Topic 23 (Intermediate) Ė Unreliable Moves (Game Analysis 2)


An unreliable move is an attempted capture where you donít know the result ahead of timeóit depends on whether or not your opponent dodges.Unreliable moves are often called newb moves because every newbie tries a lot of them before quickly learning that no, you shouldnít go for pieces that are going to dodge. Hereís an example of an unreliable move:


You probably discovered early in your KFC career that newbie moves such as this donít work against an opponent with a functioning neuron.Or you may want to get your neurons checked out.



Most of the time you have to play reliable moves attacking pieces that cannot dodge, but hereís a tip you may not have discovered yet: itís often correct to play an unreliable move.Expert players play newb moves all the time!


Weíve already looked at some expert uses of unreliable moves throughout the guide.In this topic, Iíll be analyzing R_A_G_E vs. Devilant (May 1, 2003), which is an awesome game featuring many a newb move.But first, here are a couple of positions to get you thinking (and make up for the lack of a puzzle in Topic 22).


Youíre white. How would you play? (Hint: If youíre not making a newb move, youíre misplaying it.)




No problem.


Piece of cake.


A little tougher.


If you canít figure these out, do not be afraid to ask the friendly experts of the strategy forum. But I think you should have no problem with them.


Unfortunately, recognizing an opportunity for an unreliable move is only half the battle.Black belts will often plan ahead (see Topic 17) and specifically play for a position where an unreliable move will win. So, letís look at some examples, including a game won by unreliable moves.


Example 1


Here black trapped his bishop on the a1-h8 diagonal with his own king move.White can set up an unreliable attack to win the bishop.



The knight on h5 cuts off one of the two available escape squares for the black bishop.It must retreat to the corner!


White wins the bishop now by simply attacking it.It has nowhere to dodge!



Example 2


Here white would love to capture blackís rook on e6 with his rook and defend with his other rook.



Obviously, this wonít work.The black king could capture the rook before whiteís other rook can arrive to defend it.Youíll never guess what kind of move is called for here.



An unreliable move!White forces the king to dodge away.


Black canít dodge anywhere else without abandoning his rook.



Now that the black king has to recharge, white has enough time to capture the black rook and defend it with his other rook.



Sweet play!


Example 3

Kung Fu Chess Rated Game May 1, 2003

R_A_G_E v. Devilant


You can download this game and others to play using Epikur's Movie Player by going To My Website.You can also Watch the Game on Youtube, courtesy of Epikur.


R_A_G_E v. Devilant†† 12 seconds


R_A_G_E plays the same opening as Hawked (see Topic 22), but in this game I was slow with my first pawn and so was unable to play a stonewall to win a pawn.I played a flanked center opening instead.


R_A_G_E v. Devilant16 seconds


R_A_G_E decides to trade away his d and e pawns, and then makes the mistake of capturing my h pawn with his bishop and defending with his pawn.This move doesnít actually win my pawn, as youíll see.Instead, it just gives R_A_G_E isolated pawns.


R_A_G_E v. Devilant21 seconds

When R_A_G_E captures my bishop with his pawn, Iíll be able to capture back, and R_A_G_E will be left with isolated pawns.



I move my rook to h8 and knight to h5, intending to capture R_A_G_Eís pawn after it takes my bishop and then attack R_A_G_Eís pawns on h4 and f4.


Planned Attack

This was my planned attack to exploit R_A_G_Eís isolated pawns.



Fortunately for me, while I was setting up for this attack, R_A_G_E moved his knights, abandoning his defense of the f4 pawn.He also advanced his a and b pawns, which poses no real threat.


R_A_G_E v. Devilant††† 25 seconds


25 seconds in and the game is already over.Or it would have been had I played this devastating attack:



It doesnít matter what moves white makes hereóheís toast.


The moves I actually made are inferior to this strike, but lead to a position where I could use unreliable moves to crush R_A_G_E.


R_A_G_E v. Devilant†† 32 seconds


White is in some serious trouble here, but this attack probably would have failed if R_A_G_E had responded correctly.Now we come to the first unreliable move of the game: the attack on the undefended knight.


R_A_G_E v. Devilant†† 38 seconds


Always go for the undefended knight.


R_A_G_E dodged out of the way of the first unreliable attack.If he hadnít, the game is completely lost for him.


Not 5 seconds later, I launched unreliable attack #2:


R_A_G_E v. Devilant43 seconds


I attacked R_A_G_Eís queen with my knight and immediately captured the c4 pawn with my rook, defending the knight.I made this attack just as R_A_G_E was capturing my bishop, hoping to catch him off guard (see Topic 10 for more on this type of unreliable attack).


R_A_G_E dodged out of the way of the second unreliable attack.If he hadnít, the game is completely lost for him.Note that both unreliable attacks so far were completely risk free for meóneither knight is in any danger of getting captured.


I continued to put the pressure on R_A_G_E, making my third unreliable attack seconds later.R_A_G_Eís rook on e1 was defending both his knight and his rook on e3.


R_A_G_E v. Devilant†† 48 seconds


The knight was again undefended because the rook has to recapture my queen, so I went for it.R_A_G_E again successfully dodged out of the way of this third attack, but my unreliable attacks, while unsuccessful, forced R_A_G_E out of position so I could now capture all his remaining pawns.


R_A_G_E v. Devilant†† 57 seconds


The gameís over, but thereís a fourth unreliable move I could still make:



The knight is free to capture for the third time in a row! My pawn will defend the square after capturing R_A_G_Eís rook.R_A_G_E resigned.


There were 4 unreliable attacks in this game, and not a single one successfully captured its target!I won anyway because of R_A_G_Eís opening mistake, which lost him his isolated f and h pawns, and because the unreliable attacks forced R_A_G_E out of position to defend his a, b, and c pawns.A thrilling game!


Next time on Devilantís Strategy GuideóTopic 24, which will be chock full of strategy puzzles!