Thursday, June 26, 2008

Another Shortest Proof Game

At Chess Publishing Forum, IM John Cox has suggested a new 'shortest proof game' task: What's the shortest game ending with '0-0, mate' or '0-0-0, mate'.

So far the best tries are:
1.d4 e6 2.Qd3 Ke7 3.Bg5+ Kd6 4.Na3! Kd5 5.Qf5+ Kxd4 6.0-0-0, mate


1.f4 f6 2.Nh3 Kf7 3.e3 Kg6 4.f5+ Kxf5 5.Bc4 g6 6.d3 e5 7.0-0, mate.

Both achievements are quite good but I wouldn't be surprised if they can be improved upon.

One would think that short castling must take at least four moves: one knight move, one pawn move to open for the bishop, one bishop move and castling but that isn't necessarily so because Black can capture pieces too.
The same of course goes for long castling.

For those of you still toying with symmetrical mates from my blog entry of April 5th, here are some short games I found:

Knight: 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nge2 Nge7 4.g3 g6 5.Nd5 Nd4 (Dia)


Rook: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.Ng5 Ng4 3.Nxh7 Nxh2 4.Nxf8 Nxf1 5.Ne6 Ne3 (Dia)


Bishop: 1.b3 b6 2.Bb2 Bb7 3.f4 f5 4.e3 e6 5.Be2 Be7 6.Bxg7 Bxg2 (Dia)


Pawn: 1.g4 g5 2.f4 f5 3.gxf5 gxf4 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Ne5 Ne4 6.f6 f3 (Dia)


King: 1.f3 f6 2.Kf2 Kf7 3.Kg3 Kg6 4.Kh3 Kh6 5.e3 e6 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.Bg6 Bg3 8. hxg3 hxg6 (Dia)

9.Kg4 mate.

Any better?

Addendum July 12th
There is a quite readable article on Shortest Proof Games at Chessville. It appears to be the first in a series.


Anonymous said...


I am a bit confused what chessbase and databases are, what there purpose is, and how can you get them. Can you help me out?


Sverre Johnsen said...

A Chess database is basically a collection of chess games - either in pgn (portable game notation) format or in some propritary format. The games are tagged in various way for quicker searches.

There are downloadable collections available on the net but it may be easier and better to buy one. The main competitors are ChessBase's MegaBase and Chess Assistant's Databases. Typically these collections contain more than 3 millions games.

In order to make use of the games you need a reader or preferrably a database program. There are very basic ones which only displays the moves on your screen and others that are very powerful search tools. Again the main options are ChessBase ( Chess Assistant ( I know Chessbase offers a free version with some essential functions disabled. I would expect Chess Assistant to do the same.

Anonymous said...

So how do you go about writing a chess opening book using chessbase and these databases?

Also, what is chessbase game search?

Sverre Johnsen said...

Chessbase game search is simply to search for positions in a game database. With a good search engine you can search by position or a part of a position, player, tournament, year, ECO code and probably a few other things. You can also combine these searches in many ways.

If you want to write an opening book one way to go ahead would be:
1) Select the games of theoretical importance.
2) Analyse them with the help of an analysis engine (e.g. Fritz).
3) Cut them at a point where they are no longer of theoretical interest and add a evaluation.
4) Merge and arrange the games so that the best or most popular lines are the mainlines.
5) Add more game references and evaluations where necessary.
6) Check all available sources for alternatives and differing evaluations.
7) Check all positions again with an analysis engine. Add some prose or keywords if you think it will be of any help.
8) Import the Chessbase file into a text processor and tidy it up.
9) Add the necessary prose and proof-read it as well as possible.
10) Find a good publisher - hopefully one experienced in chess publishing who checks your analysis as well as your prose.
11) Wait for the money to arrive - you will need to write approximately 10 well selling books a year to make a decent living.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for explaining about chessbase and databases.

I am planning to buy the newest version of Fritz. On, I noticed two similar products,Fritz 11 for Windows (DVD) by ChessCentral and Fritz 11 Chess Playing Software by ChessBase. Can you explain to me the differences between these two products?

Also, Fritz is a chess computer program where it will help you analyze moves and calculate variaitons right?

Sverre Johnsen said...

I am no expert but I suspect this is two slightly different names for the same program.

Yes, Fritz is primarily an analysis engine - one of the best. It also has some database functionality - possibly sufficient for your use. There is no risk trying out this option. It will be no problem switching to ChessBase later if you find out that you need a dedicated chess database program.