Brilliancy in computer assisted chess

by ChessBase
6/16/2006 – The Third PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament starts today. In this form of chess, originally proposed by Garry Kasparov, the human players may use computers – or any other assistance they can muster. It is not OTB chess as we knew it, but it does produce a lot of very high-level games. Here, from the Second Freestyle Tournament, are the three most brilliant examples.

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Before we come to the brilliancies of the previous tournament, here an important note: you can still join the fourth Freestyle tournament, which begins on Friday evening, by entering the tournament room an hour before the start (17:00h CEST) and paying the starting fee of 30 Euros in Playchess ducats. Grandmasters who have a playchess account with a king symbol can participate without charge. However, the final decision on who can be added to the tournament and until when will be in the hands of the tournament director.

Third PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament on June 16-18

The Third PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament on the Playchess server will take place in June and July 2006 (schedule details are given below), once again with the substantial prize fund of $16,000. This time the time controls for our Advanced Chess competition have been increased to 60 min. + 15 sec., in order to give the human component more opportunity for analysis. The organisers expect that the change will benefit the quality of the game.

Brilliancy Prizes at the Second PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament

By Correspondence Chess GM Anno Nickel

Computer assisted chess games are often played at a very high level, as both sides manage to solve tactical problems accurately. But in rapid games, even here you can see tactical misevaluations (though more seldom than in human games), and of course strategical errors. After studying email feedback from the participants and analysing a lot of games, the staff of the German computer chess magazine Computerschach & Spiele has chosen three games for brilliancy prizes. Each winner will receive software valuing 50 Euro.

Obviously, such a selection out of 580 games is always rather subjevtive, and 'brilliancy' does not necessarily mean the same as 'quality'. This said, we would like to recommend the following dramatic battles for your enjoyment and learning. You should certainly enjoy replaying the moves, and if you are participating in the 3rd Freestyle Tournament, which starts on Friday, June 16, you may even learn a lesson or two.

Note that the games can be replayed on our special JavaScript board.
There are to this links at the end of each game.

First Brilliancy Prize

Pulanu (2507) - Klosterfrau (2502) [C67]
2nd PAL/CSS Freestlye Tournament - Main (8), 19.03.2006
[Annotations by Arno Nickel]

The player with the black pieces, International Master Dennis Breder, demonstrates in this centaur game against the Rumanien player Tebat Cupulanu his better understanding of the Berlin Defence in the Ruy Lopez, and he forces the decision in the endgame by a high class exchange sacrifice.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0–0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 Ke8 10.h3 Be7 11.Bf4 Be6.

12.Rad1?! [12.g4 Nh4 13.Nxh4 Bxh4 14.Kg2 Be7 15.Rfd1 Rd8 16.f3 h5 17.Ne2 c5 18.Ng3 hxg4 19.hxg4 Rxd1 20.Rxd1 c6 (101 moves) Leko,P-Adams,M/GMA Wijk aan Zee NED 2004 (5)/½-½; 12.Rfd1] 12...Bb4!? Black subsequently seizes the initiative by simple manoevres and succeeds in demolishing White's pawn structure on the queenside. 13.Bd2 [13.Ne4?? Bc4–+ Still the knight move would have been possible after 12.Rfd1...] 13...Rd8 14.Bg5 Rd7 15.g4 Ne7 16.Rxd7 Bxd7 17.Kg2 Bxc3 18.bxc3 h6 19.Be3 b6 20.Kg3 c5 21.Rb1 Be6 22.a3 Kd7 23.Ne1 g5 24.Rd1+ Kc6 25.Ng2 Ng6 26.f4 gxf4+ 27.Bxf4 h5 28.Bg5 hxg4 29.hxg4 Nxe5 30.Bf6.

30...Rh3+!! This exchange sacrifice is Black's only defence against the white threats, and at the same time it leads to a rather instructive ending whith a showdown on the queenside. 31.Kxh3 Nxg4! [31...Bxg4+? 32.Kh4 Bxd1 33.Bxe5 Bxc2 34.Ne3 Bb3 35.Kg5 b5=] 32.Kh4 Nxf6 33.Nf4 [33.Re1 would have been more tenacious.] 33...Ne4 34.Nxe6 fxe6 35.Rd3 Kb5.

