Shredder leads in GM and IM tournaments

by ChessBase
7/16/2004 – The "Republica Argentina" Chess Festival 2004 is under way, with strong GMs and IMs participating. But it is our program Shredder 8 that is dominating both groups. After six rounds the computer is in the sole lead in the GM "Magistral" section, in the IM group a human being is still hanging on. Read our extensive illustrated report.

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"Republica Argentina" Chess Festival 2004

Every year there is a big chess festival in Argentina, with strong GMs and IMs participating. In the past the organisers have spiced up the event by allowing a computer program to participate. The great media success has led to the continuation of this tradition, and this year Shredder 8 is one of the 12 players in the GM section.

This tournament is being held from July 9 to July 20, 2004, at the medical center "Círculo Médico de Vicente Lopez" in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As in previous editions, the Festival will have several chess events, the most important being a GM round robin tournament, the "VII Republica Argentina Chess Masters", and an IM round robin tournament, "ITT Vicente Lopez City".

The tournament started on July 9th, Independence Day in Argentina – in 1816 at a meeting in San Miguel del Tucuman deputies of the Argentine's provinces declared independence from the Spanish Crown.

Round one: Argentinian chess legend, Oscar Panno, had a positional advantage with black in a French Winawer against IM Salvador Alonso, but could get more than a draw. In its first game the German chess program Shredder 8, running on a Pentium IV at 3 GHz, with 256Mb of RAM ("Shredder Mark" around 1500) beat 16-year-old Leonardo Fusco (2296) in 27 moves. In the IM event the computer could not break the solid defense of IM Cristobal Valiente of Paraguay, and a draw was agreed after 59 moves.

Round two: FM Ricardo Szmetan saved a lost game against GM Oscar Panno after a miraculous perpetual check. Shredder played a Caro-Kann against IM Bernardo Roselli, the only human who was able to bet a ChessBase program in past editions of this Festival, and reached a very promising position. The game ended in a draw by threefold repetition after 56 moves.

In the IM group Shredder beat FM Pablo Dellamorte, taking the lead together with IM Sergio Giardelli and IM Enrique Scarella.

Round 3: The GM tournament saw terrible battles during more than four hours of play (time controls: 90 min + 30 seconds per move as used by FIDE). Shredder 8 played 1.c4 against IM Diego Valerga, who played a very solid game. After the exchange of dark-squared bishops, Shredder got a passed pawn on c5, with Valerga blockaded. Lengthy maneuvers followed, with a critical position arising when the computer sacrificed a pawn with 59.c6!, forcing Valerga to resign on move 70.

In the IM tournament the first game to finish was between Shredder and IM Sergio Giardelli. After a quiet opening, the "fireworks" started on move 20 with a knight sacrifice. This is how the game ended:

Shredder 8,C - Giardelli,S (2434) [A46]
ITT Copa CMSalud Vicente Lopez (3), 11.07.2004
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.e3 b6 4.b3 Bb7 5.Bd3 Be7 6.0-0 c5 7.Nbd2 Nc6 8.a3 0-0 9.Bb2 Qc7 10.c4 Rac8 11.dxc5 bxc5 12.Qc2 h6 13.Rad1 d6 14.Rfe1 Nd7 15.Ne4 f5 16.Nc3 a6 17.Ne2 Bf6 18.Nf4 Rfe8 19.Bxf6 Nxf6 20.Nxe6 Rxe6 21.Bxf5 Rce8 22.Bxe6+ Rxe6 23.Nh4 Ne7 24.f3 Qc6 25.e4 Qe8 26.Qf2 Qf7 27.b4 Nd7 28.bxc5 Nxc5 29.e5 Nf5 30.Nxf5 Qxf5 31.exd6 Nd3.

32.d7 Rxe1+ 33.Qxe1 Qc5+ 34.Kh1 1-0. What you gonna do?

Round 4: Shredder had black against IM Jose Cubas, a young Paraguayan who probably is stronger than his rating would suggest (2384). Cubas started with a typical anti-computer move, 1.a3, to which Shredder replied 1...g6, quickly transposing to an English Opening and beating the IM in a convincing game.

One of the most exciting encounters was Oscar Panno vs Andres Rodriguez – positional play versus attacking style. The two have produced well fought games during most of their encounters, and this was no exception.

Panno (left) won a pawn in the middle game, and he was able to use excellent technique and accuracy to turn this material advantage into a win.

Round 5: Shredder continued its "theoretical battle" from the past year against GM Sergio Slipak. Last year the Hungarian GM had a winning position with the Breyer Variation of the Ruy Lopez, although in time trouble he took a draw by repetition.

This time the program played a better line but was unable to get an advantage against Slipak and the game was drawn in 45 moves.

Round 6: In the GM group, after five strenuous days of play, there were two short draws (Slipak vs Panno and Roselli vs Rodriguez). But the others games were intense, with fighting spirit shown from beginning to the end. Shredder 8 vs Salvador Alonso was a priori the game of the day, and without a doubt it fulfilled all expectations. This is how it went:

Shredder 8,C - Alonso,S (2444)
VII Magistral de la República Argentina Vicente Lopez (6), 14.07.2004
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qc2 a6 5.e3 e6 6.Nc3 b5 7.b3 Nbd7 8.Bd3 Bd6 9.0-0 0-0 10.e4 dxc4 11.bxc4 e5 12.d5 cxd5 13.Nxd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 g6 15.Bh6 Re8 16.cxb5 Nc5 17.Bc4 Bf5 18.Qd2 Ne4 19.Qe3 Bc5 20.Qb3 Qb6 21.bxa6 Bxf2+ 22.Kh1 Bc5 23.Rae1 Nf2+ 24.Rxf2 Bxf2 25.Qxb6 Bxb6 26.Rxe5 Rxe5 27.Nxe5 Re8 28.Nf3 Rc8 29.Nd2 Ba5 30.Bb5 Bd7 31.Bd3 Bf5 32.Bb5 Bd7 33.Bf1 Bb6 34.Bc4 Ba5.

The GM has been assessing the position, in which White has a knight and two pawns for a rook, as better for Black. This may have been reasonable against a human, but in this kind of open, tactical position computers are of course much more precise in their calculations. 35.Ne4! Rb8 36.Nf6+ Kh8 37.Bb3. The bishop is not hanging because of 37.Nxd7 Rb1 and mate. 37...Bb5 38.a7 Rc8 39.a4 Ba6 40.d6 Bd8 41.d7 Ra8.

Black is completely lost, but how do you finish him off. Shredder shows us the quickest method: 42.Ne8 Kg8 43.Nd6 Rxa7 44.Bxf7+ Kh8 45.Ne8 1-0 because the threat of Bxf7+ cannot be parried and Black will soon be mated.

The youth section

Many girls enjoy chess in Argentina

The sisters Belén (15) and Estefanía Sarquís (18). They are not just "pretty faces": Belén is playing in the Swiss tournament, and her sister, who also plays chess well, is operating Shredder 8 in the Masters tournament.

Standings after six rounds


Tournament Schedule

July 09, 2004 16:00h Round one
July 10, 2004 16:00h Round two
July 11, 2004 16:00h Round three
July 12, 2004 19:00h Round four
July 13, 2004 19:00h Round five
July 14, 2004 19:00h Round six
July 15, 2004 19:00h Round seven
July 16, 2004 19:00h Round eight
July 17, 2004 Rest day Shredder blitz exhibition 
July 18, 2004 16:00h Round nine
July 19, 2004 19:00h Round ten
July 20, 2004 15:00h Round eleven
July 20, 2004 19:00h Prize giving

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