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Old 2014-04-24, 03:46   #1
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"Richard B. Woods"
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Default White 27

Here is a consolidation and extension of our analysis (after 26 Nxc4) from the previous thread:

Since [B]26 ... Nd5[/B] (or [B]26 ... bxc3 27 bxc3 Nd5[/B]) looks to me to be their strongest threat, I've moved it up to top place with an asterisk.

-

[B]* 26 ... Nd5 [/B]Black prevents a 28 d5 reply to a possible 27 ... e5 and presents us with a choice of two not-good alternatives, _but one better one_. :-)

We could respond with
[B]27 Ne3[/B] to make that knight retreat: [B]27 ... Nde7[/B]. (27 ... Nxe3 loses a piece to 28 Bxc6+ and Bxe3) But now we have the same position as two moves ago except that the c4-pawn is gone, so if
28 Nc4 would be our best move in that position, we're headed for a draw by repetition (probably acceptable to Black). So, what else on move 28 here for us? <== needs analysis

Instead
[B]27 Bxd5 exd5 28 Nd6+[/B] we remain a pawn up, but at the noticeable positional costs of (a) trading off our beautiful fianchettoed bishop on its long diagonal into Black's queen-side and (b) allowing Black to move his isolated e-pawn off the open e-file.

Instead
[B]* 27 Re1[/B] would deter 27 ... e5, then
[B]27 ... Nxd4 28 Bxd5 [/B](_not_ 28 cxd4 Bxd4+ 29 Be3 (or Ne3 30 Bxc5) Nxe3 30 Nxe3 Bxc5 would leave us a pawn down, with a pinned knight, and Black has the two bishops)
If [B]28 ... Nc2 29 Bc6+ K-moves 30 Rc1[/B] [speculation] 30 ... b3 31 Nxa5 Rb6 32 Bb5 Rd6 33 Naxb3.

or
[B]27 ???[/B] What else? <== needs analysis

-

[B]26 ... bxc3
[/B]
Here [B]27 bxc3[/B] seems best for us. (27 Bxc3 would leave our b-pawn on the half-open file, and almost any other move loses us a bishop. 27 Bxc6+ seems to have no purpose here.)
Then

[B][B]* 27 ... Nd5[/B] ??? <== [U]needs analysis[/U] (this may be the main line) *****

2[/B][B]7 ... Nxd4[/B] would show that we haven't yet completely solved our d4-fork problem because we can't afford 28 cxd4 here.
But
[B]28 Re1[/B] (not 28 Rc1 Ne2+) _does_ threaten 29 cxd4, thus finishing our solution to the d4-fork problem. Now the N/d4 _must_ retreat or be captured.
(If 28 ... Nb3 29 Rb1 pins the N/b3 against the R/c8.)
(If 28 ... Nc2 29 Rc1 and the knight has nowhere safe to go.)
The only two safe retreats are
[B]28 ... Nc6[/B] or [B]28 ... Nf5[/B], whereupon (either case) we capture Black's e-pawn with [B]
29 Nxe6[/B] and we're a pawn up.

If [B]27 ... ???[/B] <== needs analysis

-

[B]26 ... Nxd4[/B][B]

27 cxd4 Bxd4+ 28 Be3[/B] would leave us up a knight for one pawn.

-

[B]26 ... e5
[/B][B]
27 d5! [/B] (not 27 dxe5 mundane pawn swap favoring Black) forces [B]27 ... Na7[/B] or [B]27 ... Nd8[/B].

Now
[B]28 Nd6+[/B] forces either
[B]28 ... Kd8[/B] (if 27 ... Na7) or
[B]28 ... Kf8[/B] where 29 Rf1+ is uncomfortable for Black.

or we could make different threats with
[B]28 Re1[/B] (instead of the 28 Nxa5 pawn grab) which aims at both the e-pawn and, behind it, Black's N/e7 and K/e8, threatening 29 Nxe5 and 30 Nxg6. If 29 ... Bxe5 30 Rxe5 threatening 31 d6 if Black doesn't move his king. (And his a5-pawn is still undefended.)

