Milov beats a truncated Rybka

0 | Chess Event Coverage
Ever seen a fish without its fins trying to swim? Probably not, but one can imagine it's not that easy. In a match against an experienced grandmaster, a truncated Rybka was defeated - by a small margin, though. Vadim Milov-poor Rybka: 4?Ǭ?-3?Ǭ?.

You tend to come across those games only when you've just bought yourself a copy of Paul Morphy's best games collection - or something of that kind. You've just decided that studying the games of the best players of the 19th century should be part of your chess education and on the first pages of your latest acquisition you see a "game at odds" like this one:

You might not even have noticed immediately that White was playing this game without his queen's knight!

Games at odds were quite common in the old days. It was a way of making a chess game interesting again when the difference in strength between the players was just too big. Just as deformed or handicapped people had to make a living by "entertaining" spectators at fairs or market places, winning chess games at odds tended to generate lots of laughter and applause.

In the States, but also later in Europe, Morphy often showed his chess supremacy by starting the game without a knight, a rook or for example his f7-pawn (playing Black), and winning convincingly anyway.

Somewhere in chess history this habit of playing games at odds got out of fashion. Perhaps the weaker side started to feel a bit uncomfortable, embarrassed or simply humiliated? Very human feelings, and very understandable.

But... what if a chess player, who plays better chess than everyone else, can't feel those emotions? What if this player has no emotions at all, and is willing to undergo all kinds of guinea pig testing? Then why not try again?

Something similar as the above reasoning must have been the idea of the organizers of the recent Milov vs Rybka match. Grandmaster Vadim Milov, currently the world's number 28 with a FIDE rating of 2705, played an eight-game match against Rybka 3, from September 15 to September 18. The match was a mixture of normal chess games (2 games) and handicap games (6 games).

In games 2, 4 6 and 8 Milov started with an exchange up, and in games 5 and 7 Rybka had no f7 pawn. Games 1 and 3 were standard games. The final result was Milov - Rybka 4?Ǭ?-3?Ǭ?.

So what have we learnt? A very strong grandmaster has shown that it's still possible for humans to beat a Rybka playing at odds. Any grandmaster out there who wants to give it a try? One who wouldn't feel a bit uncomfortable, embarrassed or simply humiliated?


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