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The Colorbound Clobberers versus the FIDEs -- First ever

The Colorbound Clobberers have the White uniforms in this game, and the Fabulous FIDEs have the black.

Roytman - Betza , 1996, by email

1.  e2-e4         e7-e5
2.  WAg1-e3       c7-c6?!
3.  FADc1-c3      f7-f6
4.  d2-d4         d7-d5
5.  b2-b3         e5:d4
6.  FADc3:d4      Bc8-e6
7.  g2-g3         Nb8-d7
8.  e4:d5         Be6:d5
9.  BDh1:d5!      c6:d5
10. NBd1-h5+      g7-g6
11. NBh5-f4       Nd7-b6
12. WAe3-c5!      Qd8-d7!
13. FADf1-d3      Bf8:c5
14. FADd4:c5      O-O-O
15. FADc5:a7      Qd7-c6
16. BDa1-d4       g7-g5!
17. NBf4-h3+      Nb6-d7
18. NBh3-f5       Rd8-e8+
19. Ke1-d2        Ng8-e7
20. NBf5-d6+      Qc6:d6
21. BDd4:d6       Ne7-c6
22. FADa7-c7      Nc6-b4
23. FADd3-e2?     Re8:e2+!
24. Kd2:e2        Nb4:a2
25. Ke2-d3?!      Na2-b4+
26. Kd3-d4        Rh8-e8
27. WAb1-d3       Re8-e4+
28. Kd4-c3        Nb4:d3
29. Kc3:d3        f6-f5
30. f2-f3         Re4-e1
31. g3-g4         f5:g4
32. f3:g4         Re1-g1
33. Kd3-d4        Rg1:g4+
34. Kd4:d5        Nd7-f6+
36. Resigns

About the Notes:

Many of the notes are quotes from email.

W: White's comments look like this

B: and Black's look like this; you see we have a W: or a B: at the start of an indented paragraph.

Also, in the notes, the Clobberer piece abbbreviations are parenthesized because it looks ugly to write "WAg1-e3" and I hope the parentheses make it easier to read, if not less ugly.

W: OK, but what about Wb8-d6? Or are you concerned that pieces be uniquely identified over all Chess Variant games? Also, we can use "F" for FAD; [...]

B: At least, over all of the different-army games. Remember, the ultimate would be to have a list of zillions of pieces and the cost of each piece, and each player buys an army. For game scores to be readable, you need a lot of piece-identifiers, and preferably ones that can be decoded (with some knowledge, of course) without looking at the list. That will be another whole problem, since the different-army games are still far from that stage of development.

Note to 3. (FAD)c1-c3

W: It seems my big problem is finding enough squares on the third rank for all my pieces, since they can only go there.

B: Well, they can also go on the second rank, or fourth/fifth/etc. An interesting configuration is b2-b3, c3-c3, (WA)b1-b2, d2-d4, with a fianchettoed WA (that can also profit from the c2 square) backed by the (BD) a1 in battery.

W: The problem with a lot of my pieces, like the WA, is that their range is limited; so, that configuration you suggested is purely defensive.

Note to 5. b2-b3 Black's idea is that because the FAD and BD are more valuable than the B or N, in a wide open position it should be possible to confront them and force them either to retreat or to make unfavorable exchanges. The problem is that in order to blow the position open, Black has accepted some Pawn weaknesses and some loss of tempo.

One of the attractions of a new game is that there is no opening theory, and you can roll your own; one of the dangers is that there is no opening theory, and you can get into a lot of trouble quickly.

Interesting here is 5. d4:e5 d5-d4 6. e5:f6 d4:c3 7. f6:g7 B:g7 8. (NB)d1-h5+ Ke8-f8 9. (BD)a1-a3+ Ng8-e7 10. (WA)e3-g5, which would win the game if it were not for Qd8-d2 mate! -- which would also have been good on move 7, of course.

Note to 6...Bc8-e6 I think it would have been relatively best to play 6...d5:e4 7. (WA)e3:e4 Bc8-e6; playing d5:e4 next move allows the BD to make the recapture.

