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Hikaru Nakamura
Photography copyright © 2008, courtesy of chesspatzerblog.  
Number of games in database: 2,496
Years covered: 1995 to 2019
Last FIDE rating: 2741 (2812 rapid, 2871 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2814

Overall record: +543 -222 =639 (61.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 1092 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (161) 
    B90 B42 B30 B51 B23
 Reti System (89) 
    A06 A04 A05
 Queen's Gambit Declined (89) 
    D37 D31 D38 D30 D35
 Queen's Pawn Game (85) 
    A45 D02 D00 E10 E00
 Ruy Lopez (64) 
    C67 C65 C84 C78 C89
 Nimzo-Larsen Attack (63) 
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (205) 
    B90 B80 B30 B52 B76
 Ruy Lopez (136) 
    C67 C65 C78 C80 C60
 King's Indian (100) 
    E97 E90 E63 E92 E94
 Queen's Gambit Declined (78) 
    D37 D31 D39 D30
 English (78) 
    A14 A18 A13 A10 A15
 Queen's Pawn Game (77) 
    D02 A40 A45 A41 A46
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Krasenkow vs Nakamura, 2007 0-1
   W So vs Nakamura, 2015 0-1
   Gelfand vs Nakamura, 2010 0-1
   Rybka vs Nakamura, 2008 0-1
   Crafty vs Nakamura, 2007 0-1
   G G Sagalchik vs Nakamura, 2003 0-1
   Nakamura vs Kramnik, 2012 1-0
   Nakamura vs Karjakin, 2004 1-0
   Beliavsky vs Nakamura, 2009 0-1
   Nakamura vs Van Wely, 2010 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2004)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Corsica Masters (2007)
   Cap d'Agde (2008)
   Gibraltar Chess Festival (2008)
   Tradewise Gibraltar (2015)
   34th World Open (2006)
   Ordix Open (2009)
   Geneva Chess Masters (2013) Speed Chess Championship 2017/18 (2017)
   Champions Showdown (2019)
   Gibtelecom (2009)
   Torneo Continental Americano (2003)
   Ordix Open (2008)
   World Cup (2015)
   Pro Chess League (2018)
   PRO League Group Stage (2019)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Naka's Nook Mistook Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Notable Nakamura Games by caracas1970
   Fighting Chess with Hikaru Nakamura by kenilworthian
   Notable Nakamura Games by iron maiden
   Hikaru! by larrewl
   Match Nakamura! by amadeus
   Nakamura Games by fredthebear
   Leningrad Dutch by malterego

   🏆 Grand Prix Hamburg
   Topalov vs Nakamura (Nov-06-19) 1/2-1/2
   Nakamura vs Topalov (Nov-05-19) 0-1
   Nakamura vs Caruana (Oct-21-19) 1/2-1/2
   Nakamura vs Aronian (Oct-20-19) 1/2-1/2
   V Kovalev vs Nakamura (Oct-19-19) 0-1

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Hikaru Nakamura
Search Google for Hikaru Nakamura
FIDE player card for Hikaru Nakamura

(born Dec-09-1987, 31 years old) Japan (federation/nationality United States of America)

[what is this?]

Awarded the title of IM in 2001 and that of GM in 2003, Nakamura won the US Championship in 2004, 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2019. He was the world's second-ranked player as of October 2015.


Christopher Hikaru Nakamura was born December 9, 1987 in Hirakata in Osaka, Japan, to a Japanese father and an American mother. He is the younger brother of Asuka Nakamura. When he was two years old, he and his mother and brother moved to the United States. He started playing chess when he was seven, coached by his stepfather, Sunil Weeramantry. He was the youngest player in US history to defeat an International Master (Jay R Bonin) in a USCF-rated game (10 years, 0 months), to become a National Master (USCF) (10 years 79 days), to defeat a Grandmaster (Arthur Bisguier) in a USCF-rated game (10 years, 117 days), and to become an IM (13 years 2 months), although most of these records have subsequently been surpassed. In 2003 he became the USA's youngest-ever grandmaster (15 years 2 months and 19 days), a record later broken by Fabiano Caruana and Ray Robson.


<Youth> In 2001 he won the World U14 championship.

<National> When he won the Chessmaster US Championship 2005 (2004) (on tiebreak from Alexander Yevgenyevich Stripunsky), he was the youngest player to win the US championship since Robert James Fischer. He also won the US Championship (2009) outright by half a point ahead of the joint runners-up Robert Lee Hess and Alexander Onischuk, and the US Championship (2012) outright by a full point ahead of the winner of the 2010 and 2011 events, Gata Kamsky. He won the national title for a fourth time when he took out the US Championship (2015) with 8/11, half a point ahead of the outright runner up Ray Robson.

<World championship cycle> Seeded number 87 and aged 16, Nakamura reached the final 16 in the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2004), defeating 46th seed Sergey Volkov, 19th seeded Aleksej Gennadyevich Aleksandrov, and 51st seed Alexander Lastin in the preliminary rounds before bowing out to number 3 seed and finalist Michael Adams in the round of 16. He qualified to play in the World Cup (2013) through his rating, and defeated Peruvian WGM Deysi Estela Cori Tello in the first round, Azeri GM Eltaj Safarli in the second round and Indian GM Baskaran Adhiban in the third round, but was eliminated in the Round of 16 (fourth round) by Ukrainian GM Anton Korobov. He qualified by rating to participate in the World Cup (2015), and is doing so although he has already qualified for the Candidates Tournament of 2016 via the Grand Prix series of 2014-15. He defeated Richmond Phiri, Samuel Shankland in the first two rounds, as well as Ian Nepomniachtchi in a third round thriller that Nakamura won in the deciding Armageddon blitz tiebreaker game after the three previous sets of rapid and blitz tiebreakers had been drawn. In the Round of 16 (the fourth round) he won against Michael Adams by 1.5-0.5 but lost to Pavel Eljanov in the quarter final, bowing out of the event.

<Grand Prix Series 2012-2013> He started the Grand Prix series with last at the FIDE Grand Prix London (2012). After bouncing back into contention with outright second in the FIDE Grand Prix Zug (2013), a poor showing at the FIDE Grand Prix Thessaloniki (2013) eliminated him from contention for the top 2 spots that would have qualified him for the 2014 Candidates Tournament. (1) He did however place 3rd behind Fabiano Caruana and Boris Gelfand in the FIDE Grand Prix Paris (2013) to accumulate 300 GP points and place 6th in the 2012-13 Grand Prix series. Subsequently, his only chance to play in the 2014 Candidates Tournament was to be nominated as the Organizer's wild card once the venue was settled, however this did not eventuate.

