Friday, October 16, 2015

Season 8 stage 3 rounds 6-10

After 10 rounds (2RR) the crosstable is

Gull in the lead !!
And I thought that a Komodo-Stockfish final was guaranteed. Now we have a real fight on our hands and the tension is rising.

Draw rate is up to 50%. There were many draws in the reverse matches. Although Cato promised unbalanced openings only one opening resulted in two same color wins. The most common result was win+draw, showing that the openings can be defended if played right (against a weaker opponent). To me this is an indication that the openings were chosen well. Well done Cato!! Let's hope the next openings work out just as well.

Stockfish reverted to the stage 2 version and it is doing ok (3/5) so far. The newer version gave 1.5 points to opponents by losing on time, and I hope Stockfish will be able to compensate for that in the following rounds. Gull is currently leading without loss, drawing most of its games but still winning a few. It would be a big surprise if it reaches the superfinal, but if it stays unbeaten this could happen.

There were several long boring draws. In particular Hannibal drew against Protector and Houdini (record 212 moves). One of the reasons for these long draws is that Hannibal is using a contempt of -0.16, making it more cautious. This has a side effect that a drawn position gets an eval of 0.16, too high for the TCEC draw rule, so draws are not adjudicated early.

Notable game
Protector-Houdini, round 7
Game on TCEC archive

The game reached a RR vs Q with pawns ending after 40 moves. After most pawns were taken the following position was reached:

Houdini was relaxed. All it had to do was keep the king hidden and let the white rooks run around under the black queen's supervision so as not to be mated. However, Protector managed to drive the black king out:

 With clever maneuvering of the rooks Protector led the black king away from the pawns.

With the 50-move counter reaching 1 Protector managed to take a pawn before the forced draw, and then it was easy to get the second pawn and win the game. Very impressive, but the question remains: could Houdini have held the draw?

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