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The Year 2007 in Review

Rybka won the 15th World Computer Chess Championship (WCCC), held in June at Amsterdam. It finished with 10.0/11, a point ahead of Zappa. Junior, the winner of the 14th WCCC, did not participate. Rybka also won the World Computer Rapid Chess Championships, held in July on the ICC (Chessclub.com). There it finished 13.0/14, a point ahead of Hiarcs8x, the only machine that beat it.

While the 15th WCCC was taking place, Junior was competing Fritz in the President's Computer Challenge, an exhibition event with a $100,000 prize fund held during the FIDE Candidate Matches in Elista. Vasik Rajlich, Rybka's developer, published an open letter and issued a $100,000 challenge to FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, 'You have snubbed my program, Rybka, which leads every single computer chess rating list by a considerable margin at all time controls from blitz games to long tournament games.' The challenge was declined. Instead, Rybka and Zappa played a match during the World Chess Championship tournament at Mexico City. Zappa won +3-2=5.

The days of man-machine matches played on equal terms ended with then-World Champion Kramnik's loss to Deep Fritz in November 2006. Instead, a slew of unusual man-machine matches were played in 2007.

In March, Rybka played an eight game match with GM Jaan Ehlvest. The machine played White giving a handicap of a Pawn, with a different Pawn removed from the board in each game. It won +4-1=3. In July, the same opponents played a six game match. This time Ehlvest had White in each game and an advantage on the clock. The machine had a crippled opening book and no endgame tablebase, but it still won +3-0=3.

In August, Rybka played another eight game match with Pawn odds against GM Joel Benjamin. This time it had Black in four of the games, winning +2-1=5. A second match against Benjamin was held the first week in January 2008. The machine had Black in each game and gave 'draw odds', a draw counted as a win for the opponent. The result was +6-0=2, or six wins to two in favor of the machine.

Next : Passages 2007

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