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Masha Vladimirovna Klinova vs David Spence
Gibtelecom Chess Festival (2006), Gibraltar, rd 8, Jan-31
Owen Defense: General (B00)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-08-16  dark.horse: I admit it. I missed it looking only for the win. Nice drawing tactic. Is it just me, or are the puzzles this week are, say, unusually tricky?
Dec-09-16  YouRang: <Once><I've seen Lord of the Rings. If the forces of Morrrrdorrr had been whittled down to the last orc, Aragorn wouldn't have called it a draw cos that orc couldn't move.>

Sure, but it's not so easy to find valid analogies for stalemate.

In this case, the inability of the orc to move wouldn't mean that Aragorn couldn't move either. He would finish off the last orc and call it a win. Hence, this is more like checkmate than stalemate.

Then again, I'm not sure analogies are needed. Stalemate adds some devilishly tricky and interesting strategy to chess, and it forces the winning side to achieve the maximum result: <immobility WITH check>. How does one argue that an obviously lesser result, <immobility WITHOUT check>, is equally as good?

Dec-09-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Yes, but how can we argue that immobility without check is a loss? It may not be as good as immobility with a check, but it's a heck of a lot better than a draw with insufficient material like K v K.

We've got Aragorn, Legolas, Gandalf, the riders of Rohan, the army of Gondor and all those ghostly blokes ...

And all that the forces of Morrdorr have got left is one lonely little orc.

And that orc can claim a draw because he can't move?

Nah. I'm not seeing it.

It's a moot point because the laws of chess aren't about to change. Stalemate is a draw and probably always will be - at least until some supercomputer solves chess.

Dec-09-16  Petrosianic: <Sure, but it's not so easy to find valid analogies for stalemate.>

Stalemate is a rule for the computer age. An impossible situation is created. The player has to move, but the player cannot move, therefore the program crashes. The guy who crashed the program is not rewarded with a win for doing it, that would be silly.

<I've seen Lord of the Rings. If the forces of Morrrrdorrr had been whittled down to the last orc, Aragorn wouldn't have called it a draw cos that orc couldn't move.>

By that standard, if Sauron was reduced to one single Orc, and that last Orc killed Aragorn (the King), but not his army, then Sauron would still lose. If you want to change that, then we're not even talking about chess any more.

Dec-09-16  Petrosianic: Similarly, turn-based movement is impossible to rationalize as a real life situation either. You wouldn't expect Sauron's army to just stand there motionless until it was their turn to move, would you? Or if you had a line of Gondor soldiers, you'd expect them ALL to charge. You wouldn't expect one to move, then wait for the other guys to do something, then the second to move, and so on.

No, despite the medieval trappings, chess is actually an abstract game. And stalemate is a logical consequence of its other rules. It doesn't make sense to get rid of it, and you wouldn't WANT to get rid of it. The effect would be to tilt the game farther in favor of the defense by making material more important (ALL K+P vs. K endings would now be a win, rather than just some), and make people less likely to engage in speculative attacks.

Dec-09-16  PJs Studio: Help me out here. Rxh3 and Qxf3 works too...?
Dec-09-16  YouRang: <Once: Yes, but how can we argue that immobility without check is a loss? >

But nobody is making that argument. Immobility without check is a draw (stalemate), while immobility with check is a win (checkmate).

<And that orc can claim a draw because he can't move?>

I think you missed the point of my previous post?

<It's a moot point because the laws of chess aren't about to change.>

Agreed! :-)

Dec-09-16  PJs Studio: I found it. Once Qxf3 happens the knight is unpinned and white wins.
Dec-09-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: a brilliant stalemate trapped MISSED!
Dec-09-16  YouRang: <Petrosianic><You wouldn't expect one to move, then wait for the other guys to do something, then the second to move, and so on.>

I'll admit that I've seen several movies where it works a bit like this. Most typically it happens when the good guy is fighting off a gang of bad guys. It seems that bad guys, despite their reputation, often have the decency to wait their turn to attack the good guy.

But yes, real-life analogies for stalemate aren't so easy to find. Maybe a "cold war" scenario, except that in chess, stalemate demands a truce.

