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Subject: A bit late: CCT5 recap for Amateur

Author: Will Singleton

Date: 18:36:32 01/24/03


I had a great time in CCT5.  Because Amateur did well the first day, I had the
good fortune to play a number of strong opponents.  So, quick impressions:
strong opponents, good conversation, silly talk on 64, prima donnas, newbies,
old hands, upstarts, unknowns, good fun.

If you want to look at any of these games, they’re available at the usual
places.  And here’s a good chess link, unrelated to this post:
http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt.htm
.........................................................


Round 1     Amateur – Matascz  1-0
(Matacz v0.51:  Maciej Pestka)

This program had no book, and I was anticipating an easy game.  Ignorance is
bliss!  Matacz got a strong passer in the center while also isolating Amateur's
knight on the rim.  Just one of those games where nothing went right, until
Matacz failed to see a mate threat and lost.

The author of Matacz was modest concerning his program's good play, and gracious
in the loss.
.........................................................


Round 2     Ferret - Amateur  1-0

Out of book, Amateur was worse, but Ferret was unable to convert the advantage.
Amateur had equalized by the late middlegame.  According to IM Commons, a
critical position occurred after 14.Rd3

[D]r1b2rk1/1pq2ppp/p1p1p3/7Q/4P3/2PRB3/P1P2PPP/R5K1 b - - 0 14

where Amateur played f5.  This tended to neutralize Ferret's control of the
center, and the game turned  into a "dead draw."  (Famous last words.)  At move
37, Amateur played Qd1, which allowed Ferret's queen onto the 7th.  Apparently,
this was a fatal mistake.

[D]6k1/7p/3q2p1/1pB3Q1/p1b1P3/2P1K3/2P3PP/8 b - - am Qd1; "try it";

Ferret's author told me he would be sleeping during the game, so there was no
dialogue.  All things  considered, that was fine by me.
.........................................................


Round 3       Amateur - Hossa  draw
(Hossa v1.151:  Steffen Jakob)

Hossa is an old competitor from way back.  Now playing on a fast P4 2.8ghz (same
as Amateur), Hossa is a formidable opponent, and it showed in its strong
tournament results.

A Ruy Lopez eventually ended in a BOOC ending with Amateur up a doubled pawn.
IM Commons noted that Amateur had a useless pawn in an absolute draw, but
Amateur didn't recognize it.  In fact, it later displayed a score of +6 in the
KBPKB ending (opposite colors), which was a simple draw.  I was embarrassed at
the evals, which continued until the 50 move rule draw.  Somehow, my late
changes involving lazy eval and increased futility pruning had screwed up that
code.

Steffen Jakob and I had good conversations throughout the game, which I
appreciated.  (Hi to Lukas and Regina!)
.........................................................


Round 4       Wildcat - Amateur  0-1
(Wildcat 2.73:  Igor Korshunov)

I dreaded playing Wildcat, since private play had convinced me that it was a
good bit stronger than Amateur.  The game turned into a slugfest, with each side
attacking the other's kside with abandon.   However, in the position that
follows, Amateur unaccountably played the ingenious Rc5, which the reader should
look at.  Luck plays a big part in chess.  Wildcat fell apart after that.  I
don't know if better play could have saved the game.

[D]1n4rk/2q1b2p/n1BpQ1pP/r2Pp1R1/1p6/pP2BP2/P1P5/NK1R4 b - - 0 34

Although Igor had disconnection problems in this and other games, he held up his
end of the conversation, and I enjoyed talking with him.  I certainly appreciate
the fact that he and the other “non-english” players have the ability to speak
english, and to speak it well.
.........................................................


Round 5      Amateur – Movei  1-0
(Movei:  Uri Blass)

Amateur was lucky in this game, coming out of the opening in a good position.
It won a pawn, then kept up the pressure to win another, and the game was soon
over.  Uri must have been disappointed with this one.

Uri and I didn’t get the chance to converse much during the game, as it was a
fairly quick one.  But he did well overall in the tournament, and I’m glad he
participated.


