Mission Control takes over in Freestyle Tournament

6/17/2007 – "A star is born" is becoming the normal headline for Freestyle tournaments, and the sixth edition of the PAL/CSS event, with 112 participants from 30 countries was no exception. A 32-processor machine playing on its own came first and, together with nine others, will take part in the $16,000 finals on the Playchess server, on June 22nd to 24th. Be there and watch the fun.

Sixth PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament – "Mission control" takes over

Report by CCGM Arno Nickel

Only a few experienced human freestylers, among them three International Masters, succeeded in qualifying. But they were upstaged by a real computer monster – the UCI-engine Rybka 2.3.1 running on 32 processors, operated by Sujay Jagannathan alias "Mission control", who is lives in England.

About 20 FIDE titleholders and many high-end computer systems, which means four and even eight processor systems, guaranteed a strong competition. Yet, once again none of the grandmasters manage at least 5.5 points out of eight games, which was practically speaking the barrier for qualification (provided you also had a good progressive score). Czech GM Petr Hába and Georgian GM Baadur Jobava were for a long time close to the top group, but at the very end they lacked the crucial half point. Also Britain’s GM Tony Kosten, who lives in France, and Ukrain GM Yuri Solodovnichenko did not show enough punch to reach the goal.

The rate of play was 60min + 15sec. About half of the participants took the opportunity to let their engine play automatically, which is probably a new record. That, however, caused also – to TD Martin Fischer's chagrin – additional technical problems, mostly due to different client versions being used, either at the start of the game, when one side was unable to make a move, or later on, when a player got disconnected.

The tournament went on without too long breaks, but Martin had to decide on some results, when several tries to restart a game simply failed. A side-effect were long discussions in the chat or by e-mail. For this reason the organizers are now considering forcing people to manually execute their moves. There are a number of incidental advantages to this rule. For instance participants can avoid a loss of time in case of obvious or forced moves. The only "disadvantage" is that the particpant must remain in front of the computer during the game, instead of letting the engines play completely unattended. But that would seem reasonable in a $16,000 chess tournament.

Regarding the big number of engine-only players it does not surprise us to find five of them among the qualifiers. Just have a look on the following table in order check, who is a keen centaur (*) and who is an engine-only player.

No. Participant Ti. Rtn Name Nat. + = Pts TB Perf.
1. Mission control   2481 Jagannathan ENG 5 3 0 6.5 33.0 2840
2. Flyingfatman   2587 Carlin ENG 4 4 0 6.0 29.5 2746
3. Rentner2 * IM 2614 Blauert   4 4 0 6.0 29.0 2724
4. Kreuzfahrtschiff *   2590 Kruse   4 4 0 6.0 27.5 2677
5. Cato the Younger *   2620 Chen Yingheng ENG 4 4 0 6.0 26.0 2706
6. Ultra-d   2700 Evans ENG 4 3 1 5.5 26.0 2697
7. Klosterfrau * IM 2606 Breder   3 5 0 5.5 24.5 2566
8. Rajlich * IM 2742 Rajlich, V. HUN 3 5 0 5.5 24.0 2685
9. PvP   2716 Kakirdakis GRE 4 3 1 5.5 23.5 2670
10. New Man   2630 Osterman SWE 4 3 1 5.5 23.0 2628

The winners are of course the British – four finalists out of 11 participants! – and the Germans, as they got through three centaurs. To be more precise we have to add that IM Dennis Breder alias Klosterfrau this time could not afford time for more than two centaur games. BUT that will of course completely different in the final. The losers of the 6th Freestyle Main Tournament are, if I am right, for the first time the US players, as none of the 15 transatlantic participants could qualify. The Americans are usually the second strongest group behind the Germans.

As to the Freestyle rating, in the fourth column we sometimes used the rating a player had achieved with his former nickname: Mission control = formerly Hercules01 and Moto Guzzi, Kreuzfahrtschiff = formerly Dummkoller, PvP = formerly Nebula, New Man = formerly Kingcrusher. These figures were used for the pairings but not for the Elo evaluation.

In this tournament Mission Control took its opponents by surprise with a 32 processor system, which meant about 21 plys on average. Sujay Jagannathan, the man behind, was already known before to some insiders. Only later I found out that he had already played with his monster hardware in the previous Freestyle Tournament, as Hercules01, where he also qualified for the final, but came second last. I asked him, what was different this time, and this is, what he wrote in an e-mail:

“I ran on AMD dual core socket F CPUs 8216 2.6 x 32, which I have upgraded to 3 GHz x 32 now. Better preparation on book and less engine bugs compared to the last PAL final, where day one was a total disaster with two endgame bugs and opponents getting disconnected and restarting the whole game, which resulted in another loss, as the engine played a red book move. Last but not the least luck also plays its part.”