Dec-09-16  Petrosianic: <I'll admit that I've seen several movies where it works a bit like this. Most typically it happens when the good guy is fighting off a gang of bad guys. It seems that bad guys, despite their reputation, often have the decency to wait their turn to attack the good guy.>

Even the good guys do it sometimes. Like remember Mirror, Mirror in Star Trek, where it's Kirk, McCoy, Scott and Uhura all against Evil Spock, but they attack him one by one until Kirk finally just breaks a skull over his skull.

<But yes, real-life analogies for stalemate aren't so easy to find.>

I have a beginner's book somewhere, called "Chess: First Steps", or something like that, which is really quite imaginative, and tries to give verbal story-like explanations of all the concepts. I think they tried to explain stalemate with something about a tiger driven into its cave, where it couldn't get out, but it was too dangerous for the hunter to go in to get him. (I think it was better than I'm explaining it here. I think I know where the book is if you want to hear it).

If you really want a "Real Life" explanation of stalemate, imagine something like the Iraq War. The armies go in, the Iraqi government is overthrown, but Saddam himself escapes and goes into hiding. The war isn't really won as long as he's free because he can foment unrest, guerilla action, et cetera, against the occupying forces. That's stalemate.

Dec-09-16  Petrosianic: In a way it's a double defeat. The one guy lost his kingdom, but the other guy is in trouble for failing to get the big prize. Even if his army wins, he himself could be relieved (or deposed if he's a King) for this failure. It's not a victory.
Dec-09-16  YouRang: <Petrosianic><Even the good guys do it sometimes.>

Good point, and perhaps even relevant as a chess metaphor because sometimes it is the weaker side who forces the stalemate, e.g.


click for larger view

The lone black king can force a draw against the white king and pawn either by repetition or by stalemate, IMO adding force to the assertion that stalemate is properly considered a draw.

<In a way it's a double defeat>

In a way, but if Spence had found the stalemate tactic in this game, it would have felt to him more victorious, and Klinova would have felt more defeated.

<Another stalemate metaphor attempt>

I've never found a really satisfying metaphor for stalemate, but perhaps the recent "Dr. Strange" movie (starring Benedict Cumberbatch) offers as good a try as any.

(** Movie Spoiler alert **)

Dr. Strange must do battle with an evil "dark side" enemy who is enormously more powerful than himself. The powerful enemy can easily kill Dr. Strange, and he does!

However, Dr. Strange has devised a "time loop", whereby this episode restarts and the enemy has to kill Dr. Strange again. After killing him perhaps thousands of times, the enemy finally realizes that he cannot make any real progress.

To escape the time loop, he must agree to compromise with Dr. Strange. Neither opponent is really defeated. However, it probably felt more defeatish to the powerful evil enemy.

Dec-09-16  Petrosianic: <I've never found a really satisfying metaphor for stalemate,>

Well, as I say, the metaphor is conquering an enemy country, but the leader escapes. Even with once's original analogy, if Aragorn personally slaughtered every Orc in Mordor, but Sauron got away, then it's not a victory. They'll still have to deal with Sauron in the future.

Stalemate is totally logical if you remember the object of chess: to capture the enemy king. Capturing other material is nice, but it's a means to an end (the end of capturing the King), not an end in itself.

If nobody can move, then the game must end. And if, when the game ends, neither side has accomoplished the objective of capturing the enemy King, then the only logical result is a draw. IF it were legal for a King to voluntarily move into check, this would not be the case.

Dec-10-16  Petrosianic: <Once> <But when we've spent all evening winning piece after piece we really don't want to be swindled out of a victory because of some old fashioned notion that kings have a divine right and can't be killed.>

That's the least convincing argument of all. You could play for hours with an advantage, only to throw away your Queen and LOSE. Why should you be "allowed" to make a blunder that throws away a whole point, but not be allowed to make a blunder that only throws away a half point?

Dec-10-16  Petrosianic: Anyway, I mentioned the book "Chess: First Steps". This is a beginner's book for kids written in the 50's, that starts each new section with a verbal explanation in layman's terms, or even a brief story to illustrate the concept they're going to be discussing. The "story" they gave to introduce the Stalemate section takes up a whole page. If you want a real life explanation of Stalemate, here's theirs:

<It was cool on the fringe of the clearing and Tarna the leopard was content to lie on the downwind side. It was two days since Benson the hunter had struck the leopardís fresh trail crossing a muddy track near the river. Tarna was not unduly disturbed, for it was not the first time he had been pursued by hunters from the nearby village, anxious to put a stop to his occasional night raids on their goats.