<Grand Prix Series 2014-2015> Nakamura competed in the first leg of the series at the FIDE Grand Prix Baku (2014), where he scored 6/11 to place 3rd-7th, half a point behind the joint leaders Caruana and Gelfand. He therefore kicked off with a GP tally of 82 points, representing the even distribution of points applicable to each place from 3rd to 7th. In the second leg of the series, namely the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2014), he placed =2nd and stood in 2nd place overall, excellently situated to take advantage of the opportunity to qualify for the Candidates tournament in 2016. He took full advantage of this in FIDE Grand Prix Khanty-Mansiysk (2015), when he came =1st to qualify for the Candidates Tournament of 2016.

Standard tournaments

In 2005, he won the 7th Foxwoods Open (2005).

In 2007, he won both the National Open (2007) that was held in Las Vegas and the Casino de Barcelona (2007).

The following year, he beat Bu Xiangzhi in the play-off to win the Gibraltar Chess Festival (2008) Masters Open with 8.0/10.

Nakamura tied for first with Evgeny Najer at the World Open (2009) after taking two last-day byes, each worth half a point and won the Donostia Chess Festival (2009) in tiebreak over Ruslan Ponomariov.

In 2010, he came =4th at Corus Group A (2010), and was equal top scorer in the victorious Rising Stars team in the Rising Stars - Experience (2010) tournament. He scored 5/9 (+1 -0 =8) at the Tal Memorial (2010), placing =4th, and finished the year with =4th place in the London Chess Classic (2010).

Nakamura began 2011 by taking clear first place at the A-Group of the prestigious category 20 Tata Steel Group A (2011) (formerly Corus) with a 9/13 score (+6 -1 =6) and a 2880 performance rating, ahead of a powerful field including the world's top four players: World Champion Viswanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian and former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. In June 2011, Nakamura placed =3rd in the Bazna King's Tournament (2011), in July he scored 4.5/10 at Dortmund Sparkassen (2011), in August he came =1st in the 2011 US Open Championship with 7.5/9 and in October he came =3rd in the Grand Slam Chess Final (2011) with 5/10. The following month, he suffered a lapse in form at the category 22 Tal Memorial (2011), scoring 3/9 and coming last but recovered to finish 2011 with second place behind Kramnik at the category 20 London Chess Classic (2011), scoring +4 -1 =3 (TPR of 2887).

He started 2012 by coming =2nd (4th on count back) at the Reggio Emilia (2011), half a point behind Anish Giri, and then came =5th at Tata Steel Group A (2012), scoring 7.5/13 (+3 -1 =9). He followed up in April 2012 with 1st at the 6th Annual Grand Pacific Open held in British Columbia. He competed in the Tal Memorial (2012) held in June, scoring 4/9. In July/August 2012, Nakamura placed a solid =3rd at the Biel Chess Festival (2012), but underperformed at the European Club Cup (2012), although in October 2012, he recovered to some extent by winning the 4 player double round robin 16th Unive Tournament (2012) (crown group) with 4.5/6 (+3 -0 =3). Nakamura finished 2012 with a strong 3rd placement in the London Chess Classic (2012) behind Carlsen and Kramnik, adding enough rating points to restore him to the top 10.

2013 started with a modest 7/13 result for outright 6th at the Tata Steel Group A (2013) event. He then followed up in May 2013 with equal 2nd at the Norway Chess (2013) with 5.5/9, half a point behind Sergey Karjakin and 3rd on tiebreak behind Carlsen; he also placed =2nd with 6/9 at the preliminary Norway Chess (Blitz) (2013) held to determine the draw for the main tournament, and earned the right to play with the White pieces in 5 games out of 9. In June 2013, he contested the category 22 Tal Memorial (2013), and was outright leader after 6 rounds. However, he lost the last 3 game to place 6th with 4.5/9, winning more games (4) and losing more games (4) than any other player in the tournament. Soon after, he came =3rd in the Houston Open in July 2013. In September he played in the quadrangular double round robin category 22 Sinquefield Cup (2013), and was in contention for first place until the last round, when he drew against Gata Kamsky finishing second with 3.5/6 (+2 -1 =3; TPR 2863) behind Magnus Carlsen.

Nakamura's first event in 2014 was the category 20 Tata Steel Masters (2014) where he scored 5/11 (+2 -3 =6) to shed a few rating points for FIDE's February rating list. He next competed in the category 23 Zurich Chess Challenge (2014) in which he placed 4th with 2/5 after coming agonisingly close to defeating World Champion Magnus Carlsen. He came 2nd with 3.5/5 in the Zurich Chess Challenge (Rapid) (2014) which followed the standard time event, to remain in 4th in the overall event with the results of the standard and rapid events combined. In April, he participated in the inaugural Gashimov Memorial (2014), a category XXII 6-player DRR event inaugurated in honor of the late Azeri grandmaster, scoring 5/10 and placing =3rd behind Carlsen and Caruana. At the London Chess Classic (2014), he scored 2.5/5 to place 4th.

Nakamura's start to 2015 was to win the powerful Tradewise Gibraltar (2015) with 8.5/10 (+7 =3), and return a PB on his live rating and his new FIDE rating due in March. Despite cracking the 2800 barrier in the live ratings during the RR category 22 Zurich Chess Challenge (2015) held in February, he placed outright 2nd in the standard portion of the event behind Anand, ahead of Kramnik, Karjakin, Aronian and Caruana respectively. His second place in the Zurich Chess Challenge (Rapid) (2015) with 3/5 made him =1st with Anand in the overall event, but he won an Armageddon tiebreaker with the former World Champion to win first prize. His good form continued at the category 22 Norway Chess (2015) event, where he was undefeated to place =2nd (3rd on a narrow SB tiebreak), behind Topalov and alongside Anand with 6/9 and a TPR of 2900. In September he competed in the second leg of the inaugural Grand Chess Tour at Sinquefield Cup (2015), and finished equal second with 5/9 behind Aronian in what amounted to a par for rating performance. October saw Nakamura compete in the lucrative Millionaire Chess (2015) tournament, which he won after battling through a complicated tiebreak system that involved a playoff to decide a playoff for fourth, and then winning a knockout rapid game semi-final that was called after round 7 of 9 of the main standard time event. He finished the year with a poor performance at the London Chess Classic (2015) where he came in toward the bottom of the field after scoring 4/9.

