Saturday, February 17, 2007

CCT9 day 1

It has almost become a tradition for me to take part in CCT - and no, I never do well :-)
In order to not break the streak this time, I hacked up a new engine (lost most of my code when I suffered multiple harddisk crashes earlier) during dec time .. patched a few protocol interfacing bugs Leo (he runs WBEC) found and entered the program for the tourny.

The first game was as black against Arasan - a known nemisis : most of my engines have some set weaknesses - which some opponents always tend to exploit - I dont think either of us know what it is - some pattern is messed up, or I under/over evaluate some aspects : whatever be it, Arasan is one such engine which tends to usually get the better of me.
And this time, Jon told me that he had just got Arasan to work multiprocessor - so it was dual arasan facing npmess !! (and I had not yet completed adding MP support to this version, so it was single proc).
The game started off fine enough, and after a good battle we were in endgame in a KR endgame - when disaster struck. I had a bug in my evaluation : specifically the part which tells which 'stage' of the game the position is in - opening/middlegame/endgame - and cos of some muckup, rook endgame was not considered as late endgame - worse, it thought it was middle game and started applying king safety penalities !!
To make long story short, it fell from draw to loss in span of like 2 moves - but npmess realised this after a long time, though arasan's eval kept going up.


Loss, fire editor, fix - in the 10 mins before next round : and we are back in business for game 2 - against Alarm.
Alarm, (un)fortunately, did not turn up - and so npmess wins the first point : by forfeit - but would have liked to play ...

Round three as black against Symbolic - which is written in C++/lisp.
This was an interesting match, but Symbolic underestimated the king side attack of npmess when it sacrificed a major for a minor and npmess walked home with its first OTB victory in the tourny.

Round four was as white against Neurosis.
The game followed the opening book right into endgame (2 rooks + opposite bishops with neurosis pawn up). Traditionally, this sort of position is a draw if the king is activated fast enough - but cos of some bug (which I am yet to fix), npmess just refused to move its king ...
And slowly but surely, neurosis got into a commanding position poised for win - the exchange of rooks was npmess's last ditch effort, but still the score was two pawns down.
This was an interesting match, for the first time, my engine was outserching another engine - and I was hoping for a draw though things looked bleaked : when neurosis blunders cos of low depth I guess.
First it went from -2.x to -0.3 or so : and then neurosis blunders again - it sac'ed its bishop : it looked like a good move to both of us (programmers), but npmess went from -0.3 all the way to 5.x. This either meant I had a HUGE bug, or the game was over - luckily for me, not my bug and so npmess wins comfortably from then on.
It was really tough luck for Stan - neurosis did deserve the win.

Tomorrow first match : facing Baron by Richard - and it is known to have a good endgame eval in comparison to my engines : which suck ass when it comes to simple elementary endgame eval (heck, this version cant even evaluate KPK properly !!). Also he is running a parallel engine on a faster hardware.
So if the game goes to endgame, npmess loses - else there is some glimmer of hope.


So all in all, after day one, score is 3 out of 4 ...
4 games down - 3 more tomorrow, and there is a blitz tourny after that : this is going to be fun :-)

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