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Up Topic Rybka Support & Discussion / Rybka Discussion / Open Letter and $100,000 Challenge to FIDE
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- - By Vasik Rajlich (Silver) Date 2007-05-31 19:27

I'm making a $100,000 challenge to FIDE President Kirsan N. Ilyumzhinov, for a match between Rybka and the winner of the upcoming "Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge 2007", which is being organized by FIDE.

Details here:

It would be great if any of you could help in publicizing this.

Thanks :)

Parent - By Nelson Hernandez (Gold) Date 2007-05-31 19:42 Edited 2007-05-31 19:48
Well done, Vasik!  Squeeze them until the pips squeak!
Parent - By Debaser (***) Date 2007-05-31 20:38
In Spain we call this: "poner los cojones encima de la mesa". On a free translation, to "put the balls upon the table". Well done Vas ;)

And during the FIDE World Chess Championship!, I hope you get this match, you deserve it.
Parent - - By grolich (***) Date 2007-05-31 20:38

Great idea.
I hope they really cannot ignore that challenge.
I, for one, will stay tuned for news on this interesting proposal.

Although I'd rather see all the other fish try to face our favorite see monster in muddy waters (that means a tournament).
But, if Chessbase won't do that, I guess drawing them out somehow is a good offensive strategy.

And this offer can certainly do the trick.

I'd say Vas has the initiative:)
Way to go.
Parent - - By Uri Blass (*****) Date 2007-05-31 21:23
If they accept the challange then this is going to be bad news for Vas because the meaning of that possibility is probably that they made a huge improvement relative to the public version of their program.

I expect them not to accept the challange but I expect them also to win the challange in case that they accept it.
Parent - - By Alkelele (****) Date 2007-05-31 21:28
Noone is going to beat Rybka! Evah!
Parent - - By Uri Blass (*****) Date 2007-06-01 03:33
You cannot be sure about it.

It is not impossible to write something stronger than rybka
Parent - By rivaldo (***) Date 2007-06-01 07:22
ahh your statements are always so enlightening! and nontrivial!
Parent - - By Gaмßito (****) Date 2007-06-01 07:23
Of course that it is not impossible to write something stronger than Rybka. But do you think they can improve Fritz or Junior in such little time in a such way that it can surpass Rybka? Of course, it is possible that now they have a much better version of its programs, but at the moment is difficult to imagine that they can have something much better than Rybka.

Now, they have only 3 months to attempt it and to demonstrate it, or of course to opt for the easiest thing: to decline the offer, knowing that the possibility to beat Rybka in a match like this is really very complicated or almost impossible. 

Parent - - By Uly (Gold) Date 2007-06-01 07:54

> Of course that it is not impossible to write something stronger than Rybka.

But, everything is possible, scientists have calculated the chance of our universe existing to be virtually 0, and we are here.

It is even possible that they already have Fritz 11 and Fritz 12 ready but they will release them in two or three years (chessba$e? - Though, seriously, I am sure they don't).

What are Rybka chances of winning a match like this, is it about 92%? or higher? (But it's still a bet).

I'm just happy that something exciting is finally happening :) (Or MAY happen)...
Parent - - By h1a8 (***) Date 2007-06-01 20:19
Actually the chances of the universe (or some universe) existing is 100%.
If the universe doesn't exist but the chance of it coming to existence > 0 infinitely many times throughout infinite time at any moment then the chance of
the universe coming to existence in an infinite interval of time is 100%.
These are all my thougths (I made this up entirely). What do you guys think?
Parent - - By Uly (Gold) Date 2007-06-02 02:08 Edited 2007-06-02 02:10
Made up answer: If the universe didn't exist, so didn't time either. Without time, your logic fails.

Serious answer: They didn't say that an universe couldn't exist, they just say it wouldn't exist now.

You see, they found there are some variables that make our universe work (live), they are many and they are exact.

Make a variable slightly higher, and our universe collapses, make another slightly lower, an our universe would be filled with black holes that would kill it very fast (etc).

