Monday, January 7, 2008

2007 Gothic Chess Computer World Championship - Final Standings

Here are the final standings for the 2007 Gothic Chess Computer World Championship:

1-2, Gothic Vortex, 13.0-1.0
1-2, Variant Pulverizer, 13.0-1.0
3, Tornado, 9.0-5.0
4, SMIRF, 8.0-6.0
5, TSCP Gothic 64, 6.0-8.0
6, fmax4, 4.5-9.5
7, ChessV, 2.0-10.0
8, Zillions 2, 0.5-13.5

It was a more exciting event this year featuring a "surprise element" with the new programs Variant Pulverizer and Tornado making strong showings. Tornado had the unfortunate experience of being paired against the strongest programs early on, so it fought from deep within a hole to emerge into a solid third place showing.

Pulverizer has the best time management code I have ever seen. Literally in ever strong position it had, it would move within a few seconds. When the opponent would seem to be regaining ground, it would make wise use of its time and send the other program back into much more difficult positions. Once it had a solid win, it would never use more than 5 minutes remaining to play out the rest of its game.

fmax was another welcomed edition to the event. Programmed by H.G. Muller, this program contains hardly 2000 characters of source code and was deliberately designed to the be the smallest Gothic Chess program ever! I would like to remind everyone that it's draw against Zillions 2 early on was the result of a very bad bug, and fmax could have finished with 5 points just 1 point behind TSCP Gothic which was the second place finisher in several Gothic Chess Championships! This year, the event featured its strongest competitors yet, so fmax had a tough time dealing with the more elaborate programs out there.

TSCP Gothic is still the fastest searching Gothic Chess program with observed speeds of over 1.1 million nodes per second at times on the 2.4 GHz AMD machine on which all programs ran. Its lower finish this year seems to indicate the pendulum has swung to favor slower, better evaluations rather than faster, brute force methods. Recall even in 2004, it seemed "faster dumber" programs in Gothic were outperforming the slower "more intelligent" ones, but this seems to have reveresed, for the time being.

The SMIRF program had submitted two changes during the event, with unknown overall effectiveness. Had these changes been made earlier, SMIRF may have done better, but time will tell. A 4th place finish in this event is still very respectable. We look forward to the future and wonder if SMIRF will support the Winboard_F protocol, which will no doubt be the future of this annual event.

The ChessV program continues to finish at the "bottom of the barrel" when you consider that Zillions 2 is not a dedicated engine but a scripted, compiled, general-purpose interpretter. While ChessV does allow for the play of many so-called variants, it must play them all poorly based on its nearly dead-last finish in 2007. It is safe to say that ChessV is in need of a complete redesign.


H.G.Muller said...

So what are you going to do for a tie breaker, now that Vortex and Pulverizer have exactly the same list of results? Would it be a good idea to play them both against Joker80, and declare the one with the best score against Joker80 World Champion?

H.G.Muller said...

Oh, and btw, what is the story of Variant Pulverizer? Who wrote it? Will it remain private, will it go commercial, will it be public as a free download?

Can it 'pulverize' other variants, or is it going to be renamed to 'Gothic Pulverizer'? :-)))

Victor Vector said...

I have to say this event took way too long to complete! I was looking forward to the annotated games and the blog commentary, then all of a sudden it just halted? So what happened? And now why the final result announcement with none of the commentary?

Also, I think if a double round robin ends with a tied score, the only tiebrake should be how one program did against the other. And, if they are tied in that, then they should be the co-winners IMHO.

H.G.Muller said...

Well, it was certainly disastrous for the publicity value of this event that the games were played in secrecy. It basically took all glamour away. No analyzing of the games, and speculating about the strength of the players. No audience, an matching interest in this event.

Too bad.

GothicChessInventor said...

The games were played live in 3 different countries; The USA, Australia, and Mexico. I asked each of the directors to send photos and post links, but they soon found out that it is a much bigger deal than they bargained for. There were problems running programs on one person's hardware, and a new machine was needed to "save the day." Even on my first night at the Main Line Chess Club, my external hard drive with all of the programs on it was suddenly not able to be read, so I had to play SMIRF, the only program that I had installed on the C drive.

