Dedicated Chess Computers

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Leiden Tournament 2015 (Part 3)

Written by Hans Van Mierlo
Edited | 03/26/2015 | by MMO
Last edited | 02/04/2016
Additional Information:  
Other Information:
Reference to cite: Van Mierlo H, Leiden 2015 Part 3, ChessEval Journal, October 2015

The Tournament was reserved to the computers below 2200 ELO active chess.

31st User Tournament Leiden Announcement

The CSVN organizes again a user tournament on Saturday, 17 October 2015.
We start at 10:00, so we invite you to be at the premises on time.
The location will open at 9:30. At 17:00, we will close with the prize giving ceremony.
For those who want to participate, please send an email to Luuk Hofman, Duivendrecht, Monday 5 October the latest. The email address is
There is, as usual, no registration fee.
If you like to participate but you do not have a good chess computer, it is possible to arrange one for you. And if you only want to watch, you're welcome too!

Rules of the 31st User Tournament

Maximal playing strength for this edition is 2200 ELO.
The playing strenght is according to the “Aktiv” norm of the Wiki list.
In principal only listed computers with a rating less than or equal to the above mentioned playing strength can participate:

Because of the limited time the time control for the tournament is 30 minutes per game per computer.

To have special computers (not on the list above) participate, the tournament leader can decide to let this computer play. It must be clear that the computer does not exceed the above mentioned playing strength.
Participation is with a dedicated chess computer, which means a computer specially made to play chess. E.g. with a wooden or plastic board or a portable chess computer. Other forms, e.g. a laptop with chess program, are not allowed.
The user can always offer a draw.
The game is lost for a player who's time has run out.
An external clock will be used and if necessary external chess boards, The organisation will take care of that.
It is allowed to set the level at the beginning of the game. It is also allowed to change the level during the game, unless the computer is thinking.
It is not allowed to force the computer to move.
Robot computer can be an exception for the clock due to their slow behavior. For a game with a robot computer the internal clock of that robot computer is the clock to use for both players.
The tournament leader will decide in all other cases.

On the last day before the Tournament, two players cancelled their participation:
- Geert Roelof van der Ploeg who was very sick. We wish him all the best and a prompt recovery.
- Maurice van Leeuwen who drove with Geert Roelof and had a family issue.
Eight players remained.
Hans van der Zijden asked if he could join with his own program Gadget.
After a vote, we decided to welcome him in the tournament.  
Finally, there were 9 participants.
To have an even number of computer participants, I decided to bring also the Berlin 68000 beside the SPARC.
This raised the number of computers in the competition to 10.

Leiden User Tournaments are always a good opportunity to meet other collectors.
The discussions are very enjoyable.
We are in turn teachers and pupils and it is always great to discover something new or to help somebody to discover a new way to evaluate chess computers.
Mostly all the discussions are around chess computers.

That was the first time we had a tournament including computers below 2200 ELO.
The level was high and there was some excitement at the idea of the competition.
We knew it would be a close combat until the last round.
Swiss system. Precision and fair arbitrage...
However, Hans van der Zijden made a small error of evaluation ....
After 3 rounds, the Vancouver defeated Gadget with 0 to 3... a disaster...
After 6 rounds, there was no winner.

The games of the three favorites: SPARC, Star Diamond and Vancouver

We played each side 30 min for the game, and with an external clock on the side.
In such a way that the operator can set time management as he wants or he can choose other settings only when his computer have moved> Interrupting the thinking process is not allowed, of course.

Some German players joined us as well: Olaf Jansen and Heinz Gert Lehmann with the Milano Pro and the Vancouver 68000.

Since I decided to bring 2 computers, the SPARC and the Berlin 68000, I was feeling the time pressure to play with both of them.
The SPARC was a BIG disappointment:
- against Gadget, it got one win;
- against the Star Diamond, it was played away;
- against Deep Sjeng, SPARC was in a winning position when the flag dropped;
- against the REV II Diablo,  SPARC was unable to recognize a dangerous pawn.

To be honest, I expected more success from the SPARC: it played some openings with a fiasco.
At this moment, it became clear for me that it was playing bad openings: if a computer does not understand the opening it will play or plan it the consequences could be dramatic.
Example: versus Star Diamond, it played Na6??, when everyone knows that the Knight must be played to d7 to avoid the e5 pawn push...

The Berlin 68000 performed better: until the last round it could have taken the second place, but a draw versus SPARC was not giving a 2nd place, but a 4th place.

The Winner, the Star Diamond, was oustdanding in this tournament and deserved to win the tournament.

For the second place, the surprise came from a Prototype TM Machine Almeria on 20mhz operated and own by Ruud Martin.
A truly nice and rare computer to see.

Also at the second place was the Vancouver 68000 who played the last round versus the Star Diamond and lost.

More info here:

1Novag Star Diamond0x½ 1 1 1  1 1 5.5
2Mephisto TM Almeria0½ x½ 1 ½ 1 1  4.5
3Mephisto Vancouver 16 bit00 ½ x 1 1 1 1 4.5
4Mephisto Berlin 6800000   x½ 1 1 ½ 1  4.0
5Revelation 2 Diablo00 0 ½ x½ 1 1 3.0
6Mephisto Milano Pro0½ 0 0  x½ 1 1 3.0
7Resurection Deep Sjeng00 0 0 ½  x1 1  2.5
8Saitek Sparc00  ½ 0 ½ 0 x1 2.0
9Fidelity Elite V200 0 0 0 0  x1 1.0
10Gadget00 0 0 0 0 0 x0.0

Leiden 2015

Leiden October 2015

User computer Tournament - ELO Max 2300

Leiden October 2015

User computer Tournament - ELO Max 2300

The Three Winners!