Today I'm looking at game 18 of the superfinal between Komodo and Houdini. Komodo is struggling in this match so far, Houdini is 4-0 which to me is a surprise. Not only the result but the way that Houdini finds winning lines and Komodo doesn't in the same openings.
Game 17 just finished and there appears to be a small advantage for black in the opening. As white Komodo managed to get a draw without too much trouble. Can Komodo find a better line as black?
move 11: Komodo diverges with a5, evals are negative but lower than in game 17. Better?
move 12: Houdini is pushing pawns on the king side and Komodo on the queen side. Evals still negative but really low.
move 13: Komodo's eval is at 0! It took the pawn on g4, opening a file on the king side could be a problem here. Komodo sees a repetition draw in the distance in its PV, I never trust these predictions.
move 14: Houdini follows Komodo's PV and takes the h pawn, its eval goes the other way so not a blunder by Komodo yet.
move 15: Houdini moves Ng3 and not Nf4 as was expected, and it is still not happy with -0.27. Komodo replies with b4 on the queen side, with eval -0.34, seeing an R vs BN imbalance.
move 17: Imbalance achieved, now what? Both engines hiding their PVs. Earlier Komodo predicted exchanges in the middle, Houdini is thinking about it.
move 19: Houdini thought Komodo's Nh6 wasn't good, but Komodo responded with eval -0.61. Houdini's PV looked like a transposition of Komodo's but then Komodo changed its mind. Some action ahead? A long think by Houdini.
move 21: Houdini continued with its plan, its eval stays low. And then Komodo's eval goes down too, trying to open up the queen side with another pawn sac?
move 22: Houdini didn't take the pawn and will hide its king behind it. Evals are back up for both engines, can't tell what is going on.
move 23: Houdini's eval jumped to positive, really strange. Komodo is thinking, if it also doesn't believe its own eval then I guess it won't win here. OK, Komodo changed its move and eval down but still negative, it still has some hope.
move 25: Komodo is trying to activate its pieces, still holding on to a small eval. It's hard to believe we're going to see fireworks in this game.
move 26: again a long think by Houdini, eval jumping to positive again. Komodo still not impressed, moves the queen, still needs to activate more pieces.
move 27: positive or negative, who has the edge? The engines keep playing moves not expected by their opponent. Which of them sees more clearly?
move 31: Houdini refusing to exchange queens, its eval up to 0.28.
move 36: Komodo's eval is now also positive, both engines agree that Houdini is better now. Can Houdini pull another rabbit from its hat?
move 40: engines' PV agree on a long series of moves that simplify the position a little. Evals stay positive but not increasing just yet.
move 47: Houdini left the PV at move 46, preferring to grab a piece. The imbalance is now R vs B and Komodo 2 pawns up. More simplifications ahead.
move 54: we're down to QR vs QB, and Houdini's eval is negative again, very close to 0. This will be a draw, unless we have a crash...
move 58: draw adjudication. The evals gave us something to look at in the game, on the board the game wasn't all that interesting.