-

[B]26 ... g5
[/B]Now[B]
27 Be4[/B] looks like a good place for this B. <== needs analysis

-

[B]26 ... h5 [/B] relieves the B/g7 of guard duty, but allows us to play Bg5 or Bf4. <== needs analysis

- - - - - - -

[B]26 ... Nd5[/B]

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2014-04-24 at 04:44
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Old 2014-04-28, 07:25   #2
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There's one note in the [B]26 ... bxc3 27 bxc3 Nxd4 28 Re1[/B] Nb3 29 Rb1 line that needs elaboration: "pins the N/b3 against the R/c8" is not cut-and-dried.

[QUOTE=cheesehead;371871]< snip >

[B]26 ... bxc3
[/B]
Here [B]27 bxc3[/B] seems best for us. (27 Bxc3 would leave our b-pawn on the half-open file, and almost any other move loses us a bishop. 27 Bxc6+ seems to have no purpose here.)
Then

< snip >

[B]2[/B][B]7 ... Nxd4[/B] would show that we haven't yet completely solved our d4-fork problem because we can't afford 28 cxd4 here.
But
[B]28 Re1[/B] (not 28 Rc1 Ne2+) _does_ threaten 29 cxd4, thus finishing our solution to the d4-fork problem. Now the N/d4 _must_ retreat or be captured.
(If 28 ... Nb3 29 Rb1 pins the N/b3 against the R/c8.)[/QUOTE]That last line needs further explanation to show that 29 ... Nxd2 30 Rxb8 Nxc4 does not let Black escape with two pieces for the rook!

After 29 ... Nxd2 we must instead play
30 Nd6+ to avoid losing that knight to 30 ... Nxc4.

Black now has two king moves, but both lead to material loss for Black. (This is a payoff for our having built a strong queen-side position.)

If 30 ... Kd8 31 Rxb8 threatens 32 Nxc8
If 31 ... Kc7 32 Rxc8+ Nxc8

(not 32 ... Kxd6 33 Nb7+

If 33 ... Ke5 34 Rc5+ Kf6 35 Rxa5 and we're up the Exchange plus a pawn,
If 33 ... Kd7 34 Rd8+ Kc7 35 Rxd2 we're a rook up. If now 35 ... Bxc3 36 Rc2 Nd5 37 Bxd5 exd5 38 Nxa5 d4 39 Nb3 and we're still up a rook
)

33 Ne8+ Kd8 (or Kb6 34 Nd7+ and 35 Nxg7) 34 Nxg7 e5 and we're a bishop up.

or

If 30 ... Kf8 31 Rxb8.

Then
If 31 ... Kg8 32 Nxc8 and we're a rook up.
If 31 ... Bxc3 32 Nxc8.
If 31 ... Nc6 or ... Nd5 or ... Nf5 32 Rxc8+

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2014-04-28 at 07:42
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Old 2014-04-29, 05:46   #3
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[QUOTE=cheesehead;371871][B]26 ... bxc3
[/B]
Here [B]27 bxc3[/B] seems best for us. (27 Bxc3 would leave our b-pawn on the half-open file, and almost any other move loses us a bishop. 27 Bxc6+ seems to have no purpose here.)
Then

[B][B]* 27 ... Nd5[/B] [/B][/QUOTE][B]28 Re1[/B] threatens both Bxd5 and Nxe6. Black can't guard against both with a single move, so we'll win another pawn and be two connected passed pawns up.

So, I guess [B][B]27 ... Nd5[/B][/B] isn't the main line after [B]26 ... bxc3 27 bxc3[/B].