The chance of these variables being what they are is virtually 0, and the chance of an universe existing and dying instantly or not exist at all is virtually 100. So 2 theories prevail:

1 - We are in a multiverse, full of infinite universes in where those variables have all the possible values, and so our universe is the only one living and all the others didn't exist in the first place or already collapsed or suddenly disappeared long time ago.

2 - God exists and tweaked all these variables so our universe would still exist.

I already have problems with the idea of tons of galaxies existing with lifeless planets and a whole wasted space, so the idea of infinite dead universes is infinitely worse for me.

But I think that for scientists, God is still just a hypothesis. o_O

PS - Maybe we need a "offtopic" forum so Rybka fans can talk about stuff unrelated to chess so we don't pollute these topics...
Parent - By h1a8 (***) Date 2007-06-02 03:40
very good!
Thanks for the insight.
But is it true that no universe then no time?
If so then how (PM me if you like)?
Parent - - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) Date 2007-06-05 12:00
You say that if the universe didn't exist, than neither would time.  This isn't necessarily true--in classical general relativity, that's certainly true, but we also know that on the smallest scales general relativity cannot be correct; there are many quantum theories of gravity in which some abstract form of time exists and allows for the creation of things like pea instantons, which can allow for an inflationary epoch and thus the Big Bang (that's only one of a whole host of ways in which this can happen)
Parent - By Uly (Gold) Date 2007-06-06 22:05
I also said "Made up answer", as in, I made that up (Without proof or anything, the Serious answer [real one] was below it).

The answer to h1a8 was Private Messaged to him, so people uninterested in this don't get angry for us hijacking this thread.
Parent - By plicocf (***) Date 2007-06-01 12:53
As a computer chess enthusiast, I want they acept the chalenge.
I think is improbable that there are something stronger than
Rybka, but if it´s possible, it´s very good for computer chess.
Rybka 3.0 will be most stronger.

Paulo Soares
Parent - By Hetman (*****) Date 2007-06-02 08:11
It is possible to write sth stronger then chessbase .
Parent - By Victor Zakharov (*****) Date 2007-05-31 21:38
Vas can made a huge improvement at last night too. So they can't be sure
Parent - - By Nelson Hernandez (Gold) Date 2007-05-31 21:48
You're right, Uri.  But that's the problem: there is little prospect of a huge improvement from them, whereas Vas by the time this challenge was actually played out would have....

Rybka 3.0 (and all that implies in terms of mp, endgame improvements)
16-way machine
An even stronger book than he has now

There is every reason to think this array of weapons would be exceedingly hard for anyone to beat over 24 games.
Parent - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2007-05-31 21:57
No, he's not right. This is a challenge to FIDE, not to Chessbase. FIDE can be expected to accept the match if they can find a sponsor for it and/or if it provides over $100K in goodwill. Its very likely they will not be able to satisfy these requirements.

Parent - By Vasik Rajlich (Silver) Date 2007-06-01 21:37
You know, somebody can always beat you, it's the way of life. They can get lucky. Or they can pull ahead of you. Nothing is guaranteed, I think this goes without saying.

Parent - - By grolich (***) Date 2007-06-01 11:09
I have to disagree. Simply because of the business outlook of a refusal to the challenge, as it is seen from the Chessbase side.

First of all, the challenge was made to FIDE president, not to Chessbase directly. Since Fide is responsible for organizing the Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge 2007, it may seem a bit strange to NOT take the engine whose on top on all major lists by the same guys who organized this tournament into some kind of consideration. It may also put Chessbase into a bit of pressure, should Kirsan/Fide be inclined to "go for it".

Of course, nothing will happen with the chessbase engines without Chessbase's consent. But, from a business point of view,
They can't JUST refuse the challenge and let things go. Not without it having an adverse effect on their engine sales.
This challenge has already started being publicized elsewhere on the net by readers here.

In a short while, too many people from the internet chess community, and some off the net (by word of mouth), will know about it.
Chessbase will fear that just refusing the challenge may be interpreted as an admission of incompetence (and they may very well be correct in their fear). Their engine sales will drop and Rybka's will rise a bit. I'm sure Vas would not mind that.

