What Stockfish saw* Part 1

(* that never occurred to me.)

In chess, maybe you think of computers as tactics-checkers.

The big revelation to me, as I started using an engine in the past few months, is that tactics are generally the least-valuable thing Stockfish shows me. The really invaluable thing is having a positional-evaluation-checker of 2400+ strength.

Which has furthermore lead me to believe that my most fundamental area for improvement is in fact psychological. Yes, Stockfish is a (free, open-source) shrink!

Ahem. Be that as it may, it’s still pretty funny when you’re looking at a position of any sort and find Stockfish recommends a move that never popped into your head at all. A shock to the system.

Here are some fun ones!

I. Slater – Ricard (1563)

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A Benko that has gone wrong for black on several dimensions.

I played: 23.Rfc1 (+1.6)

Stockfish says: 23.Na7! (+3.6)

Never thought of it.

II. Slater – Pan (2101)

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I previously posted some analysis of this game. But I didn’t point this out, after white’s 22.gxf5:

Black played 22…b3.

Stockfish says: 22…Qxa2!  Still easily winning for white but it gets the queens off. That’s one that made my eyes bug out when it popped up on screen.

Never thought of it.

III. Slater – Foygel (2486)

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Yes, this game was a long time ago. He just attacked my king on the e-file with Re8, so I skootched over to d3, getting off the firing line and gaining a tempo by hitting his Rc2.

He played: 31…Rc7 (+.5, ultimately ending in a draw)

Stockfish says: 31…Rd2+! (-3.4)  Ah man! Into thin air!

If 32.Kxd2 Ne4+ forks the queen.

Neither of us thought of it.