16 May 2013

Informant No.1, Game No.1

In The Language of Logic, I copied the explanation of the Informant code system given in Informant no.1. Here's a copy of game no.1 from that same Informant.

To play through the complete game, see...

Vladimir Simagin vs Alexey Sokolsky; corr-1 1966

...on Chessgames.com. The first Informant didn't give the names of the annotators, and we can see at a glance that the notes are very basic. A '?' on Black's 9th leads to a plus-over-minus on White's 10th, which is awarded a '!'. A couple of White's subsequent moves are also awarded a '!', after which Black is lost. The analysis gives the impression that Black was in deep trouble after the 9th move.

I'm always reluctant to use an engine to analyze a correspondence game between two masters, because they undoubtedly spent many, many hours analyzing the different positions before making each move. Stepping through this game with an engine reveals a wealth of sidelines and complications, none of which can be explored for a short blog post like this one. The engine considers the position after White's 10th to be roughly balanced and offers several suggestions for improving Black's subsequent play.

Also worth noting is the Rabar opening classification attached to the game ('R00'). I discussed the Rabar codes once before in Explaining Dynamics with Symbols, and the first Informant used around 75 of its 240 pages to explain the classification system. (It used 140 pages to present its 466 games.)

When we consider that, in the 1960s, the Informants and their symbols were a revolutionary system for distributing chess knowledge, we can appreciate how far our knowledge of the game has progressed in the nearly 50 intervening years. The language of logic transcends words.

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