Rajlich wins Sixth PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament

7/25/2007 – For the first time in Freestyle a team has succeeded in regaining the title. Vasik Rajlich won the third event in June 2006, and now, together with his wife and French Defence expert IM Iweta Rajlich, has staged a come-back, winning the $16,000 finals on the Playchess server exactly one year later. The 32-processor computer "Mission Control" came sixth. CCGM Arno Nickel reports.

Sixth PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament

Report by CCGM Arno Nickel

The sixth PAL/CSS Freestyle tournament was won be the team of Rajlich, led by the author of the program Rybka, IM Vas Rajlich, and assisted by his wife IM Iweta Rajlich, whose opening weapon, the French, proved most effective in this final (+1 =4 with Black and +1 with White against here own favourite defence). Normally GM Michal Krasenkov also belongs to the team, but this time he was playing another tournament, in Spain, if I’m right. Half a point behind was a trio of further "centaurs", humans assisted by computers, who dominated the event with their poisoned opening arrows and fine rapier thrusts, to which a brute force colossus like Mission Control with its 32 processors had nothing to counter. Here are the final standings:

No.

Participants

Fr.Elo

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Pts

SoB

1.

Rajlich

2736

**

½

½

½

1

½

1

½

1

½

6.0

25.50

2.

Flyingfatman

2674

½

**

½

½

½

1

½

1

½

½

5.5

23.75

3.

Cato the Younger

2649

½

½

**

½

½

½

½

1

1

½

5.5

23.50

4.

Klosterfrau

2608

½

½

½

**

1

½

½

½

½

1

5.5

23.25

5.

Rentner2

2631

0

½

½

0

**

½

1

1

½

½

4.5

18.50

6.

Mission Control

----

½

0

½

½

½

**

0

½

½

1

4.0

17.00

7.

PvP

----

0

½

½

½

0

1

**

½

0

1

4.0

16.75

8.

New Man

----

½

0

0

½

0

½

½

**

1

1

4.0

15.75

9.

Kreuzfahrtschiff

----

0

½

0

½

½

½

1

0

**

½

3.5

15.00

10.

Ultra-d

2695

½

½

½

0

½

0

0

0

½

**

2.5

12.50

Nick Carlin's team Flyingfatman was one of the positive surprises of the 6th Freestyle Tournament. The English IT expert had already participated in the 5th Freestyle event, with help of Russian GM Aleksander Rustemov (Elo 2552), but had missed the qualification by half a point. In the 6th Main Tournament he played the first six rounds as ‘engine-only’, but switched to centaur play for the last three games on Sunday, when a series of drawn games secured him the tied second place. Apart from his own ‘Quad’ Nick received hardware support from Majd Ansari (Kuwait), while Jiri and Roman had also a four-processor machine at their disposal. Thus Nick Carlin showed excellent skills as a coach and also gave an example in which dimensions today’s semi-professional Freestyling is already happening.

After Sujay Jagannathan alias Mission Control had dominated the Main Tournament with his 32-processor machine running a Rybka engine, everybody was curious how he would do in the final. They had not wait too long for a sensation, when in the first round Mission Control played 26...Kg8 after a deep think (11 min) and then, shortly afterwards, resigned.

Flyingfatman (2682) - Mission control (2468) [B97]
6th Freestyle Final playchess.com #101760 (1.1), 22.06.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.e5!? dxe5 11.fxe5 Nfd7 12.Ne4 Qxa2 13.Rd1 h6 14.Bh4 Qd5 15.Qe3 Qxe5 16.Be2 Bc5 17.Bg3 Bxd4 18.Rxd4 Qa5+ 19.Rd2 0–0 20.Bd6 Nc6 21.0–0!? Re8 22.Qg3 Qb6+ 23.Kh1 Ne7 24.Bc7! Qc6

25.Rxf7 Kxf7 26.Nd6+ Kg8 and 1–0.