He started 2016 with an upbeat result at the Tradewise Gibraltar (2016), winning first prize after a rapid and blitz game tiebreak that ended in an Armageddon victory against runner-up Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Team Events

<Olympiads> Nakamura has represented the U.S. in the Olympiads of 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, helping his country to the bronze medal in 2006 and 2008. He scored 6/10 during the Chess Olympiad (2010) on top board for the USA and a performance rating of 2741 and 6/9 in the Chess Olympiad (2012), coming in fourth on top board. His overall score in Olympiads is 31 points accumulated in 49 games played.

<World Team Championship> Nakamura played board 1 for the USA at the World Team Championship (2010), scoring individual gold and team silver. He also played top board at the FIDE World Team Championship (2013), winning individual silver and helping his team to 4th place in the event.

<European Club Cup> He played top board for the SK Husek Vienna in the European Club Cup (2009) and top board for the Italian club Obiettivo Risarcimento Padova in 2012 and 2013, second board for the Italian club in 2014 and board 3 for the same club in 2015. He scored individual bronze in 2013 and 2014.


Nakamura is one of the world's best rapid and blitz players, and the world's best bullet (one-minute) player. He regularly plays on the internet, usually at the ICC where he is the highest rated player (userid <Smallville>), and at Playchess, where he is known as <Star Wars>. He has set many rating records under different categories. In 2008, he challenged and broke blitz king Alexander Grischuk ’s record at ICC of 3737, reaching 3750. Grischuk subsequently challenged Nakamura to a 20 game 3 minutes blitz match, which Nakamura took out convincingly by 14.5-5.5. (2) He also won the first ICC Open in 2011 ahead of over 2000 other contestants. (3)

In 2007, he won the annual Corsica Masters (2007), defeating Rustam Kasimdzhanov in the final. One of the most convincing demonstrations of Nakamura’s ability as a rapid player was when he won the Cap d'Agde (2008), defeating Bu Xiangzhi, Anatoly Karpov and Vassily Ivanchuk in the playoff matches to take first prize in a field that included Carlsen. Nakamura also defeated Carlsen to take out the BNbank Blitz (2009). He was runner-up to Ivanchuk at the Cap d'Agde (2010) in the playoff. He also defeated Rising Stars team mate Anish Giri for the right to play at Amber 2011.

In 2012, Nakamura won the trifecta of silver medals at the SportAccord World Mind Games (Men's Rapid) (2012), the World Mind Games (Men's Blitz) and the World Mind Games (Men's Blindfold) events. He closed out 2013 by winning the London Chess Classic (Knockout) (2013), defeating Gelfand in the final by 1.5-0.5, after qualifying for the final by winning the preliminary London Chess Classic (Group C) (2013).

In June 2014, he competed in both the FIDE World Rapid Championship (2014) and the FIDE World Blitz Championship (2014) that were held in Dubai. In the former, he scored a relatively meager 8.5/15, losing 40 rapid rating points, while he was much more successful in the latter, scoring 16/21, being the runner up by a point behind the winner Magnus Carlsen. His blitz rating skyrocketed to over 2900. Subsequently he competed in the Super Rapidplay Open that was a companion event to the 2014 London Classic (see above), winning the event with an almost perfect score of 9.5/10. He also competed in the London Elite Player Blitz that was the other companion event, and placed =1st with 6/10.

The 2016 edition of the Zurich Chess Challenge was a two-part event, which kicked off with a preliminary Zurich Chess Challenge (Opening Blitz) (2016) to determine who had three whites in the five rounds of the Zurich Chess Challenge (2016) (rapid). Nakamura placed first in the Opening Blitz earning the use of the white pieces in three of the five rounds of the first section of the actual tournament, the round robin rapid event where he placed equal first alongside Anand. Nakamura playing the black pieces three times in the second section of the event, the Zurich Chess Challenge (Blitz) (2016), again placed equal first with Anand to tie the overall score, but won on tiebreak to take first prize.

He has authored the book Bullet Chess: One Minute to Mate.


In December 2004, Nakamura played the best-of-six game Karjakin - Nakamura Match (2004) in the "Duelo de los Jovenes Prodigios" (Duel of the Wonder Boys) in Cuernavaca, Estado de Morelos, Mexico, winning 4.5-1.5 (+4 -1 =1). In May 2011 at the St Louis chess club, he won the Nakamura - Ponomariov Match (2011) by 3.5-2.5 (+2 =3 -1). In June 2014, he played for the Cez Trophy Navara - Nakamura Match (2014) in Praha, Czechia, which involved a 4-game standard time match against David Navara. He won the match by 3.5-0.5.

960 Chess

In August 2009, Nakamura defeated Aronian in Mainz, Germany to become the 960 world champion and remained unchallenged as such until Carlsen defeated him in a match in February 2018 by a margin of 14-10.

Ratings and rankings

Nakamura's highest ranking as a Junior (U20) was #3 in April 2004 and 2005. He first broke into the world's top 100 in October 2004 when he was still 16 years old, and has remained in the top 100 continuously since that time. He reached the world's top 10 in January 2011, and has remained in that elite group continuously since January 2013. In September 2015 his rating reached 2814 despite which he was still ranked world #4 behind Carlsen, Anand and Topalov respectively. However in October 2016, his ranking reached its highest point so far, 2816, when his ranking was world #2, his highest ranking so far.

