The ugly move is a subject about which little is said, or written. The thing about the ugly move is that sometimes a move may look ugly but when one understands the reason(s) for the move it is suddenly transformed into a beautiful Chess move. Such is not the case with the move you are about to see, which is one of the most ugly Chess moves I have ever visualized. This move is jump out at you and slap you in the face UGLY. Seeing the move is akin to hearing someone scrape their fingernails on a blackboard, a sound I hope to never again hear.
IM Jason Liang (USA) vs GM Nikolas Theodorou (GRE)
NY Winter Invitational GM A 2022 round 03
ECO: B20 Sicilian, Keres variation
- e4 c5 2. Ne2 d6 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 g6 5. c3 Bg7 6. d4 Bg4 7. d5 Na5 8. O-O Nf6 9. h3 Bd7 10. Nd2 Rc8 11. f4 O-O 12. g4 Bb5 13. Rf2 Nd7 14. Nf3 Ba6 15. Ng3 b5 16. Qe2 Nb8
The Stockfish program at the ChessBomb shows 17 Qc2 as best, and it has a nice look to it, does it not? The second choice of 17 h4 is a good looking move. The third choice of 17 e5 looks like it belongs on the board, but I’m not too sure about choice number four, 17 Qe1. It may, or may not be ugly, but I would not want to bring it to the dance…Are you ready for some ugly?
Ugly is as ugly does, and boy, does that last move look UGLY. Although I understand the motivation behind the move; White has a overwhelming preponderance of material on the Kingside, leading one to think he should begin an attack, but Black has a harmonious position with no glaring weakness, so White should concentrate on completing development and improving his position before beginning an attack on the fortified King. I know this because ‘back in the day’ this writer was more than a little fond of attacking whether warranted or not. I know this is an ugly move because after playing hundreds, if not thousands of ugly moves I could be declared an honorary expert on ugly moves, I am sad, but honest enough to report.
Let us be honest, that move was even uglier than Phyllis Diller. How ugly was f5?
Then again, if not for ugly how would we know beauty?
Back to the game…
- f5 b4 18. Qe1 bxc3 19. bxc3 Nc4 20. Bg5 Nd7 21. Bf1 Rb8 22. Bxc4 Bxc4 23. Qe3 Ne5 24. Nxe5 Bxe5 25. Bf4 Bh8 26. Rd1 Rb7 27. h4 Qa5 28. e5 Qa4 29. Rdd2 dxe5 30. Bxe5 Bxe5 31. Qxe5 Ba6 32. Rf4 Qa3 33. Rdf2 Qc1+ 34. Kg2 Rb2 35. fxg6 hxg6 36. h5 Rxf2+ 37. Rxf2 Qd1 38. h6 f6 39. Qxe7 Qxd5+ 40. Ne4 Qf7 41. Nxf6+ Kh8 42. Qe5 1-0
- e4 c5 2. Ne2 d6 (Stockfish plays 2…Nf6 attacking the unprotected pawn) 3. g3 (Although this has been the most frequently played move at the big database at 365Chess, Stockfish plays 3 Nbc3, which is the most often played move at the Chessbase Database, the move having been made about twice as often as 3 Nbc3. Yet White has scored better, 63%, with 3 g3 as opposed to only 55% for 3 Nbc3) 3…Nc6 (Stockfish 14.1 @depth 36 plays 3…d5) 4. Bg2 g6 (The most often played move but Stockfish 14
@depth 35 will play 4…Nf6) 5. c3 Bg7 (Far and away the most often choice in the position, but Stockfish 13 @depth 40 plays the seldom played 5…e5) 6. d4 Bg4 (Again SF would play 6…e5) 7. d5 Na5 8. O-O (SF plays 8 Be3, which will be a TN if and when played by a human) 8…Nf6 (For 8…b5 see game below)
Viktor D Kupreichik (2472) vs Christian Scholz (2324)
Event: BL2-West 0001
Site: Germany Date: 01/28/2001
ECO: B20 Sicilian, Keres variation (2.Ne2)
1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 d6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 g6 5.c3 Bg7 6.d4 Bg4 7.d5 Na5 8.O-O b5 9.h3 Bd7 10.f4 Nh6 11.g4 f5 12.exf5 gxf5 13.g5 Nf7 14.Ng3 O-O 15.Qc2 Qc8 16.Re1 Re8 17.Nd2 Nh8 18.Nh5 Ng6 19.Nxg7 Kxg7 20.Nf1 Nh4 21.Bh1 e5 22.dxe6 Bc6 23.Qf2 Bxh1 24.Qxh4 Bb7 25.Ng3 Rxe6 26.Rxe6 Qxe6 27.Qh6+ Qxh6 28.Nxf5+ Kg6 29.Nxh6 Re8 30.f5+ Kh5 31.Kf2 Nc4 32.b3 Ne5 33.Kg3 Nd3 34.Ng4 Nxc1 35.Nf6+ Kxg5 36.Nxe8 Ne2+ 37.Kf2 Nxc3 38.Rg1+ Kf4 39.Nxd6 Bd5 40.f6 Nxa2 41.f7 Bxf7 42.Rg4+ Ke5 43.Nxf7+ Kd5 44.Ke3 Nc1 45.b4 cxb4 46.Rxb4 Kc5 47.Rb2 1-0