IGGA shame


On June 28th 2011 IGCA president David Levy shattered the (computer) chess world with the announcement that programmer Vasik Rajlich, world champion computer chess in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 with Rybka has been found guilty to have plagiarized the work of another chess program called: Fruit.

As a result Vasik Rajlich was banned for life, his 4 world champion titles were taken away, an ICGA press release followed that was picked up by the mainstream media containing all kind of juicy extensions untruths and half truths.

Four months earlier (februari 2011) IGCA president David Levy announced (using his words) a tribunal with the intent to name and shame people on the internet who were found guilty by a Panel for breaking rule #2 of the tournament.

While later the word "tribunal" was taken back (surely Vasik Rajlich is not a war criminal) the "name and shame" part was not and was executed as such effectively ruining a person's career. We will gladly return IGCA president David Levy the same favor, hence the title of this website.



Statements of critical

   chess programmers.

The biased composition

   of the Panel (jury) 


The Panel Cheat

The lie that Rajlich not


• The ICGA refusal of an


The myth Rajlich copied



Statements of dissenting (critical) chess programmers

To read some of the links you need to be

a member of Talkchess

  • Chris Whittington  games programmer and entrepreneur:
    There may be some anecdotal evidence for your model, but, as far as I can tell there is no good proof, just a groupthinky belief. Basically I think your argument is: Vas started with Fruit because he is a thief. Vas is a thief because he started with Fruit. Or, in other words, your argument is circular: the conclusion is the premise and the premise is the conclusion. More


  • Marcel van Kervinck  a Dutch software engineer and author of the chess program Rookie: Second, I would also like to inform you that with the knowledge I have today, I would have voted differently in the investigation process. More
  • and -

    This is a manufactured justification. A lot more people didn't follow the forum rules and that was just let go. Chris was excluded because he would undermine the purpose of the panel: to provide a case against Rybka. One member announced preliminary findings in a public forum. One member leaked discussions on a public forum. Half of the panel was discussing things behind the backs of the rest, despite the rules forbidding this. In retrospect, and from my point of view, that panel was just setup to lend credibility to the desired outcome, and nothing else. Link...

  • Ed Schröder  producer of the REBEL series and 2-times world champion:
    After 15 months of intensive research it's my final conclusion the accusers who investigated the Rybka chess program researched an original program. Strength is one aspect of originality and the way Rybka ruled (on equal hardware) was unprecedented in computer chess history. Rybka obviously was inspired by Fruit (which Vasik Rajlich never denied, even credited the Fruit author for) doing all the same things other (good) programs also do, only way better. Rajlich revolutionized computer chess, dominated the computer chess rating lists for almost a decade till the Stockfish community effort took over. The ICGA verdict and ban are uncalled for. Link...


  • Sven Schüle  a German computer scientist and author of the chess program Surprise:
    This kind of statement has now been repeated by Bob approximately some thousands of times. So frequently that most people seem to have accepted this as a matter of fact, even many programmers who had doubts about it before. I also believe that Zach has done a great work by no doubt. I just do not share his final result, which is most important here. More


  • Miguel A. Ballicora  an Argentinean Biochemist and Associate Professor and author of Gaviota:Your question is a very good question. Taking ideas from one source? many? is it the same? I do not know, and probably there is no simple answer for ICGA purposes, but the question is relevant. The problem is, rule #2 is terribly worded and was designed eons ago with only cut&paste clones in mind. The part that says "e.g. programs that play nearly the same moves" (or something like that) is extremely naive. Let's suppose that I write a program following Ed's document about how rebels plays. That would probably be a program that is 80-90% identical. There was zero code copy because I did not even see it. Is that ok? I believe yes... what would be the difference if I saw the code? More


  • Dann Corbit  an American programmer and computer chess expert, tester and advisor:
    My main complaint is with the process of fault-finding itself. I think that the design of the process was flawed and with a flawed process flawed decisions are far more probable than via correct process. I do not expect the majority of chess programmers to agree with me or with my analysis. My opinion is mine alone but I wanted to say something since it appears to me that a bad process has been used to reach a final decision that affects a man's career in a significant way. More


  • Uri Blass  an Israeli mathematician and author of the chess program Movei:

    Rybka is not designed to be a copy of fruit and you cannot show me a big similiarity in the analysis between rybka and fruit that is a strange similiarity between different engines. More


  • José C. Martínez Galán - a Spanish computer chess programmer and author of Averno:

    People is not condemned for doing unsual things. To condemn someone, to be able to say you have proven guilt, you must refute even the most unusual possibilities. Otherwise, the "in dubio pro reo" must be applied. More

  • Charles Roberson  an American computer scientist and chess programmer author of the chess engines NoonianChess, Telepath and Ares and as ICGA panelist during the official voting: I think the key to the Fruit eval issue is whether or not they both could have been inspired by other previous open source code and open technical discussions. On this issue, I've found some of Zach's paper to be incorrect as to the originality of Fruit's eval. I am working on a report to fully detail my thoughts.

