This is part 3 of my looking back at the TCEC season 6 superfinal match between Stockfish and Komodo. Previous parts can be found at
part 1, games 1-8
part 2, games 9-16
After 16 games Stockfish led by 3-0 with 13 draws.
Game 17 started with an eval advantage for Stockfish, but after some exchanges the engines started shuffling pieces with very few pawn moves that were available. After a while Komodo sacrificed two pawns which allowed it to attack white's king, eventually forcing a 3-fold repetition. In game 18 Stockfish quickly equalized as black by sacrificing a pawn and opening up the queen side against Komodo's king (long castled). The evals showed a growing advantage for Stockfish within a few moves.
With so much firepower aimed at Komodo's king, mating threats at move 17, Stockfish was clearly in charge. Komodo started to lose material, first a knight for pawns, and then a rook for a knight.
This was game over, though it continued a bit until both engines had a high enough (negative) eval. A very impressive win for Stockfish especially considering the previous game. It clearly analyzed the opening much better than Komodo, from both sides of the board.
In game 19 Stockfish had an eval advantage out of the opening due to a bishop pair compared to Komodo's pair of knights. A few moves later after a bishop and knight exchange, Stockfish was a pawn up but with two pairs of doubled pawns, while Komodo had control of the center with a connected pair of passed pawns. Stockfish gave a rook for a knight to break the black center but this only led to a drawn ending of bishop and pawns against a rook. In game 20 Komodo went for an imbalance of BB vs R, which Stockfish thought was in its favor with white underdeveloped and the white king vulnerable in the center. After the queens were exchanged Komodo's pieces found more space and it built a fortress in the center for its king.
Cute !! After a few more moves the game was settled with 3-fold repetition.
Game 21 featured a bishop sacrifice by Stockfish in an attempt to expose the black king to attack. There followed many trades and threats on both sides, and in the end this was only good for a perpetual check draw. In game 22 Stockfish attacked as black, sacrificing a knight to open the h file against Komodo's king. Later Stockfish tried to put as many pieces as possible on the file, but Komodo used this to find a perpetual check on the other side.
In game 23 Komodo started with a pawn advantage as black, but it chose to give two pawns back to gain a connected pair of passed pawns. Stockfish sacrificed a knight to get rid of these pawns, leading to a drawn endgame of RR vs RRN with both kings exposed to check threats. The game was adjudicated before the perpetual checks started. In game 24 Stockfish kept the pawn and attacked the white king. Komodo exchanged pieces and successfully defended its king. As in the previous game Stockfish obtained a connected pair of pawns but only for a short while. The exchanges continued until there were only QR vs QR with no way to make progress for either side.
The result after these 8 games was 4-0 for Stockfish, which seems to be dominating this match. Komodo has not been able to find a way to win yet while Stockfish is constantly attacking and looking for chances.