was a key principle of why Kasparov avoided "Endgame K", a variation that would have left a position like ours after Move 50 but with Black's King on b3 rather than b1); and
(b) in a queening race, Black's King may be needed near the d-file to assist the d-pawn or to escape a two-Queen checkmate trap in the a1 corner.
(15) Principle: Queens should be centralized. Unlike Rooks they gain in mobility from being in the center, and Black's Queen in particular needs every help it can get in finding squares to check from.
(16) Principle: Against a pawn on g7, the a1-h8 diagonal is key for Black to control---unlike a defending Rook which would best be stationed behind the passed pawn on the g-file. This and (15) are illustrated by the positions in (12) and by many others that you can find by exploring at the Chess Archives' Ken Thompson tablebase.
(17) Principle, a bit less definitive: The defending Queen is better pinning the g-pawn from behind on a diagonal than from the side along a rank, whether the pawn is on g5, g6, or g7. This is supported by the 5-piece tablebase endings and analysis of early moves in out current 7-piece position, e.g. when Black plays ...Qe6 to pin g6 against h6. "Pin from the side, he'll have your hide; pin from behind, more chances you'll find" (I made that up:-).
(18) Principle: Just because Black has a zillion checks now, doesn't mean he can check forever. The textbook and tablebase endgames show many "spacewalks" by White's King that seem to defy logic but eventually work! Perpetual-check resources have to be checked extremely carefully---and computers have already been shown to be often unreliable at judging them because they work forward with a limited move horizon. Perfect ten-move lookahead can bring a 3000 rating in the middlegame and squat in a Q-ending.
(19) White's generic winning strategy is to advance his g-pawn, move his King away from the queening square g8 (supporting the pawn with his Queen if necessary), and have his King dance away from checks by Black's Queen. Basic tactics on the way to this goal include:
(a) inducing Black's Queen to less-active squares,
(b) inducing Black's King onto exposed squares---even a1 is exposed in lines such as 51. Qh7 d5 52. Kf6+ Ka1 53. Qf5 Qd4+? 54. Qe5!+-; ---this is a particluar danger of 51...d5 in response to 51. Qh7
(c) co-ordinating his Queen and King so that all Black checking squares are covered,
(d) "building bridges" across which both the King and White's interposing Queen step hand-in-hand to the left or down the board,
(e) gaining tempos by checking Black's King to cover squares Black wanted to check on or to activate White's Queen, and
(f) running behind Black's Pawns with his King.
This last tactic is the special danger in this game (it was also a large reason "Endgame G" proved to be winning for White, i.e. why 47...Nh8 48. g6 d2 49. g7 d1Q 50. Rxd1 Kxd1 51. gxh8Q b1Q+ would have lost for Black).
(20) Black seems to have three basic defensive strategies, plus a fourth:
(a) "Passive Strategy": stay as close as possible to positions and moves that are known to draw in the analogous "tablebase" positions without Black's pawns. Keep Black's Queen active and King in the safe corner.
(b) "Active Strategy": try to catch up in the "queening race" by advancing one of Black's Pawns whenever possible. Opportunities for catching up arise when Black can drive White's King in front of his pawn with checks, when White needs a move to re-position his Queen and cannot do it with check or without allowing an interposing pawn advance, and when Black's queen is already guarding the next square for White's pawn and White isn't. A surprise way to gain a crucial tempo in the race is by offering a Queen trade when a Black pawn can recapture, as happens in the line 51. Qh7 d5 52. Kf6+ Ka2! 53. Qf5 (but 53. g6! puts 51...d5 into question) Qd4+ 54. Qe5 Qe4!---compare to the line in (19).
(c) "Delaying Strategy": play to hold up White from advancing his pawn further than g6, or maybe even holding it on g5 for awhile. This strategy is prominent in lines with 51. Qh5 Qc2+. It often goes hand-in-hand with the Active Strategy, as a device for making White spend tempos trying to break a "holding box"---and of course, it and the "Passive Strategy" become the same if White plays g7 and Black has not evened the queening race.
