Monday, October 24, 2016

Season 9, rapid tournament, rounds 56-62

Rapid tournament, final results
Houdini wins the rapid tournament !! That's not really a surprise, right? A solid 6 points out of the last 7 was more than it needed to keep first place. Very few engines managed to slow Houdini down. Fizbo and Nirvana are the only ones that held Houdini to two draws, other than the top 3 engines. Well done Houdini !

Komodo kept its small lead over Stockfish and finished second. Both remained unbeaten in the tournament, and it was their worse performance against weak engines that made them lose the race to the top. I think this says more about the tournament than it does on the relative strength of the top engines.

In the second trio of engines Fire finished fourth comfortably, finishing the second RR without loss. Jonny overtook Ginkgo and finished fifth.

My opinion of the rapid tournament has not changed. There were too many games and many of them too one-sided. The games went by too fast, it was impossible to follow them or to get excited by them. There was some entertainment value in the race but Houdini opened up a gap and was hardly in danger most of the time.

And what about the superfinal? Remember that? A 100-game match between Stockfish and Houdini, long games like we used to have in TCEC? So far there have been no news as to when this should start. Anton from chessdom has not posted anything in the chat or on the facebook page for a while and it was said he had health issues. I hope he gets well soon. I also hope we will not have to wait too much for the superfinal. Note also that the world chess championship match between Carlsen and Karjakin starts in a few weeks, will we have both matches at the same time? Worlds colliding.

Games that caught my eye

Round 56:
Gull - Jonny: Jonny was sure it had an advantage with eval over 1, but after a series of exchanges its eval came back down. When only opposite colored bishops remained the engines agreed on a draw.

Houdini - Rybka: Rybka held its position against Houdini for over 30 moves. Rybka's center was strong and Houdini attacked on the queen side, quickly opening files and creating an advanced passer. Rybka managed to stop the passer for the price of a deadly pawn-bishop pair in the corner. The only blocking piece was the black queen, leading to an easy win for Houdini. Another obstacle cleared by Houdini.

Stockfish - Komodo: Komodo had an effective pawn line that stopped any attack attempts by Stockfish. Stockfish tried to open the position by giving a rook for a bishop, both evals then fell to 0 and a draw was just a matter of time. Houdini's lead is 3 points with 6 games remaining.

Naum - Ginkgo: There were may early exchanges, Naum was a pawn up but it was a doubled pawn. On move 32 only B vs N remained, the engines continued to shuffle for more than 90 moves before declaring a draw.

Round 57:
Ginkgo - Stockfish: Stockfish came out of the opening in a better position, with rooks controling the center and a queen side passer. After a pair of rooks was exchanged only RB vs RB remained, Stockfish was able to get a two pawn lead and exchange down to a winning 6-man rook ending. That was the last serious opponent for Stockfish in the RR, it has a chance to get second place.

Komodo - Houdini: Komodo had an eval advantage for a short while but Houdini was never in any danger. Evals came back to 0 and the engines shuffled and exchanged until adjudication. Komodo's last chance of geting closer to Houdini is gone, and it is tied with Stockfish in second.

Jonny - Andscacs: Jonny was very happy with the opening, getting an eval advantage of over 1. Andscacs remained calm with low eval, and when the shuffling began it proved it was right. It took more than 150 more moves of mostly nothing for a draw to be declared. Jonny is tied with Ginkgo in fifth place.

Round 58:
Chiron - Jonny: Chiron was outplayed by Jonny in a closed position. Chiron started with an eval advantage but after less than 20 moves Jonny took the initiative on the king side. While Chiron's pieces defended Jonny captured two pawns on the queen side, and eventually after many exchanges the queen side passers were enough to win. Surprising how easily Jonny won here.

Fire - Protector: Fire had an eval advantage for over 60 moves when the game reached a BN vs R position. Protector could have perhaps held on with better play, it came down to which engine had the better passers. Fire had an extra piece to block the black pawns' advance, and the white pawns won the game.

