09 January 2011

More on Chess960 Engines

The last link in my previous post, C960 & Fullchess (see 'Chessprogramming - Perola Valfridsson'), led me to a resource that I had never explored properly -- chessprogramming.wikispaces.com. Chess960 is only a small portion of the site, which probably explains why there is a major gaffe on its Chessprogramming - Chess page : 'Chess Variants -> Fisher Random Chess (FRC) or Chess 960'.

A search for mentions of chess960 pulls in a number of interesting pages, of which the most valuable is currently Livingston Chess960 Computer World Championship, a list of the Chess Classic Mainz (CCM) events involving chess960 engines. This consolidates in one place the same info I've covered in Chess960 @ Chess Classic Mainz and CCM9: Nakamura, Grischuk, and Rybka. Reference material is better maintained on a structured site like a wiki than on a blog.

This brief foray into the world of chess960 engines reminded me that I covered the topic of advanced chess (aka freestyle chess) in a recent post on my main blog: Chess of the Future -or- Chess of the Past? There I discovered that a couple of the best resources on chess engines are Rybkaforum.net and Computerschach.de. A search on Rybkaforum.net for chess960 pulls up material like Rybka @ 5th Livingston World Computer Chess960 Championship, written by Mr. Rybka himself, Vasik Rajlich.

The 5th Livingston World Computer Chess960 Championship [2009] was held this past week in Mainz and Rybka won ahead of Shredder, Deep Sjeng and Ikarus. A huge thanks to Hans-Walter Schmitt, Eric van Reem, Hans Secelle and the rest of the Chess Tigers staff for putting on a great event. They get everything right, from the big things down to the little things, and it's really fun to be there.

Don't miss the further link to Rybkachess.com which has another report and lots of photos. A search for chess960 on Computerschach.de is little more problematic, because all of the interesting pages are in German (not to mention undated). Since they are somewhat slow to load, Google Language Tools gives up on the URL with a message saying 'Sorry, we are unable to access the page you requested'. That means you have to copy / paste the German text into the Google tool. The results can be worth the effort, as in Stefan Meyer-Kahlen ├╝ber Fischer-Schach ('Stefan Meyer-Kahlen [Mr. Shredder] on Fischer Chess'):

CSS Online: Why do you have installed in FRC Shredder? • SMK: The reason was that I would like to play with Shredder in the Chess960 World Championship in Mainz. • CSS Online: There were already proposals to FEN and PGN. Why did you not use? Where exactly are the differences between the two FRC FENs? • SMK: There were suggestions on how to expand FEN and PGN so that it works with Chess960. These extensions, however I have not really liked because it is very cumbersome and very error prone. Prone to errors both in programming as well as during subsequent reading PGN games.

I'll try to explore both resources in more depth for a future post.

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