Saturday, 17 July 2010

Rubik's Chess

Often you will find players killing time between rounds trying to solve the Rubik's Cube. Well you did in the 1980's, and as it turns out, in 2010 as well. At the recent NSW Open there were a number of players twisting edges and shifting corners.
It turns out that the notion of the 'corner shift' may have been anticipated by Alexander Alekhine over 50 years ago. In his 1925 game against Sir George Thomas he reached the position in the diagram. The major weakness in the position for White is the a pawn, which Alekhine is targeting down the a file. The fact the the bishop on b2 is bad, and Black has control of the light squares on the queenside gives him a pretty free hand in the position. However Black's major pieces aren't on their optimal squares and need to be re-arranged. The ideal set up is in fact Ra6,Ra4 and Qc4. To achieve this Black needs to rotate them counter clockwise around the b5 square. It turns out that it is a little easier in chess that on a Rubik's Cube (3 moves versus somewhat more on the Cube), but on the other hand you don't have an opponent trying to interfere with your cube solving.
Alekhine didn't get to complete the re-arrangement of pieces (Thomas exchanged queens on c4) but he still won the game based on targeting the a pawn.
33.Rfe1 Bh4 34.Rf1 Qc4 35.Qxc4 Rxc4 36.a3 Be7 37.Rfb1 Bd6 38.g3 Kf8 39.Kg2 Ke7 40.Kf2 Kd7 41.Ke2 Kc6 42.Ra2 Rca4 43.Rba1 Kd5 44.Kd3 R6a5 45.Bc1 a6 46.Bb2 h5 47.h4 f6 48.Bc1 e5 49.fxe5 fxe5 50.Bb2 exd4 51.cxd4 b4 52.axb4 Rxa2 53.bxa5 Rxb2 0-1

1 comment:

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