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Rybka (Computer) vs Deep Sjeng (Computer)
17th World Computer Chess Championship (2009), Pamplona ESP, rd 1, May-11
Slav Defense: Chameleon Variation (D15)  ·  1-0



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Given 7 times; par: 67 [what's this?]

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Jun-29-09  superstoned: wow. wish i could play like this.
Jun-30-09  visayanbraindoctor: I do not think any human being without prior prep would play out Rybka's plan commencing with 10. Nf6+ and 11. a4. Rybka willingly lets go of a center pawn, and follows it up by an eventual 15. Kf1, giving up any castling privileges while still in the middlegame. The whole line looks counter-intuitive. Yet computers have absolutely no qualms in entering such positions. It's like a whole new higher dimension has been superimposed on chess. This level of chess just can't be reached by our brains' chess playing abilities, unless some hypothetical future society modifies the hard-wiring of our brains.
Jun-30-09  kellmano: Whit happily plays this game a pawn or two down. Ridiculous stuff from the computer.
Jun-30-09  WhiteRook48: Rybka seriously managed to win this?
Jun-30-09  visayanbraindoctor: Rybka had a logical enough plan: to get a Queenside majority and keep on advancing it; and she won because the plan succeeded. However, the actual positions in this line are so counter-intuitive that no human chess player would probably play on to it.

10. Nf6+ and 11. a4 allows Black to grab the White center pawn on d4, something that looks horrible from the human perspective, but Rybka does it in order to gain her Queenside pawn majority.

14. Be2 and 15. Kf1 also tries to maintain the Queenside pawn majority. The resulting position then looks like a catastrophe at first sight (to a human), with White unable to castle right smack in the middle game. Rybka does it anyway as she gets her passed a-pawn.

Computers just don't give a heck on entering into such counter-intuitive lines. Maybe in some higher calculative dimension Rybka saw that resolutely creating a passed a-pawn and advancing it would win her the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: This game has so many unfathomable moves, like 31.Kf1 and 32.Bf2. They obviously fit into a grand scheme, but it is mysterious.

These computer games look so different than super GM games. I prefer the human game's organic quality, but these machine games are impressive nonetheless.

Why don't super GMs play matches against Rybka et al, like Kasparov? Would they get wiped out, so avoid it?

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I think Korchnoi and Shirov play games like this, taking risk for advantage somewhere else. But they can't calculate as deep as the silicon stranglers. Great endgame technique, something to return to.
Jun-30-09  heklex: Comuters have edge over humans partly because they don't care about 'susipciousness' or 'aestethics' of the positions. They are smoothly accepting dobled pawns, weirdly placed Kings, exposed castling positions... of course as long, as the calculations are favoring them.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: This is crazy!

8. e4
11. a4
14. Be2
15. Kf1
20. h4
25. Ke1 Bg7
27. Be3
31. Kf1
32. Bf2
35. b4

These all are way beyond me. My guess is at least some of these are beyond super GM's.

It seems like black has chances to take white pieces off the board while materially up - like white's bishop pair. It seems that would diffuse some of the threat of the queen-side pawn.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: it is a strange looking game. You get the feeling, playing through it, that even as white accepts the pawn disadvantage and non-castled position, it has already calculated that the passed rook pawn will cost black a piece. 20 or so moves down the road.
Jul-03-09  tacticalmonster: Here I will try to clarify the factors why rybka implmented such a strange plan


a) create an outside pass a pawn

b) gain the bishop pair against bishop and knight because black has to give up one of the bishops to destroy white center


a) the center d and c pawn is destroyed.

b) black queen becomes very active.

c) create an isolated b pawn on the second rank

d) white pieces become discoordinated

e) exposed king

Rybka employed a very double edge plan. Black will have initative in the opening and early middle game because of its active pieces and white exposed king. White will have endgame advantage because of the outside pass pawn and bishop pair.

The plan works in this game because :

1) bishop pair thrills in open position and open center. Hence, white allows black to take on d4 and c5

2) white small center has been provoked into advancing. The d4 and c5 chain is in some case a liability because of the d5 weakness. In other words, the chain is easily blockaded and cannot easily advanced.

3) black chance of counterplay is based on kingside majority, attack on the king and the weak d5 square. But Rybka shows that it is not enough.

a) two minor pieces are already traded, decrease the success of kingside attack. The queen exchange later on further decrease this possibility 

b) even if black succeed in creating a pass pawn using king side majority, it will be the e pawn which is easily defended because it is at the center of the board. Compare this to white a pawn which black knight and king has hard time defending against.

c) the d5 square can only be used by the black knight. black has a dark square bishop and the a rook is tied down to the defence of the a pawn and the other rook defend the open b ,d and g file.

Jul-03-09  tacticalmonster: With the above insight in mind, I would hope to annotate this strange game.

10) Nxf6+. white created lots of imbalances with this move.

a) queenside majority vs center and kingside initative

b) bishop pair vs bishop and knight

c) outside pass pawn vs development

14) Be2.

