Hydra shocks Shredder with 2-0 lead

8/16/2004 – When is the last time you saw the multiple world champion Shredder lose a game? In Abu Dhabi it lost twice in succession to the 16-processor hardware program Hydra, which is turning out to be quite the many-headed monster its name implies. We bring you the games and some beautiful pictures from the start of the computer challenge.

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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.

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 1 + 2: Hydra leads 2:0

The first two rounds of the computer challenge led to a shock two-to-nothing lead by Hydra, something nobody in the computer chess scene had expected. After all it has been some time since we saw Shredder lose even a single game. But this time, watched by hundreds of visitors in the live broadcase on Playchess.com, Shredder was severely punised twice by the 16-processor machine that apparently quite rightly calls itself Hydra.

Hydra – Shredder [B80]
Abu Dhabi Computer Challenge Abu Dhabi (1), 14.08.2004

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.f3 b5 8.g4 h6 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.0-0-0. This is the last move out of Hydra's openings book. 10...Bb7 11.h4 d5 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.Nxd5 Bxd5 14.Bg2 Ne5 15.Qe2 Qa5 16.f4 Qxa2.

Shredder's last book move. The position is already quite critical for the German chess program 17.Bxd5 Qa1+. This move is forced. After 17...Qxd5 18.fxe5 White is a piece up and has a decisive advantage; while after 17...exd5 18.Nb3 Nc6 19.Bc5+ (discovered check!) White is threatening to trap the queen and at the same time putting unbearable pressure on the e-file 19...Be7 20.Bxe7 Nxe7 21.Rhe1+–.

18.Kd2 Bb4+ 19.c3 Qxb2+ 20.Ke1 Bxc3+ 21.Kf1 exd5 22.fxe5 Qb4 23.Bf2 0-0 24.g5. Hydra has very strong king safety aglorithms, which means that the program like to attack the enemy king (= weaken it's king safety) 24...Bxd4 25.Bxd4 h5 26.Kg2 Rac8 27.Rhf1 Qe7 28.Qxh5 Rc2+ 29.Kg3 Rc6 30.Rd3 a5 31.Rdf3 Hydra is methodically preparing the final assault 31...Re6

32.Rf6 Rxe5. 32...gxf6 loses quickly, e.g. 33.gxf6 Ra8 34.Rg1 Rxf6 35.exf6 Qe4 36.Kh2+ Qg6 37.Rxg6+ fxg6 38.Qxg6+ Kf8 39.Bc5 mate. 33.Bxe5 Qxe5+ 34.R6f4 a4 35.Kg2 d4 36.Rxf7 Qd5+ 37.R7f3 Rc8 38.Re1 1-0.

Shredder – Hydra [B97]
Abu Dhabi Computer Challenge Abu Dhabi (2), 15.08.2004

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Nb3 Be7 9.Qf3 Nbd7 10.0-0-0 Qc7 Last book move by Hydra 11.Kb1 b5 12.Bd3 b4. At the computer chess world championship in Graz Shredder beat Brutus (the original Hydra engine) as follows: 12...Bb7 13.a3 0-0-0 14.Qe2 Kb8 15.Rhf1 h6 16.Bh4 g5 17.Be1 gxf4 18.Rxf4 Rdg8 19.Bh4 Rg6 20.Rdf1 e5 21.Rf5 and 1-0 in 44 moves: Shredder-Brutus/Graz 2003. 13.Ne2 Bb7 14.Qh3 Nxe4 15.Bxe7 Kxe7 16.Qh4+.

That was the last book move by Shredder, which comes out of its openings preparation a pawn down and a negative value. Shredder knows the line well – in Graz this position was on the board against Fritz. 16...Nef6 17.Rhe1 a5 18.Nbd4 Kf8 19.g4 and in a game full of knight forks Fritz drew in 37 moves: Shredder-Fritz/Graz 2003.

Instead of retreating its knight on e4 Hydra comes up with a more aggressive continuation. 16...Ndf6 17.Rhe1 h6 18.f5 e5 19.Nf4 Ng5 20.Nh5. Shredder sacrifices another pawn for its attack. 20...Nxh5 21.Qxh5 Bxg2 22.Nd2 The threat was ...Bf3 forking the queen and rook. 22...a5 23.h4 Nh7 24.Qe2 Bc6 25.Rg1 Rhg8 26.Ne4 Bxe4 27.Bxe4 Rac8 28.Bd3 Qb6 29.Bb5 Nf6 30.Ba4 e4 31.Rde1 Qc5 32.Qa6.

There's a juicy pawn hanging on f5, but Hydra has other things on its FPGA mind. 32...d5! 32...Qxf5 33.Qb7+ Kf8 34.Bc6 Qe6 is more complicated that the patch Hydra took. 33.Rd1 d4. Those pawns are comin' amarching. 34.Bb3 Rc6 35.Qe2 Kf8. Locking the black rook in the corner. But how do you criticise a move that leads to a convincing victory? 36.Ba4 Rd6 37.Qf1 Rd8 38.Qa6 Qc7. Once again Hydra is not interested in the f-pawn, proving that "materialism" in computer chess is a thing of the past. Black is following a different plan. 39.Qb5 Rh8 40.Qf1 Rh7 41.Bb3 h5 42.Ba4 e3 43.Qb5 Rh6. A convoluted way of bringing the rook back into play 44.Rg2 Rd5 45.Qf1 Ng4 46.Bb3 Rd8 47.Ba4

47...Rf6 48.Re1 g6 49.Rc1 Rxf5 50.Qe2 Qe7 51.Bb5 Qxh4 0-1.

Standings

Prog./Date: 
14.8
15.8
17.8
18.8
20.8
21.8
23.8
24.8
Score
Hydra
1
1
 
 
 
 
 
 
2
Shredder
0
0
 
 
 
 
 
 
0

Picture gallery


The magnificent Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi, where the event is being held


The opening of the chess festival and computer challenge


The games of the 14th Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival under way


A myriad sponsors are supporting the event


A central attraction: the computer match between Hydra and Shredder


Preparing for the start of game one


Shredder's Stefan Meyer-Kahlen (left) vs Hydra's Christian Donninger


A bird's eyeview of Hydra vs Shredder


The computer match is the center of attraction


Spectators in Abu Dhabi follow the games and chat on the Playchess.com server

The Pal Computer System belongs to a group of companies, one of which is Infinity TV. This is an entertainment TV channel that covered the opening day of the Abu Dhabi chess festival.


The two ladies presenting the chess report


Interviewing Hydra programmer Dr Christian Donninger for Abu Dhabi TV


This, ladies and gentlemen, is the many-time world champion from Germany


Talking to Muhammad Nasir Ali of the Pal group

By popular request: two additional pictures of the eat-your-heart-out Arabic TV presenters



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