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Stockfish (Computer) vs AlphaZero (Computer)
AlphaZero - Stockfish Match (2018), London ENG, Jan-18
Italian Game: Giuoco Pianissimo (C50)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: When seeing this game, I always wonder what would happen if, at various points, White tried to win a piece with exf5 followed by g4. Here's what our friend Stockfish 12 has to say:

16.exf5?! Nxf5 17.g4? Nh4!-+ 18.gxh5? Rg8+ crushes after 19.Kh1 Qd7 or 19.Kh2 Rg2+ 20.Kh1 Qd7.

18.g4? Be8 (18...Nxh3 19.gxf5 Rxf5 is also good) 19.Bb5 (19.Kh2 h5!) Nxh3 -2

19.g4? Rf8 20.gxh5 Qd7 21.Nh2 (best, even though it allows Black to regain the piece; 21.Rg1 Qxh3+ 22.Nh2 Nd3 23.Bxd3 Rxf2 24.Nf1 Rxb2; 21.Ng1 Nxh3 (even better than 21...Qc6+) 22.Ngf3 Rxb2) Qc6+ 22.Qf3 Qxa6 23.b4 Qc8 24.Qg4 Qb7+ 25.Qf3 exd4 (25...Nd5 is about equally good) 26.Qxb7 Rxb7 27.cxd4 Rxb4 28.Nhf3 Bxd4 29.Nxd4 Rxd4 30.Nf3 Rd3 and Black is better.

May-20-21  DouglasGomes: 40... Qg3 is almost surely a bad move, what is the grand plan after 41. Qxg3 hxg3 42. Rxf8+ Rxf8 43. Ndf3, intending to capture the d and h pawns?
May-20-21  Atking: <DouglasGomes: 40... Qg3 is almost surely a bad move, what is the grand plan after 41. Qxg3 hxg3 42. Rxf8+ Rxf8 43. Ndf3, intending to capture the d and h pawns?> You surely mean 43.Ndf1. I thought myself that as a logical continuation yet not a winning one 42.RxR+ RxR 43.Ndf1 Rf2 44.Nxg3 Ra2 45.Bb3 Ra5 46.Bxd5 BxB 47.NxB Rxb5 48.NxB RxN 49.Nxe4 Rxa6 It's a complex R vs N+2p which looks to me more and less balanced. The far distance Rook could easily go behind white pawns.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <DouglasGomes>,<Atking> When down the exchange, one usually avoids trading one's last rook.

In this case if 42. Rxf8+ Rxf8 43. Ndf1, Black can hit the queenside with 43...Ba5 and then 44. Nxg3 Bxc3 45. Ne2 Bd2 is looking good for Black, or 44. Nd1 Rc8 45. Nxg3 c6 at least breaks up White's queenside pawns.

May-21-21  Atking: <beatgiant: <DouglasGomes>,<Atking> When down the exchange, one usually avoids trading one's last rook.> In principle yes but even it is not clear in our particular position. For example your suggestion 43...Ba5 44.Nxg3 Bxc3 45.Ngf5 is good enough as in f5 the N is quite powerful.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Atking>
On 42. Rxf8+ Rxf8 43. Ndf1 Ba5 44. Nxg3 Bxc3 45. Ngf5, Black has 45...Bd2 tying up White's pieces, so I'm not sure it really is good enough.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Following in pdxjjb's footsteps using SF13 running on my Mac desktop to look at the position after White's 40th move.

click for larger view

44 ply search, MultiPV=10, 40....Qg3 never shows up. On the other hand, consistent with diceman's post, the evaluation range for the top 10 choices is very narrow -- from -0.79 to -0.71.

I had SF13 evaluate the position after 40....Qg3, MultiPV=10, 45 ply. Top line was:

41.Rxf8+ Rxf8 42.Qxg3 hxg3 43.Ndf1 Ba5 44.Nxg3 Bxc3 45.Ngf5 Bd2 46.Kh2 Rf6 47.Kg3 Rb6 48.Kf4 Kg8 49.g4 Kf7 50.Ke5 Re6+ 51.Kf4, 0.00.

So like SF10, SF13 believes that 40....Qg3 was a clear error.

AlphaZero was stronger than SF8, but not in every position. In particular it wasn't too efficient about cashing in a win. See, e.g., AlphaZero vs Stockfish, 2018 (kibitz #1) (comment after 46....Na3).

The same seems to be true of LeelaChessZero.
See note in AlphaZero (Computer) (kibitz #936) (comment re 59.Bxc6) about a (terrific) LC0-SF game.

But here it seems like A0 just made a clear error, taking a near-win to a near draw. After 42.Ra1, though, A0 was back on top.