Sources and references

(1) Wikipedia article: FIDE Grand Prix 2012–2013 (2); (3) Further details are at this post: Hikaru Nakamura; (4) (podcast interview by Ben Johnson through iTunes); Live rating list:; Wikipedia article: Hikaru Nakamura

Last updated: 2019-04-02 09:05:41

 page 1 of 100; games 1-25 of 2,496  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. S Predescu vs Nakamura 1-0641995U.S. National Scholastic Grade 2 ChampionshipB08 Pirc, Classical
2. L Au vs Nakamura 1-0431997Hawaii opB83 Sicilian
3. Nakamura vs J Bonin 1-0361997Marshall Chess ClubC02 French, Advance
4. Nakamura vs B Karen 0-1521997Nassau FuturityB06 Robatsch
5. Bisguier vs Nakamura 0-1211998Somerset ACN Action SwissE70 King's Indian
6. B Karen vs Nakamura  0-1261998Nassau g/30B23 Sicilian, Closed
7. Stripunsky vs Nakamura 0-1431998Marshall Chess ClubB40 Sicilian
8. P MacIntyre vs Nakamura  1-0541998US Amateur Team EastA07 King's Indian Attack
9. J Thinnsen vs Nakamura 1-0351998Cardoza US opA45 Queen's Pawn Game
10. Nakamura vs I Krush 1-062199899th US OpenB67 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 8...Bd7
11. Nakamura vs J Fang 0-1211999Eastern Class- chB06 Robatsch
12. S Kriventsov vs Nakamura  1-0241999Rated TournamentB80 Sicilian, Scheveningen
13. S Kriventsov vs Nakamura  1-0951999Eastern OpenA05 Reti Opening
14. A David vs Nakamura  1-0251999World opB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
15. D Moody vs Nakamura 0-1201999100th US OpenB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
16. Nakamura vs A G Aleksandrov  ½-½601999100th US OpenC45 Scotch Game
17. Wojtkiewicz vs Nakamura 1-0421999100th US OpenE62 King's Indian, Fianchetto
18. Nakamura vs G Gaiffe 1-0541999100th US OpenB23 Sicilian, Closed
19. A Hoffman vs Nakamura 0-1351999100th US OpenE61 King's Indian
20. D Schneider vs Nakamura 0-1531999Manhattan CC-chB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
21. Nakamura vs M Waxman 1-0311999Manhattan CC-chC45 Scotch Game
22. Wang Yue vs Nakamura 1-01121999Wch U12A04 Reti Opening
23. Nakamura vs O Adu  1-0371999Washington Eastern opB54 Sicilian
24. Nakamura vs J Friedel 1-0672000New Hampshire op 50thC45 Scotch Game
25. C Balogh vs Nakamura 0-11152000Elekes mem IMB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
 page 1 of 100; games 1-25 of 2,496  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Nakamura wins | Nakamura loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 16 OF 16 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-03-19  dumbgai: That wasn't the only bad game. In another game he got his queen trapped on move 11 and resigned after move 13. And in another game he was up a pawn in the endgame and fell into a mating net.
Sep-05-19  csmath: Nakamura actually won the match despite these hickups. But it would have been better that he lost because in the interview after the match the ugly head of old Nakamura reared out again, the same old arrogant j*** that we all know well from the internet blitz.

No change there, it seems after all the losses he experienced in the hands of Carlsen he just hid that character under the rug but with the sign of first success the Mr Hyde's alter ego came back in.

Watching Nakamura talking just makes you either want to slap him or simply abandon playing chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Some really comical s*it

Sep-06-19  Caissanist: Nakamura talks some more about his obvious burnout, in an article in The Atlantic Monthly ( ):

<“No matter how badly you play, unless you make a flat-out blunder, there’s always going to be some narrow path to being able to save the game and draw instead of losing,” Nakamura told me. One consequence of this shift has been a certain parity at the top ranks. The Carlsen-Caruana world-championship match featured 12-straight draws before Carlsen finally prevailed in a tie-break. Compare that to Fischer’s day, when he reeled off 20 straight wins during his march to the world title. Players today may go 15, 20 moves or more into the game before they’re thinking on their own, relying instead on computer-driven preparation. “Everyone is using the same programs, everyone is looking at the same opening ideas,” Nakamura said. “I wouldn’t say everyone is necessarily the same in terms of talent or ability, but when you’re able to prepare games that go so deep that you don’t have to think, really, it balances out the field.

“Definitely, some of the artistry and poetry has been lost in modern chess. It’s very rare that I play a game where I’m like, Wow, this is really interesting. There were so many possibilities! It was such a rich game. When I was younger, I would look at a game with computers and still be fascinated by the possibilities. Now it almost never happens.”>

Sep-06-19  WorstPlayerEver: They always have been preparing lines.

The only difference between a human and an engine is about calculation. It's not that the engines have the better ideas. Their knowledge is simply based on what humans have gathered.

Getting (new) ideas is still human business.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Reads like Nakamura is having a midlife crisis chess wise. He is out of the top 20 (he is currently 21!) and he fears his spark has gone.

The good guys rarely give him a chance to produce W So vs Nakamura, 2015 (Gosh was that 4 years ago - seems like it was 4 months ago, where is the time going? - still remember the beautiful missed win and people looking for something upsetting in the pun that was not there.)

If the invites dry up his style and quality of play should allow him to display his skill and to clean up in the Opens.

He has won Gibraltar four times, three times on the trot 2015-2017 a tournament I've been informed does not pay the players appearance, travel or lodging fees, (the arbiters yes, the players no.) a genuine Open.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Count Wedgemore: <WPE: Getting (new) ideas is still human business.>

It used to be like that, but now with the latest exploits of AlphaZero (and lately Leela) this seems to be changing. For instance; in these games that AZ played against Stockfish, some peculiar ideas emerged, like some really crazy piece sacrifices, and that game where it moved its queen to the corner of the board (and it worked!), things like that. So even obtaining new ideas on how to play our beloved game is no longer exclusive to humans, it seems.

Oh well. Soon they'll be taking over the world anyway, making this whole discussion moot. We live in interesting times :)

Sep-06-19  WorstPlayerEver: It's what I call: "Failure of Acceptance"

They have 'accepted' the 'idea' that a human cannot beat the engines. It's pure a matter of defeatism. The answer is effort. It's no coincedence 'they think' that 'every game' will eventually end up in a draw. Go figure!

Pretentious imposters as they are! Just because they spend some more time on chess than the average patzer does not say they have nothing to prove to us.

It's just like saying: "Hey, we are going to the moon - be sure that the cams are off when we cross the van Allen radiation belt..."

Obviously, the 'scientists' of today can 'perfectly' explain to you how to get an astronaut through the belt. Little wonder... as if anyone ever asks for 'evidence.' Sure. Money yes. Evidence no.