They cannot JUST refuse without losing something (and Rybka gaining...).
They do have a few good options though:

1) Refuse the challenge, BUT agreeing to have Rybka join the party in the next few tournaments their engines will participate in (it both gives them time, and a second - 3rd place in a tournament such as this is still something their sales can easily benefit from. More difficult to do this after a loss in a one on one). Since that is a very fair setting, I'm sure Vas will be overjoyed.

2) Delay the acceptance / refusal of the challenge long enough so that they know if their next versions will give better chances, and devise better strategies then (could be done by negotiating on the exact terms of the challenge for a while, for example).

3) Accept the challenge (ok, a negotiating part will happen ANYWAY, but this option assumes no intentional delays), assuming this to be the lesser evil, as then, both Rybka and Chessbase will gain publicity, which can, even in the event of a loss, can be used to get "something" good out of it.
They can even publicize the event (After the challenge is accepted) as one whose intention is to promote computer chess. That will remove the focus of the challenge from who wins/loses, and makes sure they can maximize the benefit of the advertisement they get (and they WILL get it, they can make sure of that). This will also be something that Vas cannot do much against without hurting his/Rybka's reputation.
Actually, with this option, BOTH sides win, so he probably would be ok with it.

4) Of course, there IS always the chance that they'll accept knowing that a huge improvement has been entered in one of their engines which gives it good chances. (Having Gms making a book of a lot of anti rybka lines from the playchess server can lessen the ELO difference for the match by a bit. but the engine improvements still have to be quite large).

This IS an option, but only one of many. There are other reasons for them to accept the challenge I have not mentioned in order to keep this relatively short.....

Of course, there's the initial "layer" of communication between Kirsan / Fide and Chessbase which I have not taken into account in this post.

We'll just have to wait and see.
Parent - - By Alkelele (****) Date 2007-06-01 11:20
Very interesting post.

I like your item 3. Indeed, it is not clear to me that it would automatically be the best option for Chessbase to decline the challenge. The thing is, if Kirsan's interest in promoting engine chess is more than just a fluke, then all sides could gain from giving the public some regular well-advertised shows.

It would be a matter of growing the market, instead of just holding tight to a big share of the market. The aim would have to be to have lots of customers buy not only one, but several engines/programs (each with its own force), and to have them do so in each new engine generation.
Parent - - By Vasik Rajlich (Silver) Date 2007-06-01 21:40
Actually, right now, Chessbase isn't the major player here, it's FIDE. We want to find out if FIDE is serious about getting into computer chess.

Individual players can always boycott events. If the organization is capable, the players will be replaced. More commonly, when the organization is capable, it won't make sense for the players to boycott the events.

Parent - By grolich (***) Date 2007-06-02 12:06
I just hope to see Rybka participating in more (read: "any") events with the top engines.
Parent - By Bouddha (****) Date 2007-05-31 20:40
Hi Vas,

please read :

Hope you will win and Rybka deserve to be known by a larger public !

Parent - By jps7 (**) Date 2007-05-31 20:41
Hi Vas,

Well done. A bold step.
I hope Kirsan is a broad minded person and will not take it otherwise.

Parent - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) Date 2007-05-31 20:46
Very well done, Vas--I was very happy even upon first seeing the subject header.  My guess is that the initial challenge will be declined; one reason will be the so-called "unlimited hardware" idea--they will want things to be more regulated than that; they might simply use this as an excuse.  I imagine this is a relatively small point with you, though, as we know you're quite aware that Rybka can beat either of those programs even if they're given four times the hardware speed.  Nonetheless, I would be prepared for a decline supposedly based on this point, which can certainly be changed in due time if necessary.

I would also guess that FIDE will have a problem with this particular version of the prize fund--they might want the money put out up front by both sides, with the winner simply getting a larger percentage than the loser.  I also don't see this as much of a problem to change--since you know that your program will win, and since you're apparently trying to gain $100,000 out of this, the prize fund could be changed so that both sides put up $100,000, with the winner getting 75% of the full amount.