Tarna raised his head and surveyed the scene, twitching nostrils acutely sensitive to any possible intruder. The air was hot and still and Tarna lazed drowsily.

Meanwhile Benson had moved round in a wide detour since first sighting the leopard and was now about half a mile from the clearing, approaching upwind along the dried-up course of a river bed. Benson knew he must be near the leopard and moved forward cautiously. Suddenly there was a crashing of branches in the undergrowth; and an impala, horns extended back along its graceful body, bounced across Bensonís path and disappeared into the long grasses to his right. Benson cursed lightly to himself. The sound of the impalaís startled dash brought Tarna to his feet, tense and expectant. The leopard and the hunter must have seen one another at the same instant, for as Benson fired Tarna bounded across the clearing, following the track that led to the nearest water hole. Benson ran swiftly in the direction of the leopardís retreat. Along the track he observed occasional spots of blood. The leopard was evidently wounded. This could be dangerous. Unexpectedly the trail swung off the track to the left towards the main river bed. Ten yards across the dried grasses was a clump of reeds, some six yards wide and twice as deep. There was no doubt Tarna was there. Benson stopped with his back to a nearby tree and surveyed the scene. To enter the reeds would almost certainly be fatal. He would have to wait.

Tarna was angry. He lay still, his flank smarting where Bensonís bullet had ploughed a six-inch long groove. There was no choice but to stay where he was. Tarna could see Benson clearly, though the latter was unable to observe the leopard in the innermost gloom of the reeds. Hunter and hunted waited motionless. It was stalemate.

Swiftly the tropical twilight enveloped the scene. Benson turned homewards. The conflict would have to be renewed another day.>

Dec-10-16  YouRang: I still think it's difficult to find good metaphors for stalemate that aren't simply good metaphors for a draw.

The key points to make the distinction:

(1) One side of the conflict is unable to move (although still alive).

(2) As a consequence of (1), the other side is unable to attack.

(3) As a consequence of (2), the conflict ends immediately and conclusively, with no winner or loser.

Dec-10-16  Petrosianic: If there's any kind of draw I'd elminate, it wouldn't be stalemate, it would be 3-move repetition.

You know, that's a pretty hard rule to relate to a real life situation too. Why would a war or a battle suddenly end just because people had moved the same way a lot? How could the weaker army force an armistice on a stronger army simply by pointing out that soldiers had moved to the same places several times?

In Shogi, it's flatly illegal to even make a move that repeats the position 3 times. It might help to add a move like that to chess (explicitly excluding perpetual check, which is usually a matter of necessity for the checking side). The rule would simply say "You cannot make a move that repeats the position three times UNLESS that move delivers check."

I'm not saying I'd necessarily support that, but I'd give it some consideration. But I wouldn't give any more consideration than I already have to eliminating stalemate.

Dec-10-16  Petrosianic: Here's a rated game I played once. I'm White, and I'm dead lost.


click for larger view

The game continued

51. a4 Rh2+ 52. Ke1 Rh5 53. Kf2 Rg5 54. Ke2 Rh5, and I claimed a draw by repetition by announcing my intention to play 55. Kf2.

What happened? Why did Black allow this?? Well, he didn't realize he WAS allowing it. He didn't know it was the third time because the moves had been different. The first time I created the position by playing a4, but the 2nd and 3rd times I reached it by playing Kf2. He didn't know it was a draw, didn't want a draw, and was pretty mad when he realized that it was a draw.

So how would you relate this to a real life situation?

Dec-10-16  Petrosianic: Basically, in this situation, the Draw by Repetition is a Delay of Game Penalty. But that's a pretty stiff penalty; a whole half point!? Could Lee have drawn at Gettysburg this way? I benefited from it and even I'm not sure it's fair. At least in this position, the game COULD continue, whereas in a Stalemate it could not.
Dec-10-16  YouRang: IMO, it isn't necessary to find real life analogies in order to help us comprehend the ideas of chess. Analogies can be great for explaining unfamiliar or complex things, but sometimes they can just muddy or even distort.

