Xiphos led the table after 2 double rounds, a bit of a surprise considering it started in division 4 and promoted twice as second. ChessBrain which promoted as first from division 3 isn't doing so well and is closer to relegation in division 2. Nirvana another engine in the promotion race, currently in 5th place but only 1 point behind Xiphos in 2nd (Texel is the current leader with 2 extra games). Xiphos won both games these engines played in the first double round.
I am watching game 8.5, Nirvana in white.
move 10 - so far the material is balanced and the evals close to 0. Both kings are castled and safe, Xiphos has more space on the king side, Nirvana's pieces are concentrated on the queen side.
move 16 - Xiphos is pushing pawns on both the king and the queen side, its eval turning negative. Nirvana is still happy so far, but its position is starting to look a bit cramped.
move 20 - the black king is quite exposed but there are no white pieces that can threaten it. Xiphos is moving more pieces to the king side, Nirvana looks like it is ready to create a pawn wall and start shuffling.
move 25 - Xiphos exchanged a pair of knights on the king side, its eval positive again. Nirvana's eval is increasing, it is countering on the queen side. Xiphos closed the queen side with its pawns, the c6 pawn is weak, not sure if Nirvana can break through.
move 30 - knights are strong in closed positions, Xiphos exchanged the remaining knights in the hope this slows Nirvana down. Evals continued to increase, Nirvana's eval peaked over 1 and then went back down a bit. The f5 pawn is a second weakness, the black bishop is covering it too.
move 36 - can Nirvana break through? I think it will need a pawn move to do it, needs to prepare. Instead Xiphos opened up the center itself giving a pawn. Evals went down a bit, perhaps a counter attack on the king side?
move 42 - Xiphos moved a rook to the 2nd rank, but it is two pawns down. Nirvana tried to exchange the invading rook, Xiphos avoided the exchange and brought the second rook to help and exchanged it. Evals dropping to 0, I think Xiphos found a defense.
move 48 - Nirvana had a trapped rook, it gave a pawn to open a way out for it. Xiphos exchanged the rook, won a second pawn and the game reached a QB vs QB position. The evals are at 0, waiting for the draw rule.
move 55 - perpetual check draw, game over.
Next game Xiphos is white.
move 10 - the engines are playing a different QGD variant, this time it doesn't look like the position will remain closed for long. The engines exchanged pawns and cleared the center.
Evals are slightly positive, nothing out of the ordinary so far.
move 15 - Xiphos' eval is increasing, Nirvana is behind in development, its LSB is stuck on its initial square and the rooks are not connected. Nirvana is planning to move the bishop to b7, its queen is in an awkward square on a5.
move 21 - Xiphos exchanged pieces on the king side and weakened the black pawn structure. Evals jumping higher, Xiphos gave a pawn but has a strong rook targeting the black queen.
move 24 - a nice combination, Xiphos winning a rook for a bishop, still down a pawn. Only QRB vs QBB remaining, can Nirvana hold in the long run?
move 30 - Nirvana needs to counter the white queen. The black bishops are weak, especially the DSB, while the white knight is centralized and strong.
move 36 - evals are increasing, this is looking good for Xiphos. Xiphos sacrificed its knight for a pawn, Nirvana declined (probably some trap). Instead the engines exchanged queens, evals jumping again.
move 42 - Only RN vs BB remaining, Xiphos eval over 2.5. Xiphos captured another pawn while exchanging its knight for a bishop. The R vs B ending is probably winning, we shall soon see.
move 51 - Xiphos capturing a pawn, game will be over soon by the win rule.
move 55 - a win for Xiphos, it is back in the lead with a very good chance to promote again. Still another 6 double rounds to go, a lot can happen.