Also, one of the directors still owes me 2 sets of games. He has not emailed them to me as of yet.

People have to understand, as a result of the nonsense that was posted on the German discussion boards, we LOST the sponsor less than one month before the event.

The entire venue had to change. We no longer had a dedicated location and an army of machines to run the entire event in just 3-4 days. We no longer had a prize fund. We no longer had any of the things I spent 8 months securing.

This contributed a great deal to my stree level. I did whatever I could to get this done as expediently as possible, given the circumstances.

To top it off, the utility that I 'hacked' to turn PGN games into the browseable games on the website no longer is functioning. And, given the tremendous manpower I had to invest as a result of not being able to run this event the way it was originally designed, I have "nothing left". I need a vacation from all of this.

While I take some time off, I will dabble with new code to manage such events better in the future. For now, things are just going to have to remain as the status quo.

Next year, the event will be Winboard_F only. In fact, I want to talk to H.G. Muller about maybe making a special version of Winboard_F that is Winboard_Gothic, so that it starts up in Gothic Chess mode ready to go.

Anyway, have to sign off now, my "to do" list is still nearly endless!

Cartaphilus said...

I think if two programs have tied then that's that and no further games should be played. Why the hell should they each play another program that wasn't even in the event in order to break a tie? That's never been done before in any contest, ever, and it wasn't in the rules. If Joker80 wants to play the programs, it should just play the programs, any of them, not just the winners.

Martillo Program said...

Yes, 1000 sorries for delay with games, as told in many many emails to you many many times! I had problems with crash ins middles of match with 2 times and replayed from moves 1 and still not got the same moves from eaches!

H.G.Muller said...

Well, I am sure there were many prolems. It was just an observation that, in stead of the bee-hive buzzing with activity this site should and could have been during a World Championship, after the 5th round it was utterly dead. Apart from Ed and me, only a single poster in the forum, and apart from Reinhard submitting new SMIRF versions , zero posts in this blog. No mention of the event in any Chess forum elsewhere. To the outside world, this was a non-event. Which is a pity, as this interesting game deserves so much more.

As to the 'WinBoard_G' proposal: I really don't think there is any need for that. The existing WinBoard_F could be used as such, with the aid of a Windows shortcut. Just create a shortcut by right-clicking the desktop and select new->shortcut, and assign it to the WinBoard_F executable. Then right-click the shortcut ico, select 'properties', and write in the target field, behind the path name of the executable ' /variant=gothic'.

If you click the shortcut icon, it will then automatically startup WinBoard_F in Gothic mode.

H.G.Muller said...

Cartaphilus said:
"If Joker80 wants to play the programs, it should just play the programs, any of them, not just the winners."

This is not much of a realistic proposal, as almost all participants to the tournament are well kept secrets, with unknown programmers and unreleased executables. And the few that are available are of little interest, because they are too weak.

Smirf said...

I see, my SMIRF now maybe of little interest. Overmore presenting GothicChess events or talking about Winboard_F in German fora merely have caused bashings against me. Thus the best seems to be for me, to leave that scene.

H.G.Muller said...

You give up too easily, Reinhard! I did not count SMIRF amongst the weak engines, but amongst the unavailable ones. I thought you retired it, and your web-site is empty (much to the chagrin of perfters...). It is true that SMIRF is of no interest to me personally, but this is for an entirely different reason: it does not support automated engine-engine play, and I never play games by hand, as I lack the time for it.

GothicChessInventor said...


The new developers who submitted their programs for participation in this tournament did so with the understanding that I would agree to keep their software confidential, and delete the programs from my computer at the end of the event. I have done so.

It is no easy task to come up with a good Gothic Chess program. I don't know how long they worked on their projects. But you have to understand: Not every programmer shares the same objectives.

Recall there was no Winboard_F when this event was started, and certainly not everyone could stop their tournament planning and focus on making a Winboard_F engine on such short notice.