(d) "Strategy K": Run Black's King to a4 together with playing the b-pawn to b5 or b4. This strategy was found to be effective in "Endgame K", seeming even to allow Black to hold White's Pawn on g6 indefinitely. An example of it is a line analyzed on the BBS today (9/23): 51. Qh7 b5 52. Kf6+ Ka2 53. Qa7+ Kb3 54. Qf2 Qa1+, and later in this line Black was playing ...Ka4 in response to a check.
(21) The "Conventional Wisdom"---not agreed by everyone but the general tenor of this BBS as it seems to me---is:
(a) The "Passive Strategy" by itself will lose---ultimately because of White's King having more opportunities to hide. However, it is the ultimate drawing fallback, covered by wings of EGTB angels.
(b) The "Active Strategy" is promising, but can get Black into trouble if we neglect activating Black's Queen while pushing one or both pawns. It is currently favored by most analysts, because (i) it has good hopes of succeeding---see (22) next, (ii) many lines reach positions where Black has caught up in the queening race and no longer stands worse, and (iii) it is a concrete plan that is easy to recognize and often limits White's options i attempting to stay ahead. Also (iv) it involves more-"forcing" lines that are usually shorter and easier to analyze than many other ones.
(c) The success of "Active" cannot be proven, however---we have Kasparov's own word quoted above on this! (Of the 100 hours Kasparov declared that he and associates spent on this game in August, many hours must have gone into his choice of 38. h6, and once he proved that he could win endgame "G", he could basically spend the rest of that time on this endgame---and this was in August!) On this basis, it seems that a successful Black defense will have to combine "Active" and "Delaying".
(d) "Delaying", however, seems to be much harder to analyze. At many turns, in many slightly-different possible positions, we have to evaluate whether White's King can escape the perimeter of perpetual-check tries set by Black's Queen. The lines are "amorphous"; it can be hard to tell if White is making real progress or not. IMHO, the success of "Delaying" will require extremely careful minute analysis of a number of "Critical Positions", to verify that White cannot indeed make a winning jailbreak with his King---and this level of analysis has only barely been started...!...at least in the public forum. My "Move Tree" is intended specifically to enable comparative rather than separate analyses of these positions, and so unlike the FAQs is/will-be organized with long lines from these positions footnoted at the bottom rather than embedded in the main text.
(e) "Strategy K" seems too risky to initiate, because it costs time to run Black's King across the "no-man's land" of risky squares a3/b3/c3. But it should be kept in mind, because there are some cases where White tries to inch his Queen in via checking on h1 then g2, or from f6 and f7, and Black may find it tactically as well as strategically justified to run up the board in response. One "surprise" tactic supporting all these strategies is that Black may be perfectly happy to expose his pawns to capture, even with check ("Kamikaze Pawns!")---an example I missed originally found by Otto ter Haar (and others?) is 51. Qh5 Qc2+ 52. Kh6 Qc1!? 53. Qg6+ Ka2 54. Qf7+ d5!
(22) How and Why the Active Strategy Can Succeed: Black stands to gain back one of the two tempi we are behind in the queening race almost right away, because White needs time both to unblock his King and activate his Queen. Indeed, this is achieved by 51...d5 (or ...b5) in response to any move except 51. Qh5, which is why on grounds of principle the Russian GM School has considered 51. Qh5 the most dangerous move from the very start of looking at this endgame. (Note: Current feeling on 51. Qh7, regarded as the other major try, is that 51...Ka1 and 51...b5 are less nerve-wracking responses than ...d5---indeed, 51...d5 has trouble after 51. Qh7, which is why I (KWR) expect 51. Qh7 and advocate 51...Ka1 first.) And 51. Kf7? is simply met by ...Qd5+, forcing the King back to g6, and Black Does Not Stand Worse.) That leaves one other tempo to gain.
(23) General Reasons to Prefer Starting "Active" with ...d5:
(a) ...d5 offers better central control than ...b5;
(b) it immediately clears the diagonal to a possible White hiding place on b8;
(c) it sets the pawn on a path obstructed only by Black's queen, which hopes to move out with check, and not by Black's King, which may be stuck on b1.
(24) General Reasons to Prefer Starting "Active" with ...b5:
(a) ...b5 is less restrictive on Black's Queen---in particular,
(b) a d-pawn on d4 shortens Black's ways of occupying the a1-h8 diagonal, with reference to principle (17);
(c) it supports Strategy "K".