Note to 9. (BD)h1:d5! In addition to this excellent sacrifice, 9. (WA)e3-f3 is also interesting: 9. (WA)e3-f3 Bf7 10. (WA)f3-h5 Bd5 11. (BD)h1-h3!?

W: I sacked on d5 thinking that the weakness of your pawn structure and white squares is worth it.

Note to 12...Qd8-d7 A Pawn must be lost, either the one on a7 or the one on d5; the real problem is how to keep from losing more Pawns after that, and then maybe losing the King as well.

This move holds on to d5, and by holding d5 defends all the White squares; the point is 13. (FAD)d4:b6 a7:b6 14. (WA)c5:d5 Ra8:a2!

One rejected alternative was 12...Bf8:c5 13. (FAD)d4:c5 Qd8-d7 14. (NB)f4-d6+ is bad; either 14...Ke8-d8 15. (BD)a1-d4! or 14...Q:d6 15. (FAD)c5:d6 and now either d5 or d6 must fall.

Note to 16...g6-g5! The crux of the whole defensive plan; by driving the NB back, Black gains a bit of breathing room. White is still winning, of course.

Note to 18. (NB)h3-f5

W: Maybe the killer line was 18. (FAD)d3-f5 Re8 19. (WA)b1-d3, threatening (FAD)f5:d7 Q:d7 (WA)d3-f5. It's amazing how good the Waffle looks there!

Note to 20...Qc6:d6 Black must make this unfavorable exchange because of 20...Ke8-d8 21. (FAD)d3-b5!

W: By my count, I'm about 2-3 pawns ahead now. So, if I can just preserve my BD and FADs...

Okay, let's try to figure this out. Black has two Rooks and two Knights, White has an extra Pawn along with two FAD, one BD, and a WA. The WA and the N are so close to being equal that we can call it even, especially because f5 will be such a strong square for the WA, and so easy to reach. The other N matches up with a FAD, which is a sizable advantage for the FAD; the two Rooks square off against a FAD and a BD, which is an advantage for the Rooks. I'd say that the pieces are about even, which leaves the position and the extra Pawn to be considered.

Note to 22. (FAD)a7-c7

W: 22. (FAD)a7-c7 is forced.

B: And I didn't notice it. When I said "Interesting, because after (NB)d6+ Q:d6 (BD):d6 Ne7-c6, I'm reasonably satisfied with the count and am looking to win," I presumed you had to allow the FAD to be traded. I feel like asking "Should I resign now, or do you want me to play a few more moves?" but I suppose I still have a thing or two I can try first.

Note to 23. (FAD)d3-e2? When I wanted to resign, it was because I expected 23. (FAD)d3-f5, after which Black cannot double the Rooks on the e-file, and cannot even try 23 (FAD)d3-f5 Nb4:c2 24 Kd2:c2 Re2+ 25 Kc2-c3 R:f2 26 (FAD)f5-e6 mate.

23. (FAD)d3-b5 also looks good. The long-term threat is a2-a4-a5-a6 and ouch!

When these moves were played, White was winning big, and so disdained 23. (BD)d6:b4 Kc8:c7 24. (FAD)d3:d5; this would win a Pawn, untangle White's c7/d6 problem, and leave White with a big advantage, but it would also release Black's K from a potential mating net, free Black's N from a stalemate situation, and end the potential threat to grab the Pf6.

Note to 23...Re8:e2+!

B: Agonizing decision. (23...N:a2 24 (FAD)e2-g4 Nb4 was the other choice.)

Surely your white-squared FAD is worth more than a Rook *right now*, although I'm reluctant to break up the pair of Rooks because they can do magic together.

W: (Written after the end of the game) I think I lost the advantage somewhere around the time when I lost the white-squared FAD. After that, the most I could hope for was a draw, with careful play, which was too much to bear after the overwhelming edge I had in the beginning, which led me to expect a triumphant clobbering.

One point of this move is that White is left with two colorbound pieces that both move on Black squares, which must limit their power; another idea is that in general, a pair of Bishops is worth more than twice as much as a single Bishop because they cooperate to cover all squares.

