Freestyle Champion Anson Williams (r.) in Benidorm 2007 together with World Champion Vishy Anand, who always had an open mind about Advanced Chess.
Statement by Anson Williams (Intagrand)on the InfinityChess server, April 10th, 2014.
(Right after the battle was over...)
"A grueling contest it was! Who could have imagined that 30 online entities from so many nations could have held it all together for 29 rounds over ten weeks without a controversial event or player dropping out? Really, it is all quite unprecedented for Freestyle chess, which is rightly thought of as a kind of ‘lightning correspondence chess’. Honors to everyone who made it happen. We made history!
Our team consisted of myself, Anson Williams and Yingheng Chen, the only woman Freestyler in the world that we know of apart from Iweta Rajlich. Nelson Hernandez (‘Cato the Younger’) has been an invaluable help in developing our book and formulating opening strategy for nearly ten years now, but his participation during games, as always, is limited mostly to being a spectator and offering commentary on how other games are going. A new member of our team, David Evans (“Ultra-D”) provided top-notch hardware and opening strategy as well. Both Nelson and David played important parts in some of our games.
The level of play in this tournament has been extremely high, a round of applause to everybody. Tonight we can sleep for the first time in ages without having nightmares of losing rounds and losing the top spot!
[From Yingheng]: I would like to thank everybody for the games. It's been an extremely well run tournament and I thoroughly enjoyed it."
Nick Carlin captured these words "for posterity" and posted it few minutes later on the Rybka forum, where Anson added two instructive tables.
But let's first see the top standings as shown in the tournament room:
(Please note that the Freestyle rating evaluation has been revised in between. The k-factor used here is too high, which means too extreme ups and downs.
Also has the elo Freestyle database completely been reworked (cf. the "International Freestyle Top 20, May 2014" on Infinity Chess).
Here are some of the users' comments:
"Congratulations to Nelson, Anson Williams and Yingheng Chen. I went through Intagrand's games. They are really good and I like their style. They always found a way to put the pressure on their opponents. Great fighters."
"Yes a well earned victory by Intagrand. kudos to Alvin on 2nd place. great tournament!"
Thomas A. Anderson:
"Also some cudos from my side.
First ones goes to the organisers, Arno did a great job, especially in the beginning of the tour he must have been rotating in his chair many times.
Thanks goes also to the sponsors for making it possible to get such an high-class event possible.
Intagrand played very strong chess, playing through the games was a real pleasure. Almost anytime the team found a way to keep the pressure high, any many times high enough to win the game.
Alvin, playing single if I get it right, also worth a big compliment. I know what it means to play alone, very hard work, even with strong hardware. Also considering his time zone, outstanding job.
Regina_H.Milch, while dont know much about him, getting 11 Wins deserve respect in anyway. Also much pressure in his games and obvisouly he was taking risks for loosing two games.
Makr Sabu: Being undefeated in that tournament speaks for itself.
Juan Molina: Has won 4 games against top 12-players, top perfomance!
Fajs Bojan: runs a 3-4-3 series against top 10 players, great show!
Matthew O'Brien: Would have deserve more than the last place. Great to have someone like him on the tour, inspiring chess, amazing different attitude and playing style than most of the other players.
Looking forward to see more of this event in the near future"
Banned for Life:
"Wow! That was a hell of team you guys put together!
Congratulations, but I am most impressed with Alvin's results, as I suspect that he was working with much less impressive resources..."
"A well run tournament it was also great to see the players play the tour in good spirits' and that no body dropped out of the tour which is fantastic considering the length of the tour.
i can only hope this is the beginning of a renewed cycle of top notch freestyle chess.
i also found that with increasing engine strength and massive strides in hardware it is much more difficult to find clear advantages in games.
Congratulations to those who placed high enough to take a prize.
"Intagrand rented my 24 & 12 core, Alvin rented my 16 core.
I'm pleased both did so well, although of course this event was about far more than just the hardware."
"We are going to have to put you on retainer, Carl."
When's the next tournament?
"TBD, but as soon as it is you'll be hearing from a lot of people!"
"Yes, you should open an auction, to maximize profits."
"Congrats to everyone participating and especially for those who made it in the prize money!.
I really enjoyed the tournament and the professional way it was organized by Arno and his team.
I will make a tournament report this weekend and see if I can post it here.
BTW Seeing the hardware specs of my opponents, I'm even more happy with my 5th place (using 6-core PC)."
"Congratulations again to team Integrand a well deserve victory and worthy champion.
I had a very good run in the tour. At some moments I felt that I can win it and confident so was able to maintain the high level of play. The players are extremely strong especially the finalist! I had some good chances to win some of my games but the players simply give stiff resistance and never gave up.
During the course of the tournament I traveled four times (3 UAE & 1 India). So almost got into trouble in one of my games, I played that game in airport parking area!
The tournament is also very punishing to me as I need to play in off-hours between 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM.
I owe my resources and would wish to give BIG thanks to Carl Bicknell aka werewolf (16 core intel), Peter Zsifkovits aka coffeeone (24 core opteron), Ahmad Saifuddin Yasin aka aku1gm (mid range PC's) and Vasid Chouhan/Munish Gupta (Sicilian ctg series books).
High praise with the organizers especially GM Arno for successfully running the tour!"
"Well done, Alvin. You certainly gave Intagrand a run for their money."
"Freestyle chess from a car park maybe this could be a new event.:)"
"loooool... i have one more. I had trouble with my internet connection so was in danger of defaulting my game (game just started) due to bad connection in IC server. So I run, brought my laptop with me then knocking/banging my neighbors door gave a BIG smile and beg to give me wifi access to his internet connection because I'm playing an online game hahaha. It's good thing I printed the tour details so I was able to convince him easily!
