Man vs Computer: the rules of the game

by ChessBase
1/22/2003 – It took a long time, but now, just five day before the start of the Man vs Machine match in New York, there is good news. "I am delighted to advise that as of this evening the principals have agreed the definitive rules for the match," writes David Levy, who spent last autumn working on them. So here they are, the rules of the game.

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Before you wade through all the technical details, here is a summary and guide of the match rules given in full further below:

  • The normal laws of chess apply (2). Time controls are 40/2h, 20/1h and 30 minutes for the rest (3).

  • The program operator is essentially passive and must have no influence on the outcome of the game (4). He may correct the internal clock in a preannounced fashion (6a). He may not force a move (6e) but is allow to correct errors with permission of the arbiter (6d, 6l, 7). He must behave courteously during the game (6k).

  • The arbiter can view the computer screen, the opponent may not. (5)

  • The operator may accept or reject draw offers (9a) and may consult other predesignated team members before doing so (9c, 9e). He may resign on behalf of the machine (9b). He may offer a draw if the machine is showing near-draw evaluations (9d).

  • Neither side may capitalize on their opponent's inherent weaknesses, i.e. to tire on the part of the human or the loss of time entering moves in the computer (10a). If the machine display a draw in its endgame databases the game ends immediately in a draw (10a).

  • If technical problems arise the computer team can try to repair the machine while their clock is running, and they must try to restore it to its original state (8a). In case of a power failure the game will be suspended until it is restored (8b).

  • The machine may not be connected to the Internet or communicate with any external computer during the game (11).

  • An Arbitration and Rules committee will rule on any disputes or the interpretation of the rules (12).

  • Immediately after the games the machine operator will provide the arbiter with the machine's log file (13). The human player gets the latest version of the program six months before the event (14).

Garry Kasparov vs Deep Junior Match

New York, January 26th - February 7th 2003

Match Rules

1. Arbiter: an arbiter will be appointed by FIDE, subject to agreement between the human player and the machine team to ensure the smooth running of the match and to enforce the match rules.

2. Laws of chess apply: unless explicitly specified herein, all the FIDE Laws of Chess apply to this match.

3. Time control: 2 hours for the first 40 moves, an hour for the next 20 moves, and 30 minutes for the rest of the game.

4. Program operator:

a. An operator will make the moves for the machine on the chessboard as well as operate the game clock, enter moves for the machine and, except when the machine is in time trouble, keep a written record of the moves of the game.
b. The operator will have a computer screen, a keyboard and a mouse on or near the game table
c. The machine operator may be changed between games
d. The machine operator may not be changed during a game
e. The arbiter will treat the machine operator as representing the machine
f. All repairs, recovery work, and the machine team discussions must take place with minimal disturbance to the human player. No one other than the operator, the arbiter, and the human player should be on the stage when the clock is running.
g. The operator should be viewed as a mechanical extension of the computer and as such should have little or no influence on the outcome of the game other than described explicitly below. This is a guiding principle that can be used in the resolution of any disputes.

5. Accessibility of the machine display:

a. The arbiter has the right to view the operator's display during the game.
b. The arbiter or match technical supervisor will keep a log of all machine-related actions during each game. (E.g. clock corrections.) This log will be reviewed by the committee and released after each game.
c. The human player does not have the right to view the machine's display during the game.

