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Subject: CCT3 Day 1 reflections

Author: Frank Phillips

Date: 04:03:08 05/27/01


CCT3 day 1: Reflection of a newbie.

This was my first tournament.  Having started programming from scratch almost 4
years ago, the prospect of the event left me with foolishly childish feelings of
trepidation for a man of my long years.  This had not been helped by Searcher's
recent performance on the internet chess clubs and by emergency programming on
the Friday before the event introducing a bug trying to enhance the program
following a passed pawn race loss.  What was it Bob Hyatt said, never play in a
tournament with an untested program.   Given all this, my objective was to not
finish last and win at least one game.  Realistically my assessment of my
program's ability was a class below the best amateurs and commercials but
probably not the worst.  One unknown was that my program was untested at long
time controls, having played mostly G5 or G5+3.

Game 1:  Searcher versus Yace 1/2-1/2
I would not have wished for this as my first game, given recent losses.  Things
looked ominous on the queenside where I had castled until the program found a
knight sacrifice leading to perpetual check.  At least I would not get zero.

Game 2: Searcher versus Markol 1-0
White again.  And a win.  Half the objective achieved.  This showed a weakness
that I am unsure how to address.  Searcher built up a fine position but seemed
to find itself in a sort of potential well unable to make progress, repeating
similar positions to maintain its advantage until it finally varied and found
(one of) the obvious plans of pushing the d-pawn.  IM Schroer who was commenting
(and did a fine job) thought Searcher was winning smoothly.  Sadly it does not
have his skill of turning winning into won.

Game 3: PostModernist versus Searcher 1/2-1/2
The great escape.  My opening book is a random collection of many games,
including it would seem those from studies of how not to play particular
openings.  Several times on ics it has come out the opening 2 pawns or more
down.  This was not as bad, but with my king stranded in the middle,
Postmodernist played a great game to end up in a 3P+B versus R ending that
looked won.  At this point PostModernist was showing a score of almost +3, mine
around -1.  Obviously mine did not understand the magnitude of its
error.....probably.  Searcher quickly got its king in front of the opponents 2
kingside passed pawns and as the game progressed I became more hopefull, if
still doubtful, that I might hold a draw.  Eventually PostModernist's score
dropped to 0.00 and we played out an EGTB draw.  Nice chat with the author
during this game, who remained friendly and objective despite I suspect a
measure of frustration.

Game 4: Searcher versus PatzerSMP 1-0
Outgunned against a 2 processor 1GHz machine, I was very pleased with this game.
 Searcher chose 2B for R+P.  I was unsure whether the opponent's b and c pawns
would be a problem.  IM Schroer seemed to prefer the 2B, which gave me some
hope.  Searcher managed to blockade the pawns with its knight and the resulting
attack was pleasing.

At 3 out of 4 I am in the chasing pack.  Things are about to get much harder.  I
expect day 2 to be very different.  If only we could stop now.

BTW Didn't GNUChess do well......................Dan  :))











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