In the
[previous post](http://www.neverendingbooks.org/index.php?p=309) we have
seen that it is important to have lots of mobile pieces around in the
endgame and that it is hard for a computer-program to evaluate a
position correctly. In fact, we illustrated this with a position which
‘clearly’ looks much better for Black (the computer) whereas it is
already lost! In fact, the computer lost this particular game already 7
plies earlier. Consider the position

$\xymatrix@=.3cm @!C @R=.7cm{.& & & & & & & & & & & & & \\ & & & \SBlack \connS & & \bull{d}{5} \conn & & \bull{e}{5} \conn & & \bull{f}{5} \conn & & \bull{g}{5} \conn & & \bull{h}{5} \conn & & \SWhite \connS & & \SWhite \connS & & \SWhite \conneS & & & \\ & & \SBlack \connS & & \SBlack \connS & & \Black{6} \connS & & \bull{e}{4} \conn& & \bull{f}{4} \conn & & \bull{g}{4} \conn & & \bull{h}{4} \conn & & \SWhite \connS & & \SWhite \connS & & \SWhite \conneS & & \\ & \SBlack \connbeginS & & \SBlack \connS & & \BDvonn{2} \connS & & \bull{d}{3} \conn & & \SBlack \connS & & \BDvonn{3} \connS & & \White{4} \connS & & \SWhite \connS & & \Dvonn \connS & & \SWhite \connS & & \SWhite \connendS & . \\ & & \Black{5} \connbeginS & & \SBlack \connS & & \SBlack \connS & & \bull{d}{2} \conn & & \SBlack \connS & & \bull{f}{2} \conn & & \bull{g}{2} \conn & & \SWhite \connS & & \SWhite \connS & & \SWhite \connendS & & \\ & & & \bull{a}{1} \con & & \bull{b}{1} \con & & \Black{5} \conS & & \bull{d}{1} \con & & \bull{e}{1} \con & & \bull{f}{1} \con & & \bull{g}{1} \con & & \bull{h}{1} \con & & \White{2} & & & \\ .& & & & & & & & & & & & & }$

Probably, Black lost the
game with its last move d1-f3 thereby disconnecting its pieces into two
clusters. White (the human player) must already have realized at this
moment he had a good chance of winning (as indicated in the previous
post) by letting Black run out of moves by building large stacks on the
third row, White building a stack of the appropriate size which then
jumps on the largest Black stack on the final move. Btw. this technique
is called *sharpshooting* in Dvonn-parlance

The concept
of manipulating the height of a stack so that it can land precisely on a
critical space. It’s a matter of counting and one-digit addition. Notice
that this doesn’t necessarily mean putting your own stacks atop one
another – the best sharpshooting moves are moves which also neutralize.
To counter a sharpshooting move is called “spoiling”.

But
for this strategy to have a chance, White must keep the Black stacks
containing the Dvonn pieces on the third row. At the moment the stack on
c3 can move to c1 or to c5 and with his next move White counters this

To spoil a move or
prevent a lifting move by moving atop the enemy stack. Even if the
opponent has enough control to retake the stack, he cannot move it
because it has become taller.

So, White sacrifies his
height 4 stack on g3 with the move g3-c3. Black must take back
immediately (if not, White moves c3-i3 and all Black’s material in the
farmost right cluster is lost) but now the previously mobile Black
height 2 stack at c3 has become an immobile (or *old stack*) height 7
stack which has no option but to stay on c3 (clearly Black will never
move it to j3…). Next, White performs a similar startegy to
neutralize the *young* height 3 Black stack on f3 by overloading it by 2
and hence after the forced recapture it becomes a height 6 Black stack
which must remain on f3 forever. Here are the actual moves 1) g3-c3
b2-c3 2) h2-h3 b4-c5 3) h3-f3 e2-f3 and we end up with the
situation we analyzed last time, that is

$\xymatrix@=.3cm @!C @R=.7cm{.& & & & & & & & & & & & & \\ & & & \Black{2} \connS & & \bull{d}{5} \conn & & \bull{e}{5} \conn & & \bull{f}{5} \conn & & \bull{g}{5} \conn & & \bull{h}{5} \conn & & \SWhite \connS & & \SWhite \connS & & \SWhite \conneS & & & \\ & & \bull{b}{4} \conn & & \SBlack \connS & & \Black{6} \connS & & \bull{e}{4} \conn& & \bull{f}{4} \conn & & \bull{g}{4} \conn & & \bull{h}{4} \conn & & \SWhite \connS & & \SWhite \connS & & \SWhite \conneS & & \\ & \SBlack \connbeginS & & \SBlack \connS & & \BDvonn{7} \connS & & \bull{d}{3} \conn & & \SBlack \connS & & \BDvonn{6} \connS & & \bull{g}{3} \conn & & \bull{h}{3} \conn & & \Dvonn \connS & & \SWhite \connS & & \SWhite \connendS & . \\ & & \Black{5} \connbeginS & & \bull{b}{2} \conn & & \SBlack \connS & & \bull{d}{2} \conn & & \bull{e}{2} \conn & & \bull{f}{2} \conn & & \bull{g}{2} \conn & & \bull{h}{2} \conn & & \SWhite \connS & & \SWhite \connendS & & \\ & & & \bull{a}{1} \con & & \bull{b}{1} \con & & \Black{5} \conS & & \bull{d}{1} \con & & \bull{e}{1} \con & & \bull{f}{1} \con & & \bull{g}{1} \con & & \bull{h}{1} \con & & \White{2} & & & \\ . & & & & & & & & & & & & & }$

Published in featured