Tuesday 22 June 1999
Computers playing other computers - as distinct from people - are (in human terms) a bloodthirsty lot, and just 23 of the 106 games were drawn. The defending champion, the Dutchman Frans Morsch's Fritz, was sole leader with a round to go with 5/6. But in the last round Fritz was defeated by the American Bruce Moreland's Ferret which overtook it on 5.5/7, equal with Shredder, programmed by Stefan Meyer-Kahlen from Germany.
Behind these two came Fritz and Cilkchess (USA) on 5, and Junior (Israel), Dark Thought (Germany), Rebel (Holland), Nimzo (Austria) and Chess Tiger (Guadaloupe) on 4.5.
The two winners then had a single play-off game with the title being awarded in the event of a draw to the program with the better sum of opponents' scores: in this case Shredder. You might imagine that it would make no difference to a program if it had to win. But the programmers get round this by tweaking the assessment function so fooling the monster into thinking it's better - and so must play on, even when it isn't. Ferret got the advantage but was unable to progress and nearly lost before the battle ended drawn after 101 moves.
This was the very shortest game - a typical murderous attack beyond a machine's - in this case Centaur's - "horizon".
White: GromitChess (Germany)
Black: Centaur (Russia)
Paderborn 1999 (Round 6)
1 c4 e6
2 Nf3 d5
3 g3 Nf6
4 Bg2 Be7
5 Nc3 0-0
6 b3 b6
7 0-0 Bb7
8 Ne5 Nbd7
9 f4 Nxe5
10 fxe5 Ne4
11 Bb2 Bg5
12 e3 c5
13 Nxe4 dxe4
14 Rf2 Qd3
15 Qh5 h6
16 h4 Qc2
17 hxg5 Qxb2
18 gxh6 Qxa1+
19 Bf1 f5
20 hxg7 Kxg7
21 Qg5+ Kf7
22 Rh2 Ke8
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