More of Chess History

The number of possible chess positions is far smaller than the number of possible chess games. So a lot of games have positions in common. I wonder which games intersect in which positions. Aside from the trivial case, whereby every game has a common position with every other game – the opening position.

Then, I want a position that occurs in two games, once for the white player and once for the black player – the position remains the same, but the pieces swap colors. The second requirement is that the next move in both games be a move to the same field and with the same type of piece.

A search engine should be able to understand this, and output a position which conforms to the above requirements, along with the two associated games:



[Event “Lodz”|Site “Lodz”|Date “1938.??.??”|Round “1”|White “Kolski, Jakub”|Black “Appel, Israel”|Result “1/2-1/2″|ECO “E16”]1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Nxe4 Bxe4 9. O-O O-O 10. Bc3 d5

And a half a century later:

[Event “Budapest”|Site “Budapest”|Date “1994.??.??”|Round “1”|White “Schnelzer, Reinhard”|Black “Leroy, Adrien”|Result “1-0″|ECO “E18”]1. Nf3 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 b6 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. O-O Be7 6. d4 O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Bd2 Nxc3 9. Bxc3 Be4 10. d5

This kind of competition for the same field (d5 in this case) is not common, because  it breaks the white/black symmetry implicit to a position conformant to the described constraints.  Admittedly, the “same field” and “same piece” clauses were a bit contrived.

Speaking of contrived constraints: Give me two games, where a part of the first game, is the same as a part of the other in reverse!  Or give me all the games, where a check-mate in one (or in two or in three …) was missed by the looser. Or by either player. Was ever a game played (by grand-masters) where someone forced the other one to check-mate him? (Yes, there was.) Identify all the Zugzwangs! And so on – the possibilities are practically endless.

This is not so much about chess (or even search engines) as it is about the complexity, which is visible only with via computer algorithms digesting data (big or small). It is important to understand that not only do we not have all the answers, we do not even have all the questions. Computer algorithm, please tell me what to ask you!




7 thoughts on “More of Chess History

  1. alpha007org says:

    Sooner or later Google or Amazon will include this kind of search in their Narrow AI. “OK, Google” or “Hey Alexa” tell me some interesting facts about chess… will be included as soon as some engineer who’s hobby is chess will think about it when employees are gonna brainstorm what to include to their ever smarter product.

    • Computer on the wall, what is the coolest thing you know (about chess)?

      With such a capability, the role of a human asking, is of a lesser importance. Which is good, if you ask me. I want the coolest possible answer to the coolest possible question. Both presented to me by my well connected hardware device, when I choose the moment is right.

      I am looking forward to see that, I am sure you too!

      Meanwhile, I have some prototype examples of such cool questions and cool answers.

      For example:

      Q: Was it ever, that a (grand-master) player needed to promote a knight to win in a several moves, when a promotion of a queen would be fatal for his game in only several moves?

      A: Yes, it was.

      Now, you might want to ask: When, how it looked like?

      Don’t you?

  2. alpha007org says:

    I sold my soul to Google (privacy). But in exchange everyday Google Now is presenting me with relevant news, “rediscover this day” via photos I took years ago, It reminds me when I have an appointment and calculate best route to take, shows me sport results,…. The only thing I have to do is say “OK, Google” or turn on my phone.

    A little scary when Google knows you better than yourself.

    • Google covers real time events. It boldly goes, where someone has already been before. And it scrutinizes all the aspects of a real time event, ever more so. You put a site online and Google sees it, you write a mail or take a turn on a road and Google notices that.

      Which is great, but not great enough.

      The next generation search engine (a bit more than a search engine) should be able to investigate the vast space of abstractions and to make theorems out of those. Present them as clearly as possible and insert them into this abstraction set. As yet another abstraction.

      We have recently noticed the following:

      A chess player can never execute an en passant move with a pawn, if his king and only his king is blocking this pawn to move directly forward.

      There are more such statements in Platonic heavens than atoms in our Universe. I want to fly over them with some post-googlian-device.

  3. alpha007org says:

    >Q: Was it ever, that a (grand-master) player needed to promote a knight to win in a
    >several moves, when a promotion of a queen would be fatal for his game in only
    >several moves?
    >A: Yes, it was.

    >Don’t you?

    Well don’t leave me hanging…

    • No.

      It was back in 1986 between Krefeld and Junge:

      1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 e6 6. Bc4 a6 7. O-O Nge7 8. a4 Ng6 9. Be3 Qc7 10. Rc1 Be7 11. Nd4 O-O 12. Ba2 Bf6 13. Nxc6 bxc6 14. f4 d6 15. Qh5 Qe7 16. g4 Rb8 17. g5 Bxc3 18. Rxc3 Rxb2 19. Bd4 e5 20. f5 exd4 21. Rh3 h6 22. gxh6 Qf6 23. fxg6 Qxf1+ 24. Kxf1 Bxh3+ 25. Qxh3 Rxa2 26. hxg7 Kxg7 27. Qh7+ Kf6 28. g7 Rb8 29. g8=N+ Rxg8 30. Qxg8 d3 31. Qh8+ Ke6 32. Qd4 d2 33. Ke2 Ke7 34. h4 c5 35. Qc4 Rb2 36. h5 Rb4 37. Qxa6 Rd4 38. Kd1 Kf6 39. Qf1+ Kg7 40. Qg1+ Kh6 41. Qxd4 cxd4 42. a5 d5 43. exd5 f5 44. a6 f4 45. a7 f3 46. a8=Q 1-0

      You can import and analyze it at

  4. alpha007org says:

    When I was young I was quite the math prodigy. But I was never good at chess. I knew the rules and played with my grandfather when I was around 10 yeras old. But as years have gone by, I was fascinated by chess players, however I could not decently played the end. Opening and in middle game clash have mastered but I couldn’t finish the game even when I had enormous advantage couple of moves before.

    So when I was around 10 I got my Commodore. I wasn’t interested in games which came in form of tapes. I went straight to the library and took all their books about BASIC.

    I wanted to build a program which would play chess for me. (Since I was always loosing.) And then at that moment my life became obsessed with developing software.

    At age 11 I built rudimentary chess player on Commodore. This was also the first time I skipped one school grade higher then my peers.

    Now, more than 30 years later I still suck at chess. But I will always remember that was chess that inspired me to become software developer.

    ***I never developed really “smart” chess player but through the years I was fascinated with software for chess. You couldn’t imagine how happy I was when IBM beat Kasparov. And even today…. well when I got a couple of weeks of free time I studied source code for Stockfish and it gave me great joy when I was remembering my childhood.

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