Thanks, Sujay! Somebody in the chat said that his father was director of a mathematical institute and was granting him access to such powerful hardware. Surely he will tell us much more after the final, where many people will follow Mission Control’s games in order to see if, for the first time, an engine-only player will become Freestyle Champion. Of course it will be much harder for Suj this time, as everybody will be preparing for him.

The surprise factor is a very important thing in the main tournament. When I, Ciron, met Mission Control in the fifth round (I had 3.5 out of 4) I didn’t know anything about my opponent and was completely confused, because I couldn’t properly identify him as an engine or a centaur. There was simply no information in the players list, though it should be there. I will not go into details of why this might have happened, but people should understand that such a situation, which cannot occur in a round-robin tournament like the final, is rather confusing, especially when you had already played six hours before this happens. By the way, El-Shaddai alias Nolan Denson (place 25), experienced the same problem as me.

You might argue that freestyle means anything goes… And indeed, whenever such things happen people start discussions about what is allowed and what is not allowed in freestyle. Someone reported “hacker” attacks from his opponent, trying to disconnect him…

After the final some questions on the future of freestyle chess will be put into the focus, especially our plans for a tournament with longer time controls. The freestyle poll on CSS online shows that many players are interested in such a contest, mainly because it might offer better chances for human participation. The poll also shows some of the other questions in discussion. Probably we will opt for a tournament with 90min + 30sec rate of play. This allows to play 4-5 games on a weekend: 1st game Friday, 2nd + 3rd games on Saturday, 4the (+ 5th) games on Sunday. We could play a Swiss tournament on two weekends (9 or 10 rounds), this time without an additional final. If desired, we can continue with the freestyle events in intervals: next tournament with 60 min + 15sec rate of play and then again 90min + 30sec. So everybody can choose what he likes most.

Here is the rest of the final table and at the end you will find the download for the games:

11.

Rino-1

Stibi

4

3

1

5.5

22.0

2707

12.

Revelator

2591

Knowles

USA

3

4

1

5.0

28.0

2647

13.

Ciron

2622

Nickel

4

2

2

5.0

26.5

2630

14.

OpenFormula

2587

Osterman

SWE

3

4

1

5.0

24.5

2612

15.

Rodo

2691

Gallo

ITA

2

6

0

5.0

24.0

2598

16.

Petr Hába

GM

2505

Haba

CZE

2

6

0

5.0

23.5

2706

17.

The Wizard

Bennett

ENG

2

6

0

5.0

23.0

2690

18.

MjLvMj

Indoc

IND

2

6

0

5.0

23.0

2664

19.

Oligarckh

GM

2686

Jobava

GEO

2

6

0

5.0

23.0

2612

20.

Lasker#77

Bigler

SUI

2

6

0

5.0

22.5

2666

21.

Bychamp_II

2574

Monteiro

BRA

4

2

2

5.0

22.5

2648

22.

Fredi_z

2544

Zöllner

AUT

3

4

1

5.0

21.5

2626

23.

Krampak

Torroella

ESP

4

2

2

5.0

18.0

2553

24.

Equidistance

2591

Schoupal

CZE

3

3

2

4.5

24.0

2580

25.

EL-SHADDAI

2654

Denson

USA

3

3

2

4.5

24.0

2560

26.

Averell

2597

Eckhardt

3

3

2

4.5

23.5

2586

27.

Tatar

2612

Baron

3

3

2

4.5

23.5

2572

28.

Braincooler

2403

Osterman

SWE

2

5

1

4.5

23.0

2657

29.

Alansacount

2604

Sassler

USA 

2

5

1

4.5

22.5

2536

30.

Sebi-chess

2568

Böhme

3

3

2

4.5

22.5

2535

31.

Engineer

GM

2595

Solodovnichenko

UKR

2

5

1

4.5

22.5

2475

32.

PAKman

2582

Pruitt

USA

1

7

0

4.5

21.5

2581

33.

Bogdansyg

IM

2302

Sygulski

POL

2

5

1

4.5

21.0

2650

34.

WindPower

2484

Wind

MAS

1

7

0

4.5

21.0

2616

35.

Rybusia

IM

2531

Rajlich, I.

HUN

2

5

1

4.5

21.0

2564

36.

GoLdEn-BoY

2703

Soney

USA

2

5

1

4.5

21.0

2562

37.

Tony Kosten

GM

2571

Kosten

FRA

3

3

2

4.5

20.5

2559

38.

Sonofluck

2447

Davalos

MEX

2

5

1

4.5

20.0

2649

39.

Gorleb

2442

Pillen

2

5

1

4.5

20.0

2644

40.

LazyBone

2500

Fuller

USA

2

5

1

4.5

20.0

2572

41.

Sergey_M

2604

Marinowsky

2

5

1

4.5

20.0

2408

42.

Xakru

2769

Dufek

CZE

1

7

0

4.5

19.5

43.

Ggg

GM

2148

Grigore

ROM

3

3

2

4.5

19.5

2585

44.

TheOrigin

2541

Baigi

2

5

1

4.5

19.5

2507

45.

Karadeniz Aslani

2549

Turgut

USA

3

3

2

4.5

19.5

2460

46.

Alexisco

2485

Koskoros

GRE

2

5

1

4.5

19.0

2643

47.

Bestteam

Moreira

POR

2

5

1

4.5

18.5

2467

48.

Akhtar

2488

Hashmi

UAE

4

1

2

4.5

18.5

2405

49.

Auryn

2541

Gallo

ITA

3

3

2

4.5

18.0

2435

50.

Footbolo

2389

Costa Serra

ESP

2

5

1

4.5

17.5

2525

51.

Pawntobewild

2525

Gray

AUS

3

3

2

4.5

17.0

2365

52.

Demian

2157

Greweling

4

1

3

4.5

13.0

2441

53.

Kitsune

Doane

USA

2

4

2

4.0

21.5

2579

54.

ZackS

2635

Zackary

USA

2

4

2

4.0

20.0

2475

55.

Heffalump

2551

Rades

2

4

2

4.0

19.5

2444

56.

TRAKA

2548

Weber

2

4

2

4.0

18.0

2424

57.

Qirco

2460

Kerimi

SUI

3

2

3

4.0

16.5

2563

58.

Wytiko

2313

Luppi

Ita

4

0

4

4.0

16.0

2523

59.

Jimliew

IM

2167

Liew

Mal

1

6

1

4.0

16.0

2521

60.

Hoshad

2502

Dabbaghyan

SWE

2

4

2

4.0

16.0

2396

61.

Kapaun

2247

Nettelbeck

2

4

2

4.0

14.5

2461

62.

Lukulus

2668

Lüttke

3

2

3

4.0

14.5

2333

63.

Amadeus Chess

2509

Bauer

2

3

3

3.5

20.5

2472

64.

MASLAKKOSTIA

IM

2480

Maslak

RUS

1

5

2

3.5

18.5

2480

65.

Kidambi

IM

Kidambi

IND

2

3

3

3.5

18.0

2483

66.

Supermichi

2481

Enderle

3

1

4

3.5

18.0

2441

67.

Poweronoff

2625

Märtens

0

7

1

3.5

17.5

2362

68.

Knilch hi

2502

Wellmann

1

5

2

3.5

17.0

2357

69.

Don Juan

Calero Cardador

ESP

2

3

3

3.5

16.5

2467

70.

Noritano

2585

Gutsche

2

3

3

3.5

16.5

2348

71.

John Higgins

2279

Zatko

SVK

2

3

3

3.5

15.5

2516

72.

Gomez

2320

Gomez

USA

2

3

3

3.5

15.5

2478

73.

ChessChryssy

2485

Ludwig

2

3

2

3.5

15.5

2414

74.

AlterEgo

2465

Vuckovic

SCG

1

5

2

3.5

15.0

2429

75.

Mk1264

Kolss

2

3

3

3.5

15.0

2408

76.

Croberson

2330

Roberson

USA

2

3

3

3.5

15.0

2388

77.

Mberggren

2397

Berggren

SWE

3

1

4

3.5

14.5

2407

78.

Dom_

IM

2457

Pedzich

POL

3

1

4

3.5

14.5

2373

79.

Siciliane5

Jegels

2

3

3

3.5

14.0

2348

80.

Badbishop1

Dixon

USA

2

3

3

3.5

14.0

2428

81.

Alfilferoz

IM

Alvarez

ARG

1

5

2

3.5

13.5

2416

82.

Mateen

Hashmi

UAE

2

3

3

3.5

13.0

2362

83.

Intagrand

2649

Williams

ENG

2

2

3

3.0

19.5

2380

84.

