The final draw rate is 58%.
Ginkgo and Jonny are promoted to the premier division, Gull and Texel are relegated to division 2. The promotion race was very close for most of the division. Fizbo and Booot were dropped only in the last two double rounds, Fizbo with a double loss to Ginkgo and Booot with a double loss to Fizbo.
It is a little sad to see Gull relegated. Only a few seasons ago it was one of the top engines, but it is not being developed and new engines are constanty improving. Check out season 8 stage 3 coverage (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6), this was the stage where Stockfish had a bug causing it to lose on time. Gull led the stage and was close to reaching the superfinal.
There was one crash in the division, Fritz crashed against Jonny. In the end this crash did not have an effect of the final results, Jonny would have promoted without that point, and Fritz was not in danger of relegation as a result of the lost point.
The premier division will start soon. This is the main event of the season, Jonny and Ginkgo will be joined by Stockfish, Houdini, Komodo, Fire, Chiron and Andscacs. The engines will play 8RRs with a time control of 90+10. Will Stockfish dominate like it did in season 11? Can Komodo make a come-back? Can Ginkgo and Jonny survive this division? We will soon find out.
A few interesting games
Laser - Fizbo: The engines gradually exchanged most pieces, reaching a QB vs QB position on move 39. Laser was a pawn up but evals were close to 0. Fizbo was expecting a perpetual check draw, but it blundered quite unexpectedly and allowed Laser to take over and force a queen exchange. The black king was trapped and the white passers could not be stopped by the black bishop alone. A weird blunder by Fizbo, score down to +1.
Texel - Booot: Booot had a space advantage and an open file for attacking the white king. Texel's pieces were on the queen side and were not able to defend the king, its passers were not a strong enough threat. Booot won a rook for a knight and the game was adjudicated before it won more material. Booot now has +3.
Jonny - Fritz: The game reached a QR vs QR position on move 25, material was equal but Jonny had more space and the initiative. Fritz tried to defend its pawns, Jonny created a connected pair of passers on the queen side and reduced to a won rook ending. In the reverse game Fritz was a pawn up with evals slowly increasing when it crashed. This was the first crash of the division, Fritz down to -3 still above the relegation zone, Jonny joins Ginkgo in the lead with +4.
Fizbo - Texel: Fizbo's eval jumped above 1 when it managed to make a hole in the pawn wall and to push a passer to h6. Texel was not worried at first, after queens were exchanged Fizbo chased the black king out of the corner and the passer became very dangerous. Texel had no counter and the game was adjuducated before it started to lose material. The reverse game reached a QRN vs QRR position on move 26, Texel two pawns up and evals close to 0. Fizbo's eval jumped when Texel started a series of exchanges that resulted in an imbalance of a R vs RR with 4 pawns up for white. Texel realized its mistake too late. With this double win Fizbo completes 4 wins against Texel in the division, it stays close to the lead with a +3 score.
Laser - Gull: Laser was a pawn up in a closed position, Gull had a bishop pair but Laser's knights were more effective. After the center opened a little the evals started to increase, all rooks were exchanged and Laser was much more active. After exchanging queens Laser captured another pawn the game reached a NN vs BN position and the marching white passers gave Laser the win. Gull at -5 is deep in the relegation zone, Laser with +1 is starting to look up.
Fritz - Booot: Fritz launched an early king side attack, Booot got its king out of trouble but was two pawns down on move 20. Evals continued to increase as the engines exchanged pieces, the game was adjudicated after Fritz captured a third pawn. Fritz at -2 keeping a distance from relegation, Booot with +2.
Ginkgo - Jonny: Jonny's king was stuck in the center, evals increased quickly as Ginkgo arranged its pieces behind the pawn line. After opening the center and exchanging most pieces Ginkgo was a pawn up in a QR vs QR position with eval over 2. The game was over when Ginkgo's king side pawns marched forward while keeping the king shielded from attacks. In the reverse game Ginkgo's king walked to the king side and Jonny castled long and pushed its king side pawns forward. Ginkgo could hardly move in a QRR vs QRR position, Jonny captured two pawns and exchanged queens leading to a won double rook ending. Two white wins in this opening, Ginkgo and Jonny stay in the lead.
With 5 double rounds to go the scores are: Ginkgo +4, Jonny +4, Fizbo +3, Booot +2, Laser +1, Fritz -2, Gull -5, Texel -7.
Fritz - Texel: Fritz had a bishop pair advantage early in the game. Evals constantly increased, after exchanging queens Fritz captured two pawns and created a pair of connected passers on the queen side, evals more than 2. Texel had to give a rook to stop the passers, and though Fritz was left without pawns it was winning in a RRB vs RN position. Fritz at -1 is 2 points away from the relegation zone.
