How to Beat Houdini at Chess

Houdini chess engine.

Below is a game I played against Houdini 3 on FICS. This version of Houdini is 64 bit running on a Intel Quad Core 2.93Ghz with 6Gigs of Ram. This was my first attempt against this program and I think I did pretty well. In fact, I believe that with an improvement or two I could have won. My apologies in advance for the sloppy pgn work. Hopefully, over the holiday break, I will put all the games on this blog into a chess viewer. In the mean time, you can view it here without my comments.

[Event “FICS rated standard game”]

[White “chessmusings”]

[Black “BlackDemon(C)”]

[WhiteElo “2161”]

[BlackElo “2649”]

[TimeControl “900+0”]

[Date “2012-11-27”]

[Time “20:42:00”]

[Result “0-1”]

1. e4 a6 {Houdini starts with rubbish. That said, I am an expert at playing this kind of “useful junk.”} 2. d4 {When your opponent does not match your first center pawn it is good to add another.} b5 3. c4 {Not intimidated by the reputation of Houdini, I start attacking.} e6 4. Nf3 Bb7 5. e5 Bxf3 {This has been played once before in Murray Chandler vs Wolfgang Schultz, Hamburg, 1980.} 6. Qxf3 Nc6 7. Be3 bxc4 {This is where the game becomes completely original.} 8. Bxc4 Nge7 9. Nc3 Rb8 10. O-O-O {White is winning in King Safety, Space, Time and Force.} Nf5 11. g4 {When you have the advantage you must attack.} Nxe3 12. fxe3 {I was very pleased with my position at this point. Now I just need to be accurate and aggressive} Bb4 13. e4 {This moves looks good because white is taking more of the center. However, I believe this to be my first mistake and it causes me problems shortly.} O-O 14. h4 {I am really in attack mode and did not see my opponent’s counter measures.} Na5 15. Qd3 {Once again this moves looks right. However, when you are playing a very strong computer perfection is necessary. I should have played Bf1.} c5 16. d5 Qc7 17. Na4 {Had I played d6 I could have saved the pawn but I am sure after black played Qb7 I would have had major king safety issues.} Qxe5 18. dxe6 {This opens the d-file for my rook and queen and could possibly cause king safety issues for black.} dxe6 19. Rhf1 Nxc4 20. Qxc4 Ba5 {Black is winning but I have a free move to do whatever I like.} 21. Rd3 {Creative, but this is objectively better:}) ( 21. Qxa6 Bd8 22. Nc3 Bxh4 23. Qd6 Qg5+ 24. Kb1 Qxg4 25. Qxc5 Rfc8 26. Qd6 Bg5 27. Rg1 Qh4 28. b4 )  Rb4 22. Qc2 Rxe4  23. Nc3 {If he takes g4 I will have one less pawn in my way during my assault on his king.} Rxg4 24. h5 {If computers had feelings he might be a little worried.}  Qxh5 {Another pawn out of my way.} 25. Rd2 {Preparing Rh2.}   Rb8  26. Rh2 Qg5+ 27. Kb1 h5  28. Ne4 Qd5 29. Rhf2 Rxe4 30. Rxf7 {Still loosing but at least I am attacking} Qe5 31. Qf2 {I believe I see a way to get at black’s king.} Re2 32. Rxg7+   Kxg7 33. Qf7+ Kh8  {And the black king survives my kamikaze attack. Still, I believe with a couple of improvements I could have been successful.} 0-1 *



Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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