What had happened? White lured his opponent into a highly topical line of the Najdorf Poisoned Pawn Variation and threw him out of book with the relatively new move 21.0-0. Not aware of the mating attacks to which his king would be exposed, Black – the Rybka engine – continued with fast play, although now it was high time for a long think. In move 24, after a short interactive analysis the centaur’s ‘killer instinct’ knocked the engine down.

So how can White continue his attack without giving Black time to consolidate his kingside? 27.Nxe8 Nf5 28.Qg6 Qc3 29.Qxe6 Kh8

Once again White has to decide, whether he can go on with direct attack or has to concede Black counterplay in view of his weakened first rank and the hanging rook on d2. Only the exchange sacrifice 30.Qxf5! justifies White’s 24th move Bc7. After 30...Qxd2 31.Qf7 Qe1+ 32.Bf1 Black has no more illusions.

No matter, if he defends g7, with 32...Qa1 or 32...Qc3, he will be unable to parry the manoeuvre Bc7-d6-f8 followed by the sequence ...Nxf8, Qxf8+, Kh7 and Bd3+. Black’s queen might capture the d3-bishop, but cannot prevent Qxg7+ mate at the same time. Shortly after 26...Kg8 Mission Control recognised that in about ten moves (20 ply) it would be without defence against White’s attack; that is to say, it got 30.Qxf5 into its ‘horizon’ (and then resigned), while about 2-3 moves earlier, in the critical position before 24.Bc7, the exchange sacrifice was still out of its view. That really is an instructive Freestyle example for a centaur profiting of an engine’s limited ‘horizon’!

The Poisoined Pawn with 10.e5!? (B97) could be seen in seven games of the 5th and 6th Freestyle Tournaments and earned White three wins. Will this continue in future Freestyle events or will Black be better prepared? Mission Control was tested again in this variation in round seven by IM Joerg Blauert alias Rentner2, and this time achieved an exciting draw by playing 17...Qd5 (instead of 17...Bxd4). The analysis may continue...

The winner got $8,000, and as the 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed ended up tied, each got $2,000. Cato the Younger (3rd), once again led by Anson Williams, had problems with the pairings (they had black against some of the strongest opponents and they had to play five games with the black pieces) and their quad computer. Klosterfrau (4th) alias IM Dennis Breder played only two games (vs. Rajlich and Mission Control) as a centaur, but even so ranked among the winners. One reason may be his strong opening book, the other one a surprising time loss by Rentner2 in a blocked and rather drawish position. This way Rentner2, who had shown a strong performance so far, became the tragic hero of this final.

We already spoke about favourite openings in this final, but how to explain that 86% of the 45 games started with 1.e4, with all closed opening beeing total "out"? Only once Black replied 1...e5 in those 39 games with 1.e4. As usual, Sicilian was the favourite opening (24 games with a score of 42% for Black), but after that came French with 14 games and a score of 50% for both sides! We may expect that this trend will continue for some time, at least with the centaurs, as the French Defence will be chosen for it potential for strategical play.

The draw rate was a bit lower than last time: 62%, which means 17 decided games and 28 drawn games, though one could have expected the opposite. This means that there seems to be no need for a change towards a three-point-for-a-win-rule. A CSS Online poll on this question actually saw 48.21% votes (out of 115) for a change, but most of the finalists don’t like such artificial incentives and prefer to discuss other alternatives to the specific round-robin system. Discussions will go on, but for the time beeing there will be no dramatic changes.

Another topic of the poll was related to the rate of play. 39.47 % said they like the 60min + 15sec modus, 14.91% would prefer an even faster rate of play, and 43.86% voted for longer times. That means, people are generally content with the system, as it is. When asked if they would like to participate in an additional nine-round tournament with two hours per game (and only one game per day) 58.41% said ‘yes’ and only 29.2% said they won’t. So we have a clear vote for such a tournament.

