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Kenneth S Rogoff vs Arthur Howard Williams
"Trade Restrictions" (game of the day Feb-05-2013)
World Junior Championship, B Final (1969), Stockholm SWE, rd 10, Aug-??
Benoni Defense: King's Indian System (A56)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: OK, now my interest is aroused, usually not a good thing. So instead of merely wondering why this game was played at all I'm switching my query as to why, after playing 93 moves without a capture, Rogoff decided to play 94.bxc5. If the motivation for playing this game was to set a record for the longest game without a capture, why stop at move 93? True, if Rogoff didn't move a pawn at move 94 then Williams could have claimed a draw by the 50-move rule (the last pawn move was 54...b6). But there were better move options available to Rogoff, and this was a missed opportunity to set the no-capture record so high that it would never be broken.

For example, at d=23 Critter 1.6a evaluated White's top 3 moves to be 94.f4, 94.g5, and 94.Nd2, all of which would have extended the streak a few more moves with the following lines:

1. [+1.42] 94.f4 f6 95.g5 Ng8 96.Nd2 Rb7 97.Qg3 Kh8 98.gxf6 Bxf6 99.Nf3 Re7 100.fxe5 Bxe5 101.Nxe5 dxe5 102.Kg1 Qd7 103.Ne1 Qd6 104.Nf3 Ba4 105.b5 Nc7 106.Rf1 Rf8 107.Rg2 Rf6 108.Rgf2 Rf8

2. [+1.42] 94.Nd2 f6 95.g5 Rb7 96.f4 Ng8 97.Qg3 Kh8 98.gxf6 Bxf6 99.Nf3 Re7 100.fxe5 Bxe5 101.Nxe5 dxe5 102.Kg1 Qd7 103.Ne1 Qd6 104.Nf3 Ba4 105.b5 Nc7 106.Rf1 Rf8 107.Rg2 Rf6 108.Rgf2 Rf8

3. [+1.41] 94.g5 Ng8 95.f4 f6 96.Nd2 Rb7 97.Qg3 Kh8 98.gxf6 Bxf6 99.Nf3 Re7 100.fxe5 dxe5 101.Bd2 Bg7 102.b5 Nb8 103.h5 g5 104.Ne3 Nd7 105.Nf5 Bxh5 106.Rf1 Qe8 107.Bc3 Ngf6 108.Nxe7 Ng4+ 109.Kg1 Qxe7

Of course, 94.b5 was also an option and, after 94...Nc7, they would have had the opportunity for another 50 meaningless piece moves to further extend the no-capture record. Then 144.a4 would have given them a further 50 moves, etc. At d=22 Critter evaluates the position after 94.b5 Nc7 at [+1.04]after either 95.g5 or 95.Qg3, still better than the 94.bxc5 that Rogoff chose, and also delaying the first capture for a few more moves.

And the "action" need not have been restricted to the q-side. Williams also had either ...g5 or ...h5 to work with after proper preparation, and with 50 piece moves in between pawn moves there should have been enough time for the proper preparation. Note that Rogoff need not respond immediately with either h4-h5 (in response to ...g5) or g4-g5 (in response to ...h5). Rogoff could have moved his pieces for 49 moves before either of these pawn advances. Finally, there was always the non-committal ...f6 to keep the ball rolling.

Perhaps the greater challenge with 50-move intervals between pawn moves would be avoiding a draw by repetition. Williams in particular has a limited amount of space to maneuver and it may perhaps be impossible to avoid the repetition of position of the pieces 3 times in between 50 pawn moves. Maybe some motivated person out there can take up the challenge and demonstrate that after, say, 94.b5 Nc7 that it is <impossible> for the position not to be repeated 3 times for the Black pieces, although it might require some cooperation from Rogoff since, with more space, he had more options to move his pieces. But, even if the 3-move repetition of position was forced, the rules require one or the other player claim the draw by repetition. In the absence of such a claim, the game could have continued, and they might still be playing it as we speak.

(to be continued unfortunately)

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <waustad> This game is an exception, but I submitted a number of games months ago, and am still waiting for them to appear.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: (continued unfortunately)

So, why did Rogoff break the non-capture streak at move 94? Did he finally get really bored or did he all of a sudden realize that he had something more important to do? Perhaps he just got hungry and wanted to go get something to eat. But in any of these cases he could have just made a non-pawn, non-capture move and claim a draw by repetition, ending the game almost immediately instead of playing on for another 13 moves. So these explanations don't seem to make much sense.

