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- By Vasik Rajlich (Silver) Date 2007-08-06 11:41 Edited 2007-08-13 08:13
Rybka vs GM Joel Benjamin - A Full Pawn

** This post will be kept up-to-date during the match with all relevant information


Challenge by GM Hans Ree
Terms and comments by Larry Kaufman
More comments by Larry Kaufman
Predictions by Rybka forum members
Summary of Rybka vs Ehlvest II - Everything but a Pawn
Summary of Rybka vs Ehlvest I - Match at Pawn Odds

Final Score

Rybka: 4.5
Benjamin: 3.5


Post-match comments by Larry Kaufman & Joel Benjamin
Post-match comments by Vasik Rajlich


Game 1 (d2 pawn): Rybka - Benjamin 0-1
Game 2 (c7 pawn): Benjamin - Rybka 1/2-1/2
Game 3 (b2 pawn): Rybka - Benjamin 1/2-1/2
Game 4 (a7 pawn): Benjamin - Rybka 0-1
Game 5 (e2 pawn): Rybka - Benjamin 1-0
Game 6 (f7 pawn): Benjamin - Rybka 1/2-1/2
Game 7 (g2 pawn): Rybka - Benjamin 1/2-1/2
Game 8 (h7 pawn): Benjamin - Rybka 1/2-1/2

Game Summaries by Vasik Rajlich

Game 1, Rybka - Benjamin 0-1: It is not only humans who suffer from human error. Some recent changes had broken Rybka's contempt mechanism, and we did not discover this until move 11 of this game. Rybka played a terrible double-blunder of 10. Ng5 and 11. Nxf7 and with more blunders on the horizon, we were forced to resign.

Exhibition game, Rybka - Benjamin 1/2-1/2: Joel kindly agreed to play an exhibition game in the time originally scheduled for game 1. He was able to stay in control, fixing the center, locking the queenside and concentrating his forces for an advance on the kingside. White's position was however perfectly solid and black decided not to push his luck, repeating the moves rather than cracking open the kingside and creating chances for both sides.

Game 2, Benjamin - Rybka 1/2-1/2: A Spanish-type position was reached through a very unusual opening move order. As black was without her c-pawn, it was neither possible to challenge white's center nor to obtain a pawn majority on the queenside, so Rybka went for kingside play. White kept his grip, but progress was not easy and eventually black's pesky threats as well as the constantly-ticking clock convinced him to settle for a draw by repetition.

Game 3, Rybka - Benjamin 1/2-1/2: Yet another in-control game from the human. With all four bishops fianchettoed, Rybka gained a slight initiative from a minority attack on the queenside. Black had little trouble keeping everything under control and eventually liquidated into a dead-drawn rook and bishop endgame.

Game 4, Benjamin - Rybka 0-1: In a .. dxe4 French with white having a bit more space, Rybka uncorked the pawn sacrifice 21. .. c5. Benjamin accepted the challenge, obtaining a passed pawn on e6 at the cost of activating black's pieces. The position was sharp, hard to evaluate, and even harder for a human to play. It's not clear where white went wrong, but somewhere in the complications between 27. Nf1 and 35. Rde2 he lost the way.

Game 5, Rybka - Benjamin 1-0: A Benoni structure arose where white had several extra tempi, which were used to crack open the queenside with b2-b4xc5. Black did his best to defend his weak points on b7 and f7, but white was able to gradually increase her grip on the position. The freeing attempt 28. .. e6 led only to an unfavorable endgame, which black was not able to defend.

Game 6, Benjamin - Rybka 1/2-1/2: This was the toughest starting position for Rybka, as black has king safety issues to go with her pawn deficit. Benjamin played very slowly in the opening, apparently looking for that precise continuation which would break black's resistance. It never came - black was able to hold everything together, although at the cost of a passive position. After just 20 moves, white's time already dipped to under 10 minutes, so Benjamin thought better of the situation and settled for a draw by repetition.

Game 7, Rybka - Benjamin 1/2-1/2: In an IQP structure, black was able to force a trade of queens, leaving himself with all of the chances. White carefully let the air out of the position, keeping black tied to defending his isolated queen pawn. Black finally pitched this pawn in order to activate his pieces, but this led to nothing and a draw was agreed before the pawn could even be captured.

Game 8, Benjamin - Rybka 1/2-1/2: An opposite-wings-castling position emerged where both kings were actually quite safe, with white holding the critical squares on the kingside and black doing the same on the queenside. Black's last winning chances disappeared when she relieved the pressure on white's kingside with .. g4. White could then turn his full attention to the queenside, but black was very solid there and white could make no progress. After some shuffling of the pieces, a draw was agreed.

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