May-21-21  Atking: <beatgiant: <Atking>On 42. Rxf8+ Rxf8 43. Ndf1 Ba5 44. Nxg3 Bxc3 45. Ngf5, Black has 45...Bd2 tying up White's pieces, so I'm not sure it really is good enough.> Then white King goes outside Kh2-Kg3 waiting for Kf4-Ke5 Both side looks to me more and less tied up. Difficult to my eye to make difference. On 46.Kh2 Rb8 (46...Rg8 47.Kg1 for Kf2~Ke2) 47.Kg3 Rb6 (47...Rg8+ 48.Kf2) 48.Kf4 c6 49.bxc Bxc6 50.BxB RxB 51.Ke5 It should be defensible. My point of view is both of you DouglasGomes for White and yourself for Black overestimated chances. The position looks to me more and less equal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <keypusher>,<Atking> If all this deep engine analysis shows a draw, it probably is a draw. I'll have to study this endgame, because it's very unintuitive for me.
May-21-21  Atking: <beatgiant: <keypusher>,<Atking> If all this deep engine analysis shows a draw, it probably is a draw. I'll have to study this endgame, because it's very unintuitive for me.> I understand that's counterintuitive to exchange last Rook but after 40.Ra1, like the game shows, Black Rook becomes rapidly stronger than White one. But to be frank I'm not convinced that even after Rook are exchanged, the position is totally equal. Alpha0 won a lot of games with R vs N+p that I don't fully understand. Yet as <DouglasGomes> suggested, 40.RxR+ is a serious option.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Atking>
The actual game line reaches a position that differs only slightly from the engine line. Here's after move 48 in the game:

click for larger view

And here's after move 45 in the engine line:

click for larger view

Honestly, I don't see much difference in the strategic features between those at first glance. Why can't black trade the bishop for knight and then engineer pawn trades similar to what happened in the game?

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Atking>
It seems to me that the game's <49. h4> is a big mistake, weakening the kingside and allowing Black's attack. Without that, I see no major difference with the engine's line. For example, what if White instead played 49. Nf1 on the way to e3 and transposing into the engine's defensive setup?
May-21-21  Atking: <Begiant> Sure it is not an obvious one to spot at first glance. The main difference between the position is g2 is protected in the the second diagram. Indeed it is the aspect that used this monster Alpha0. As soon as the remaining rook went behind white pawns it looks a closed affair. (I repost to put it more clearly)
May-22-21  Atking: <Beatgiant> White has no more time to go back to the setup suggested On 49.Nf1? Rf8 then Bxd4 (Sorry I wanted correct your name too <Begiant> ~ <Beatgiant>).
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Atking>
Stockfish here suggests <49. Ne2> Bd2 50. g4 and ends with an eval of 0.0.
May-22-21  Atking: <Beatgiant> Well it will be ridiculous from me to debate with Stockfish however as human eye 49.Ne2 Bd2 50.g4 Rg6 seems to put some pressure If Nf5 moves Rh6 and as matter of plan the one I suggested previously Rb6&c7-c6 Sure there is not obvious winning line there but just annoying pressure that Stockfisch could evaluate as nil but Alpha0 not. This program impress me a lot when he won such type of ending R+p vs N+2p Both programs are able of titanic chess. If it was "only" giant chess I will get myself a try but titan chess is just too much for me.
May-22-21  SChesshevsky: <beatgiant> Key difference in the diagrams might be an easy g4 for white. Seems this locks in the f-file N outpost which makes it difficult for black rook invasion. Which might be necessary for any major advantage.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <SChesshevsky> In that case, what's your opinion of the line with <49. Ne2> followed by 50. g4, directly addressing the issue you mentioned?
May-22-21  SChesshevsky: <beatgiant> 49. Ne2 Bd2 50. g4 etc. probably OK for white as doesn't appear rook can easily enter.

But Ne2 is awkward. Think clearly better on e3 as on your diagram with ideas of possibly liquidating on d5. Feels if white can exchange blacks LSB, has to be good.

May-22-21  dangerhump: With regards to 40...Qg3, it has been noticed that the AI highly values pawns around the king that help block them in. I don't think it's anything more than it saw the queen exchange would block in f2 and h2 and it went for it...almost by feel, because the AI "remembers" having good results with that its decision is more human like.

Stockfish doesn't consider the move because in its calculations it doesn't see the pawn on g3 giving any concrete advantage. In this case, I believe Stockfish is correct because eventually that pawn is corralled and taken.

Its possible you could argue that the g3 pawn keeps white's knight busy on that corner of the board giving black time to round up the a & b pawns...but I don't think that's why the AI did it. If so, that would be amazing.

May-24-21  DouglasGomes: <beatgiant> White's knights are better placed in the first diagram. If something like Bd2, Bxe3. White is playing Bb3 and things don't look that promising for Black:

click for larger view

Also not very impressive:

click for larger view

Deepmind promised that the tablebases were working for SF 8, however I'm not sure with these kind of moves.

May-24-21  DouglasGomes: <beatgiant> 49. Ne2 Bd2 50. g4 is ok-ish, but hardly equal. Your suggestion 50.. Rg6 51. Neg3 Rh6 blunders a rook.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <DouglasGomes> When did I suggest 50..Rg6 51. Neg3 Rh6? I can't find that above.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: I do still think that 49. h4 was a crucial mistake and I'm not sure how much Black had until then.
May-25-21  DouglasGomes: 50. Ke2 avoids 50... Be1, 50. Ke3 is the "losing move" so to speak.

I didn't find the mythical 0.00, however the following is of interest: Considering: 49. Ne2 Bd2 50. g4 Rg6 51. Neg3 Rb6

Then: 52.Nf1 Ba5 53.Ne7 (virtually cutting off Black's king and attacking d5) Rh6 (the idea proposed) 54.Ng3 Rxh3 55.Kg2 Rh6 56.Bb3 c6 57.Nxc6 Bxc6 58.bxc6 Rxc6 59.Bxd5 Rxa6 60.Bxe4

click for larger view

With a drawish position in the end.

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