First, unlike previous seasons the tournament will be hosted by chessdom. I'm not sure what that means in practice, perhaps the hardware will not be in Martin's appartment. Judging from the last few months one effect is that communication with the community has suffered. The season start was postponed with no explanation, and similarly for announcements made regarding schedule. In previous seasons the process was much more open to the public, the chat was filled with discussions about engines, openings, the format etc. There were even public polls to help decide specific format questions. Things seem to be more official now, I hope this doesn't affect the entertainment value of the tournament.
And now, the list:
- The chat will erupt in furious arguments about various topics: How many plys should openings have? Should there be fixed openings at all? Is using tablebases good or bad? Change the adjudication criteria! Shorter or longer games? Stockfish or Komodo? Open source or commercial? Are Houdini/Rybka/Ippolit/other the good guys or the bad guys?
- The chat will be hit by trolls, some annoying, others amusing.
- Angry responses from fanatic Stockfish fans if it loses, god forbid.
- Engines will crash in a few games in the first stage, really annoying the crowd and causing an unfair advantage for the engines they happen to be playing.
- There will be a tight race for the last places of the first and second stages, only for the engines that manage to squeeze in to be crushed in the next stage.
- The finalists will be Komodo and Stockfish. How far Houdini can go (no update in two years?), how much has Gull improved, will there be a surprise in the top engines, all remains to be seen.
I am looking forward to all this and more, as the live site now says: season 8 is coming...