MVL Battles Komodo In Close Match With Commentary

MVL Battles Komodo In Close Match With Commentary

Yesterday's match between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Komodo offered a unique insight to the thought process of a super grandmaster. While playing the computer, MVL was providing live commentary.

"I'm here, I'm ready. It's gonna be exciting!" —Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, shortly before the match.

If you thought super grandmasters don't like playing against computers anymore (because they're too damn good these days!), you were wrong. If you tweak the format a little, there's still an interesting challenge for these players, and MVL was excited, like Hikaru Nakamura earlier.

Yesterday's format was similar to the Nakamura-Komodo match: First, five games of blitz (5+5) against Komodo levels 16-20 (the same engines available for all Chess.com users to play for free), with MVL playing White in all games. Then, six games of rapid (15+2) odds chess followed, against Komodo Monte Carlo.

The French GM said he had looked at the earlier odds match: "I was very surprised by how Komodo was holding his own in some, you know, very dodgy-looking positions. It definitely inspired me to take the lizard seriously!"

MVL picked up not only his mouse, but also the mike. He commented on his play throughout the match.

In the first game, Vachier-Lagrave confirmed his suspicion that he would be the favorite against the lower levels of Komodo. He said he was trying to avoid positions where one needs to calculate a lot, and that worked well:


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Great chess from both Vachier-Lagrave and the unfeeling Komodo! Check out the match replay on YouTube!

This man-vs-machine event was broadcast live on on Chess.com/TV and Twitch.tv/chess with full commentary by MVL and IM Daniel Rensch. You can replay that here:

[Event "Live Chess"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2018.09.05"] [Round "?"] [White "LyonBeast"] [Black "Computer16"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2869"] [BlackElo "2158"] [PlyCount "131"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. d4 c5 6. dxc5 Bxc5 7. Bg5 Nc6 8. e3 h6 9. Bh4 Nb4?! {A typical (short-term) thrust for engines at a lower level, said MVL.} (9... Be7 10. Be2 d5 11. O-O Nb4 12. Qb3 Ne4 13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. a3 Nxc3 15. bxc3 Na6 16. cxd5 Nc5 17. Qa2 {Van Wely,L (2691)-Miezis,N (2580) Istanbul 2012}) 10. Qd2 g5?! {Too weakening.} 11. Bg3 Na6 12. a3 g4 13. Ne5 Bb6 14. h3?! (14. e4 {Already gives White a winning advantage but MVL "relaxed a little."}) 14... Nh5 {A good move, but Black is still in trouble.} 15. Bf4 d6 16. Nxg4 Nxf4 17. exf4 h5 18. Ne3 Nc5 19. Qc2 Nd7 20. Be2 f5 21. O-O-O Nf6 22. g4! {Profiting from the many weakening moves Komodo played earlier. MVL is crusing from here.} 22... Bd7 23. gxf5 Kh8 24. Rhg1 Qe7 25. Rg6 Bxe3+ 26. fxe3 exf5 27. Qd2 Be8 28. Rg5 Rd8 29. Bd3 Bf7 30. Rxf5 Rde8 31. e4 Be6 32. Rg5 Rd8 33. Rdg1 b5 34. Rxb5 a6 35. Rbg5 Rg8 36. f5 Bf7 37. Rxg8+ Rxg8 38. Qh6+ Nh7 39. Rxg8+ Kxg8 40. Nd5 Bxd5 41. cxd5 Nf6 42. Kb1 Qe5 43. Ka2 a5 44. h4 Qd4 45. Bc2 Qe5 46. Qd2 Kf7 47. Qxa5 Nxe4 48. Qb4 Nf6 49. a4 Nxd5 50. Qe4 Ne3 51. Qxe5 dxe5 52. Be4 Kf6 53. a5 Nc4 54. a6 Nb6 55. a7 Kg7 56. Kb3 Kf8 57. Kb4 Ke7 58. Kb5 Nc8 59. a8=Q Nd6+ 60. Kc5 Nxf5 61. Bxf5 e4 62. Qxe4+ Kf8 63. Qe6 Kg7 64. Qe7+ Kg8 65. b4 Kh8 66. Qf8# 1-0

The next game went even easier, as Komodo let a knight be trapped during the opening phase. Level 18 was clearly more up to the task.

