Kramnik-Deep Fritz starts today

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Today the match Kramnik-Deep Fritz starts. Six games will be played in the federal art hall in Bonn, Germany. The start fee for the world champion is 500,000 dollars; the same amount will be added by sponsor RAG (a chemics company) if he wins. If Kramnik wins. Because is that still a serious possibility that we should consider?

Kramnik thinks he has a chance, which he expressed at the press conference: "The machine is the clear favorite, but don't discount me just yet. I know some top players would be very nervous about playing the computer ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú they might even avoid this kind of match. That's understandable since a cut-and-dried defeat can affect your future game."

"Of course, this computing monster keeps getting better year by year, month by month, day by day: My opponent will be incredibly strong. But I think I can still beat it. Whenever I can fight, I'm extremely motivated. After all, I might be the last human being to be able to defeat this machine. My team and I will be expending all our efforts to cut this so-called artificial intelligence down to size."

Deep Fritz? Who?? Vladimir Kramnik, we know that guy by now. But against whom will he be playing? The tournament uses the term 'the world's leading chess computer program' and in doing so, they shamelessly deny the existence of Rybka, but it's clear that this version of Fritz will be terribly strong. On a standard 2 GHz notebook, Fritz 'sees' 1.5 million positions a second and in Bonn the Deep Fritz team uses a Dual Intel Core 2 Duo 5160 system, with which the chess program can look at about eight million positions a second.

You could say Deep Fritz is the big brother of the world famous chess program Fritz, of which recently the 10th release appeared. In 1994 in Munich Fritz joined a 'human tournament' for the first time. The experiment became a sensation: the program ended shared first with Garry Kasparov. Luckily, for mankind, the world champion of that time won the tiebreak game.

Fritz's second big success came in May 1995: in Hong Kong it became computer program world champion for the first time. After some more tournament successes the program, meanwhile baptized 'Deep Fritz' because it run on several processors, played its first real match in October 2002 in Bahrain against the new world champion Vladimir Kramnik. Kramnik took the lead with 2,5-0,5 but Deep Fritz fought back and the match ended 4-4. In November 2003 Kasparov played a four-game match against Deep Fritz which also ended in an equal score.

In October 2004 Deep Fritz participated in the Man against Machine Team Championship in Bilbao, Spain. The computers won 8,5-3,5 against players such as Topalov and Ponomariov. Deep Fritz had the highest individual score.

Odd rules It is often said that human against machine matches are not fair. A computer can use an opening book and tablebases, and this would be a definite advantage. The organisation thought about this and this led to a set of odd rules:

  • Kramnik has the right to adjourn any game after 56 moves or longer than six hours of play.
  • As long as Deep Fritz is "in book", that is playing moves from memory and not calculating variations, Kramnik sees the display of the Deep Fritz opening book. For the current board position he sees all moves, including all statistics (number of games, ELO performance, score) from grandmaster games and the move weighting of Deep Fritz. To this purpose, Kramnik uses his own computer screen showing the screen of the Deep Fritz machine with book display activated.
  • The use of a database of endgame positions (?¢‚Ǩ?ìTablebase?جø¬??) is permitted only if the tablebase contains positions with a total five total pieces or less, including kings. When Deep Fritz identifies the board position in a tablebase, it must inform the arbiter, who will then stop the clocks. In the presence of the arbiter, the operator will inform Kramnik that the position has been located in the tablebase. If the position is evaluated by the tablebase as winning for the side played by Deep Fritz, the operator will inform Kramnik of that fact in the presence of the arbiter. The game will continue, unless Kramnik chooses to resign. If the position is evaluated by the tablebase as winning for the side played by Kramnik, the operator will inform Kramnik of that fact in the presence of the arbiter. The game will continue unless the Deep Fritz operator chooses to resign. If the position is evaluated by the tablebase as a draw, the operator will inform Kramnik of that fact in the presence of the arbiter. This will constitute an offer of a draw. The game will continue, unless the offer is accepted prior to the completion of Kramnik's next move.
  • Kramnik may offer a draw at any time, even when it's not his move.

  • It seems like we cannot call it an unfair match. But does Kramnik have a chance this time?

    Predictions At several top players commented on Kramnik's chances.

    Teimour Radjabov: "It is clear that the computer is a bit stronger. Especially because it will play at the powerful multiprocessor version. But I assume that it will be a drawn match."

    Viswanathan Anand: "Usually such matches are drawn. It would be interesting to see something new."

    Peter Leko: "If Kramnik seriously prepares (I am sure it will definitely happen) then despite the total complexity of the task I assume he has chances to win this match."

    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov: "Kramnik has already played a similar match ending it in a draw but being objective computer has more chances to win the match."

    Levon Aronian: "A man has chances fighting against computer only in case he uses his own computer."

    Anatoli Karpov: "Kramnik has chances. But I don't understand why Vladimir being a serious man agrees to play on unequal condition. Computer should be deprived of the opportunity to use not only opening base but also endgame base too."

    Boris Gelfand: "I have great relationship with Kramnik and I support him. And I absolutely do not care about the competition 'man-computer'."

    Hier some more predictions.

    The playing hall: the beautiful art hall in Bonn

    Press photo 1 of Kramnik

    Press photo 2 of Kramnik


    Game 1: Saturday, November 25, 3:00 p.m. Game 2: Monday, November 27, 3:00 p.m. Game 3: Wednesday, November 29, 3:00 p.m. Game 4: Friday, December 01, 3:00 p.m. Game 5: Sunday, December 03, 3:00 p.m. Game 6: Tuesday, December 05, 3:00 p.m.

    The games can be followed live here. ICC will have Mig and Joel Benjamin in their program. The World Chess Network will also have audio coverage, with Alex Finkel, Larry Christiansen and Irina Krush.

    Update 21.41 hrs: the first game was a clean but not uninteresting fight that ended in a draw ater 47 moves. It can be replayed over here.
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