The schedule for the 7th PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament, which is not fixed yet, will most probably be like this:

9 rounds with 90min + 30sec rate of play:

I. weekend: September 7-9, 2007
1. Round: Friday 19.00 MEZ
2. Round: Saturday 14.00 MEZ
3. Round: Saturday 19.00 MEZ
4. Round: Sunday 14.00 MEZ

II. weekend: September 14-16, 2007
5. Round: Friday 19.00 MEZ
6. Round: Saturday 14.00 MEZ
7. Round: Saturday 19.00 MEZ
8. Round: Sunday 14.00 MEZ
9. Round: Sunday 19.00 MEZ

Money prizes: 1st $7000, 2nd $3500, 3rd $2000, 4th $1000, 5th $500.

So this time there will be no final, as the whole tournament would take too much time. This instance might be of interest for new and strong players to give it a try, same as the longer rate of play, which should be in favour of centaurs, though opinious are different in this point. The 8th PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament could take place – once again with 60min + 15sec – in November/December 2007, with nine instead of eight rounds in the main event, as 58.04% of the participants voted for a third round on Friday (up to now we used to play only two rounds on Friday).

For the main events (and may be even for all Freestyle tournaments) the organisers are thinking about abolishing the automatic engine play, that is to say everybody should enter the moves manually. The reason for this is that there have been too many engine crashes and disconnections in previous Freestyle tournaments, especially when both players use different client software. The tournament director is occupied by these problems (restarting games, deciding about results, chatting with the players) most of the time, when he should instead be taking care of other things, like the pairing system, proper information, tables and so on. Players who to play with more then one account will have a hard time, but may be they will find others to help them as operators. And of course everyone has to be present at his or her PC during the game.

Finally, here is the latest Freestyle Elo list. Published are players with at least 15 rated games. In case of at least 30 rated games the rating is considered as ‘fixed’ and shown in bold type. The list is now based on 2445 games and 362 players.

Freestyle Name

Elo

Games

Score

Av.Op.