The ideas of chess don't really benefit from analogies. It's actually more likely that the ideas of chess (which are readily understood) may be a useful analogy for a more complicated real-life situation.

The three-fold rule of chess mainly protects the defending player from the attacker who doesn't now how to covert his advantage (say in a K+Q vs K+R+P ending). The attacker gets a couple tries to make progress in a given position, but failing that, the defender has the right to claim a draw.

While the number "three" is somewhat arbitrary, it seems fair. At least I think ten would be way too many, and one would be too few.

Dec-11-16  Petrosianic: True, real life analogies aren't strictly <necessary>. But if they were, it does seem possible to find some for stalemate. Granted, the original "Last Orc in Mordor Can't Move" analogy wasn't very good, but "Sauron Escapes While His Armies Get Munched" is a lot better.

I don't see anything unfair or illogical about the fact that Klinova blundered away his win in this game, or that Spence blundered it back by resigning in a drawn position. That's chess; blunders are a part of the game.

And the nature of this particular blunder seems to be a logical consequence of the rules of chess, specifically the rule that a King cannot move into or through check, and the rule that the object of the game is the capture of the King. It may seem counter-intuitive that a guy with one piece can draw against a guy with 16, but only if you forget what the object of the game is.

By the same principle, this position is a win for White, even though he's horribly outnumbered. That's also counter-intuitive, but totally logical and correct:


click for larger view

Dec-11-16  zanzibar: <<YouRang:> IMO, it isn't necessary to find real life analogies in order to help us comprehend the ideas of chess. Analogies can be great for explaining unfamiliar or complex things, but sometimes they can just muddy or even distort.>

Moving beyond chess, for a moment, I remember just becoming confused from all the analogies used to explain spin-1/2 in old Scientific American articles.

So much clearer (and easier) are spinors. Just do it (the math, that is).

Although it is cute to do a 2π → 4π demo of rotations holding that cup of coffee in the one hand. There's others on youtube (but are they useful?).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7w...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nat... (maybe a little more)

<While the number "three" is somewhat arbitrary, it seems fair. At least I think ten would be way too many, and one would be too few.>

All it takes on <ChessTempo> to fail is to hit a repeat position just once to fail.

Dec-12-16  YouRang: <Petrosianic><True, real life analogies aren't strictly <necessary>. But if they were, it does seem possible to find some for stalemate. Granted, the original "Last Orc in Mordor Can't Move" analogy wasn't very good, but "Sauron Escapes While His Armies Get Munched" is a lot better.>

Yes, it's better, but only for some cases. Consider this:


click for larger view

Here, the inferior side has forced stalemate.

I think we can say that in all cases, stalemate is the result of an oversight or a lack of ability on the part of the superior side. Again, this fact makes it seem incorrect to award the superior side with the win.

<And the nature of this particular blunder seems to be a logical consequence of the rules of chess, specifically the rule that a King cannot move into or through check, and the rule that the object of the game is the capture of the King. It may seem counter-intuitive that a guy with one piece can draw against a guy with 16, but only if you forget what the object of the game is.>

Exactly. Consider a football game between team A and team B. Team A can't gain a single yard, and so they have to punt every time. Each time team B gets the ball, they march it right down the field to team A's one yard line. However, they can't punch it across the goal line, nor can their kicker make a field goal. Hence, the game ends in a 0-0 tie. The pure statistician will complain that team B should be awarded the win because of their superior yardage, but the rules dictate that the game to be decided by scoring, not yardage.

If, after the game, you go congratulate team B's coach on his team's great performance, he'll probably punch you in the nose. IMO, the chess player who settled for stalemate despite the superior forces should have the same feeling.

Dec-13-16  Petrosianic: Yeah, and a lot of time on stalemate, it's true that one side could have delivered checkmate if there had been even one more move. Just as in football, you can run out of time with the ball on the 1 yard line. One more play and you might have won, but the game ended before there was a chance. (The Tennessee Titans lost their only Superbowl that way). It's heartbreaking, but it's reasonable.
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