- REBEL-TIGER II at the Dutch Open -

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Dutch Open 2000, Leiden       by Jeroen Noomen.

Day 1

Saturdaymorning, October 14th. At 7:00 o’clock my alarm wakes me up. After packing my computer the trip goes from Apeldoorn to Leiden, about 150 km by car. It is quite foggy, which makes me taking the wrong way ending up in the centre of Leiden. I am very angry with myself, this also happened last year! And then this appeared to be not only a false start for me, but also for Chess Tiger, the program I was going to operate.... Fortunately I find my way through Leiden well, losing only 10 minutes to complete the trip. A good omen!? The program I prepared for during the last few weeks is Chess Tiger. Or more exact: Gambit Tiger.

Christophe Théron had managed a nice new concept, making his Tiger much more agressive and also a master in King’s attacks! So I was very optimistic AND curious about this tournament. No more stories now, up to the first round.

Round 1

The stronger programs are paired against the weaker programs. Gambit Tiger has to play Goldbar, that starts the game with a very agressive variation. Goldbar is out of book too quickly and sacrifices a piece for two pawns. This doesn’t seem right at all and Tiger proves so: It exchanges queens and duly wins the endgame in straight fashion. Well done, it makes me feel satisfied. All top programs win this round, wit the exception of Patzer, that has to accept a draw against XiniX. Quest is very lucky against Ant, that spoils a completely drawn position with one bad move.

Results round 1:

Quest - Ant		1:0

Tao - The King		0:1

Nimzo - McTobber	1:0

Goldbar - Chess Tiger	0:1

Diep - Morphy		1:0

XiniX - Patzer		draw

Kallisto II - Duck	1:0

Round 2

Gambit Tiger plays an amazing game versus Nimzo: It comes out of the opening with a clear advantage, but running out of attacking ideas it suddenly sacrifices the exchange (see diagram before 43.Rc6!!?). Nimzo takes and showes a score of +1 for itself, meanwhile Tiger evaluates the position as +2,5 better! I became very nervous, as Nimzo constantly shows a plus score and I can’t see how Tiger can force a winning attack.

But amazingly Tiger seems to be right. It improves its position move by move, completely outplaying Nimzo. The end is a massacre, with Tiger hunting Nimzo’s king, winnig a piece in the end. Wow, what a game! I am impressed, this Gambit Tiger is some wizzard!!

Kallisto is simply beaten by Quest (=Fritz), while the other drama is the game Diep versus The King (=ChessMaster). Both programs miss a lot of opportunities to win the game and in the end it is a draw.

Results round 2:

Kallisto II - Quest	0:1

The King - Diep		draw

Chess Tiger - Nimzo	1:0

Patzer - Duck		1:0

Morphy - Xinix		0:1

Ant - Goldbar		1:0

McTobber - Tao		0:1

Round 3

Another big guy for Gambit Tiger this round: Quest is on the menu. To my big surprise Quest comes up with a boring variation that leads to less than nothing for White. Out of the opening Quest shows -0,80, Tiger says it is +0,60 better. Still, this is a bit too optimistic for Black and Quest can draw the game quite easy by exchanging a lot of pawns. Frans Morsch is not happy and swears to take this line out of the Quest book. On the other hand, Quest hasn’t been trapped in my preparations now, so that is a positive point for Frans. I think that this easy draw for Tiger as Black is very much OK. Tiger is in the lead now and has already played Nimzo and Quest.

The King drops another half point by not beating XiniX. Tony Werten, the author of XiniX, must be very happy after this first day: Shared 4th place and no loss yet! Nimzo plays a disappointing game versus Ant: After some 20 moves of theory the game is totally drawn. Diep is outplayed by Patzer.