6. Operator allowed actions: After the first game move is made by the machine, the operator will restrict his actions to those that enable the game to be played according to the match rules.

a. The operator will enter the human player's moves.
b. The operator will execute the machine's moves on the chessboard and press the clock.
c. The operator must update the machine's internal clock according to an algorithm presented to the arbiter before the start of each game. If no algorithm is given to the arbiter before the start of the first game then the operator MUST adjust the computer's internal clock to the game clock when a move is being entered and the clocks differ by two minutes or more. For any game subsequent to the first game if no new algorithm is given to the arbiter before the start of the game then the algorithm in force for the previous game shall apply.
d. Following an operator error or technical problem, the operator, when instructed to do so by the arbiter, may make any input to allow the game to resume and continue, including change of position, resetting of the internal clocks and any other reasonable action.
e. The operator may not force the machine to move when the machine is on move nor may the operator delay the execution of the machine's moves nor may the operator delay the inputting of the human player's moves.
f. The operator will resign, offer, accept or decline draws on behalf of the machine, all in accordance with the terms of Clause 9 of these rules.
g. The restrictions on operator actions will not apply before the machine makes the first move in a game.
h. Other than as specified in sub-clauses a-g above the operator may not change any of the machine parameters during the game.
i. The machine team members are permitted to make any changes they wish to the machine between games including changes to the openings book and/or endgame databases.
k. The operator shall conduct himself with the etiquette normally expected in top class human chess events.
l. If a parameter is set incorrectly by accident before the start of the game or during a stoppage for a technical problem the operator may request a technical break to correct this parameter setting and the arbiter shall decide, after consultation with the arbitration and rules committee, whether to permit such a correction. Such a change should only be permitted in exceptional circumstances, for example if the operator accidentally set the machine to play at blitz speed.

7. Operator errors:

a. The machine's move selection, as displayed on the machine's screen, take precedence over the operator's moves on the chessboard
b. If the operator has completed a move on the chessboard and it is not the move the machine made, the operator will notify the arbiter as soon as possible, show the arbiter the machine's move on the screen, and re-enter the correct move.
c. If the operator completed a wrong move and also pressed the game clock, the arbiter will allow the move to be corrected on the chessboard and will allow appropriate time compensation to the human player. 10 minutes extra thinking time will be added to the human player's clock for the first infraction in a game. In the case of a second infraction in the same game the game will be forfeited by the machine.
d. The rules of chess for touching pieces and "J'adoube" will not apply to the machine operator provided that these rules are not violated to such an extent that it constitutes disturbing or distracting the opponent.
e. In case the operator erred in entering a move to the machine, the operator will immediately notify the arbiter and show him the machine's display. The arbiter will then authorize the operator to correct the position and enter the correct move and adjust the players' clocks if necessary.

8. Technical problems:

a. Other than catastrophic problems covered in 8b, all failures and repairs are treated equally. The machine team can do whatever they deem necessary to restore the machine and this shall be done while the machine's clock is running. The machine team has to restore the machine as accurately as possible to its state prior to the failure, as determined by the configuration submitted to the arbiter prior to each game. (This configuration document defines the values of all program parameters that can set by the operator and will also be available to the match committee.) All work and discussion will take place in the presence of the technical arbiter/supervisor who should keep a complete log of all work done. The technical arbiter/supervisor should always have a complete understanding of what the machine team is doing and they must make all of their activities clear to him, but not while the computer's clock is running. Any explanation required by the technical arbiter/supervisor and any information needed in order to facilitate the keeping of the complete log of work done must be provided while the computer's clock is not running. Should the technical arbiter/supervisor decide that he needs information at a moment when the computer's clock is running he must first stop the computer's clock, then make the request for information, and only restart the computer's clock when he is satisfied he has received the necessary information.
b. A power failure (or other external disruption) shall be treated as a force majeure and the game shall be suspended until power is restored, at which time the arbiter shall allow the machine operator up to 20 minutes to reset the machine and resume play. At the end of this 20 minute period the arbiter may restart the machine's side of the game clock.