Vlad also pointed out that he would always have at least one piece that could move on White squares: his King. This is an insightful observation, and explains why you can't expect colorboundness to be *too* crippling.

It should also be mentioned that the N is colorbound in a strange way; it must always change colors when it moves. Thus, in the current position of the game, it can sit safely on d7, but it has trouble moving anywhere because all the Black squares are attacked by the d6/c7 pieces.

Note to 25. Ke2-d3?! An interesting contretemps developed after White played 25. (FAD)c7-a5:

W: I'm just curious how you plan to save your Knight.

B: Perhaps with a j'adoube.

Oh, those nasty diagonal retreats!
I saw several other ways for you to avoid the fork Nc3, with Kd2, Wa-b2, WA-d3?!, but it never occurred to me that you could come all the way from c7 to do it.

Let me play a few more moves before I j'adoube.
It's easier than figuring this out, and I'd have to go overnight to make the j'adoube anyway.

(Black sends the move "25. (FAD)c7-a5 Re8+ if 26. King moves, Re6")

W: What's all this about resigning and j'adoubing?
It looks like it might be time for ME to j'adoube, instead, now that my FAD may be trapped on a5 :-( Perhaps I'll play (FAD)c7-e7 instead of to a5, or something instead of (FAD)d3-e2. Overnight...

B: You mean I maybe found a good move?

Unfair! I don't want you to j'adoube (FAD)d3-e2.
At least you shouldn't change it to FAD-f5, because I suggested that move.

Ah, well...

Both players are very strong, but it's a new game, after all, and most of the moves are played blindfold, with relatively little thought, during the day.

We make many strong moves, but I'm sure we also miss a great many things. This was a funny one because I could look really clever if I claimed to have seen it all when I played N:a2, but the truth is it was all an accident.

Who says two blunders don't make a brilliancy?

Meanwhile, after 25. Kd2 Nb4 26 (FAD)c7-e7 Nc6 27 (FAD)e7:f6 N:f6 28 (BD)d6:f6 Rg8 29 (WA)b1-d3 Rg6 30 (WA)d3-f5, it seems that either player might win. White's active pieces and extra Pawn compensate for Black's higher quality pieces; I can't defend the K-side easily because I can't afford to trade pieces, but if White brings in the King, there will be trouble on the Q-side: e.g., 30 ... g4 31 (BD)f6-f8 h5 31 (WA)f5-f6 Rg5 32 (BD)f8-h6 Re5 33 (BD)h6-f4 Re8 34 (WA)f6-h4 Rh8 35 (BD)f4-f6 Rh7 36 Ke3 Kd7 37 c3 Ke6 38 Kf4 b5 39 b4 d4! 40 cd4 N:b4 41 Kg5 Nd5 42 (BD)f6-e5 b4 43 (BD)e5-c5 b3, and when I played this out, I won the BD by bringing my Rook over, but couldn't win the R versus 3P ending.

Or, after 25. (WA)b1-d3 Nc1+ 26 Kd2 N:d3,

W: I'm not sure you could get a draw there; your pieces would be totally blocked by my FAD-BD combination, leaving my King free to roam. So, I could get the d5 pawn, then push the Queenside pawns; or, try taking your Kingside pawns.

Note to 30. f2-f3

B: I thought 30 (FAD)c7-e7 g4 31 (FAD)e7-g5, challenging me to the almost impossible task of breaking the blockade imposed by two black-squared pieces, was more logical.

W: I was still trying to play for a win :-(

Note to 34...Nd7-f6+

W: I was about to play (BD)d6-g3, glad that I have the long-range piece on the right side; then I noticed R:g3+!

I'm too tired to j'adoube or think this through. Let the chips fall where they may.

B: I play a lot of these moves with that attitude.
Leads to making natural and logical moves...

(Now the move 34...Nd7-f6+ is sent...)

W: 35. Kd5-e6; if Ne8 Resigns

Pretty good logical move that Nf6, eh?

B: My intention was Ne4, and I didn't see Ne8.
I thought you were still very much in the game.

The Players:

Ralph Betza holds the title of FIDE master.

Vladimir Roytman is a USCF National Master.

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