White gives up castling for the gain of tempo. Black wants to play 14) Nd7 15)Nxc5 to threaten Nd3+ and Nb3 . White safeguard the light square bishop to avoid Nxd3+ to gain a tempo and wants black queen to take on c5 so white can later trade it off there.

17) Qa3. black has no choice but to trade queen. 17) Qb6 18) Be3 Qxb2 19)Qxb2 Bxb2 20)Ra2. Any other move black lose the knight. After the trade, white has a slight advantage but probably only computers can convert this kind of advantage.

21) Rh3. rybka plays very dynamicly. white gives up the f pawn hoping to

1)activate the h rook

2)improve the placement of the bishops pair by harassing the black knight and bishop.

3)safeguard the b pawn freeing the defensive duty of dark square bishop.

27) e6. The start of the faulty plan by black. Black try to solidfy the d5 square. This is the case in which this " strong knight" is overated. Both black rook is tied down by a and b pawns. Black bishop is shooting thin air on the a1 and h8 diagonal and on the g1 and a7 diagonal. all other pieces do not coordinate well with the d5 knight.

The better plan would be to utiltize the f and e pass pawn. Trade one of the bishops even at the cost of a pawn.

28) g4! To activate the king side majority, black has to weaken the pawn structure. The e6 and f5 pawns become potential tactical target later in the game.

35) b4! 1)open up the b file

2) exploit the d file pin

3) undermine d5 square by b4-b5

it's amazing white is down 2 pawns and still has a winning position.

Jul-03-09  pulsar: I tried annotating this game and posted my amateur analysis in my forum. Repasting it here.

[Event "17th World Computer Chess Championship"]
[Site "Pamplona, Spain"]
[Date "2009.05.11"]
[EventDate "2009.??.??"]
[Round "1"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Rybka"]
[Black "Deep Sjeng"]
[ECO "D15"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "98"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 <The Chebanenko Slav. Others call it the Chameleon variation, presumably because of its flexibility>

5. e3 b5 <This push is especially ideal when White has played Nc3 as the Knight can be attacked in some cases.>

6. c5 <Closing the center. 6.b3, 6.cxd5 and 6.cxb5 are the other options.>

g6 <Among humans, I think it's Chinese GM Bu Xiangzhi who usually plays this particular set-up.>

7. Bd3 Bg7 8. e4 dxe4 9. Nxe4 Bg4 <Pinning the Knight and attacking d4 in effect. In Sargissian-Skoberne, European Individual Championship last year, Black continued: 9...Nxe4 10. Bxe4 O-O 11. a4 <Remember this standard break.> b4 12. O-O Ra7 13. a5 <Cutting the connection between Black's queenside pawns.> Bg4 14. Ra4 Bxf3 15. Bxf3 Bxd4 16. Rxb4 Rd7 17. Qa4 Bxc5 18. Rc4 Bd4 19. Bh6 Re8 20. Bxc6 Nxc6 21. Rxc6 Rb7 22. b3 Qd7 23. Qc4 and White went on to win...>

10. Nxf6+ <The start of a machine-type tactical play. White allows Black to take his pawn on d4 in exchange for tactical play against Black's partially developed queenside.>

Bxf6 11. a4 Bxf3 <The game has followed Aronian-Van Wely up to White's 11th move. Here, Van Wely chose 11...b4 instead of the text. The game continued: 12.Be4 a5 13.Be3 O-O 14.h4 Qd7 15.h5 Bf5 16.Qd3 Qd5 17.Bxd5 and the game eventually ended in a draw.>

12. Qxf3 Qxd4 13. axb5 O-O <The pawn is untouchable, so Black hurries to secure his King.>

14. Be2 <Here I wondered why White did not castle immediately.>

Qb4+ 15. Kf1 Nd7 16. bxa6 <White obtains a dangerous passer, a sound justification of the temporary surrender of his center earlier.>

Nxc5 17. Qa3 Rfb8 18. Qxb4 Rxb4 <The position has simplified somewhat. White has the advantage because of his passed pawn. He just have to have his other Rook join the play.>

19. Ra2 Bd4 20. h4 <Nice move. The other rook will swing to the queenside from h3.>

Ne4 21.Rh3 <The f-pawn can't be defended so White continues with his plan.>

Bxf2 22. Bd3 <Threatening to capture the Knight, forcing Black's bishop to retreat.>

Ba7 23. b3 Nc3 <Of course 23...Rxb3 24. Bxe4 loses a piece.>

24. Rc2 Bd4 <Again not 24...Rxb3 as 25.Bc4 wins for White.>

25. Ke1 Bg7 <25...Rxb3 is still wrong, e.g., 26.Bc4 Rb6 27.Rhxc3 Bxc3 28. Rxc3 and White has an overwhelming advantage.>

26. Bc4 Nd5 27. Be3 e6 <27...Nxe3 28. Rxe3 (e6) allows White to seize the open d-file with Rd3. In fact White's dark-squared Bishop is immune from capture in the next few moves.>

28. g4 Rbb8 29. Ra2 f5 30. gxf5 gxf5 31. Kf1 <Machine-like. I don't even understand this move, except that it improved the King's position somehow.>

