International Master Davorin Kuljasevic of Croatia, a graduate student in finance, just earned his final norm for the Grandmaster title, the highest level in chess. He becomes the first Knight Raider in the history of Texas Tech to accomplish this outstanding feat as there are only approximately 1,000 Grandmasters in the world. He now joins the Grandmaster rank with legendary players like Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov.
He obtained his final Grandmaster norm by scoring five wins and four draws at the 2010 Pula Open in Croatia. Last month, Davorin scored three wins and three draws to help his team Mladost Zagreb win the prestigious Croatian Cup Team Championship.
Along with International Master Gergely Antal of Hungary, a Tech senior economics major; International Master Gabor Papp of Hungary, a senior finance major; and Chase Watters of Texas, graduate Ph.D. student in microbiology, the Knight Raiders trounced Princeton 4-0, UT Austin 4-0, Florida Atlantic University 4-0, and Stanford 3 ½- ½ to earn a berth in the College Chess Final Four this year.
Earlier this month, International Master Gabor Papp earned his second Grandmaster norm at the famous Mitropa Cup in Switzerland. He needs one more norm to earn the Grandmaster title and he will try to accomplish this very difficult feat this summer.
The question of the week is how strong are computers in chess and are there matches between humans versus computers?
The last big human versus computer match was Garry Kasparov vs. X3D Fritz in 2003 in New York City, which ended in a 2-2 tie, with each side winning 1 game and drawing two.
Since then, computers improved dramatically. Today, no human will stand a chance against top computer chess software in a match. However, thanks to computers, top players today are also stronger than before. Below is a win by Kasparov against X3D Fritz in 2003:
Garry Kasparov (2830) - X3D FRITZ (2800) [D45]
Man versus Machine Virtual Reality World Championship
New York City, USA (Game 3), November 16, 2003
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. d4 c6 5. e3 a6 6. c5 The more popular move here is 6. Bd3. However, 6. c5 is a very good positional choice for Garry since computer programs are known to be weak in closed positions.
6...Nbd7 7. b4 a5? This is a positional mistake against the former world’s #1 player. A better choice is 7...Qc7 or 7...g6: 7...Qc7 8.Bb2 e5 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.Na4 Nxf3+ 11.Qxf3 Be7; 7...g6 8.Bb2 Bg7 9.Bd3 0–0 10.0–0 Re8.
8. b5 White’s plan is to attack on the queenside. Black’s plan is to attack on the kingside.
8…e5 Opening up the c8-h3 diagonal for the Bishop on c8.
9. Qa4 Attacking the c6-pawn.
9…Qc7 Defending the c6-pawn.
10. Ba3 A good place for the Bishop to develop.
10…e4 Locking up the center. Black’s plan is to continue to create play on the kingside.
11. Nd2 Moving away from the attack.
11…Be7 Developing the Bishop, allowing Black to castle.
12. b6 A brilliant move against the computer. This is a problem with computer programs. Fritz has no idea the positional danger it is in. In the game Reshevsky – Keres, Moscow, 1948, White played 12 Be2 instead of 12 b6. (12.Be2 h5 13.b6 Qd8 14.h3 Nf8 15.0–0–0 Ne6 16.Ndxe4 Nxe4 17.Nxe4 h4 18.Nd2 0–0 19.Rhg1 Re8 20.Bd3 Bf8 21.Bb2 Ng5 22.Qc2 a4 23.a3 Qe7 24.Rde1 Ne4 25.Nf1 Qg5 26.f3 Nf6 27.Kb1 Nh5 28.Bc3 Bd7 29.f4 Qh6 30.Qf2 Qf6 31.Kb2 Bf5 32.Qc2 Be4 33.g4 hxg3 34.Nxg3 Nxg3 35.Rxg3 Bxd3 36.Qxd3 Re4 37.Reg1 Rae8 38.Rf1 Qh4 39.Rfg1 R8e6 40.Qd2 f5 41.Qd3 Qh5 42.Bd2 g6 43.Rg5 Qxh3 44.R1g3 Qh2 45.Rxg6+ Rxg6 46.Rxg6+ Kf7 47.Rg5 Be7 48.Rxf5+ Bf6 49.Kc3 Qh3 50.Rxf6+ Kxf6 51.Qc2 Qf1 52.Qxa4 Qa1+ 53.Kc2 Re8 54.Qb3 Ra8 55.Bc1 Rh8 56.e4 Rh1 57.e5+ Ke7 58.Qe3 Qa2+ 59.Kc3 Rh2 60.Qd3 Qa1+ 61.Kb3 Qxc1 62.f5 Qb2+ 63.Ka4 Rh8 0–1).
12...Qd8 Moving away from the attack.
13. h3 13.Be2 is also playable with a similar plan as Reshevsky – Keres.
13...0–0 Keeping the King safe.
14. Nb3 Garry wants to win the a5-pawn. Even though Black has some compensation with a potential attack on the kingside, a pawn is still a pawn
14...Bd6 14…Bd6 is a cute move but it is not a good move. Kasparov obviously will not fall for a cheap trap and therefore Black has just wasted its time
15. Rb115.cxd6?? Nxb6 trapping the Queen, 16.Qxa5 Rxa5 17.Nxa5 and black is winning.
15...Be7 Now Black has to waste another move, moving the Bishop back to e7. In the meantime, the correct plan for Black is to create a counter attack on the kingside by moving the Knight away from f6, followed by f7-f5-f4.
16. Nxa5 Garry decided to grab the free pawn and take his chances with Black’s counterplay on the kingside. Being down a game in the match, Garry is forced to be aggressive.