Therefore my theory is that since Rogoff was either 15 or 16 at the time this game was played, puberty finally set in. Chess has been known to delay puberty among chess-playing males (studies about chess-playing females are inconclusive) and according to his bio Rogoff was 6 years old when he learned to play the game and 13 when he took up the game in earnest. A long time sublimating normal hormonal urges, and these effects are cumulative. When Mother Nature finally took over, the sudden onset of testosterone created an irresistible urge to play the "aggressive" 94.bxc5. But 94.bxc5 dissipates most of White's advantage; at d=23 Critter evaluates the position after 94.bxc4 at [+0.41] following 94...Nxc5 95.Nxc5 bxc5 96.f4 Rxb2 97.Rxb2 f6 98.g5 Ng8 99.Qb1 Bb6 100.f5 Rb8 101.h5 fxg5 102.hxg6+ Kg7 103.Kg3 Nf6 104.Qd1 Ba5 105.Rxb8 Qxb8 106.Qc2 Bd7 107.Bc1 Qd8 108.Kf3 Qc8 109.Ne3 h5 110.Nd1 g4+ 111.Kg3 Be1+ 112.Kg2. Aaah, the impetuousness of youth!

Fortunately he was able to release his inner tensions by 94.bxc5. I'm afraid to think of the consequences had he not been able to do so and chose other means to release his inner tensions. Something similar happened to me except at a later age. Since I didn't learn the game until I was 11 or 12 the puberty-inhibiting effects of chess were not as strong, and neither was I as strong a player as Rogoff. So my inner tension release was not as urgent nor as well documented for others to see at a much later date.

Williams was older than Rogoff at the time this game was played, at least 19 years old, and the effects of a possibly-delayed puberty had subsided, stiff upper lip notwithstanding (he was born in Wales). But I suspect that he was disappointed at Rogoff's breaking the possibly prearranged agreement to set a record for the longest non-capture came that would never be broken due to lack of interest. He might even have described 94.bxc5 out loud as a "bitter disappointment", predating Fischer's similar comment after R. Byrne resigned their game in the 1963 US Chess Championship, and possibly inspiring it. As it was, a longest non-capture record-breaking attempt is probably achievable, should two players be sufficiently motivated to attempt to do so, perhaps under the influence of some super-Sofia rules being in effect.

So there. I think that this is the most boring post ever at, certainly the most boring post I've ever done (and that's saying a lot). But others are welcomed and encouraged to try to create an even more boring post, but I doubt that anyone will succeed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Phony Benoni> I think that Huebner vs K Rogoff, 1972 shows the maturation of Rogoff's style, a mere 3 years after this game with Williams. Rogoff managed to enforce a draw after only 12 moves instead of the 106 moves he needed in this game with Williams. Of course, by that time the effects of delayed puberty had subsided, so Rogoff was able to initiate captures as early as 5.Qxd7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <AylerKupp> Here is another highly entertaining draw: Keene vs D W Anderton, 1977.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Maybe nobody got this far into the game, but white offers a knight sacrifice on move 50, which black (no doubt correctly) declines (50 Nf5 gf 51 gf Nf6 52 Bxh6 etc). So then 50...Kh7 (good move) 51 Bf2?!, now if 52 gf Nf6 where is the attack?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Or first 52...Bg5 53 Be3 Bxe3 54 Qxe3 Nf6 then Qh8, Rg8 and black's extra piece should eventually win.
Feb-05-13  tivrfoa: <RookFile: <AylerKupp: Why are games like this played? >

I'll tell you why. A way to win a game of chess is to do nothing, and wait for the opponent to make a mistake or overextend himself.

The problem is, if both players do nothing, you get this.> kkkkkkkkkk this game was really boring ...

Feb-05-13  King Radio: The position after white's 68th move is hilarious. This is a classic even Morphy would have been proud to have played.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: One pair of pieces has been exchanged, but here's a computer-human game where nothing happens for 60 moves starting about move 18: Junior vs Ponomariov, 2005
Feb-05-13  jovack: awful finish and boring game...

play it out you wussies.

Feb-05-13  David2009: Mysteriously the players agreed a draw when White can win a Pawn starting 107.Qxa5 Bxa5 108.Bxh6. Perhaps external factors contributed to the premature end of this hard-fought struggle. Here's the final position:

click for larger view

interactively linked to Crafty End Game Trainer: The ending should presumably be won: enjoy finding the win against the EGT if you have the patience.

Kenneth Rogoff has inspired by far the most kibitzes by members: 106 games with 4090 pages of comments. Well over twice as many as Bobby Fischer (a mere 1779 pages).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: After this game, FIFA mandated that end-of-round matches be played simultaneously ...
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <perfidious> Thanks, I hadn't seen that one. It's a good one and I am still laughing. But it must have been one of Keene's slightly off days since White could have achieved the same result after 8.Qxh8 Nxh8 9.Nf6+ etc. or after 9.Qxh8 Nxh8 9.Ng8+ etc. Since it was a simul, maybe Keene needed two more trips around the table to make the final decision to go for the draw this way. So would it then be appropriate to consider both 8.Nf6+ and 9.Ng8+ as zwischenzugs?
Feb-05-13  BlackSheep: Worst GOTD everrr!
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I don't understand 103...Kg8?, hanging the h-pawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <FSR> Don't worry about it. This is economics. Nobody understands economics.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: <Phony Benoni: Nobody understands economics.> The material deficit, my fanny!
Jan-28-14  kontoleon: 94 moves to take a pawn!!! Maybe the record...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: In a post with this game E M Green vs K Rogoff, 1969 <whiteshark> says that the above game is reputed to have carried on until move 221!? Looks like the players had nothing better to do after the game.
Nov-14-14  theodosius: Stockfish 5 analysis.