As we saw previously, [B]26 ... Nd5[/B] is also adequately answered by 27 Re1 (which makes the same two threats that Black can't defend with a single move), so I think we can rule out ... Nd5 for now.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2014-04-29 at 06:15
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Old 2014-04-29, 06:20   #4
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Updated Black candidate move 26 analysis:

If [B]26 ... Nd5
[/B]
[B]27 Re1[/B] would deter 27 ... e5 and threaten both Bxd5 and Nxe6. Black can't guard against both threats with a single move, so we'll win at least another pawn and be two connected passed pawns up.

[B]27 ... Nxd4[/B] won't help Black because of [B]28 Bxd5[/B] (_not_ 28 cxd4 Bxd4+). E.g., if 28 ... Nc2 29 Bc6+ K-moves 30 Rc1.

- -

If [B]26 ... bxc3[/B]

Here [B]27 bxc3[/B] seems best for us. (27 Bxc3 would leave our b-pawn on the half-open file, and almost any other move loses us a bishop. 27 Bxc6+ seems to have no purpose here.)
Then

If [B]27 ... Nd5[/B], then [B]28 Re1[/B] has the same threats as 27 Re1 does after 26 ... Nd5.

If [B]27 ... Nxd4[/B] we can't afford 28 cxd4 yet, but
[B]28 Re1[/B] (not 28 Rc1 Ne2+) _does_ threaten 29 cxd4, thus finishing our solution to the d4-fork problem.
Now the N/d4 _must_ retreat or be captured.
(Black has two other tries, 28 ... Nc2 and 28 ... Nb3, but both would be to our advantage:
If 28 ... Nc2 29 Rc1 and the knight has nowhere safe to go.
If 28 ... Nb3 29 Rb1 pins the N/b3 against the R/c8. 29 ... Nxd2 30 Rxb8 Nxc4 does not let Black escape with two pieces for the rook:
After 29 ... Nxd2 we must instead play
30 Nd6+ to avoid losing that knight to 30 ... Nxc4.
Black now has two king moves, but both lead to material loss for Black. (This is a payoff for our having built a strong queen-side position.)
If 30 ... Kd8 31 Rxb8 threatens 32 Nxc8
If 31 ... Kc7 32 Rxc8+ Nxc8
(not 32 ... Kxd6 33 Nb7+
If 33 ... Ke5 34 Rc5+ Kf6 35 Rxa5 and we're up the Exchange plus a pawn,
If 33 ... Kd7 34 Rd8+ Kc7 35 Rxd2 we're a rook up. If now 35 ... Bxc3 36 Rc2 Nd5 37 Bxd5 exd5 38 Nxa5 d4 39 Nb3 and we're still up a rook)
33 Ne8+ Kd8 (or Kb6 34 Nd7+ and 35 Nxg7) 34 Nxg7 e5 and we're a bishop up.
or
If 30 ... Kf8 31 Rxb8, then
If 31 ... Kg8 32 Nxc8 and we're a rook up.
If 31 ... Bxc3 32 Nxc8.
If 31 ... Nc6 or ... Nd5 or ... Nf5 32 Rxc8+)

The only two safe retreats are
[B]28 ... Nc6[/B] or [B]28 ... Nf5[/B], whereupon (either case) we capture Black's e-pawn with
[B]29 Nxe6[/B] and we're a pawn up.

Black doesn't seem to have any other useful move to follow [B]26 ... bxc3 27 bxc3[/B].

[B]27 ... e5[/B] would be met by
[B]28 d5[/B] (not 28 dxe5 mundane pawn swap favoring Black) which forces [B]28 ... Na7[/B] or [B]28 ... Nd8[/B].

Now
[B]29 Nd6+[/B] forces either
[B]29 ... Kd8[/B] (if 28 ... Na7) or
[B] 29 ... Kf8[/B] where [B]30 Rf1+[/B] is uncomfortable for Black.

or we could make different threats with

[B]29 Re1[/B] (instead of the 29 Nxa5 pawn grab) which aims at both the e-pawn and, behind it, Black's N/e7 and K/e8, threatening [B]30 Nxe5[/B] and [B]31 Nxg6[/B]. If [B]30 ... Bxe5[/B] [B]31 Rxe5[/B] threatening 32 d6 if Black doesn't move his king. (And his a5-pawn is still undefended.)

