EARLIER this year, the world’s strongest commercial chess program, Rybka, was stripped of its four world titles, asked to give back trophies and prize money, and banned for life from ever competing again.
This was after an exhaustive investigation by the International Computer Games Association confirmed long-held suspicions that Rybka had used code from two of its early “open source” rivals, Fruit and Crafty, without acknowledgment. Using another program’s source code might seem like a technical misdemeanour, it is viewed very seriously by the open source community, who regard making their code available as a public service which should not by misused for commercial gain.
Ironically, the case might never have been investigated had the Czech-American programmer of Rybka, Vasik Rajlich not claimed that emerging new rivals – especially the powerful and free Houdini – were based, indirectly, on Rybka. It led to old allegations resurfacing, and the ICGA opted to clear the air by holding their investigation.
With Rybka banned, this left the field wide open for this year’s World Computer Chess Championship that took place last month in Tilburg, The Netherlands. In the end, Junior, written by Israeli programmers Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky, edged out HIARCS, Shredder, and others with a final score of 6/8 to regain the title it last won in 2006, just before the rise of Rybka.
Junior - The Baron
World Computer Chess Ch., (6)
1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Be2 0–0 6 0–0 c6 7 a4 a5 8 h3 Na6 9 Bf4 Nb4 10 Qd2 Qb6 11 Bh6 Be6 12 Bd1 Rad8 13 Re1 Rfe8 14 Qe3 Bc4 15 b3 Ba6 16 Bxg7 Kxg7 17 Rc1 Nd7 18 Be2 e5 19 Bxa6 Qxa6 20 Ne2 f6 21 Ng3 c5 22 dxe5 dxe5 23 Red1 Qc6 24 Nh2 h5 25 Nf3 Nf8 26 c3 Na6 27 Nh4 Ne6 28 Nhf5+! Kf7 29 Rxd8 Rxd8 30 Qh6 gxf5 31 Nxf5 Rd7 32 Re1 c4 33 Qxh5+ Kg8 34 Qg6+ Kf8 35 Qxf6+ Ke8 36 bxc4 Nac5 37 h4 Qxa4 38 h5 Qxc4 39 h6 Qxc3 40 Re3 Qc4 41 Rf3 1–0