WCCC 2005 Reykjavik

WCCC 2005 Photojournal

by Anthony Cozzie


I had the opportunity to attend the World Computer Chess Championship in Reykjavik Iceland in August, 2005. It was both my first time attending a World Championship and my first time leaving the States. Despite Zappa being a relative newcomer it managed to win the tournament and in general cause a bit of a stir in the computer chess community.

Actually, I am quite amazed that I managed to compete at all. When I arrived in Iceland, it appeared that the airlines had been playing soccer with my computer. Despite my considerable efforts to pack it carefully the motherboard had almost detached from the case, and the case itself was bent in a few places. I was frantic, but fortunately Vincent and Yngvi managed to perform some quick surgery on it. In the long term, it seems the only damage was cosmetic, but from now on I am playing remote and bringing a laptop!

The best part of the tournament - aside from winning, of course :) - was chatting with the other players. Most of these people I had never met in person, and so I was very happy to put a face to the chat handle. The CCTs are a lot of fun, but there really is no substitute for face-to-face conversations. I have found that computer chess authors & operators are without exception a great group of people, and I developed a strong liking for every single person there.

I found Iceland to be a beautiful land with friendly people, and the excursion we took quite interesting. The only problem is the cost of everything - a Subway will run you 11$, and Dominos charges 30$ or so for a medium. Fortunately the tournament organizers supplied us with food or I would have gone bankrupt within the first few days. I really must put out a big thanks to Professor Yngvi Bjornsson, the main organizer (and the inventor of MultiCut). I had him running around a lot for me, and he handled things quickly and gracefully.


3Deep Sjeng00X½1½11½11130½11
5Crafty000½X111½½1126 11
6Deep Junior00½00X11111122¾11
9The Baron00½½½000X½1114½11
10IsiChess MMX0½00½000½X0110 11
11The Crazy Bishop0000000001X111

Zappa set several records in this tournament: its score of 10.5 and margin of victory of 2 points are the largest ever in a World Computer Chess Championship, and its winning percentage of 95% is the highest ever in a World Championship of more than 5 rounds. In my personal opinion this will stand as one of the great performances of computer chess, comparable to Karpov scoring 11/13 in Linares 1994 or Fischer winning the US Championship with a perfect score in 1963-64. But perhaps the best resemblence is Hastings 1895, when the relatively unknown American Harry Nelson Pillsbury shocked a field that included Lasker, Tchigorin, Tarrasch, Blackburn, Schecter, Bird, Teichmann, Mieses, and Janowski - essentially all the big names in chess at that time.


Sjeng - Zappa, round 2

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. a3 Ba6 5. Qc2 Bb7 6. Nc3 c5 7. e4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Nc6 9. Nxc6 Bxc6 10. Bf4 Bc5 11. Be2 O-O 12. Rd1 a5 13. O-O Qe7 14. Bg3 e5 15. Bh4 h6 16. Rd2 Rfc8 17. Nd5 Bxd5 18. Bxf6 Qxf6 19. Rxd5 Rc7 20. Qd2 Bd4 21. Kh1 Qe7 22. f4 d6 23. b3 Rc5 24. f5 Qf6 25. Rc1 Rac8 26. g3 Kf8 27. Kg2

Here Zappa played Ke7!! waving the red flag in front of Sjeng. The position is locked, and Zappa planned to simply return its king to G8 with a draw, but Sjeng took the bait, played b4?, and rapidly got a lost position.

Ke7 28. b4 axb4 29. axb4 R5c7 30. Qa2 h5 31. Qd2 h4 32. g4 h3+ 33. Kh1 Qh4 34. Rf1 Ra7 35. Qd3 Rca8 36. c5 bxc5 37. bxc5 Bxc5 38. Qf3 Ra2 39. Rdd1 R8a3 40. Rd3 Qh6 41. Rxa3 Rxa3 42. Bd3 Be3 43. Bb1 Bc5 44. Bd3 Kd8 45. Rb1 Bb6 46. g5 Qh4 47. g6 f6 48. Rd1 Bd4 49. Rb1 Rc3 50. Qg3 Qxg3 51. hxg3 Rxd3 52. Kh2 Bf2 53. Kxh3 Bxg3 54. Kg2 Bf4 55. Ra1 Bh6 56. Ra8+ Kc7 0-1