Results round 3:

Quest - Chess Tiger	draw

XiniX - The King	draw

Diep - Patzer		0:1

Nimzo - Ant		draw

Tao - Kallisto II	draw

Goldbar - McTobber	draw

Duck - Morphy		1:0

Standings after 3 rounds:

2,5 points:	Quest, Patzer, CHESS TIGER

2,0 points:	The King, XiniX

1,5 points:	Nimzo, Diep, Ant, Kallisto II, Tao

1,0 points:	Duck

0,5 points:	Goldbar, McTobber

0,0 points:	Morphy

Day 2

Still tired from Saturday's round I leave Apeldoorn at 8 o'clock early in the morning for the second day of the Dutch open. I sometimes can hardly keep my eyes open, luckily the melodic hardrock sound of my favourite band Dream Theater keeps me awake. It is extremely foggy outside, the sight being less than 100 meters. Anyway, the trip contains no problems today and I arrive 40 minutes before the start of the 4th round. I start a chat with the nice woman behind the bar, who is very interested in alle those strange (!?) computer guys. After a cup of coffee I am ready to play XiniX, the suprising program of the first day.

Round 4

XiniX suprises me with a strange line of the French Defence, throwing Gambit Tiger out of book after 2 pawn sacrifices. Still, the line cannot be good. Tiger finds a nice way to surround the black queen and XiniX has to give up two pieces for a rook. After that the black position is completely paralized. Tiger jumps into the black position with its pieces and wins material. A nice positional game.

Quest is lucky once again, as Patzer makes a big patzer by exchanging into a lost pawn's endgame. The position looked completely drawn before the trade. This is the second time Quest gets half a point for free! The King versus Nimzo is a crazy game. After some adventures the endgame Rook plus 2 bishops (King) versus Rook and 1 bishop (Nimzo) remains on the board. This is a draw of course, but Nimzo has less than 2 minutes on the clock remaining. Then the sensation happens: Nimzo puts its pieces on very unfortunate squares, after which The King suddenly announces a mate in 11!

Results round 4:

Duck - Goldbar		0:1

Patzer - Quest		0:1

Kallisto II - Diep	draw

ANT - Tao		1:0

McTobber - Morphy	draw

Chess Tiger - XiniX	1:0

The King - Nimzo	1:0

Round 5

Gambit Tiger plays a heavy game against ANT. After the opening I am not very satisfied, as the position is very simple and looks easy to draw. But ANT makes one mistake, trading its most active piece. Tiger immediately shows a big plus score and wins the rook ending very convincingly.

Quest against The King is the top pairing of this round. Frans Morsch doesn't look happy after Quest uncorking a Morra gambit (!). But Quest is able to prove enough compensation and in the end a draw is inevitable. Nimzo finally wins a game again, by shutting in one of Morphy's pieces. Patzer vs. Kallisto II is a draw, but Kallisto had clear winning chances earlier on. After the 5th round Gambit Tiger is the sole leader with 4,5 points, half a point before Quest.

Results round 5:

McTobber - Duck	1:0

Morphy - Nimzo		0:1

Patzer - Kallisto II	draw

Quest - The King	draw

Tao - Goldbar		1:0

XiniX - Diep		draw

ANT - Chess Tiger	0:1

Round 6

The big game starts at 4:30 Dutch time. Gambit Tiger faces the king of pawn sacrifices, The King. After only a few moves I am feeling very confident: The King plays a dubious opening line and is thrown out of book by Tiger. A queen's exchange follows and after that Tiger has the better pawn structure and a strong bishop. An ending, no queens on the board and The King having several weaknesses, a typical Tiger position! So what could I ask more…. In the course of the game Tiger once again shows its strength in the endgame. The King gets no chance whatsoever and is clearly outplayed by a very confident playing Tiger. Tiger wins a pawn and converts this into a win in a rook ending. Well played!

Quest wins against Diep after an adventurous game. Nimzo is not playing very well this tournament and illustrates this by playing a weak game against Kallisto. A draw is the result, after both programs completely block the position. Only 50% for Nimzo, I thought that Nimzo would be one of the contenders for the title.

Conclusion: After the first weekend Tiger has taken the lead with 5,5 out of 6, Quest being half a point behind. It is clear that the champion will be one of those 2 programs. I am very positive about Tiger's play: Confident, safe, very strong ending and not one time a worse position. Furthermore, Tiger has played The King, Nimzo and Quest already. Still, it is too early to celebrate, with Patzer and Kallisto still to come.