MVL had no reason not to repeat the Closed Sicilian, but this time Komodo played his opponent's "favorite setup," one that has been advocated also by e.g. the late Russian trainer Mark Dvoretsky. In a much closer game, the human still conquered the engine in the end, with a nice positional exchange sac:

[Event "Live Chess"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2018.09.05"] [Round "?"] [White "LyonBeast"] [Black "Computer18"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2869"] [BlackElo "2137"] [PlyCount "151"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 g6 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 e6 6. Be3 d6 7. f4 Nge7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Nd4 10. Qd2 Rb8 11. Nd1 e5 (11... b5 12. c3 Nxf3+ 13. Bxf3 b4 14. c4 Nc6 15. Bg2 Nd4 16. Bf2 a5 17. Ne3 {½-½ Guseinov,G (2623)-Zhigalko,S (2656) Nakhchivan 2013}) 12. c3 Nxf3+ 13. Bxf3 (13. Rxf3 Qc7 14. Rf1 Be6 15. Nf2 b5 16. d4 f6 17. Rfd1 Rfd8 18. Qe1 Bf7 19. Nd3 exd4 20. cxd4 c4 {Pineda,J (1984) -San Diego,M (2065) Manila 2015}) 13... f5 14. Nf2 Be6 15. Rae1 fxe4 16. Nxe4 Nf5 17. Ng5 Qd7 18. Bf2 Rfd8 19. g4 Ne7 20. Nxe6 Qxe6 21. Bh4 Rd7 22. Qg2 Kh8 23. Be4 Rf8 24. fxe5 Rxf1+ 25. Rxf1 d5 26. Bf3 Bxe5 27. Re1 Nc6 28. Kh1 Qd6 29. Bf2 a6 30. g5 b6 31. h4 Kg7 32. h5 Kh8 33. h6 Rf7 34. Kg1 Rd7 35. c4 Nd4 36. Bxd5 Re7 37. Qg4 Nf5 38. Re2 Qb8 39. Kg2 Qd8 40. b3 Qd6 41. Re4 Re8 42. b4 Qf8 43. bxc5 bxc5 44. Qe2 Qe7 45. Rxe5 Qxe5 46. Qxe5+ Rxe5 47. Bxc5 Re2+ 48. Kf3 Rxa2 49. Bb4 Rc2 50. Ba5 Ne7 51. Bf7 Rc1 52. Ke2 Nc6 53. Kd2 Nxa5 54. Kxc1 Nb7 55. Bd5 Nc5 56. Kc2 a5 57. d4 Na6 58. Kc3 a4 59. c5 a3 60. c6 Nc7 61. Bc4 Ne8 62. Kb4 Nc7 63. Kc5 a2 64. Bxa2 Ne6+ 65. Kb6 Nc7 66. Bb1 Nd5+ 67. Kb7 Kg8 68. c7 Ne7 69. d5 Kf7 70. Ba2 Ke8 71. d6 Kd7 72. dxe7 Kd6 73. e8=Q Kc5 74. Qe4 Kb5 75. c8=Q Ka5 76. Qc5# 1-0

Also in the next game, MVL seemed to be cruising to victory after more positional mistakes by Komodo. The turning point was move 30, when he asked co-commentator IM Daniel Rensch if he supported moving the king to g2. Rensch approved, but soon he added: "First rule of thumb: never listen to Danny!"

Missing a tactic, Vachier-Lagrave added more mistakes and suffered an "embarrassing" loss, as he said himself.