16...Nb8 Clearing the c8-h3 diagonal for the Bishop on c8.
17. Bb4 Protecting the Knight on a5, thereby allowing the Queen on a4 to retreat.
17...Qd7 Black is slowly trying to get its pieces developed to start some activity on the kingside
18. Rb2 18.Be2 is another option
18...Qe6 Black is continuing the plan to create activity on the kingside
19. Qd1 Moving the Queen out of the pin and getting ready to help out on the kingside when Black starts a counter-attack.
19...Nfd7 Preparing f5, which is a bit too late.
20. a3 Protecting the b4 Bishop and consolidating the queenside pieces
20...Qh6 Black is starting its activity on the kingside.
21. Nb3 Removing the Knight from a static outpost.
21...Bh4 Black continues the counter-attacking plan. In addition, Black attacks the pawn on e3, threatening 22…Qxe3+
22. Qd2 Protecting the e3-pawn
22...Nf6? A positional mistake, blocking the f-pawn from advancing to create some kind of attack. This is where the computer went wrong. A move like 22...f5 to create an attack on the kingside is a must. Down in material, it is imperative to undertake something.
23. Kd1 Moving the King to the queenside, away from possible danger
23...Be6 Black is continuing to make a grave positional mistake by developing pieces instead of continuing to attacking relentlessly on the kingside
24. Kc1 Continuing to get the king away from danger.
24...Rd8 The computer is still clueless.
25. Rc2 Clearing the b2-square for the King
25...Nbd7? Another positional mistake. If Black was wrong not to attack on the kingside, Black should have at least put the Knight on a6 to block the queenside. The Knight on d7 is useless.
26. Kb2 Now, the King is in a safe spot and White can start to slowly take advantage of his extra pawn.
26...Nf8 The plan is to put the Knight on g6. However, there is no potential threat since the f7 pawn is not on f5
27. a4 Now that the King is safe, White wants to break through on the queenside.
27...Ng6 A logical move but with no real threat.
28. a5 White continues with his plan.
28...Ne7 As mentioned earlier, Black is completely clueless in this kind of closed position.
29. a6! A very good positional sacrifice. White is willing to give back a pawn to create an overwhelming positional advantage. White is also creating a passed b-pawn.
29...bxa6 Pretty much a forced reply.
30. Na5 Ending Black’s chances to open a file on the queenside. In addition, White is attacking the c6-pawn, forcing the Knight on e7 to stay to defend the pawn.
30...Rdb8 Trying to stop the passed b-pawn from advancing farther.
31. g3! Garry wants to develop his f1-Bishop so as to bring the h1-Rook into play in the queenside. 31. g3 clears the g2-square for the Bishop while gaining a tempo by attacking the black Bishop on h4
31...Bg5 The only move
32. Bg2 Now that the Bishop is out of the way, the white Rook on h1 can move to the queenside at any time. In addition, 33. h4 threatens to win a piece.
32...Qg6 Clearing the h6-square for the Bishop to retreat. White simply has a dominating position with a massive space advantage.
33. Ka1 The idea is to bring the Knight on c3 to a2 and then b4, attacking the c6-pawn. In addition, this move also makes way for the Rook on c2 to eventually go to a2, attacking the a6-pawn with help from the Knight on b4.
33...Kh8 Black has no idea what to do and the computer does not see Garry’s long-range plan. Now, the true weakness in positional understanding of the computer starts to show.
34. Na2 Following the plan to get the Knight to the key b4-square.
34...Bd7 Reinforcing the c6-pawn.
35. Bc3 Clearing the pivotal b4-square.
35...Ne8 Black is running out of good moves. All Black can do is ‘pray’ that White does not see how to win.
36. Nb4 The first part of the plan is done. The two white Knights are on perfect squares.
36...Kg8 Continuing to be clueless of the danger on the queenside.
37. Rb1 Bringing another major piece to the queenside to prepare the massacre.
37...Bc8 Reinforcing the a6-pawn.
38. Ra2 Finalizing the master plan.
38...Bh6 It still has no idea what is going on.
39. Bf1 The final piece is now in action.
39...Qe6 What else can Black do?
40. Qd1 The idea is to bring the Queen to a4 to attack the c6-pawn.
40...Nf6 Black is just shuffling pieces.
41. Qa4 Attacking the c6-pawn. Now the assault finally starts.
41...Bb7 Protecting the c6-pawn.
42. Nxb7 Eliminating a crucial piece that protects both the a6- and c6-pawns.
42...Rxb7 The only move.
43. Nxa6 Capturing back the pawn and opening the afile.
43...Qd7 Moving the Queen away from the potential fork on c7 by the white Knight.
44. Qc2 Moving the Queen away from the pin.
44...Kh8 Another clueless move in a hopeless position.
45. Rb3 The idea of this move is to double the Rooks on the a-file. Black has no way of defending the queenside. Therefore, Black gave up and resigned. 1–0
Happy July 4th!
Here is the solution for last week’s puzzle. 1. Ne6 Rg8 (if 1... Rf7 2. Rxf7 Bxf7 3. Qxg7 checkmate or if 1... Nxe6 2. Rxf8 check Nxf8 3. Qxf8 checkmate) 2. Nf8 Rxf8 3. Rxf8 checkmate.
This week’s puzzle is a tricky one. The puzzle (pictured) is aimed to improve your checkmate skill. It is White to move and checkmate in three moves. Can you find the checkmate for White?
SUSAN POLGAR is a professional chess player, champion and founder of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence at Texas Tech, email@example.com.