Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Season 8 stage 2 after 20 rounds

After 20 rounds, only two rounds to go in stage 2, the crosstable is:

Protector, Hannibal and Ginkgo are fighting for two qualification spots, while Nirvana, Fire and Texel have a very slim chance of overtaking them with only two games left. Nirvana's games in rounds 18-20 were especially disappointing, with a loss to Fire and then a crash against Houdini in a drawn position. There may still be surprises, and there are still two head-to-head games between contenders that are very important: Ginkgo-Protector and the last game of the stage Nirvana-Ginkgo.

The draw rate is now at 52%.

Houdini managed to get a win against Ginkgo in the longest game of the stage (226 moves). This was another example of an engine throwing away a game in a drawn position because is thinks it is ahead and it would rather play bad moves than accept a 50-move draw. This time Ginkgo made the mistakes.

The Baron scored a draw after 13 straight losses. This cost Hannibal an easy half-point which may be important in the qualification race.

Gull beat Texel in only its third win in the stage, in an interesting minor piece ending. In the very next game Gull lost for the first time this stage to Protector. This game reached a knight and pawns endgame which reached a KNPP vs KN position with doubled pawns. This was a 6-man tablebase win that Gull may have tried to avoid if it had access to tablebases.

Komodo, again with a perfect record in rounds 18-20, gained another 1/2 point over Stockfish. It is now almost certain to win the stage. Stockfish managed to beat Houdini in their rematch, gradually transforming a closed position into passed pawns and a queen. However, in the current Komodo form it is hard to see Stockfish beating Komodo in their rematch.

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