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    Entries in TCEC Season 13 (8)

    Thursday
    Nov082018

    Stockfish Wins TCEC 13 Superfinal, 55-45

    Stockfish has won yet another TCEC, but the margin is closer than what we saw in the last two TCEC Superfinals. Stockfish beat Houdini 59-41 in season 11 and beat Komodo 60-40 a few months ago, so Komodo's "only" losing by 10 games this time is an improvement. Stockfish achieved 14 of its 16 victories with the white pieces, while Komodo scored five of its six wins with White.

    The TCEC homepage is showing random silliness at the moment, so the best way to access the games from the Superfinal is via the TCEC archive page, here.

    Monday
    Nov052018

    Monday Summary: All Draws in China, Few Upsets in the Women's World Championship, Computer Chess Updates

    The Shenzhen Masters (aka the 2nd DT Cup) is super-strong, but, so far, not super-interesting. All six games in this six player double round-robin have been drawn, and no one has even come close to enjoying a decisive advantage. There is one game I would point you to, however, and that's the round 2 contest between Ding Liren and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. MVL did a nice job of defending rook and three pawns vs. rook and four pawns, and did so all the way to the end with rook and one pawn vs. rook and two. Normally this wouldn't even be worth mentioning, but you may remember that during the Olympiad there were players who really should have known and done better losing similar endings. Normally GMs show the requisite technique, and annotators everywhere pass over the game, or that stage of the game, with minimal commentary (if any). The olympic failures (pun intended) remind us that the technical task isn't trivial, so it's worth paying attention when someone demonstrates the right way to do the job, as MVL did.

    The first round of the FIDE Women's (knockout) World Championship ended today, and as one would expect from the first round of a knockout most of the favorites advanced. There were three reasonably significant upsets, though: Mo Zhai of China overcome a rating difference of 129 points to defeat Russian star Olga Girya 2-0, Jiner Zhu (also of China) beat Georgian Lela Javakhishvili 2-0 despite the latter's 98-point rating advantage,  and the biggest upset was Iranian Mobina Alinasab overcoming a 259 rating point deficit to defeat Elisabeth Paehtz 1.5-.5.

    Both matches featuring U.S. players went to tiebreaks, and both tiebreaks were decided 2-0 in favor of the higher-rated player. American Irina Krush thus prevailed 3-1 over the slightly lower-rated Ukranian player Inna Gaponenko, and her reward is a pairing with defending champion and top seed Ju Wenjun (of China, of course). The other American, Sabina Foisor, lost her tiebreak playoff to former women's world champ Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria.

    TCEC: The Top Chess Engines Competition is near the end of its 13th season, and Stockfish is close to clinching. After 86 of 100 games it leads Komodo 46.5-39.5, leading 12-5 in decisive games. (Both engines won all but one game with the white pieces.)

    Chess.com's Computer (blitz) Championship: Stage 2 is a bit past the halfway point, and Stockfish leads with 70.5/94. Houdini is in second with 68/94, Komodo is in third with 57.5/94, and Lc0 has 56/94. As the top 4 engines progress to the final and the fifth-place engine is already 9.5 points behind Lc0, it's a pretty safe bet that the top four will be in the final four.

    Friday
    Nov022018

    Computer Chess Championships Update

    The TCEC Superfinal is 70% finished, with Stockfish leading Komodo 8-2 in decisive games, with 60 draws. (It's probably also winning game 71, which would make the overall score 39-32.)

    As for the Chess.com Computer Chess Championship (blitz edition), Stockfish is leading the second stage with 34.5/44. Houdini has 31.5/44, Komodo 27/44, and Lc0 has 26.5/44. The 5th-place engine is Ethereal, with 23.5/44, so it's looking like the big 4 with advance to the final stage, which includes, conveniently enough, the top four finishers from this stage. Komodo did relatively poorly in the first stage, but still easily finished in the top 10 to qualify for this stage. Its poor score was apparently due to a bug in that particular development version, and now that it has been fixed it's back ahead of Lc0, though not by much.

    Friday
    Oct262018

    Seven Lead at the Isle of Man; Status Quo Everywhere Else

    1. There were lots of draws at the top in round 7 (of 9) at the 2018 Isle of Man International. The six leaders drew their three games, and only one of the nine players entering the round half a point out of first managed to win. Thus Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Arkadij Naiditsch, Hikaru Nakamura, Jeffery Xiong, Wang Hao and Radoslaw Wojtaszek remain tied for first, now with 5.5 points apiece, and thanks to Michael Adams' win over Abhijeet Gupta he too shares the lead.

    Of the leaders, only Vachier-Lagrave had anything like serious winning chances, but the board was such a mess he preferred the safety of a speedy perpetual. On move 21, it was better to be greedy and recapture with the king, and even after that it wasn't necessary to repeat. That's easy to say with a computer running, but that it's easy doesn't make it false.

    In the next score group, both Vladimir Kramnik (against Vladislav Artemiev) and Richard Rapport (against Gawain Jones) should have won, but they didn't. They're still very much in the hunt with two rounds to go; here are the pairings for round 8:

     

    1. Vachier-Lagrave (5.5) - Wang Hao (5.5)
    2. Naiditsch (5.5) - Nakamura (5.5)
    3. Wojtaszek (5.5) - Adams (5.5)
    4. Kramnik (5) - Xiong (5.5)
    5. Jones (5) - Aronian (5)
    6. Giri (5) - Rapport (5)
    7. Anand (5) - Artemiev (5)
    8. Parligras (5) - Grischuk (5)
    9. Karjakin (5) - Sethuraman (5)
    10. So (4.5) - Shirov (5)

     

    For those who occasionally ask how the top players would do in open tournaments, and if their ratings are protected by their playing mostly amongst themselves, see for yourselves. Except for So, the nine super-GMs are all no more than half a point out of first, and even So, who is having a relatively poor event - the worst of the bunch - is only down 7 rating points for the event.