To say that other programs that cannot work with Winboard_F is of "no interest to you" is a bit harsh-sounding. First of all, you risk alienating other programmers who have worked very hard for years on their software. And secondly, you would most likely run engine matches against such strong programs for the purpose of the bettering your own, so who really would benefit the most?

Winboard_F is a new piece of technology to the Gothic Chess programming world. And, let's face it, the "regular chess" programming world offers little chance to newcomers and veterans alike looking to make a "World Champion."

We just need time to adjust to Winboard_F and make it so that matches can take place in the future using this excellent piece of software.

And as for the "beehive", ask what you have done to help promote the event. Did you make a single post to a forum anywhere? Did anyone other than myself? I would like to remind everyone I had media coverage, I had a playing site, and I had a sponsor willing to donate money to the winners. But, a few idiots on discussion boards in Germany decided to attack the concept of Vortex possibly winning money, and they attacked the sponsor, they criticized the event, and the sponsor that was an international company with a strong contingent in Germany pulled the plug on the event.

I say this because internet discussion boards CAN effect how a corporate presence views the game of Gothic Chess, positively or negatively. I've been working on Gothic Chess in a full time capacity since the year 2001. I've made many inroads. I've done a great deal to make Gothic Chess a great game. But unless others follow suit and bring it to the attention of others, with enthusiam, for a sustained period, we will not be able to get to the next level.

The growth rate of Gothic Chess, from the perspective of sales, general inquiries, and requests for local tournaments, is rather constant, about 5% per month for the last 2 years, on average. If you count program downloads and chess set sales, we are not yet a population of 150,000 players worldwide.

If just one other person would do as much promtional work as myself, we could have 300,000 players worldwide with a growth rate of 10% per month.

So, don't discount what one person can do. Mention Gothic Chess on your blogs/discussion boards. Talk about your algorithms/Gothic chess code on programming boards. And annotate your program's better games and always have links back to in your PGN headers so that we can widen the circle.

I think we all know that pieces Capablanca wanted to add were a GREAT idea. I think most of us also know that many of the 10x8 piece arrangements are ridiculous. Gothic Chess appears to be the "magical" one that works the best.

Promote the great game, and the reward for having the best Gothic Chess program will grow in direct proportion.

GothicChessInventor said...

And Reinhard, about the German discussion boards, the marketing representative from the sponsor was a native German speaker. She translated many of the posts on the German discussion board for me, and many of the posts on Eduard Nemeth's page also.


More than once you publicly sided with them and did nothing but insult me on that board. Even when SMIRF won its first game against Gothic Vortex, despite having lost about 18 games in a row to it, you were proclaiming SMIRF to be the new "World's Best" Gothic Chess program, truimphant over the "former #1".

You can see now that SMIRF finished in the #4 spot. I wonder, did you post this proudly on your German discussion boards now? Is there any mention of SMIRF at all? Or only when it wins?

You claimed I would also not give credit to SMIRF on my "Wall of Honor" when it won. I did post all of the Vortex losses here:

Yet, I see you still did not go back and change your post, acknowledging that your game is posted there.

Reinhard, there is an expression in the bible, "You will reap what you sow."

So what are you planting?

DuelingBishops said...

Don't forget H.G. this tourament also went over the Holidays in America from right after Thanksgiving, through Christmas and the New Year. I was on vacation as were lots of people I know.

Smirf said...

Ed, the time, my statements have been made, they have been true. You decided to complete your "Wall of Honor" after some quiet days, fine, but then claiming, that I have not told the truth. You proudly succeeded in repairing your Vortex after taking a lesson by SMIRF's long time strengths, congratulation for that, but nevertheless Vortex has not been the number one the moment before that rebuild. Thus there nothing has been wrong with my postings.

I tried to make your event more public by doing some postings in German fora. Indeed, there has been an uncomfortable reaction especially because of the GC patent question, which generally is a hot spot in Germany. But then you declared me to be responsible for such bad postings. That has been the moment I reduced my presence in fora mentioning Gothic Chess.

