Gothic Vortex vs. SMIRF, 1-0
Tonight's Gothic Chess game featured an interesting demonstration of the fully debugged version of Vortex, coupled with its new King Safety Heuristics and extended depth searching. Click the link above to replay the game.
The first six moves for White were in its opening book, and from the database of games I see this has been played a total of 14 times in the 7,214 games of Gothic Chess I have collected. Nothing extraordinary, just common moves in familiar territory.
Things get interesting in a hurry: After 11. Bg5!? Axc3 Gothic Vortex is down a pawn, as shown in the top diagram. However, white is already castled with all of its minor pieces developed with the Archbishop well positioned. Black is uncastled and would castle directly into a pending attack if it elected to do so with the likes of ....O-O Bxh6! ixh6 weakening the pawn structure irreversibly.
After 11...Axc3 black's Archbishop is threatening the white Queen on d1 and the Chancellor on e1. It appears white will go down this new Gothic Exchange (Chancellor for Archbishop once the Queen vacates d1) but Vortex uncorks 12. Ad2!!
The Queen is not en prise since 12...Axd1?? 13. Bxh6+ ix6 14. Axh6+! would be mate if the Chancellor could not intercede with 14...Cg7. White is presented with the luxury of not having to win back The Gothic Exchange right away since the Chancellor is now pinned by the Archbishop, so black's Archbishop is captured at once, with the Chancellor coming off on the next move.
The SMIRF program saw the threats after it searched ply 10, and it wisely avoided this whole line.
12...Axd2 13. Qxd2 Kg7 was played, and now black's king is not well defended.
Vortex deployed its Chancellor, having already completed a normal development with a king that is immune from threats, then it moves its pieces ever closer to the enemy king. It views white as being better, although down a pawn the entire time.
The shocker comes with 18. Nh5+!! giving up the Knight while still down a pawn, yet showing a score of +4.85 pawns. This is shown in the second diagram. SMIRF's score drops into the negative range, and the permanent damage is done.
Vortex announces mate in 8 with 22. Be4! after only 20 seconds elapsed for that move. A flawless game by the new Gothic Vortex.