Or somewhat more realistic: "Let's be sure the cams are off when our main man commits 'suicide' in 'jail.'" Evidence!

Still, they have no proof. At all. About anything. Only their pretension is what rests. The status quo of the so called 'scientists.'

Misery does not only love company, it screams from the rooftops for all the company it can get!

Now... look at you, Mr. Nakamura.. what do I perceive? The World anno 2019.

That's right ☺

Sep-06-19  WorstPlayerEver: <Count Wedgemore>

AZ is a marketing trick.
Tell me.. why was Leela aborted?
Why does AZ plays prepared opening lines? Why did Leela use prepared opening lines?

I thought it learnt everything by itself... how weird!

Well... do I get any answer?

The answer is: no.

Sep-06-19  WorstPlayerEver: PS The only thing AZ proved is that SF suffers from a serious horizon effect. Which is still lethal btw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Worst Poster Ever> Get your drunken ass off the merry-go-round and shut the @#$% up.
Sep-06-19  WorstPlayerEver: <Count Wedgemore>

I read your comment after I placed mine, so it wasn't addressed to you. Just that you might have been asking yourself.

But I have done some experiments myself. SF plays a draw against itself after 1. a4

So much for the common theory standard of today.

SF can't find an advantage for Black after 1. d3 in the opening. Because of the horizon effect. Prove me wrong.

Sep-06-19  WorstPlayerEver: <keypusher>

Sorry, but I do not drink. Alcohol is pure poison. It kills the brain more than any other drug.

That's probably why it's the legal drug in your world. 💯

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

New 'ideas' is the wrong word, the play of Alpha is inspirational, inspiring players to think in other avenues.

Some of these (OK new ideas) were known, the positional weakness of an exposed or cramped King.

A.Z. seems to have singled out the King and the rule it must move when attacked as the prime weakness of chess and taken it up to a higher level. Nothing else matters, The King..The King...The King... It's more fixated towards the enemy King than Nimzovitch was towards the IQP.

Very refreshing and inspirational.

Nigel Short is correct: '“Modern Chess is too much concerned with things like Pawn structure. Forget it, Checkmate ends the game.”


Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < WorstPlayerEver: <keypusher> Sorry, but I do not drink. Alcohol is pure poison. It kills the brain more than any other drug.>

For you, it could only help.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Nakamura goes rogue....
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Sally Simpson> A.Z. seems to have singled out the King and the rule it must move when attacked as the prime weakness of chess and taken it up to a higher level. ... Very refreshing and inspirational.>

You should pick up a copy of "Best Play – A New Method for Discovering the Strongest Move", by Alexander Shashin, 2013. In it he describes 3 algorithms (I would call them "guidelines" but no matter) for evaluating chess positions, the Tal Algorithm (for attacking material chess targets), the Capablanca Algorithm (for finding the strongest strategic move), and the Petrosian Algorithm (defensive), plus 3 hybrid algorithms, TC (Tal/Capablanca), CP (Capablanca/Petrosian), and the TCP (Tal/Capablanca/Petrosian), a hybrid of all 3.

He also provides a quantized methodology for determining which of the 6 algorithms to use based on material, time (i.e. development), king safety, compactness of the position, and space (expansion). These ideas have been implemented as the evaluation function for the chess engine ShashChess, a version of Stockfish, which for version 8.0 is rated at 3456 in the current (Oct 26, 2019) CCRL 40/40 tournament, not far behind from the current Stockfish 10 rated at 3464. ShashChess is the 5th ranked chess engine in the CCRL list (Stockfish 10 is 2nd ranked engine), and just behind 4th ranked LeelaC0 version 0.22.0 when supported by a GTX1050 GPU. So the considerations of Shashin seem to be a reasonable method of implementing the evaluation function of a "classic" chess engine.

Why am I bothering with this? Well, it's hardly new, original, or inspirational that when players have an advantage in several chess position factors they are obligated to, per Shashin, "(1) attack (openly or directly), (2) place their pieces on their best attacking squares, (3) sacrifice, and (4) win material." And when one attacks one should attack the highest valued piece, which is obviously the king, followed by the queen, etc., also per Shashin. Good chess players have been using these guidelines for attacking their opponent's king for centuries, even if they could not quantize them so succinctly.

I originally had high hopes for AlphaZero, particularly its use of reinforced learning without "human prejudices", which could possibly allow it to find chess principles that had not been found before. A similar claim was made about AlphaGoZero, where the articles alluded to moves based on principles that had not been known before. Since I am not familiar with Go I cannot tell whether that was true or not.

But I am somewhat familiar with chess as well as computer hardware and software. And in my research of AlphaZero I have not yet been able to find any truly new or innovative concepts that had not been either published or implemented before. What is original with AlphaZero is its use of Google-proprietary Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) which provided it with what I estimated to be about an 80X computational processing performance advantage over the hardware used in the AlphaZero vs. Stockfish matches in 2017 and 2018. AlphaZero's superiority over Stockfish in their matches can pretty much be directly traced to that, as Deep Mind's second paper on AlphaZero shows. Yet GM Mathew Sandler, of "Game Changer" fame, never addresses this computational performance advantage enjoyed by AlphaZero at all.

AlphaZero has somehow captured the imagination of the general public and chess IMs and GMs, for reasons that I don't understand. Chess engines have been criticized for using "brute force" in their computational-intensive approach to playing chess. Yet the most computational-intensive approach to playing chess, neural network-based engines using TPUs and GPUs (which in the TCEC GPU server provides what I estimated to be a 15.7X edge in performance to compete on roughly equal terms with Stockfish 10 using the GPU server) are for some reason praised for the "human-like' moves that they play. Go figure.

And they inspire comments like this one from IM Anna Rudolph (, starting at 25:57 with 45.Ra1) who I think should know better:

"We know that this rook loves a corner [but] what is the purpose of this move? Why would AlphaZero want it's rook on a1?"

"For [over] 20 moves the rook was kept on a1. And you wonder why it was placed there? Well, AlphaZero just understood the position so much deeper than we can."

Somehow the simplest explanation, that AlphaZero simply made a mistake in that position and moved the rook from it's best square, d1, to a square where it did nothing for 20 moves, and then had to move it back to d1 to force the issue never seemed to have entered her mind. I guess that she, like many others, was blinded by the obvious.