  • Sergei Markoff  a Russian chess programmer and author of SmarThink:
    As the Rybka source was never published, the only possible thing to do with disassembly is to say that it contains a code that compiles at the same instuction sequences. But it's not a prove of direct copying of the code. More

  • Chrilly Donninger an Austrian chess programmer famous for his Nimzo and Hydra engines: I was looking at the dissassembled Rybka code. Its definetly not a Fruit-clone. See also my other postings to this topic. Link…  and - I have looked in the code and found no direct similarieties with Fruit. Both use PVS, but almost all programms (besides SOS) use PVS. Thats no argument for a clone and of course no argument that is no clone. According my inspections are the board-representation, the movegenerator, the eval and also the search different. Its unavoidable that there are some general techniques like PVS in common. Link...

  • Daniel Shawul an Ethiopian computer scientist and civil engineer and author of Scorpio:

    Jose, of course you and the lawyer are correct. You just have to look at the panel members to see it was a case of defamation for perceived personal gain (one way or another). I don't need a village jurist to explain me what is clear as the day. Link... and on the question: Was the ICGA decision bad? he answered: Yes ofcourse. Mob justice is never good. Link...

  • Ken Thompson an American computer scientist, inventor of UNIX and the first Endgame Databases, winner of the 3rd World Computer Chess Championship 1980 in Linz: if rybka-3 had been entered in its first icga event, i would say it was not derivative. Links [ 1 ]  [ 2 ]

  • Matthew R. Brades an English chess programmer author of various chess engines such as Magic, FruitFly and Dorpsgek: All of the "Rybka is Fruit" stuff is a lie. I side with the "Rybka is an original program" side, but with a twist. Link... 

  • Martin Sedlak a Czech software engineer and computer chess programmer of Cheng:

    The "evidence" is Wegners' and Watkins' wet dream. Especially the PST part is utter garbage. Link...

  • Ronald de Man a Dutch mathematician, lawyer, inventor of the Syzygy bases, author of Sjaak and Cfish: When I first read about the investigations I assumed he was guilty. I had not followed computer chess for some years, but I remembered reading about Rybka reporting incorrect node counts. Things seemed to add up.

    Since then Bob has convinced me that the process leading to the "verdict" was severely flawed. This is my main gripe.

    In addition, the evidence I have seen is not very convincing in my view. I do not contest that the similarities in the eval are not coincidence, but we all know that Vas took inspiration from Fruit. The question is not if he looked at Fruit (which we can prove), but whether he took "too much". That depends on the one hand on what he did exactly and on the other hand on what Rule 2 really means. Link...  


The biased composition of the Panel (jury) Members


  1. Following the ICGA charter a Panel (jury) was installed to investigate the allegations against Rajlich and report their findings to the ICGA (judge) to rule. The Panel contained 34 people approved by the ICGA Secretariat (Mark Lefler, Robert Hyatt, Harvey Williamson). The first action of the Secretariat was the rejection of a well-known critic of the Rybka allegations. Realizing what kind of justice was to expect Ed Schröder resigned from the Panel.
  2. Of the 34 people approved, ten were a) not chess programmers and thus were not qualified to judge the technical evidence or b) were affiliated with programmers having an interest in a guilty verdict.
  3. Of the remaining 24 chess programmers, seven of them were direct competitors of Rybka, namely the authors of chess engines Junior, Critter, Stockfish, Komodo, Hiarcs, Shredder and Rondo.
  4. Three of these seven programmers stood to become retroactive world champions following a guilty verdict: Zach Wegner (Rondo/Zappa), Stefan Meyer-Kahlen (Shredder), Mark Uniacke (Hiarcs). And all 3 voted guilty. And all 3 became world champion.
  5. Because of the irregular nature of the panelists no judge would allow a jury with such a concentration of vested interests. Also we can not think of any sport organization that allows the silver and bronze medalists to judge the gold medalist, except the ICGA.


The Panel Cheat

Following the ICGA charter [3g] it was the job of the Secretariat (which included a member of the Hiarcs team that stood to become retroactive world champions following a guilty verdict) to produce the Panel Report which should reflect the deliberations of the 34 Panel (jury) members as written in the (hidden) WIKI forum, 214 posts in total. The Panel Report served as information for the ICGA in the role as judge to rule and speak the final verdict.

