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- - By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2015-12-12 09:22 Upvotes 8
Parent - - By Dadi Jonsson (Silver) [is] Date 2015-12-12 09:55 Upvotes 1
Congratulations, Leonardo! This is a great achievement. Can you tell us a little more about the tournament, your games, show us some interesting positions, etc?

This means that Rybka forum holds two of the most prestigious titles in correspondence chess :wink: 68th European Individual Championship, Final.

I guess we could set up a decent team with Rybka forum members :cool:
Parent - - By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2015-12-12 12:17 Edited 2015-12-12 12:20
Thank you Dadi, your achievement is very extraordinary, too, congratulations!
I am sure Rybka forum could set up a team that would win ICCF Champions League easily :) (knowing that Arno posts here, with Eros, Dhanish and Tansel and Uri ... to name just a few).
As for the tournament, I am pressed from many sides now to do some interviews, so I'll probably paste here something soon.
Parent - - By Mark Eldridge (****) [gb] Date 2015-12-17 23:49
Congrats:cool:

Hopefully one day i can say the same?
Parent - By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2015-12-18 01:03
Let's hope so - perhaps you should up your game a little, though :grin:
Parent - - By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2015-12-13 02:04 Edited 2015-12-13 03:15 Upvotes 4
Ok, perhaps a few words off the top of my head ... hardware used for engine analysis help was i5-4670k o/c 4.4 GHz, with 16 GB of RAM (2 GB for hash), full 6-men Syzygy on SSD. Some will say it is slow but is all I could afford. Hardware alone is not enough, btw :grin:. I used both Houdini and Stockfish during the first year, and later only Stockfish, latest dev without exception. I used enormous amount of time for opening preparation (and still I made some errors) with ICCF server database as prime source, helping for ideas with Mega and some Playchess games. From the point of stats I did quite well leaving the opening positions, they did not all turn out as I expected, though. Some game comments (wins first):

Clever https://www.iccf.com/game?id=532564 - I knew nothing about my opponent, so I decided for complications, hoping to be able to "outbook" him to some degree. I achieved that, reaching the critical position at move 21. after my Nde2. Here there was a preceeding ICCF game Nierobisz 2354 - Cillóniz Razzeto 2460 WC Semifinal 2009 which white won, but I judged black's 21...Nc5 from that game as a mistake. Clever did not make that mistake however; he made another one: 21...Qa5? allowing 22.Ka2 and safety for white king. Instead of that, it was advisable to play something along the lines of 21...a2+ and/or ...d5. The game is lost more or less completely after that.

Krivić https://www.iccf.com/game?id=532640 - my compatriot and CC friend is a formidable opponent and a great person btw. I knew I had "opening book" advantage over him, and some 20% hardware speed advantage, too (I led him through PC buy some years ago). However I found no plausible lines to play, so I decided for "fancy" 8.h3 in Be3-e5 Najdorf. Davor was probably thinking I got something special prepared (I had not :smile:), so he played a complete novelty to throw me out of my (non existent) preparations 8..Qc7?! which turned out not to be very feasible move. That lead to decent opening advantage via 10.f4, and he was forced to give away a pawn on move 19 for partial compensation. What ensued is a lot of shuffling to increase the advantage (create passed queen side pawns is the main theme here) which took a total of over 2 years. Gigantic battle indeed! And a very instructive game.

Papenin https://www.iccf.com/game?id=532610 - Nikolai is a brilliant otb IM who took ICCF world by storm 7-8 years ago. He came in with quite some number of novelties, and in the time we all took to refute his moves he was already topping the rating list with enormous 2700+. However he is loosing ground in recent years, most probably loosing interest. With that kind of opponent you must achieve complexity at almost any cost (as it is likely he will not take much time to analyse). That must be achieved within the opening range he plays (Ruy Lopez was almost certain). You must also take him out into an unexplored area, so he can not easily draw through known lines. All that I managed to do and by the time I played my 1st move I was pretty certain I will see a position after 16.Nc3 Re8, where preceeding ICCF game was Pirš 2550 - Iotov 2541 GER/GM01 2012 which was drawn. And I decided not to play 17.Bg3 but 17.Be3 as this looked as better position for the bishop (with f2 as a retreat square). All that before I played move 1! That is the top CC nowadays. Nikolai did exactly what was expected, making one microblunder every 7-8 moves which was enough in the end to convert to full point.

