Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Kramnik - Deep Fritz

Kramnik will have little time to rest on his laurels after winning the world title. On November 25 he will play his first game in a six game match against Deep Fritz, one of the strongest chess computers in the world. The last 'Man-Machine' encouter dates from 2003 when Kasparov tied a six game match with Deep Junior, another very strong chess program. In 2002 Kramnik played a 6 game match against Deep Fritz which also ended in a tie (3-3). In that match, however, he had taken a 2-0 lead and only lost two later games because he abandoned his positional style and tried to beat the computer with its own weapons; tactics. This time Kramnik will have learned his lesson and steer all his games into positional waters. So to make a prediction about the outcome of the match we have to consider both Fritz' improvement in playing strength as well as its positional understanding over the past four years. As far as playing strength is concerned, the new Deep Fritz program will probably perform at an ELO rating of around 2900. This is stronger than any human player ever. To get an idea of the improvement in positional understanding, however, I have used Fritz 9 to analyze Kramnik's first win with white in Bahrain in 2002. Fritz 9 can be regarded as Deep Fritz' little brother, with an Elo rating of 2811 according to the official Swedish rating list.

(1) Kramnik,Vladimir (2807) - Comp Deep Fritz [D27]
Bahrain Brains m Manama (2), 06.10.2002

Analysis with Rybka 2.1o 32-bit

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0-0 a6 7.dxc5 Qxd1 8.Rxd1 Bxc5 9.Kf1!? An interesting move, taking the computer out of its book and steering the game into positional waters

9...b5 10.Be2 Bb7 11.Nbd2 Nbd7 12.Nb3 Bf8?! [Fritz 9 prefers the more natural 12...Be7]

13.a4 b4 14.Nfd2 Bd5 [Fritz 9 still doesn't like his bishop on f8 and prefers playing 14...Bd6, also keeping the options for Bb7 open. ]

15.f3 Bd6 16.g3 e5 17.e4 Be6 18.Nc4 Bc7 [Fritz 9 prefers keeping an eye on c5 with 18...Be7 ]

19.Be3 a5 20.Nc5 Nxc5 21.Bxc5 Nd7 22.Nd6+ Kf8 23.Bf2 Bxd6 24.Rxd6 Ke7 25.Rad1 Rhc8 26.Bb5 Nc5 27.Bc6 Bc4+ 28.Ke1 Nd3+ 29.R1xd3 Bxd3 30.Bc5 Bc4 31.Rd4+ Kf6 32.Rxc4 Rxc6 33.Be7+ Kxe7 34.Rxc6 Kd7 Start of the key part of the game 35.Rc5 f6 36.Kd2 Kd6 37.Rd5+


Kc6? The strategic mistake, far behind Fritz' evaluation horizon. Black needs to develop counterplay on the kingside in order to keep drawing chances. [Fritz 9 clearly prefers 37...Ke6! with much better chances of holding the resulting endgame!
For instance: 38.Kd3 h5 39.Kc4 g5 40.h4 (40.h3 f5 ) 40...g4 41.fxg4 hxg4 42.h5 f5 43.exf5+ Kxf5 44.h6 Ra7 45.Rd6 Re7 46.Ra6 e4 47.Rxa5+ Kg6 48.Rd5 Kxh6 49.Kxb4 e3 50.Rd1 Re4+ 51.Kb3 Kg5 52.a5 Re5 53.Re1 Kf5 54.a6 Re8 55.a7 Ra8 56.Rxe3 Rxa7 and black has good chances of holding the rook ending with a pawn less]

The game continued: 38.Kd3 g6 39.Kc4 g5 40.h3 h6 41.h4 gxh4 42.gxh4 Ra7 43.h5 Ra8 44.Rc5+ Kb6 45.Rb5+ Kc6 46.Rd5 Kc7 47.Kb5 b3 48.Rd3 Ra7 49.Rxb3 Rb7+ 50.Kc4 Ra7 51.Rb5 Ra8 52.Kd5 Ra6 53.Rc5+ Kd7 54.b3 Rd6+ 55.Kc4 Rd4+ 56.Kc3 Rd1 57.Rd5+ 1-0

So it seems Fritz has significantly increased its positional understanding over the past four years, while having improved its playing strength by some 150-200 Elo points. A tough match for Kramnik indeed in which there is no room for error.

Chessbase will release Fritz 10, the new engine that will play against Kramink on November 15!

  • Kramnik Site

  • Official Match Site

  • Swedish Rating List

  • Chessbase Fritz 10 Announcement

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