Don't fall into the same trap.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi AylerKupp,

The game Anna is talking about is this one - AlphaZero vs Stockfish, 2018

if you just go forward a few moves after 45. Ra1 and the 'Why would Alpha want it's rook on a1." makes a sense.

Here Black to play it's 49th move.

click for larger view

If the a1 Rook was still on d1 Black would have 49...Qxa4 (hitting the d1 Rook if it stayed there.). It looked ahead 4 moves and does not seem to be, as you appear to think 'Alpha made a mistake moving it from d1 to a1.'

and 'For [over] 20 moves the rook was kept on a1.' (did Anna say that, I've not gone though the vid)

If we go through the game the Rook on a1 was waiting to cover the only place counter play was going to come from whilst the main play was all about those passed centre pawns. When the Rook did go back to d1 it did so with a one move threat to win a Rook.

S.F. is so impressed with the a1 Rook it condemns a Rook to a8 to hold the a7 pawn and tried to get something going pushing the a7-pawn this was never going to happen with the Rook on a1.

I'm inclined to think it knew what it was doing playing the Rook to a1 and it was not a blunder but a pretty deep move.


Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Some engine evaluations for AlphaZero vs. Stockfish, 2018> (part 1 of 7)

<<Sally Simpson> The game Anna is talking about is this one - AlphaZero vs. Stockfish, 2018>

I was just repeating what she said in starting with 45.Ra1 at around 25:57. To elaborate further she said the following

"We know that this rook loves a corner [but] what is the purpose of this move?"

"Why would AlphaZero want it's rook on a1?"

"I've seen the game and know why." (but later never explains why, instead she says "I don't know")

"For [over] 20 moves the rook was kept on a1. And you wonder why it was placed there? Well, AlphaZero just understood the position so much deeper than we can." Yes, Anna did say this at about 37:00 minutes into the video.

Frankly I expected better from an experienced IM analyst. If you were able to provide an explanation as to why you think that White's rook belongs on a1 rather than d1 (and I don't think that you are at IM playing strength level but I may be wrong), then I think that she should have been willing and able to explain why instead of teasing us about it. But that's just my opinion and personal preference. It could simply be that I don't care for her analysis presentation style, at least when it comes to here analysis of AlphaZero (I like most of her other analyses), but that could be my problem, not hers.

Unfortunately for me, once I started looking at this game again I got interested as to the merit of the various moves. And I stand corrected regarding 45.Ra1. If White does not move his rook from d1 then, as you said, it will be attacked by Black's queen if Black is allowed to play ...Qxa4. That move still looks ugly to me since it seems that Black goes pawn grabbing and removes the queen from where the action will soon be, on the k-side. It's almost as if AlphaZero is offering a pawn sac to deflect Black's queen from the defense of its king. And, if that's the case and the pawn sac should not be accepted, then both AlphaZero and Stockfish should be commended, AlphaZero for offering the pawn sac and Stockfish for declining it. But I am clearly not anywhere near IM strength playing level so I can't accurately analyze the consequences of ...Qxa4 and must fall back on engine-based analysis.

So what do the engines say? Of course I don't have access to either AlphaZero's hardware or software but I had 3 engines analyze the position after 44...Nb7 to see how they evaluated various moves. I used Houdini 6 as a 100% "classic engine" (hand-crafted evaluation function + minimax search with alpha-beta pruning) and Komodo 12.3 MCTS using the same (or at least similar) search and evaluation algorithm as used by AlphaZero. I didn't want to use Stockfish 10 to possibly bias the evaluation results so I used ShashChess 8.0 which, as I mentioned before, replaces Stockfish's evaluation function with an evaluation function based on Alexander Shashkin's ideas. This engine is quite strong, rated at 3456 compared with Stockfish 10's 3464 and ranked #4 in the latest (Nov-12-2019) CCRL tournament compared with Stockfish 10's #2 ranking. During my analyses I typically ran the engines concurrently overnight using only one core so that their results would be deterministic. Below are the results of various engine analyses.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Some engine evaluations for AlphaZero vs. Stockfish, 2018> (part 2 of 7)

<A. "Best" 45th White move> After 44...Nb7 we have the following position:

click for larger view

Here is a summary of the 3 engines' evaluations, sorted in order of descending Ratings-Weighted Average (RWAvg) since it is White's move. It seems reasonable to proportionally weigh the evaluation of the highest averaged rated engine (ShashChess 8.0 @ 3362) more than the lower rated engines (Houdini 6 @ 3322 and Komodo 12.3 MCTS @ 3180) but in practice there isn't much difference between the RWAvgs than the straight averages. Note that these are the average ratings of the CCRL 40/40 and CEGT 120/40 1-CPU versions of these engines since these time controls most closely approximate the time control used in the AlphaZero vs. Stockfish match, so they won't match the ratings listed in either the CCRL and CEGT engine tournament lists.

a. The engines did not agree as to what were the top 5 moves. So moves not reported by the engines as one of their top 5 moves are considered to be null when calculating the averages, and averages are not really applicable.

White's Houdini 6 Komodo 12.3 MCTS ShashChess 8.0

Move d=28 d=28 d=46 <Avg> <RWAvg> <TrueRank>

---------- ---------- ----------- ---------- ---------- ----------- -----------

45.Rdb1 [+0.55] [+0.45] [+0.64] <[+0.55]> <[+0.56]> <1>

45.Rd2 [+0.38] [+0.42] [+0.48] <[+0.43]> <[+0.43]> <1>

45.Ra1 [+0.31] [+0.40] [+0.48] <[+0.40]> <[+0.40]> <1>

45.Bf3 [+0.25] [+0.43] [+0.48] <[+0.39> <[+0.39]> <1>

45.Re1 [+0.29] [------] [------] N/A N/A N/A

45.Qf4 [------] [+0.38] [------] N/A N/A N/A

45.Rg1 [------] [------] [+0.48] N/A N/A N/A

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Some engine evaluations for AlphaZero vs. Stockfish, 2018> (part 3 of 7)

b. To calculate reasonable move evaluation averages, moves not reported by the 3 engines as one of their top 5 moves are considered to be evaluated equal to the evaluation of the 5th best move less the average of the absolute differences between each of the evaluations. This is likely to be a more realistic value than just one centipawn below the evaluation of the 5th best move, but it's still more or less a guess.