36.Kh5. White's king is the black sheep in this endgame. Without his support the rook remains completely helpless. 36...Nd6 37.Kg5 Ka4 38.Kf6 Kxa3 39.Kxe6 Kb2 40.Rh3 a5 41.Kd5 Kxc2 42.c4 Kb2 43.Rh7 Kb3 44.Rh3+ Kb4 45.Rh1 Nxc4.

46.Rh4 [46.Rb1+ Kc3 47.Rc1+ Kd3 48.Rxc4? c6+] 46...b5 47.Rh1 Na3 48.Rh7 c4 49.Rh4 Kb3 50.Rh1 c3 51.Kc6 c2 52.Kxc7 Kb2 0–1. [Click to replay]

Second brilliancy prize

Equidistance - Schurick [B22]
2nd PAL/CSS Freestyle (main) (4), 18.03.2006
Team Equidistance: Patrik Schoupal, Miroslav Kvicala, Jan Macura, Frantisek Nepustil + Engines; Team Schurick: IM Sasha Belezky + Engines. Annotations by Patrik Schoupal (translated by A, Nickel).

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3. The Morra Gambit is perhaps not often played at this level. 3...Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.cxd4 e6 6.Nc3

6...Nxc3? This move is simply bad. White has open lines for bishops and open b-file. Only pawn c3 might be weak. Fortunately for us, this move is a main line in most of engine´s opening books. 7.bxc3 d6 8.f4 dxe5 9.fxe5 Qh4+?!

10.Ke2! Now, white has a very easy-to-follow setup with Nf3, Kf2, Bd3, Rf1 and Kg1. 10...Bd7 11.Nf3 Qd8 12.Kf2 Be7 13.Bd3 Bc6 14.Rf1 Nd7

15.Kg1. This is a great position with rich possibilities for future attack. 15...0–0?! [15...b5!? 16.Qe1 h6 17.Qg3 g5 18.Nd2 was played in GM´s match between Svesnikov and Filippov. Castling is already a dubious move here.] 16.Qc2

This position was given a draw (!) in Vlassov vs Hansen, 2003, EU-ch Internet qual on Well, Vlassov should look at this game. I think White is winning already! 16...h6 17.Qf2!!±. The key move. Pure human intervention. Main idea is to attack with Qg3-h3 and Bxh6 or an additional possibility is Bf4-Qe3 with a motive of Bxh6. 17...Kh8! [17...Rc8? the only move 18.Qg3 Kh8 19.Qh3 Bxf3 20.Bxh6+–

Analysis diagram

to show just one possibility.

18.Bf4 f5 19.exf6 Rxf6 20.Qe3 Rc8 21.c4! Nc5 22.Bc2 Ba4 23.Bb1 Nd7 24.Bd3 Nc5 25.Be5 Nxd3 26.Bxf6 Bxf6 27.Qxd3 e5 28.Rae1! exd4 29.Ne5 Be8 30.Re4 Qb6 31.Ref4! h5 32.Ng6+ Bxg6 33.Qxg6 d3+ 34.Kh1 Rd8 35.Re4 Qc6 36.Rfe1 Rf8 37.Re8 Kg8 38.Rxf8+ Kxf8 39.Qxd3 h4 40.Qd5 Qxd5 41.cxd5

Black could resign now. 41...Be7 42.Re6 Kf7 43.Kg1 b5 44.Kf2 b4 45.Ke3 a5 46.Ra6 Bd8 47.Ra7+ Kf6 48.Ke4 Be7 49.Ra6+ Kf7 50.Rxa5 Bd6 51.Ra7+ Kg8 52.h3 Bc5 53.Rb7 Kh7 54.Ke5 b3 55.Rxb3 1–0. [Click to replay]

Third brilliancy prize

Wienie (2422) - ZackS,Deep Shredder 9.12 (2467) [B22]
2nd PAL/CSS Freestlye Tournament – Main
[Annotations by Arno Nickel]

This Sicilian game cannot be considered as masterpiece of sound play on both sides, but the audience was fond of the hair raising struggle, where White (Wieslaw Niewiadomski), the centaur in this duel, keeps good nerves against the pure power of the machine, and finally by using his proud passed pawn on d6 creates much trouble to Black's naked king. 1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.Nf3 e5?!

