Unbeatable Fritz wins international computer tournament

6/3/2002 – The amateurs are becoming stronger, their chess engines will give any program in the world a run for its money. But in the end the professionals win out. At the Dutch CSVN tournament Fritz, running on a Transtec dual system, took clear first place, a full point ahead of its nearest rival. The program was undefeated in nine rounds – that's the game Shredder vs Fritz (0-1) on the left. Read all about it in Eric van Reem's final report.

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Computerschaak
in Leiden

Second CSVN computer chess tournament

May 31 to June 2nd in the
Leids Denksportcentrum, Robijnstraat 4, in Leiden, Holland.

22 participants, nine rounds.

Unbeaten Fritz wins International CSVN tournament

Final report by Eric van Reem

Funny names

Some of the programs in Leiden have funny names, which come in very handy when you have to think of a headline. Organizer Theo van der Storm often comes up with some original brainstorming (Theostorming?!) What about "Ant beats Tiger", "Holmes strikes Gold(bar)" or maybe "Debugging XiniX X-terminates Ant!!", "Diep drills Comet" (Armageddon) and "Shark caught by Spider".


The CSVN computer chess tournament in Leiden

Holmes, the German program by Andreas Herrmann is derived from Sherlock Holmes: do you get the connection with computer chess? Why Gerd Isenberg came up with "Isischess" is "easy" to understand. Christophe Theron likes cats and therefore "Chess Tiger" is a logical name. But why would somebody call his program "Djenghis"? You have to know the last name of the author Jan Kaan to understand that one. "The Baron" has something to do with "Baron von Kempelen and the fact that developer Richard Pijl plays in the chess club "De Baronie".

Nightmare is also a remarkable name and this program by Joost Buijs had four points after six rounds. But in round seven, Fritz had no problem beating Nightmare. Sweet dreams, Joost! By winning this game, Fritz took the lead again, because surprising leader Diep lost to SOS. It was an unclear game for spectators as well as chess programs. After about 20 moves the position was roughly equal (Hiarcs 8 -0.23, SOS -0,49, Pocket Fritz -0,72 and Diep was pessimistic: -0,73) Diep evaluated the endgame with a draw score (see Diagram) but all the other programs (and spectators) saw a clear win for SOS. A pity for Vincent Diepeveen, because he did not lose a game against SOS the past few years.


Game Diep-SOS, with Vincent Diepeveen facing Rudolf Huber.
The kiebitzer are Stefan Meyer-Kahlen (Shredder) and Mathias Feist (Fritz)

Diep-SOS, Round 7

45.Kd5? This is a terrible mistake. The position is roughly equal, but now SOS comes up with the a very good move: 45...h5! 46.gxh5 g4 47.Ne5 Rd1+ 48.Bd3 g3 49.Rxf7+. Maybe 49.Rxb2 would have been a last trick 49...Kg8 50.Rxf6 b1Q 51.Rg6+ Kh7 52.Rxg3+ Kh6 53.Nf7+ Kxh5 54.Ne5 Qa2+ 55.Kd6 Qa8 56.Rg5+ Kxg5 0-1. [Replay game]

Winning with 1.e3!

In the penultimate round Chess Tiger and Diep played 27 book moves of the Poisoned Pawn Variation, a complicated line in the Sicilian Defence which caught the public´s imagination during the world championship match between Fischer and Spassky in 1972, and consequently sometimes miscalled the Fischer System. Whether the acceptance of the pawn is sound or otherwise is not certain. Jeroen Noomen, who prepared the book for Chess Tiger, was not satisfied because both programmes showed an equal score after leaving the book. That´s not what you want when you have the white pieces! Tiger even lost the game, the second loss in the tournament.