Results round 6:

Diep - Quest		0:1

Duck - ANT		draw

Tao - Patzer		draw

Chess Tiger - The King	1:0

Goldbar - Morphy	draw

Nimzo - Kallisto II	draw

XiniX - McTobber	1:0

Standings after 6 rounds:

5,5 points:	GAMBIT TIGER

5,0 points:	Quest

3,5 points:	The King, Patzer, XiniX

3,0 points:	ANT, Kallisto II, Nimzo, Tao

2,5 points:	Diep

2,0 points:	Goldbar, McTobber

1,5 points:	Duck

1,0 points:	Morphy

Day 3

Saturday October 21st is the third day of the championship, with the rounds 7 through 9 to be played. With Tiger leading by half a point every draw and every point is going to be very important. Apart from Quest, there seems to be no other contestant for first place. Of course I am very nervous during the day, because of which I ask Hans van der Zijden several times to operate Tiger. Many thanks to Hans for fulfilling this job in a very good way! It gave me the possibility to take some fresh air and a walk along the other boards.

Round 7

After a good opening Gambit Tiger has no problems against Patzer. This german program plays on a very fast Dual system with two PIII 733 MHz processors. Suddenly Tiger plays some strange moves and gets into trouble. Patzer's evaluation shows over +2, Tiger's drops to -1. But then Patzer makes a mistake, allowing Tiger to equalize the position. A draw offer by the Patzer team is refused by me, as Tiger starts to play the ending very well getting the advantage! Still, it is not enough to win the game and Patzer gains the draw by one tempo. A nervewrecking game.

This gives Quest the opportunity to share the first place by a win over XiniX. This happens, although XiniX is able to put up some tough resistance. The King beats Ant, while Nimzo takes Goldbar apart. With the same variation I used in the WCCC in London in the game Fritz-Tiger! Aparently Alex Kure has taken this variation in his book as well. After this round Tiger and Quest share the lead with 6 points.

Results round 7:

Diep - Duck		1:0

Goldbar - Nimzo		0:1

Kallisto II - McTobber	draw

The King - Ant		1:0

Morphy - Tao		0:1

Patzer - Chess Tiger	draw

Quest - XiniX		1:0

Round 8

Some amazing things happen in this round. Gambit Tiger plays against Tao, the surprising program of Bas Hamstra. Knowing that Tao has a very small openingbook, I decide to use the Belgrade gambit in this game. With a total success! Not knowing the dangerous lines Tao wins a poisoned rook and gets crushed in 25 moves.

But this is not the only thing that cheers my mood up: In the meantime Tiger gets a lot of help by Nimzo, that outplays Quest in a Sicilian Dragon! Quest drops a pawn for no reason and Nimzo has no problem to convert this into a winning position. So suddenly Tiger is 1 point in front!

The King does a good job by beating Patzer, that plays a strong tournament. Tiger now leads with 7 points, followed by Quest with 6 points.

Results round 8:

McTobber - Diep	0:1

Chess Tiger - Tao	1:0

Nimzo - Quest		1:0

The King - Patzer	1:0

Kallisto II - Goldbar	1:0

Ant - Morphy		1:0

Duck - XiniX		1:0

Round 9

Against Kallisto Gambit Tiger uses the same variation as played in the game Kramnik-Kasparov that day. Out of the book Tiger shows +0,70 and starts to press Kallisto's position. With a small combination Tiger wins a pawn and in the following ending Kallisto has no defence to a strong white passed pawn. A very strong positional game by Tiger.

In the meantime Tao surprises Quest with an amazing victory. Quest sacrifices a pawn for attacking chances, but Tao defends and keeps the pawn. Slowly but surely Tao increases its advantage and wins this important game! It doesn't happen very often that a program at its debut - playing on a 550 MHz notebook - wins against one of the favourites, who uses a Dual machine! Nimzo wins against Diep and manages 3 out of 3 this day.