Stephen Zackary (ZackS), the man behind Shredder 9 in this last round game, last year's Freestyle winner, is looking for a fierce battle, though he had already missed the qualification for the final. The young American let Shredder 9 run as stand-alone engine with a special prepared book of his own.5.Na3 e4 6.Bc4 Qf5 7.Nh4 Qf6 8.Nb5 Na6 9.g3 Be7 10.d4 Bh3 11.d5 Rd8 12.Qc2

12...Qb6 Another idea could have been to prepare a7-a6 and regroup the passive knight. For example: 12...Nb8!? 13.Qxe4 ( 13.Bf4 g5 14.Bxb8 Rxb8 15.d6 Bd8 16.Qxe4+ Kf8 17.Ng2 a6) 13...a6 14.Nc7+ Kf8 15.Bf4 Bd6 (15...g5?? 16.Be5). 13.a4 Rd7 14.Bf4 Bxh4 15.gxh4 Qf6 16.Qd2 Ne7 17.Bg5 [17.0–0–0!? Preventing the unpleasant king's position in the game.] 17...Qf3 18.Rg1 f6 19.Bf4 Kd8 20.d6 Ng6 21.Bg3 e3 22.fxe3 Re8

23.Bf2 [23.Be2!? Rxe3!?] 23...Nf4„ 24.Nxa7 Re4 25.b3 Re5 26.Nb5 g6 27.h5 g5 28.Rg3

White sacrifices the exchange in order to weaken Black's counterplay. 28...Ng2+ 29.Rxg2 Qxg2 [29...Bxg2 30.Be2] 30.0–0–0 Qxh2 31.Qe1 Bf5 32.Rd2 Qxh5 33.Kb2 Qf3

Black threatens to mobilize all his pawns on the kingside, while White like to attack Black's king by using his very strong d6-pawn. 34.Na3 Be4 35.Bg3 Re8 36.Be2 Qh1 37.Qf2 f5 38.Bd1 h5 39.Nc4 h4 40.Be5 Re6 41.Bh2 Rg7 42.Ne5

42...Rh6? The decisive mistake, as White gains time to play Qf2-e2-b5 threatening Qb6+. Black misses the last opportunity to achieve the manoeuvre 42...Nb8 followed by ...Nc6 and sufficient counterplay. 42...Nb8! 43.Qe2 Nc6 44.Qh5 Qe1! 45.Nc4 Reg6 46.Qh8+ Rg8 47.Qh7 R6g7 48.Qh6 Rg6=. 43.Qe2+- Rhh7 44.Qb5 Rd7 45.Qc4 Bd5 46.Rxd5 Qxh2+ 47.Bc2

47...Kc8 48.Qd3 Qh3 49.Nxd7 Rxd7 50.Qxf5 Qxf5 51.Bxf5 Kd8 52.Bxd7 Kxd7 53.Rxg5. The black engine named Shredder doesn't know, that any further resistance will be hopelessly, and continues to play for some moves. 53...Kxd6 54.Rh5 Nb8 55.Rxh4 Nd7 56.b4 Ne5 57.bxc5+ Kc6 58.Kb3 1–0. [Click to replay]

Reports on previous Freestyle Tournaments

$16,000 Freestyle tournament begins on Friday
14.06.2006 The Third PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament begins on Friday, June 16, on the Playchess server. In the previous edition, won by Zor_Champ of the UAE, there were a number of grandmasters participating. One was Tony Kosten of England, assisted by the program Hiarcs 10, who gives us his assessment of such computer-assisted tournaments. You can still join!

$16,000 up for grabs in computer-assisted play
11.05.2006 The Third PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament on the Playchess server is coming up in June, once again with a substantial prize fund. This time the time controls for our Advanced Chess competition have been increased to 60 min. + 15 sec., in order to give the human component more opportunity for analysis. Like to play? It's lots of fun!

Zor-Champ wins Freestyle Tournament
16.04.2006 In a very exciting final the team of Zor-Champ, located in the United Arab Emirates, took first place and the $8,000 prize money in the Second PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament. The team was driven by the program Hydra, which runs on multi-processor speical-purpose hardware. Second was IM Vasik Rajlich, assisted by his own program Rybka. Report and games.

Freestyle tournament: Finals this weekend
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, 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 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 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 There you can use anything you want to win your games. Details...

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