Monday, 9 January 2012

I guess this is no surprise

After the banning of the Rybka program (plus other penalties) by the International Computer Games Association in the middle of last year, the discussion seemed to go quiet (assuming you didn't read boards devoted to chess programming). In part this was because a number of key people on the Rybka side, including Chessbase, seemed to have nothing to say on the matter.
After 6 months, the debate has started up again, as Chessbase have finally broken their silence on the matter. Dr Soren Riis, a London based Computer Scientist, has written an article challenging the findings and methodology of the ICGA's investigation. The ICGA has then wasted no time in firing back, and the debate has now reached the familiar stage where both sides are arguing their strengths and ignoring their weaknesses. Of course those on the sidelines could be forgiven for thinking that the issue is too confusing to ever get a straight answer, but at least for me, this would be wrong. Despite the observations by Dr Riis, I am still of the opinion that Rybka was initially based on Fruit, and therefore needed to remain as an open source program. By not doing this, Vasik Rajlich has broken a number of rules, although based on statements attributed to him, it seems he did not understand the rules he was breaking.
Probably the best place to follow this for now is at Chessvibes, as they have statements from both sides of the issue.


Anonymous said...

Interesting! The banning of Rajlich was big news about 6 months ago not only in the chess community but the story made it into mainstream media as well.
Despite this chessbase which normally reports all sorts of minutae was stonily silent up until now.
Something to do with them selling/promoting the errant Rybka?
Dr Riis was/is a "moderator" on Rajlich's site so hardly a dispassionate investigator.

Anonymous said...

Keeping Rybka or any chess engine open source simply because it is based on another open source engine would limit the commercialisation of those engines. We wouldn't get the same level of innovation if at some point somebody with new ideas (on top of old ideas) could not make a profit. Isn't all innovation based on the previous years' discoveries? Or am I missing something ? - PP

Shaun Press said...

@PP From the Open source side of the argument - Why should the high quality work that is being freely shared be used to generate a profit for a smaller group of people? Why should someone benefit from the innovation of others, and yet keep their own work a secret?