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Excalibur Igor testing question

 
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Reinfeld
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Location: Tacoma, WA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:27 am    Post subject: Excalibur Igor testing question Reply with quote

Don't get excited -- I'm not trying to start another argument about authorship. (Go here* for that stuff, and here** for important model ID info.)

This is a chess question.

By now, after many discussions, we know that Igor and Excalibur Grandmaster (same program, different housings) are the strongest machines devised by Nelson (praise him with great praise).

But how strong? Official records of games remain scarce. Ratings are wildly variable. No BT tests. The latest SSDF list offers no games. schachcomputer shows only 19 games and a 1948 rating, but the games are tied to a tuned 24mhz version, rather than the 12mhz out of the box version. Wiki-elo gives 1840/1845 as an active rating for the 12mhz version. Nick's original rating test (game 1, Botvinnik-Grob) gives a slightly higher number (1875) for 12mhx.

I'm going with out of the box for purity's sake, and setting Igor at level 53: active, 30s/avg.

So after all that, here's the question: If you could build a small tournament/match, who do you want to see Igor play? If you have an idea, and I have the comp, I'll run the test.

Nominees (no disrespect - this is just what I own):

1. Chesster Challenger (irresistible with dialogue)
2. Super Connie
3. SciSys Turbo King (strongest Nelson v strongest Kaplan)
4. Systema Challenge (Nelson v. Horvath for the secret Excalibur championship)

Side bet: Predict the outcomes of 10-game matches between these machines, and I promise to say something nice about you on this forum.

- R.


*For reference, links to past discussions of the entire Excalibur line:

From Ron Nelson:

http://hiarcs.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6768&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=105

From Nick:
http://www.hiarcs.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8315&highlight=igor

**

(There are two versions of Igor: 711-E and 711-E2. The first one is the strong one -- the one discussed in this thread. The second is a weaker program in the same housing.)
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mclane
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, I have Igor and grandmaster in one of my tournaments. There i let dedicated chess computers play against each other on 40/120.

You can give even the overclocked version 40/120 by setting them on the level where they adapt the opponents clock.
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scandien
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello,
I own a grandmaster. His level is between Mephisto Rebell and MMIV.

With the opponents you have selected, the Igor should get a clear win.

The grandmaster is difficult to defeat, because it id a great defender. But his attacking skills (from planification view) is suite weak. So it seems to me that it has a passive style .

Best regards

Nicolas
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spacious_mind
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know you picked some good ones.

My gut would tell me.

1) Chesster Challenger (toss up between it and Turbo King)
2) Turbo King
3/4 Challenge/Igor (every time I have played these against each other, the results always seemed to end up about equal. See division 4 of Swiss league for most recent. Both playing Level 53
5) Super Connie.

Phew I am not even sure if Super Connie would finish last.

Each playing 10 games against the other would be a really good match.

Best regards
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Reinfeld
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, here's a result for you. I ran a little match between Excalibur Igor and Systema Challenge. I intended to go the full 10 games, but I stopped at 7, with these results:

Excalibur Igor - 5.5
Systema Challenge - 1.5


I did not expect such a stark result. Clearly Igor is stronger. The various ratings suggest it, but I hadn't anticipated the margin. I won't bore you with all the game scores -- but I'll include one below, the last of the 7, which strikes me as something approaching a computer brilliancy. It reveals a striking player, terrifying and not quite...normal.

Some stats:

Both comps were set at level 53 (30s/move/avg). Igor won 3 games as White, 2 as Black. Five of the seven games were d4 or c4 openings. (Igor prevailed, 4-1). One Sicilian Sveshnikov provided the draw. A Philidor ended with a win for Igor. Systema's sole win came in a Queen's Gambit.

Impressions:

1) I've been critical of Igor's housing and cheapness, but I think I've been too mean. The comp is fun (I turn off the voice most of the time). The pieces are sort of cool, especially the bishops. The cut on their miter is more horizontal than most piece sets. They remind me of the old Cylons from Battlestar Galactica, and the tapered shape actually suits the clerics.

2) Igor is an aggressive, unconventional player, clearly tuned with a certain bias toward bishops. Its book is small (3000 half-moves compared to Systema's 5300), and it will quickly vary for the sake of initiative.

3) This is just my impression, but Igor seems to have some tuning that makes for better-than-average endgame play for computers of this level. It readily sacrifices for queening combinations that plainly exceed the horizon effect. In other words, it will speculate for long-term advantage.

4) I've written about comps that play like people. Igor, like Super Connie, is one such machine. It makes unsound choices, and dares you to refute them. Systema, a conservative player, doesn't respond well to such provocations.

Here's the final game of the match, with a few annotations. The very good players out there will probably scoff at some of the moves, but I confess I was riveted. At times I laughed. Give it a playthrough, and you'll see what I mean:

[Event "Igor v Systema Challenge]
[Site "Washington"]
[Date "2017.08.21"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Systema Challenge"]
[Black "Excalibur Igor"]
[Result "0-1"]
[BlackElo "-"]
[ECO "D02"]
[Opening "Queen's Pawn Opening"]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 d5 3.Bf4 e6 4.Nbd2 Nh5



{Igor leaves the book in favor of immediate aggression.}

5.Bg5 f6 6.Bh4 Bb4 7.c3 Bd6 8.e3 g6 9.Bd3

{An unusual position. Imagine entering it voluntarily.}



9. ...O-O 10.O-O b6 11.c4 Nc6 {A conventional move here would be c5 or Bb7. Instead, Igor opts for something bizarre.}



12.cxd5 exd5 {With White's help, Black develops his pieces without moving them.} 13.Bb5 Nb4 14.a3 Ba6?!



