Lazy minds and computer moves

Mar 19, 2013, 5:23 AM |

A few days ago, GM Sam Shankland briefly annotated game Radjabov-Ivanchuk (in case you missed it, here's the link).

Ivanchuk lost on time, and that outcome was fair: Radjabov played better - until Ivanchuk got into a time trouble. It is a common situation: opponent's lack of time sometimes forces us to play faster - it is a matter of human psychology.

But, there was a moment in a game when Ivanchuk could draw. Following diagram shows that moment:

Here, GM Shankland writes (bolds are mine):

It is hard to criticize this move- Ivanchuk was going to lose on time no matter what white did, and the position appears to be completely won. However, the ridiculous computer-move response g4!! magically saves the game for black- don't ask me how. In any case, it was so ridiculous and inhuman that I don't think Radjabov deserves any criticism for playing this way.

This is one ugly comment. Yes, I understand that here GM tried to be funny. But, for the sake of chess! GM is GM, and as such should always try to respect the game. 

Any particular move is always playable. There is no such thing as ridiculous moves. Actually, the only ridiculous thing about chess moves is calling any move computer-move. So many games have been played during time, where much more absurd moves were played. I mean, just take a look at this example:

According to GM Shankland's standards, this is ridiculous and inhuman game, filled with computer-moves... and played in 1969. 

Back to Radjabov Ivanchuk's game: before critical position, white played moves with only one goal: forcing Ivanchuk's time to run out. GMs know how it's done: exchanges take more time to execute. But while chasing his goal (and because of that chasing), Radjabov completely forgot that in chess it is always critical to achieve piece activity.  So he blocked his own pieces, while Ivanchuk's pieces were in actually very good places (both rooks, but especially bishop and knight)  for both defence and attack. And even more, d-file was completely undefended by white. 

So, 33. ...g4 is actually natural move, and I am sure that GM Ivanchuk would have seen it if only he had a few more seconds to spare (not to mention that GM Bronstain, for example, would certainly have seen it in millisecond). There is no inhumanity in it. 

All of this should have been annotated by GM Shankland. I mean, noone reads annotations in search for a couple of jokes, right? 

We all started playing chess because we hoped to play moves like 33. ...g4! every day, and have fun and everything. Calling such a moves computer and ridiculous means that GM Shankland lost that feeling of couriosity and interest for a game...