Draws

1 Vvarkey

2754

15

70.0 %

2607

33.3 %

2 Rajlich

2740

62

68.5 %

2605

56.5 %

3 Etaoin Shrdlu

2727

19

63.2 %

2634

63.2 %

4 Mission control

2716

17

61.8 %

2633

52.9 %

5 Nebula

2707

24

66.7 %

2587

41.7 %

6 Flying Saucers

2698

42

63.1 %

2605

54.8 %

7 Zor_champ

2698

46

63.0 %

2605

39.1 %

8 Jazzled

2694

38

63.2 %

2600

68.4 %

9 Xakru

2692

25

64.0 %

2592

56.0 %

10 Frigderi

2692

16

59.4 %

2626

56.2 %

11 Flyingfatman

2690

24

62.5 %

2601

58.3 %

12 The wizard of Os

2676

19

60.5 %

2601

57.9 %

13 Cato the Younger

2670

37

63.5 %

2574

62.2 %

14 Rodo

2668

28

60.7 %

2593

71.4 %

15 Kreuzfahrtschiff

2667

17

55.9 %

2626

52.9 %

16 Revengeska

2666

16

62.5 %

2577

37.5 %

17 Oligarckh

2657

22

65.9 %

2542

50.0 %

18 Eve®est

2651

23

58.7 %

2590

65.2 %

19 PvP

2644

17

55.9 %

2602

41.2 %

20 EL-SHADDAI

2641

36

61.1 %

2562

44.4 %

21 Icy45

2639

25

54.0 %

2612

44.0 %

22 Hedgehog

2639

22

61.4 %

2558

68.2 %

23 Intagrand

2638

34

58.8 %

2576

41.2 %

24 Lasker#77

2634

16

59.4 %

2568

68.8 %

25 New Man

2632

17

55.9 %

2591

41.2 %

26 Rentner2

2631

66

54.5 %

2600

60.6 %

27 Ultra-d

2631

26

50.0 %

2631

53.8 %

28 King Crusher

2630

38

57.9 %

2575

63.2 %

29 Elissa

2628

20

52.5 %

2611

55.0 %

30 Ciron

2627

59

55.1 %

2592

59.3 %

31 Klosterfrau

2627

60

58.3 %

2569

60.0 %

32 Revelator

2621

22

63.6 %

2524

36.4 %

33 ZackS

2616

65

57.7 %

2562

47.7 %

34 Spaghetti Chess

2608

30

60.0 %

2538

60.0 %

35 Tatar

2608

40

57.5 %

2556

40.0 %

36 EmilV

2608

33

57.6 %

2555

60.6 %

37 WieNie

2604

16

56.2 %

2561

50.0 %

38 Relic

2602

29

56.9 %

2554

58.6 %

39 Alansacount

2598

50

57.0 %

2549

54.0 %

40 Averell

2596

17

50.0 %

2596

41.2 %

41 PAKman

2593

32

57.8 %

2538

40.6 %

42 OpenFormula

2589

23

58.7 %

2528

65.2 %

43 Bychamp_II

2589

33

59.1 %

2525

45.5 %

44 Poweronoff

2582

49

57.1 %

2532

61.2 %

45 Equidistance

2581

38

52.6 %

2563

36.8 %

46 Sebi-chess

2578

31

54.8 %

2544

45.2 %

47 Campolungo

2576

15

53.3 %

2553

40.0 %

48 Rybusia

2576

15

56.7 %

2529

60.0 %

49 Engineer

2576

45

53.3 %

2552

44.4 %

50 Hercules01

2570

20

47.5 %

2588

55.0 %

51 Abeljusto

2570

29

55.2 %

2534

48.3 %

52 PawnStriker1978

2568

17

58.8 %

2506

47.1 %

53 Pingugator

2563

15

60.0 %

2493

80.0 %

54 Tony Kosten

2560

24

52.1 %

2546

45.8 %

55 Petr Hába

2560

28

60.7 %

2484

57.1 %

56 Ibermax

2560

27

48.1 %

2572

51.9 %

57 Sergey_M

2552

23

56.5 %

2507

52.2 %

58 Rainer Zufall

2551

41

51.2 %

2542

48.8 %

59 Fredi_z

2551

40

53.8 %

2525

67.5 %

60 Dieb Fritz

2542

27

51.9 %

2529

59.3 %

61 Walden

2541

27

53.7 %

2515

55.6 %

62 Kaputtze

2532

35

50.0 %

2532

60.0 %

63 Pulse_exchange

2531

19

47.4 %

2549

52.6 %

64 Heffalump

2527

31

54.8 %

2493

58.1 %

65 Noritano

2526

31

53.2 %

2503

48.4 %

66 Auryn

2519

33

51.5 %

2509

54.5 %

67 Braincooler

2516

17

41.2 %

2578

58.8 %

68 Caligula_of_Rome

2510

15

53.3 %

2486

80.0 %

69 Goldbar

2509

35

54.3 %

2479

45.7 %

70 WindPower

2502

39

48.7 %

2511

51.3 %

71 Souk

2498

15

46.7 %

2521

80.0 %

72 Alexisco

2497

31

53.2 %

2475

54.8 %

73 Katzenmaier

2496

21

52.4 %

2479

38.1 %

74 Neverfail

2494

32

50.0 %

2494

37.5 %

75 Stabiloboss

2491

22

56.8 %

2443

31.8 %

76 VoidChessICC

2487

36

45.8 %

2516

52.8 %

77 WoDra

2486

37

51.4 %

2477

64.9 %

78 Hoshad

2486

39

48.7 %

2495

51.3 %

79 Akhtar

2475

29

56.9 %

2426

37.9 %

80 Knilch hi

2469

31

53.2 %

2447

54.8 %

81 Credit

2466

15

46.7 %

2490

26.7 %

82 Rockdoc

2466

15

43.3 %

2513

33.3 %

83 Safary

2466

16

53.1 %

2444

43.8 %

84 Footbolo

2456

16

46.9 %

2478

56.2 %

85 MASLAKKOSTIA

2456

21

50.0 %

2456

33.3 %

86 Supermichi

2451

15

43.3 %

2498

46.7 %

87 ChessChryssy

2450

25

50.0 %

2450

44.0 %

88 AlterEgo

2444

28

46.4 %

2469

64.3 %

89 Thebrokenking

2444

24

47.9 %

2458

45.8 %

90 Erdo

2437

15

