Overtom's weblog

DOES IT WANT TO WIN?  (13 february 2005)

In the weblog of 9 February ( click) you could read why the Excalibur Escort is not exactly a user-friendly chess computer. But we still have to see how well it plays chess.

Well, today I'll show you two games it played. The games are rather surprising, especially if we look at the way its opponent played.

If you read the weblog of 8 January ( click), you could have seen how Mephisto Maestro stalemated his opponent in a position in which even a beginner could easily have won. Let's have another look at this Mephisto Maestro and see if it performs any better against Excalibur Escort.



In the beginning of the first game, Maestro (playing black) seems to put up a good defense. But black's position gets weakened after the 18th move.

White's capturing of the black knight on his 19th move seems no more than a funny exchange of material: if the white pawn captures the knight on f6, the white knight at d6 is no longer defended. But this manoeuvre will land a white pawn on f6, which will eventually lead to black's ruin.

Excalibur Escort - Mephisto Maestro (30 sec/move)

The greatest surprise took place at the end of the second game. After no more than eleven moves, Maestro had reached a winning position.

On his 36th move, almost any continuation would have won the game for white, for instance: 36. g8Q Ke1 37. Rg1+ mate. But what did Maestro play?

36. Kd2 stalemate!!

Mephisto Maestro - Excalibur Escort (30 sec/move)

I wonder if Mephisto/Saitek shouldn't do something about the program of this computer. Or would this really be the first chess computer that has mercy on its opponent?

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