Computer assisted chess in Maastricht

2/12/2004 – Two of Europe's brightest young talents, Daniël Stellwagen (16, Holland, Elo 2487) and David Baramidze (15, Germany, 2456) are playing a four-game match in Holland – with a twist. Both opponents are allowed to use computer assistance during the game. Here is a half-time report, pictures and annotated games...

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Complete Chess Match in Maastricht (NL)

From February 10-13 2004 Daniël Stellwagen (Netherlands) and David Baramidze (Germany) are playing a complete chess match in Maastricht, The Netherlands. This event, organised by the Chess Events Maastricht foundation, is a four-game encounter between two of the brightest young talents from The Netherlands and Germany.

The unusual aspect of this match: both players are allowed to use computers, as in the Advanced Chess concept developed by Garry Kasparov. But instead of one hour per game, here the players have the time limits of classic chess. The available time is 40 moves in 2 hours and 20 moves in 1 hour. Thereafter, 15 minutes and 30 seconds per move. They are free to use ChessBase software of their choice during the game.

The Chess Events Foundation has organised high-class man against computer matches: Computer killer GM John van der Wiel lost against Rebel in 2001 (2,5-3,5), Dutch champion Loek van Wely played a draw against Rebel in 2002 (2-2) and last year the Russian GM Evgeny Bareev played four draws against Hiarcs (2-2). The match is sponsored by Duwell Financial Services, Paradigit Computers, ChessBase and Centre Ceramique.


Game one: Stellwagen blunders in the endgame: Baramidze takes the lead.

David Baramidze, 15, born on 27.09.1987 in Tblisi (Tiflis) Georgia, and learned the rules of chess from his father at the age of five. He was awarded the IM title at the age of 14, and his current rating is 2456. Last year David won the strong Deizisau Open in a field with a lot of Grandmasters and International Masters. In the same year he tried Chess 960 in the Chess Classic Mainz and he likes that chess variant very much.

The young German likes sport in general, but his favourite sports are football and swimming. He plays for the chess club SF Dortmund Brackel. David lives in Dortmund. He has played a match against Alisa Maric when he was only 13 year old in Dortmund: he won the match 4,5-3,5. He has already played against Gary Kasparov once: in a simul during the Chess Classic 2000 in Frankfurt he managed to score a draw.

David Baramidze won the first game in the Complete Chess Match against Daniel Stellwagen. The young talents from Germany and the Netherlands, who will be grandmasters very soon, are allowed to use a computer and chess software during the game. The organizers installed four very strong ChessBase engines: Shredder 8, the computer chess world champion from Graz 2003 and number 1 on the SSDF list; Fritz 8, the program that managed to equalize in matches against Gary Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik; Hiarcs 8, the program that played four draws against Russian GM Evgeny Bareev last year in Maastricht in a classical man-against-machine match; Junior 8, computer chess world champion in 2001 and 2002, played against Kasparov one year ago. That match ended 3-3. The players were also allowed to consult the Mega Database, an enormous chess database with more than 2,5 million games. The software was installed on fast Pentium 4 computers with 2,8 MHz and 512 MB RAM.

Both players are from a generation that grew up with computers and chess engines and often use the software during their preparation. However, the players were familiar with the well-know program Fritz, but did not really have experience with the other programs like Shredder.

During the first game, however, the young German analysed the game with Shredder and Hiarcs and especially Shredder is famous for its endgame knowledge endgame. The game seemed to end in a draw, but Stellwagen made a few mistakes in the rook ending. The young Dutchman probably used different engines or did not check the variations deep enough, but we could not ask him because he left the building immediately after the game. Baramidze showed us a few variations after the game and it became clear that the young Dutchman missed a few opportunities to draw the game. Here it is, annotated by Jan van Reek:

Baramidze,D - Stellwagen,D [B76]
Chess Events Maastricht 2004 (1) [Jan van Reek]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.0-0-0 Bd7 10.g4 Ne5 11.h4 Rc8 12.h5 Qa5 13.hxg6. An interesting variation of the Sicilian Defence has arisen. White attacks on the kingside. Black defends with his minor pieces and counterattacks with two heavy pieces. Baramidze diverts from the variation 13.Kb1 Rxc3 14.Qxc3 Qxc3 15.bxc3 Nxf3 16.Nxf3 Bxg4 Sandor - Aagaard, Hamburg 1993.

13...fxg6 14.Kb1 b5! Black sacrifices a pawn. 15.Bxb5 Bxb5 16.Ncxb5 Qxd2 17.Bxd2. A forced simplification has occurred. 17...Rb8 18.Nc3 Nc4!

The critical position! Does Black have sufficient compensation for the pawn? 19.b3 Nxg4 20.fxg4 Bxd4 21.Nd5 Nxd2+!? Slightly better seems to be the immediate 22... Bf6. 22.Rxd2 Bf6 23.Nxf6+ Rxf6 24.e5 Re6 25.exd6 exd6 Although Black has won back the pawn, he still suffers due to weaknesses in the double rook ending.

26.c4 Rb6 27.Kc2 Re4 28.Rg2 a5 29.Kd3 Re5 30.Rf2 a4 31.Rb1 axb3 32.axb3 h5 33.gxh5 Rxh5 34.b4 Rh3+ 35.Ke4 Rh4+ 36.Rf4 Rxf4+ 37.Kxf4 Kf7 The exchange has led to a defendable rook ending. 38.Ke4 Ke6 39.b5 Rb8 40.Rh1

40...Rg8? Daniel does not play a forced draw 40...d5+! 41.cxd5+ Kd6 42.Rb1 (David had calculated 42.Rh6 Rxb5 43.Rxg6+ Kd7 but then the theoretical draw arises) 42...Re8+ 43.Kd4 Re5.

