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23rd Engine Masters

Victorious' Comeback

By Arno Nickel

For a long time, 21 tournaments, Victorious (Gerrit Hoogeven), enjoyed the unofficial title "All-time Engine Master", although it had been a long way back since he won his last Engine Masters tournament. He had won the 3rd and 4th EM, and came second in the 1st and 5th tournament. What a start at summer 2014, when Stockfish 5 was his favourite engine! But then for a very long time he could not repeat his great success and became (like most of us) some kind of average player. Even worse, Victorious could not participate in the 22nd Engine Masters, which meant losing his lead position in the All-time Table to Paul (Syed Asad Ali Abidi). Even more pleasantly was his comeback in the 23rd rapid tour of this series.

Round 10 was the turning point of the tournament, as our progression chart shows. From round 5 onwards HitmanOp (Eduardo Shimizo), had taken the lead with a +2 score, and in view of the high draw rate in this tour it felt like, he would be unstoppable, if winning just another game. Kibitzers noted that he won his games with a well-prepared English Opening (1.c4) beside the mainstream. Also with Black he opted for something special: the Nimzo-Indian against Queen's Gambit players. But this time, in round 10, Victorious created a strong attack and demolished Black's pawn structure, as can be seen by the following diagrams.

Victorious (2542) - HitmanOp (2529) [E26]

23rd ENGINE MASTERS, 12m+1s, September 1 Infinity Chess (10), 11.09.2016

1.d4 ¤f6 2.c4 e6 3.¤c3 ¥b4 4.a3 ¥xc3+ 5.bxc3 c5 6.e3 d6 7.¥d3 ¤c6 8.¤e2 b6 9.0–0 0–0 10.e4 ¥b7 11.¥e3 ¤g4 12.¥f4 ¥a6 13.¤c1 ¤f6 14.¤b3 e5 15.¥e3 exd4 16.cxd4 ¦c8 17.¦c1 cxd4 18.¤xd4 ¤xd4 19.¥xd4 ¤d7 20.¦e1 ¤c5 21.£g4 f6 22.¥b1 £e7 23.¥e3 ¦fe8 24.£h4 g6 25.¦cd1 £e6 26.¥d4 ¤d7