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Subject: Re: WMCCC - may the best man at getting the fastest hardware win :(

Author: Bruce Moreland

Date: 02:32:35 10/22/97

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On October 22, 1997 at 03:47:16, Chris Whittington wrote:

>On October 21, 1997 at 18:51:58, Bruce Moreland wrote:

>>The supplied hardware at the '95 Paderborn WMCCC was a 120 mhz P5, and
>>Hiarcs and MChess brought 133 mhz P5's.  This is not that big a deal,
>>but the 133 mhz P5 was the best you could get at that time, and the
>>supplied 120 mhz machine didn't have a lot of extras on it.
>
>This is not a big deal by any means. 120 -> 133 is very little.

Right.  It is very little.  But people went to the effort, they got the
133's even though they provide very little extra punch, probably.  They
said, no, I do not need a 120, instead I will lug this machine across
Europe, in order to get 13 extra megaherz, and maybe some more RAM
(probably EDO, which may actually be a pretty big deal)..

I would have taken one if it had been offered.  I'm sure that if I asked
Richard Lang if he wouldn't mind trading machines (both were supplied by
Peacock, but his was better), he would not have said, sure, they are
almost equal anyway, he would have told me that the advantage was very
little, but it was his very little, not mine.

I didn't participate in that round of the arms race, because I
personally didn't think the extra few mhz was anywhere near worth it.

I was jealous of Dark Thought's 275 mhz Alpha though.  It seemed like it
shouldn't be allowed, but I couldn't think of any reason to disallow it,
other than perhaps that it was violently expensive, most likely.  I
grumbled about it a little.

>>At the previous WMCCC, Munich  '93, Hiarcs brought a Sparc of some sort. >Note he is an 'amateur' !

Yes, he was an amateur in '93 and an amateur in '95.  I'm not against
the idea of selling chess programs, and I'm not arguing in here that
someone who is so evil as to sell a chess program should be socked with
a huge entry fee, etc.

If they are going to establish categories though, people should be in
the right categories.

>Definitely bad as far as I'm concerned. Obviously an attempt to gain a
>massive advantage.
>
>>and MChess was on a 60mhz P5.
>
>Likewise.

It certainly does give you an advantage.  No argument there.  It does
not make you bullet proof (mine lost a five-minute blitz game vs XXXX on
ICC a couple days ago, and it wasn't a book bust, either, he just won,
and it's lost a couple of standard games vs Crafty on a 166 mhz
Pentium), but you end up playing nicer chess, usually.

>> I have no idea how fast that Sparc was
>>(it is describe only as "very fast" in the ICCAJ), but he won the event.
>> I expect that both of these machines were a lot better than the
>>supplied machines, which were 486/66's.
>
>Certainly true, and very bad.
>
>>
>>On the inside back cover of the Jun '97 issue of "Chess Monthly" is a
>>picture of Hiarcs' box, I presume.  On the box cover it says "World
>>Champion Program".  If it also says "Sparc", I don't see it.
>
>This is true. And another reason for being opposed to ultra fast
>machines at the WMCCC which give somebody a substantial hardware
>advantage; sometimes sufficient to win the tournament.
>
>Note also the length of time he has remained an 'amateur' !

The amateur/professional stuff is a big mess.  I am coming around to the
idea of eliminating the distinction.

He's obviously professional like crazy, he's selling the thing and it's
well respected.  Apparently he's not making huge money though.

The whole professional entry fee thing was a way to tax Fidelity, is my
guess.  It seems that the mail-order professionals are nothing like
Fidelity.  They tried to solve this with "emerging professional", but it
doesn't do it all the way.  Calling it "struggling professional" may
have been more appropriate.

I think to argue about whether Uniacke should be amateur or proessional
or whatever might be pointless since we are in agreement about
eliminating the distinction, and he is apparently not going anyway,
right?

>>In both events, several others brought nice machines, usually
>>professionals, but also the occasional amateur (XXXX in '95).
>>
>>There have also been Alphas in both of those events, a 150 mhz alpha in
>>the '93 event (The King, finished second), and a 275 mhz Alpha in the
>>'95 event (Dark Thought, finished 7th on Bukholz points).
>
>Likewise I don;t like it.
>
>>
>>I didn't go back any further than this, but I'm sure the articles are
>>full of interesting things.
>
>Now presumably, you're listing this to show the uncool bringing of
>superfast hardware, to show that it has often dramatically influenced
>the result, to show that it has possibly resulted in total distortion of
>the tournament.
>
>And I would agree with you.
>
>BUT NOW YOU ARE DOING IT THIS YEAR. And listing all the other occasions
>doesn't make your actions any better.

The reason I listed this stuff, specifically, was to show that some of
the people who are being cited as protected parties, people who aren't
showing up, possibly because of disgust over someone else's hardware
plans, have been regular hardware-bringers in the past, sometimes with
great effect.  I didn't want to be cited as a reason Uniacke and Hirsch
will not be there.

When I was off doing something else this morning, I remembered someone's
comment, maybe yours, about how these alphas might be driving away some
people, specifically Mark.  Perhaps I am mis-remembering what happened,
I couldn't find the post.  But then I remembered that Sparc, so I went
and looked it up.

I am bringing my Alpha this year, and I'll use the 767 if it is there
and doesn't catch on fire or something.  This is legal and in line with
past and present practice.

I would be happy to discuss changing the rules for next year, during the
player's meeting.

I predict a pretty angry discussion that doesn't get very far, because
it is hard to find a solution that really is fair for *everyone*.

bruce



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