Raymond Keene

Game changer

Game changer
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Game Changer, the long-awaited book by Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan, has now appeared. This represents the most thorough inside story about the sensation that is AlphaZero. It includes material by the DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis and by Garry Kasparov, who must be gratified by the authors’ conclusion that DeepMind’s brainchild plays in the style of the 13th world champion — aggressive, sacrificial, seeking the initiative while keeping its own king safe. All these are hallmarks of Kasparov.

AlphaZero-Stockfish: London 2017, Queen’s Indian Defence

1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 b6 3 d4 e6 4 g3 Ba6 5 Qc2 c5 6 d5 exd5 7 cxd5 Bb7 8 Bg2 Nxd5 9 0-0 Nc6 10 Rd1 Be7 11 Qf5 Nf6 12 e4 g6 13 Qf4 0-0 14 e5 Nh5 15 Qg4 Re8 This is new. Black has tried many other moves here including 15 ... Qc8, 15 ... Qb8 and 15 ... d5. 16 Nc3 Qb8 17 Nd5 Bf8 18 Bf4 Qc8 19 h3 Ne7 20 Ne3 Bc6 21 Rd6 Ng7 22 Rf6 A very unusual placement of the rook. It exerts unexpected pressure on the black position, especially against the f7-square. 22 ... Qb7 23 Bh6 Nd5 24 Nxd5 Bxd5 25 Rd1 Ne6 26 Bxf8 Exchanging dark-squared bishops and thus weakening the defence of the dark squares. This makes it harder for Black to evict the white rooks. 26 ... Rxf8 27 Qh4 Bc6 28 Qh6 Rae8 29 Rd6 (see diagram 1) White’s other rook also occupies an advanced outpost. There is no immediate decisive combination but Black’s mobility is severely restricted. 29 ... Bxf3 30 Bxf3 Qa6 31 h4 A wonderful situation with the white pieces entrenched deep in the heart of Black’s position. With 31 h4, AlphaZero brings up the reserves. 31 ... Qa5 32 Rd1 c4 33 Rd5 Qe1+ 34 Kg2 c3 35 bxc3 Qxc3 36 h5 Re7 37 Bd1 Qe1 38 Bb3 Rd8 39 Rf3 Qe4 40 Qd2 Qg4 41 Bd1 Qe4 42 h6 Again very typical AlphaZero, restricting the mobility of the black king. 42 ... Nc7 43 Rd6 Now 43 ... Qxe5 44 Re3 wins at once and 43 ... Rxe5 is met by 44 Rxd7 Rxd7 45 Qxd7 Re7 46 Qd8+ Ne8 47 Ba4 winning. 43 ... Ne6 44 Bb3 Qxe5 There now follows an amazing series of moves from AlphaZero, the aim of which is to leave Black’s pieces completely passive. 45 Rd5 Qh8 46 Qb4 Nc5 47 Rxc5 Getting rid of Black’s only useful active piece. 47 ... bxc5 48 Qh4 Rde8 49 Rf6 Rf8 50 Qf4 a5 51 g4 d5 52 Bxd5 Rd7 53 Bc4 a4 54 g5 (see diagram 2) Complete domination from White. 54 ... a3 55 Qf3 Rc7 56 Qxa3 Qxf6 57 gxf6 Rfc8 58 Qd3 Rf8 59 Qd6 Rfc8 60 a4 Black resigns

Game Changer (New in Chess) ranks with Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors as one of the most important chess books ever written.