Season 10 is live !!
In the first stage 24 engines are fighting for 8 spots in the next stage. The time control is 60+10 per engine and the games fly by very quickly, about 2 hours per game. The openings were chosen by Cato, they are 2-move long and some are very unusual. No one knows a game's opening in advance, only after the game starts.
Table after 3 rounds:
So far there have been 13/36 draws, 13/36 white wins and 10/36 black wins, almost a uniform distribtion. The draw rate is remarkably low. Each engine played against a different set of opponents, so the ranking is far from reliable.
Some of the game highlights:
Chiron - Stockfish: Stockfish played its first game as black against a tough opponent. Both engines kept their pieces behind long pawn lines, and though Stockfish had an eval advantage it took many moves for it to find the crack and break Chiron's postition. First win for Stockfish.
Hannibal - Fruit: The game looked balanced for over 35 moves, despite the large ELO gap. Eventually Fruit lost in a long and complicated BN vs BN ending.
Fizbo - Komodo: Komodo gave a rook for a knight and a strong passed pawn but could only get a draw.
Gull - Arasan: Low rated Arasan managed a draw against Gull, holding off a strong king side attack.
Arasan - Bobcat: Arasan was ahead on eval and on time when it crashed against Bobcat. First crash of the season, too bad for Arasan which always seems to play better than its rating.
Komodo - Wasp: The game was heading for a draw, two draws in a row for Komodo and against low rated opponents. Instead Komodo found a win in a very long and technical bishop ending.
Texel - Fizbo: Texel was up an exchange against Fizbo from move 25. In a QR vs QN ending it seemed that Fizbo built a fortress and the game would reach a 50-move draw eventually, despite a big eval advantage for Texel. With time running out Texel gave back the exchange and got a queen ending with a pawn advantage. Fizbo remained relaxed but Texel's evals started to go wild, all the way to the impossible "mate in 1". Fizbo realized it was lost several moves later.
Booot - Fire: Booot was up a rook for 5 pawns against Fire, evals were balanced with a small advantage for Booot. The endgame was very complicated and Fire played it much better, using the white exposed king. It first won an exchange to reach a QR vs QB ending 3 pawns up, then with its advancing pawns forced another exchange for a won queen ending.
Stockfish - Jonny: The evals remained around 0 for 35 moves, after a few inaccuracies by Jonny they climbed above 1. In a QRR vs QRR position the evals remained constant and it looked as if Jonny could hold. However, Stockfish found further micro-blunders in Jonny's game and managed to trade down to a winning queen ending.
Vajolet2 - Chiron: Chiron was ahead by more than 1.5 on eval at some point in the game, Vajolet2 exchanged most pieces to get a drawn rook ending.
Jonny - Vajolet2: Jonny had a big eval advantage but Vajolet2's blockade held for a long time, enough to wonder if the game would end in a draw. For no apparent reason Vajolet2 moved a blocking rook, allowing Jonny to force its way to an immediate win.
Hannibal - Stockfish: The game reached a QRN vs QRN position on move 22, evals remained close to 0 for the rest of the game, boring draw.
Ginkgo - Gaviota: Ginkgo was a pawn up in a RB vs RB ending, with two passed pawns. The bishops were of opposite colors, allowing Gaviota to defend for a long time. Ginkgo exchanged rooks and Gaviota had to give its bishop to stop a pawn promotion, leaving Ginkgo with only one h pawn with the wrong color bishop. Ginkgo thought it was winning for a long time, even with tablebases, weird.
Fizbo - Houdini: Houdini could not find anything in this game, the pieces were gradually exchanged until reaching a N vs B draw.
Wasp - Texel: Without tablebase support Wasp failed to realize that it was heading for a tablebase draw in a KRP vs KB position.
Gull - Komodo: Gull held on about 30 moves, but after exchanging most pieces the game reached a QB vs QB ending with Komodo's eval above 1. Komodo used the queen to drive Gull's king away from the king side, and then exchanged queens to get a won bishop ending.
Featured game: Fire - Houdini
Stage 1, round 1
link to game on TCEC
These two strong engines met in the first round, it was interesting to get a first view of how strong they are this season. The game was calm for about 30 moves, Fire concentrated its pieces on the queen side, Houdini's king was a little exposed but under no threat. Houdini opened up the position by pushing its king side pawns and sacrificing one.
Fire's king was under attack while most of its pieces were too far away to help. Fire exchanged a few pieces and secured its king but Houdini captured the queen side pawns, thus creating connected passers.
Houdini had no problem converting this advantage to a win, exchanging queens and capturing another white pawn, the game was adjudicated when Fire lost one of its bishops.