Boris Baczynskyj

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Boris Baczynskyj [1]

Boris Baczynskyj, (1945 - 2008)
was an Ukrainian American journalist, FIDE Master, Philadelphia chess legend [2], chess coach and writer. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Yale University in 1967. While in college, he was active in the civil-rights movement and was arrested during a protest march in Florida. Before he became a full time chess coach, he served in the Peace Corps in Thailand [3] and was working as stringer in Cambodia in 1975 when the Khmer Rouge overthrew the government [4].

Along with David E. Welsh, Boris Baczynskyj co-authored Computer Chess II [5], and further anatomized some games of the ACM 1984, as published in the ICCA Journal. He served as editor of Chess Life, worked for Hayden Software on the Sargon III manual, and was affiliated with Fidelity International as chess advisor [6], also responsible for Fidelity's opening book.

Book Issues

On Fidelity X's 3...e5 in round 1 of the ACM 1984 versus Cray Blitz [7], its book author elaborates in the ICCA Journal [8]:

[Event "ACM 1984"]
[Site "San Francisco USA"]
[Date "1984.10.07"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Cray Blitz"]
[Black "Fidelity X"]
[Result "1-0"]

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.Nf3 e5 4.c3 Qa5 5.Qb3 f6 6.Bc4 Nh6 7.Bxh6 gxh6 8.Bg8 Kd8 
9.Qf7 Rxg8 10.Qxg8 Ke8 11.Qxh7 Qb5 12.b3 Qc6 13.O-O dxc3 14.Nxc3 b6 15.Nd5 Qd6 
16.Nh4 Ba6 17.Nf5 Qa3 18.Qg6+ Kd8 19.Qxf6+ Kc8 20.Rfc1+ Bc4 21.Rxc4+ Qc5 
22.Qxf8+ Kb7 23.Rxc5 bxc5 24.Qxc5 Nc6 25.Nd6+ Kb8 26.Qb5# 1-0
Cray has recently refurbished its tournament book - as evidenced by the tricky sequence it essays here. The usual follow-up to White's second move is 3.c3, initiating the Smith-Morra Gambit. 3. ... e5? Probably any computer, left to its own devices, would "find" this inferior move. What chip worth its silicon could resist discerning the "key" point that Black holds its extra pawn because 4.Nxe5? is plastered by 4. ...Qa5, followed by 5. ... Qxe5,  Ahhh! But the move weakens the d5-square and the a2-f7 diagonal. That's not important to a chess computer, which, in Valvo's felicitous formulation, 'just loves to eat'.
Machines' materialistic tendencies are one reason why humans forced-feed computers with opening books. To the amazement of the Spracklens, operating Fidelity X, their machine was now out of book. They suspected a technical failure. Actually the failure was all human. Fidelity's Chess Advisor, who had designed the book used in San Francisco, had simply failed to include Cray's opening sequence. Although White's opening is unusual, it is not unprecedented. Certainly it belonged in the book, which encompasses many thousands of moves.
I happen to know this story because, for almost two years, I worked as the only Chess Advisor Fidelity Computer Products ever had. Better is 3. ... Nc6, 3. ... e6, 3. ... d6, which should transpose into normal Sicilian variations. 

Selected Publications

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