Rybka: $100,000 challenge to FIDE

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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0 | Chess Event Coverage
During the "tour", I'm hardly able to keep up with the chess news myself, let alone write about it. But I can make some exceptions of course, for instance when I receive an open letter from Vasik Rajlich, the programmer of the strongest computer program in the world, Rybka. He's offering a $100,000 challenge from Rybka to FIDE, who will be represented by the winner of the Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge 2007. "The challenge consists of a 24 game match, at classical time controls, on unlimited hardware and with unlimited opening books, held at 2 games per day over twelve days, with Rybka giving a handicap of one point plus draw." To put it mildly, Rajlich is surprised about many aspects of the "Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge" between the programs Deep Junior and Deep Fritz, being held in Elista during the final phase of the current Candidates Matches. And he's right of course; Fritz is not in the top 3 of computer programs anymore and Junior is to be found somewhere deep down in the top 10. Rybka is leading the computer rating lists by a huge margin for about 1,5 years now. It seems to me that with the challenge the Rybka team is (rightfully) trying to prove that the "The Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge", between two Chessbase programs, is nothing more than a commercial spectacle and most importantly a farce.

Rybka $100,000 challenge to FIDE

(Open letter)

Dear Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov & members of FIDE,

first, let me start by commending you for your entry into computer chess with the organization of the ?¢‚ǨÀúUltimate Computer Chess Challenge 2007' [1]. Computer chess has seen dramatic improvements in the past few years. Some chess engines have progressed dramatically from the primitive beancounters of yesterday and I believe that our games too now qualify as art. Chess at this level inevitably attracts the attention of chess players all over the world.

Unfortunately, the lack of an open, formal qualification procedure for your event was disappointing, and your choice of the two opponents was downright bizarre. You have snubbed my program, Rybka, which leads every single computer chess rating list by a considerable margin at all time controls from blitz games to long tournament games [2]. In many cases the gap between Rybka and her nearest competitor is well over 100 Elo. None of this is anything particularly new - Rybka was released on December 4, 2005, and since then her smallest lead ever in any major rating list at any time control and on any hardware was 60 Elo. In addition to this, she has competed in all eight major international tournaments held since her first release and taken clear (unshared) first in seven of them. [3] Rybka has also displayed her superiority in competitions against human players. It's no wonder that Rybka is generally considered "the undisputed strongest chess program in the world."

Some of the other aspects of the match also raise questions. Chessbase exclusively markets three of the world's top ten engines, so it's a curious coincidence that two of them will participate. Also curious is the involvement of the ICGA - after all, their own self-titled ?¢‚Ǩ?ìWorld Computer Chess Championship?¢‚Ǩ? is being held on overlapping dates. This type of apparent division between insiders and outsiders runs counter to all principles of sport and fairness, and I call on you to uphold democratic FIDE norms in the organization of such events.

In the spirit of open competition, I am formally offering a $100,000 computer chess challenge from Rybka to FIDE, who will be represented by the winner of the Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge 2007. My challenge consists of a 24 game match, at classical time controls, on unlimited hardware and with unlimited opening books, held at 2 games per day over twelve days, with Rybka giving a handicap of one point plus draw odds and thus requiring a score of 13/24 or better to win the match. The prize fund of $100,000 should be a winner-takes-all, loser-pays-all proposition. The remaining details can be worked out in private.

As the Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge 2007 takes place during the Candidates Matches in Elista, it is appropriate that the winner's match vs Rybka be played in Mexico between September 12 and October 1, 2007, during the FIDE World Chess Championship.

Gens una Sumus,

Vasik Rajlich author of Rybka FIDE International Master

[1]http://www.fide.com/news.asp?id=1328 [2]CEGT rating list CCRL rating list CSS rating list SSDF rating list [3] 15th IPCCC 2005, 8th CCT 2006, 6th CSVN 2006, 26th Dutch Championship 2006, 14th WCCC 2006 16th IPCCC 2006, 9th CCT 2007, 7th CSVN 2007
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