White's Houdini 6 Komodo 12.3 MCTS ShashChess 8.0

Move d=28 d=28 d=46 <Avg> <RWAvg> <TrueRank>

---------- ---------- ----------- ---------- ---------- ----------- -----------

45.Rdb1 [+0.55] [+0.45] [+0.64] <[+0.55]> <[+0.56]> <1>

45.Rd2 [+0.38] [+0.42] [+0.48] <[+0.43]> <[+0.43]> <1>

45.Ra1 [+0.31] [+0.40] [+0.48] <[+0.40]> <[+0.40]> <1>

45.Bf3 [+0.25] [+0.43] [+0.48] <[+0.39]> <[+0.39]> <1>

45.Re1 [+0.29] [+0.35] [+0.44] <[+0.36]> <[+0.36]> <1>

45.Qf4 [+0.18-] [+0.38] [+0.44] <[+0.33]> <[+0.34]> <1>

45.Rg1 [-+0.18] [+0.35] [+0.48] <[+0.33]> <[+0.34]> <1>

True Rank: 1 = [ 45.Rdb1, 45.Rd2, 45.Ra1, 45.Bf3, 45.Re1, 45.Qf4, 45.Rg1 ]. Since all the move evaluations are within [0.50] of each other, each of these moves can be considered equally good from a practical perspective. So 45.Rd1 was not a mistake, but was no better and no worse than the other suggested moves. Or it could be that AlphaZero could see further than these engines, but given that it uses the same MCTS algorithm as Komodo 12.3 MCTS, I'm not sure of that, even with AlphaZero's overwhelming computational performance advantage.

And here is a summary of how the 3 engines ranked their top 5 moves, without regard for the value of the evaluation. When the evaluations for the moves are very close, this provides an additional guide for the move rankings. After all, if we're determining what move to play according only to what the engines say, we'll likely want to play the best move determined by the engine regardless of the actual value of the evaluation. Which is OK as long as we don't care to know how good or bad our position is relative to our opponent's.

White's Houdini 6 Komodo 12.3 MCTS ShashChess 8.0

Move d=28 d=28 d=46 <AvgRank> <TrueRank>

---------- ---------- ----------- ---------- ---------- -----------

45.Rdb1 1 1 1 <1.0> <1>

45.Rd2 2 3 2 <2.3> <2>

45.Ra1 3 4 2 <3.0> <3>

45.Bf3 5 2 2 <3.0> <3>

45.Rg1 6 6 2 <4.7> <4>

45.Re1 4 6 6 <5.3> <5>

45.Qf4 6 5 6 <5.7> <5>

True Rank: 1 = [ 45.Rdb1 ]; 2 = [ 45.Rd2 ]; 3 = [ 45.Ra1, 45.Bf3 ]; 4 = [ 45.Rg1 ]; 5 = [ 45.Re1, 45.Qf4 ]

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Some engine evaluations for AlphaZero vs. Stockfish, 2018> (part 4 of 7)

I had ShashChess do a quick evaluation of the position you suggested after 45...Kh7 46.Nf4 Bg8 47.Rxd5 Bxd5 48.Qxd5 Nd6 49.Bh3, leaving the White rook on d1.

click for larger view

Here you pointed out that if White's rook would still be on d1 then Black could play 49...Qxa4 because it would hit the Rd1 and, presumably, force White to do something to parry the attack on the rook, unless AlphaZero saw a truly deep sacrifice that these engines missed. This is how ShashChess assessed the position at d=52 after 49...Qxa4 if 45.Ra1 had never been played:

1. [0.00]: 50.Rd2 Qd7 51.Ra2 Re7 52.Ng6 Rf7 53.Ne5 Qb7 54.Nc6 a5 55.Bg2 Ne4 56.Qxd8 Qxc6 57.Rb2 Rf6 58.Bxe4 fxe4 59.d5 Qb7 60.Rd2 Qf7 61.Kg1 Qxh5 62.d6 Rf5 63.Qd7 Rd5 64.Rxd5 Qxd5 65.Kg2 b5 66.Qe7 Qf5 67.f4 exf3+ 68.Kf2 Qc2+ 69.Kxf3 Qf5+ 70.Kg2 Qc2+ 71.Kh3 Qf5+

2. [0.00]: 50.Bxf5+ Nxf5 51.Qxf5+ Kg8 52.Rd2 Qc6 53.d5 Qf6 54.Qb1 Qxc3 55.Rd4 Rf8 56.Ne6 Rxf2+ 57.Kh3 Rd7 58.Qb5 Rdf7 59.Qe8+ Kh7 60.Nf4 R7xf4 61.Rxf4 Rxf4 62.Qg6+ Kg8 63.exf4 Qe1 64.Qf5 Qe2 65.Qc8+ Kf7 66.Qd7+ Qe7 67.Qf5+ Qf6 68.Qd7+ Qe7

3. [0.00]: 50.Rc1 Qa3 51.Bxf5+ Nxf5 52.Qxf5+ Kg8 53.Qc2 b5 54.Rb1 Rb8 55.Qf5 a6 56.Qd5+ Kh7 57.Qf5+ and a draw by repetition.

click for larger view

Certainly not an attempt for White to go for a win. So, in that respect, you are correct. With White's rook on d1 Black has an extra tempo for the defense after 49...Qxa4. And in such a sharp position one tempo can make all the difference in the game's result.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Some engine evaluations for AlphaZero vs. Stockfish, 2018> (part 5 of 7)

But if the rook was still on d1 than 45.Ra1 was never played, and White would have had an extra move to something useful. The second most logical move for White to play after the move that the engines consider the best, 45.Rdb1, would be 45.Rd2, leaving the rook in the center and the move that had the second highest evaluation although, perhaps significantly, not from Komodo 12.3 MCTS, as well as the top move after 49...Qxa4. So I had the 3 engines analyze the position after 45.Rd2 Kh7 46.Nf4 Bg8 47.Rxd5 Bxd5 48.Qxd5 Nd6 49.Bh3

click for larger view

Here is a summary of the 3 engines' evaluations, sorted in order of ascending Ratings-Weighted Average (RWAvg) since it is Black's move :

a. Moves not reported by the 3 engines as one of their top 5 moves are considered to be null when calculating the averages.