Straka https://www.iccf.com/game?id=532649 - Zdenek is a new breed of top CC players, probably well equipped and making almost zero mistakes. He also plays "blindingly fast"; used a total of 14 days for the first 40 moves (zero days for 22-39!! the most complex part of the game). I studied his oppening choice and decided to go for rather known "drawn" variation - something smelled bad in this positon (move 17.b3! is the key one) and I was heavily defeated in a previous game as black without even understanding what went wrong. So I decided to go with this huntch. Again, all decided before playing my first move. A weird thing happened then. I took over 25 days for my 21st move in order to wait for the end of the month when ICCF games archive is updated with newest games. It was a good huntch; there were 3 new games in that variation, and one with particular importance, white won with 21.Qc2 which was a move I originaly intented to play! The downside is Zdenek could see it, also :razz:. This is a funny story from the engine chess perspective: the position after 20. a3 a5 was considered drawn, played by some top level players already, black had to endure some pressure, but it was drawn. Well it was not! An ICCF game Talnis - Podvoysky 2383, 2013 1-0 from the match Bestlogic-Chessplanet teams went with forced line 21. Qc2 Rg6 (this move is not forced, but alternatives at the time were no good, too) 22. Nc5 Nxc5 23. dxc5 Qxc5 24. Qd3 Qe7 25. axb4 axb4 26. Rxa8+ Bxa8 (those moves were forced by black, transposition was possible) and now 27.Bb8! shows the trouble. This bishop is aimed at c5 via a7 winning because of Qd8 mate threat if black queen moves. Why has not such a forced line been discovered before? Because it had to be seen by program at least 20 plies earlier, plus is buried rather deep within quiescence search. It took newer generation of engines to spot it! Zdenek realised the trouble and played the best move 21..Rc8 removing the rook from the a line thus stopping this plan. White advantage is however already overwhelming, and I went a bishop for 2 pawns up pretty soon. Black had this passer on c3 which made my life much more difficult than one would expect, but Stockfish managed to triangulate to victory in the end. To note is also that my opponent prolonged a 6-7 men ending that was lost for over a year more, using all of his spared time and leave allowances. We in ICCF call it a DMD (Dead Man's Defence) which is a disease very hard to fight, spreading fast among the new generation of players.

As for my other games, worthy of mentioning is I feel I missed a good chance in my game against Pessoa, playing 12.Qe2 which seemed more flexible (but missing the consequences of 13...Qa5 equaliser), 12.Re1 is probably keeping better chances. Also I think I might have improved over my game against Finocchiaro but that one will almost certainly never be proven in another game. I played rather poor opening against Turgut (and against Olofsson - just too risky), but managed to hold both games to a draw. Another curiousity that comes to mind: in our game Arno Nickel and I were at move 7 at the same time when Straka and Clever have finished their game having played 101 moves!
Parent - - By Ciron (**) Date 2015-12-14 12:39
Nice report, Leonardo, and quite instructive on opening preparation. (At my next try in a WCC Final I will think of it...) Congrats for your outstanding performance! Hope to meet you at another top event apart from the SUI-30/A, where we are currently playing each other [url=](https://www.iccf.com/event?id=52572%5b/url%5d) and where by now "speedy" Straka has been the only one to win any game(s).
Parent - By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2015-12-14 13:31
Thank you Arno, there is of course much more (about opening preparation and otherwise) but it would be too much to write now. Perhaps I write a serious document about it in near future if I have enough time. I am sure we shall be playing each other quite often :grin:
Parent - By Dadi Jonsson (Silver) [is] Date 2015-12-15 09:07
Thanks. There is a lot of food for thought in this short, but interesting report.
Parent - - By Auryn (***) [it] Date 2016-02-20 16:22
Congratulations on your highest achievement Leonardo! I loved to read about the strategies a world champion used, especially in your game against Straka. Also I liked your aggressive openings choice, especially the poisoned pawn, even if you couldn't win your game against Finocchiaro. I seem to remember the former world champion asked me for suggestions on how to hold in that variation against you! Maybe you could have tried 20.Rfe1!? Qxf6 21.Bf3 Be7 22.Ne4 Qh4 23.Ng3.
Anyway, Very Well Done :-)
Eros.
Parent - - By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2016-02-20 16:56 Edited 2016-02-20 16:59
Thank you Arno! Except for my game against Wunderlich (relatively quick draw down the known path), I've played every single game with the idea of winning it, if possible. So I took quite a lot of risk, which almost backfired (Turgut, Olofsson). Against Finocchiaro I've chosen poisoned pawn due to the fact that I felt Fabio might not be following the theory development to the last minute, being 74 :grin:. I was right, but he did not make enough mistakes for me to make something out of it. As for your suggestion, I have analysed heavily and deeply that rather critical position at move 20 (took 7 days). The main choice was either the line you suggest (which had some potential, but also some drawish prospects), and the one played starting with 20.Rbd1. After a lot of thinking, I chose Rbd1, hoping for a position from game Bauer 2459 - Even 2440, 1-0, BDF-60-SF 2011 which seemed intriguing. Fabio went for it, but improved on black play and the game was drawn. However, I might have been better off trying 23.c4!?, which was prefered by Stockfish at the time.
Parent - - By Auryn (***) [it] Date 2016-02-20 17:28
Welcome... Arno :-)
Serradimigni tried 23.c4, but he drew his game quickly against Robson.
I have in book 19...Qc7 as a safe way to draw against that variation, but I put that move in book long ago... did you prepare any strong continuation in case he would have played you that? Only Walter won one game in that variation against Gibbons, but after 20.Qe3 Qe5 21.Qg1 21...Nxf6 is better.
Parent - - By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2016-02-20 17:43
Sorry Eros,
for unknown reasons I was under the expression Arno was posting this. Weird. :twisted:
I have not been checking the variation after the game finished, so no idea of the Serradimigni game (or any others). I recall though there were several instances Fabio could have played safer and dead draw variations, but he kept playing moves which kept me in game, much to my delight. Unfortunately I have zero notes kept with 19th move, so probably the answer is no, I haven't had anything prepared against 19..Qc7.
Parent - By Auryn (***) [it] Date 2016-02-20 17:57
Ok ;)
Parent - By gsgs (**) [de] Date 2017-03-01 05:16
seeing your comments in another old CC-game and remembering TCEC-chat ...

