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This item is a book, magazine, journal or pamphlet
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2001-06-06
 Author: John  Beasley. Unbalanced Games. Article from Variant Chess.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2010-11-23 UTC
Funny it makes mention of Queens vs Knights games. I recently studied a slightly different version of these:

CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE

1q1qk1q1/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/NNNNKNNN w - - 0 1

. q . q k . q .
p p p p p p p p
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
P P P P P P P P
N N N N K N N N

It comes as a surprise to most humans (and computer programs) that this position is very badly lost to black. Most computers count themselves ahead by 6 to 8 Pawns here. And, unlike what is described in the article, it is not because of a blind spot of the computers that they lose this (although it helps). Trading Q for 2N doesn't offer solace here, as in the end it leaves you one Knight down in the presence of Pawns.

So although it does help the computer a lot in this game to know that two Knights are worth more than a Queen initially (i.e. when you have still 2 or 3 Queens), white is simply ahead too much (in view of this knowledge) to turn the tide. It does help the computer in the following position, though:

1q1qk1q1/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/NNN1KNNN w - - 0 1

. q . q k . q .
p p p p p p p p
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
P P P P P P P P
N N N . K N N N

With only 6 Knights, white will lose badly against a computer that knows 2N > Q. But it will still win against a computer that does not know it. It is really fun to see the best Chess engines in the world, like Stockfish or Rybka, start out at a position that they evaluate as +11 (i.e. more than a Queen ahead!), and see their evaluation drop like a stone when in the course of the game they are being pushed into the abyss.

Not all engines will be able to handle 8 Pawns + 7 Knights (as this could never occur in a FIDE game). In that case you can reduce the number of Pawns, but you must take care to make the initial position tactically quiet (so that the Queens cannot immediately grab a hanging Knight):

. q . q k . q .
. . . p p p . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . N N N N . .
. . . P P P . .
. N . . K . N .

George Duke wrote on 2010-11-22 UTCGood ★★★★
Here is what John Beasley wrote ten years ago on the recent topics different armies and unbalanced games.

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