    2. Game five of the Svidler-Shankland match was drawn. Shankland got nothing from his last white game, and will have to win the last game with Black to tie the match. Game five of the Fedoseev - J. Van Foreest was drawn, just like the first four.

    3. TCEC Superfinal: 26 games are finished, and Stockfish leads 3-0 with 23 draws against Komodo. Only 74 games remain.

    4. Chess.com Computer Chess Championship, Blitz edition. It has been a while since we updated this one. As suggested in the post's title, though, there's nothing new to report, except that more games have been played and we've all aged. Stockfish leads with 92.5/102, five points ahead of Houdini. Lc0 has played one more game, and has 79.5/103, while Komodo is battling with Ethereal and Fire for fourth, not far behind Lc0. All three engines have played 102 games, and Ethereal has 77.5 points while Fire and Komodo have 77. This is just stage 1, with the top 10 engines making it to stage 2 and then the top 4 from stage 2 playing in the third and final stage. So...it'll be a while before it's all over.

    Tuesday
    Oct232018

    Tuesday Roundup: Shankland-Svidler, TCEC 13 Superfinal, IOM (Updated)

    A quick recap, especially since many of my readers will be watching game 1 of the World Series tonight and/or the HBO special mentioned in the previous post.

    Let's start with the TCEC 13 Superfinal. It's already 4-2 in Stockfish's favor against Komodo (only 94 games to go). The reason I'm mentioning the match again is that games 7 and 8 are (and will be) King's Gambit Accepteds, to coin a word, so they should be entertaining.

    Game 3 of the match between Sam Shankland and Peter Svidler was drawn, making it 1.5-1.5 at the halfway point. Svidler has White in game 4. On the undercard between Vladimir Fedoseev and Jorden Van Foreest, game 3 was also draw--that's three for three so far.

    Finally, the round 4 results at the Isle of Man tournament were pretty conventional. Among the perfect scores, Jeffery Xiong drew with White against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, while in the other two games the higher-rated player had White and won: Wang Hao against Erwin L'Ami and Arkadij Naiditisch against Pavel Tregubov.

    The highest-rated players in the 2.5 point score group - Levon Aronian, Wesley So, Alexander Grischuk, and Sergey Karjakin - all drew, but plenty of other 2.5 pointers won. And the top players who were on 2 points all won: Anish Giri, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, and Hikaru Nakamura, in each case with White.

    Here are the top round 5 pairings:

     

    1. Wang Hao (4) - Naiditsch (4)
    2. Vachier-Lagrave (3.5) - Parligras (3.5)
    3. Rapport (3.5) - Xiong (3.5)
    4. Gupta (3.5) - Vidit (3.5)
    5. Aronian (3) - Kovalev (3)
    6. L'Ami (3) - Giri (3)
    7. So (3) - Melkumyan (3)
    8. Grischuk (3) - Short (3)
    9. Shirov (3) - Nakamura (3)
    10. Karjakin (3) - Sevian (3)

     

    There are six more boards with 3-pointers, but we'll leave further 3-pointers to the NBA and call it a post.

    UPDATE: The correction has already been made above, which is that all three games of the Fedoseev-Van Foreest match have been drawn.

    Monday
    Oct222018

    Monday Recap: TCEC 13 Superfinal Underway, Svidler Catches Shankland, IOM Continues

    Time for a quick look at the landscape. First, the TCEC Season 13 Superfinal is underway. Stockfish beat Komodo in game 1, with White, and the game 2 rematch with Black will be drawn sooner or later, even if it takes the 50-move rule to put the game out of its misery. Only 98 games to go, after this one.

    Sam Shankland won game 1 of his six-game match with Peter Svidler yesterday; today, Svidler returned the favor; both players won with White. Svidler had a small edge out of the opening, but Shankland's errors on move 20 and especially move 21 landed him in a lost position. A bit of carelessness by Svidler no move 30 gave Shankland a brief chance to survive, maybe, but his 31st-33rd moves put an end to Black's hopes.

    At the Isle of Man, once again the very top players went undefeated, but - once again - didn't win all their games. (I believe that one and only one 2700 lost in round 3 - see below.) Now, after three rounds, only six players still have perfect scores. Here are the top pairings for round 4:

    1. Jeffery Xiong (!) - Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (who had his birthday today; he's 28)

    2. Wang Hao - Erwin L'ami

    3. Arkadij Naiditsch - Pavel Tregubov

    Lots of great players have 2.5, including Boris Gelfand and Levon Aronian, who are paired on board 4. Other stars with 2.5 points are Wesley So, Alexander Grischuk, and Sergey Karjakin. The lowest-rated player in that scoregroup is young superstar Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, who drew Peter Leko in round 2 and beat Pavel Eljanov (2703) in round 3. (He'll have Vidit in round 4.)

    How tough is the tournament? Anish Giri, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, and Hikaru Nakamura are all stuck on 2 points apiece.

    Thursday
    Oct042018

    TCEC Season 13 Finale: Stockfish vs. Komodo

    Coming soon to an internet near you.

    Thursday
    Sep062018

    TCEC Season 13: The Important Stage Begins

    The current format for the Top Chess Engine Championship (TCEC) - the de facto computer world chess championship - is a series of round robins where lower-rated engines compete for slots in the next round-robin up. The preliminary rounds are over and now it's the last round robin, where the big three - Stockfish, Komodo, and Houdini - and some other elite engines and the qualifiers from below duke it out for the right to play in the Superfinal. That's reserved for the engines that place first and second, which will almost certainly be Stockfish in the #1 spot and Komodo or Houdini at #2. We'll see if that's right, and you can follow the action here.