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New Rybka Aquarium Opening Book 23 June The title of this column implies three novelties: Rybka 4 is now releaes, stronger than ever. Aquarium 4, a new version matching Rybka 4, is also introduced, with loads of improvements, some of which have been described in my recent columns. Additionally an update to Aquarium 4.
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Last, but not least, a new Rybka 4 Aquarium opening book is now released with thoroughly researched and up to date collection of modern opening lines. These are exciting announcements for Rybka and Aquarium users.
It has been a long wait for Rybka 4, but it will be worth the wait. With Aquarium now being used at the highest levels of chess competition, it is bound to catch the attention of many new players.
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However, the subject of this column is the Rybka 4 Aquarium opening book, which was prepared by Rybka team member Jiri Dufek.
Jiri Dufek Jiri has been playing chess since the age of six, when his grandfather taught him how to play. He holds a title of national master, as well as being an international master of correspondence chess. His hobbies include computer chess and collecting chess books. He has also been very successful in freestyle chess, with his latest triumph being a victory in the Mundial Chess tournament earlier this year.
Jiri wrote the book Bijte francouzskou! Jiri no longer plays over-the-board chess, but focuses instead on opening analysis and chess analysis in general. Jiri is an IT system administrator by profession.
With this background, and his obvious passion for chess, Jiri is clearly an ideal team member of any chess or computer-chess team. Additionally, you are the only new member of the Topalov team in his match against Anand. What is the story behind you joining the Topalov team? A : As a reward for my result in the Mundial Chess freestyle tournament, I was invited to the Linares tournament site to play a game against Veselin Topalov.
After my game against Topalov, which ended in a draw, I also got a chance to speak to the master himself. Veselin Topalov vs. Jiri Dufek We discussed chess in general, openings, chess engines and the differences between human chess and the world of chess engines. However, the times are changing and knowledge of computers and advanced analysis methods plays a bigger role now than in any previous world championship match.
A : I think this question is more complicated than it looks at first sight.
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Firstly, Topalov and grandmasters in general have their own ideas on how to play the openings. Their priorities are completely different from those normally applied when preparing opening books for chess engine matches. There is no interest at all in long lines which may lead to a draw after dozens of precise moves. Memorizing lines is difficult and time-consuming, with little hope of practical reward.
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Therefore a good chess engine book author is not automatically a good assistant for human opening preparation. He must be flexible and adapt to the different requirements. Every time my conclusions agreed with the analysis of the other team members.
The quality of opening analysis at this level is extremely high, but of course every team member makes an important contribution to the preparations. I have the greatest respect for the other team members. They have proven time and again that they are second to none in opening preparations and more than once they have stunned the chess world with their opening novelties.
Thirdly, my computer background has allowed me to provide IT support for our team. A : Yes, I put a lot of work into it. It helps that I find it really interesting to analyze unknown positions and ideas from chess books, chess practice or computer games and find my own solutions.
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In some cases players know their lines from the opening all the way to the endgame. A less prepared opponent will probably lose his way somewhere in the middlegame against such preparation. Things are looking even worse in computer games — long lines, often 50 moves or more, leading to a draw are similar to pre-arranged draws in human games.
The technical advances mean that opening analysis is very different from what it used to be a few years ago, not to mention a few decades ago.
My method of creating a strong opening book consists of several steps. Assuming you already have a good database, the first step is the selection of games. Making a good hand-typed book is impossible.
This step may only require a few hours of work. The next step is to fine-tune the move priorities. This is a very time consuming task, and in the case of the Rybka Aquarium book, it took a few weeks. Testing the book is an independent process. First you run a test and then you look at the results and try to find weak points in the book.
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After further analysis you may find some improvements, which require updates to the book and another test cycle must be run. This process will take a few days. Last, but not least is the creative phase of making an opening book. Here you need to find new ideas and get a deeper understanding of the lines in the book. One recurring question in this phase is why engines give a low evaluation, or play badly positions which are very good according to my own understanding of the position.
This phase is not only very time consuming, it also needs a lot of creativity and manual interaction and guiding of the engine analysis. Q : You made a very successful opening book for Rybka-Cluster.
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Did some secrets from that book make it into the Rybka Aquarium opening book? Rybka Cluster currently runs on 13 powerful computers A : Yes, I moved priorities from the tournament book which I used with Rybka-Cluster to the Aquarium book.
However, the Aquarium book is much bigger and contains a lot of new material and analysis, up-to-date games etc. Q : How would you describe your opening book? A : Generally, the book is relatively wide covering many openings and variations.
I wanted to offer two different ways of playing every opening, but sometimes I ended up with only one, because I felt that it was the best way to handle the position. A narrow book might score pretty well in the short term, and I would have chosen that path if a high score in engine matches was my only goal. However, I wanted the Rybka Aquarium book to address the needs of a much wider audience which means that a much greater number of openings needs to be covered.
This is why I added many openings which are popular in human play. The variations are color coded with green color recommended moves , red not recommended , blue recommended for human tournaments but not computer tournaments and black neutral moves. The first group I am targeting is of course Rybka users and chess engine fans in general.
They will find up-to-date information about their openings. The second group would be everyone who wants something new, new opening ideas or new opening setups. Last but not least, I tried to make it a thoroughly researched and up to date, general opening guide for the tournament player.
On the other hand I would be extremely interested in getting feedback from grandmasters. Perhaps it will be useful for my next opening book.
From the white size, the main repertoire of the Rybka Aquarium book is based on the Sicilian Najdorf Variation with 6. Nc3 and 3. Ne1 and After 1.
I emphasize quality over quantity, so I prefer to give the engines a longer time for the analysis of each position — this mean that I use automatic IDeA tree expansion and as the analysis progresses I check analysis tree, compare the results with my own notes and decide which positions are important and analyze them more deeply.
For analyzing the middlegame I still use my own, much simpler methods, to decide which move to play, but my IDeA analysis is constantly running. A : I really like the option to use remote chess engines. It is small revolution for IDeA and it really works!
For critical positions I run the analysis from my PC connected to approximately 40 remote engines, located in four different places of the world. For smaller projects I often use slower computers with only local engines. Q : Did you develop the Rybka 4 Aquarium book using the opening book tools of Aquarium itself? A : I use Aquarium both because it allows very fast addition and editing moves in the book and while I am doing that I can have chess engines analyzing one or more positions in the background.
On the other hand, features such as playing against the engine are of no use to me, regardless of the GUI. I probably got the biggest kick out of analyzing the Jaenisch Gambit in Ruy Lopez, because very often the best moves according to the chess engine are not really the best. But this is not all. I added about variations to the book in different openings, many of which are seldom seen in tournament books.
The main purpose was to make the Rybka Aquarium book more useful for players.