There is no need after seeing Vortex coming out top out of your tournament to artfully slandering your opponents instead of merely recognizing their valuable contribution to 10x8 chess in general and to Gothic Chess in detail.

Crocodile said...

Oh, and btw, what is the story of Variant Pulverizer? Who wrote it? Will it remain private, will it go commercial, will it be public as a free download?

Yes i would appreciate an answer to this too.
What is the value of keeping secret the program?? Zero value! I'm not speaking to you Ed but to the programmer of V.P of course.
Share the program! Commercial or freeware just share it....

Next year, the event will be Winboard_F only. In fact, I want to talk to H.G. Muller about maybe making a special version of Winboard_F that is Winboard_Gothic, so that it starts up in Gothic Chess mode ready to go.

Wise decision! Too wise! GREAT!
You can't imagine how easy is to play in Winboard....

And as H.G.M said there's not need for any special version since any shortcut of Winboard_F.exe with /variant=gothic will do.

Victor Vector said...

I don't understand the German players and their obsession over the patent. Gothic Chess is patented, they can't do anything about it, and their behavior is childish. America is a thriving economy and small businesses that create innovations need patents or they are swallowed whole. Patents are needed to protect small businesses. They are a defensive protection and they keep the sharks away.

I see posts here such as one person why Ed doesn't post games, and other where someone said Ed did not post the name on the 'wall' sooner. Hey people, get a life! Ed's got things to do too I'm sure and if he can't do them as quick as you like, too bad! He's got a company to run and your requests seem like super small priorities so just let it drop!

I just want to say that Gothic Chess is a great game that I like a lot and some of you need to relax. Like was said earlier, what have any of you done to make the game more popular? Help the cause, spread the word, do something good.

As for me, I moderate the chess club at my grandson's elementary school and I showed Gothic Chess to the school administrators and now we have 2 classes of 8 students each who meet regularly to play.

GothicChessInventor said...

To crocodile:

I originally thought that Variant Shredder (later Pulverizer) was written by the same programmer of the chess engine Shredder. Almost immediately he wanted to have the name of that software program changed, even though it had only been listed maybe for one day on the website. I thought it was unusual that he heard about it so quicky if he was not the originator of the program itself, but he seemed upset about the name of the program, so I must conclude it was NOT his creation.

Variant Pulverizer was written by somebody that knows what they are doing. Although Vortex won very convincingly against it while Vortex had white, Pulverizer showed excellent time control code as white that seemed like pure magic. That time management code had been well tested by someone who is knowledgeable about chess programming. Who the "real person" is behind it is still not known.

Perhaps someone other than me can post this question to other discussion boards. I think somebody will probably claim authorship eventually. I have no idea why the person wants to be so secretive especially after such a success. remember, it had no opening book yet it still got Vortex into time trouble and it eventually ran us out of time.

The Fitz Man said...

I come from the pages where most of the people salute the Chess V program like it is a tiki idol or something. I tried telling people it is not that strong and they just don't listen. I think most of them are Class D players at best and they only care about making variants with weird rules that nobody really wants to play anyway.

But even those fools would never claim a program was "# 1" after just 1 win against a program that had so many wins against it.

Let's hear it in Reinhard's own word.

Reinhard, how many times has smirf beat Vortex, and how many times has Vortex beat smirf? Next, let's ask everyone what they think of your statement:

but nevertheless Vortex has not been the number one the moment before that rebuild

Are you claiming smirf was "# 1" just because it won a single game against Vortex? Do you know how ridiculous that statement it?

LeanGurlSwimmer said...

Sorry smurfy smurf, as much as I was rooting for ya and wanting you to win, I've gotta agree with the silly boyz here. You got no business trying to say you're the best with 1 little win. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Smirf said...

