Chess Classic: Rybka wins Chess960 Computer World Championship

by ChessBase
8/2/2009 – Remember Bobby Fischer winning US Championships – and Candidates matches – with incredible "to zero" scores? The American computer program Rybka reminded everyone of her (Rybka is female) famous human compatriot by winning the Chess960 World Championship qualifier 11.5/12. In the final Rybka beat her main rival Shredder 3:1. Congratulations to author Vasik Rajlich.

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Chess Classic Mainz 2009

The 2009 Chess Classic is taking place from July 27 to August 2 in the Rheingoldhalle of the Congress Centre, Hilton Hotel in Mainz, Germany. The event includes tournaments and Opens in traditional and Random Chess, with stars like the current World Champion Vishy Anand, Levon Aronian of Armenia, strong Russian junior GM Ian Nepomniachtchi and top German GM Arkadij Naiditsch.

Rybka wins Livingston Chess960 Computer World Championship

The Livingston Chess960 computer world championship Rybka won her (remember, Rybka is a she) third world title. The program, developed by Vasik Rajlich, won the four-game final on Friday 3-1 against Shredder, and in the battle for third place DeepSjeng could secure bronze in the mini-match against Ikarus.

In the preliminaries, Rybka crushed her opponents and scored an unbelievable “Fischer-like” score of 11.5/12 games. However, in the exhibition blitz Rybka lost her first game this week and it became obvious that the program is not unbeatable. In the first game of the final against Shredder, the German program possibly had a winning position, but Rybka found some tactical resources and even won the game in the end. Shredder-father Stefan Meyer-Kahlen commented: “The problem is that Rybka often finds these spectacular tactical escapes and in this game my opponent possibly searched deeper than Shredder”. In the other games Shredder had chances as well and all games were hard-fought. In the end Rybka won the final 3-1 (+2=2-0) and Rybka brainchild Vasik Rajlich received his third trophy from Chess Tigers treasurer Jürgen Wienecke.

The Livingston Chess960 championship with Rybka playing Shredder

Cool guy: Rybka author Vasik Rajlich

Two American Chess960 World Champions: Vasik Rajlich and Hikaru Nakamura

In the fight for third place, DeepSjeng convincingly won two games and seemed to be in cruise-control mode in game three and four. But Ikarus won both games, equalized the score and therefore a blitz tie-break was necessary. DeepSjeng won both blitz games.

It was another nice tournament, which took place in a friendly atmosphere. The Belgian referee and games expert Hans Secelle had no trouble leading the world championship. The programmers discussed various complicated aspects of chess programming for hours on end. We will see the result soon, because Rybka and Shredder will release new versions of their programs this year! Visit and for the latest information about the new releases.

During the Chess960 World Championship in Mainz the tournament arbiter Hans Secelle of Belgium was showing a position to the chess players who wandered by. It was from a study by an unknown (to us) composer, with the initial play left out. Here is the position:

D. Djaja 1972

White to play and draw

In his book "The King" GM Jan Hein Donner writes: "White makes one more move and it’s a draw! Keres, the two Byrnes, Lothar Schmid, Bisguier and I sat staring at this position for more than half an hour. We couldn’t find it. Can you?"

Indeed none of the chess players in Mainz were able to solve this position, and Hans was convinced that computer would also fail miserably. So Frederic Friedel bet him a glass of whisky at the bar that Rybka would find the key move. "Not necessarily understand why it holds the draw," said Friedel, "but it will find the move by discovering that all other moves lose badly and quickly." Hans lost his bet, Rybka found the right strategy in one minute and two seconds.

We will not show you the solution at this time. Just the following piece hint: when showing the solution to the GMs Hans Secelle would give the first white move and then speak for about 15 seconds. After that the GMs would nod and smile and say, "yes, that is right. Very neat!" The solution will be added in this article next week.

Schedule of remaining events

GRENKELEASING Rapid World Championship – July 31 to August 2nd, 2009

Rapid Chess, 20min/game + 5s/move. Course of events: Fri, 31 July: first rounds 1, 2 and 3; Sat, 1 Aug.: second rounds 4, 5 and 6, possible tiebreak; Sun, 2 Aug: four-game matches, big and small final, possible tiebreak, award ceremony. Start time of rounds: 18:30h, 19:30h, 20:30h, final additionally: 21:30h. Participants:

Player Nation Title
Viswanathan Anand India  GM
Levon Aronian Armenia  GM
Arkadij Naiditsch Germany  GM
Ian Nepomniachtchi Russia  GM

Full details

16th ORDIX Open – August 1-2, 2009

Eleven rounds Rapid Chess Open, 20min/game + 5s/move. Registration until Sat 1 Aug, 11:30h. Sat 1 August: rounds 1-5; Sun 2 August: rounds 6-11. Start of rounds: Sat 12:00h, Sun 10:00h. Award ceremony Sun 17:30h. Details.


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