41.Rh6! 41.Rh7 g5 42.b6 Rc8! 43.Kd4 Rc6 44.b7 Rb6 draws quickly. 41...Kd7 41...Re8! defends elegantly. 42.Rh7+. Baramidze had evaluated 42.Kd5 Rg7 43.Rh8 Re7 44.Rg8 Re5+ as drawn. 42...Kc8 Correct is 42...Ke6! 43.b6 Rc8! 44.Kd4 Rc6 45.b7 Rb6 46.Rg7! g5!. Baramidze had noticed the trap 46...Kf6?? 47.c5!

43.Kd5 g5 44.b6 1-0.


Game 2: Stellwagen strikes back : 1-1

Daniël Stellwagen, 16, was born on 01.03.1987. He is the biggest chess talent in the Netherlands and has the title of International Master, the youngest ever in his country. His Elo rating is 2487. He scored two GM norms last year: in the Corus Chess Tournament and in The Dutch Championship. Last month he scored 6,5 out of 13 games in the strong B-group of the Corus Chess Tournament and gained 13 Elo points.

Daniël learnt the game at the age of seven from his mother, and only four years later he beat his first grandmaster, GM Rantanen from Finland. Daniël plays for HSG in Hilversum. He told us that he does not really have exciting hobbies, but he likes to play computer games a lot.

Recently Daniël won the De Feijter Endgame Study Solving contest in Deventer with an unprecedented 100% score.

Take two young players from Germany and The Netherlands, give them a computer and four extremely strong chess engines and let them play four games against each other. A lot of people expected four draws because the players can check every line with one or more chess engines. But it turns out that it is not possible to check everything with the computer. In the second game David Baramidze had a lot of difficulties finding the right move after 25.Ree1. “There were so many opportunities for black, although I did not really like my position”, Baramidze said after the game.

Daniël admitted that the very strong move 27. Re4! was a computer move. “I never thought about a move like that, but the computer showed a plus score and therefore I played the move”, the young Dutchman smiled after the game. Stellwagen had a slight advantage during the whole game and could win the resulting knight against bishop endgame, although Black seemed to have missed a chance to save the game.

Stellwagen,D - Baramidze,D [B31]
Chess Events Maastricht 2004 (2) [Jan van Reek]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Re1 0-0 7.h3!? Daniel chooses a quiet variation of the Sicilian Defence. 7...e5 8.d4 cxd4 9.cxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 exd4!? 10...Qb6!? drew in Shapshnikov-Bu Xiangzhi, Petroff Memorial 2000.

11.Qxd4 a6 12.Ba4 d5! Baramidze diverts from Kazhgalayev-Kozul, Luzern 1997. 13.e5 Ne4 14.Nd2 Qa5 15.Nf3 Be6 16.Bb3 Rac8 17.Bf4 Nc5! Black equalises in the middle game. 18.Bg5 Qb5!? Wild complications result from 18...Nxb3 19.axb3 Qb5 20.Bf6! Qxb3 21.Bxg7 Kxg7 22.Qf4!

19.Re3 Nxb3 20.axb3!? White weakens his pawn structure in order to control square c4. 20...Bf5 21.Bf6 Bxf6 22.exf6 Daniel would like to move his queen to h6. 22...Rfe8 23.Ne5 The manoeuvres in the centre remind of Spassky. 23...Qc5 24.Qf4 d4! A counteraction in the centre prevents an attack on the king. 25.Ree1 Rcd8 26.g4 The alternative is 26.Nf3 d3 27.Re7 Rxe7 28.Qh6 Re1+ 29.Rxe1 Qf8 does not lead to mate.

26...Be6 27.Re4 Qf8 28.Rxd4 Rxd4 29.Qxd4 Bxb3 30.Re1 Be6 31.Rd1 Qh6

32.Qd8! "A real Stellwagen move". 32...Rxd8 33.Rxd8+ Qf8 34.Rxf8+ Kxf8 35.f4 White has transferred his plus to the endgame. 35...Ke8 36.Kf2 b6?! A fine alternative seems to be 36...Kd8!? 37.Kg3 a5 38.Kh4 Ke8! 37.Ke3 a5 38.Kd4 Bb3? Correct is 38...Kd8 39.Nf3 Ba2! 40.Ke5 Kd7 41.Ng5!? h6 42.Ne4 b5! Black seems to have sufficient counter-play. 39.Kc3 Bd5 40.Kd4 Be6

41.Nc4!! The decisive move has been postponed for two moves. Black resigned because of 41...Bxc4 42.Kxc4 Kd7 43.Kb5 Kc7 44.g5 Kb7 45.h4 Kc7 46.b3! Zugzwang. 46...Kb7 47.h5! gxh5 48.f5 h4 49.g6 hxg6 50.fxg6. The breakthrough wins for White. 1-0.

Next week two talented players will meet again: they will play a Category 11 Grandmaster Tournament in Germany, Pulvermühle, with grandmasters like Jonny Hector, Stuart Conquest and Arkadi Naiditsch. An ideal opportunity for them to score a GM-norm!

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