It is hard to understand, what the trouble is all about. At a time, nearly nobody could imagine, that SMIRF would be able to earn a win in a long time match, I nevertheless agreed to enter that challenge. And I continued that game even when most of the audience had been convinced, SMIRF would not at all be able to finish without being beaten. But SMIRF gained the victory, whereas Ed detected a lot of things to be repaired in his Vortex. That time SMIRF has been up obviously, and Ed should have been happy to have had that much traffic on GothicChess and to have been focussed by SMIRF on his former Vortex'es weaknesses.

During the just finished event I repeatedly said, that I would hope for SMIRF to come out here as the second best. It is very strange to derive from such a statement to have claimed to be the current number one.

H.G.Muller said...

Victor Vector said:
"I see posts here such as one person why Ed doesn't post games, and other where someone said Ed did not post the name on the 'wall' sooner. Hey people, get a life! Ed's got things to do too I'm sure and if he can't do them as quick as you like, too bad! "
What is your problem? From statements like that I would say lack of feeling for public-relations must be one of them! My constructive criticims has nothing to do with what I like or don't like.

What could be more important to Ed than creating the impression to the outside world that Gothic Chess is a serious game, and that this World Championship was a serious event? I would think that that should have been his number one priority, never mind mine. If he wanted to play a nize cozy tournament in secrecy in his backyard, it would be another matter.

From talking about it on various on-line engine-engine Chess tournaments, I learned that Gothic Chess has a real image problem in the larger Chess World. Most people don't take it seriously. And you can bet your life that things like results being published only once every 6 rounds, games being not published at all, and apparent partcipation of programs of unknown origin (who is to say it is not an illegal Fruit clone???) enormously contributes in upholding that prejudice. Look e.g. at the Chess War website (which does not even have the ambition to be a World Championship, but is just a tournament. Can you blame people that are used to standards like that for laughing themselves silly about us?

Not that I care... But I certainly would think that Ed would care!

H.G.Muller said...

Speaking of Chess War:

Wouldn't it be a great idea to have a similarly broadcasted Gothic engine-engine tournament, where people can watch the games life, and discuss them in an accompanying chat window?

I have asked Thomas McBurney if his Live Chess Viewer can be adapted to 10x8 view (alas, no reply yet). If it can, I might start broadcasts of 'Battle of the Goths', a round-robin tournament between Gothic WinBoard engines.

That is how I would like to promote Gothic Chess!

DuelingBishops said...


I'm just guessing about this, but I think Ed had a much more grandiose event planned when the sponsors were involved. I remember hearing about media coverage for the first and last rounds. I know for a fact much planning went into this. So again, I think when it all collapsed after the posting fiasco with the Germans, Ed was extremely upset at all of his spent energies not getting the coverage he wanted.

That's when it switched to the long format originally spanning 14 weeks. Then new programs sprouted up out of nowhere, then the one programmer offered to run part of the event in Australia, and somehow there was a breakdown there.

You also were not around when the GothicChessLive website was up and running. We could all log in and watch the games being played in 2005 and 2006. Then the former webmaster that Ed hired had some kind of mental disorder (I received very bizarre emails from him claiming he was going to "take over YouTube" with his "guitar lesson videos", very strange.) It seems this former webmaster was a flake, and could not focus on any one project since he had a attention defeceit disorder.

An emerging business can only survive so many interruptions, and the Gothic Chess people have had more than their share. The game is what keeps people coming back. Gothic Chess is a great game!

The 2004 event seems to have been published more widely, look here for example

And there were pictures from the 2007 event shown that it was being played live at a chess club. You have to look at the older posts for them.

AxeGrinder said...

The games weren't kept private the dude who was running the several rounds in Australia didnt save them as proper PGN files when he sent the games back to Ed in the USA. He sent results that were 1-0 but the games moves showed the wrong side losing! What else could be done except pause the event and figure out what the correct results were?

H.G.Muller said...

Well, the GothicChessLive website sounds great. I gather it had the function of an Internet Chess Server like ICC or FICS, where you can either participate or watch. The fact that is not up and running now should be considered a tremendous blow, no doubt about it.