[Event "Live Chess"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2018.09.05"] [Round "?"] [White "LyonBeast"] [Black "Computer19"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2869"] [BlackElo "2153"] [PlyCount "76"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. f4 e6 7. Nf3 Nge7 8. O-O O-O 9. Be3 Nd4 10. Qd2 Rb8 11. Rae1 Bd7 (11... b5 12. Nd1 b4 13. g4 f5 14. gxf5 gxf5 15. Ng5 h6 16. Nh3 Ng6 17. c3 bxc3 18. bxc3 Nb5 {Pridorozhni,A (2565) -Sarana,A (2541) Sochi 2017}) 12. Nd1 (12. Nh4 f5 13. Nd1 Ba4 14. b3 Bb5 15. exf5 Nexf5 16. Nxf5 Nxf5 17. Bf2 Qd7 18. g4 Nh6 {Nikitinykh,B (2505) -Kharitonov,A (2354) corr. 2002}) 12... Nxf3+ 13. Bxf3 Qb6 14. c3 d5 15. Bf2 dxe4 16. dxe4 Qc7 17. Ne3 Rfd8 18. Qc2 e5? {Again, the first error by the computer is a positional one.} (18... Bb5 19. Be2 Bc6) 19. f5 Qa5 20. Be2 gxf5?! {This is bad as well.} 21. exf5 b5 22. g4 Bf6 23. h4 Nc6 24. g5 Bg7 25. f6 Bf8 26. Bd3 {And Black is completely lost.} 26... Kh8 27. Bxh7 Qa4 28. b3 Qf4 29. Be4 Bd6 30. Kg2 ({The simplest was} 30. Ng2 Qg4 31. Qd1) 30... Nd4 31. cxd4? {MVL's first slip of the match. "I guess I relaxed a bit too fast."} (31. Qd3 {was still winning.}) 31... exd4 32. Bg1? ({White can still claim an advantage with} 32. Rg1! dxe3 33. Rxe3) 32... Bh3+ (32... Qg3+ 33. Kh1 Qxh4+ 34. Bh2 Re8 {was even stronger:} 35. Ng4 Rxe4! 36. Qxe4 Bxh2 37. Nxh2 Qxe4+ 38. Rxe4 Bc6) 33. Kh1 Qxh4 34. Bh2? ({Missing} 34. Ng2! Bxg2+ 35. Kxg2 Qxg5+ 36. Kh1 {and White might still be able to defend this.}) 34... Bxf1 35. Rxf1 dxe3 36. Kg1 Qxg5+ 37. Qg2 Bxh2+ 38. Kxh2 Rd2 0-1

Except for one game, Vachier-Lagrave demonstrated the weakness of engines on weaker levels: positional chess. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The next game saw something truly odd. In a slightly worse bishop endgame, MVL was defending successfully Komodo's attempts to make progress, but then suddenly...it flagged! That's right, the engine lost on time.

Vachier-Lagrave: "That shouldn't have happened... But I'll take it. I guess he felt bad for me for losing that earlier game!"

The Komodo team later stated (about this fairly historic event for computer chess) that it had to do with their server settings, and it would adjust certain parameters to account for Internet lag to prevent it from happening again.

[Event "Live Chess"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2018.09.05"] [Round "?"] [White "LyonBeast"] [Black "komodo"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2869"] [BlackElo "2420"] [PlyCount "129"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 Bg4 4. d4 dxe4 5. Nxe4 e6 6. Be2 Nd7 7. O-O Ngf6 8. Nxf6+ Nxf6 9. h3 Bxf3 10. Bxf3 Bd6 (10... Qc7 11. c4 Be7 12. Qa4 O-O 13. Be3 e5 14. dxe5 Qxe5 15. Qb3 Bd6 16. g3 Qe7 {Kovchan,A (2576)-Starostits,I (2453) Palma de Mallorca 2015}) 11. c3 Qc7 12. g3 (12. Bg5 Bf4 13. Bxf4 Qxf4 14. Qc1 Qd6 15. a4 a5 16. Qg5 O-O 17. Rad1 Rad8 {Klein,P (2120)-Jakubek,P (2285) Slovakia 1997}) 12... O-O 13. Qc2 h6 14. Kg2 Rad8 15. Re1 Rfe8 16. Re2 Rd7 17. b4 a5 18. a3 Ra8 19. Rb1 Bf8 20. Bf4 Qc8 21. h4 axb4 22. axb4 Nd5 23. Bd2 Ra3 24. c4 Ne7 25. Qb2 Qa8 26. Bc3 Qa6 27. Ree1 b5 28. Ra1 Rxa1 29. Rxa1 Qb6 30. c5 Qd8 31. Ra6 Rc7 32. Qa2 Qe8 33. Ra8 Rc8 34. Rxc8 Qxc8 35. h5 Qd8 36. Qa7 Nd5 37. Bd2 Be7 38. Qb7 Qe8 39. Bxd5 exd5 40. Be3 Bf6 41. Kg1 g5 42. hxg6 fxg6 43. Qc7 g5 44. g4 Qe6 45. Kf1 Bg7 46. Qd8+ Bf8 47. Qc7 Be7 48. Ke1 Kf7 49. Kd2 Kg6 50. f3 Bf6 51. Qb7 Bd8 52. Qb8 Qd7 53. Qa8 Kg7 54. Ke2 h5 55. gxh5 Kh6 56. Qb8 Qc7 57. Qxc7 Bxc7 58. Kf2 Kxh5 59. Bd2 Kg6 60. Ke2 Kf5 61. Be1 Bf4 62. Kd3 Bh2 63. Bd2 Bg3 64. Ke2 Bc7 65. Kd3 {Komodo lost on time.} 1-0

