Table after 47 rounds
Houdini's lead over Komodo is down to 1 point, and things are getting exciting. Komodo's success against the top half of the table this RR is paying off now that Houdini is facing these opponents. Komodo had 7.5 points from the last 8 games, first draw this RR. Houdini had only 6.5, already 4 draws this RR against strong opponents. Stockfish with a solid 7 points is third, and at this rate I don't think it can catch up with Houdini, especially since their opponent list is almost identical.
In the second group Jonny had a 7.5 score, closing the gap to Fire. Ginkgo is now 2.5 points behind, it probably won't be able to close this gap.
Games that caught my eye
Stockfish - Nirvana: Stockfish gave a rook for a bishop, partially exposing the black king to attacks. It seemed Nirvana could hold its position but when Stockfish got a rook behind the black line its evals started to climb rapidly. Nirvana gave the material back and soon lost a piece, and Stockfish converted the RN vs R ending to a winning 6-man rook ending with connected pawns.
Komodo - Protector: Protector left its king almost unguarded in a QRN vs QRB position, when its pieces tried to attack the white king. Komodo used this to capture a few pawns and exchange down to a winning rook ending.
Hannibal - Komodo: Hannibal stopped Komodo's wining streak with this draw. The game wasn't very interesting, evals stayed close to 0 with a gradual piece exchange until reaching a tablebase draw.
Protector - Ginkgo: Ginkgo's eval was at 0 from move 12, the position was a RRN vs RRN at move 22, the game ended in 3-fold check repetition not too long after that.
Nirvana - Houdini: Most of the queen side was cleared by move 17. Both engines couldn't get an advantage in the game. Houdini tried a pawn storm on the king side, nothing came out of it and evals stayed low. The game was adjudicated in a QRN vs QRN position. With this draw Houdini does not extend the lead, it is 2 points ahead of Stockfish and Komodo.
Naum - Fire: Fire won as white but only got a draw as black. Naum had an eval advantage out of the opening, Fire's eval dropped to 0 after the queen side became locked. A series of exchanges opened up the position and Fire was a pawn up, but with only RB vs RB left and opposite color bishops the game ended in a draw.
Ginkgo - Hannibal: Both engines did not want to fight in this game, evals were at 0 from move 9. There were still many pieces on the board, an advanced passer for white, an exposed white king open for attack, yet the engines chose a quick repetition draw. Ginkgo is falling behind Jonny and Fire, but also had a tougher set of opponents so far in the second RR.
Komodo - Rybka: The queen side pawns were gone by move 18 with a drawish position. Rybka weakened its king side and Komodo found ways to use its queen and bishop to threaten mate while taking control of the center. Finally after a series of exchanges the position was a won 6-man queen ending. Komodo continues to impress this RR, but it still needs Houdini draws to get closer to the leader.
Rybka - Ginkgo: Rybka had material advantage up to three pawns, offset by Ginkgo's threats on the white king. By move 33 the position was QRN vs QRN with Rybka one pawn ahead, and the game was heading for a draw. As the 50-move rule was approaching Ginko's eval started to rise. It had Rybka's knight in a pin and found a way to attack it with all three pieces, more than Rybka's available defenders. The resulting QN vs Q ending took another 30 moves but it was a clear win for Ginkgo, well done.
Fire - Stockfish: Fire had the opening advantage but Stockfish defended well and did not let Fire develop anything substantial. The game reached a rook ending with pawns only on the king side, another draw. Stockfish losing 0.5 points to Komodo and Houdini.
Houdini - Fire: Houdini had an eval advantage out of the opening, and the advantage started to increase from move 30 until reaching almost 2, clearly Houdini was winning. Fire's king was under attack while on the queen side it had two connected passers. Houdini got the passers exchanging a rook for two minors to get a QBN vs QR position with pawns only on the king side. In this position Fire's queen started to harass the white queen, and though Houdini refused to exchange it couldn't hide. When the queens were finally gone the engines just shuffled for 50 moves until the draw. Great defense by Fire.
Ginkgo - Komodo: Ginkgo thought it had an advantage, very dangerous when playing Komodo. It left its king exposed in a R for BN imbalance, and then saw a chance to capture the black queen. This was a mistake as Komodo's eval's jumped immediately. In the resulting QR vs RBB position Komodo had a pawn on the 2nd rank and a strong bishop pair for support and attacks on the white king and queen. Ginkgo's situation became hopeless very quickly. Komodo reduces the gap to 1.5 points.
Jonny - Vajolet2: Jonny managed to equalize despite the bad opening and had a pawn advantage for a short while. Vajolet2 gave up its bishop pair to regain the pawn and reach a QRB vs QRB position, and then the engines shuffled for 80 moves to get to a draw by repetition.
Gull - Stockfish: Gull thought it had an advantage, Stockfish calmly defended and got the evals to 0. When only bishops were left Gull's eval increased a little, prolonging the game until it reached a tablebase draw. Stockfish dropping back to 2.5 points behind Houdini, 1 point behind Komodo.
Fire - Nirvana: The engines exchanged pieces quickly and got a check repetition by move 30.
Houdini - Gull: The position was closed and the engines exchanged pieces gradually. On move 62 it was just RB vs RB left, with a draw as the likely outcome. However, Houdini short on time let Gull take a pawn, getting a passer and much better piece activity. Gull had to give the rook for a bishop to stop Houdini from queening, giving Houdini an easy R vs B winning position. A great game of patience by Houdini.
Stockfish - Andscacs: After many early exchanges the position at move 27 was a closed RRB vs RRB and the engines started to shuffle. With both engines short on time and the 50-move draw getting close the evals started to rise, somehow Stockfish had a plan. First it created a passer and opened up a few files. Then it offered a rook for a bishop and Andscacs took it, probably a blunder because the evals shot up immediately. Stockfish had a second passer and Andscacs had to give a rook to stop it, resulting in an RB vs R winning position for Stockfish.
Ginkgo - Fizbo: Ginkgo seemed to have a promising lead in eval while there were many pieces on the board. However, after a series of exchanges the evals dropped to 0 even though Ginkgo was two pawns up. The white king was too exposed and Fizbo could try a perpetual check or more exchanges, both engines agreed to a draw.
Chiron - Stockfish: Stockfish managed to equalize and be a liitle ahead in eval in a RRB vs RRB position.The position looked drawish but Stockfish outplayed Chiron, marching the king to the queen side and creating a pawn advantage there. Chiron's passer was not supported enough to make a diference and in the end it was Stockfish's queen side passer that could not be stopped, giving Stockfish the win.
Andscacs - Houdini: The game reached a RRB vs RRB position by move 22. Andscacs was able to push a pawn to the 7th rank but no further. The opposite colored bishops ensured the draw after a pair of rooks was exchanged. Houdini with another draw gets Komodo to within 1 point of the lead.