Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

One Zillion Moves

The 2006 United States Chess Championship is being played through Sunday at the McMillin Event Center, 2875 Dewey Road, San Diego. A field of 64 is on hand. The youngest entrant and last to qualify is Elliott Liu of Encinitas, age 16.

I have him on the phone. "How was Friday's game?"

Liu says, "Pretty cool. He [Gregory Kaidanov, 46, Ukrainian-born grandmaster] is number three in the nation. I was nervous because he's someone everybody knows, and he's won many tournaments. My strategy was to give him a fight, keep the game very simple, and make sure he didn't have any chances."

Sounds good. "Walk me through the game."

"Let's start at the beginning," Liu says. "I spent a lot of time preparing for him. The problem with these strong grandmasters is they play different moves in order to avoid this preparation. So, in the database, [Kaidanov] played several lines, and I had to prepare for all of them. Of course, at the game, he plays a line he's never played before -- a really rare line, it's only been played a few times. So, early on, I was nervous knowing he knew what he was doing and I didn't.

"The line he used was played last year between two of the world's best grandmasters, but I didn't remember what happened. I thought for 40 minutes on my next move. It was probably five moves after that I got a feeling where the game was going. I wasn't losing. My position looked okay; I realized I could probably hold as long as I didn't mess up somewhere. And then I traded everything off and it simplified very nicely and was relatively easy to draw."

"When you say you thought about a move for 40 minutes, what do you think about?"

"With chess, it's not just making a move." Liu says. "Not only do you have to calculate and foresee positions 12 to 24 moves ahead, but you also have to decipher what he's doing; you have to calculate his plans. All the lines have branches and branches, and you have to keep all that in your head and evaluate the final position of all those lines. It takes a surprisingly long amount of time to make a good move.

"Against a grandmaster, in order to draw, you can't make a mistake; your game, literally, has to be perfect. A lot of people don't understand that in order to lose a chess game, you don't have to lose pawns and pieces. If there's a weak square, just one, we're all good enough to use that square and win the game based on that one weakness. In order to draw one of these guys, you have to be perfect throughout the game."

"How many openings, how many lines are there?" I don't actually expect to hear a specific number.

Liu laughs, "I have no idea. People think, 'An opening is his first move.' No, an opening is one line, the line can go to move 25. In those 25 moves there can be 20 variations of that same line. The tree branch goes on, almost to infinity. No one knows all the lines. You can't know them all. You have to specialize. So, for example, my opponent, against my first move, only plays pawn to E5. His whole life, he's only played that. But, after that he uses several lines and other variations depending on what his opponent does."

"How do you prepare for that?" My usual solution, spend more money, does not, at first glance, appear to apply.

"You're going to prepare for the individual guy, but you know he's going to change his stuff around because he knows you're preparing for him. There's a lot of reverse psychology going on. Mainly, you're retooling your own stuff. There is only so much you can do to prepare for your opponent because he's not going to play into something that's already in his database."

I ask, "When you're changing your stuff around, are you trying to create something brand new or are you trying to bring back to life something that's obscure, a move somebody made 100 years ago?"

"It depends, but I will definitely change something," Liu says. "I won't play directly into what he's preparing. I know what's in my database, I can work around that. I'll either have an improvement from last time or I'll pick a line that's very rare or maybe even use a computer move. There are chess computers now. Just to make sure your new move isn't bad, you always plug it into the computer and see what it says. Sometimes your computer can spit out a move that's actually better than what's ever been played."

Hmm. "You keep saying 'database'. How big is the chess database?"

Liu laughs again, "All I know is that the first game in the database was played in 1605."

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Ma’s House Chinese Halal: genuine Uyghur food

“Muslim people love lamb, and always with cumin.”
Next Article

Cheap alternative to the San Diego Zoo

Kangaroos, horses, ostriches, donkeys, goats, llamas, deer, camels

The 2006 United States Chess Championship is being played through Sunday at the McMillin Event Center, 2875 Dewey Road, San Diego. A field of 64 is on hand. The youngest entrant and last to qualify is Elliott Liu of Encinitas, age 16.

I have him on the phone. "How was Friday's game?"

Liu says, "Pretty cool. He [Gregory Kaidanov, 46, Ukrainian-born grandmaster] is number three in the nation. I was nervous because he's someone everybody knows, and he's won many tournaments. My strategy was to give him a fight, keep the game very simple, and make sure he didn't have any chances."

Sounds good. "Walk me through the game."

"Let's start at the beginning," Liu says. "I spent a lot of time preparing for him. The problem with these strong grandmasters is they play different moves in order to avoid this preparation. So, in the database, [Kaidanov] played several lines, and I had to prepare for all of them. Of course, at the game, he plays a line he's never played before -- a really rare line, it's only been played a few times. So, early on, I was nervous knowing he knew what he was doing and I didn't.

"The line he used was played last year between two of the world's best grandmasters, but I didn't remember what happened. I thought for 40 minutes on my next move. It was probably five moves after that I got a feeling where the game was going. I wasn't losing. My position looked okay; I realized I could probably hold as long as I didn't mess up somewhere. And then I traded everything off and it simplified very nicely and was relatively easy to draw."

"When you say you thought about a move for 40 minutes, what do you think about?"

"With chess, it's not just making a move." Liu says. "Not only do you have to calculate and foresee positions 12 to 24 moves ahead, but you also have to decipher what he's doing; you have to calculate his plans. All the lines have branches and branches, and you have to keep all that in your head and evaluate the final position of all those lines. It takes a surprisingly long amount of time to make a good move.

"Against a grandmaster, in order to draw, you can't make a mistake; your game, literally, has to be perfect. A lot of people don't understand that in order to lose a chess game, you don't have to lose pawns and pieces. If there's a weak square, just one, we're all good enough to use that square and win the game based on that one weakness. In order to draw one of these guys, you have to be perfect throughout the game."

"How many openings, how many lines are there?" I don't actually expect to hear a specific number.

Liu laughs, "I have no idea. People think, 'An opening is his first move.' No, an opening is one line, the line can go to move 25. In those 25 moves there can be 20 variations of that same line. The tree branch goes on, almost to infinity. No one knows all the lines. You can't know them all. You have to specialize. So, for example, my opponent, against my first move, only plays pawn to E5. His whole life, he's only played that. But, after that he uses several lines and other variations depending on what his opponent does."

"How do you prepare for that?" My usual solution, spend more money, does not, at first glance, appear to apply.

"You're going to prepare for the individual guy, but you know he's going to change his stuff around because he knows you're preparing for him. There's a lot of reverse psychology going on. Mainly, you're retooling your own stuff. There is only so much you can do to prepare for your opponent because he's not going to play into something that's already in his database."

I ask, "When you're changing your stuff around, are you trying to create something brand new or are you trying to bring back to life something that's obscure, a move somebody made 100 years ago?"

"It depends, but I will definitely change something," Liu says. "I won't play directly into what he's preparing. I know what's in my database, I can work around that. I'll either have an improvement from last time or I'll pick a line that's very rare or maybe even use a computer move. There are chess computers now. Just to make sure your new move isn't bad, you always plug it into the computer and see what it says. Sometimes your computer can spit out a move that's actually better than what's ever been played."

Hmm. "You keep saying 'database'. How big is the chess database?"

Liu laughs again, "All I know is that the first game in the database was played in 1605."

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Todd Gloria gets cash from Juan Vargas cronies

Robert Price, David Malcom, Mel Katz – the Measure A fat cats
Next Article

Tropical terrycloth

Lexington Field, Wanted Noise, Jelani Aryeh, Belladon, Planet B
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close