After this, it was odds time! MVL played six rapid games (15+2) with various starting positions, giving odds to the engine. For these games, the French GM played an updated version of Komodo Monte Carlo, which was "much stronger than what we had for the match with Hikaru," said the Komodo programmer GM Larry Kaufman.\

Komodo Monte Carlo was running on a powerful, 16-core computer (i9-7960x, overclocked to 4.1 GHz, with 64 GB RAM and six-piece Syzygy endgame tablebases). Except for the first, MVL was playing Black.

Odds Game 1: f7 pawn removed and two moves for White to start the game.

Vachier-Lagrave went for an exchange French (which is "usually not as drawish as it looks!"). Losing his extra pawn quickly was "not ideal" but he kept an open position with the bishop pair. It was hard to make progress, but he avoided a move repetition anyway in a position where he was still better.

A tactical phase followed and MVL lost a pawn, but the resulting rook endgame was still within drawing margins. Time trouble sealed the human's fate here.

[Event "Live Chess"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2018.09.05"] [Round "?"] [White "LyonBeast"] [Black "PlayKomodo"] [Result "0-1"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "rnbqkbnr/ppppp1pp/8/8/4P3/8/PPPP1PPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] [WhiteElo "2869"] [BlackElo "2960"] [PlyCount "110"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. d4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Bd3 Nf6 5. O-O Nc6 6. c4 Bg4 7. Nc3 Nxd4 8. cxd5 ({MVL had planned} 8. Qe1+ Be7 9. Nxd4 {but had missed} 9... dxc4 {although even that is still quite good for White:} 10. Bxc4 Qxd4 11. Bb3 {but MVL didn't like losing his extra pawn this early in the game.}) 8... Bxf3 9. Qa4+! c6 10. Qxd4 Bxd5 11. Re1+ Be7 12. Bg5 O-O 13. Nxd5 cxd5 {"It's clearly not ideal but I do have a serious advantage." - MVL} 14. Re2 (14. Qh4!?) 14... Qd7 15. Rae1 {"Against a human I would expect to win almost effortlessly." - MVL} 15... Bd8! {A great move, sometimes threatening ...Bb6 hitting f2.} 16. Qh4 g6 17. Re5 Qc7 18. Qh3 Qf7 19. Qe6 Kg7 20. Qh3 Kg8 21. Qe6 Kg7 22. h3 Bb6 23. Qxf7+ Rxf7 24. R1e2 Raf8 25. Bh4 Bd4 26. Re6?! (26. Re7 {was equal.}) 26... Nh5! {Now White is struggling a bit.} 27. Rd2 Nf4 28. Re7 Bxf2+ 29. Kxf2 Nxd3+ 30. Ke3?! (30. Kg1) 30... Rxe7+ 31. Bxe7 Re8 32. Kxd3 Rxe7 33. Kd4 Kf6 34. Rf2+ Kg5 35. g3?! (35. Kxd5 Kh4 36. Rc2 Kg3 37. b4) 35... h5 36. Kxd5 Re3 37. Rg2 Re1 38. Kd6?! (38. Rf2 Rg1 39. Rf3 {was a better chance.}) 38... Rh1 39. Kc7 b5! {Now Black is faster on the kingside.} 40. Kb7 Rxh3 41. Kxa7 Kg4 42. Kb6 Rxg3 43. Rd2 g5 44. Kxb5 h4 45. a4 h3 46. b4 Rg2 47. Rd8 h2 48. Rh8 Re2 49. a5 Kg3 50. a6 Kg2 51. Kc6 h1=Q 52. Rxh1 Kxh1 53. b5 Ra2 54. Kc5 Ra1 55. b6 Ra5+ 0-1

Odds Game 2: Queen for rook and knight.