Many things are wrong in the Panel Report, the ICGA was ill informed, misled by the conspiring Secretariat. The “Report” misrepresented the Panel, was not reviewed by the 34 Panel members, added extreme punishments that the Panel was not aware of, had not suggested and had not even been asked to provide and failed to mention the “derivative, meaning of” extensive and key discussion. To add insult to injury the Secretariat fraudulently added the Panel signature as Authors. The “Report” was not the consensus if the Panel. The “Report” was the extremist position of the fancy named, controlling “Secretariat”.

We will only address the 2 most important cheats of the Secretariat:

1. The lifetime ban of Rajlich. Overruled by the FIDE ethic commission after Rajlich filed a complaint.

Otherwise, by imposing a lifetime ban as a sanction against Mr Rajlich, in absence of a clear statutory basis and without sufficient procedural guarantees for Mr Rajlich, the ICGA did not act in accordance with FIDE rules, this way violating par. 2.2 and 2.2.10 of the FIDE Code of Ethics.

- ICGA has to be sanctioned with a warning and has to be invited to modify their statutes in accordance with FIDE principles and rules.

Tromsø, 10 August 2014
The Chairman of the FIDE Ethics Commission
Roberto Rivello

2. The stripping of Rajlich's 4 world champion titles of 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010

From the ICGA charter:

The purpose of the Panel shall be to:

[a] Investigate and discuss allegations of cloning or creating a derivative of strategy games programs;

[b] Report to the ICGA as to the veracity or otherwise of such allegations;

[c] Make recommendations to the ICGA as to what action if any should be taken against those found by the Panel to have been guilty of cloning or creating a derivative;

[d] Publish the findings of the Panel.

It's clear from the charter it's the job of the 34 Panel Members to decide to what actions should be adviced to the ICGA and following [3g] of the charter it was the job of the Secretariat (Bob Hyatt, Harvey Williamson, Mark Lefler) to produce the Panel Report which should reflect the findings of the 34 Panel Members.

It's not what happened, in fact the the most severe action (to strip Rajlich from his 4 world titles) came from only one unknown Panel Member, not even known by Secretariat member Bob Hyatt and yet the recommendation to the ICGA is mentioned in the Panel Report of the Secretariat. As such (to strip Rajlich from his 4 world titles) is not the opinion and recommendation of the 34 Panel Members.

On the contrary, looking at the Panel deliberations on the WIKI forum we see the opposite, 3 people mention the subject and were not in favor of stripping titles and THAT FACT was not mentioned by the Secretariat in the Panel Report.

Panel quotes

Bob Hyatt - What should happen if Rybka is found to be a derivative by the ICGA board? Difficult to say. It is never easy to rewrite the history books and withdraw titles. And if Rybka is eliminated from those tournaments, who becomes the new world champion for those years? A Swiss tournament is really not very good at providing a clear #2 in every tournament. If there were a playoff for 1st, one might make a case, but I am not sure whether trying to rewrite history is worth the effort.

Gerd Isenberg - I'll suggest to declare Fabien Letouzey as member of the Rybka team until WCCC 2009, assuming Fabien agrees with that.

Mark Watkins - As for what action(s) should be taken regarding all this, I again note that I am not an ICGA member, and they are certainly more competent to decide, but in general I agree with Gerd (and some of Bob's comments) that as little as possible should be done with the re-writing of history

These are the only 3 comments made in the voting thread. Instead the Secretariat prefered the opinion of one anonymous Panel Member. Whether intentional or not, the ICGA was misled.

Two other Secretariat failures:

1. In the WIKI forum there are 2 polls about the technical part, there is no third poll asking the 34 Panel Members for their opinion about possible sanctions following the charter stipulations [1c] and [3g] an obliged task, but not executed.

2. We asked several people from the Panel if they were offered the Panel Report for review before sending it to the ICGA. All said no. But the day after the release of the (so called) Panel Report David Levy contacted Rajlich and faced him with the (not checked) (so called) Panel Report.

click to enlarge

Asking the Secretariat members how on Earth the red marked recommedation to strip Rajlich from his 4 world titles against the wish of 3 Panel Members possibly could end up in the Panel Report to the ICGA we got the following feedback:

Robert Hyatt - It came from one Panel Member unknown to me. And "I did not write that sentence".

Mark Lefler - Ed, you seem to think the Secretariat are not themselves panel members. They are panel members.

Harvey Williamson - Ed, please direct any further questions you have on this matter to Jonathan.

Note that "Jonathan" as mentioned by Harvey Williamson is Jonathan Schaeffer the new ICGA president. From the 3 statements it's impossible to conclude what really happened writing down the Panel Report, Mark Lefler's reply might indicate it was the decision of the Secretariat as a whole but the feedback from Robert Hyatt excludes that scenario.

Panel Members are invited to contact me via the contact form or otherwise that

may shed new light on this dubious Panel Report.

The lie that Rajlich did not cooperate