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Hydra (Computer) vs Arno Nickel
"Unplugged Nickel" (game of the day Jun-10-2005)
Corr. Chess Match (2004) (correspondence), Abu Dhabi/Berlin, Sep-16
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Chistyakov Defense Modern Line (C07)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-13-06  MoranCho: With one exception, we're seeing
the same jealous, 1400 level vindiction ('teach me. o genius!') from the programmer's commentary.
Meanwhile, I first intended to look
at Gelfand's games again, just
HAPPENED to notice 'Genius' name
among the G's, and the stupid-a@##
programmer stupidly assumes that
I was fantasizing about my own
genuis?? What a jackass! Are all
programmers that moronic?
Feb-16-06  RandomVisitor: <chessmoron>Rybka suggests that line for moves 15. g3 O-O 16. Bf4, but only for a slight improvement.
Mar-24-06  trumbull0042: I read online that a third game between Hydra and Nickel is currently being played. Is this true?
Premium Chessgames Member
  BishopBerkeley: <trumbull0042> Here is the third game:

(: ♗ Bishop Berkeley ♗ :)

Jul-05-06  spirit: so interesting to watch a monster,totally helpless,clueless,flat-footed and hung out to dry...i love this game!
Jul-05-06  sixfeetunder: That was rather sadistic.
Jul-05-06  Whitehat1963: When computers can play black and consistently give odds to super GMs in correspondence games, then I'll be convinced that there's absolutely no hope left for humanity.
Jul-05-06  weisyschwarz: Ah, the Nickel Defense.
Jul-06-06  spirit: <whitehat1963> that wont happen, because correspondence chess is ADVANCED chess...just check out the most suitable line for your opponent.Me thinks correspondence chess against machines should always end in favour of humans...QUOTE ME AFTER A HUNDRED YEARS!
Aug-20-06  monad: I still don't understand this 'Hydra losing on time' business with 40 days for 10 moves and presumably running non-stop.

A computer running out of time? Had it gone off on holiday or something? And didn't Hydra offer a draw earlier? Wisely refused by Black it seems.

Sep-02-06  MagnaPsygnosis: ???
Sep-04-06  patzer2: GM Nickle's analysis of this game can be found at
Sep-04-06  patzer2: Here's my take on this amazing human versus computer correspondence game using the opening explorer, Fritz 8 and GM Nickle's analysis:

<1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. ♘d2>

The Winawer with 3. Nc3, as in
L Dominguez vs Yusupov, 2006, I Cheparinov vs Ponomariov, 2006
or Bologan vs Lputian, 2006, is the popular alternative. Although the Tarrasch may be safer for White, IMO the slightly riskier Winawer gives White more winning chances.

<3...c5 4. exd5>

A good option is 4. Ngf3 as in
Timman vs J Levitt, 2006, Carlsen vs Yusupov, 2006 and S B Hansen vs Akopian, 2006.


This appears to be the currently favored move at Master level. The main alternative is 4...exd5, as in Adams vs Yusupov, 2005, Carlsen vs S Agdestein, 2005 and V Nevednichy vs Korchnoi, 2004. Note that this decision helps to insure Black the Kingside pawn majority which proves to be the difference in the endgame.

<5. ♘gf3 cxd4 6. ♗c4 ♕d6 7. O-O ♘f6 8. ♘b3 ♘c6 9. ♘bxd4 ♘xd4 10. ♘xd4 a6 11. ♖e1>

The main alternative is 11. Bb3
as in Khalifman vs S Volkov, 2005, M Vachier Lagrave vs Akopian, 2006
or J P Boudre vs T Luther, 2006.

<11...♕c7 12. ♕e2>

Worth considering here is 12. Bb3 as in
Naiditsch vs S Kristjansson, 2005, Tiviakov vs Barsov, 2004 or S Pavlov vs V Malakhatko, 2004.

Sep-04-06  patzer2: <12...♗c5 13. c3 h6 14. ♗d3>

Perhaps White should consider 14. Bb3, which was good for the draw in Kotronias vs Glek, 2003.

Another fascinating
possibility is 14. Nf5!? which GM Nickle analyzes at

<14...♗d7 15. ♗e3 ♗d6 16. g3?!>

This IMO is a bit awkward and weakening. Instead, I think worth considering here is 16. h3 O-O 17. Rad1 =.

<16... O-O 17. ♕d2?!>

GM Nickle labels this move as dubious and indicates that 17. Rad1 = is more flexible.

<17... ♘g4>

Forcing the exchange of Knight for Bishop here IMO gives Black the advantage.

