Friday, August 14, 2015


Welcome to my new TCEC Experience blog. This is my first post (ever) and I will try to explain what this blog is about.

What is TCEC?
TCEC - Thoresen Chess Engine Competition - is a computer chess tournament organized by Martin Thoresen. The Wikipedia page contains information about the format and the history of the tournament. The main page of TCEC broadcasts the games when they are played. It also links to an archive of all previous games and tournaments, a facebook page for news, the rules of the tournament, a chat box for live comments and more. If computer chess interests you, I urge you to visit the TCEC page.

Are you a chess professional?
Far from it! I have basic chess knowledge and haven't played games since I was a young boy. Simple chess engines defeat me regularly. Watching games on TCEC and reading what experts have to say has added a lot to my chess education.

Watching computers play chess is boring !?
I agree it is a bit strange. Ever since I started watching TCEC (season 4, 2013) I found that chess could be a spectator sport, and the live broadcasts can be highly addictive. It helps that TCEC lets you see what the two engines are planning, their evaluation of the position and how hard they're thinking. The human commentary and fans shouting in the chat box adds to the overall experience. Try it: you may find that it's not boring at all.

What about humans playing chess?
Watching TCEC has increased my interest in normal 'human' chess. The big tournaments usually have live broadcasts and human commentary from real experts as well as computer analysis. It can sometimes get very exciting but usually for 'human' reasons. When players get into time pressure they can blunder terribly, things you don't see in computer chess. Another feature is when one player prepared a line and plays instantly while the other has to think a lot. Computer chess also has its annoying elements, such as an engine playing many meaningless moves without realizing that a position is drawn even though it has some small advantage in material or position. All in all I prefer the computer version. Also, I think it is agreed now that computers play better than humans.

What do you plan to post here?
The 8th season of TCEC is starting in a few days. I hope to have time to watch the games and to post my impressions. Since games are played 24/7 I will not watch everything live, I do have a family and a job I would like to keep. If I have time I may post reports of archived games from previous seasons that I enjoyed watching.

Why not use the TCEC chat?
In the chat it is too hard for me to write and to keep up with all the discussions going on. A blog lets me control what I want to say, and I have the time to say it. It also allows keeping a page on a specific game or topic, so it is possible to return to it later, where in the chat it is very hard to go back to what was written yesterday or last week.

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