Isn't the main human contribution in these CC-games the avoiding of
drawish lines, making the game more complicated,
thus trying to get some wins in the ocean of draws ?
That's where the human is still better, the computer just
sees the eval but not whether this gives practical chances
or is dead drawn
Parent - - By Hairetikos (*) [us] Date 2016-02-26 08:15
Congrats and thanks so much for openly sharing some methods.  I play ICCF at IM level, but rising.  When you and Nickel were at move 7 and the Straka-Clever game finished, were you able to see the result?  I have been in a couple tournaments like that, and it seems crazy to me.  Makes some of the players play much slower as a strategy -- so that can see what opponents are playing, I guess.

Hope you don't let the nay-sayers on ChessBase comments get you down about ICCF engine use not being real chess.  I guess they would rather bitch than do something useful and interesting.

It's a great achievement!
Parent - By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2016-02-26 17:37

> Congrats and thanks so much for openly sharing some methods.


That was the general idea of the interview. Besides, it is my understanding both ICCF and CB found their own benefits in conducting it. I would have preferred doing nothing during Christmas time, just sipping champagne and enjoying my own accomplishment, to spending hours on writting replies to questions asked, digging through my notes and reconstructing 2-years old events, asking a friend to do a photo session etc.. But I appreciate the effort of the ICCF Officials, and honest approach it is, to demistify what we do over there. And I appreciate the opportunity to present ourselves to broader public provided by CB.

> I play ICCF at IM level, but rising.  When you and Nickel were at move 7 and the Straka-Clever game finished, were you able to see the result?  I have been in a couple tournaments like that, and it seems crazy to me.  Makes some of the players play much slower as a strategy -- so that can see what opponents are playing, I guess.


While the exact moment escapes me, I do remember posting this fact immediately on my (now not existent any more) facebook page, so the answer must be: yes. I knew Straka was one of the fastest players in the world, he usualy finishes 25-30% of his games before even the official tournament start date. What surprised me was that there was somebody else willing to play at that kind of speed. I do not concern (well, for most of the time) myself if any of my games will become visible (it is how it is), this works both ways.

> Hope you don't let the nay-sayers on ChessBase comments get you down about ICCF engine use not being real chess.  I guess they would rather bitch than do something useful and interesting.


Well, everyone is entitled to an opinion. How, when, and why one does express it, that is another question. I was prepared for it (it is 2016, internet, etc.), but it does not feel comfortable as it would not in any other case in your life when somebody is going after what you do. However, I myself have been known for exploding occasionaly here and there, so I understand and accept and move on.

> It's a great achievement!