For this game, MVL said he wanted to try and open the center since that way his queen should be stronger than the rook and knight. However, he kind of missed 8.e4, a move against his strategy.

Subsequently he got outplayed, probably underestimating the pawn on b6. MVL was not happy with this game, even though he knew in advance: "it was going to be one of the toughest" of the match. 

[Event "Live Chess"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2018.09.05"] [Round "?"] [White "PlayKomodo"] [Black "LyonBeast"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2bqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNB1KBNR w KQk - 0 1"] [WhiteElo "2960"] [BlackElo "2869"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. e3 g6 3. b4 Bg7 4. d4 O-O 5. Nbd2 d6 6. Rb1 e5 7. dxe5 dxe5 8. e4 Qe7 9. h3 Rd8 10. Bd3 Be6 11. b5 Bxa2 12. Ra1 Be6 13. O-O Nh5 14. Rxa7 Nf4 15. Rxb7 Qc5 16. Nb1 Ra8 17. Be3 Qd6 18. b6 c5? ({MVL should have tried} 18... Nxd3 {e.g.} 19. Rd1 cxb6 20. Rxd3 Qc6 21. Rxb6 Qxc2) 19. Nbd2 Qc6 20. Ra7 Rb8 {By now, MVL had given up hopes to win the game.} 21. Bxf4 exf4 22. Nc4 Qb5 ({Perhaps} 22... Rxb6 23. Nxb6 Qxb6 24. Ra8+ Bf8 {was a decent way to bail out.}) 23. Nfd2 g5 24. Rb1 Qc6 25. Nf3 h6 26. Na5 {This knight is surprisingly strong here for the remainder of the game.} 26... Qd6 27. e5 Qd5 28. b7 Bf8 29. Bc4 Qe4 30. Re1 Qg6 31. Bxe6 Qxe6 32. Ra8 Qe8 33. Rxb8 Qxb8 34. Rb1 1-0

Odds Game 3: f2 and g2 pawns removed.

White's king looks terribly weak from the very start, but 1.d3 and 2.c4 created a safe haven on c2. It didn't get that far, and in fact the game quickly reached an endgame with a healthy extra pawn for Vachier-Lagrave—just one, because he missed a tactic: "This is already a huge success for Komodo, but he'll need one more success," he said.

What followed was, even though expected, an incredibly strong defense from the computer. It's exactly this aspect that top grandmasters mention when they are asked what they have learned from computers: that there is often still a defense in the most horrible-looking position.

[Event "Live Chess"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2018.09.05"] [Round "?"] [White "PlayKomodo"] [Black "LyonBeast"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPP2P/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] [WhiteElo "2960"] [BlackElo "2869"] [PlyCount "100"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. d3 e5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Bg5 h6 4. Bxf6 Qxf6 5. Nc3 e4 6. Qd2 Bb4 7. Bg2 Qh4+ 8. Kd1 f5 9. dxe4 fxe4 10. Bxe4! Qxe4 ({For a moment MVL had forgotten that} 10... Bxc3 {is met by the intermediate move} 11. Bg6+) 11. Nxe4 Bxd2 12. Kxd2 {"This is already a huge success for Komodo, but he'll need one more success." (MVL)} 12... b6 13. Nc3 Bb7 14. Nf3 O-O 15. Raf1 Na6 16. e4 Nc5 17. Ke3 Rae8 18. Nd2 Ne6 19. Rhg1 Rxf1 20. Rxf1 Rf8 21. Rd1 Rf7 22. Nd5 d6 23. Rg1 Kh7 24. Nf3 a6 25. b4 b5 26. cxb5 axb5 27. a3 g5 28. Nc3 Bc6 29. Ne2 Re7 30. Ng3 Kg6 31. h4 Rf7 32. hxg5 hxg5 33. Ne2 Bd7 34. e5 Bc6 35. Nfd4 Nxd4 36. Nxd4 Bd7 37. e6! Re7 38. Kd3 Bxe6 39. Nxb5 g4 40. Rc1 g3 41. Nxc7 Bf5+ 42. Kd4 g2 43. Rg1 Rxc7 44. Rxg2+ Kf6 45. Kd5 Rc3 46. Kxd6 Rxa3 47. Rd2 Rd3+ 48. Rxd3 Bxd3 49. Kd5 Ke7 50. b5 Bxb5 1/2-1/2