Conventional Wisdom is that (23) outweighs (24), including the not-so-much-early-but-later consideration that even gaining 2 tempi in the race with the b-pawn may not be enough because White may win one tempo back by driving Black's King to b1. (If Queens are traded and Black has K on b1 and even P on b2 when White plays g8=Q, Black loses.) Hence most analysts including myself have favored it. However, the option 51. Qh7 d5 is getting some rough sledding in the early going, leading to interest in 51. Qh7 Ka1 and 51. Qh7 b5.
(25) How to Gain the Second Tempo: Black might gain it by a tricky checking move that also covers g7 or g8, but White also has chances to hold up Black's racing pawn this way. There is one organic feature of this ending that gives special hope to Black. White's King can try to run-and-hide in basically two directions: down the f/g/h files or across ranks 6/7/8 to the Queenside. The former ought to hold no special danger for Black, because his pawns are not on that side, and because the corresponding lines in EGTBs are known to be draws. Indeed, my sampling of EGTB wins says that most winning lines seem to go across anyway---the symmetry around the a1-h8 diagonal is not perfect because g8 not h7 is the focus, and a larger factor is that when a1 is unavailable, Black's King gets to choose between b1 (less danger down) and a2 (less danger across). Now the "Delaying Strategy" often seems to force White to play his King to the h-file---where it is away from Black and often covered by White's Queen too---in order to evade checks and advance the g-pawn. Hence Black may end up pinning it along the a1-h8 diagonal with a pawn on b4 or d4, or pinning it along b1-h7 with a pawn on b5 or d5. Now in order to get to the Queenside, White may need to cross in front of his pawn once more on the g-file, thus blocking it for one move again. This would be the equalizing tempo gain!
(26) Dangers That May Make (25) Fail---three that I see now:
(a) White may be able to make an "End Run" by emerging with Kh7(-h6), getting to g6 or g5 behind his pawn after a vertical or diagonal check, and then squitchee his King to f7 or f6 and thence to the queenside. Black's most effective counter would be to set up "opposition checking" two squares away to the left, e.g. e6/e5 vs. g5/g6, or d7/d6 vs. f7/f6. But White's Queen may be patrolling some of those squares---and Black's d-pawn may be in the way of the latter option.
(b) White may be able to counter with a tempo-gaining move of his own that holds up Black's pawn(s) from advancing, or forces Black's King in front of one (the b-pawn in particular).
(c) Since Black may need to have his King on a1 or b1, and our pawns would be no further than b4 or d4 at that stage, White may be able to check and capture the advanced one, in a position where the other one is still enough of an obstacle to change a tablebase draw into a present loss!
(27) Working Hypothesis: Black needs to follow some kind of non-passive strategy to draw---"Delaying" or "K" if not "Active" alone. This follows from the first "Conventional Wisdom" item under (21). A consequence is that just because a move gives check doesn't mean it's good or even harmless---the old adage "Patzer sees a check, patzer gives a check" is in force here. Especially when White's King is in front of his pawn, Black may need the move to undertake something more constructive.
(28) Working Hypothesis: White's most dangerous moves to examine at any stage are those that directly combat Black in the "Active" and/or "Delaying" strategies. This hypothesis is at work right now: 51. Qh5 disturbs "Active" immediately by forcing Black to move our Queen, but we compensate by getting a little jump on "Delaying"---and White's Queen is not so great on h5. And while 51. Qh7 allows Black to gain the first tempo right away with 51...d5 or 51...b5, White can reply by playing his King to the "danger side" of the g-pawn by both Kf6+ and Kf7+, with a discovered check and initiative to also get a free move with his Queen that makes it hard for Black to check and drive White's King back. Thus 51. Qh7 aims to keep Black permanently from gaining the /second/ tempo, and the discovered check + Queen-move combination is so potent that we are seriously considering ducking it with 51...Ka1 (corner move!), hoping this leaves White's Queen on h7 not too lovely either. Almost every analyst considers these two moves to be the most dangerous tries...BUT, we also have to keep an eye out for unusual "creeping moves" that seem not to advance immediately but set up opportunities later. An example after 51. Qh5 Qd4 is 52. Qf3!?, which tempts Black into 52...d5 53. Kf7 Qe4?!, when Black finds himself without useful checks after 54. Qf1+ Ka2 55. g6.