40.0 %

2507

40.0 %

91 Dom_

2434

24

41.7 %

2492

25.0 %

92 Kidambi

2431

19

39.5 %

2505

36.8 %

93 Mberggren

2403

15

46.7 %

2426

40.0 %

94 Cluster Wraith

2397

23

43.5 %

2442

52.2 %

95 Gomez

2396

15

40.0 %

2467

40.0 %

96 Bogdansyg

2391

27

44.4 %

2429

51.9 %

97 Pandini

2390

33

40.9 %

2453

63.6 %

98 John Higgins

2381

23

37.0 %

2474

39.1 %

99 Jimliew

2359

16

34.4 %

2471

56.2 %

100 Brain-damage

2344

20

37.5 %

2432

35.0 %

101 Olivier-Evan

2342

25

34.0 %

2458

36.0 %

102 Croberson

2333

35

37.1 %

2425

34.3 %

103 Christian Gorals

2331

21

40.5 %

2398

42.9 %

104 Ggg

2318

22

38.6 %

2398

40.9 %

105 Mikhail Umansky

2315

26

30.8 %

2456

38.5 %

106 Simplicissimus

2308

15

30.0 %

2456

46.7 %

107 Underdrive

2288

16

31.2 %

2425

62.5 %

108 RybkaKiller

2282

15

36.7 %

2377

60.0 %

109 LuBüWy

2281

22

38.6 %

2361

40.9 %

110 Kapaun

2279

27

35.2 %

2386

48.1 %

111 Jpsingh1972

2273

19

34.2 %

2387

36.8 %

112 Pantani

2233

19

31.6 %

2367

31.6 %

113 Greyscales

2229

21

33.3 %

2349

47.6 %

114 CumnorChessClub

2215

15

30.0 %

2362

20.0 %

115 VampireBat

2198

21

21.4 %

2424

23.8 %

116 RedLotos

2193

18

27.8 %

2359

22.2 %

117 Otto der erste

2179

15

26.7 %

2355

26.7 %

118 Pepekan

2122

20

22.5 %

2337

15.0 %


Articles on Freestyle Chess

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The Freestyle Champion is Xakru, dammit!
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03.04.2006 After tiebreak matches the eight qualifiers of the Second PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament are ready to battle it out for the $16,000 prize fund. At the faster time controls this time four pure engines made it to the final round. You can come and watch the action at 14:00h CEST on Saturday and Sunday, when the tournament director says: Gentlemen, start your engines.

Freestyle tournament: Vvarkey wins with 7.5/8
24.03.2006 The first leg of the second PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament, which carries a prize fund of $16,000, was won by an unknown player with the Playchess handle Vvarkey. He scored 7.5 points from 8 games (before the last round his score was 7/7). Six other players qualified for the final behind him. For the final, eighth place there will be a tiebreak tournament tomorrow. Details.

Freestyle tournament: advice from an expert
16.03.2006 Are you one of the over 150 participants that have registered for the second $16,000 PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament, starting this weekend? Do you have your computer assistant or your GM advisor booted up and ready to play? For novices in computer assisted play we have some tips and tricks by correspondence chess GM Arno Nickel.

The $16,000 open-to-all chess tournament
28.02.2006 Would you 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 second PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament, where anything goes. Where computer assistance is not forbidden, but is positively encouraged. Full details.

Dark horse ZackS wins Freestyle Chess Tournament
19.06.2005 The computer-assisted PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament, staged on Playchess.com, ended with a shock win by two amateurs: Steven Cramton, 1685 USCF and Zackary Stephen, 1398 USCF, using three computers for analysis, defeated teams of strong grandmasters all the way to victory in the finals. We bring you a first flash report with games and results.

Scintillating chess in the PAL-CSS Freestyle tournament
15.06.2005 This unusual event, in which players may use computer assistance during the games, is turning into a milestone experiment. After the main event and the quarter-finals (and with four players left) we can draw first tentative conclusions. One is that the most powerful chess playing entity on the planet is a GM armed with a computer.

Hydra misses the quarter-finals of Freestyle tournament
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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