The real computer championship is the TCEC that has been taking place about twice a year, because practically every halfway decent engine participates and all the engines are running on the same hardware. (Season 8 will start in mid-August.) This event, which carries the unfortunate title of a world championship, is different and absurd. It was won by a program named Jonny; a good program to be sure, but one which ranks only 20th on the TCEC rating list (scroll down that page), 33rd on the somewhat outdated SSDF list, in the 50s on the CCRL list and on the IPON list Jonny ranks a glorious 71st.
Well then, all this just means that the Jonny programmers did some stupendous work to improve their program, right? Not exactly. They just brought nuclear weapons to a gun fight, and still only won by a hair. Jonny scored an undefeated 7/8, half a point ahead of Komodo. (Stockfish wasn't there, which already makes it a fake world championship, as that program has taken first or second in the last five TCEC tournaments and is always flip-flopping with Komodo for the top spot on the rating lists.) Jonny beat Komodo in their one head-to-head game, in which it had white and won in 158 moves. Oh, and while Komodo ran on 24 cores, the second-heftiest total in the tournament, Jonny ran on 2400 cores. One suspects this may have played a role in the outcome.
It's hard to see what the point of this event is, or at the very least why it should be called a world championship. Maybe if it's called a "freestyle" event or has some other moniker that suggests that it's an "anything goes" competition that would be fine, but a prestigious title like "world champion" shouldn't be available when the software isn't on a level or at least a very nearly level playing field. Anyway, the Jonny programmers should be congratulated on their superior ability to buy or rent computer hardware.
HT: Brian Karen.