I wish you the best of luck with this--if anything, this will help Rybka to become more well-known among the normal chess-playing population, which I've seen as a much-needed goal for quite awhile.
Parent - By genorb (**) Date 2007-05-31 20:47
I did already some publicity. I will put here the links where the publicity will be done if I get some results!
Parent - - By Alkelele (****) Date 2007-05-31 21:07
I hope Chessbase and Kirsan will accept the match, but I think Chessbase would be hardpressed not to accept this condition:

"...with Rybka giving a handicap of one point plus draw odds..."

I mean, they wouldn't really want to "win" the match 11½-12½, would they? ;-)

Hmm, maybe they could find some excuse in slightly inferior hardware, so that this looks like "fair" conditions. Whatever is agreed upon, everything would be ready for the most thrilling computer chess event of the last decade :-) :-) :-)

The old powerhouse vs. the young and bold upstart! Like Reshevsky vs. Fischer. Or Karpov vs. Kasparov. Or... Fritz vs. Rybka :-)
Parent - - By davidwhite (***) Date 2007-06-01 06:03
I think you mean they wouldn't really want to "win" the match 12-13... since Vas' challenge calls for 24 games to be played,and they would start with a 1 pt. advantage,I would assume that the total point pool would be 25.

Please correct me if I'm mistaken.

Hopefully,FIDE and Chessbase won't be able to ignore this challenge.
My expectation,however,is that they'll accept in principle and indefinitely table it with details.
If their 1st ploy should be to insist that each side put its $100,000 into a "good faith" escrow account before ironing out the details,and then they stall endlessly,they would cause Vas and Rybka considerably more discomfort
than themselves.
So,assuming that Vas has or can obtain the $100,000,I'd caution him, on behalf of all of us Rybka well-wishers,not to get pulled into that sink-hole.
Parent - By davidwhite (***) Date 2007-06-01 06:06
Correction...they wouldn't want to win 12.5-12.5,having been spotted a full point.
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2007-05-31 21:42
Great idea although the second and third paragraphs are too aggressive. Kirsan is all business and its a safe bet that he's getting something (good publicity or more) for holding the current event. If another match provided some benefit, its not clear that he would oppose it.

Anyway, so much for you not betting on sporting events! :-)

Parent - By Debaser (***) Date 2007-05-31 22:20
I am not an aggresive person at all ;)
Parent - - By Vasik Rajlich (Silver) Date 2007-06-01 21:42
What FIDE can get is the recognition of organizing the event in a fair, democratic manner.

Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2007-06-01 22:39 Edited 2007-06-01 23:02
FIDE, fair and democratic??? Surely you jest. FIDE is nothing if not crooked and autocratic. But that's OK (as long as the organization acts in a rational manner). If people are interested in seeing the highest level chess (engines and books), this is a good way to go. Add to that the reduced cost of running an engine tournament (as compared to a tournament with top GMs), and there are definitely possibilities here.

With respect to your letter, I think the challenge concept is great, and the fact that you are willing to self finance your half makes it much more doable. I only disagree with your tactic of pointing out that FIDE picked the contestants unfairly. This is true but irrelevant. Every FIDE decision that I'm aware of has been made by insiders at closed meetings. Its almost impossible to affect this process from the outside.

Parent - - By Vasik Rajlich (Silver) Date 2007-06-03 07:29
FIDE, like almost all big organizations, has a mixed track record. Some of their decisions are fair and democratic, others are not.

Anyway, the recognition of organizing something in a democratic way is a good thing, regardless of whether you are actually democratic or not.

Re. the letter, I also don't follow. We challenge FIDE precisely because the UCCC 2007 contestants were picked unfairly.

Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2007-06-03 11:53
Fairness is way too subjective to form the basis of any good argument and FIDE would be an even bigger disaster if it were truly democratic.

For an analogy with football (all important matters can be related to football :-)), this is akin to which teams end up playing on the big national broadcasts. These matches are carefully chosen and team strength is a factor, but not the only factor. Also important are team popularity and picking games that are likely to be interesting and not decided by the end of the first quarter. Sometimes the factors were not even directly related to football. During the mid 70s it was widely held that Dallas was highly overrepresented in these games because they had the best looking cheerleaders.

