Terachess in Budapest

by ChessBase
8/14/2003 – What is "Terachess". It's an experiment pitting two teams of top GMs, who can consult with each other and use any technical tools they like during the game. The first Terachess event is planned for early 2004 and will be covered on a major TV station. The players are of the highest calibre and the venue historically interesting. Here are further details...

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What is Terachess?

Terachess is billed as a unique, first-ever experiment in the area of chess and the sciences of communications. It consists of two teams of professional grandmasters playing a match against each other. Both teams are located in separate rooms, the members of each team can consult with each other in normal, natural conversation. They can analyse on the board, moving pieces to study possible continuations (which, as you know, is not allowed in regular games). But they also have technical tools they can use during the game. These consist of:

  • A high-end PV with leading chess software (database and chess engine)
  • A fast Internet connection
  • A fax machine
  • A mobile telephone to call anyone anywhere in the world

Each side gets three hours for all the moves of a game – which means that a game can last for a maximum of 5 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds, at which time one side will lose on time. The teams will play two games on a weekend.

A revolutionary chess event in the historical city of Budapest

The interaction and analysis of both teams is recorded by a number of cameras on video tape. The images are displayed live on giant screens for the spectators in the conference area of the venue. They can also hear every word that is spoken, on two separate channels for both sides, on their infrared headphones. The spectators can ask questions and discuss the course of the game with experts. The event will also be carried live on the Internet.

Most importantly: a major German TV station will produce a 60-minute documentary on the event!

The Hungarian Parliament building

The first Terachess event will be staged in the first quarter of 2004. The exact date and time are still to be announced. The venue is the Hungarian Parliament building.

The players

This is the interesting part. The two teams consist of world-class grandmasters. They are:


  • Judit Polgár, 26, the strongest female chess player of all times, consistantly among the top 20, a charismatic personality, with great sporting ambitions.
  • Peter Lekó, 22 years old, Hungary's top GM, number 4 in the world rankings, challenger for the title of classical chess world champion, eloquent, completely fluent in Hungarian, German and English, adherent of the Japanese Samurai tradition.

  • Dr Robert Hübner, 52, world class GM for 30 years, high priest of German chess, scientist, classical philologist, translator of Egyptian hieroglyphs, speaks eleven languages fluently, famous for his incredibly profound chess analysis.
  • Christopher Lutz, 32, Germany's top GM, universally inquisitive and interested, eloquent speaker, CEO of a chess web portal (Chessgate).

Who is responsible for Terachess?

  • IM Dimo Werner, representative of the German Chess Federation
  • Uwe Lauer, Project Manager
  • Grandmaster Gábor Kállai, director of the department for "professional chess" in the Hungarian Chess Federation
    (from left to right in the photo above)

What is Terachess working on?

  • the interface between human beings, technology and artificial intelligence
  • the development of problem solving strategies
  • making technical processes transparent and creating a platform for discussion
  • organising top events with a maximum of media coverage

Who is supporting Terachess?

  • Kalman Kovacs, Hungary's minister for computer science
  • Imre Kertesz, Nobel prize winner for literature (patron)
  • Prof. Vizy E. Szilvester, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • Prof. Akos Detreköi, Director of the Technical University of Budapest
  • Wilfried Gruber, German Ambassador to Hungary

We will keep you briefed on the progress in this project.

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