Kf7 32. Bf2 Be5 33. Rd3 Bd6 34. a7 Rc8 <34...Nb4 35. Rxd6 Nxa2 36.Rxe6 is still winning for White. His Bishop pair and lone Rook will create a mating attack against the opponent's King.>

35. b4 <A clearance sacrifice. One can marvel at the efficiency of how Rybka increases its advantage.>

Bxb4 36. Ra4 <Threatening Bxd5.>

Be7 37. Rb3 <Finally gaining an open file.> Nc7

38. Rb7 <And now the seventh rank.>

Nd5 39. Kg2 <Again, a King move that boggles me. White seems to entice Black to check on the g-file afterwhich Rc7 is threatened or else he improves his King's post through Kf3. Meanwhile, it's difficult to find a good defence for Black.>

Nc3 40. Ra5 Nb5 41. Bxb5 cxb5 42. Raxb5 Rc2 43. Rc5 <Forcing the issue.>

Ra2 44. Rcc7 <White is completely winning now.> Re8 45. Rb8 e5 46. Rxe8 Kxe8 47.Rc8+ Kf7 48. a8=Q Rxa8 49. Rxa8 1-0

Jul-03-09  tacticalmonster: Here I would try to explain some of the subtle points behind some of Rybka ‘s positional moves

20) h4 < give up the f pawn. Judging from later on, taking the f pawn is not the best move. 20) Nb3 probably is a better move, harassing the bishop and hoping to trade it off>

22) Bd3 < we start to see the compensation of the pawn. White has the idea of activate the h rook, send the bishop pair to a better diagonal and safeguard the b pawn.>

25) Ke1 < very subtle move. White cannot move any of his other pieces without improving black position. Black is also in some kind of bind, all pieces can’t move without giving ground. The white king prepare to enter the queenside, potentially trying to harass the black pieces there.>

26) Bc4 < this bishop turn into a monster. It refrains both of black rooks and targets d5 square.>

27) Be3 < another important move. This key diagonal helps white advance the a pawn and futher refrains the b rook.>

28) g4 <refrains the king side majority. If black play f5, it either weakens the d5 square or create a backward e6 pawn. Maybe f5 later on is an inaccuracy by black.>

31)Kf1 <a defensive move. It moves away from dark square and keeps an eye on the pass f pawn. We see a difference here. White king is doing a fine job defending the pass f pawn while black rook is a clumsy defender of the pass a pawn. This demonstrates the power of outside pass pawn.>

32)Bf2< proylactic move. Stop Nxe3+ when the pawn is on a7>

33)Rd3< fine refrain move. It stops e5 because of the threat of Rxd5. It stops any knight move because of the invasion of 7 rank>

35)b4 < fine positonal sacrifice. Open up the b file for rook invasion. Exploit the d file knight pin. Undermine the d5 knight with b4-b5.>

39)Kg2 <this move aim to vocate the g file for the a4 rook after kf3.>

41) Bxb5< removal of key defender. After this exchange, both rooks come to the 7 rank. White is down two pawns, but the position is winning. The rest is just a matter of technique.>

Jul-04-09  Atking: Why not 29...NxBe3? 30...Bd4 should control the passed pawn. Isn't it?
Jul-06-09  Comejen: I believe that 35.b4 is an incredible movement, difficult to find on the board
Jul-06-09  falso contacto: unbelibabol.
Jul-23-09  Ed Trice: This game brings to mind a great quote from Tal:

"You have to take your opponent into a deep, dark forest, where 2 + 2 = 5, and the way out is only wide enough for one."

Computers are great at finding extreme exceptions to the general guidelines humans use so often. Tal summarized that beautifully, many years before computers were even a factor.

Aug-11-09  SirChrislov: The first two posts give real enlightenment to this game. We're so fortunate to have you guys on board. keep sharing your wisdom.
Feb-23-10  adhitthana: <SirChrislov: The first two posts give real enlightenment to this game. We're so fortunate to have you guys on board. keep sharing your wisdom> Personally I got a lot more from some of the later to his own I guess.
Dec-04-10  The Rocket: <"Why don't super GMs play matches against Rybka et al, like Kasparov? Would they get wiped out, so avoid it?">

Our best hope is with Kramnik or Aronian vs Rybka, but it would take a risky opening book(kings indian, Modern benoni) from the rybka team for the humans to have a realistic chance winning the match, let alone a single game.

Dec-04-10  The Rocket: From move 8 with e4 to move 20 with h4, Fritz 11(2970+ elo) has all of Rybkas(3200+ elo) moves as first choice moves, even at just 5min time controll.. so perhaps the differences between engines evaluations are somewhat overhyped.
Dec-04-10  Wyatt Gwyon: This game just doesn't look right.
Apr-15-15  Sho: iCheat: Natsidis vs Nigalidza
Premium Chessgames Member
  Keyser Soze: Probably one of the best comp games ever. Imagine playing white after 15. Kf1. Sometimes brute calculation force can result in unaesthetic but brilliant games.
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