Monday, October 12, 2015

Season 8 stage 3 rounds 1-5

After 5 rounds (1 RR) the crosstable is:

Cato promised unbalanced openings (he even posted a video explaining this decision), and that's what we got. So far the draw rate is 33%. The real strength of the engines will appear only after considering the reverse games in the second RR.

The main issue in the starting rounds of stage 3 is Stockfish. Huge volumes of discussion were spent on this and will continue to do so for the near future, but here's a short digest:
- Stockfish was updated for this stage, the new version was supposed to be stronger because of better usage of the many cores available on TCEC.
- However, the update caused Stockfish to use more time (season 7 deja vu), and to make things worse when it came close to the 30s increment a bug caused it to use a little too much time and to lose games on time. This happened twice, against Gull in a drawn position, and against Protector just before it won by adjudication. Martin posted a video to explain what had happened.
- This caused a heated discussion about what to do, and in the end the decision was to revert Stockfish to the stage 2 version and to let it play on. Hopefully the games will continue smoothly from here on.

Houdini surprised everyone by beating Komodo. After a balanced opening Houdini got into a RPP vs BN game. It took a few moves until Komodo realized it is in trouble, and from then the evals increased gradually until the end. We will see how Komodo reacts in the reverse game.
Gull-Hannibal reached a KBB vs KNP ending. The position was drawn according to 6-man tablebases. However, both engines did not use the available 5-man of TCEC, Gull thought it was winning and Hannibal thought not. Both engines made several mistakes along the way until Gull managed to take the pawn. The resulting 5-man position was adjudicated as won for Gull, but it was a mate in 59 and it's far from clear if Gull could have really won on its own.

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