Evgeny Bareev and Hiarcs X

G1: Hiarcs-Bareev 1/2
G2: Bareev-Hiarcs 1/2
G3: Hiarcs-Bareev 1/2
G4: Bareev-Hiarcs 1/2

View and download the games 1-4 | Official site >>>


No winner in Maastricht

The match between Russian number 7 of the world, Evgeny Bareev and the English program Hiarcs X, programmed by Mark Uniacke ended 2-2 after four draws.

English again in game four! But this time Mark Uniacke was prepared. He was a bit surprised by 1.c4 in the second game but on Thursday after the third game he checked a few possible English structures. And his preparation seemed to pay off: Hiarcs got a good position in a Tarrasch-like position.

After 16 moves the position was nearly equal, although white had some pressure on the centre. The English program showed a plus of about 0.80 but Bareev defended well and deserved the draw. “It was amazing that Bareev found a way out of the complicated position, Uniacke said after the game. Bareev: “I missed some good chances in the second game, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed the match against the computer. I had not seen any game of Hiarcs before the match!”

Play another day

Evgeny Bareev has played 13 games in the Corus Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee and had just one day to recover from that tour-de-force. On Tuesday the first game of his match against Hiarcs X started. His results so far (three easy draws) prove that it is not necessary to have a certain version of an engine weeks or even months in advance. Bareev: “I just play and really don´t care what the name of the program is: Fritz, Junior or Hiarcs, what´s the difference? I am a professional chessplayer, I just play”.

Mark Uniacke keeps on working on his engine, even in Maastricht :”Since Hiarcs 8 was released last year, I have made 196 new versions, this version in Maastricht is called Hiarcs 8.196”. I have been able to work full-time on the engine since october. I hope that Hiarcs 9 will be released this year. I do only release a new version when it is at least 40 ELO points stronger than its predecessor. And this Maastricht version is at least 60 points stronger than Hiarcs8. I would not mind to get the top spot on the SSDF list again”.

After 13 games in Wijk and two in Maastricht, Evgeny Bareev wanted to think of something else than chess. Your reporter and match director Hans Adriaanse joined Evgeny to see “Die another day”, the newest James Bond movie. Evgeny told me that he is James Bond fan:” I have at least 10 Bond movies on tape in Moscow”. Afterwards he smiled: “Hmm, no Russians in this movie, does that mean that we are not the bad guys anymore?”

In the third game, Bareev obviously did not want to be the bad guy with black. In an French Defence, Hiarcs chose another variation as in game 1, but could not get an advantage. The English program grabbed a pawn, but it was not difficult to equalize for black. After 36 moves Bareev offered a draw. Mark Uniacke accepted that offer. “I am a bit dissapointed that I could not get more out of the opening with white. I have been through a lot of Evgeny´s games, but it is hard to find a weak spot in his repertoire. His openings are sound and it is difficult to get an advantage.”

The last game will be played on Friday, 31 January, 13.00 CET. You can follow the games live on the website www.chessevents.nl

Strategic battle ends in a draw

Mark Uniacke arrived at the Centre Ceramique early to get his fast Athlon 2.4 Ghz with 1GB RAM started and to play a few blitz games with Hiarcs X against Hiarcs 8. It is obvious that the new version is stronger than its predecessor: Hiarcs X crushed his younger version 4,5-0,5. “I think that this new version is about 50-60 ELO points stronger than Hiarcs 8. I have been working full-time on this version since october. I am a bit nervous before the games start, you could say that I am the nervous part of the program!”, Mark Uniacke told us before the game.

Hiarcs has often played in the famous Aegon Man vs. Machine tournaments in The Hague in the nineties. Hiarcs played 30 games in “Aegon” and scored 18,5 points (62%). In 1997, during an exhibition before the last Aegon tournament started, Hiarcs 5 played games against Anand and Timman: both games ended in a draw.

GM Igor Glek (ELO 2576) came to Maastricht on Wednesday to help his good friend Bareev. They obviously prepared an English opening (very polite, since Hiarcs is an English program!) and after the new move 11…Be6 Hiarcs felt quite comfortable. The English program closed the centre and Bareev took the opportunity to take the initiative on the queenside. Glek thought that white was slightly better after 31 moves, but “it is difficult to find the correct plan. Black has a cramped position but maybe it is easy for computers to defend this position. It is a good position to play with white against a human player, but against a computer it is a different story. I can remember that I played against Fritz 3 in a tournament in Bonn in 1995. I thought that I had a winning position but Fritz found some incredable moves. I could not believe that the computer could hold the position.” Back to the game: Hiarcs tried to take over the initiative with moves like 36…e3 and 37…Nxb5. However, that gave some tactical chances for the 36-year old Muscovite. It was not enough to get a winning advantage though: the game ended in a draw.

On Thursday the third game will be played on 13.00 CET. The games can be followed live on the official website: www.chessevents.nl

You may also like to follow the games on the ChessBase server and chat with some friends about the game.


The first game of the Man vs. Machine match Bareev-Hiarcs X ended in a draw. Dick Klokgieters from sponsor Duwell opened the match at 1 PM CET. Bareev, playing black, chose the French Opening. Hiarcs avoided the exchange of queens in the middle game. After 25 moves black seemed to have a slight advantage, but Hiarcs could defend its position. Bareev thought that he was almost winning after the queens were exchanged, but he could not how a winning variation. “Well, let´s try again tomorrow”, Bareev smiled. Mark Uniacke was nor unhappy with the draw. “The exchange variation is drawish, but the open position is good for the computer. I don´t like those close positions with a Caro-Kann-Slav pawn structure, which are difficult for computers”.
You can find the game with analyses by Jan van Reek official website: www.chessevents.nl. The next game will be played on Tuesday, 13.00 CET. You will also find some pictures on the official website.

The Chess Events Maastricht Foundation announce the Man vs Machine Match between Evgeny Bareev and Hiarcs X. The four-game match will be played from 28.-31. January 2003 in the Centre Céramique in Maastricht, The Netherlands with classical time control.
The match is sponsored by Centre Céramique, ChessBase, DGT Projects, Duwell and Paradigit Computers.

The games will be broadcast on the websites http://www.chessevents.nl  and http://www.chessbase.com Well-known study composer Jan van Reek will analyze the games live with several computer programs and you can follow his analyses on the Chess Events Maastricht website. Human web cam Eric van Reem will provide the pictures during the event.