-

If [B]26 ... Nxd4[/B]

[B] 27 cxd4 Bxd4+ 28 Be3[/B] would leave us up a knight for one pawn.

-

If [B]26 ... e5[/B]

[B] 27 d5[/B] has the same effect as previously-analyzed 28 d5 would have after 26 ... bxc3 27 bxc3 e5.

-

If [B]26 ... g5[/B]

[B]27 Re1[/B] threatens to win the e-pawn as in other lines.
Later, Be4 could be a good post.

-

If [B]26 ... h5[/B] relieves the B/g7 of guard duty, but
[B]27 Re1[/B] threatens to win the e-pawn as in other lines.
Later, Bg5 (or Bf4) could be a good post.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2014-04-29 at 06:56
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Old 2014-04-30, 13:29   #5
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Black's move was [url=http://www.mersenneforum.org/showpost.php?p=372293&postcount=141][b]26 ... bxc3[/b][/url] with a timestamp of 29 Apr 14, 18:26 GMT.

Our deadline (with a one-hour cut to allow for slight oversteppage, if you guys don't mind) is Tuesday, May 6, 17:26 GMT = Wednesday, May 7, 00:26 Thai time = Tuesday, May 6, 13:26 EDT = Tuesday, May 6, 12:36 CDT.
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Old 2014-04-30, 20:01   #6
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This morning, I had almost completed entering an analysis of all our alternatives to [B]27 bxc3[/B]. Suddenly, electrical problems here caused multiple reboot attempts, each featuring the intriguing message "Disk boot failure" just after the RAM check. Since I was late for an appointment, I just turned off my computer and went to my eye exam.

Upon waking from my nap to wait out the eye-dilation, I was cursing my decision to postpone a full disk backup until next weekend. Holding my breath, I turned my system back on. A lullaby of multiple blue-screen CHKDSK runs interspersed with reboots greeted me. They ended with a fleeting good-news message (something like "Windows corrected ..."). Then the screen resumed its normal working appearance, as though nothing had happened.

I decided this all had been a celestial warning that I shouldn't bore you guys with my full analysis ... so here's just the highlight:

I think the most viable alternative to [B]27 bxc3[/B] for us is:
[B]27 Bf4[/B]. But it seems to be a loser:
[B]27 ... cxb2 28 Rb1[/B] (not 28 Bxb8 bxa1/Q+)
[B]28 ... Bxd4+ 29 Be3
[/B](not 29 Ne3 Bxc5 30 Bxb8 Bxe3+ 31 Kf1 Ba6+ 32 Ke1 Nxb8 33 Rxb2 and Black is up three pieces and a pawn for a rook)
and now [speculation] 29 ... Rb4 30 Bxd4 Rxc4 31 Bf2 Rb4 32 Nd3 Rxa4 33 Rxb2 and Black is two (passed) pawns up.

So, [B]27 bxc3[/B] seems best.

Does anyone see anything better?

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2014-04-30 at 20:05
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Old 2014-04-30, 20:13   #7
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I checked out a few others and found them all bad.
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Old 2014-05-01, 00:54   #8
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We have the luxury of a solid, though unexciting [B]27 bxc3[/B] choice already in hand, in case we can't come up with some zingeroonie.

I retract my previous suggestion of a fast response. Let's peruse zingeroonie possibilities...

- - -

I'm a bit tired now for thorough analysis, so just tossing out some ideas:

Hmm ... I previously dismissed 27 Bxc3 on positional grounds (1: it leaves our b-pawn backward on the half-open file in front of their rook, 2: if Black doesn't play ... Nxd4, then that B has guard duty for our d-pawn), but let's take a re-look:

[B]27 Bxc3[/B]

(Pro: that B attacks their a-pawn.)

