When I saw how the Infinity Chess Freestyle Masters tournament was being discussed over at the Rybka Forum, I new knew someone should speak out. I also knew I would be walking into the Lions Den.
The Rybka forum has become, probably the most important clearinghouse for discussion on computer chess. It is of course owned and operated by the good folks that produce the strongest chess engine in the world. (see Standing on the Shoulders of Geniuses) This is clearly in itself not a conflict of interest. Rybka, its production team and its supporters have contributed tremendously to increasing the strength of chess software. Vasik Rajlich put in the hard work to tweak the heuristic algorithms developed over thirty years ago to practical application. I use Rybka 3, and I recommend it to others, as the best commercially available chess program for positional analyses.
Having said this, I am not going to entertain criticism that in voicing my opinion on my own website is in any way attacking someone’s character or demeaning their integrity. My opinions are just that, opinions, they may be excepted or rejected by the reader as they wish. If the good gentleman who frequent the chess forums wish to burn me in effigy, daily, I would urge them to get a better life. Perhaps they would do well in remembering the famous quote.
“Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those that own one.”
A. J. Liebling:
In my pilgrimage into the chess forum world, I was immediately greeted by intellectual bullies, that seemed to imply my complaints regarding the Freestyle Masters Tournament a few weeks ago were at best spurious, because my spelling and grammar did not meet Ivy League standards. I was informed that Arno Nickel was not capable of making mistakes, and by suggesting the man running the tournament (like the captain of a ship) should be held responsible for the fiasco that he presided over, all I was doing was attacking his character.
It went on and on, first I was called insane, then a anti-bourgeois Marxist, and finally I was Satin himself. (Literally, my defenses of honor among chess players and love of the game, was condemned as a worldly thing. Therefore belonging to the infernal domains.) In short my well intentioned concerns that the PAL sponsored Freestyle Tournaments were having a devastating effect upon the public impression of computer chess were dismissed by those that saw them as a personal cash cow.
The facts are, that at the writing of this article Feb. 5th, 2009 (Twelve days after the tour ended.) Infinity Chess has not revealed who won, how players finished, or made any of the games played in this tournament public.
Infinity’s website is strangely silent, and rumor abounds. Some of the players in contention for the prize money are claiming wins by default when their opponents failed to play at agreed upon times, that were not sanctioned by Arno Nickel. It is truly a mess. Unverified reports are saying that the remaining four Freestyle Masters Tournaments have be postponed until technical problems can be resolved.
To those who wish to defend Infinity Chess and the way they ran this tournament, please go to the chess forum or your own blogs. I am not going to debate or defend my opinions in this matter and will delete any comments that wish to start an argument.