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Silicon Dreams

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The 14th World Computer Chess Championship is underway in... Turin! Yes, right next to the Olympiad. Defending champ Zappa Zap is there along with relatively new top-dog Rybka and the usual suspects Junior and Shredder. Results, games, and bulletins are at the official site. It's an eleven-round swiss, not exactly what you might expect from such a scientific bunch. After six rounds Shredder and Junior (old skool!) lead with 4.5 with Rybka and Zap right behind. It's a hotly contested prize, but the pros pay more attention to the myriad computer rating lists and epic head-to-head matches of hundreds of games between engines.

Hydra isn't there, but Zap is running on a massive parallel system using 512 processors. All the hardware specs are on the site but I've seen other reports say Rybka (running under its programmer's name, Rajlich) and Shredder are on eight-processor machines, not four. (And then you get into the dual processor processors, oh my.) Shredder programmer Stefan Meyer-Kahlen is blogging daily on his site. They had their own imposter scandal near the start when the Italian engine LION++ was ejected for being a clone of the popular open source program Fruit. (Latest versions aren't open source.) After a complaint was filed, they checked its source code and ejected the program.

That hardware list also says that Zap and Rybka aren't using endgame tablebases, interesting if true. It's been discussed for a while now that the speed hit they cause may actually lead to a practical decrease in strength, at least against other comps where every microsecond counts. The brand new Shredder 10 has new ultra-compressed bases that may partially solve this problem because they can be accessed at vastly faster speeds. More on them here.

Other discussions on computer chess are here, here, and here.


Why "Zap?" I thought the name was Zappa, as described on the website. https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/acozzie2/www/zappa/

The tournament also has it as "Zappa".

Speaking of tablebases, it seems that Jonny drew a fairly simple ending against Rybka where tablebases say it was winning:


Instead of 153..Ka1, Kb3 or Kb1 is winning. It seems like a strange mistake for a machine to make.

I don't understand which program is "Rybka". It's not listed as such in the crosstables, so, what name is it playing under?

Okay, thanks KB!

Computer Championship...ZZZzzzzzzzz...

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 30, 2006 3:34 AM.

    Turin 06 r8 Games & Notes was the previous entry in this blog.

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