Indeed it is, I'm proud of it. Thanks!
Parent - By Labyrinth (*****) [us] Date 2015-12-12 10:32
Wow! Congrats! Huge accomplishment!
Parent - By CumnorChessClub (***) [gb] Date 2015-12-12 10:48
Congrats:cool:
Parent - By bio (***) [de] Date 2015-12-12 14:21
Great job, congrats!
Parent - By glennsamuel32 (*) Date 2015-12-12 22:34
Marvelous effort !!!  Well done !!!
Parent - By Dr.X (Gold) Date 2015-12-12 22:50
Highest praise goes to you for such a nice coup.  Congratulation! You are an incentive!
Parent - - By user923005 (****) [us] Date 2015-12-12 22:55
Fantastic performance with 4 victories.  You should give some lessons to the Stockfish team.
;-)
Parent - By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2015-12-13 00:29

> You should give some lessons to the Stockfish team.


Impossible. I don't speak code. :grin:
Parent - By Akbarfan (***) Date 2015-12-13 01:15
Congrats
Parent - By irulats (****) [ie] Date 2015-12-13 02:29
Brilliant!
Parent - - By Lazy Frank (***) [lv] Date 2015-12-13 06:30 Upvotes 1
Congrats, Dragon!!

I proud of you!

You may recognize me as Raivis. :twisted:
Parent - By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2015-12-18 01:04
Raivis my friend :smile:
Parent - By Venator (Silver) [nl] Date 2015-12-13 07:46
Congratulations!
Parent - By Master Om (Bronze) [in] Date 2015-12-13 09:29
Congratulations. I became very happy when I was national champion and got my frst IM norm. U must be so happy.
Parent - By Chaotic Chess (****) Date 2015-12-13 15:43
Congratulations! that is a huge achivement.
Parent - By Alkelele (****) Date 2015-12-14 05:00
Congratulations!
Parent - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2015-12-14 19:32
Wow, that's great! Congratulations!
Parent - - By Mark Eldridge (****) [gb] Date 2015-12-17 23:52
I look forward to your upcoming exclusive interview with Chessbase complete with a selection of annotated games
Parent - - By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2015-12-20 22:42
In a week or so ...
Parent - By Mark Eldridge (****) [gb] Date 2015-12-20 23:56
:cool:
Parent - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) [us] Date 2015-12-19 02:33
Awesome--congratulations!!
Parent - By Karlsbad [au] Date 2016-01-01 11:41
Congratulations and thank you for your commentary on your wins (and some other games) - this has made me realise the importance of absolutely thorough opening preparation and I hope to be able to realise some of those insights in my games - best wishes for continuing success.
Parent - - By Harvey Williamson (*****) Date 2016-01-01 16:31
Congratulations!

I think many on this forum do not understand how difficult it is to win events like the one you just have.

I played here for the 1st time this year in the WBCC secondary event. I won it fairly easily playing some off beat openings that I would rarely use in a serious ICCF tournament. Although the 1. e4 c5 lines were interesting.

I am a mere ICCF SIM unlike Dragon Mist who is now a clear SGM.
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2016-02-26 20:00
I am a mere ICCF SIM unlike Dragon Mist who is now a clear SGM.

Not important! The real test is who has eaten at more highly ranked Michelin restaurants with someone else picking up the check? :lol:
Parent - - By Harvey Williamson (*****) Date 2016-02-26 20:05
I certainly have collected a few stars! Sadly nobody has ever picked up my bill. I did get David to write approved on 1 a few years ago in the hope of getting it though on expenses with Mark but it was rejected :(
Parent - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2016-02-26 20:19
I'm sorry to hear that! It's amazing how much better the food tastes when someone else is paying for it! :wink:
Parent - By Sekos (****) [pl] Date 2016-01-02 20:06
Congratulations! You are TRUE CHAMPION! Bravo :cool::smile:
- By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2016-01-03 04:42
I would like to sincerely thank to all who congratulated me (rather than answering every single post). Your words mean a lot, people.
- - By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2016-02-18 14:26
First ChessBase article at long last.

http://en.chessbase.com/post/a-30-month-tournament
Parent - - By Chaotic Chess (****) Date 2016-02-18 15:00
Congratulations again!!!

I thought you look like a rockstar because of your nick but I was wrong. You do look like an engineer :)
Parent - By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2016-02-18 15:21
LOL (thanks!)
Parent - - By CumnorChessClub (***) [gb] Date 2016-02-18 18:18
The article on Chessbase seem to leave some readers asking in the comments "What this article doesn't say is how the humans still have an input."

Hopefully they will post a follow up or post a link to here?
Parent - - By Dragon Mist (****) [hr] Date 2016-02-18 18:21
CB people told me this is only introduction, apparently there will be 3 article series with games etc.
Parent - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) [us] Date 2016-02-19 21:06
That will be wonderful--I can't wait!
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