Rybka clinches 2nd Computer World Championship title

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Computer World Championship 2008Rybka, universally considered the best computer engine, comfirmed her status once again at the Computer World Championship held in Beijing last week. In a ten-player round robin she finished on 8/9, one point clear of Hiarcs.

The 16th Computer World Chess Championship was held September 28-October 5 in the Beijing Golden Century Golf Club in Fangshan, Beijing. It was part of the Computer Games Championship which also included tournaments for draughts, checkers, backgammon, Go and others.

Originally twelve chess programs would play, but later this number was brought down to ten. Unfortunately among them were not Fritz and not Zappa. For some reason Fritz stopped playing in computer tournaments, and the programmer of Zappa, the engine that beat Rybka in a match last year, is not active anymore.

Luckily there were enough strong programs to expect an exciting world championship. Besides Rybka, the big favorite for the title, the participants list included Hiarcs, Junior, Cluster Toga, Shredder and Sjeng.

Both Shredder and Junior have won several computer world championships. During the last two years Hiarcs has been playing very well in international tournaments and after its great second place behind Rybka in May this year, Sjeng also belonged to the list of dangerous outsiders.

Venue of the Computer World Championship 2008

The venue of the 13th Computer Games World Ch and the 16h Computer Chess World Ch

A World Championship is always "unlimited" which means that every participant may use any hardware he or she likes. On a personal note, I still have difficulty "accepting" this concept and would prefer to see a world championship in which opponents play on the same hardware, but alas this was not the case.

This situation was not a bad one for Vasik Rajlich - the Rybka programmer - because shortly before the tournament he had managed to get Rybka running on a cluster of 5 PCs and so he could use 5 x 8 = 40 processors. This hardware configuration makes Rybka about 150 ELO points stronger than on an ordinary Quad.

The programs Cluster Toga and Jonny were running on similar clusters, Junior tried its luck on a brand new 12-core PC while Hiarcs and Shredder were using 8-core Skulltrail machines. It should be mentioned that the only Chinese participant, Mobile Chess, was playing on a Nokia mobile phone :-).

Venue of the Computer World Championship 2008

This is what a computer chess playing hall looks like.
Usually there's a friendly atmosphere where chatting is allowed!

The tournament went great for Rybka. After seven rounds, there was only one rival left: Hiarcs had 6 points (Rybka 6.5 uit 7) while the rest was too far behind. In the penultimate round, Rybka played Hiarcs and reached a winning position within twenty moves, which meant the tournament was decided and Rybka had won her second world title.

Rybka only drew with Cluster Toga and Junior and won her other seven games. Hiarcs was the deserved runner-up; it only lost to Rybka and defeated Shredder and Junior among others.

  • SOS: Sum of Opponent Scores
  • SoDOS: Sum of Defeated Opponent Scores

Many thanks to Jeroen Noomen for providing the photos and a large part of the above text

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