Booot - Ginkgo: Evals were close to 0 in a closed position, when Ginkgo opened the center and the engines exchanged pieces the evals increased over 1. The game reached a RB vs RB position, the bishops were bosh DSBs, all the black pawns were on dark squares while almost all the white pawns were on light squares. Booot created two passers and pushed them to the 7the rank. Ginkgo had to lose a piece to stop them, a win for Booot. Booot catches up with Ginkgo and Fizbo with +3, Jonny in the lead with +4.
Fizbo - Fritz: Fritz was a pawn up from the opening. Fizbo gave a rook and a knight and could have drawn with perpetual check, but it chose to play on, trade a rook for the black queen and reach a Q vs RRN position with two pawns up. Fritz quickly took the initiative, it had to stop the white passers while avoiding checks from the queen. It took a while but Fritz managed to stop the passers and keep one pawn for the win.
Jonny - Gull: Jonny had an eval advantage of over 1 from the start, there were only a few exchanges in the firsts 40 moves. The engines started to exchange pieces and evals gradually increased, after exchanging queens Jonny saw the win. With only N vs B left the bishop was trapped and the engines raced with their passers. Both engines queened but the QN vs Q ending was a win for Jonny.
Ginkgo and Booot managed only draws against Texel and Laser.
With 3 double rounds to go the scores are: Jonny +5, Ginkgo +3, Booot +3, Fizbo +2, Laser +1, Fritz 0, Gull -6, Texel -8.
Jonny - Fizbo: two draws. Jonny pushed hard as black but a pawn advantage was not enough.
Ginkgo - Fritz: The game reached a BN vs R imbalance on move 35, evals started to increase despite Fritz' connected pair of passers on the queen side. Ginkgo moved its king forward, exchanged down to a BN vs R ending, and created a king side passer. The black rook couldn't get back in time, a win for Ginkgo.
Texel - Laser: Texel created a pair of connected passers and Laser couldn't stop them without losing material. In the reverse game Laser was a pawn up in a QB vs QN position, it took a while before Laser found how to convert the advantage to a win. Two white wins in this opening.
Only Ginkgo improves to +4 in the double round, two double rounds left, the promotion race is still wide open.
Fizbo - Ginkgo: Ginkgo won in black, see featured game below. In the reverse game Ginkgo was up a pawn by move 18. After capturing a second pawn Ginkgo reduced to a RB vs RB position. Fizbo got one pawn back but after exchanging rooks Ginkgo was winning. Two wins for Ginkgo and it leads the table with a +6 score. Fizbo with a 0 score is out of the race almost surely.
Jonny - Booot: With only RB vs RN left Booot gave the knight for two pawns to stop an advanced passer. Jonny had only one pawn left, it managed to keep it and slowly capture the black pawns. In the end Booot could either lose the last pawn or get mated. In the reverse game Booot pushed pawns on the queen side and exposed the black king. Jonny gave a rook for a knight to escape the strong attack on its king, Booot converted the QR vs QB ending. Another opening with two white wins.
After this double round Fizbo is out of the race, the top scores are Ginkgo +6, Jonny +5, Booot +3 with two games left.
Fizbo - Booot: The game reached a QRN vs QRB position on move 31. Fizbo's eval slowly increased, it took more than 40 moves for Fizbo to reduce to a rook ending two pawns up and a win. In the reverse game Booot had an eval advantage until move 39, it had a material advantage of a rook for a bishop while Fizbo had a bishop pair and queen side passers. Booot gave the material back and reduced to a QR vs QR position, Fizbo was a pawn down but had a passer on the 2nd rank, its eval jumped over 1. Booot was forced to lose the rook for the passer, and two pawns were not enough compensation for a rook. This double win for Fizbo means that Booot is out of the race as well, Ginkgo and Jonny promote to the premier division.
Texel - Jonny: Jonny gave a knight for a strong queen side attack on the white king. At first evals were in favor of Texel, then Texel traded RR for Q and evals became negative. Texel lost pawns and gave a bishop to stop a passer, it won some material back through a passer of its own and the game reached a Q vs RB ending with 3 black pawns. Jonny slowly moved the pawns forward, with its pieces creating a shield against attacks from the white queen. Texel could not stop the pawns and the game was adjudicated.
Featured game: Fizbo - Ginkgo
Division 1, double round 13
Link to game on TCEC
Fizbo had an eval advantage from the start. There were almost no exchanges, the position was closed and Fizbo had more space and a knight outpost near the black king and queen. Ginkgo's eval remained low, its position looked solid.
Ginkgo exchanged the forward white knight, which was then replaced by pawns. Nevertheless the black king was relatively safe while the white king was quite exposed. Evals became negative as Ginkgo removed all the pawns surrounding Fizbo's king and opened the position.
Fizbo had to defend against Ginkgo's many threats, in particular to deny the f3 square from the black knight where it could fork
several pieces. Ginkgo opened the a8-h1 diagonal, adding mate threats with its queen.
Fizbo's defense collapsed and it began
to lose material, the game was soon over.