Odds Game 4: Knight for f7 pawn.

With a piece in return for a pawn, the absence of which weakened black's kingside, it was logical for Komodo to go for a full attack from the very start. 

The turning point was move 27. "Ah, Bg6 is a move I actually anticipated one move before and I just forgot it existed," said MVL, who went down in a devastating attack.

"In this game obviously I [played] some terrible game but I am very impressed with the way Komodo handled it."

[Event "Live Chess"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2018.09.06"] [Round "?"] [White "PlayKomodo"] [Black "LyonBeast"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "rnbqkbnr/ppppp1pp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKB1R w KQkq - 0 1"] [WhiteElo "2960"] [BlackElo "2869"] [PlyCount "65"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Bc4 e6 4. Nd2 d5 5. Bd3 dxe4 6. Nxe4 Be7 7. c3 O-O 8. Qe2 Nc6 9. Nxf6+ Bxf6 10. Qc2 g6 11. h4 Qe7 12. Bh6 Bg7 13. Bg5 Bf6 14. Bh6 Rf7 15. O-O-O Bd7 16. f4 Bg7 17. Bg5 Bf6 18. Bh6 Rd8 19. Kb1 Be8 20. Be4 Rd6 21. h5 g5 22. Rde1 gxf4 23. Bxf4 e5 24. Bh2 Kh8 25. dxe5 Nxe5 26. g4 Bd7 27. Bg6! Rf8?! ({It was time to give back some material:} 27... Re6 28. Bxf7 Nxf7) 28. g5! {White is taking over.} 28... hxg6 29. hxg6 Kg8 30. gxf6 Rdxf6? ({The best chance was} 30... Qxf6 31. Bxe5 Bf5 32. Bxf6 Bxc2+ 33. Kxc2 Rfxf6) 31. Bxe5 Bf5 (31... Qxe5 32. Rxe5 Rf1+ 33. Re1) 32. Qxf5 Rxf5 33. Rh8# 1-0

Odds Game 5: Rook and a2 pawn for knight.

MVL thought he had the most significant advantage in this game. His strategy? "Open as many lines as I can."

The expectations came true: the man dominated the machine and although the latter defended strongly of course, it couldn't hold. A good game by MVL.

[Event "Live Chess"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2018.09.06"] [Round "?"] [White "PlayKomodo"] [Black "LyonBeast"] [Result "0-1"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1bqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/1PPPPPPP/1NBQKBNR w Kkq - 0 1"] [WhiteElo "2960"] [BlackElo "2869"] [PlyCount "134"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 Bg4 5. Bg2 Qe6+ 6. Kf1 Bh3 7. Kg1 Bxg2 8. Kxg2 Qc6 9. Re1 e6 10. Kg1 Bd6 11. d4 O-O-O 12. Qe2 Rhe8 13. c3 h6 14. Nbd2 Kb8 15. Ne5 Bxe5 16. dxe5 Nd7 17. Nf3 Nc5 18. Be3 Nb3 19. Nd4 Nxd4 20. Bxd4 Rd7 21. b4 a6 22. h4 g6 23. h5 Rg8 24. Qg4 Rdd8 25. Rd1 gxh5 26. Qxh5 Rg6 27. Qe2 Rh8 28. c4 b6 29. b5 axb5 30. cxb5 Qb7 31. Rc1 h5 32. Rc6 h4 33. g4 Rd8 34. Be3 Qa7 35. Rc1 Rd5 36. Qf3 Qa4 37. g5 Rd7 38. Qc6 Rd1+ 39. Rxd1 Qxd1+ 40. Kh2 Qd8 41. Qf3 Qd7 42. Kh3 Rg8 43. Kxh4 Rd8 44. Kh3 Qe8 45. Kg3 Rd5 46. Qf4 Rxb5 47. Qa4 Kb7 48. Qe4+ Rd5 49. f4 Qb5 50. g6 fxg6 51. Qxg6 Qd3 52. Qxd3 Rxd3 53. Kg4 Rxe3 54. Kg5 Kc6 55. f5 Rxe5 56. Kf4 Rxf5+ 57. Ke4 b5 58. Kd3 Kd5 59. Kc3 c5 60. Kc2 Kd4 61. Kd2 Rf2+ 62. Ke1 Ke3 63. Kd1 b4 64. Kc1 b3 65. Kb1 c4 66. Kc1 c3 67. Kb1 Rf1# 0-1