Nirvana - Komodo: Nirvana had the opening advantage and it took Komodo 30 moves to turn things around and get the initiative. Komodo took over the center and won a pawn with eval getting over 1. Nirvana held its position for another 40 moves or so but after queens were exchanged Komodo's eval started to climb again. With a nice combination Komodo reduced the board to a rook ending with two pawns advantage. It took Nirvana a while to see it was losing.

Houdini - Ginkgo: Houdini had an eval advantage of almost 1 when Ginkgo started an effective blockade. The engines shuffled for 40 moves, then Houdini exchanged rooks and in an QRB vs QRN position the evals started to rise gradually. With evals over 2 suddenly Ginkgo crashed for no apparent reason. Houdini got the win but from its PV it was aiming for a R vs N ending with king side pawns, is that a sure win? Jonny is now 1 point ahead of Ginkgo in fifth place.

Stockfish - Gaviota: Stockfish couldn't get anything going in this game, even though it played white. By move 23 only minor pieces remained and the rest of the game was shuffling and further exchanges. With this draw Stockfish is third again, 0.5 points behind Komodo.

Round 59:
Fizbo - Stockfish: The engines started to shuffle on move 19, Fizbo thought it had some advantage while Stockfish's eval was 0. After a series of exchanges Fizbo's eval came down, with only QBN vs QNN left. The game was close to adjudication when Stockfish's eval jumped close to over 0.5 where it stayed for 15 moves. Fizbo managed to exchange down to a drawn knight ending. The third draw in 4 games for Stockfish, quite a bad result for such a strong engine.

Ginkgo - Nirvana: Ginkgo thought it had a small advantage from the opening. After the rooks were exchanged the engines started to shuffle, and after queens were exchanged the game was a dead draw, though Ginkgo had to lower its eval first for adjudication.

Hannibal - Fire: A series of exchanges removed almost all pieces with only QB vs QN remaining. Fire forced a repetition draw a few moves after that.

Jonny - Critter: After the opening the engines fought for control of the center. Critter had an advantage with a rook for a bishop and pawns and an eval of 1. After several exchanges the center struggle was resolved and only RB vs RR remained. Despite the material advantage Critter was stuck and after a long rook shuffle the engines agreed on a draw. Jonny keeps a 1 point lead over Ginkgo.

Round 60:
Laser - Jonny: By move 26 only QRB vs QRB remained, and the engines settled for a repetition draw not long after that.

Fire - Rybka: Evals stayed close to 0 the whole game, Rybka ended the game with a bishop sacrifice and perpetual check.

Houdini - Fizbo: Houdini had an eval advantage from the opening, Fizbo defended and exchanged pieces until only QRR vs QRR remained on move 23. Houdini's eval came down and then it was Fizbo's turn to be optimistic. However, with a pair of rooks exchanged the engines started to shuffle, and with the queens gone the draw came quickly. Despite the draw Houdini is now officially the winner of the rapid tournament. With only two games left Houdini leads Komodo by 2.5 points.

Round 61:
Komodo - Fire: Komodo had an eval advantage that grew to about 1 when Fire started to exchange pieces. By move 28 only QN vs QN remained and evals were on the way down. Fire created a passer that forced Komodo to draw with perpetual check. Komodo is only 0.5 points ahead of Stockfish.

Round 62:
Jonny - Raptor: Jonny got its queen into a tight spot in the corner, and the only way out allowed Raptor to exchange all pieces and reach a drawn rook ending. Ginkgo has a chance to catch up with Jonny in its last game if it wins against Fire.

The Baron - Komodo: The Baron held out for 25 moves against Komodo but it was all downhill from there. Komodo created a passer and opened up the position a little, its evals started to jump. The Baron had to give a bishop to get rid of the dangerous passer giving Komodo a decisive lead. After this win Komodo guarantees second place.

Fire - Ginkgo: Both engines had strong pawn lines and they began to shuffle on move 26. After another 40 moves a draw was agreed. Jonny keeps fifth place.

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