But one doesn't exclude the other. Live engine-engine tournaments are another niche in the Chess biosphere. Besides ICC and FICS there exists Chess War, Dirty Tours, RWBC and WBEC, who broadcast their events (rating tournaments, or open competitions just for fun) for form by a special viewer (TLCV). I think this would be another great way to promote Gothic Chess, and I would be willing to donate computing power to realize it.

H.G.Muller said...

Axgrinder said:
"What else could be done except pause the event and figure out what the correct results were?

This is old-hat, and applied to round 7 only. What happened to rounds 8-14? Was the "Australian dude" allowed to mess up the PGNs round after round? I might hope not!

The Fitz Man said...

Might be "old hat" H.G. but it seems relevant. If the results through "round X" are wrong, the website could not be updated since it was drawing round by round point totals. And if the moves are wrong, there is no way to have the games available for viewing. I think the point was there was no way to do the updates while this mess was unfixed, and once it was straightened out there was too much to do on top of everything else.

H.G.Muller said...

I thought this was exactly while the tournament was paused. You make it sound like the tournament was continued like nothing had happened, and it was just the reporting on it that was paused.

Well, one way or the other, I still don't see any need for pausing. Rounds were swapped before, in this tournament. Why would it be necessary to report on the results of round 7 before reporting on the result and games of rounds 8-12? This is not Swiss, you know.

The Fitz Man said...

Yes, I realize it was a double round robin and there were no dependencies on the prior results for pairings. But if you don't know who really won, and you didn't have the correct game score, there was no way to report the results if you were looking at Ed's round by round updates on the main web site. It was show who was in what place, who won against whome, and a link to the game all in a neat little table.

H.G.Muller said...

Sure, but he could have just renumbered the rounds, renaming the problematic old round 7 to round 13, (and the reversed-color games of round 8 into 14) and shifting the numbering of the other rounds 2 down.

This was done before: The games played in round 1/2 were not at all the games that were announced as the original round 1/2, but as round 13/14.

Not ideal, perhaps, but something is better than nothing.

GothicChessInventor said...

Seems like lots of posts went on here! Let me just start at the bottom before working my way up later on.

Don't forget about the javascript PGN conversion utility going south on me. I have not figured out how to fix it and I'm thinking about re-writing the whole thing!

There was also many things happening at the same time throughout this tournament that needed my attention, and there really is never enough time. I just posted something to "Gothic Chess Chatter" in the Discussion Board (not this blog) that sort of explains how busy things were (and still are.)

AxeGrinder said...

Ed was I right about the guy from Australia messing things up?

GothicChessInventor said...

I don't think the blog should be used for personal questions to me, it would be too hectic if that was the case. If you have a question, just email me, and I will try to respond. Use the blog for group discussion.

GothicChessInventor said...

But since it's such a simple question, the Martillo programmer from Australia was helping run the tournament. Things got complicated, that's all. English is not his first language, which made things more difficult, and the PGN he sent back had Spanish piece descriptions as it turned out, and he did have the colors wrong in his header file but the moves were correct, though I could not process the games.

GothicChessInventor said...

You might be able to "see" the old site here:

Gothic Chess Live

I'll see if I can find a picture of it.

GothicChessInventor said...

And here is a link back to the August 2006 snapshot of the games played:

Games played as of August 2006

GothicChessInventor said...

And here is a link back to the August 2006 snapshot of the games played:

Games played as of August 2006

GothicChessInventor said...

Actually my browser crashed as I typed that last link, I have no idea why it duplicated, nor why the links are actually wrong.

Old Brainking Ratings

Cartaphilus said...

I think we can all say that we're interesting in seeing the games and look forward to when we can review them.

Sibahi said...

Off topic, but just wondering, when will Gothic Chess Live be revived ?

(Or, at least, get to play in a chess-specialized server, like ICC or FICS ? )

GothicChessInventor said...

Once I can get my brain back into focus I will get moving on the live site. I am very saddened by Bobby Fischer's recent death. I worked very hard to give him one last chance to play Anatoly Karpov, and there is no way to pair them any more.