Saturday, April 30, 2016

Season 6 superfinal, games 37-40

This is part 7 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 
part 6, games 33-36 

After 36 games Stockfish led 7-3 with 26 draws.

In game 37 Stockfish had advanced pawns on the queen side, but its king was vulnerable on the king side. Komodo gave a pawn while keeping the pressure with its queen and knight, seeing potential repetitions or perpetual checks as a probable outcome.

Stockfish kept a small eval advantage and continued to advance pawns on the queen side, ignoring black's attack. Komodo was sure that a repetition has started on move 39, but Stockfish did not go along with this and let its king walk away from the black QN combination.

It turned out that Stockfish was right. Once the threat of perpetual check was gone the white queen side pawns became a big advantage. Eventually Komodo had to give a rook to get rid of the white pawns. The resulting QRB vs QN endgame was not easy but Stockfish managed to get the queens exchanged and the game was soon over.

The reverse game was less eventful. Both kings were safe, there was some action on the queen side due to an open file, but the evals drifted down to 0 after 24 moves and stayed there until a draw was reached.

Game 39 started with a small eval advantage for white. Stockfish used a pawn attack on the king side, exposing its castled king while maneuvering a knight to h6.

Komodo's king and rook were trapped. With the f file open Stockfish applied pressure to f7, and Komodo had less space to move and defend. After a series of exchanges in the center by move 40 the position opened up. Komodo exchanged RP for BN, but the trap in the corner meant Stockfish had a full bishop advantage in the center.

After forcing a queen exchange Stockfish continued to clear some of the pawns. Komodo broke out of the trap by exchanging the rook with the trapping knight. The resulting RB vs R endgame was a clear win for Stockfish.

In the reverse game Komodo did not move its king side pawns and both kings remained safe. By move 24 both evals reached 0, and it was only a matter of time until the game was adjudicated. That's twice in a row that Stockfish had a clear win over Komodo in a pair of reverse games. With 24 games remaining it is very unlikely that Komodo can win this match.

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