Odds Game 6: Knightmare! All pieces knights vs normal piece set with knights removed.

In the craziest of starting positions, Vachier-Lagrave went for a double fianchetto, something he had decided before the match. Annotating this insane game is asking too much of this author today, but MVL himself said didn't like giving up his e-pawn so easily (as it restricts), and he also wasn't sure of his plan of going for the h-pawn.

[Event "Live Chess"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2018.09.06"] [Round "-"] [White "PlayKomodo"] [Black "LyonBeast"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1bqkb1r/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/NNNNKNNN w kq - 0 1"] [WhiteElo "2960"] [BlackElo "2869"] [TimeControl "900+2"] [EndTime "16:05:02 PDT"] [Termination "Game drawn by repetition"] 1. d4 {[%clk 0:14:58.9]} 1... g6 {[%clk 0:14:58.8]} 2. Nbd2 {[%clk 0:14:55.9]} 2... Bg7 {[%clk 0:14:59.9]} 3. Ngf3 {[%clk 0:14:27.4]} 3... b6 {[%clk 0:15:00.5]} 4. Nab3 {[%clk 0:13:59.5]} 4... Bb7 {[%clk 0:15:00.6]} 5. c4 {[%clk 0:13:32.3]} 5... e6 {[%clk 0:14:57.8]} 6. g4 {[%clk 0:13:05.8]} 6... c5 {[%clk 0:14:07.1]} 7. e3 {[%clk 0:12:39.9]} 7... d5 {[%clk 0:13:53.1]} 8. cxd5 {[%clk 0:12:14.6]} 8... Bxd5 {[%clk 0:13:49.4]} 9. dxc5 {[%clk 0:11:50]} 9... bxc5 {[%clk 0:13:51.3]} 10. e4 {[%clk 0:11:26]} 10... Bxb3 {[%clk 0:13:51.3]} 11. Ncxb3 {[%clk 0:11:02.6]} 11... O-O {[%clk 0:13:53.2]} 12. Nhg3 {[%clk 0:10:39.8]} 12... f5 {[%clk 0:13:26.3]} 13. gxf5 {[%clk 0:10:41.7]} 13... exf5 {[%clk 0:13:26]} 14. Nxc5 {[%clk 0:10:21.9]} 14... Qe7 {[%clk 0:13:22.1]} 15. Na4 {[%clk 0:09:59.9]} 15... fxe4 {[%clk 0:13:20.6]} 16. Ng1 {[%clk 0:09:38.5]} 16... Rac8 {[%clk 0:12:15.6]} 17. Ngxe4 {[%clk 0:09:17.6]} 17... Rc4 {[%clk 0:11:07]} 18. Nxc4 {[%clk 0:08:57.3]} 18... Qxe4+ {[%clk 0:11:06.7]} 19. Nfe3 {[%clk 0:08:40.3]} 19... Qh1 {[%clk 0:11:06.2]} 20. Kf1 {[%clk 0:08:21]} 20... Qxh2 {[%clk 0:11:07.1]} 21. Nc5 {[%clk 0:08:03.7]} 21... Rf7 {[%clk 0:10:42.6]} 22. Ne4 {[%clk 0:07:45.4]} 22... Re7 {[%clk 0:10:24.2]} 23. Ncd2 {[%clk 0:07:27.6]} 23... Qh1 {[%clk 0:09:50.9]} 24. f3 {[%clk 0:07:10.3]} 24... Qh2 {[%clk 0:09:45]} 25. Ne2 {[%clk 