9. Draw offers and resignations:

a. The machine operator has discretion in accepting or rejecting draw offers by the human player.
b. The machine operator has discretion when and whether to resign on the machine's behalf.
c. The machine operator may seek advice from other machine team members in considering draw offers. Prior to the start of each game the machine operator will provide the arbiter with the names of those persons who are considered to be part of the machine team for that game.
d. The machine operator has discretion in offering draws, provided the machine is showing draw or near-draw evaluations or displaying repetition lines. The machine operator will not offer a draw if such conditions are not met, but may accept a draw if offered by the human player.
e. When a draw offer is made by the human player, the machine's operator will promptly enter the human player's move into the computer. The machine team may start consultation at this point (off stage), viewing whatever is on the machine's screen. If the machine makes its move before the operator has accepted or declined the draw offer the operator must immediately return to the board (if he has already left the board) and make the machine's move on the board - this constitutes rejection of the draw offer. The operator may then leave the board to allow himself and the other members of the machine team time to finish their contemplation as to whether or not, in principle, they want to agree to a draw and after no more than ten minutes consultation time in total, including any consultation time taken before the draw offer was declined, the operator must cease his consultation with other team members. If the operator wishes he may then offer the human player a draw when making the next move for the machine or on any subsequent move.

10. Etiquette regarding draws:

a. The contestants voluntarily take upon themselves to observe etiquette in agreeing to draws without capitalizing on their opponent's inherent weaknesses, i.e. the human player's tendency to tire in a pointless game of many moves, and the machine's tendency to lose time through the time taken by its operator to input the human player's moves. Should a position be reached which is in the machine's endgame databases and if the result from that position with correct play is a draw, then the game ends immediately and the machine operator must promptly advise the human player and the arbiter that the game has been drawn.
b. The contestants agree that the likelihood of making a mistake in a complex position is a legitimate reason for refusing a draw.
c. The human player acknowledges that the chess understanding of the machine operator is much less than his own and ultimately the operator must rely on the machine's judgment regarding draw offers.

11. Non-intervention in the machine's play:

a. The machine's move choices during a game will be made exclusively by the machine running on-site and may not be influenced by any external computer or chess expert.
b. The machine will not be connected to the Internet or to any other equipment such as a telephone or radio communications device or another computer.
c. Except due to a technical problem, no technician or other person will handle the machine or connect or disconnect cables from it, other than as allowed for in the above rules.

12. Arbitration and Rules Committee:

a. An Arbitration and Rules committee made up of experts acceptable to the human player and to the machine team shall be responsible for interpreting technical questions as they pertain to these rules.
b. In the event of a technical problem or dispute the arbiter shall consult with the arbitration and rules committee and must accept the committee's conclusions as to all technical matters and as to the interpretation of any of these rules.
c. The decisions of the arbiter shall be bound by the opinion of the Rules and Arbitration Committee and shall be final and binding.

13. Log files:

a. As soon as is reasonably possible after the conclusion of each game and preferably within 30 minutes thereof the machine operator shall provide the arbiter with at least two electronic copies of the machine's log file for the game and, if requested by the arbiter, a printed copy.
b. The arbiter shall be responsible for passing one electronic copy of this log file to each of the members of the Arbitration and Rules Committee as quickly as possible and, if requested by the committee, one printed copy for each committee member.
c. The log file must include sufficient information to enable the Arbitration and Rules Committee to examine such details as each iteration of the machine's search, the evaluation for each such iteration and the time taken for making each move.
d. A copy of the program used for each game shall be given to the arbiter within 30 minutes of the end of the game in order, if necessary, to allow the match officials to recreate a game situation. The arbiter will keep this copy confidential and will not distribute it to any person either during or after the match.
e. The log files will be kept confidential to the arbiter and the Arbitration and Rules Committee.

14. Miscellaneous

a. The human player shall be provided with an executable copy of the program as used in the program's most recent official competition or, if more recent, as at the date six months prior to the start of the match.
b. The intent of these rules is to create a fair environment for both human player and machine. Any situations arising that are not explicitly covered by these rules shall be dealt with in such a way as to be fair and equitable to both parties.
c. In any circumstances not anticipated explicitly by these rules the Arbiter, after consultation with the Arbitration and Rules Committee, will determine the best course of action.

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