After a nice tournament last year (7th/19 in Mainz 2005 with 4/7),
Pharaon 3.5 was back to business for this new (and stronger) event.

When the organizers announced they will provide us with some powerful dual processor laptops,
it was clear for me that I had to make a 'Deep' Pharaon version for the event,
and I used a lot of time before the event to make a SMP capable version of Pharaon, and to remove the usual 'bugs'
(the most fascinating one was to see the engine losing on time each time it was about to mate the opponent... :-)

The day before the event we had access to the laptops and they were quiet fast.
Running in dual mode, Pharaon was 40% faster then my (big) Athlon 3400+...

Round1 : Deep Pharaon - Anaconda 1/2-1/2
It was a long time I have not played with Anaconda (Maastricht 2001 ?),
and I was very pleased to meet Kai again.
Anacondo took the advantage in the opening,
then Pharaon fight back to reach a promising rook endgame ... that ended in a draw (as usual :-).
When analyzing the game, I didn't find a way for white to take the advantage in the endgame.

Round2 : Naum - Deep Pharaon 0-1
The game remains unclear until move 25/27 when Pharaon eventually took the only open column with its rook .
Few moves later, in the following position:

1k6/p1pp2p1/1pn1p3/4P1qp/2PPRrP1/PPN4P/1K4Q1/8 w - -
White (Naum) to move

30. Qe2? made it easy for black.

Round3 : Deep Pharaon - Loop List 1/2 - 1/2
At the beginning of the game, Levon Aronian took a quick look a the position:

r1qn1rkb/pppbp1pp/2np1p2/5N2/4B1P1/2BP4/PPP1PP1P/RNQ2KR1 b KQ -
Black (Loop List) to move

and said he didn't like White that much ... so I was quite happy when few moves later Pharaon took a draw by perpetual check.

Round4 : Jonny - Deep Pharaon 1-0
Jonny played strongly the opening to reach the following position:

1r1b1rk1/p2p2B1/1p2q1p1/2pb4/5p1P/1P3P2/P1P3P1/QK1R1N1R b - -
Black (Pharaon) to move

Here black played the interesting 17. ... Rf6 !?
offering the quality to reduce the pressure on the a1-h8 diagonal.
Here is the position after the 'sacrifice' :

1r1b2k1/p2p2B1/1p2qrp1/2pb4/5p1P/1P3P2/P1P3P1/QK1R1N1R w - -
White to move

It seems that the best move here is ... not to take the quality !
but to keep the pressure (18. Bh6 looks interesting for white) .
Jonny played 18. Bxf6 which gave Pharaon some counter chances.
In the endgame Pharaon was outplayed by Jonny.

Round5 : Deep Pharaon - Patzer 1-0
A good game by Pharaon ... and a revenge of the previous game won by Patzer...
Waiting for the third game ('la belle' in french)...

So at the end of the first day Pharaon had 3/5. Not bad.

In the evening I watched the Anand - Radjabov match.
Anand is a fascinating player, he won the rapid match with Radjabov 5-3,
(he may even have won with a wider margin), playing some brilliancies like in game 3:

r2qkr2/1b1n1p2/p1p1p2p/1p2P1pB/2pP4/2N5/PP3PPP/R2Q1RK1 b q -
Radjabov with white has just played 16. e5

Anand played : 16. ... Qb6!! (how long a program will take to find this move ?)
and after :
17. Ne4 O-O-O
18. Nd6+ Kb8
19. Nxf7 Rxf7
20. Bxf7 Nxe5

1k1r4/1b3B2/pqp1p2p/1p2n1p1/2pP4/8/PP3PPP/R2Q1RK1 w - -
Position after black move 20. ... Nxe5

programs start to understand that black is better...

Round6 : parSOS - Deep Pharaon 0-1
parSOS may have missed a draw in the endgame:

2k5/p7/Pp3p2/6pp/2pK3n/4RP2/2P2P1P/6n1 w - -
White (parSOS) to move

43. Re6! (instead of 43. Kd5?) would give some drawing chances...

Round7 : Deep Pharaon - Tornado 1-0
For its first tournament, Tornado scored a good 3.5 points.
Next year he can be the good surprise of the tournament.

Round8 : Shredder - Deep Pharaon 1-0
My favorite game in the tournament!
The funny thing is that in most of the game (first 60 moves or so), both programs were happy with their position :)
(Pharaon eval up to +1.0, and Shredder eval up to +2.6)
Last year Pharaon get blasted by Shredder (because of a bug in its rook mobility evaluation),
so I was expecting a good fight this year, and I was more then happy with the game.
If you make a rapid look of the game, it seems that white has a good attack on the black king,
an opinion shared by some strong players I discussed with after the game.
During the game I was pessimistic about Pharaon chances, waiting for the decisive blow by Shredder,
but nor Shredder neither Pharaon found this tactical breakthrough.

So after a series of checks by Shredder:
56. Qf8+ Kc7
57. Qc8+ Kd6
58. Qd8+ Kc6

1R1Q4/6p1/1pk2p2/p1ppnP2/3b4/Pq6/7P/4R2K w - -

the position seemed drawish (for instance after 59. Qe8+)
Shredder played a risky move in the above position :
59. Rc8+
and after the forced sequence
59. ... Kb5
60. Qxb6+ Kxb6
61. Rb8+ Kc6
62. Rxb3
we reach the following position:

8/6p1/2k2p2/p1ppnP2/3b4/PR6/7P/4R2K b - -

where black has the advantage!
few moves later, in this position:

3R4/3n2p1/1b1k1p2/p4P2/P2p4/2p5/6KP/2R5 w - -
(black has just played 68. ... Bb6? , although the black bishop must control the a3 square !)

Shredder played the nice sack :
69. Rxd7+
and black is simply lost !
I do not know how long it will take for a computer to see that 69. Rxd7+ is winning (with a > 2.00 score for white).
Pharaon is simply missing the endgame knowledge here.

Round9 : Deep Pharaon - Ikarus 1-0
Ikarus has done very well in this tournament,
and even after losing this game it finished at a very nice third place.
it also performed very well in recent tournament (WCC blitz champion...),
Deep Pharaon won the game and finished with 6/9, which was a good surprise...
and a good start for the 'Deep' version.