Yury Markushin vs. Machine

Here is one of my games I played on FICS against relatively high rated opponent. Take a look, it was a good fight! Read the comments below as you scroll through the moves.


I was playing this game against an expert strength program on FICS as white.
I played 1.d4. It is a good move against attacking maniacs and programs as well.
The machine played 1…Nf6 – standard response to my central threat. 2.c4.
2…c5. On its second move the machine try to gambit the c pawn with the idea of playing e4 and recapturing the pawn with a king’s bishop. That way black would have 2 central pawns: d and e and I would have only the e-pawn.
3.d5 – I declined the gambit .
3…d6 – black locks up the position and creates so-called unstable center which can later be transformed into closed or open.
4.Nf6 – preparing e2-e4. 4…Qa5 – pins the knight.
5. Bd2 – removes the pin 5…Nbd7
6. e4 – controls f5 square and double protects d-pawn. 6…Ne5 – centralizing the knight is a good idea, but
7.f4? – forces the knight to retreat, but weakens my king side pawn structure as a drawback. 7… Ng6
8.Nf3 Bg4 9. Bf2 Bxf3 – computer probably decides that position is closed and knights are more valuable than bishops.
10.Bxf3 O-O-O
11. a3 – preparing queen side attack 11…Kb8 12.O-O Rc8 (different idea for black could be 12…e6!?) As of now black are dealing with 2 not very good placed knights because they prevent f, g and h-pawns to move in the direction of my king.
13. Nb5 Qb6 14. Qe3 – pinning c5 pawn and preparing c2-c4 which would lead to b-file opening.

14…e6 – black looks for a counter play in the center.
15.b4! exd 16 bxc dxc 17.exd5 Re8 18.Bd2 a6 19.Nc3 Qc7 20.Be2 Bd6 – forces me into weakening my king side even more:
21. g3 – It can becomes especially dangerous if black would be able to trade one of its knights for my dark squares bishop. The white diagonals (esp. h3-c8) on my king side are also weak
21. Qc8 – the machine wants to exploit this weakness.
22. a4 Bc7 23. Qb3 – “23.a5” would have been better, I think now. 23…Ba5 – causing problematic pin.
24. Bf4 Qd8 25.Rab1 – threatens mate in1. 24…b6
26.Rb2 Bb4 – temporarily blocking the b-file.
27.Na2 Bxd2 28.Rxd2 Ka7 29.Rb1 Re7 – preparing for defense of b6 pawn.
30.Rdb2 – putting all 3 heavy pieces on the b-file. 30…Rb7

Let’s analyze this position. White has serious positional advantage. All 3 heavy pieces lined up on b-file, but they can also be easily transferred on open e-file. Black got a pair of bad knights on f6 and g6, which have pretty much nowhere to go. It is very hard to make them good knights by putting them, say, on d4 because of my strong pawn formation. At the same time white has protected passed pawn on d5. White bishop is somewhat passive but it can be easily moved to h3 and become a dangerous weapon.

31. Nc3 Rb8 32.Qa3 (preparing for a5!) a5? – Not a very wise move for black, now I can easily activate my knight on b5 in the very heart of black’s queen side.
The better line for black: 32…Qd6 33.a5 b5 34.cxb5 Rhe8 35.bxa6 Rxb2 36.Qxb2 Qxa6

33. Nb5+ Ka6 34. Re2 – now the queen side is locked, it makes sense to take over e-file.
34…Qd7 35. Rbe1 Rhe8 36. Qb2 Rxe2 37.Rxe2 Rg8 – it would be probably better to activate knight with something like 37…Ne8
38.Qc3 Qf5 39.Qc2 Qxc2 40.Rxc2 Rd8 41.Re2 Kb7 42.Kf2 Rd7 43.Bg2 Kb8 44. Bh3 – good bishop now. 44…Rd8

If we look at this current position we see that white’s king is completely cut off in the corner of a board. c7 and d6 controlled by the white knight, dc and d8 – by the bishop and c6 by the d-pawn.

45.Bf5 (preparing h2-h4) Ng8 46.h4 Nf8 (freeing black pawns) 47.Bh3 Nh6 (the Chessmaster10 classifies it as a bad move, 47…h5 would have been better. )
48. g4 Ng3 49. Kg3 Kb7? (Another strange move a lot better is 49…Ng8 or 49…Nh8)
50. h5 Nh8 51.Re7! +

52.Bg2 – Not the best move here, a lot (!) better is 52.Na7!! if 52…Ka8 after 53.Nc6 – forced mate in 3. If black plays 52…g3 53.Nc6 Kc8
54.g5+ wins.

52… Ng8 53. Rc7 Rc8? (The Chessmaster10 says that blacks moves into forced mate in 8: 54.Ra7 Rc7 55.Rxc7 Nf6 56.d6 Ng6 57.Ra7 Kc8 58.Bc6 Nd7 59.Ra8+ Nb8 60.Na7+ Kd8 61.Rxb8#) Tricky! I did not see that during the game.

54. Ra7 Re8 55.Bf3 (should have played 55.d6! mate in 5) Nf6 56.d6 Ne4+ 57. Kg2 f5 – knight has to block long diagonal.
58. gxf5 g6 59. fxg6 Nxg6 60. hxg6 Re6 61. gxh7 Rg6+ 62.Kf1 Rh6 63.Bxe4 and black has no reasonable chances even for a draw.

It was a good game and a good fight. I hope you enjoyed the game and I hope even more that you have learned something from my analysis. Here we go; it’s another small victory in the war: humans against the machines…


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Updated 04.08.2023