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Monday, August 29, 2011

The 16 Hour Analysis

      I had met my opponent in this game (who outrates me by about 150 points) in a previous tournament.  In that game he let his guard down in a won ending and allowed me to escape with a lucky draw.  I'm not likely to be so lucky this time.
       In this game I made the mistake of following an opening line where a 2500 rated player defeated his 2350 rated opponent but I failed to check the moves in the game.  As it turned out the lower rated player had missed a critical line that would have left him with much better chances.  I realized my error when my opponent discovered the improvement!          
      In the position Black has just played 17…Rg8; a move I knew was coming and a move I knew left me in dire straits.  I let Houdini analyze the position for 16 hours then went to the end of its analysis and, as I have recommended in a previous post,  began stepping back through the moves .  That’s when I discovered that 29.Qxh5 was a bad move; by playing 29.Bxe1 the evaluation dropped from 1-1/2 Pawns in Black’s favor to 0.00.  Needless to say I was elated…that is until I continued stepping back through the analysis.  That’s when I discovered that starting with 23…b3, Houdini had not selected the best moves for Black.  After about 2-3 hours of interactive analysis with a couple of different engines (hoping that one of them would find something Houdini missed) I came to the conclusion that, barring a miracle, I’m going to lose this game.
      Morals of the story: 1) don’t rely on the fact that just because one side won it means his moves were the best, 2) even with engines, long analysis can be wrong analysis and 3) human interaction is necessary when analyzing with an engine.  I have posted all that advice before so why didn't I follow it?  Because I'm like Mark Twain who said, "Good advice never did me any good, so I always pass it along."  Maybe it will help somebody else.

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