.........................................................
Amateur ended the first day with 3.5/5
.........................................................


Round 6      Tao – Amateur  1-0
(Tao 5.41:  Bas Hamstra)

This game was a heartbreaker, because there were good chances which Amateur just
barely failed to take.   Especially against Tao, a great program.

[D]2r5/5pkp/4p3/2P1P2p/4R3/p5P1/PbRN2KP/3r4 b - - 0 42

In this position, Amateur played Ra1, going for the a pawn.  It’s very tempting,
as many programs want to do the same thing.  Amateur fails to realize that its
rook will be trapped after c6 Rxa2 Nb3, effectively ending the game.  Much
better is Rxc5, getting rid of the c pawn, and giving some chances in the
endgame.

Bas commented throughout the game, and we had a good conversation.  I wish Tao
well in its future development.
.........................................................


Round 7      Amateur – Postmodernist  1-0
(Postmodernist: Andrew Williams)

The opening was a Ruy, Dilworth variation.  It was commented early that with
best play, the Dilworth was good for white.  In the following position, white’s
king is seemingly vulnerable.  But note that the BN combination is strong, and
defends well.  Amateur plays the unusual 36.h4!, which apparently leads to h5
and the eventual weakening of the black kingside, causing the exchange to be
won.  The black qside pawns are stuck, and eventually fall.

[D]4r1k1/5rp1/R1p3q1/1pBp4/1P6/2P3NP/3Q3K/8 w - - 0 36

Andrew is an old competitor, and his Postmodernist usually beats Amateur.  This
game, with a hardware (and opening) advantage, Amateur managed to win.  Thanks
to Andrew for his sportsmanship, and his commentary.
.........................................................


Round 8      Amateur – Quark  0-1
(Quark v1.90CCT5: Thomas Mayer)

We were Board 6.  I was pretty nervous, since a win here would put Amateur into
uncharted territory for the final round.  Not to be!

Interestingly, the game was identical to the Monsoon-Comet game thru move 24,
which was in progress at the same time.  IM Commons commented that white (in
both games) had no idea what the game was all about.   Apparently, white had to
maintain its pieces and attack, rather than trade off.  In the first deviation,
Quark played 24...c4, while Comet played 24...Ra7.

[D]r2q1bk1/6p1/p4n1p/1ppp1P2/Pn6/5B1P/1P3PPN/2BQR1K1 b - - 0 24

I have to say that Quark played a better move than Comet, unfortunately.  But
enough about Monsoon-Comet.

A few moves later, Amateur played what Schroer said might be a “TN”.  I was
intrigued, but it turned out after much analysis not to be the best.  I will say
that both Yace and Ruffian would have played the move, depending on the
time-control.  26.Bxh6

[D]r2q1bk1/6p1/p3Rn1p/1p1p1P2/P1p5/3n1B1P/1P3PPN/2BQ2K1 w - - 0 26

After that, Quark cleaned up pretty good.  A very good game by Thomas’ program,
and we had a good time during the game.
.........................................................


Round 9      Terra – Amateur  1-0
(Terra v3.0: Peter Fendrich)

At one point, Amateur had a +2 score, and was cruising.  The next minute (well,
hour, actually), the game was lost.  Have to give credit to Terra for exploiting
all opportunities in the best way.

I like a few moves here.  The moves 19...d5 and 20...Nf7 I thought were
especially good, and equalized the game at that point.

In the following position, Amateur had about a +2 eval.

[D]3r2k1/pp3n1p/5ppb/P1P1p3/2N5/BR1rP2P/7P/1R4K1 b - - 0 32

However, white’s c pawn became very important, and black had a hard time
defending.  A very nice win by Terra.
.........................................................


Conclusions

The master commentary helped me to realize that most chess theory is way beyond
my understanding, and I need professional advice in order to make progress.  I
hope I can get that.  It’s a daunting task to try to synthesize a master’s
knowledge.  I’ll keep on plugging.

Thanks to all the participants who made the effort, and walked the walk.  Thanks
also to IM Schroer for his tireless commentary.

Will



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