For many people, when they search for information on atomic chess they're bound to come upon Vlasov's ATOMIC-HOMEPAGE. The crowning achievement of this webpage is the innumerable people that have been introduced to atomic by reading that webpage. But it's also a bit empty and one is left wondering... Who exactly was Vlasov?
Vlasov was an old player at GICS (German Internet Chess Server). GICS is where atomic was first introducted in 1995 and Vlasov was one of the very first to play atomic chess. Obviously, he had a passion for it. I don't think anybody can deny that. After all, he created the best known page about atomic chess up to this point.
I don't know what happened to Vlasov. But I owe him some thanks for creating his page.
Statistics for Vlasov (Last disconnected Fri Nov 20 1998, 14:26 CET): rating RD win loss draw total best Blitz 2010 52.7 142 210 57 409 2116 (01-Mar-96) Standard 2050 121.7 12 2 2 16 Lightning 1743 48.2 70 76 9 155 1833 (18-Jul-96) Wild 2122 107.5 22 2 1 25 2122 (05-Sep-96) Bughouse 2404 235.5 26 0 0 26 2404 (28-Mar-96) Atomic 2081 46.7 83 31 8 122 2092 (20-Aug-96) Suicide 1544 215.5 0 3 0 3 1: Vlasov ist nach ueber 2 Jahren Abstinenz wieder auferstanden. 2: Danke an OliB 3: Wer kennt mich noch von frueher ?
The focal point of Vlasov's page is the Atomix opening book. This is what most people looked at when they went to Vlasov's page, the opening theory for atomic. But that's not what I like about it. The theory itself is bad for the most part but wonderful for a historical perspective on who played atomic when it was first begun.
But first, who or what was Atomix? Atomix was the first atomic chess playing chess program. It was written by Peter "Nightrider" Schaefer, originally as an experimental program. The opening book that Atomix used to decide its opening moves was submitted verbatim to Vlasov who posted it on his page. This opening book was a remarkable accomplishment for its time. You have to bear in mind that all that was done in 1996 and 1997 -- they were basically writing theory as they went.
People have complained that the Atomix book was full of bad lines. I have to gently chide those people here. To better understand why the book is "bad", we have to look at how the Atomix engine itself was programmed. It used the book both as white and black and quite simply, the bad lines are in there so if the player played into one of them, Atomix would know how to win. Of course the downfall was that once in a while, Atomix would play those bad lines itself. But for the pioneering engine and the very first opening book, I don't think they did a bad job at all. I mean, something bad is worth knowing so you can take advantage of it if it's played against you and also so you won't play it. The book isn't really that bad as a learning tool... but bad to memorize for your openings.
Reading over the Atomix book, one might wonder how they came up with the names for certain openings. That's simple to answer. Those players were the ones best known or the ones that used those lines the most. Or they were the actual pioneer of said line. There's a lot to be said for being some of the first to ever play a new chess variant. Or at least being the first to record it all.
Statistics for Atomix (Last disconnected Wed Jun 11 1997, 1:56 CEST): rating RD win loss draw total best Blitz ---- 350.0 0 0 0 0 Standard ---- 350.0 0 0 0 0 Lightning ---- 350.0 0 0 0 0 Wild ---- 350.0 0 0 0 0 Bughouse ---- 350.0 0 0 0 0 Atomic 1603 44.2 6035 4526 225 10786 2011 (07-Nov-96) Suicide ---- 350.0 0 0 0 0 1: "atomix" 2: ein experimentelles ATOMIC-Programm von "Nightrider" Peter Schaefer 3: Eroeffnungsbuch von "JoelH" Jonas Hoffmann 4: Danke an "Pfiffigunde" fuer viele Eroeffnungstips 5: Tips und Bug reports, sowie Beitraege zur ATOMIC Eroeffnungstheorie sind \ immer willkommen; ausserdem such ich noch Sprueche (schlaue, dumme, \ witzige, geschmacklose...) 6: man kann mit mir reden; wer eine sinnvolle Antwort haben will, muss mir \ eine message schicken. 7: 8: Viel Spass ! 9: Danke auch an : Grobi , EinsNull
We can see that Atomix certainly got quite some playing time. It didn't connect again after June 11, 1997. The last revision of the Atomix opening book was January 22, 1997. 10,000 games between the time atomic was introduced and the last time it connected is nothing to sneeze at. Especially when you consider that they basically had to write a chess program to play a chess variant that was just released. This was the GICS (and original version) of Atomix. There was another copy (two actually) playing at MEWIS, which we'll read about later.
[First Edition : 22 March 2002 -- Nick Long]
[Last Modified : 05 April 2005 -- Nick Long]
© 2005 Nick Long