If [B]27 ... Nxd4[/B]

[B]28 Kf2[/B] (to avoid the ... Ne2+ fork threat). Our B/c3 has a discovered attack on their B/g7, which would be undefended if their N/d4 moves anywhere but ... Nf5.

We could then play 29 Re1 (or Rd1), but what might Black play on move 28 to blunt those?

What if [B]28 Bxa5[/B] here ??? (Note threat of 29 Nd6+ -- then ... Kf8 is only move. Suppose 29 Rf1 then 30 Nd6+ ??? -- Black could insert 28 ... h5 so as to guard against g4 after 29 or 30 ... Nf5)

(Not 28 Rf1 Ne2+ and 29 ... Nxc3)

-

If [B]27 ... ???[/B] What might Black do besides ... Nxd4 to take advantage of the awkwardness of our B-guarding-d-pawn situation after 27 Bxc3 ?

- - -

I'll probably analyze these deeper, later today or tomorrow

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2014-05-01 at 01:20
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Old 2014-05-01, 13:55   #9
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Ah, yes ... refreshed by sleep, I see more clearly now. :-)

[QUOTE=cheesehead;372411][B]27 Bxc3[/B]

< snip >
If [B]27 ... Nxd4[/B][/QUOTE]Actually, the best move here may be one familiar from other lines:
[B]28 Re1[/B] (preventing ... Ne2+)

In the 27 bxc3 analysis, we had a pawn on c3 and B on d2. Now, we have, instead, a pawn on b2 and B on c3. So now we have [I]three[/I] half-open or open files on which to place our rook -- the d-, e-, and f-files, aimed at the Black king or the file on either side of that king.

Tactical considerations mean that we have to play Re1 here to deter ... Ne2+, but we once the Black knight moves off d4, the d- and f-files would be possible rook locations.

Unfortunately, whereas after 27 bxc3 Nxd4 28 Re1 the N/d4 was forced to move lest it be captured by pawn, to Black's disadvantage, in this line the N/d4 is not as threatened by the Bxd4 capture (if 29 Bxd4 Bxd4+ and 30 ... Bxb2 Black has gained a pawn). So the N/d4 has no immediate need to move. Furthermore, while the N resides at d4, it provides an additional defender for the e6-pawn, so Black need not scurry to defend that target until we add still another attacker with Bh3 (or remove a defender with Nd6+ and Nxc8).

Another disadvantage of this position, compared to the one after 27 bxc3, is that our dark-square bishop no longer attacks the h6-pawn, relieving Black of the need to pay attention to that.

So, I see three distinct tactical disadvantages to our position after 27 Bxc3 Nxd4 28 Re1, compared to our position after 27 bxc3 Nxd4 28 Re1.

No zingeroonie here, alas.

Therefore, 27 bxc3 is still superior to 27 Bxc3.
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Old 2014-05-01, 18:58   #10
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After [B]27 bxc3[/B] another Black possibility we haven't explored yet is

[B]27 ... Nb4[/B] -- where the knight is, yes, temporarily immune from capture because of the d4-fork (28 cxb4 Bxd4+ and 29 ... Bxa1). Why might Black prefer this to 27 ... Nxd4 (besides foolishly hoping we hadn't yet seen the d4-fork) ? Maybe for a followup move by that knight (Na2, Nc2, Nd3, Nbd5 or Na6) -- so we'll need to look at each of those in our following analysis to see whether there's some real threat.

Anyway, just as with Nxd4 we must refrain from immediate capture.

Possible responses for us probably should include taking the main sting (king and rook fork) out of the d4-fork. A king move or a rook move would suffice for that, as long as we retain the possibility of meeting ... Bxd4+ with Be3 so as to guard our N/c5 which still remains vulnerable to the (king and knight fork) portion of the d4-fork.