As Jimmy Carter said at the time, "Life isn't fair".

Parent - By Vasik Rajlich (Silver) Date 2007-06-05 11:09
The Cowboys absolutely should play extra games on TV. This way, we can all better appreciate the whipping they get from the Skins 2x per year (3x if they're lucky).

Seriously, maybe I don't use the perfect terms here, feel free to suggest better ones, but as a sportsman you have certain "rights". You do not have a "right" to play on TV. You do not have a "right" to a perfectly-refereed game. You do have a "right" to a reasonably-well-refereed game. You do have a "right" to reasonably democratic treatment from your league or international governing body. And you have an obligation to the sport to defend those "rights".

Parent - By Vinvin (***) Date 2007-05-31 21:49
Good move , Vasik !!! ;)
Parent - - By ebutaljib (****) Date 2007-05-31 22:00
Where did you get 100.000$ ? :)
Parent - By fhub (**) Date 2007-05-31 22:07

>Where did you get 100.000$ ?

From his Rybka sales! ;-)
Parent - By Alkelele (****) Date 2007-05-31 22:09
Vas went to the local bank/insurance company and said to them:

"Wassup, wanna make some easy money? Man, just look at this CCRL list. See! Rybka is just that much stronger. This is a done deal, zero risk for anybody. What you say, I give you 10 of the big, and you guarantee to shell out 100 to FIDE in the completely unlikely event Rybka were to lose? Mmm, ok?"

I mean, if people can insure themselves against lightning strikes, surely this should be possible :P
Parent - - By Vasik Rajlich (Silver) Date 2007-06-01 21:43
If we lose, there might need to be some copy protection on Rybka 3 :)

Parent - By Berfomet (**) Date 2007-06-02 02:10
I suggest you focus on the softwares quality other than anything else.
Parent - By Felix Kling (Gold) Date 2007-05-31 22:21
"It would be great if any of you could help in publicizing this."

I contacted Chessvibes ( ) and the news is online now on their page!

Btw.: Chessvibes is providing some excellent videos, too, you should look at it!
Parent - - By lkaufman (*****) Date 2007-05-31 22:45
I am certainly happy to see this offer, although I don't expect it to be accepted. I think it would have been better just to offer draw odds, not a point handicap, as this might be taken as an insult (not that we can't win of course), and equal hardware should have been specified -- maybe the winning program can be ported to some supercomputer, or the other side would fear that Rybka would do this, but I'm sure you thought of this.
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2007-05-31 23:05
If CB could bring back Anthony and have him work on getting Zap Zans to really work well on a large cluster of fast machines, this might be close enough to be interesting.
Parent - - By Aung (**) Date 2007-06-01 11:41 can't be...Vas very clever:))...He only Challenge to winner of upcoming" Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge 2007 "..not to Zap..
Parent - By grolich (***) Date 2007-06-01 12:00
I'm pretty sure Vas more than welcomes playing against Zap!Chess.
It's being excommunicated from the major computer tournaments where many good engines participate that bothers him.
Not much will be gained by winning Zap (the only side note I can think of is that if Zap was a potential opponent, I doubt if Vas would have put the  "unlimited hardware" clause. But that is just a challenge detail).

It's Chessbase and FIDE (now that they have taken on themselves the organization of such an event) that needs to react to Rybka's pleas to be allowed to join in on the party...

Hopefully that helps.

A Rybka-Zap!Chess match will indeed be a very interesting thing, but winning against Zap!Chess will not produce the required result for Rybka.
It's the acceptance of Rybka into the world of top engine tournaments that is important.
It's a game whose winner will be decided OFF the board.

(Of course, a Rybka-Zap!Chess match WILL be a very interesting thing, but is an entirely different topic altogether).
Up Topic Rybka Support & Discussion / Rybka Discussion / Open Letter and $100,000 Challenge to FIDE
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