Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Zappa CCT5 Report

Author: Anthony Cozzie

Date: 08:56:27 01/21/03

Everyone is posting on their games with zappa so I thought I'd give my

Round 1: Zappa - Bringer 1/2

Zappa's opening left Bringer with an advantage in center control, something
Zappa never tolerates for very long, and in the ensuing mess Zappa missed 16
..Bf5! which won a pawn for Bringer.  Surprisingly, Bringer opted for an e
passer instead of the extra pawn.  Zappa had 3:1 on the queenside, and its king
was quite close to passed pawn on e3, so I thought Zappa had a slight edge here
[move 29].  However, Bringer was able to rescue its pawn and ended up with 2
passers on the 3rd rank, while Zappa putzed around and did nothing.  Finally,
just when Bringer was about to close in for the kill, Zappa sacrificed its c
pawn, created connected passers on a4-b5, and was able to draw. Whew!

Round 2: Robin - Zappa 0-1

Zappa's lack of opening book strikes again.  It won a pawn from Robin in the
first 7 moves, but Robin had good compensation.  Robin began to tie Zappa's
pieces in knots.  Zappa could always see a way for Robin to win back the pawn,
but Robin never did: I don't know whether it wasn't searching deep enough or its
eval preferred blacks knotty position.  Finally, 30 moves into the game, Zappa
finally got rid of Robin's rook on the 8th!! rank.  Zappa quickly moved its
Knights into commanding positions on the queenside, forced trades, and won a
Bishop for its passed c pawn.

[D]2b5/5pk1/4p1p1/p1N1P1P1/4PP2/8/2n2K2/8 b - - 0 50

In this position Zappa uncorked the beautiful Bd7!! Robin got its Knight down to
b3, but it could never manage to get its King to the queenside: Ke2 allows Nd4,
decoying the Knight and allowing Zappa to promote.

[D]8/5pk1/4p1p1/4P1P1/4PP2/1N6/p1n5/5K2 b - - 0 54

Zappa moved its King over to the queenside, promoted, and managed to checkmate
with a pawn to top things off :)

Round 3: Zappa - PepitoX 0-1

This was the one game in which I felt Zappa had no chances.  PepitoX absolutely
annihilated Zappa in a 2 bishop v Rook and pawn ending.  I don't know why Zappa
chose not to exchange its N for one of the Bishops, but Pepito simply marched
its passed d pawn down the board, supported by the clerics, and topped things
off with an attack on Zappa's King.

Round 4: The Baron - Zappa 1 - 0

Zappa played another silly opening (Schroer called it 'Frank Zappaesque') and
soon Baron had everything except the kitchen sink lined up at Zappa's King.  Any
human would be sweating bullets if they were in Zappa's position at move 23:

[D]r1b5/p1p1r1k1/2pq1np1/3pp3/3P2p1/1N1BP3/PPPQ1P2/1K4RR w - - 0 23

I would have been sweating bullets as the *author* if I wasn't out playing
basketball.  Somehow Baron was unable to land a knockout punch and Zappa slipped
into a Rook ending with all pawns on the same side, down 3v2.  I was quite happy
at this point because I believe this is a draw.  However, Zappa in one of the
biggest blunders of the day exchanged rooks, and Baron quickly reached a winning
position with the benefit of its tablebases.

Round 5: Zappa - Wildcat 1/2

Wildcat's book contained pawn sacrifice for the initiative that neither engine
suspected.  As a result, Wildcat got just enough pressure for a perpetual on
Zappa's king, and took it for a "grandmaster draw" :)  A pretty boring game,
especially since Tinker would have made a huge attack from there.

Round 6: Tinker - Zappa 1/2

Zappa vs Tinker is always fun.  Tinker is very speculative, while zappa (being a
new engine with few terms) gobbles everything.  Zappa seems to see just slightly
more than Tinker to even things out a bit.  Tinker sacrificed a Bishop for two
pawns, a strong passed C pawn,  and a completely open Zappa King.  Zappa refused
to go down without a fight, and traded off some pieces and pawns.  The King
attack was more or less over, but I still thought Tinker's strong passed C pawn
would give it the point.  After a lot of shuffling Tinker pushed its C pawn to
the 7th rank and then began moving its 3 kingside passers.  Zappa however had a
pin on tinkers bishop and it managed to win the middle kingside pawn.  In the
end, I think Tinker was winning despite being down Queen for Rook.  Tinker,
however, did not agree and gave up its rook to reach a known TB draw, which
Zappa of course never saw coming.

Round 7: Zappa - CyberPagno 1-0

Zappa gave up its 3 kingside pawns for a piece again.  CyberPagno thought it was
winning bigtime, and I wasn't too happy about the position either.

[D]rn3rk1/pp3ppp/2p1b3/3p4/3P2qN/1PN5/PBP5/R3QRK1 w - - 0 18

Here, Zappa thought it had a draw (Qh3-g4), I thought Black should start
developing with Nd7 and Rae8, and CyberPagno grabbed the d4 pawn.  The problem
with this is that Zappa instantly developed a great deal of pressure on the g7
pawn due to the b2 Bishop suddenly becoming very strong.  Zappa understands
development fairly well (when you have no book, its pretty important) so I was
feeling a little better.  Then CyberPagno blundered with dxe4?? and instantly
Zappa was at +5, which rapidly firmed up to a mate score.

rn4k1/pN1b3p/2p3p1/5p2/4p1qN/1P6/PBP2Q2/5R1K w - - 0 28

Round 8: Arasan - Zappa 1/2

Arasan played the Ruy lopez and quickly put the screws to Zappa.  Zappa made
some rash pawn pushes in the center and was barely able to survive.  Once again
the stronger engine was unable to close in for the kill and Zappa somehow
weathered the storm.  In the end, Zappa had 2 queenside pawns and a nice d5
Knight, while arasan had a Rook on the 7th.  Arasan made what looked like a
somewhat dubious exchange sac and the position was reduced to QRPP v QNPPP.
Zappa annoyingly refused to exchange queens, and Arasan easily liquidated
Zappa's pawns for another TB draw (R v N).

Round 9: Zappa - Movei 1/2

For some reason, Movei allowed Zappa to shatter its Kingside pawns in the
opening by exchanged B for N and Zappa never looked back.  Knights are the only
pieces Zappa knows how to handle, and it soon put the screws to movei.  It
pinned movei's doubled pawn to the f5 square and won it.  Movei then blundered
with 35 .. Rb6? allowing Zappa's rooks to penetrate, and the game looked like it
would be over quickly.

[D]4r3/pR6/2rR3p/2k2N2/4pPP1/2b1K2P/P7/8 w - - 0 47

Then a bad eval term struck.  Zappa evaluates doubled rooks on the 7th as very
good, *even when the enemey king is not trapped behind them*, and it played the
idiotic Rdd7.  This put movei right back in the game.  Zappa then confounded
matters by placing its Knight in on a7.  Eventually zappa was forced to
sacrifice the exchange.  But it was movei's turn to blunder again and it allowed
Zappa to use its advanced f7 pawn to win back the exchange, and then lost its
remaining pawn.  Finally Zappa advanced its g pawn and won.  I was extremely
happy with this game because zappa showed good positional understanding for the
first 40 moves or so.  Uri was annoyed that Movei allowed its pawns to be
doubled in the opening.

In the end Zappa scored 5/9 for 16th place, which I think is amazing for a
program with no book and no tablebases.  I think Zappa was also a bit lucky, and
as IM Schroer reminded me, "Its better to be lucky than to be good."
(Capablanca).  I was of course exceedingly happy with zappa's score in the


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