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Subject: CCT4 notes - Hossa

Author: Steffen Jakob

Date: 03:51:01 01/21/02


Here are my notes about the first rounds. I haven't had the time to
look closer at the games so I only can get you a short impression.

Before CCT4 I made a lot of changes in elementary parts of
Hossa. Although I think that those changes are a step in the right
direction they made Hossa play much worse (that always happens if I do
this). I tried desperately to fix but I wasn't successful. Short
before CCT4 I decided to go back to the version of Hossa from december
which seemed to play reasonable and which got Hossa's blitz hiscore at
ICC. This was of course easy because I use CVS :-) I merged some
evaluation improvements from which I think that they are 100% safe
improvements (hmmm).

After I saw the participants list I was rather pessimistic (and still
am). So many strong engines and most of them are running on very fast
hardware. Hossa was seeded #32 and was the first who ran on a machine
with less than 1 GHz. Well, at least this gives me a good excuse :-)

Then finally the tournament started!

Round 1: Insomniac - Hossa (1-0)

Again I had a tough opponent in the first round. So far my first
opponents in the previous CCTs were Nimzo, Crafty and
Shredder. Against Nimzo Hossa had a winning position which he blew
because of a permanent brain bug. Against Crafty he was able to draw
and from Shredder he lost in an honourable game. So it was time to get
smashed. After asymmetric castlings Insomniac managed to push his h
pawn to h6. Hossa played 20... Bg5 after which the c file was
opened. But as a result he lost a pawn. Although Hossa thought he had
some compensation he lost in the end.

Round 2: Hossa - Djenghis (1-0)

After the noise about this engine I played a match at ICC between
Hossa and Djenghis a day before the tournament and saw that the 1800
rating was real. So my hope was of course to win that game. Djenghis
played a dubious opening and already after move #7 Hossa had an eval
of +1.3 which quickly grew to something like +3. At move 20 Djenghis
decided to start a king attack. That means he attacked with his king
who went e4. It was a one way ticket.

Round 3: Sjeng - Hossa (1-0)

I was happy to play Sjeng because this is another Amateur who grew up
at ICC. Something funny happened at the beginning. I chatted with
Sjeng's operator. After about 10 minutes the operator spoke to my
surprise in 3rd person of Gian-Carlo Pascutto. Til then I thought I
had spoken to GCP! Well, then I remembered that Sarah Bird was
operating. A mistake which wouldnt have happened in real life! ;-) In
this game a bug or better a bad concept in chosing the book move made
Hossa leave its book created from GM games although he had enough
games left (I fixed this after that round). This happened in a crucial
phase of the game. The opening was a gambit and white got more than
enough compensation. Hossa lost chanceless.

Round 4: Hossa - Qalat (1-0)

Again I didnt know much about this opponent. After the first moves it
was clear that Hossa was outsearching Qalat. But the position was
rather blocked and for a long while no progress has been made by both
sides. In move 61. black opened the position with 61... cxd4 and Hossa
got a fail low! I wasn't surprised because Hossa really sucks in
endgames although I made some improvements in rookendgames... and this
was a rook endgame. After some moves Hossa recovered and managed to
create a passer at e6 and to get some active rooks. After a short
while the game was won for Hossa. Nevertheless Qalat gave a tough
fight in this game.

Round 5: Hossa - Tao (0-1)

This was terrible! It was an execution of Hossa. Around move 12 I
brought my son to bed. After I have read out a fairy tail I returned
to my computer and saw the mess. Hossa was already lost. "grep 'failed
low' hossa.log | wc --lines" returned something like 30. In move 28. I
had seen enough and resigned. I better had read a second fairy
tail. My son would have loved it and I didnt have to suffer so much.

Round 6: PolarChess - Hossa (0-1)

Hossa started round 6 with ... Armageddon! Then we had to abort
because a mistake in the pairings has been made. Armageddon managed to
get a draw from Arasan in that round so maybe I had luck that the
games has been aborted. My new opponent was PolarChess. He played the
scottish gambit and Hossa was immediately out of book. I was very
scared because Hossa isn't very good in defending against gambits
which has been proven in round #3. I was happy that white didnt get
much initiative. The queens were exchanged quickly and Hossa had a won
position which he managed to win safely.

My conclusion after the first half of the tournament is that Hossa won
against opponents which are prob. weaker than Hossa and lost from
opponents which are stronger. So the result so far is ok considering
that Hossa is in a good company with engines like Yace, Hiarcs,
etc. Like in all CCTs before I learned a lot and it was great to have
all these people around. I am looking forward for the next weekend!

Best wishes,
Steffen.



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