Zappa - Junior, round 7

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. g4 h6 8. Rg1 e5 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. g5 hxg5 11. Nxg5 e4 12. Nb5 Nb6 13. Bd2 Bf5 14. h3 Bh2 15. Rg2 Rc8 16. Qb3 Bb8 17. Bb4 Nh7 18. Nxh7 Rxh7 19. Rg1 Rc6 20. Nc3 a6 21. a4 Nc4 22. Bxc4 dxc4 23. Qc2 Rch6 24. Qe2 Qc8 25. O-O-O b5

After a very unclear opening, Zappa has gradually consolidated and enjoys a safe king on the queenside, while Black's still wanders the center, forever ensnared by the B4 bishop. Now Zappa goes on the warpath with d5! and Black's position collapses after only 10 more moves.

26. d5 Qb7 27. d6 Bd7 28. axb5 axb5 29. Rg5 f5 30. Rd5 Qa8 31. Kb1 g6 32. Re5+ Kf7 33. Nd5 Kf8 34. Nf6 Rf7 35. Re8+ Kg7 36. Nh5+ Kh7 1-0

Shredder - Zappa, round 9

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O d5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Nxd5 cxd5 13. Bh6 Qc7 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 15. h4 h5 16. Re1 Rb8 17. g4 hxg4 18. h5 Qb6 19. c3 Rh8 20. fxg4 Bxg4 21. h6+ Kf8

Zappa has survived the opening phase and now has reached a very complicated position. Black has an extra pawn, but his king is somewhat exposed and his rook on h8 is very passive. Zappa slowly improves its position and runs with its passed pawns.

22. b3 Rc8 23. Kb2 d4 24. c4 Bf5 25. Bd3 Bxd3 26. Qxd3 Qd6 27. Qd2 Rh7 28. Qg5 f5 29. Ref1 Rc5 30. Qg2 Kf7 31. Rf2 Qf6 32. Rff1 a5 33. Qa8 g5 34. Kc2 Re5 35. Kc1 g4 36. Kd1 Rh8 37. Qg2 d3 38. Qf2 a4 39. Qh4 Re2 40. Qxf6+ exf6 41. b4 Rxa2 0-1


'He has the plan of attack!' Fute Programmer Jean-Louis Boussin, on Fute (a lot of fun to say in blitz :)

'It's not a beancounter, it's a sceptical program.' operator Peter Berger, on Crafty

'It's public enemy #1', Vincent Diepeveen on Crafty, after Crafty scored 2.5/3 against the top 3 of the 2004 championship.


The defending champions: Shay Bushinsky and Amir Ban of Israel.

Peter Berger (operating Crafty for Bob Hyatt) is happy with his opening line against Shredder.

Zappa booker Erdogan Gunes prepares to attack with his 'killerbuch'.

Me playing Sjeng.

I forgot to turn the 'Coach is watching' feature off. It appears the coach doesn't approve of some of Sjeng's moves.

Jean-Louis Boussin, author of Fute. Fute scored only 0.5/11, but it was also the only program to take even a half point off of Zappa, so Jean-Louis can hold his head high in Paris. In the background, Johannes Zwanzger (Jonny) and I are practicing operating for the Blitz tournament.

But our effors were in vain, as the Blitz tournament was won by this smiling man, Stefan Meyer-Kahlen and his engine Shredder.

We also spent a lot of time in the pubs. Here Jean-Louis Boussin is explaining the 'plan of attack' in Fute to Stefan and Gian-Carlo. You don't want to know how much those beers cost.

Vincent Diepeveen (Diep) looking a bit vampiric here.

The WCCC took place at the same time as a general chess festival, which included the Icelandic Championships.

Gerd Isenberg (IsiChess) and Johannes Zwanzger (Jonny).

Just after the opening book in Zappa-Junior.

A well earned nap after an exhausting game!

Gian-Carlo Pascutto (better known as GCP) and the rest of the Sjeng team. They tied with Shredder for the 3rd place. Admittedly some members provided mostly moral support.

Fabien Letouzey (Fruit) looking a bit serious. Normally he is a bundle of energy and talks two or three times as fast as a normal person. Fruit placed clear 2nd.

Me with the Shannon Prize aka 'The Horse' and my first prize lava rock.

So that is all for this year. Our silicon gladiators will meet again for the 2006 Championship in Italy. Until then, you stay classy San Diego. (with apologies to Will Ferrell).

Note: Some of these photos were stolen from GCP, Stefan, and Vincent.