(29) Tentative Conclusions: the result may turn on minute details of particular positions, in (25) versus (26) and/or in "holding patterns" for trying to delay White. In my field of computational mathematics, this is called "Chaos"---"which way a butterfly flies in Brazil may affect which way a hurricane goes in the Atlantic." Whether we pin from c2 or d3 at Move 53 could affect the tactics at Move 63 or 73. And Chaos is ultimate complexity---this is as complicated as chess can get. If you played through the analysis of "Endgame G" and thought that was tricky, what we're coming to could involve a maze of twisty passages to Gs, all not quite alike. Or maybe the World has an easy draw after all---but that would mean Kasparov's declaration that we don't would be wrong---and he hasn't been wrong on a pronouncement yet.
My own prognostication---without specific analysis, just a "feel" for the positions and tactics, and IMHO---is that Black will not be able to gain both tempos needed to equalize the queening race, BUT the coverage White needs to thwart the race can be kept incompatible with the coverage needed to escape checks permanently on the Queenside, so Black will draw. That is, Black's salvation lies in coordinating *all three* basic strategies, or making "K" work if it arises.
Objectively, however, whether Black draws or loses may ultimately come down more to geometry than to strategy! THIS IS NOT NORMAL CHESS. This is War With The Underlying Forces of the Universe! (at least the 8x8 universe:-).
***(30)***If you understand the above points of strategy and can see them in the context of the quoted lines of play, then you are a good enough player and analyst to make contributions of value to the World Team. Here are some concrete things you can do, in no particular order---and no one person (hopefully not even Kasparov!) can do them all:
(a) Many lines of analysis lead to---and stop in---positions where White may-or-may-not try an "end run" with the King. Long lines given from such positions may be only one option of many. Play through the given line(s), then go back to the position and insert a Queen check for White, and try following the line again. Does it still work OK for Black? Is there a difference? Can Black compensate some other way? (Computers will be good at checking 10+-move wins from these positions.)
(b) Check and query everything. Often a whole bunch of the strongest players will be under delusion---I certainly have been! (Example, with reference to the stronger players: how many of us realized before last Tuesday that the central line of endgame "G" with 55. Qg7! Qc6+ 56. Kd8 Qd6+ 57. Qd7 Qb8+ 58. Ke7 Qe5+, along which Peter Karrer found 59. Kf7! and perceived the danger of the Qd7+ & Kxd5 battery against Black's King, is completely unnecessary---White can play 57. Kc8!, forcibly transposing into what was known to be the unique winning line against 56...Qb6+. This also shows how discovery may come along lines of accident!)
(c) Look for cases where the BBS favors a position in one line that actually looks worse than a position rejected in another line---having so many separate lines makes it difficult to keep this perspective.
(d) Explore more of the EGTB Q+gP vs. Q positions---we may need more knowledge of drawing cases to influence decisions made sooner.
(e) Check whether suggested moves seem to be carrying out a useful strategy---note the first item under "(21) Conventional Wisdom." Don't be afraid to suggest a move not given in a FAQ, especially if it seems to contribute more to a strategy. (I believe that strategy is still the guiding factor in moves 51-60, and these are the most crucial moves, but once we get to bewaring of "end runs", tactics and geometry will predominate.) Keep an open mind.
(f) Actively try to find winning ideas and lines for White. Maybe you're even rooting for Kasparov!---one man overcoming the whole world and a race of silicon beasts. That's fine...just please report your findings here:-)!
(g) In the "Move Tree" and elsewhere you will find mention of special queries whose answers we may need to know. For example, no one to my knowledge has yet checked whether Black's drawing resources in the EGTB draw lines given above still work when he has an "extra" Pawn on b7. Can Blac actually keep White's King away from b8 altogether? Another query: in those EGTB draw positions where White's g-pawn is still on g5 or g6, can Black actually always prevent the pawn from getting to g7 in the first place?
