From October 25 - November 2, 1997, DARKTHOUGHT successfully participated in the 15th World Microcomputer-Chess Championship (WMCC '97). With 7.0 points out of 11 games (5x win, 4x draw, 2x loss) it finished the tournament on a shared 4th place as the best European amateur and overall 6th of 34 participants. In the accompanying speed-chess event, DARKTHOUGHT blitzed its way to a shared 7th place.
The beautiful ``Salon d'Honeur'' inside the historic building of the ``Palais de la Bourse'' in Paris (France) served as a fantastic playing hall. Media coverage of the championship was excellent again. Several French TV channels and newspapers reported about the tournament on a daily basis.The championship was hosted by the International Computer Chess Association in cooperation with the sponsors Advanced Micro Devices Inc., the Paris Stock Exchange, and Titus Software Corp. Thanks to generous financial support by the Institute for Program Structures and Data Organization (Chair Prof. Tichy) and the Gunther-and-Ingrid-Schroff Foundation (administered by the Dean of the University of Karlsruhe), we experienced no need at all to worry about our travel expenses. Furthermore, we succeeded in securing a super-fast computer for DARKTHOUGHT long before the championship tournament started. Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) and KryoTech Inc. shipped two of the then world's fastest workstations from the US to Paris. These ``speed demons'' boasted DEC Alpha-21164a CPUs running at 767MHz, 4MB L3 cache, and 512MB SDRAM main memory. Jeff Forsythe, a DEC engineer from Boston, USA, accompanied both machines to Paris and supervised their smooth operation during the games. Both companies paid for all the bills associated with this endeavour and shunned neither costs nor work to make it a gleeming success. We are most indebted to DEC and KryoTech for their fantastic support and hope to be able to repeat similar cooperations in the future. Thank you very much indeed, DEC and KryoTech!
The story how this cooperation developed shows the blessings of the Internet at their very best. In August 1997, Ernst became aware of KryoTech Inc. and their products while browsing some news articles on the WWW. By means of uncomplicated communication via electronic mail Ernst managed to contact Rob diGiacomo, then Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of KryoTech Inc., and to raise his interest in WMCC '97 within hours after his initial ``discovery'' of the company. KryoTech is an NCR spin-off and was founded in 1996. The company develops and markets cooling systems that allow for accelerated operation of CMOS devices. The according patents and the registered ``Cool Computing'' trademark were bought from NCR. KryoTech employs standard technology as known from household refrigeratos in order to cool state-of-the-art CPUs to -40 degrees Celsius, thus enabling flawless operation at roughly 30 higher clock frequencies than usual. Thence, the super-fast 767MHz DEC/KryoTech workstations contain no secret processors but they rather rely on off-the-shelf 600MHz DEC Alpha-21164a CPUs that get overclocked by 30% in a ``cool'' way. Both the cooling device and the main system fit into a common big-tower case such that these 767MHz ``personal supercomputers'' are not larger than according PCs. The chess program FERRET written by Bruce Moreland also ran on a 767MHz DEC/KryoTech speed demon during the whole tournament. FERRET achieved the same overall result as DARKTHOUGHT and finished the tournament on a shared 4th place with 7 points out of 11 games.
The championship as such proved to be a real ``bumper ride'' for our team - much like the one in 1996. After an unlucky start in the first round against the commercial program MCHESS (overall WMCC '95 champion), DARKTHOUGHT bravely fought its way back into the top crowd with 5 points out of the ensuing 7 games. But then we chose a much too risky opening and lost in round 9 against the French amateur program CHESS GURU that ran on a normal DEC Alpha workstation. Unfortunately, this loss completely cancelled our chances to win any championship title two rounds before the end of the tournament. Our truely grave disappointment could only be partially soothed by the nice games and victories of DARKTHOUGHT during the last two rounds against the Danish amateur program GANDALF and this year's commercial champion, the French program VIRTUALCHESS. Today, we feel quite happy about our third successful participation in three successive WMCCs (3x among the 7 best) and sincerely congratulate the 1997 champion JUNIOR and its creators from Israel!