I solved this problem in my next games by getting two ISP (sim card's) as backup."
"Ability to deal with extreme adversity is the hallmark of a champion. I'll never forget the time years ago when Anson's main computer had a hard drive go "spronnnnngggg" minutes before a tournament game, forcing him play on a lesser machine while he simultaneously was figuring out what happened, swapping out the defective hard drive and installing Windows on his main machine! During the game I had no idea all this drama was going on; when I heard the news afterwards I was stunned. We won that day."
"Glad you were able to resolve your internet issues Alvin. My family did ask me to do chores and stuff when I played at the house of my family sometimes. Never anything too distracting happened though...
My motherboard fried, my computer died at a time where backup laptop computer was stuck at a sibling's friend's house with the streets covered with 2 1/2 ft of snow, some of my book theory was lost, and my grandmother died early in the tour. Besides that, and a few bad openings, a few bad opening choices, a few bad time management decisions, relaying moves incorrectly twice, and the fact that I've tied for last place in my third straight invitational chess tour (and I've only played in three invitational chess tours) is slightly a bummer. And oh yeah, OMG, chess can be a long game. And 29 rounds is a long time. A 6 piece endgames should be autodraw. And time trouble is a bummer, switching between windows. And even worse when you get Oovoo and IM popups in time trouble given that my backup computer is my sibling's computer sometimes. But if I'm not going to win, then enterprising chess is not so bad. And being compelled to play 30 moves in book as Black is a bummer, I mean that good moves is a premium over creativity a bit. Especially when you have good knowledge of creative lines in chess, knowledge can be a dangerous thing, the priority is to play sound and well. Plus it's really tough to win a good position and can be emotionally frustrating when you have 100 lines to a draw and none quite win --- and then you get time trouble --- and then play something crazy without analysis --- and my chess engines are worse than normal relative to the competition --- and thus implode. But by the end I understood my engines better and how to compensate for this. Then again, different less theoretical lines are possible sometimes. It would have been nice to play against something other than the Sicilian Najdorf, although my theory is really, really, really good there at this point and I expect I could and will win there (and did win a few past, albeit a bit luckily given maybe not the best move orders) in future games even at comp chess.
And besides, everything else was good, and there winning a few games by the end, not losing in symmetrical openings at all, finding lots of ideas in the Najdorf, working out a few kinks in my KID repertoire and realizing that it's impossible to play for my opponent to make significant mistakes lots of times in the Najdorf and KID because the theory is too well developed. And such theory has to be followed lots of times. Taking the initiative in some positions is bad sometimes. I am sure what I learned can be lucrative in future, somehow, and was beginning to show positive results in my play by the end of the tour. Of course I learned a lot of useful stuff from my games and the games of others, although I only prepped and studied most of these games near/at the end of the tour.
I think I will write a tour report blog on chess.com, because I write too much, and I'm happy to contribute slightly to the annals of chess history, to see a few lines in the Blumenfeld die and other inferior openings I do not intend to ever play again, and given I have a national aka noob master title, maybe a few thousand chess stalkers I mean peeps will see it."
"I have one - right in the middle of our game I took a 30 minute phone call from my 16 year old daughter who needed some urgent advice about her latest boyfriend, she never knew I was managing a game of Freestyle chess at the same time
"I have another one - at the start and right through my game with Anson i was helping my daughter with her homework."
"Congratulations Anson!!! There was never any doubt in my mind."
"I am proud to have played and finished in such an historic event. Everybody will remember the first one. I can imagine even stronger ones coming in the future as Freestyle becomes more popular. The Centaurs spent approx. 87 continuous hours at the keyboard total!
I have some suggestions on future events and I am sure many others do too.
1. Make a Grand Prix year long type of contest made up of 12 monthly tours.
2. Limit the time a player may use "engine only" to about 10% of total games. This allows for emergencies, (which I had to use also), but encourages more Centaur play. The reason is that it is not as fun for the player when he/she is just playing an engine stand-alone.
3. Go back to the 60 + 15 format.
Again, congrats to all the organizers, sponsors and players."
First of all, congrats to team intagrand for a hard earned victory.
this was my first experience with freestyle chess and I gotta say, I was very impressed with the level of preparation, determination, and commitment displayed by all the players over the 3 months of competition. I think we had only one player drop out over the 3 months and he was quickly replaced . also, who can forget joboy, who despite being hospitalized, managed to complete all his games and narrowly missed a win in the final game to finish tied for 10th. also special mention goes to all alvin whose games didn't start until 10pm and lasted sometimes until 2am in the morning, yet he still managed a second place finish (amazing alvin)
personally, I had a pretty good run in the tour. I had many chances to win games but I fell short too many times due to stiff defense from players and unfortunately, a few move input errors. (ugggh). also gotta say, I'm pretty happy I only lost one game and was able to scramble for draws in 3 games where I was objectively lost.
at times the tour became quite challenging especially when it overlapped a trip to Dallas TX. and I was forced to use engine mode for 4 games. thanks goes to my dedicated friend for filling in for me on these days, and also fixing a computer crash that required completely reloading the fritz gui only minutes before the game was too start.
In a final note. after reading the specs of the other players pc's, I am even more amazed and proud to finish tied for tenth using only a quad core (intel 3570k oc 4.3) . I enjoyed the challenge of playing such big silicon and of course, it made my wins that much sweeter.
special thanks goes td arno and all your hard work to make the tour so special. also thanks to gm lutz for your work on the game reports .and of course. special thanks to the sponsors and infinity who made it all possible in the first place.