(h) Check the BBS to make sure your research has not already been done. Whether it is being duplicated is less of an issue---often we may need independent confirmation of results, and especially in early positions, multiple opinions. Tigran Petrosian would not see a position the same way as Mikhail Tal, and we may need them both to hold this ending! Finally, please understand that every day with each move we will unavoidably be throwing away all but one topmost branch of the FAQs and Move Tree! (Not quite---there are many transpositions here.) Nothing different happens in over-the-board chess when you think before each move! Hence many contributions will wind up "on the cutting room floor." This doesn't mean they were worthless---indeed, the value of analyzing a move is realized *before* the move can be played, not when it is played, because the analysis is how you judge all your options. On this scale this is called preparation. Andy Soltis said in this month's Chess Life magazine that Kasparov has 3,920 new opening variations he has prepared but never been able to play---and the only way we'll find the things he has prepared in this ending is to trawl them ourselves. GOOD LUCK WORLD TEAM!
Dr. Kenneth W. Regan, Associate Professor Computer
Sci. and Engineering,
Univ. at Buffalo (Opinions not < SUNYaB) 226 Bell Hall, Box # 602000
Tel.: (716) 645-3180 x114 Buffalo, NY 14260-2000 USA
() SmartChess FAQ or "the FAQ" = a source maintained by MSN analyst Irina Krush and other analysts under the auspices of the World Wide Chess Superstore, kept at http://www.smartchess.com (click on "SmartChess Online", then on "Garry Kasparov versus the World", then on "SMART-FAQ" and scroll down to bottom). It is not so much a FAQ as a compendium of current game analysis with input from its maintainers, this BBS, and other sources on the World Team. It is computer-generated in two formats for reading by most common chess programs, but is not readable as plain text. An HTML-viewable big tree of the FAQ's variations with a chessboard, including some comments, is maintained by "99% Energy" at http://www.comicastle.com/99percent/pgn2.html; this post has been reproduced by "99% Energy" at http://www.gamersx.com/messages/view.asp?id=xbwfj
() GM School, GM-School FAQ. A shorter plain-text page of analysis kept at http://www.gmchess.spb.ru/english/kasparov/siciNN.html, where NN is a number, currently 92. The Russian version with "russian" in place of "english" in the URL usually comes out a few hours earlier. It is maintained by members of the St. Petersburg Grandmaster School.
() Move Tree = an updated compendium, part existing already, that is like the SmartChess FAQ but has the complementary aim of emphasizing all early options for comparative purposes rather than prioritizing lines to be analyzed many moves deep.
() ***CRITICAL..., ***ESSENTIAL...: Posts with these titles by Peter Marko, several times a day, collect recent analysis articles deemed important, lists of important web sites including links I've used here, and news and features about this match.
() FEN = "Forsyth Extended Notation", a concise code for positions used in correspondence chess. White's pieces are uppercase KQRBNP, Black's are lowercase kqrbnp, each rank starting from *Black's* side is listed between slashes using numbers for runs of empty squares, and a final +w or +b tells if White or Black is to move. For example, the position after 50. h8Q b1Q in our game is 7Q/1p6/3p2K1/6P1/8/8/8/1k1q4+w.
() EGTB = "Exhaustively Generated TableBase"---see item (6)---used to label positions mathematically proven to be wins or draws. These positions all have 5 or fewer pieces and can be looked up on-line thanks to the Huntsville (Alabama) Chess Club at http://chess.traveller.com/scripts/chess_kt_endings/ --- recently they added a richer version with Dr. Eugene Nalimov's KQQKQQ tablebase at http://chess.liveonthenet.com/scripts/chess_egtb_endings? In both cases the URL should be completed with the "FEN" code of a position. Unfortunately these URLs are so long that the MSN BBS posting software linebreaks them and makes them unclickable, so you'll have to cut-and-paste the FEN part. The Club itself is at http://chess.liveonthenet.com/chess/.
() IMHO marks my own new opinions; KWR marks ones I've given before; others' opinions are quoted.
() Standard chess annotator's marks: "+" means check, "+-" means White wins,  means move is (or looks) forced, ! means move looks especially good, !? means "worthy of attention" or "speculative", and "?!" means "dubious".
The above article is copyright (c) Kenneth W. Regan, 9/23/99. Permission is granted to reproduce it in whole or in part with due attribution on the MSNBC World Team Strategy BBS and on other relevant Internet sites---and likewise to include text with attribution in other posts or articles---for private, non-commercial use. (The "Move Tree" to come within a day will NOT bear any copyright.)