0:07:01.8]} 25... h5 {[%clk 0:09:39.4]} 26. Ndf2 {[%clk 0:06:45.2]} 26... Rd7 {[%clk 0:09:20.9]} 27. f4 {[%clk 0:06:29.1]} 27... Qh4 {[%clk 0:09:15.3]} 28. b3 {[%clk 0:06:21.5]} 28... Qd8 {[%clk 0:09:04.9]} 29. Nec4 {[%clk 0:06:18.7]} 29... Rf7 {[%clk 0:08:35.8]} 30. Nf3 {[%clk 0:06:03.2]} 30... Qd5 {[%clk 0:08:30.9]} 31. Kg2 {[%clk 0:05:48.1]} 31... Re7 {[%clk 0:08:28.1]} 32. N2c3 {[%clk 0:05:26.2]} 32... Bxc3 {[%clk 0:08:03.5]} 33. Nxc3 {[%clk 0:05:05.6]} 33... Qf5 {[%clk 0:08:04.8]} 34. Nce5 {[%clk 0:04:47.4]} 34... Qc2 {[%clk 0:07:04]} 35. Ne4 {[%clk 0:04:29.1]} 35... Qxa2 {[%clk 0:06:50.9]} 36. Nh4 {[%clk 0:04:11.9]} 36... Qxb3 {[%clk 0:06:42.2]} 37. Nhxg6 {[%clk 0:03:55.8]} 37... Rxe5 {[%clk 0:06:10.4]} 38. Nxe5 {[%clk 0:03:57.7]} 38... a5 {[%clk 0:06:10.8]} 39. Nf6+ {[%clk 0:03:44.4]} 39... Kf8 {[%clk 0:06:05.9]} 40. Nfd7+ {[%clk 0:03:29.9]} 40... Ke8 {[%clk 0:05:26.9]} 41. f5 {[%clk 0:03:31.8]} 41... a4 {[%clk 0:05:28.1]} 42. Ne4 {[%clk 0:03:21.4]} 42... a3 {[%clk 0:05:21.7]} 43. f6 {[%clk 0:03:21.4]} 43... a2 {[%clk 0:05:21.5]} 44. f7+ {[%clk 0:03:12.3]} 44... Qxf7 {[%clk 0:05:22.2]} 45. Nd6+ {[%clk 0:03:04]} 45... Ke7 {[%clk 0:05:21.8]} 46. Ndxf7 {[%clk 0:02:56.6]} 46... a1=Q {[%clk 0:05:22.1]} 47. Ng5 {[%clk 0:02:47.1]} 47... Qc1 {[%clk 0:05:02.4]} 48. Ngf3 {[%clk 0:02:37.7]} 48... Ke6 {[%clk 0:04:54.2]} 49. Nd4+ {[%clk 0:02:27.3]} 49... Kd5 {[%clk 0:04:51.9]} 50. Ndf3 {[%clk 0:02:22.3]} 50... Qh6 {[%clk 0:04:40.7]} 51. Kh3 {[%clk 0:02:12.8]} 51... Qf4 {[%clk 0:04:37.5]} 52. Nb6+ {[%clk 0:02:04]} 52... Ke4 {[%clk 0:04:35.8]} 53. Nbc4 {[%clk 0:01:55.7]} 53... Kd5 {[%clk 0:04:28.7]} 54. Nb6+ {[%clk 0:01:57.3]} 54... Ke6 {[%clk 0:04:28.1]} 55. Nbc4 {[%clk 0:01:50.2]} 55... Kd5 {[%clk 0:04:17.9]} 56. Nb6+ {[%clk 0:01:42.7]} 56... Ke6 {[%clk 0:04:18.8]} 57. Nbc4 {[%clk 0:01:37.4]} 57... Kd5 {[%clk 0:04:19.7]} 1/2-1/2

The final score was 6-5 for MVL, but that included the warm-up games. "It is tough, but it was a lot of fun anyway," Vachier-Lagrave finished the show, basically summarizing the feeling of the fans watching. He also promised to start streaming on Twitch soon!

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