Computer Chess Self-Quarantine

Saturday, April 4, 2020 – Sunday, April 5, 2020

(In Memory of Arianne Caoili (1986-2020)

I am adding to Saturday’s initial post because by late Sunday morning Dr. Deborah Birx had urged all Americans not to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy unless it was “essential.” I learned of this new emphasis when I returned from an early morning trip to the store wearing a mask provided by a neighbor, who mentioned that she had acquired several from the local organic cleaners. I put in a call for several masks when I got back. I placed an auto shop blue towel inside as a way of giving it a little extra reinforcement.

In addition to preparing for the rest of the semester, I had a number of projects to work on during the spring break, including the final version of an article on Venice West as well as production work on a book of poems from one of the members of that scene, Eileen Ireland. Confinement, though, even for a writer, becomes an itch diffcult to scratch.
One of the ways to endure the “stay at home” order is to play chess on the computer. At best, I can play a decent game at level 4, at which I am lucky if I win every fourth time. If I were a baseball player, I’d call myself a .243 hitter at level 4. I believe I have won one game at level 5, but count it as a victory if I can extend the match past 20 moves if I am so foolish as to try to play at level 7 or 8.

In chess, each move is like playing “paper, scissors, rock,” but with the difference that the choice one makes now will only have its consequences fully visible when the choice of “paper covers rock” pounces eight moves later. The question is: are you paper eight moves later, or rock? You have to anticipate the accrual of pattern.

Here’s one of my “at-bats.”
In this game, I led off with the first move, and managed to checkmate my “opponent” three dozen moves later. This notation was cut and pasted from the sidebar that seemed to record each move. I have yet to verify its accuracy or to see if it retained an odd moment; I accidentally made a move and took it back. It was truly an accident in which I had clicked on a piece and then the potential moves showed up, and I decided to move another piece but somehow that shift in choice did not register, but instead the rejected move occurred; so I took it back, since the computerized program did not respond to my actual request to move a particular piece.

Computer Level 4

1.Nc3 e5
2.e4 Ne7
3.Bb5 h5
4.a4 a6
5.Be2. d6
6.Nf3. h4
7.g3 Nec6
8.gxh4 f6
9.Nd5. Ne7
10.c4. Rh7
11.a5. Bh3
12.Qa4+ Nec6
13.d4. Rh8
14.Be3 Bd7
15.dxe5 Ne7
16.Qd1. Nxd5
17.Qxd5. Bc8
18.O-O- Oc6
19.Qd4. Bg4
20.Qb6. Qxb6
21.axb6 fxe5
22.h3 Bd7
23.c5. d5
24.Nxe5. a5l
25.Nxd7. Nxd7
26.exd5. g6
27.dxc6 Bh6
28.cxd7+. Kd8
29.Rhg1. a4
30.Rxg6. Bf8
31.c6. Rh5
32.Bxh5. Rc8
33.dxc8=. Q+Ke7
34.cxb7. a3
35.bxa3 Bh6
36.Bxh6 Kf7


Today, I dedicate the pleasure I derive in playing chess to the memory of Arianne Caoili, who recently died as a result of injuries from a car crash.