Black's Houdini 6 Komodo 12.3 MCTS ShashChess 8.0

Move d=28 d=28 d=44 <Avg> <RWAvg> <TrueRank>

---------- ---------- ----------- ---------- ---------- ----------- -----------

45...Kh7 [+0.30] [+0.38] [+0.42] <[+0.37]> <[+0.37]> <1>

45...Bf7 [+0.38] [+0.49] [+0.61] <[+0.49]> <[+0.50]> <1>

45...Na5 [+0.46] [+0.47] [+0.68] <[+0.54]> <[+0.55]> <1>

45...Nd6 [+0.65] [+0.59] [+1.14] <[+0.79]> <[+0.82]> <1>

45...Qf5 [+0.45] [------] [------] N/A N/A N/A

45...Qf7 [------] [+0.47] [+0.89] N/A N/A N/A

b. Moves not reported by the 3 engines as one of their top 3 moves are considered to be evaluated equal to the evaluation of the 5th best move less the average of the absolute differences between each of the evaluations. This is likely to be a more realistic value than just one centipawn below the evaluation of the 5th best move. Again, the evaluation of all moves are within [0.50] of each other so they are considered to practically be of equal strength.

Black's Houdini 6 Komodo 12.3 MCTS ShashChess 8.0

Move d=28 d=28 d=44 <Avg> <RWAvg> <TrueRank>

---------- ---------- ----------- ---------- ---------- ----------- -----------

45...Kh7 [+0.30] [+0.38] [+0.42] <[+0.37]> <[+0.37]> <1>

45...Bf7 [+0.38] [+0.49] [+0.61] <[+0.49]> <[+0.50]> <1>

45...Na5 [+0.46] [+0.47] [+0.68] <[+0.54]> <[+0.55]> <1>

45...Qf7 [+0.74] [+0.47] [+0.89] <[+0.70]> <[+0.72]> <1>

45...Nd6 [+0.65] [+0.59] [+1.14] <[+0.79]> <[+0.82]> <1>

45...Qf5 [+0.45] [+0.65] [+1.32] <[+0.81]> <[+0.84]> <1>

True Rank: 1 = [ 45...Kh7, 45...Bf7, 45...Na5, 45...Qf7, 45...Nd6, 45...Qf5 ]

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Some engine evaluations for AlphaZero vs. Stockfish, 2018> (part 6 of 7)

And here is a summary of how the 3 engines ranked their top 5 moves, without regard for the numerical value of the evaluation.

Black's Houdini 6 Komodo 12.3 MCTS ShashChess 8.0

Move d=28 d=28 d=44 <AvgRank> <TrueRank>

---------- ---------- ----------- ---------- ---------- -----------

45...Kh7 1 1 1 <1.0> <1>

45...Bf7 2 4 2 <2.7> <2>

45...Na5 4 2 3 <3.0> <2>

45...Qf7 6 2 4 <4.0> <3>

45...Qf5 3 6 6 <5.0> <4>

45...Nd6 5 5 5 <5.0> <4>

True Rank: 1 = [ 44...Kh7 ]; 2 = [ 44...Bf7, 44...Na5 ]; 3 = [ 44...Qf7 ]; 4 = [ 44...Qf5, 44...Nd6 ]

Finally (thank goodness!), how do the evaluations of these engines compare with their evaluations after 45.Rd1?

click for larger view

Here is a summary of the 3 engines' evaluations, sorted in order of ascending Ratings-Weighted Average (RWAvg) since it is Black's move, based on an average of the CCRL and CEGT engine tournament sites at the time of this analysis :

This time the engines agreed as to what they considered to be the top 5 moves although not on their move rankings. So the RWAvgs can be calculated directly. But, still, their RWAvgs are so similar (within [+0.50] of each other) that all the moves can be considered equally strong for all practical purposes.

Black's Houdini 6 Komodo 12.3 MCTS ShashChess 8.0

Move d=30 d=30 d=46 <Avg> <RWAvg> <TrueRank>

---------- ---------- ----------- ---------- ---------- ----------- -----------

45...Kh7 [+0.52] [+0.44] [+0.46] <[+0.47]> <[+0.47]> <1>

45...Bf7 [+0.40] [+0.49] [+0.86] <[+0.58]> <[+0.60]> <1>

45...Qf7 [+0.72] [+0.41] [+0.72] <[+0.62]> <[+0.63]> <1>

45...Na5 [+0.74] [+0.47] [+0.95] <[+0.72]> <[+0.74]> <1>

45...Nd6 [+0.65] [+0.54] [+1.10] <[+0.76]> <[+0.79]> <1>

True Rank: 1 = [ 45...Kh7, 45...Bf7, 45...Qf7, 45...Na5, 45...Nd6 ]

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Some engine evaluations for AlphaZero vs. Stockfish, 2018> (part 7 of 7)

And here is a summary of how the 3 engines ranked their top 5 moves, without regard for the numerical value of the evaluation.

Black's Houdini 6 Komodo 12.3 MCTS ShashChess 8.0

Move d=30 d=30 d=46 <AvgRank> <TrueRank>

---------- ---------- ----------- ---------- ---------- -----------

45...Kh7 2 2 1 <1.7> <1>

45...Qf7 4 1 2 <2.3> <2>

45...Bf7 1 4 3 <2.7> <2>

45...Na5 5 3 4 <4.0> <3>

45...Nd6 3 5 5 <4.3> 3>

True Rank: 1 = [ 45...Kh7 ]; 2 = [ 45...Qf7, 45...Bf7 ]; 3 = [ 45...Na5, 45...Nd6 ]

<Conclusion (mine, of course)>. I think that 45.Ra1 is a reasonably good move after 44...Nb7, at least as reasonable as any of the other moves evaluated, but it does not seem to have much advantage, if any, over the other 6 moves that these 3 engines considered to be among their top 5 moves. So I think that Anna Rudolph's enthusiasm for 45.Ra1 is not justified, particularly since she couldn't figure out (or wouldn't say) why AlphaZero would play such a move. True, AlphaZero won the game, but I think that the result is probably based more on one or more Stockfish's inaccuracies later on rather then any particular merit to 45.Ra1. AlphaZero probably could have won the game after any of the moves suggested by these 3 engines. But, of course, I can't prove it. Just my opinion.

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