Livingston Chess960 Computer World Championship

Rybka wants the hattrick!

by Eric van Reem

The fifth Livingston Chess960 computer chess world championship will be held from July 29-31. Four strong programs will play the preliminaries on Wednesday and Thursday, the four game final between the best two programs will be played on Friday. After two open tournaments in 2005 and 2006, the organization decided to upgrade the format into a double round robin with only the best Chess960 programs in the world and brought the world championship into line with the human events.

How to determine the best Chess960 program in the world? The two finalists from last year, Rybka, by Vasik Rajlich and Shredder by Stefan Meyer-Kahlen will be challenged by two internet qualifiers. This year, the Belgian program by Gian-Carlo Pascutto won the qualifier, which was organized by the Chess Tigers in conjunction with the Internet Chess Club (ICC). The German program Ikarus, developed by the Kolss-brothers Muntsin and Munjong, qualified for Mainz as well. Rybka, which is leading the Chess960 rating list, to be found on http://www.computerchess.org.uk/ccrl/404FRC is the defending champion and definitely wants the hattrick! She (Rybka is a she!) won the final in the new format in 2007 and 2008.

Rybka also won the ICGA world championship in Pamplona, Spain in May 2009 with a great score: 8 points/ 9 games, and also clinched home the blitz title. Sjeng and Shredder shared second place in Pamplona, with the Israeli program Junior. The “Kolss bros” do not often participate in computer chess tournaments anymore, but their program should not be underestimated. In 2005, Ikarus debuted in Mainz with an excellent fifth place in the Chess960 world championship, one year later the program played even better and landed on the winner’s podium on third place. Ikarus scored its best result in 2006 when the program won the blitz world championship in Turin, Italy with 11 points/13 games and left top programs like Rybka and Shredder empty-handed.

Once again, we can expect an exciting computer chess tournament this year in Mainz. The programs will have equal opportunities because in Mainz all programs play on equal hardware, which is provided by the sponsor of the computer tournament, Livingston-the IT rental company. The machines, running on a 64 bit Windows XP system have Intel Core2Quad Q9400 2,67GHz/1333MHz processors. Sponsor Livingston and the Chess Tigers are happy and proud to welcome the four top Chess960 computer programmers to Mainz!

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