I’ve been mostly away from chess for about a year and a half now, after essentially retiring from online play. My last hurrah then was pressing my luck against various chess engines to varying degrees of success, with my peak perhaps being my 4-game match against the Rybka demo.
For the past month or so, I’ve been slowly getting back into things. To speed things along, I’ve started a match against Chessmaster DS. It’s a difficult, but not impossible, opponent, so it seems like a good way to bring myself back up to speed.
The structure of the match will follow the first world championship match between Karpov and Kasparov in 1984. First to 6 wins, draws not counting, players alternating colours.
The first game here I played 1. d4 in the hopes of getting a closed and slow position. That didn’t quite work out. The opening in general seemed to work in my favour getting a decent advantage to begin, but failed to execute.
The key to the match is going to be finishing. It’s my main issue with chess engines is that I may be able to squeeze out an advantage, but they make it tough as nails to follow through with a win.
The second game had Chessmaster DS playing as white, choosing the obscure Dunst opening (1. Nc3) which is common when the engine isn’t using an openings book. This one was much more to my intentions of locking up the position, and successfully so. Depressingly I missed a powerful sacrificial opportunity, but I stayed conservative and slowly worked out the win. This one makes me more at ease as even without always finding the correct move, Chessmaster never had the advantage.