Crosstable after RR7
Stockfish with 5/7 and Houdini with 5.5/7 continue to lead the table. Komodo was only 1 point behind when the previous RR ended, but with a very weak score of 3/7, with no wins and a loss to Houdini, the gap is now 3.5 points.
Andscacs continues to move away from relegation, after this RR it is 5th, 0.5 points ahead of Chiron in 6th. Fizbo with a score of 3.5/7 gained on both but needs 3 points to close the gap.
A few interesting games
Fizbo - Andscacs: Fizbo had an eval over 1 while Andscacs' eval was 0. The engines shuffled from move 25, after they exchanged bishops the evals increased but the engines continued to shuffle. Andscacs captured a pawn, Fizbo waited for the draw counter to reach 3 before forcing another exchange (move 109 !!). The reasonable outcome was a draw but after 25 more moves Fizbo's eval rose suddenly above 6, a mating threat forced Andscacs to lose material and the game. Did Andscacs blunder under time pressure? Did Fizbo stumble upon a win by mistake?
Houdini - Chiron: Only bishops and rooks were left by move 16, Houdini had an eval advantage due to Chiron's isolated queen pawn. After reducing to a RB vs RB ending Houdini found ways to improve its position, evals slowly increasing. Houdini pushed passers on both sides of the board, once the black pawns on the queen side were gone Chiron couldn't stop the white pawns.
Ginkgo - Stockfish: Ginkgo held the position for 45 moves before Stockfish's eval started to increase. Stockfish exchanged down to a RB vs RN position, captured a pawn and reached a winning endgame.
Fizbo - Komodo: Fizbo was a pawn up in a RBN vs RBB position. After exchanging a pair of bishops Fizbo had a pawn majority on the king side, its eval was over 2. Komodo's eval peaked at 1.4 but still it found a defence to get a draw. With better endgame skill Fizbo could have won perhaps.
Chiron - Fire: Chiron pushed pawns on the king side making its king exposed. Fire took a long time to prepare its attack, with evals gradually increasing. When Fire was ready it sacrificed a bishop to remove the final pawn defender, its eval was over 3. Fire quickly regained the material and the game was adjudicated just as it was gaining more, leading to a winning QB vs QR position.
Stockfish - Fizbo: Stockfish captured the b pawn with its queen, and later had to retreat to safety. It created a queen side passer while giving Fizbo a rook for a knight. For a long time the engines mostly shuffled with evals constant, only after move 60 evals started to increase. Stockfish exchanged pieces keeping its queen side passer until the game reached a won queen ending.
Houdini - Ginkgo: Houdini used the open f file to develop a deadly king side attack while many Ginkgo pieces were stuck on the queen side. Ginkgo gave a rook for a knight but evals were already over 6 and the game was soon over.
Stockfish - Fire: Stockfish's eval was over two already at move 15, Fire's pieces were undeveloped on the queen side leaving the king side vulnerable. With queens gone Stockfish doubled rooks on the open g file, Fire was forced to lose material to get out of trouble. The game was adjudicated before Stockfish won a piece.
Houdini - Andscacs: The game reached a RRB vs RRB position with Houdini a pawn up and evals about 1. Andscacs lost a second pawn but traded down to an opposite color bishop ending, however it was not a draw in this case. The game reached a won 6-man position, again Andscacs losing an endgame partly because it has no tablebase support.
Andscacs - Ginkgo: The game reached a QR vs QR position, Andscacs a pawn up with an advanced central passer. Evals remained constant for over 30 moves and it seemed that Ginkgo was holding. However, Andscacs found a way to win by moving its king to the queen side and then exchanging down to a won king and pawns ending.
Featured game: Houdini - Komodo
Premier division, round 43
Link to game on TCEC
Houdini had a small eval advantage after the opening,which slowly increased to about 1. Houdini found a great outpost for its knight on d6, Komodo had many pieces on the king side, perhaps anticipating an attack there. Instead Houdini opened the queen side, with evals approaching 2.
After exchanging a few pieces Houdini captured a pawn and created a queen side passer. In a QRN vs QRB position Komodo's bishop was on the wrong side of the board and not useful.
Houdini traded down to a queen ending, and the connected pair of passers on the queen side was enough for a win. This is the second win for Houdini against Komodo, extending the gap between them to two points. The win looked too easy, perhaps the opening bias is too great here. Can Komodo beat Houdini in the reverse?