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Subject: A few comments on Arasan in CCT5

Author: Jon Dart

Date: 07:05:52 01/20/03


Arasan did ok, finishing 4.5/9, which is about where it was in the previous
tournaments. It started out well by beating Armageddon and Pepito. Pepito is
generally stronger than Arasan, in my experience, but anything can happen in one
game.

Next round, Arasan lost to Yace, as could be expected. It held out for a long
time but around move 29 started going downhill. Next game was a draw against
Tao. Again, Arasan was a bit lucky here, as it has lost to Tao over a couple of
long offline matches I have run. Arasan was actually on top early and likely had
winning chances, but in the end its extra material didn't help and the endgame
was drawn.

Round 5 was a draw against thebaron. IM Schroer was dubious about thebaron's 5.
c3 in the RL Exchange. (Generally, one feature of this tournament is that all
the work I've done on Arasan's opening book didn't give much of a visible
benefit. Or maybe the benefit was that it didn't do anything really bad in the
opening).

After this promising start, in round 6, Arasan had xinix. Arasan was out of book
early in something ICC calls the Four Knights variation of the Giuoco Piano. It
played 7. Bxf2+, and then had to follow up with 9. Ng3+, losing the Knight for
pawns. This isn't a "book" line, I'm pretty sure. I wasn't really happy about
things at that point, but Arasan went on to gobble material and was easily
winning.

I then went on to look at some other games and wasn't paying much attention to
mine. Then I realized I hadn't seen Arasan move for a long time. I switched back
to the game, and saw it wasn't moving. I had no clue why. I had recently fixed a
bug where the Winboard interface code wasn't recognizing moves from the opponent
and this had caused a failure to move, so my first assumption was that the bug
wasn't really squashed. I had only a minute or so left on the clock, so there
wasn't much time to think. If the bug was the culprit, then I could force Arasan
to move by logging out and back in again. However, this would cause the opponent
to lose ponder information. And since I wasn't sure what the cause was, and
wasn't sure about the ethics of disconnecting, I just let the time run out.

It turned out that I had typed "obs searcherx" from the Arasan console window
instead of the window where I was logged in as jdart. This caused a "new"
command to be issued to the engine, resetting it. So there was no bug here, just
operator error. Frustrating, because Arasan was so clearly going to win and it
got a loss on time instead. Believe me, after that, I was really watching what
window I was typing in.

Arasan went on to draw the last 3 games. The frenzee game was another case where
Arasan built up material advantage but the endgame was drawn. Against Zappa,
Arasan was down material. Zappa doesn't even have TBs, and it was getting
substantially less ply depth than Arasan, but it made Arasan struggle through
the endgame. However, I was pretty sure the endgame was drawish, although the
Zappa author seemed to think differently until the final exchanges. Zappa is
impressive and not to be underestimated.

Against Amyan in the final round, Arasan also had a long endgame struggle. It
was actually worse than against Zappa, because Amyan had a bishop and two pawns
advantage, vs. Arasan's rook. But this game was also drawn.

Overall, I was reasonably happy with Arasan's result, although round 6 was a
disaster, and I would have liked to be able to play more of the top half of the
field. I am looking forward to the next CCT.










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