Unique, Maybe? Rare
Fresh from drawing an exciting game against FM Mehmed Pasalic in the North American FIDE Invitational (Chicago), I decided to unwind with some ICC blitz. And lo and behold a very bizarre tableau appeared on the chessboard. Here it is, an ICC blitz game played May 21th, 2008. It features a piece/pawn configuration that is certainly very rare in the history of tournament or blitz chess. Let’s see it.
Norfin (1967) – Aries2 (2284) Game/5, 5/21/08. Sicilian Defense.
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. c3 d6 7. O-O Be7 8. Be3 O-O 9. Nd2 e5 10. Ne2 d5 11. f4? And here it is. Time for the diagram so we can gawk.
The Pancake Formation aka The Lego Tower
The rare pattern has, moving up one rank at a time from white’s 2nd to white’s fifth: 2 adjacent white knights, then 2 adjacent white bishops, then two adjacent white pawns, and topping it all off two adjacent black pawns. They are stacked like a precarious pancake stack. I suppose it also looks like a Lego stack. Sort of like visualizing living creatures in the clouds?
Of course, white’s 11th move is a horrible blunder . But it gave us this precious formation. The game rudely ended 11…Ng4! 12. Bf2 Nxf2 13. Kxf2 Bc5+ 14. Kg3 exf4+ 15. Nxf4 Qg5+ Ut-oh. 16. Kf3 Bg4 is a sick mate. And white resigned.
Is there any ‘pattern match’ database/computer program search clever enough to find this pattern or something close to it in prior games? It is certainly rarer than the Pawn Diamond of the famous Wolff-Ginsburg encounter of 1983 or the Exploded Pawn Box in my epic 1985 battle with young Ilya Gurevich. In news of the weird, shortly after writing this, I achieved a Compacted Pawn Box vs. IM Emory Tate in the 11th North American FIDE invitational tournament, May 22, 2008.
I would also like help naming this bizarre piece and pawn stack.