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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ljuba Danielovna Kristol

     Ljuba Kristol (May 26, 1944, Leningrad) is a Russian-born Israeli International Correspondence Grandmaster and Woman International Master. She grew up in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and has lived in Israel since 1976. 
     She won the ICCF Women's World Championship in correspondence chess on two occasions: between 1978 and 1984, and between 1993 and 1998 and is a five-time OTB women's champion of Israel ( 1978, 1982, 1984, 1988 and 1990). She was awarded the Women's correspondence GM title in 1990. 
     Her opponent in this game is ICCF Senior IM Pablo Buj (born 1933) of Argentina. Buj was involved in a controversy in 1983 during the finals of the 11th Postal World Championship in his game against Erich Thiele. 
     After black's 81st move the following position was reached: 
Buj (to move) vs. Thiele

      This endgame is of some interest to endgame study composers The outcome depends on whether the Bs are the same or opposite colors. This ending also arises occasionally in practice as in this game. 
     In this position Buj submitted analysis claiming he was winning, but the game was adjudicated a draw leaving Buj very unhappy. Databases now confirm the win, which is relatively straightforward, taking only 18 moves. Today, after two minutes, Stockfish evaluates this position as a win for white and out of curiosity I ran a Shootout at 15-23 plies. Stockfish scored 5 easy wins for white.
     When today's game (Buj vs. Kristol) was played, one might wonder how much of a part computers may have played. In 1994 the Chess Genius program was entered in a Professional Chess Association rapid chess tournament where it defeated and eliminated world champion Kasparov, but lost to Viswanathan Anand in the next round. This was the first time a computer had defeated the world champion in an official game even if it was a rapid one. 
     At the Intel World Chess Grand Prix in London in 1994 Chess Genius achieved a rating performance for the tournament of 2795. In an article in 1994 comparing Chess Genius with Fritz, GM and computer chess expert John Nunn wrote, "(my) own opinion is that if raw playing strength is your dominant criterion, then go for Genius". 
     By 1999 Chess Genius had dropped out of the top ten on the Swedish Chess Computer Association rating list and eventually disappeared. 
     Even as late as 2004 when Correspondence GM Robin Smith published his Modern Chess Analysis he advised that giant hash tables and huge amounts of memory didn't get you much and that speed was more important. He added that 256 megabytes of RAM should be sufficient and describes 512 as "plenty." 
     Programs that he considered excellent were commercial programs like ChessMaster, Chess Tiger, Fritz, Hiarcs, Junior, Rebel and Shredder while freeware programs like Crafty, Ruffian and Yace were also excellent. Chessbase and Chess Assistant databases were also recommended. 
     In any case, as late as 2004 Smith was showing that among top level correspondence players, the use of engines were mostly of value in checking for tactical blunders because the engine's positional and endgame play had glaring weaknesses that any competent correspondence player could take advantage of. 

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