Crosstable after RR8
Komodo and Stockfish qualify for the superfinal. Komodo with 4.5/6 outscored Stockfish and won the division. This is despite having lost once to Stockfish, mainly due to a better result against Jonny. Houdini was close behind the two leaders but could not close the gap with a RR score of 4/6.
Jonny and Chiron are relegated to division 1. Jonny lost 3 games in the last RR, including a fourth loss to Ginkgo in the division.
Fire finished 4th after beating Andscacs in the reverse game.
The superfinal is due to start on Monday 18.6.18, it will consist of 100 games, 50 openings chosen by Jeroen
Noomen. The time control will be 120+15, game duration will be close to 4
hours. We haven't had a Stockfish - Komodo superfinal since season 8. Stockfish is my favorite, though I hope it won't be as one-sided as the previous season's match against Houdini.
A few interesting games
Houdini - Komodo: Houdini was a pawn up from the start, with eval close to 1. Komodo reduced to a rook ending, and the pawn advantage was only good for a draw. Houdini could really use a win in this game, it is still 3rd 1 point behind Komodo.
Fire - Andscacs: Fire had an eval advantage from the start, Andscacs gave a rook for a knight early in the game. The engines traded most pieces and on move 32 only RR vs RB remained. Andscacs had 2 extra pawns, evals were a little over 1 and increased gradually. The endgame was slow and technical, it took Fire more than 40 moves to reach a winning 6-man position. Fire wins after losing the reverse game, it opens a 1 point gap in the race for 4th place.
Jonny - Komodo: Jonny blundered in the opening, Komodo gave a pawn but its eval jumped over 1. Jonny's king was uncastled in the center, exposed to attacks. By move 22 Komodo regained the pawn and its eval was over 2. Komodo went a pawn up and then slowly exchanged pieces. The game reached a QN vs QB position, Komodo two pawns up and winning. Komodo improves to +12
Stockfish - Andscacs: Stockfish had an eval advantage from the start, the engines exchanged pieces and the game reached a RRB vs RRB position on move 29. Stockfish blocked the queen side and managed to create a passer on the king side. The evals started to increase, it took 20 more moves to convert the win. Stockfish improves to +13.
Houdini - Ginkgo: Houdini had more space and evals gradually increased. On move 35 evals were over 2, Houdini opened the position and Ginkgo gave a knight for two pawns. It took a while for Houdini to convert but it was in control and Ginkgo had no defense. Houdini keeps its hope alive, with +10 it is still 1 point away from 2nd place, only 3 games left.
Andscacs - Komodo: Komodo's eval turned negative after it created a central passer, evals stayed close to 0 for 40 moves. Komodo's knight moved to the 3rd rank, and after opening the king side the evals jumped over 3. After a series of exchanges the game reached a RBN vs Q position. The black king used checks on the exposed white king to create double threats on Andscacs' pieces, and the passer was traded for the white bishop. The remaining black pawns were soon unstoppable. Komodo and Stockfish are tied with +13. Houdini has 3 more games, white against Fire and Jonny, black against Stockfish. It needs wins to qualify for the superfinal.
Houdini - Fire: Houdini couldn't get anything going in the game, it ended in a draw with opposite color bishops.
Houdini - Jonny: Houdini created a queen side passer on move 15, evals stayed close to 0 but started to increase after a few pieces were exchanged and the passer became stronger. On move 35 Houdini added a second connected passer and evals were over 1. Jonny had to block the advancing pawns on the queen side, Houdini opened the king side and attacked the black king. Jonny's defense collapsed and the game was adjudicated before it lost material. Houdini is 1 point behind, its only hope is to beat Stockfish as black in the last game.
Jonny - Ginkgo: Jonny created a central passer on move 22, it reached the 6th rank but stopped there. Evals were close to 0 until Ginkgo gave a pawn and created a supported passer on the 3rd rank on move 27. Jonny gave a rook for a knight and evals jumped over 1, then it traded Q for RB with evals over 2. Ginkgo captured the weak white passer, and to complete the win Ginkgo gave back a rook for a knight and vreated a second connected passer. The two black pawns were unstoppable.
Komodo - Fire: See featured game below. Komodo needed a draw to ensure it qualifies for the superfinal, and won the game.
Stockfish - Houdini: Houdini still had a chance to reach the superfinal. If it won it would be tied with Stockfish and the win would also give it the head to head tiebreak. However, the opening favored Stockfish and all Houdini could do was hold the draw. After 30 moves Stockfish's came down, and it took another 45 moves until the game was adjudicated a draw.
Featured game: Komodo - Fire
Premier division, round 56
Link to game on TCEC
The evals were close to 0 for the first 25 moves. The center was blocked and most pieces were on the board. Evals started to increase and Komodo's eval was more than 1. The engines continued to shuffle behind the pawn lines. Fire had a bishop pair, but its bishops did not have room to move, especially the DSB. Komodo had more space and a knight which has an advantage in a closed position.
The engines exchanged a few pieces, for a while the evals remained constant but then started to increase again. The black DSB could not move because the white knight controlled its potential squares. Then the white queen penetrated the black pawn line.
Komodo captured the a pawn and Fire had to deal with the queen side passer. The black defense was collapsing under pressure and Komodo forced a queen exchange.
Fire could not stop the white king walking to the queen side, and then the a pawn resumed its march forward and the game was over.