[B]28 Rb1[/B] threatens 29 cxb4. However, that does NOT mean that we could meet a subsequent 29 ... axb4 with 30 Rxb4 or Bxb4, because our B/d2 is still tasked with responsibility of meeting ... Bxd4+ with Be3 to guard our N/c5. But that b4-pawn wouldn't be going anywhere soon, and we'd pick it up in the near future.
What about [B]28 ... Na2, Nc2, Nd3, or Nbd5[/B] follow-up? Each could be answered with [B]29 Rxb8[/B].
If [B]28 ... Na6 29 Rxb8 Nxb8 30 Nd6+ K-moves 31 Nxc8 and 32 Nxe6[/B] puts us up two (connected, passed) pawns.

[B]28 Rc1[/B] threatens 29 cxb4.
If [B]28 ... Na2[/B] annoys, but [B]29 Ra1[/B] forces either [B]29 ... Nb4[/B] where we can do [B]30 Rb1[/B] (so 28 Rb1 might have been better), or [B]29 ... Nxc3[/B] where [B]30 Bxc3[/B] stops all remaining d4-fork threat.
If [B]28 ... Nc2 29 Rxc2[/B] and [B]29 ... Rb1+[/B] is met by [B]30 Rc1[/B].
If [B]28 ... Nd3 29 Nxd3[/B]
If [B]28 ... Nbd5 29 Nd6+ K-move 30 Nxc8 and 31 Nxe6[/B]
If [B]28 ... Na6 29 Nd6+ K-move 30 Nxc8[/B] Here,
if 30 ... Kxc8 31 Nxa6 Black can't threaten much with his rook and our N/a6 can hop back safely to c5 ... and we're a bishop up.
if 30 ... Nxc8 31 Nxe6+ Ke8 or Ke7 32 Nxg7 and Black can't trap our knight: e.g. 32 ... Kf7 33 Bxh6 g5 34 Be4 Rb6 35 Rf1+ Kg8 36 Nf5 Kh7 37 Bxg5. We stay at least a piece and pawn up.
if 30 ... Nxc5 31 Nxe7 Nd3 32 Nc6+

- - -

I have to pause now. I'll return to finish analyses below.

[B]28 Rd1[/B] threatens 29 cxb4.
If [B]28 ... Na2, Nc2, Nd3, Nbd5, Na6[/B] ???

[B]28 Re1[/B] threatens 29 cxb4.
If [B]28 ... Na2, Nc2, Nd3, Nbd5, Na6[/B] ???

[B]28 Rf1[/B] threatens 29 cxb4.
If [B]28 ... Na2, Nc2, Nd3, Nbd5, Na6[/B] ???

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2014-05-01 at 19:06
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Old 2014-05-02, 02:08   #11
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[QUOTE=cheesehead;372394]
[B]27 Bf4[/B]. But it seems to be a loser:
[B]27 ... cxb2 28 Rb1[/B] (not 28 Bxb8 bxa1/Q+)
[B]28 ... Bxd4+ 29 Be3
[/B](not 29 Ne3 Bxc5 30 Bxb8 Bxe3+ 31 Kf1 Ba6+ 32 Ke1 Nxb8 33 Rxb2 and Black is up three pieces and a pawn for a rook)
and now [speculation] 29 ... Rb4 30 Bxd4 Rxc4 31 Bf2 Rb4 32 Nd3 Rxa4 33 Rxb2 and Black is two (passed) pawns up.
[/QUOTE]
This is indeed bad for us. They can directly 27 ...Bxd4+, to which they get at least a figure plus a pawn, plus we lose everything in the center.

(I had holiday for "labor day" yesterday, I spent the day at home doing different things around the house, but I had no time to look at the board, sorry. Anyhow, you are doing - again - a good job, I will try to follow your analyze later).
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