Computer chess at 43 degrees Celsius

8/18/2004 – That's about 110° Fahrenheit, i.e. hotter than most chess programmers knew it could get. "We try to go swimming at 6 am, when it is bearable," says Shredder author Stefan Meyer-Kahlen. After taking a 2:0 dubbing in the first two games Shredder has scored two draws, even pressing for a win with black in game three. Here's an illustrated report.

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14th Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival

The 14th Abu Dhabi Chess Festival 2003 is being held from Saturday, August 14th until Tuesday, August 24, 2004. The venue is the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi. The organizers are the Cultural Foundation & Abu Dhabi Chess & Culture club with full technical and administrational supervision. The PAL group of companies is staging a special eight-game computer match, pitting two of the world's most powerful chess playing programs against each other. The many-times world champion Shredder takes on Hydra, a Deep Blue style hardware program which was developed by the Pal Group of Companies in Abu Dhabi.


The skyline of the Gulf city of Abu Dhabi

Live coverage: There is live coverage directly from the tournament hall on the Playchess.com server. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the games, or download a free trial client. The broadcast of the games will be available in the Broadcast room. All games start at 18:00h local Abu Dhabi time, which translates to 16:00h Playchess server time (= GMT +2, equivalent to Paris, Berlin, Rome and Madrid). Other towns: Sydney: midnight, Tokyo: 23:00h, Bangkok: 21:00h, New Delhi: 19:30h, Moscow: 18:00h, London: 15:00h, New York: 10 a.m., Los Angeles: 7 a.m., Honolulu: 4 a.m., Pago Pago 3 a.m.

Rounds 3 + 4: Shredder calms the situation

In the second phase of the eight-game match the German program Shredder was obviously bent on calming down the situation. After losing the first two games the program played two draws. In game three it was actually attacking with the black pieces and had excellent winning chances against Hydra. Game four was very quiet. Now Shredder must strike back in the second half of the match and display the qualities that have brought the program so many titles in computer chess.

Standings

Prog./Date: 
14.8
15.8
17.8
18.8
20.8
21.8
23.8
24.8
Score
Hydra
1
1
½
½
 
 
 
 
3
Shredder
0
0
½
½
 
 
 
 
1

Hydra - Shredder [B90]
Abu Dhabi Computer Challenge Abu Dhabi (3), 17.08.2004
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 Nbd7 9.g4 b5 10.g5 b4 11.Ne2 Nh5 12.Qd2 Hydra's last book move 12...h6 13.gxh6 g6 14.0-0-0 a5 15.Kb1 Nhf6 Shredder's last book move 16.h4 a4 17.Nbc1 d5 18.Bg5 dxe4 19.Ng3 Qb6 20.Nxe4 Nxe4 21.fxe4 f6 22.Be3 Bc5 23.Bxc5 Nxc5 24.Bg2 a3 25.b3 Bg4 26.Rdf1 Rd8 27.Nd3 Qd6 28.Qxb4 Nxd3 29.Qxd6 Rxd6 30.cxd3 Be2 31.Rc1 Bxd3+ 32.Ka1 Rxh6 33.Rc8+ Ke7 34.Ra8 g5 35.Rxa3 Rxh4 36.Ra7+ Ke8 37.Rc1 Bxe4 38.Bxe4 Rxe4 39.Rc8+ Rd8 40.Rcc7 Rd2 41.Rc8+ Rd8 42.Rcc7 Rd2 43.Rc8+ ½-½

Shredder - Hydra [E59]
Abu Dhabi Computer Challenge Abu Dhabi (4), 18.08.2004
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nf3 c5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.a3 Bxc3 9.bxc3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Qc7 11.Bd3 e5 12.Qc2 Re8 13.Nxe5 Nxe5 14.dxe5 Qxe5 15.f3 Bd7 16.a4 Rac8 17.e4 c4 18.Be2 Nd5 19.exd5 Qxe2 20.Qxe2 Rxe2 21.Bf4 Rc5 22.Rfb1 Rxd5 23.Rxb7 g5 24.Kf1 Rc2 25.Be3 Rxc3 26.Bxa7 Rb3 27.Rc7 c3 28.Rc1 Rb4 29.R1xc3 Bxa4 30.Rc1 h6 31.Bf2 Rb2 32.Be1 Bb5+ 33.Kg1 Bd7 34.h3 Ra2 35.R7c2 Rxc2 36.Rxc2 Kh7 37.Rd2 Rxd2 38.Bxd2 Kg6 ½-½

Picture Gallery

From sunny Abu Dhabi we receive word – from Shredder programmer Stefan Meyer-Kahlen – that both teams are trying to come to terms with the weather in the Gulf region. This is certainly not like anything middle Europeans have ever experienced. Chrilly Donninger, for instance, lives in one of the coldest places in Austria, up on the mountains, where summers are short and winters extremely harsh. In Abu Dhabi the day temperatures are around 43 degrees Centigrade (110° Fahrenheit). "We try to go swimming at 6 am in the morning," writes Stefan, "It is already very hot, but just bearable. The water temperature is 32°C (90°F), which means it is like a giant open-air tub which doesn't really cool you down. Thanks heavens for the air conditioning everywhere, even in the giant shopping malls." He is very impressed by the city, which is full of shiny new skyscrapers, with new ones coming up all over the place.

According to Stefan the first half of the tournament was heavily influenced by the Shredder openings book. "I hope that the second half will be more influenced by the chess engine," he said.


A view from the hotel


The first seven-star hotel in Abu Dhabi


The beach – blisteringly hot during the day, best visited at 6 a.m.


A fully air-conditioned shopping mall in Abu Dhabi


The (air-conditioned) tournament hall before the start of a round


The Hydra team: Dr Ulf Lorenz, Ali Nasir Muhammad, Dr Christian Donninger


Donninger and Ali Nasir in front of the multi-processor Hydra system


The humans clash: Stefan Meyer-Kahlen of Shredder plays blitz against Chrilly Donninger of Hydra


The Doctors Donninger and Lorenz play a computer-unaided game

 


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