Besting the Silicon "Beasts" - Redux

Besting the Silicon "Beasts" - Redux

Mar 9, 2017, 8:21 PM |

I've always enjoyed playing computers. Or, rather, I enjoyed it much more 20 years ago when you stood a fighting chance against them. Ah, 'twas the best of times -- a time when you could bring strong programs on their metaphorical knees by launching KID attacks.... With surprising frequency they would actually bring themselves to their knees by imploding in the endgame.


I have a fondness for those machines of yore, and still play against them on occasion; I love the challenge, and I've never liked the dumbed-down options on modern engines. It feels like they've mainly reduced the search depth, which still does not make for very human-like opposition, whereas some of the old machines have a surprisingly human style.


So without further ado, here are some recent games between your truly and olden hard- and software. These games were played under tournament-like conditions -- that is, I don't use takebacks. Having said that, I should perhaps add that I don't post the games where the machines made mincemeat out of me.


The first is a G15 against GK2100, with a 1979 ELO according to this German wiki. When I was a kid, this computer would beat be mercilessly. A few years ago, I found it in the closet when visiting my mom and decided to have a go...


That was fun, but playing a computer that seems dead set on finding help mates is not much of a challenge. I decided to up the ante and bought a Mephisto Master, which is probably the last model to carry the Mephisto name. With the exception of cheap crapiola (and outrageously expensive models for collectors and cognoscenti) dedicated chess computers are a dying breed.
According to the same wiki, this computer sports a 2161 rating (it's a repacked Milano Pro) and I figured this would be more than a challenge. But as it turns out, even the maestro is, at times, surprisingly tone deaf:
I mentioned that dedicated chess computers are a dying breed. That might be about to change. A German company recently released two strong models with relatively snappy CPUs, and I got hold of one of them: the ChessGenius Pro. The combination of an old and bare-bones program and a fast CPU still makes for a formidable opponent with an estimated rating in the 2200-2250 range.
But it's still an old engine and, as such, suffers from the vapors or the humors or whatever it is that afflicts those chess playing steam engines of yore. In this game, I sacrifice a piece without getting much (if any) compensation, but I still pull a win.
Here's an off-hand (well, most games against computers are off-hand, I guess) G15 against the perhaps-not-entirely-aptly names Genius:


 And here's one more G15 from yesterday. No takebacks, but I did spend more than 15 minutes (perhaps 20) so technically I ran out of time: