The 1st Derek Oldbury Memorial 'Man v Machine' Open
"Annotated games from the tournament"
This was a 7 round freestyle quick-play tournament
held at Bristol on September 10th 1994 organized by
Richard Pask. 21 players took part including four
computer programs, Checkers (Gil Dodgen), Colossus
(Martin Bryant), Hustler (Derek Oldbury) and Sage (Adrian
The results were as follows, 1st Colossus 13/14 pts,
2nd Checkers 11/14, 3rd Sage 10/14, 4th Tom Landry 9/14.
The computers dominated the event as was to be expected
as both Pat McCarthy and Bill Edwards were unable to
attend and Richard Pask was operating Derek's Hustler
The two pre-tournament favorites were therefore
Checkers and Colossus which were drawn together in the
very first round! Checkers played a published loss on
move 10 but Colossus later missed the win, allowing
Checkers to scrape a draw by Petterson's drawbridge.
Colossus then went on to win every game (including a
real demolition job on Sage in the 5th round), but
Checkers allowed two more draws (one against 15 year old
Danny Martin). Sage started well with 4 straight wins but
then after losing to Colossus in round 5 also went down
to Tom Landry in round 6.
Thus Colossus ran out the winner by two clear points.
This is even more impressive considering that Colossus was running on a mere
33MHz 486DX, whereas Checkers was on a 90MHz Pentium(!!) and Sage was on a
The tournament was sponsored by the BDF and the EDA
and also contributions from the computer programmers. It
is hoped that the tournament will become a regular
11-15 23-19 8-11 22-17 9-13(a) 17-14 10x17 19x10!?(b)
7x14 25-22 4-8 27-23 11-16 29-25 2-7 22-18 6-10 18x9 5x14
24-20?(c) 16-19 23x16 12x19 26-22 17x26 30x16 14-18 31-26
13-17 21x14 10x17 16-11 8x15 25-21 18-23 26x10 7x14 20-16
17-22 28-24 22-26 24-19 14-18?!(d) 19-15 26-30?(e) 32-28?(f) 30-26?(g) 15-10 18-23 16-11 26-22 11-7 23-27 7-2
27-32 2-6?(h) 32-27 6-2 27-23?(i) 28-24 23-27 24-20 27-23 2-7 22-18 7-11 23-27 11-7 27-31 7-2 31-26 2-7 26-22 7-2
18-23 2-7 23-27 7-2 27-24 2-7 22-18 Draw
(a) Colossus loves the tactical complexity of the Laird
and Lady (Mixed) opening, always ready for a fight.
(b) And Checkers does not disappoint by choosing the
Black Doctor! Derek would have approved!!!
(c) All sound to here but now Checkers falters. This
given to lose in BDP & 25-22, OMTD 23-19.
(d) 26-31 19-15 1-6 wins outright avoiding the trickier
(e) The remaining play, by two of the strongest computer programs in the world, shows the tremendous difficulties they still have with these 4x4 endings.
I checked the play with Chinook's 8-piece databases and it states that this allows a draw whereas 26-31or 18-23 still win.
(f) But Checkers gives the win back! 15-10 draws.
(g) And Colossus says "I don't want it!". 1-6* wins.
(h) Checkers once again falters. 28-24* is forced to
(i) "no... really... you keep the draw...". 22-18 wins.
9-14 22-17 11-15 23-19 7-11(a) 25-22 5-9(b) 17-13 11-16
26-23 16-20 30-26 2-7?!(c) 21-17 14x21 29-25 21x30 19-16
12x19 23x16 30x23 27x2 20x27 32x23 8-12?(d) 23-19 10-15 19x10 6x15 13x6 12x19 22-17 1x10 2-7 10-14 17x10 19-24
28x19 15x24(e) 7-11 24-28 10-6 28-32 6-1 3-8 11-16 8-12
16-11 White Win
(a) I was disappointed to see Sage choose the Whilter as
it always seems to me to be too drawish.
(b) pp gives 11-16 first but this move order seems
(c) But this is very weak! When Colossus started pitching
the pieces after this move I initially wondered what
the hell was going on. It can be very unnerving
operating your own program!
(d) And this loses. BDP correctly gives 3-7 as Black's
only sound draw.
(e) Now into Colossus' new 6-piece endgame databases.
Richard Pask was watching as this endgame evolved and
started discussing with another player if it might be
a win. I told him Colossus now knew it was so. He was
Many people on both sides of the Atlantic have asked
me when I will be releasing the latest version of Colossus to the general public as it is now clearly the
strongest PC program available. Well the new release will
be called Colossus '94 and will hopefully be available
sometime in October. What most people don't know is that
I have also been working on the Chinook program with Dr.
Schaeffer in preparation for its aborted match with
Tinsley in Boston. It was this 'distraction' from my own
program which caused a delay in its being launched
However the delay will be well worthwhile for
everyone. Colossus' book database (and now Chinook's
too!) contains nearly 84,000 moves! This entire database
has been 'verified' by Chinook. Where errors in pp were
found they have been corrected and also all of Chinook's
own cooks have been added to the book!! In return for the
book database, Chinook donated its 6-piece endgame
databases to Colossus, some 2.5 billion positions online!
Needless to say the new Colossus is formidable! Watch
this space for announcement on pricing/system-requirements etc in the near future.