Rybka wins the 15th ICGA Computer World Championship

6/19/2007 – Once a year the International Computer Games Association stages a world championship in computer chess (and other board games). This year it was held in Amsterdam and was won by the American program Rybka, ahead of compatriot Zappa. Defending champion Junior did not participate. The German program Shredder won the blitz world championship. Report and games.

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15th ICGA World Computer Chess
Championship – Amsterdam 2007

The ICGA World Computer Chess Championship was staged from June 11 to 18 in the Science Park Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The organiser was the International Computer Games Association (ICGA). The event, together with computer games workshops, was sponsored by IBM, SARA Computing and Networking Services and NCF (Foundation of National Computing Facilities).

Twelve programs took part in the round robin event, the favourites being Rybka ("little fish") by the US programmer IM Vasik Rajlich, Zappa by Anthony Cozzie, also from USA, and Shredder by German programmer Stefan Meyer-Kahlen. Conspicuously absent were the German/Dutch program Fritz, which in recent years is mainly concerned with improving its strength in human chess; and last year's winner Junior (from Israel), which had just finished a match against Fritz in Elista and could not make it to the tournament in Amsterdam.


The 15th ICGA World Computer Chess Championship under way

The winner was Rybka, which secured its victory (with an impressive 10/11 points) by defeating many times computer chess world championship Shredder in the last round. The German program played the Poisoned Pawn variation of the Najdorf and was neatly "outbooked" by its opponent. Shredder uses the Italian openings specialist Sandro Necci, Rybka the Dutch expert Jeroen Noomen. Rybka author Rajlich writes: "Jeroen busted out a wild Sicilian line in which White starts the festivities by sacrificing three pawns for a sizeable lead in development but still nothing concrete. Rybka herself would favor black at this point. Later in the variation, White offered a piece to keep the attack going. I'm not sure what should happen, but the entire refutation of Black's play was in the book and Black could have resigned without White playing a single new move."

Rybka - Shredder [B97]
WCCC 2007 Amsterdam, The Netherlands (11), 18.06.2007
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 h6 13.Bh4 Qxa2 14.Rd1 Qd5 15.Qe3 Qxe5 16.Be2 Bc5 17.Bg3 Bxd4 18.Rxd4 Qa5+ 19.Rd2 0-0 20.Bd6 Re8 21.0-0 f5

Black is three pawns up, but has a badly exposed kingside. 22.Qg3!? Played by Alexei Shirov against Lubomir Ftacnik in the German Bundesliga on April 1st 2007. Ftacnik played 22...Nc6 and the games was drawn in 59 moves. 22...fxe4 23.Qg6 Rd8 24.Rf7 Qc3 25.Bg4 [Last Rybka book move] Nf8 26.Bxf8 Qa1+ 27.Rf1 Qxf1+ 28.Kxf1 Rxf8+ 29.Rf2 Nc6 30.Bh5 Rxf2+ 31.Kxf2 Ne5 32.Qe8+ Kh7 33.Ke3 b5 34.Kf4 Bb7 35.Qe7 Bd5 36.Kxe5 a5 37.g4 e3 38.g5 hxg5 39.Qxg5 Kg8 40.Qxe3 Rf8 41.Be2 b4 42.Bd3 Rf3 43.Qg5 b3 44.Bg6 Rf6 45.Qh5 Rxg6 46.Qxg6 b2 47.Qe8+ Kh7 48.Qb5 Kh6 49.Qxb2 Ba8 50.Qc1+ Kh5 51.Qf4 Bd5 52.c4 Bc6 53.Qf7+ Kg4 54.Qxe6+ Kf3 55.Qxc6+ Ke3 1-0.


Vasik Rajlich, the author of Rybka, 2007 world champion


Stefan Meyer-Kahlen, who has won eleven world championship titles in the past. In Amsterdam Shredder won the blitz chess world championship.


A key game: Gridchess vs Rybka


The Shannon trophy for the computer chess world championship

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