Results round 9:

Diep - Nimzo		0:1

Duck - The King		0:1

McTobber - Ant		draw

Morphy - Patzer		0:1

Tao - Quest		1:0

Chess Tiger - Kallisto	1:0

XiniX - Goldbar		1:0

At the end of this 3rd day I drive home in a very good mood. With 2 rounds to go Tiger has increased its lead to 1,5 points. Tiger has 8 points, The King has moved to second place with 6,5 points. On shared third place are Quest and Nimzo with 6 points.

Day 4

The night from saturday to sunday I hardly sleep. Three, maybe four hours at most. Of course I know that 1,5 points difference is enough for Tiger to win the title. But, it still has to be done. So I drive to Leiden in an optimistic mood, although quite tired. I arrive at 9:20, 40 minutes before the start of the 10th round. The opponent will be Diep, that doesn't play a good tournament. Still, this is no guarantee to count on an easy victory.

Round 10

Knowing that Vincent Diepenveen has prepared something I surprise Diep with a Queen's gambit accepted as Black. Vincent admitted that he wanted to play the boring exchange variation against my normal Slav Defence. So my intuition did not betray me! In the meantime Gambit Tiger gets another good position after the opening. It shows +1,5 after leaving book and starts to attack Diep's weakened King's position. The score goes up to +4 and it seems to be over quickly. But Diep fights back and even gets a chance to draw the game! This is not to my liking at all, but luckily Diep spoils the chance and in the ending Tiger wins with a clear exchange ahead. A long game, but a victorious one and that means that Tiger is the champion! With one round to go the gap is still 1,5 point, which means nobody can catch up with Tiger anymore.

In the other games Quest beats Duck and Patzer beats McTobber. Tao has a clear advantage against Nimzo and everybody is making up for another big surprise by Tao. But this time it doesn't work, as Nimzo kicks back in the endgame, winning a very precarious position. The King wins a long ending against Goldbar, while the big drama took part in the game Ant-XiniX: XiniX had 3 queens against none (!!!), but failed to give mate in 1. After lots of checks XiniX lost on time….. Such bugs always appear in important tournaments, still this was a bitter pil for Tony Werten, the author of XiniX.

Results round 10:

Patzer - McTobber	1:0

Quest - Duck		1:0

Morphy - Kallisto II	0:1

Diep - Chess Tiger	0:1

Nimzo - Tao		1:0

Ant - XiniX		1:0

Goldbar - The King	0:1

Round 11

In the last round Duck is the opponent of Gambit Tiger. This is a program from 1992, that hasn't been changed since then. As Duck uses a slow notebook, it means that the difference in search depth is 8 ply (Duck) versus 13 or 14 ply (Tiger). So it is no surprise that shortly after the opening Tiger can deliver a tactical blow, chasing the Black king in the open field. A quick victory is the result. That means Tiger ends the tournament with 9 wins and only 2 draws. And a clear 1,5 points in front of number 2, The King.

A great result for the Tiger, that played a very strong tournament. I am also happy with my own performance, that means the openingbook and the opening preparation. Not one time Tiger had a worse position after the opening. The "worst" was +0,20 after leaving book! Many times it was +0,70 or even above +1.

The battle for 2nd place is decided in favour of The King, that mates McTobber in another quick game. Quest has no problems with Morphy, securing 3rd place. Meanwhile Patzer crowns a very strong tournament with a swift victory over Nimzo. After the opening Patzer launches a strong attack, that is too much for the Austrian program. Because of which Nimzo and Patzer both end on 7 points, with a shared 4th place.

Chess Tiger - Duck	1:0

Morphy - Quest		0:1

Kallisto II - Ant	1:0

The King - McTobber	1:0

Patzer - Nimzo		1:0

Tao - XiniX		1:0

Goldbar - Diep		draw

Final ranking after 11 rounds:
10,0 points:	Gambit Tiger

8,5 points:	The King *

8,0 points:	Quest **

7,0 points:	Nimzo, Patzer

6,5 points:	Kallisto II

6,0 points:	Tao

5,5 points:	Ant

5,0 points:	Diep

4,5 points:	XiniX

3,0 points:	McTobber

2,5 points:	Duck, Goldbar

1,0 points:	Morphy

*  Also known as ChessMaster.

** Also known as Fritz.

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