A chess game of a different kind!

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In 1967,some chess matches were held between USSR and USA. The first two matches were drawn, probably as expected by people in consideration of the players of such even temperament and capability! But the third match was won in the manner described below by the USSR player with the White pieces.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Nc3 Bc5
4. Nxe5 Nxe5
5. d4 Bd6
6. dxe5 Bxe5
7. f4 Bxc3+
8. bxc3 Nf6
9. e5 Ne4
10. Qd3 Nc5
11. Qd5 Ne6
12. f5 Ng5

The actual move by Black loses quickly but it is not clear if either of the players considered the following option!

12. f5 c6
13. Qd6 Qh4+
14. g3 Qe4+
15. Kf2 Qxh1
16. Bg2 Qxh2
17. fxe6 fxe6
18. Ba3 Kf7
19. Qe7+ Kg6
20. Rh1 wins

The actual game continued:

13. h4 f6
14. hxg5 fxg5
15. Rxh7 Rf8

If 15. … Rxh7 16. Qg8+ Ke7 17. Bxg5#.

16. Rxg7 c6
17. Qd6 Rxf5
18. Rg8+ Rf8
19. Qxf8#

If you think that the play was mediocre with Black playing worse than an amateur, you are correct as both the players were computers! That way, move 15. Rxh7 holds interest in that it may be the first genuine sacrificial move by a computer!

You may also wonder that both being computers, with far greater calculation power and memory compared to humans, wouldn’t their moves be of higher standard at near equal level with a draw as the likely outcome?

Of course, chess playing computers depend on the close interaction between chess experts and programming experts to raise their game. So, question arises – did USSR have better chess experts or better programmers than USA?

It is also a matter of conjecture if US computer makers tried to make amends for above fiasco nearly 40 years later by trying to create a computer to defeat a Russian champion!

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