It is possible to score a lot of points if you do not have a book full of complicated variations. XiniX plays 1.e3 in all its games with white. Just before the tournament Tony Werten played a few games agaist Rebel to test to opening. To his surprise he won with 1.e3, and Tony decided to keep the opening in his repertoire. Insomniac was almost the next victim in round 8, but the endgame ended in a draw. 1.e3 is called the van´t Kruijs opening. Maarten van 't Kruijs (1811-85) of Amsterdam, winner of the sixth Dutch Championship in 1878, liked its transpositional possibilities. He played it against Anderssen in 1851, but is was known earlier to Dutch players.

The seventh round was a playground for endgame lovers. In almost all games interesting and close endgame positions were battled out to the end. "Is this a new record", Hans Secelle asked, when he announced "mate in 64" in his game against Morphy? 64, what a beautiful number! Patzer would have loved to reach the endgame against Tao, but the Dutch program demolished the German program with ease:

Tao - Patzer, 2nd Intl.CSVN Leiden Ned (8), 02.06.2002: 1.e4 c5 2.d4 e6 3.Sf3 cxd4 4.Sxd4 a6 5.Sc3 Sc6 6.g3 Dc7 7.Lg2 Sf6 8.0-0 Le7 9.Le3 Se5 10.f4 Sc4 11.Lc1 d6 12.b3 Sb6 13.Sde2 e5 14.a4 Lg4 15.Kh1 Sbd7 16.Lb2 h5 17.De1 h4 18.gxh4 a5 19.Tc1 Dc5 20.Sb5 Lxe2 21.Dxe2 Txh4 22.La3 Dc6 23.Tcd1 Sh5 24.De1 Sxf4 25.Txd6 Dc8 26.Df2 Th7 27.Tfd1 Sf6 28.Db6 Sg4 29.h3 Tb8 30.Sa7 Txh3+ 31.Lxh3 Sf2+ 32.Kg1 S4xh3+ 33.Kf1 Dc4+ 1-0. [Replay game]

Shredder won against Nightmare, but it was not an easy task.

Shredder-Nightmare, Round 8

64.... g5 65.fxg5 f4 66.Kxa6 f3 67.Le3 f2 68.Lxf2+ Kxf2 69.g6 e3 70.g7 e2 71.g8D e1D 72.Df7+ Kg1 73.c4 De2 74.Kb5 Db2+ 75.Kc6 Dg2+ 76.Dd5 Dg6+ 77.Kc5 1-0. [Replay game]

Last round: Easy win over Insomniac secures Fritz first place!

The last round was not that exciting for first place anymore. Leader Fritz had to play Insomniac with black and it became clear after a few moves that the Dutch-German combination would easily win. Congratulations to Mathias Feist and Frans Morsch! They could defend their title, this time one point clear. Fritz did not lose a single game in this tournament. For developer Frans Morsch it was a good weekend: in the "Gebruikers tournament" Mephisto Magellan won the seven round tournament with 6,5 points, Tasc R30 came second with 6 points.


Winner Frans Morsch, author of Fritz


The computer: a Transtec 2200 graphic workstation with a Dual Athlon MP 2000+, 2 GB RAM, 80 GB hard disk, 15" TFT flat panel monitor, optical mouse, Windows XP Professional.

The Fritz team called this computer "bloody fast".

The battle for second place was fought between Diep (6) and Shredder (5,5). Diep got a better position after the opening, but in the end a draw was agreed. The second place in the tournament was the best result for the Dutch program ever. No quick draws in the last round: XiniX played a long game against SOS, and Comet won against Chess Tiger. The fans of the French program must be very disappointed, three losses in nine rounds is too much for such a renowned program.

Final standing:


Click to enlarge

All games in PGN (zipped)

CU in Maastricht!

We have witnessed a lot of surprising games in this 2nd International CSVN Tournament. Never before the amateurs won so many games against the pros. Programs like Diep, Xinix and Comet seem to have made enourmous progress this year. It will be interesting to follow the amateurs next month in Maastricht during the world championship. The games in Leiden will hopefully encourage amateur programmers to invest even more time in their program. Therefore we can expect even more and stronger engines in the near future. But we can not only look forward to stronger amateur engines: it has become clear that the pros have to work very hard as well to keep the amateurs from their back!



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