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Subject: Rybka 1.0 Announcement

Author: Vasik Rajlich

Date: 01:44:36 12/05/05


Hello,

Well, I am shocked by the speed of the computer chess community. There are now
200 requests for Beta versions of Rybka in my mailbox. Many of you made
interesting comments and asked all sorts of questions, but at the moment I am
really short of time and can't give personal responses to everyone. Some of
these questions are answered here.

The first piece of good news is that Rybka Beta 1.0 will be available for free
download until midnight tonight (Dec 5) on Leo's website. Obviously this targets
the more hardcore members of the computer chess community - there are so many
here who give their time and share their ideas that I would be embarassed to do
anything else.

However, I am now working on this project full time, and much as I would like to
just concentrate on the technical aspect, the truth is that there is now a
business to run. The first commercial release will be as plain as can be - Rybka
1.0 standalone UCI engine, no GUI, no book, no copy protection, no engine
capability not currently specified in the UCI protocol. The price will be 34
Euro. The original target date was Dec 16, but thanks to the incredible speed of
the CEGT team this has been moved up to ASAP :) Additional announcements are
forthcoming.

While I hope that there are some sales of Rybka 1.0, the main goal here is to
prepare for a summer 2006 release. If things go as I envision, we'll offer an
engine-GUI combo which brings Rybka's chess knowledge to the user and makes
chess players wonder how they ever survived without it. Of course, some software
developers will tell you that when plans meet reality it is usually reality
which wins .. but in my book reality is a seven point underdog :)

If any of you are interested in helping the Rybka project succeed, the following
are all useful areas of contribution:

1) Comments, feedback, and CPU time for beta versions.
2) Purchase the full version of Rybka 1.0.
3) Get Rybka, and computer chess in general, "out there" into the world of chess
- articles, clubs, into the general chess consciousness.

This last point is for me the biggest. The computer chess community has
tremendous expertise and knowledge, and computer chess is interesting and fun.
As programmers, we struggle with the question of what chess knowledge really is
in a much deeper and more interesting way than chess players do. A chess player
will learn something obvious about positional play, and never really stop to
inspect it - because as a human, he doesn't need to. On the other hand, when
your program is constantly rebeling against everything you taught it, or plays
worse with those last few bits of what you thought were knowledge, you end up
asking much tougher questions. So - for those with the ability and interest,
let's get out there and spread the word.

I am also looking for a few people who will collaborate more closely on the
project. There are the usual computer chess things (opening book, tournament
operation, beta testing). In addition, the main event of the next four to six
weeks will be the addition of I hope two more software developers to the Rybka
team. I have of course a target list from my days as a student and developer,
but if you are talented, and interested in the project, please don't hesitate to
get in touch with me and we can discuss it further.

Happy testing, and best regards,
Vas



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