<18. ♖ad1 ♖fe8 19. ♘b3 ♘xe3 20. ♕xe3 ♖ad8 21. ♕e4 g6 22. ♗f1 ♗c6 23. ♕e3 ♔h7 24. ♗g2 e5 25. ♗xc6 ♕xc6 26. ♕e4!?>

The exchange of Queens favors Black, but White may not gain much by delaying it. However, I suppose White could try to create complications and attempt to hold with the Fritz 8 line 26. Na5 Qc7 27. Nb3 f5 28. Rd5 e4 29. Red1 Bf8 30. Qd2 Rxd5 31. Qxd5 b5 .

Sep-04-06  patzer2: <26... ♕xe4 27. ♖xe4 ♗c7 28. ♖ee1 b6 29. ♘a1 ♔g7 30. ♘c2 ♖xd1 31. ♖xd1 ♖d8 32. ♖xd8 ♗xd8 33. ♘b4 a5 34. ♘d5 f5 35. c4 ♔f7 36. a4 ♔e6 37. b3 g5 38. h3 h5 39. ♔f1 g4 40. h4?!>}

Apparently 40. h4?! was a mistake. GM ♘ickle indicates White could have held the draw fairly easily with 40. hxg4! One possibility played out with Fritz 8 is 40. hxg4 hxg4 41. Ke2 e4 42. Ke3 Be7 43. Kf4! (43. Nxe7?? Kxe7 44. Kd2 Kd6 45. Ke2 Kc5 46. Kd2 Kb4 47. Kc2 f4! 48. gxf4 e3 49. fxe3 g3 ) 43... Bd6+ 44. Ke3 Bc5+ 45. Ke2 Ke5 46. Ke1 Bd4 47. Ke2 Ke6 48. Ne3 Kf6 49. Ke1 Ke5 50. Nd5 Ke6 51. Ne3 Bc5 52. Nd5 Kf7 53. Ke2 =.

<40... f4 41. ♔e2 ♔f5 42. ♔f1?!>

This appears to be White's decisive error. Instead, GM Nickle indicates 42. Kd3! e4+ 43. Ke2 fxg3 44. fxg3 Bf6 45. b4!? leads to a study-like draw.

<42...♔e4 43. ♔e2 fxg3 44. fxg3 ♔d4 45. ♔d2 e4 46. ♔e2 e3 47. ♔e1>

No help for White is 47. Nf4 Bf6 48. Ne6+ Kc3 49. Kxe3 Kxb3 .

Sep-04-06  patzer2: <47... ♔d3 48. ♔d1 e2+ 49. ♔e1 ♔c2 50. ♔xe2 ♔xb3 51. ♔d3 ♔xa4 52. ♔c2 ♗xh4 53. gxh4 g3 54. ♘f4>

White also loses after 54. Ne3 Kb4 55. Kb2 a4 56. Kc2 a3 57. Kb1 Kc3 58. Ka2 Kd3 .

<54... ♔b4>}. 0-1

White's programers resign as Hydra is clearly lost. For example, play could continue 55. Ng2 Kxc4 56. Ne3+ Kb4 57. Kb2 b5 58. Nd5+ Kc4 59. Nf4 a4 60. Kc2 a3 61. Kb1 Kb3 62. Ng2 a2+ 63. Ka1 b4 64. Ne3 Ka3 65. Nc4+ Ka4 66. Kxa2 g2 67. Nb6+ Kb5 68. Kb2 g1=Q .

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Very interesting ending. White's knight at d5 looks good but doesn't accomplish anything.
Nov-03-06  MagnaPsygnosis: I know that 64 cpu's (cluster) is equal to any amount of cpu's (infinity), and that 32 cpu's is barely weaker than 64 cpu's (the elo power is not linear to the amount of cpu's) but Hydra wasnt using 64 cpu's.
Oct-30-08  missingkasparov: is this game as good as a single game played over the board vs a computer i think not . but mr.nickel does get e for effort good try!
Dec-05-10  misha1992: Great game who knew humans were good? Haha! I like it when computers get pawned! Pun intended!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Hydra's only lost with the white pieces.Nickel has too many passed pawns for Hydra to worry about.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Great game by GMAN! In his honor, I made a donation to The Human Fund. "Money for People" is their motto.
Jun-14-16  The Rocket: <Instead, GM Nickle indicates 42. Kd3! e4+ 43. Ke2 fxg3 44. fxg3 Bf6 45. b4!? leads to a study-like draw.>

Why make life difficult? 42..Kd2 holds a draw easily. Hydras blunder was Kf1??

Premium Chessgames Member
  SwitchingQuylthulg: 42.Kd2? transposes into 42.Kf1?; 42...fxg3 43.fxg3 (forced) Ke4 44.Ke2 (forced again) Kd4 and we have the same position as in the game.
Jun-14-16  The Rocket: Yeah, I just checked it with Stockfish 7 and it has a blind spot in its search.. Thinks it's a dead draw until you guide it. Very strange..
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