Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Re: WMCCC Hardware

Author: Chris Whittington

Date: 06:54:08 10/17/97

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On October 17, 1997 at 05:42:11, Bruce Moreland wrote:

>On October 17, 1997 at 03:01:10, Chris Whittington wrote:
>>Try it from the point of view of the majority who are going to run on K6
>>233's provided by the organisers.
>>Some of these people think they are in with some sort of chance to win,
>>they think the program they've been working on all year might have
>>something (I exclude myself from this list, I don't think CSTal will
>Of course you also need to criticize those who are bringing 300 mhz
>PII's, and whatever else people manage to scrape up.  And you might also
>point out that this happens every year.  Last year I brought a Pentium
>Pro 200 mhz machine to Jakarta because I knew that these machines were
>going to blow the hell out of the supplied Pentium 133's.  The machine I
>brought last year was approximately 2.3 times faster than the supplied
>machine, this year maybe <= 1.8 times (with my program in both cases).
>I wasn't the only one to bring a machine last year.  There were several
>Pentium Pro 200's, one Pentium 200 (Fritz, they went faster on this than
>on a Pro), and I think that the Nimzo guys even over-clocked theirs to
>220 or 233.  The one major 133 mhz hero at the last event was Virtual
>Chess (actually maybe he brought a 166, I can't remember), but Pascal
>Tang managed to borrow a 200 for the playoff with Fritz (and maybe for
>the speed event, I think he might have used Crafty's machine).

So the argument boils down to:

Others do it, so its ok, more than ok, for me as well.

Just supposing we collectively created a new title: WMCC-PC-Champion. We
could do this. It could have cachet ....

Would you then be persuaded to run on one of the fast PC's instead ? So
we could make the tourney a 'fair' platform one as a result .... ?

Probably we'ld need to get Bob to agree as well ...


>The year before, I didn't bring a machine, and I had to use one of the
>120's supplied by Peacock, while Richard Lang had a 133 (probably with
>more and better memory, who knows), also supplied by Peacock.  I asked
>why he got a faster one and I was told that he had made a "special
>arrangment with the sponsor".  There were other machines brought by
>competitors as well, and we also had Sun sponsoring the event, so there
>were Sun work-stations all over the place, which were faster than the
>Peacocks.  I think there was maybe one team who brought their own 100
>mhz machine to that event (I don't know why), but other than that, I was
>on the rock-bottom hardware at that event.
>I also saw some of the teams at Hong Kong bring their own (faster) PC's
>despite the fact that nice PC's were supplied (I brought my own, only
>because the organizers wouldn't guarantee that there would be a PC there
>for me, because they initially left me off the list of people requesting
>hardware).  I think that Frans Morsch brought a very nice (for that
>time) 120 mhz machine to that event.  I had a 100 mhz machine (it was
>the machine from my office at Microsoft, I got a VP to say I could take
>it).  I think the supplied machine may have been a 90.
>I'm sure that this all goes further back, but I don't go further back,
>so I don't know first-hand.
>What I learned from all of this is that part of the competition is
>organization.  Dark Thought has always been great at this.  They
>achieved a close relationship with DEC, and have brought DEC hardware to
>every event that I have attended, and I would be surprised if they have
>ever had to pay anything for their hardware.
>Other teams, this year, have also managed to get hardware sponsorship.
>I am not good at this kind of thing.  Last year I tried to get Gateway
>to sponsor me and they sent me some key rings and pencils to give away.
>I still have some.  I couldn't even get any T-shirts, much less a
>This year I decided to at least try to be a little smarter.  I noticed
>one of the Crafty's on ICC was going at a completely outrageous speed,
>and I asked the operator what he was using.  He told me, and I learned
>that I could go fast without paying twenty thousand bucks, so I ordered
>one.  I figured that I would have a chance against whatever Dark Thought
>appeared with this year, but they scored again with this Kryotech thing.
>>Only somebody is apparently turning up with a 750 MHz alpha, and Bruce
>>with his 10,000,000 GigaHertz machine.
>I am bringing a 533 mhz Polywell.  I think it is possible I will be able
>to wrangle one of these Kryotech 767's as well, but maybe all I will get
>is key rings, we will see.
>>So now, five guys, ten guys, suddenly have these good winning chances
>>much reduced. Not becuse their programs have suddenly changed, not
>>because they did something wrong; but because two (?) of the strong
>>programmers decided to put themselves way out in front with this special
>>hardware advantage.
>Three or four Alphas.  At least three PII/300's.  The PII/300's may not
>be as fast as the Alphas (probably not, but I haven't tested one), but
>they are the best x86 you can get now, so obviously someone is trying
>pretty hard to compete in this area.
>It's an open-hardware event, Chris.  If you want to take advantage of
>the hardware provided by the sponsor, fine, but otherwise you can bring
>your own.  But the provided hardware is quite likely always going to be
>a notch below the best you can get.
>It is an advantage to have a faster machine.  I would definately like to
>have the fastest machine, no doubt about it.  But it is not a crushing
>advantage.  I have been using the 533 for a month or so, and it has lost
>numerous games against programs on weaker hardware.  I want to win, but
>I am not betting on Ferret to win.  I think that having a 233 mhz K6
>will increase everyone's tactical awareness markedly, and so you will
>see more examples of mid-pack programs beating or drawing front-pack
>programs than you did last year.
>>I see this as both selfish and self-advancing at others expense.
>I see that evaluating and acquiring hardware is another aspect of the
>competition, along with writing a good (and in this case portable)
>program, and building a good opening book.  You can devote as much
>effort to any of these areas as you wish, it is part of the competition.
>Last year I learned from Dark Thought to be better about acquiring good

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