Thursday, 5 April 2007

Silly Computer Games

My career as both a chess player and a computer head took off at about the same time. I particularly enjoyed reading books on Computer Chess from the 1970's, so much so that I still have a couple I borrowed from Woden Public Library in about 1983. Books like Chess Skill in Man and Machine, and Advances in Computer Chess contained both tips on how to write chess playing programs, as well as a number of horror stories about what happens when you don't get it right.
Unfortunately these days, most computer programs are too strong for human opponents, and games played between programs are often dry affairs where the position is even until one program looks that extra half move ahead, and the other program drops a piece.
So as a remembrance of a more error prone time I present one of the sillier computer v computer games I have witnessed. The game was from the 1998 National Computer Chess Championship and was played between Vanilla Chess (VChess), which I authored, and Desperado, written by David Blackman.
For the early part of the game everything went according to plan as VChess dropped a piece, and then contrived to lose the exchange. Then for reasons still not explainable, it played some inspired chess to force a draw.

vchess - desperado
1.Nc3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nf3 e6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.g3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qd6 7.Bg2 Ne4 8.0-0 Nxc3 9.Qd3 Ne4 10.Bf4 Qd8 11.Ne5 f6 12.Ng4 e5 13.Nxf6+ gxf6 14.dxe5 f5 15.c4 c6 16.Rfd1 Be6 17.cxd5 cxd5 18.Qb1 b6 19.Qb5+ Kf7 20.Rac1 Nd7 21.Rc6 Ndc5 22.Bxe4 fxe4 23.Rd6 Qe8 24.Qb4 Nb7 (D)
The Rook on d6 is trapped and so White has to give up the exchange, leaving it down a rook for 2 pawns. But now something weird happens ...
25.R6xd5 Bxd5 26.Rxd5 Nc5 27.Rd6 h5 28.Qc4+ Kg7 29.e6 Rh7 30.Be3 h4 31.Bxc5 bxc5 32.Rd7+ Kg8 33.Rxh7 Kxh7 34.Qxe4+ Kg7 35.Qe5+ Kg6 36.g4 h3 37.f4 Kh7 38.Qe4+ Kg8 39.e7 Kf7 40.g5 Qh8 41.Qd5+ Kxe7 42.Qxc5+ Ke6 43.f5+ Kd7 44.Qd5+ Kc7 45.Qc5+ Kb7 46.Qb5+ Kc7 47.Qc5+ Kb8 48.Qb4+ Kc7 49.Qc5+ ½-½

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