Komodo Master
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Komodo Master

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Komodo Master

There are a lot of chess engines that are out there, and these computers are capable of calculating the craziest lines. The most popular chess engine is probably stockfish, but there is another popular engine that I would try to beat. That engine is called Komodo.


Now, I would try to put a time limit on myself, so I limited myself to 10 minutes, playing white. 

I start the game with d4, and Komodo would play d5. Soon the position would transform into a slav.

The game continues with basic theory, with both of us continuing our development. I would fianchetto my bishop and castle, while Komodo would bring his bishop out to f5 and lock the center with the solid e6. I would also play Nd2 to reinforce my c pawn and prepare for a potential e4. 

Here, Komodo plays the best move with h6, which I thought was a really slow move. Especially after Komodo castles into the pawn hook. But h6 controls g5, which I wasn't really looking at since I was preparing to put my knight in the center with e5. So far, everything else has been fairly standard. 

I develop my dark squared bishop onto the long diagonal, and Komodo decides to trade knights in the center of the board. I take back, hitting Komodo's second knight. It doesn't go back, but it charges forward with Ne4, so I trade off all the knights on the board. This is where Komodo takes back with the pawn instead of the bishop, and it all of a sudden has a slight advantage. I didn't think it would take with pawn because it absolutely blocks black's line of vision. But by taking with the pawn, black has opened the d file and left my e pawn quite weak. 

I try to lock the position with e3, but Komodo begins its slaughter. It first plays Qd3, securing control of the d file because I can't take the queen or black gets a powerful passed pawn. I move my queen to place a rook on the d file, but black doubles up and moves the queen out of the way onto the second rank, hitting my bishop and threatening to overload my queen. 

I try to hit black's queen, but I give up control of the d file, and Komodo is able to retreat his queen to safety. Komodo was restricting my movement severely, controlling the d1
square to prevent my rooks from serious development, using my e pawn to block my dark squared bishop's line of vision, and the e4 pawn to block my light square bishop. I try to get my queen to a better square, but I end up wandering it to the side of the board, which becomes a fatal mistake. 

Komodo brings his bishop onto f3, challenging my bishop. I can't take it because after exf3, black's queen can come in with Qh3 with mate on the next turn. I try to bring my queen back to defend the king because all my other pieces are immobilized, getting to the other side is pretty much impossible. After Komodo takes on my bishop, I thought I was safe, but I was wrong. 

I forgot that black can just bring in his queen with Qf3 and push my king back. Komodo also brings in its rook onto the second rank, forcing me to play Rf1 to defend f2 mate ideas. But this loses my bishop, and after Komodo brings in his second rook onto the d file, it is definitely lost. 

I threaten Komodo's bishop, but at this point, I had pretty much resigned and was just playing whatever moves I could to not get checkmated in 30 moves. But Komodo plays Rd2, awarding itself a brilliant move, I give a check, and on move 30, Komodo delivers checkmate. 

Rdd2 is brilliant!


So being completely destroyed, I did what any sensible human would do. I changed the rules. I would play Komodo with the white pieces, but it would not have a queen. Surely I could win. 

I would begin my starting set up by bringing forward my c,d, and e pawn to the fourth rank. As black doesn't have a queen, this makes it difficult for Komodo to push d4. This may explain Komodo's decision to bring out its knights first and use its pieces rather than pawns to control the center. 

I would continue by developing my knights. However, Komodo would begin building up its pawn structure. While my structure was far more aggressive and controlling, Komodo would create a reserved and solid pawn structure, eventually lashing out with e5. I would push d5, locking the center of the board. We both developed our bishops, preparing to castle. 

But this is where Komodo plays the first strange move. It would undevelop its knight, preventing castling, which is such a strange move. I still don't understand why. It might be because Komodo didn't think I had a good move, but I don't see why it couldn't castle. I decided to just expand on the queenside and go aggressive with a3 and b4. But Komodo would continue with its defensive pawn structure. 

I would open up the b-file and take control of it with Rb1. Then, Komodo would redevelop his knight, which is kind of insulting, telling me that it can waste moves and still win. So I pin the knight and trade bishop for a knight. 

But this is where things start really going south because I would give my opponent a check, but Komodo would block. Instead of retreating, I try to keep my queen in enemy territory, resulting in it getting trapped. I have to block the bishop's line of vision with my rook. Komodo castles now, and I am in a really awkward position. I decide to use my material starting advantage and sack my queen for a pawn and rook. As you might tell, things aren't looking good. 

At this point, I tried to get my knight to an outpost square, but I would leave another pawn hanging. Somehow, I was just hanging so many pieces, and Komodo's knight was starting to jump all over the place. It would also decide to trade my knight for its bishop. 

I would begin trying to push my a and b pawns to the backrank, but in the process, I would turn a complete blind eye to Komodo's knight. I would lose another pawn and miss a fork. Luckily, I could hit black's bishop with tempo to have a potential even trade, but Komodo decides to sidestep. 

I would decide to keep pushing my passed pawns, allowing Komodo to even take my bishop. But with taking my bishop, my passed pawns would reach the second rank. Komodo tried to reroute his bishop to defend, but my a pawn is coming, so black decides to sack its knight for pawn and blockade with its bishop.

However, Komodo still has some play, especially with the giant block of pawns coming down the center of the board. I double on the a file, but as long as the bishop blockades, there isn't much I can do. I'll have to reroute my knight to the back eventually. But I decide to activate my king to deal with the coming pawn storm down the center of the board. 

Black begins sending down all of its pawns down the board. I also make the mistake of putting my king directly behind my pawn, allowing Komodo to pin my pawn to the king. I try to defend the pawn, but black has too many pawns coming down the board. 

A huge pawn exchange takes place, and when the dust settles, his pawns have been isolated, and the attack has largely been null. Although, at this point in the game, I was up by three points, whereas I had started the game up a full queen. 

At this point, Komodo makes a decision to sack a pawn to get his passed pawn through to the back rank. However, I can capture the newly promoted queen because this removes the defender of the barricade, allowing me pawn the potential to promote. 

However, black still has play, trying to cover the back, so that I can't promote. I will have to get my knight to protect my pawn when my rook moves off the promotion square. However, black will continue to prolong the game by giving checks. 

Here, there is a lot of knight and rook manuevering. There was a point in the game, when I could have just moved my rook and threatened to promote, but I didn't do that in the game because I didn't want to lose my knight for whatever reason. So the game went on in this fashion for a while for no real reason. 

I eventually find a position, where I can give a check with my rook, allowing promotion and a simplification to an endgame, where we each have one pawn and I have a rook. The game is fairly straightforward from here, where I can cut off the enemy king and promote. 

So I was able to promote my final pawn and deliver a ladder mate on move 73. All it took was taking away Komodo's queen and still struggling massively to deliver checkmate against the computer. But what are your thoughts on this game? Do you think I should challenge the fish next? Let me know!

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