{?! Daring and probably bad. Typical of Igor's style.} 15.Bxa6 {? Systema surrenders its most active piece.} Nxa6 16.Qa4 Nb8 {The knight retreats to its original square, seemingly entombing the rook, which appears to have no role to play...or does it?}

17.Qb3 c6 18.Qc2 Re8 19.e4 Qc8 {Black unpins the queen, leaving the f-pawn with only one defender.} 20.exd5 cxd5 21.Qxc8 {? Not so good to trade here. White is helping Black free his game.} Rxc8 22.g4?



{Looks like a reasonable attempt to pick off the f-pawn, but this turns out badly for White.}

Nf4 23.Bxf6 Rc2 24.b4 Nd7 {! The bishop has few useful squares and must retreat to its unhappy hideaway on h4.} 25.Bh4 Ne2+ {! Igor, technically a pawn down, eyes a sneaky little trade.} 26.Kg2 Nxd4 27.Nxd4 Rxd2 28.Rad1 Rxd1 29.Rxd1 Ne5 30.Nb5



{! Systema fights back with a double attack that threatens to regain the one-pawn advantage. I assumed Igor would play Bf8 here (the computer recommends it), but he goes a different way.} 30. ...Bb8 {?! Again entombing the a8 rook, which still hasn't moved.} 31.h3 {For unclear reasons, White refuses to cash in.} a6 32.Nc3 Nc4 33.Nxd5



{! Systema regains the one-pawn advantage, but something remarkable is about to happen.} 33. ...Kf7 {! Smart. Black denies White harassing checks with the knight.} 34.Bd8 b5 35.Nb6 {Surely the rook should move, but no...} Nxb6 36.Bxb6 Be5 37.Rd7+



{! Systema appears to have the game well in hand. The King will move, another pawn will fall, and...} Ke6 38.Rxh7 Bb2



{! The difficulty is that White's pawns are vulnerable, allowing Black to pick them off and regain equilibrium.} 39.Rc7 Bxa3 40.Rc6+ Kd5



{! Oh...now Black is tacking his way to the queen side, while White's King is poorly placed.}

41.Rxg6 {Systema picks off another pawn, but this is too greedy.} Bxb4 42.h4
{? Systema doesn't see that the pawn race is a losing proposition.} a5 {!} 43.
h5 {?} a4 44.h6 {?} a3 {!} 45.Rg5+ {Too late!} Kc4!



{Incredible. We are beyond horizon effects. Igor recognizes that there is no way to stop the sprinting a-pawn.}

46.Rg7 {? Nope.} a2 47. Rc7+ Kd5 48.Rc1 Bd2 {!} 49.Ra1 Bxh6 {! Sad!} 50.Rd1+ Kc4 51.Ra1 Bg7!



{Crushing.}

52.Rc1+ Kd5 {? Slow, but still winning.} 53.Rd1+ Kc6
{! This poor bishop has been out of position all game.} 54.Bd4 Bxd4
{! Devilish.} 55.Rc1+ Kd5 56.Kg3 b4 {A typical computer move.} 57.g5 b3 58.Rd1 a1=Q 59.Rxa1 Rxa1 {The rook's first move of the game is murderous.} 60.f3 Rg1+ 61.Kh4 b2 62.f4 b1=Q 63.g6 Qf5 64.g7 Bf6# 0-1



Igor, you have my respect.

- R.
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afos99
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget Ivan. Made first out of the three top division machines with what seems the same hard and software.

Are there any differences? Grandmaster has the famous games. Is that to fill the space left by the lack of vocals. There must have been bug fixes over the few years these were made.

Dave
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spacious_mind
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Reinfield,

Well you showed a good performance with Igor on level 53. Personally never had the same luck playing Igor against Challenge and Co over the years. Not least a couple of months ago.

http://www.hiarcs.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8211&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=30

Theoretically Igor should be a little better because of its 12 MHz over 10 MHz Challenge, but I have never seen it as convincing as you are showing it in either previous games I played, tests or 2hr/40 tests I did about 6-8 years ago.

Great stuff about chess always something new to learn and consider.

Best regards
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Dave C
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:20 pm    Post subject: Interesting Game and commentary/analysis Reply with quote

Hi Reinfeld,

Thanks for the commentary and illustrations for this very interesting game. Makes me want to pull out my Igor and run some games too.

Regards,
Dave
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paulwise3
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Reinfeld

Thanx for your post and the game Smile
I have the Grandmaster and the Challenge, when I find the time I will try to replay this game with them.
I also have the CXG Sphinx Concerto, same program as the Challenge. Out of the box I find they play solid but rather passive. I changed the user programmable feature values all from 10 to 20, and then it plays a more active game. But also a little materialistic, at moments that it shouldnt. Like in one of the positions you showed. Still pondering if it is possible to change that.

As for BT-tests, the Grandmaster does not allow that, as it cannot show which move it considers best so far. But a Colditz test is possible with some trial and error. I did that for the Saber IV not long ago.
With Nick's five testgames both Concerto and Grandmaster come out with almost the same elo.

So I think with modified feature settings the Challenge could make a better result against the Igor.

Best regards,
Paul
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Reinfeld
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul (thanks Paul Very Happy) said this:

Quote:
I think with modified feature settings the Challenge could make a better result against the Igor.


Right. This is the key difference between the machines, and thus a key test. You can tune the Challenge/Concerto/Regency. You can't tune Igor. In my match, Challenge was set on default tuning. Also note that I didn't bother with ponder off in the Igor/Challenge match I conducted.

Igor and GM seems to be the same program, but I don't know if they have identical feature sets. I love GM, but I rarely play it because it's not that portable. I don't have have an Igor manual, so I don't know whether it includes the big GM feature set of famous games, mini-games, opening training etc. Any help out there?

- R.
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kosterix
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love the Igor story!
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