New Free Multi-Processor Rybka Version

With the release of the new Deep Rybka 4 (which can be purchased commercially), the Rybka team also released a multi-processor version for free download. The previous free version was Rybka 2.2n2, and we can now add Rybka 2.3.2a to the list. This engine is slightly stronger according to the CEGT rating list, with a rating of 2980. Originally, the single processor version of 2.3.2a was available via a highly obscure method, but the multi-processor version was not. Now both versions are downloadable from the Official Rybka website. You can find a discussion of the old Rybka 2.2n2 in my Free Chess Programs article.

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Online Qualifiers and Updated Articles

I have expanded upon my articles on correspondence chess and playing chess online. The CC article now includes a list of advantages of correspondence and I also have revised some of the technical details.

Apart from revising the online chess article, I also added a new section on online qualifying tournaments. The text makes reference to the Gibtelecom Chess Festival and Dos Hermanas, but there is actually a series of qualifying tournaments on right now. Running on the weekend of May 28th-30th, Internet Chess Club members can take part in the Arctic Chess Challenge qualifier with the winner receiving automatic invite, air fare, hotel & breakfast and 400 ($485) euro cash prize! There will also be an additional $700 on offer for prizes on the ICC during the online qualifier.

Click here for more information about the Arctic Chess Challenge 2010.

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Anand Wins World Championship

Viswanathan “Vishy” Anand (2787, IND) retained the World Championship title by successfully defending it against challenger Veselin Topalov (2805, BUL). I remember watching the 12th game online last night. Anand and Topalov were on an equal score. The opening was the Queen’s Gambit Declined and the middlegame looked very drawish to me. I went to sleep fully expecting that the game was drawn and the World Championship would be taken into extra tie-break games, but I was surprised today to learn that Anand had won. He had played ambitiously against Topalov’s passive play and was able to break through.

Here are the final results (click the image to enlarge):

I will give an overview of all the games shortly. Watch my 2010 Topalov-Anand World Chess Championship page for any updates. Currently, I have discussed 6 of the games from the WCC, and I will add the other 6 very soon.

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Lilienthal passes away at 99

Hungarian Grandmaster Andor Lilienthal (1911-2010) passed away yesterday at the age of 99. Born in Moscow, he spent the vast majority of his life in Hungary. He has scored wins against World Champions José Raúl Capablanca, Emanuel Lasker, Vasily Smyslov, Max Euwe and Mikhail Botvinnik, and has also beaten other greats such as Najdorf, Tartakower, Bronstein and Taimanov. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living grandmaster, and the last surviving person from the original group of grandmasters awarded the title by FIDE in 1950.

Click here to see ChessBase’s tribute article to Andor Arnoldovich Lilienthal.

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Midway into Topalov-Anand World Championship

We are halfway through the 2010 Topalov-Anand World Chess Championship. Anand is currently leading 3.5-2.5. His early opening deviations (from previous games in the same match), aiming to bypass Topalov’s preparation, are working well for him.

(Click image for enlargement.)

I have written a summary of all the games of the match so far. This summary page will be updated again at the end of the match.

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2010 World Chess Championship

The 2010 World Chess Championship is currently being played out. The match is being played from April 24 to May 13, 2010 in Sofia, Bulgaria. It is a traditional one-on-one challenger vs champion match. The combatants are Challenger Veselin Topalov (2805, Bulgaria) and World Champion Viswanathan Anand (2787, India).

The World Championship is a twelve-game match, with a prize fund of 2 million euros.

(Click the image for enlargement.)

Interesting note: the Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen (2813) very recently took up the FIDE No.1 World Ranking, displacing Topalov who had been No.1 for a while.

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New Strategy Games Section

I have created a very primitive Strategy Games Section on the homepage. The purpose of the section is to discuss other strategy games similar to chess. Currenly, poker and the Rubik’s Cube are considered. Although I may add another game such as checkers or shogi, I don’t have any real plans to expand it.

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Chess Engines Race!

I will need to update my Free Chess Programs article soon, as the chess engines section is constantly changing all the time.

As far as I know, the best CEGT-rated chess engine at the moment is Stockfish 1.6.3. On a 32-bit operating system and with 2 CPUs, the latest version of Stockfish is rated 3043, a whole 82 points above the free version of Rybka (version 2.2n2) on the same hardware.

The IppoLit family of free chess engines is still not rated by the CEGT Computer Rating List, but word around is that they are even stronger than Deep Rybka 3 (which is stronger than Stockfish). RobboLito, mentioned in my Free Chess Programs article, has now been superceded. RobboLito was surpassed by IvanHoe, which has now been superceded by the even stronger FireBird.

The creators of FireBird state that their goal was to “combine all the best ideas, features, and strengths from the IppoLit family of releases… IppoLit, RobboLito, Igorrit, and IvanHoe”. Note that, unlike RobboLito, FireBird is now fully usable in an UCI interface such as Fritz and it now supports multiple processors.

FireBird has an estimated Elo rating of 3400, and even though computer testers haven’t tested this engine yet, it is unofficially the strongest free chess engine available.

Nevertheless, I still recommend analysing with Rybka 2.2n2. Even though it has a miniscule rating of 2961, I believe it creates the most accurate assessments of positions. Rybka is known for its modest assessments of positions, making it very handy to use in analysis.

Whilst FireBird and Stockfish may play stronger moves purely on a numeric basis, they do not necessarily evaluate the position correctly. For example, they may assess a position as winning for White when in fact the correct assessment is a slight advantage for White. For this reason, they are less useful for human-assisted analysis.

However, the best way forward, if you have super-powerful hardware, is to run Rybka as the main engine and have FireBird kibitzing in the background.

Note that for people with a single processor and 32-bit operating system, there is a very obscure way to obtain a Rybka 2.3.2a (which is a tiny bit stronger than 2.2n2), detailed in my Rybka article.

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How to Access CBH, CBV and PGN Files

A brief guide for beginners on how to access chess game formats such as CBH, CBV and PGN.

Click here to see the full article “How to Access CBH, CBV and PGN Files“.

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Smyslov passes away at age 89

7th World Champion Vassily Smyslov passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 27, 2010 at the age of 89.

Smyslov was known for his positional chess and superb endgame knowledge. A lesser known fact is that he was also a great combinational player, evident in a number of spectacular tactical shots thoughout his career.

Interesting fact: Apart from playing excellent chess, Smyslov sometimes gave musical performances during chess tournaments, often accompanied by fellow GM and concert pianist Mark Taimanov. In fact, he only decided upon a career in chess after when he failed an audition for the Bolshoi Theatre in 1950.

Click here to see ChessBase’s tribute article to Smyslov.

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