Sunday, April 10, 2016

Season 6 superfinal, games 33-36

This is part 6 of my looking back at the Komodo-Stockfish superfinal match of season 6. Previous parts can be found at
part 1, games 1-8
part 2, games 9-16
part 3, games 17-24 
part 4, games 25-28
part 5, games 29-32 

After 32 games Stockfish led 6-2 with 24 draws.

Game 33  began with white  a pawn down but with the black king exposed and the black queen too far away and also vulnerable. As a result Stockfish was able to develop its pieces faster than Komodo, with an eval advantage of 1.3. On move 20 Stockfish purposefully entered a queen-rook fork threat.

After the rook for knight exchange white's attack looked dangerous again. Komodo defended its king, exchanging pieces to remove threats, trading a rook back for a bishop and exchanging pieces. When the dust cleared Stockfish was a pawn up in a RN vs RB game.

Was all this worth it for just a pawn (at least it's a passer...)? Komodo thought it was moderately safe for a while, it even got the pawn back. The game became a pawn race, the white queen side and the black king side.

Stockfish had a crucial head start, Komodo was forced to lose the bishop for one pawn, and the remaining rook could not stop two supported white pawns on its own.

In the reverse game 34 Komodo was more patient as white, allowing Stockfish to exchange queens and castle its king. This led to a quiet position where white had more space and a bishop pair, for black's extra pawn.

Stockfish felt safe but had no plan how to continue, and it basically waited for more than 30 moves while Komodo slowly shifted pieces on the board and the eval slowly increased.

Komodo opened up the center with f5 and a rook exchange, and the evals jumped quickly. The bishop pair became very strong, forcing Stockfish to lose material to get out a mating net. The RB vs R endgame was easily won by Komodo. Again two wins in this opening, but with very different styles.

In game 35 white had to move the king early without castling, but it was not under serious attack. After a series of exchanges only QRR vs QRR remained at move 24. Stockfish was a pawn up but Komodo had an effective attack on the white king. Temporarily white was two pawns up but had to give them back and exchange the rooks to reach safety by move 38. The Q vs Q endgame was drawn after 20 more moves.

The first few moves of game 36 followed the previous game. Komodo however kept its pieces and developed threats on the king side, with eval climbing to about 1. After a series of exchanges the pieces left at move 34 were RRN vs RRB. By move 45 a pair of rooks was exchanged and the eval was falling back to equality. Komodo was able to get a pawn but this only led to a drawn rook ending.

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