TITLE: The Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge
EVENT: President’s Cup Computer vs. Computer
SPONSOR: President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
PRESENTER: Federation Internationale des Echecs (FIDE)
SANCTIONED BY: Federation Internationale des Echecs (FIDE) President: Kirsan Ilyumzhinov International Computer Games Association (ICGA) President: David Levy
PLAYERS: Deep Junior vs. Deep Fritz The reigning World Computer Champion vs. The winner against the world human champion
VENUE: Goverment House, Elista, Republic of Kalmykia.
DATES: Tuesday, June 5h – Tuesday 12th June 2007
FORMAT: Rapid Chess 75 min for the game + 5 sec per move
SCHEDULE: Wed June 6th Game 1
Thu June 7th Game 2
Fri June 8th Game 3
Sat June 9th Game 4
Sun June 10th Game 5
Mon June 11th Game 6
Tue June 12th Tiebreak (if required)
STARTING TIME: 11:30 a.m.
CEREMONIES: Tue 5th June Press Conference & Opening Ceremony – Elista
Tue 12th June Closing Ceremony & Prize Giving – Elista
PRIZE FUND: US $100,000 ($60,000 to the winner, $40,000 to the loser)
ARBITER: IM David Levy
REGULATIONS: FIDE laws of chess, ICGA official computer chess rules
Honorary FIDE Vice President: Israel Gelfer Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
FIDE President assistant: Berik Balgabaev Email: email@example.com
DEEP FRITZ interviews: Frederic Friedel Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DEEP JUNIOR interviews: Shay Bushinsky Email: email@example.com
Tal vs Capablanca
The Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge pits two of the world’s strongest and most exciting programs in a six-game battle against each other. The event takes place during the final stages of the Candidates Matches for the World Championship (human), which will be held from May 26 to June 14, 2007 in Elista, Kalmykia.
This chess program, written by Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky of Israel, is the reigning World Champion in computer chess. Junior won the title during the Chess Olympiad in Turin last year, ahead of the programs Shredder, Rybka and Zappa (which was running on a 512 processor super-computer calculating 100 million nodes per second). It was Junior’s fifth world championship title in this millennium.
Deep Junior is a program that is capable of producing very deep computations to outwit the opponent. It is also well known for its unique handling of “compensation”. Junior is willing, like no other program, to sacrifice material for initiative, activity or a promising attack. This causes it to come up with highly unexpected, imaginative ideas. Chess players appreciate the “wild” side of Junior’s personality and use the program to find new ideas in their chess analysis. Junior is generally regarded as the Mikhail Tal of computer chess.
Junior showed its unique quality of play in 2003 by producing a stunning move in its match against 13th World Champion Garry Kasparov. From a quiet opening in a standard-looking position, the program, on move ten, sacrificed a bishop out of a clear blue sky to drag Kasparov’s king out into the open. Attacking with only a queen and knight, Junior put the white king under heavy fire. The game as well as the six-game match ended in a draw.
Deep Fritz, written by Frans Morsch of Holland and Mathias Feist of Germany, dominated the computer rating lists for almost a decade. Just over two years ago the authors decided to rewrite the program. Instead of further optimizing it for speed they started implementing large amounts of chess knowledge, derived from centuries of research by human chess masters. This allows Fritz to find constructive ideas even in situations where there are no tactical motifs to guide the course of the game.
The advantage of this strategy is that the program becomes much better at playing against human beings, and also turns it into an extremely well-balanced analysis partner. This is greatly appreciated by chess professionals who consider Fritz the “voice of reason”. Fritz is often compared to the great Cuban world champion Capablanca for its playing style.
In November 2006 Deep Fritz played a six-game match against reigning World Champion Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn, Germany. In the final round Fritz played one of the finest games ever seen by a computer, displaying great strategic understanding and inventiveness, to win the game and take the match 4:2. An earlier match between Kramnik and Deep Fritz, 2002 in Bahrain, had ended in a 4:4 score.
The Clash of Systems
The Elista match is a chance to see how these two great computer rivals with their different strategies and styles of play fares against each other. Will Fritz’s knowledge-based approach detract from its computational speed and allow it to fall prey to Junior’s tactical ferocity and imaginative play? Will Junior see compensation where not enough exists and succumb to Fritz’s ruthless strategic precision? In any case this will be an exciting experiment.