WoDra

2525

Draeger

0

6

2

3.0

14.5

2262

85.

Pandini

2373

Delport

0

6

2

3.0

13.0

2428

86.

CumnorChessClub

2162

Plant

ENG

2

2

4

3.0

11.5

2321

87.

TommyM39

Mahling

1

4

3

3.0

11.5

2262

88.

Big MC

Söhnlein

1

4

3

3.0

10.0

2452

89.

Toothlessbishop

Fabri

ENG 

1

3

4

2.5

16.5

2414

90.

Walden

IM

2560

Noble

NZL

0

5

3

2.5

15.0

91.

Brain-damage

2360

Chaplin

ENG

1

3

4

2.5

11.0

2208

92.

Simplicissimus

2464

Bruening

2

1

5

2.5

11.0

2128

93.

LUBüWy

2317

Bürgin

2

1

5

2.5

10.5

2199

94.

Albitexm

Oggero

ITA

0

5

3

2.5

10.0

2221

95.

Fireonline

1

3

4

2.5

10.0

2216

96.

RybkaKiller

2371

Singh Jai Prakash

Ind

0

5

3

2.5

8.5

2160

97.

Dudi

2036

Schloegl

ENG

2

1

5

2.5

6.5

2188

98.

Otto der erste

2175

Zielasko

2

1

5

2.5

5.5

2060

99.

Katzenmaier

2549

Kleinert

2

0

6

2.0

14.0

2170

100.

Chichirivichi

Cohen-Revivo

ISR

1

2

5

2.0

12.5

2221

101.

Shallow Yellow

Kolss

SWE

1

2

5

2.0

10.5

2280

102.

Ibermax

Richards

ENG

1

1

6

1.5

11.5

103.

Angelo Dundee

Akat

TUR

1

1

6

1.5

11.0

104.

Formula-Open

Abdelrahim

USA

0

3

5

1.5

9.5

105.

Pepekan

IM

2068

Candela

ESP

1

1

6

1.5

8.0

2033

106.

Dragonfg7

IM

Canda

USA

1

1

6

1.5

8.0

107.

El_cuco_tuyo

Ortiz

USA

1

0

7

1.0

8.0

108.

Lord Vader

Lopatka

POL

0

1

7

0.5

4.0

1896

109.

Littleprince

Prüfer

0

1

7

0.5

4.0

110.

HydraAssasin

2449

Naar

KOL

0

1

1

0.5

0.5

0

111.

Pantani

GM

Jaracz

POL

0

0

8

0

0

112.

Sinaigarak

Karagianis

USA

0

0

8

0

0


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11.06.2005 It was the shocker of the event: the massive Hydra machines, running on 16 and 32 processors and special FPGA chess hardware were both knocked out in the main section of the Freestyle chess tournament. On the other hand a dark horse named ZackS qualified with consummate ease. Today there will be tie-breaks, tomorrow the quarter-finals. Come and watch...

Eleven qualify for main Freestyle Tournament
31.05.2005 48 players from 20 different countries got together on the Playchess server last weekend to play in the PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament. Using computer assistance, which is not forbidden in Freestyle, eleven qualified for the main tournament starting on Friday. There they will have to battle it out with scores of computer-assisted GMs.

The $20,000 free-for-all chess tournament
24.05.2005 Like to play in a grandmaster tournament? From your home and for a substantial prize fund? With a guarantee that you will not disgrace yourself? Then think about joining the first PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament, where anything goes. Where computer assistance is not forbidden, it is positively encouraged. Here are all the details.

Freestyle tournament for $20,000
09.05.2005 It's a new kind of chess tournament, with a substantial prize fund. $20,000 in all, $10,000 for the winner. Top grandmaster conditions. But with a difference. In the PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament on the Playchess.com server anyone can play. Even you. And anything goes. Anything! (In fact computer assistance is encouraged). Here are the details.

Anyone – or anything – can play!
07.08.2004 Anything goes in our freestyle tournament on the Playchess.com server this Saturday, August 7th. Participants can use computers, visiting grandmasters, slime beings from other planets – whatever they want. The games start at 15:00h server time (GMT +2), time controls are 7 min + 2 sec/move. Watch the fun...

Freestyle Blitz Tournament August 7
25.07.2004 Winning Internet chess games with the assistance of computers is quite despicable. People who are caught get stripped of rights and privileges. Not so in the August 7th "Freestyle Tournament" on Playchess.com. There you can use anything you want to win your games. Details...


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