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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Simple Looking, yet Complicated

     In the 40s, 50s and 60s the Dutch psychologist and chess master conducted a number of ground-breaking experiments in the cognitive processes that occur in the brains of strong chess players. A recent Scientific American article bears testimony to this research. Adriaan de Groot died in Schiermonnikoog, Holland on August 14. He was 91. In memoriam.
     Adrianus Dingeman de Groot, commonly known as Adriaan de Groot, was born on October 26, 1914 in Santpoort, Netherlands. He was a psychologist and chess master, and became famous for conducting cognitive chess experiments in the 40s, 50s and 60s. His initial thesis on the subject, Het denken van den schaker, was published in 1946. The English translation, Thought and Choice in Chess, appeared in 1965. Read more in ChessBase article.  
     Recently while looking through Thought and Choice in Chess I came across a position that looked rather intriguing so took the time to play over the whole game. de Groot analyzed the position after white 17th move which was one of the test positions that he gave to subjects to solve, but what is really fascinating is the position after white's 23rd move. 
     In the game de Groot played 23...Kh8? which only lead to a draw. However, had he played 23...Kf8 he could have won, but ONLY if he had discovered the incredible line found by Stockfish. In that variation white, though lost, has to walk a tightrope to avoid getting mated and, at the same time, there are a couple of black's moves that are the only ones that win.
     The line discovered by Stockfish is almost like a composed endgame study and it's worth taking the time to take a look at it. Besides that, analysis with Stockfish and Komodo showed the game to be a lot more complicated that it appears on the surface. 

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