Monday, September 2, 2013


By , Guide
Rybka is the brainchild of computer programmer and International Master Vasik Rajlich. Though he first started working on the program in 2003, the first beta version was released in 2005 (though some extremely early versions were submitted to tournaments as early as 2004, with predictably poor results).
However, once Rybka was officially released, it was clear that it was among the strongest chess engines in the world. By 2006, Rybka was in the running at every competition it entered, including the World Computer Chess Championship, where it took shared 2nd place behind Junior.
In late 2006, Rybka 2.2 was released, and this version of the program rose to the top of the computer rankings. That program, and future versions, would go on to win four straight World Computer Chess Championships from 2007-2010, making it the gold standard of chess engines. While other engines have been stronger at various times (most recently, Houdini has surpassed it on most computer chess ratings lists and beaten Rybka in high profile matches), Rybka has been constantly refined and improved in order to keep it at or near the top for the last five years. The most recent release is version 4, which was released on May 26, 2010.
Controversy and World Championship Ban
Throughout the life of the program, there have been some detractors that have questioned whether Rybka utilized code that originally came from Crafty, Fruit or other chess engines. In June 2011, the International Computer Games Association ruled that, at the very least, early versions of Rybka were plagiarized from Crafty and Fruit, a clear violation of ICGA rules. As a result, Rybka was stripped of its championships, and Rajlich was banned from entering future programs in the World Computer Chess Championships.
According to Larry Kaufman, who helped develop Rybka, the ruling was likely correct in regards to Rybka 1.0. However, the program has changed substantially from then, and current Rybka versions have little or nothing in common with Rybka 1.0, Crafty, or Fruit.

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