17 January 2012

The Rybka Affair: An Official Reaction

Back in July 2011, I ran two posts on the Rybka disqualification from the World Computer Chess Championships: The Rybka Affair (on my WCC blog) and The Rybka Affair (on YouTube) on this blog. The disqualification was based on a report:-

Rybka Investigation and Summary of Findings for the ICGA
Mark Lefler, Robert Hyatt, Harvey Williamson and ICGA panel members; 12 May 2011

You can find the full report on the web by searching on its title. The heart of that document is its second section:-

  • 2. Investigation
  • 2.1 Executable file analysis
  • 2.2 Sudden Strength Increase
  • 2.3 Statements by Vasik Rajlich
  • 2.4 Comparisons with other programs

After the Rybka team, the main target of the accusations was certainly Chessbase. After taking six months to investigate the original complaint, the German software company issued its position in a four part series titled 'A Gross Miscarriage of Justice in Computer Chess' by Dr. Søren Riis:-

  • Part One: Summary • Introduction • History of Rybka • The ICGA’s investigation and outcome

  • Part Two: A paradigm shift in computer chess • How to succeed in programming without really trying • On the matter of "plagiarism" • Playing similarity testing of computer chess programs • What defines an original program?

  • Part Three: Evaluation: a tale of two programs • Feature Overlap: garbage in, garbage out • Dots amazing: the case of the errant ‘0.0’

  • Part Four: Piece-Square Tables: sound and fury signifying something • Dr. Hyatt’s explanation • Variations in C-Sharp • The small window of opportunity argument • The ICGA’s problematic handling of the case • A subjective view of what really went down

A week later Chessbase posted on the immediate reaction to its report

In contrast to the legions of hot heads blowing hot air on this subject -- from both sides -- Albert Vasse of DGT, offered an objective approach.

I suggest you take the case to the FIDE Ethics Commission. The FIDE code of ethics is applicable to the ICGA, as an affiliated organisation to FIDE. The Ethics Commission can investigate and rule on any complaint that is brought to [their] attention.

I've written about that body in the past (see FIDE Ethics) If either side pursues Vasse's suggestion, it would be the most important case the Ethics Commission has considered to date. The ICGA plans to issue a detailed response to the Chessbase report and I'll come back to the subject after it has been released.

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