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MatPlus.Net Forum Promenade The Queen's Gambit
 
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(1) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Friday, Oct 23, 2020 15:17]

The Queen's Gambit


With some trepidation, I've been looking forward to a new series on Netflix called: "The Queen's Gambit". Trepidation, because I thought that Netflix's adaptation of this wonderful bildungsroman might somehow lose the essence, but no they've captured it, and without making it sentimental. I am watching this story of chess, addiction and redemption quite slowly. The novel was one of six by Walter Tevis - three of them were adapted to successful movies: "The Hustler", "The Color of Money" and "The Man Who Fell to Earth.

There appear to be some significant changes to Beth Harmon's background. Her mother has been made a mathematician, which I think was unnecessary because to me part of the point of Beth's journey was her rising through the class system too. However: I've not yet finished the first episode - I hope it carries on as well as it's begun.
 
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(2) Posted by Joaquim Crusats [Sunday, Oct 25, 2020 09:45]

Episode 6 (10:17):

Friend: Do you do problems?
Protagonist: No.
F: Never?
P: I always find them irrelevant. Positions that never come up in actual games.
F: Let me show you one that you might like.
P: OK.
(...)
F: This one is my favorite:

(= 5+3 )


F: How does White mate in three?
(...)
P: King to Q7.
F: Jesus! That's fast.
 
 
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(3) Posted by Neal Turner [Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 15:52]

It's funny, they go to a lot of trouble to explain what Chess is about - the rules, openings, tournament protocols, they even have the boards the right way round - but..
The characters refer to 'games' as 'matches', which is always annoying and leads one to question the writer's chess credentials.
Or is it me that's mistaken - is this in fact an Americanism?
 
   
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(4) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 17:08]

So far the chess seems relatively realistic. For example Beltik opened 1. f3 because he didn’t respect her. Benny Watts played a kind of Sicilian which we’d has explained to us by Shaibel at the beginning. However Watts’ example of how the Caro-Kann is “all pawns and no hope” seemed to be unlikely because the board was relatively empty. In the novel, Tevis wanted to give the impression of top-flight chess without including actual games. He consulted a US master whose name I forget who has also been involved in the tv series along with Kasparov apparently. I hadn’t spotted the “match” issue. In chess.com you start to play a game and at the end can request a “rematch” or you can just keep playing the current match
 
 
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(5) Posted by Peter Wong [Thursday, Oct 29, 2020 01:53]

Very enjoyable show. I have just uploaded the chess problem scene in question: https://youtu.be/9YkAfHfNPWU
Watch this space for a blog about that scene!
 
 
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(6) Posted by Peter Wong [Friday, Oct 30, 2020 05:41]

Here's the finished blog: https://www.ozproblems.com/walkabout/walkabout2020/oct30
 
   
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(7) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Sunday, Nov 1, 2020 10:14]

Just reached the problemist scene: how lame.

Beth’s reaction is in character but it’s jarring that the problem guy says “this is my favourite”. While this is reasonable for the apparently complicated problem described in the book, the one in the TV show is completely unexceptional and couldn't be anyone’s favourite.

In the Netflix scene, the problemist is also being talked down to, talked over, etc, has nerdy weak haircut etc. Really unpleasant disrespecting messages below the text. Very different in tone to the book.

If chess problems are irrelevant, then so are novels and movies.
 
   
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(8) Posted by Neal Turner [Monday, Nov 2, 2020 19:31]

In Peter's link we get a snapshot from the original book relating the scene.
Is this a real problem?
Can anybody recognise it from the information given:

From the description:
- both queens in corners
- all four rooks on the same file
- the kings were nearly centered
- mate in three

From the analysis:
- the black king can move to the corner (from b7?) - which seems to contradict the statement above.
- if so, there could be a S/B on b8 (promoting to a Q stalemates the K in the corner)
- it also has at least one more flight on the second move ('Then if the K didn't move there after the first check')
- a white knight on the board can give check
- white pawn on d6
- d7 square is free, and also probably d8.

If it's not an actual problem, then it becomes a challenge to compose something consistent with these specifications - The Queen's Gambit Task!
 
   
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(9) Posted by Neal Turner [Tuesday, Nov 3, 2020 00:00]

Now it's just occured to me - how can Black ever be stalemated with his
queen and two rooks on the board?
 
   
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(10) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Tuesday, Nov 3, 2020 02:23]

Haha stalemating Black with all that material proves why this position is the problemist’s favourite. I guess the Q gets blocked by other Bl units to stalemate it
 
 
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(11) Posted by Joost de Heer [Tuesday, Nov 3, 2020 06:33]

 QUOTE 
how can Black ever be stalemated with his queen and two rooks on the board?

It's a Madrasi #3.
 
 
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(12) Posted by Peter Wong [Tuesday, Nov 3, 2020 12:45]

Like Neal, I had the same thought of finding or constructing a 3-mover as per the book's description ("The Queen's Gambit Task" sounds cute), but didn't notice how unlikely that is with a potential stalemate! Joost's suggestion of Madrasi is so appropriate in view of the 4 rooks on the same file and 2 queens in the corner!
 
   
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(13) Posted by Neal Turner [Thursday, Nov 5, 2020 13:54]

I was informed yesterday by a wise person that the use of the term 'stalemate' refers not to an actual stalemate where there would be no way go forward with the game, but merely to a position where there would be no way go forward with the stipulation.

Taking this view, we can revive the idea of the Queen's Gambit Task!
 
   
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(14) Posted by Joose Norri [Thursday, Nov 5, 2020 15:50]

I have tried to apply this view to proofgames - they do not normally have much to do with retroanalysis. If you define legal play as any play that can result in the target position, then I think you could say that any move that no longer allows reaching said position is illegal, so ends in retro-stalemate. I guess you can apply that to many other problems.
 
   
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(15) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Friday, Nov 6, 2020 09:12]

@Joose: That would be an application of "Irreversible Chess".
Cf. Noam Elkies in:
https://mathoverflow.net/questions/78827/irreversible-chess/78840#78840
 
 
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(16) Posted by Rosie Fay [Tuesday, Nov 10, 2020 16:14]

Neil: I was informed yesterday by a wise person that the use of the term 'stalemate' refers not to an actual stalemate where there would be no way go forward with the game, but merely to a position where there would be no way go forward with the stipulation.

I've never come across anyone using "stalemate" that way. That would mean that any try would be stalemate.
 
 
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(17) Posted by Rosie Fay [Tuesday, Nov 10, 2020 16:17]

Joose: proofgames - they do not normally have much to do with retroanalysis

I disagree. A problem is a retro if solving it entails deducing something about the previous play. Solving a PG entails deducing everything about the previous play (except how long it is).
 
   
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(18) Posted by Neal Turner [Tuesday, Nov 10, 2020 20:02]

It is the case that 'stalemate' can be used in a general sense, for instance we have the
Collins COBUILD English Language Dictionary giving:
'stalemate'
A stalemate is
1. a situation in which neither side in an argument or contest can win or gain any advantage.
2. a position in chess...

Although it's definitely strange that somebody would use it in the general sense when describing a situation on a chessboard!
 
   
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(19) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Wednesday, Nov 11, 2020 04:00]

"Zugzwang" definitely has a different meaning in compositions compared to games/studies, but in my lingustic experience I don't think that "stalemate" has.
 
   
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(20) Posted by Joose Norri [Wednesday, Nov 11, 2020 14:23]

The Oxford Dictionary adds 'also fig., standstill'
 
   
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MatPlus.Net Forum Promenade The Queen's Gambit