White maintains opening advantage until 13. Rg1 loses about .6 for white (O-O was better).

16...Bf6? lost .25 (Nec7)
18. Bg5 lost it back (Bxg7)
20...Kh8? lost .75 (Nec7 again)
21. Bd3 gave .5 back (h4)
21...Nf6 lost .8 (to 1.5, Qe7)
23. Rb1 loses .5 (f3) but played it a move later gaining it back

Throughout the 20s after this, SF wants White to play h4, and black to play Bf6/Nc7. The analysis swings widely as these giants ignore these developing moves.

SF then wants white to move Qd7. Adding that to 28...Qe7, it seems that both players wasted a move. White is rated +1.58 with this continuation.

28. h4 h6 29. Kf2 Kh7 30. h5 b6 31. Kg2 Ne7 32. Rh1 g5 33. b4 Kg8 34. Nf5 Nxf5 35. exf5 cxb4

With 32. Qg2, white loses .75 and has descended into draw territory (Qd2, retains about a pawn advantage).

33...Bf6 undevelops his bishop for no reason, when SF wants Nc7. Black moves 34...Nc7 after 20 moves of SF's pleading!

35. Qf1 is a dead draw. At this point, SF wants b4 and Kg2 for white and Bg5 for black for several moves.

39...Bh4 is another major blunder, losing a theoretical pawn (Bxe3). The next move, black undevelops his bishop again to Bf6. At this point White is +2.1 with a powerful kingside continuation:

41. g5 Bg7 42. h4 f6 43. h5 gxh5 44. Nxh5 fxg5 45. Bxg5 Qf7 46. Nxg7 Qxg7 47. Qh2 Qf7 48. Be2 Nc7 49. b4 b6 50. Rh1 Rf8 51. bxc5 bxc5

But why would white want to do that? 41. Rb2?

Throughout the 40s, it's clear that black's bishop should have stayed at h4 instead of waltzing around. 44. Na2 lost a "grim" .7 (Kg2), but black's bishop wastes time. SF would have white develop Kg2 and pawn break f4.

50. Nf5 moves white back to draw territory (Nc3).

Then 51. Bf2? (a clear blunder per SF) gives black his first fleeting chance at a win -.5 (Nc3), which is squandered by ...Bg5 (gxf5).

53...Be7 (again undeveloping his dark bishop) puts white a pawn up (Bf4).

Through the rest of the 50s, SF wants to initially expand on the kingside with h5 and a rook on the h file, but after redirecting a rook to the b file continues its desire to get it's rim knight to c3.

Black continues to waste moves on the dark-square bishop, instead of moving knight to f6 as SF would like.

Seesaw continues through the 60s. SF has been demanding Nc3 nearly ever one of the last 25 moves.

Black, on the other hand, had multiple development options, Ne7, h5, cxb4, which it throws away for futile bishop moves. It appears knights are more valuable to SF in these positions.

73. Nc3. After 30 moves.

78. Ba4 was a -1 point error (Kg1), but ...Bc8 was worse (cxb4) as white's 79. Bc6 could force a white passed d pawn, giving white a 1.5 advantage in SF. White declined 80. Bxb7, returning to business as usual.

90...Na6 is a bad idea for black, losing .7 (Nf6), and again white must make a combative g5 to capitalize, but instead undevelops it's knight to a2.

93...Ne7 blocks the correct Be7, giving a +2 to white. SF would like white to respond with f4, which appears to be one of white's key moves in controlling the board.

<AylerKupp>'s megapost gloriously expounds on the tragedy of white's first capture, and SF concurs with his assessment.

Trading of the rooks began white's descent to a draw, SF attempted to avoid this with Nb3 or Ne2. 99. Bc2 would have robbed white's minor advantage if ...Bxc2.

SF doesn't say 104. Bc6? is a blunder, though what else would you call ignoring a free pawn? The pawn stays in play for white until the draw.

Many here have speculated on possible continuations (<David2009> is right on) after 106...Qa5, so I will not.

In general, both sides ignored attacking chances, white on the kingside and black on the queenside. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing and analyzing it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Alex Schindler: Best game title ever. And the kibitzing is as funny as the game!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Yeah, this is fun. I've had games go 30 moves without a capture, but 90+ is a horse of a different colour. Every time a piece confronts an enemy unit, one of them retreats. Hilarious? Kinda. A pisstake? That too. A metaphor for economic theory? Whaaat?!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <AylerKupp> I should point out that the stiff upper lip (Lippus Rigidus) is an English trait, not a British one. It is rare in Wales, unknown in Scotland, impossible in Ireland.

It is likely that Williams had flexible lips.

Jul-31-16  Whitehat1963: Riveting stuff! If it weren't a draw, this would make such a fantastic game for Guess-the-Move. Or not.
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