Shredder digs into the Swiss National team

7/28/2002 – Our program Shredder has scored 1.5 points out of two games so far against the Swiss national team. The second encounter against Jannik Pelletier was a close call for the computer. The games start at 20:15 European time and are carried live on the Playchess server. Read all about this match and on the Biel Chess Festival in our illustrated report.

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Internationales Schachfestival
Festival international d’échecs
International Chess Festival
Biel – Bienne (CH) 20.7. - 3.8.2002

Our programm Shredder is currently playing a match against the Swiss national team as part of the Chess Festival in Biel. On four evenings Shredder takes on GM Yannick Pelletier, GM Vadim Milov (author of our very popular Nimzo Indian CD), IM Florian Jenni (who wreaks havoc on the Playchess server under the name "Blitzky") and IM Werner Hug, a world junior vice champion. Details and schedules are available here.

Shredder vs the Swiss National Team

The prognosis before the match ranged from "4-0 for Shredder" to "2.5-1.5 for the Swiss". So far two games have been played, and only the first prediction is definitely wrong.

In the first game Vadim Milov, Elo 2602, played Shredder with the black pieces. The moves (as with all the games in this match) were transmitted live on the Playchess Server, and the server screen was also projected on a screen in the giant playing hall.

Milov never let Shredder get into the tactical "kill-the-human" position the program was striving for. The game ended in a draw. Interestingly the GM started to disscuss computer chess and the strategies of chess programming with Stefan in the middle of the game! Now that is something you don't often see in a serious match.


Stefan Meyer-Kahlen, author of Shredder, analyses the game with GMs Miso Cebalo and Vidim Milov for the public.

Replay and download this game.


In the second game the top (native) Swiss player Jannik Pelletier took on Shredder with the white pieces. Jannik is 25 years old and 2600+ on the rating scale (some of his most successful games from the Swiss league have not yet been included in the FIDE list). His preparation consisted mainly of studying two computer games: Loek van Wely vs Deep Junior from Dortmund 2000, and Smirin vs Shredder 2002 on the Playchess and Kasparov Chess servers.

It almost worked. Pelletier blocked the center and prepared his pieces for a kingside attack à la Van Wely and Smirin. One nagging problem was that Shredder kept its e-pawn on e6, rather than e5, as in the other two games. However Jannik found a clever way to seduce it into playing ...e5 after all (with 15.Bg5).

"Bloody humans," muttered Stefan Meyer-Kahlen, "they always find a way to trick the computers!" Stefan was feeling miserable about the prospects of his program at this stage of the game. And the Internet crowd was allready cheering "Die, Shredder, die!"

Of couse the game ended the way most of the confrontations with computers end these days. The human is wining, winning, winning, until he finally loses. Jannik pressed ahead too hastily with his attack, played 20.f6 without the necessary patience and preparation, and in five more moves it was all over. Shredder found a perfect defence with full counterattack, which left Pelletier with shambles where a promising attack had once been. 1-0 for Shredder.

Replay and download all games plays so far.


Biel picture gallery

Arriving in Bern, Switzerland. The author was put on a plane that had ventilators (or some kind of cooling system) in front of the engines. A unique experience, including landing at the smallest airport we have seen in a long time.


The reception area. Note the two flower troughs that decorate the entrance.


Ahhh, Switzerland as we know it from the picture books.


The entrance to the Biel Chess Festival


The tournament hall, with the giant Open, and the GM tournament on the stage


Pelletier vs Smirin, an interesting game in progress


Viktor the incredible vs Vallejo-Pons


Alexandra Kosteniuk, hiding behind her thoughts


13-year-old Isabel Scharrer, an Elo 1500 Swiss player


Timo Reusser, a nine-year-old 1400 player


Move over, Kosteniuk – meet Alexandra Wilson! Allie is 16 and passionately interested in chess ("I prefer it to the disco"). Elo 2073 and raising.


One real cool dude: Ilya Smirin


The Biel Expo 2002, built into the obligatory Swiss lake (every town in Switzerland has a beautiful lake).


One of the pavilions at the Expo, with a giant screen


A camera at the top of the screen captures visitors (here the chess crowd)


Specifically: Smirin, Mrs and Mr Dreev, Miso Cebalo and wife


Inside one of the Expo pavilions containing a "virtual aquarium"


A "critical exhibit" devoted to money and featuring Monica Lewinsky next to Yassir Arafat.


This sharpens our awareness of the concept of money, we were told


Viktor Kortschnoi is not exactly impressed by the Expo

Frederic Friedel


Biel links


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