Friday, December 8, 2017

Season 10 superfinal, games 91-100

Houdini won the season 10 superfinal !!
The final result is 15-9 and 76 draws.

Game 91 started with an eval advantage for Komodo. Between moves 15-31 most of the pieces were exchanged and the game reached a double rook ending. Komodo was a pawn up, but after Houdini forced a rook exchange the extra pawn was only enough for a draw. It took another 40 moves to adjudicate the game. In game 92 there were less exchanges after the opening and Houdini kept its eval of about 0.4 longer. There were no open files until move 40, and then all rooks were exchanged and Houdini closed the game with a check repetition.

Houdini started game 93 with negative evals and a pawn down, though after a few moves the evals became positive. The kings castled in opposite directions, Komodo pushed pawns on the king side and Houdini placed its king behind a white pawn, giving a second pawn. For a while Houdini had the initiative and an attack on the white king. Komodo defended well and its major pieces took over the central files. In a series of exchanges Houdini then gave a bishop for the last white pawns. Komodo had to defend its exposed king against checks from the black queen, and eventually queens were exchanged. The engines agreed to a draw in a RBN vs RN position. In game 94 there were no pawn storm on the king side. Houdini gave back the pawn and opened the king side while Komodo countered on the queen side. Both kings faced the major pieces of their opponent, Houdini attacked first and drove the black king to the queen side through checks. Komodo exchanged queens to get out of trouble, and the game reached a drawn rook ending.

Game 95 was a king's gambit and Houdini had an eval advantage. The engines castled in opposite directions, Komodo did not have enougn pawns on the king side to threaten the black king and the focus was on the queen side. Houdini kept an eval of about 0.6 for a long time, a file opened on the queen side and Komodo's king walked forward out of the corner and found safety. When queens were exchanged the evals dropped to 0 and the game reached a drawn rook ending. In game 96 Houdini opened the black king side and exposed the king. Komodo had an advanced passer which had to be blocked. After a long series of exchanges only BN vs BN remained and Houdini captured the passer. After a few pawn moves the draw rule stopped the game. Two king's gambits and two draws, somewhat surprising.

Game 97 started with an eval advantage for Komodo. The center was blocked, most of Houdini's pieces were on the king side with little room to move, while Komodo had more space on the queen side. Houdini managed to push a pawn to g3, further blocking the king side, its eval turning negative. Komodo still thought it had the edge.

Komodo chose to give a knight for two pawns and open the center. There was a long series of exchanges, most of the minor pieces were exchanged and Komodo had three passers in the center. Houdini had an extra knight and evals were in its favor though still less than 1.

Komodo's strong point in the position were its passers. Houdini blocked two with its queen and knight, and Komodo pushed the third to the 7th rank where it too was blocked. Komodo couldn't get any further. 

Houdini had several easy targets, the pawns on d7, a5 and g2, as well as a back rank mate threat. The a5 pawn was first to go, and after exchanging a pair of rooks Komodo agreed its position was hopeless.

In game 98 a few exchanges released the block in the center. Both kings were slightly exposed but after most pieces were exchanged and only RN vs RN remained both kings were safe. Evals were close to 0 and a draw was just a matter of time.

In game 99 a series of exchanges left only RRB vs RRB on move 19. Evals stayed low as the engines captured pawns and exchanged a pair of rooks. Houdini gave the bishop for the remaining white pawns leading to a drawn position. In game 100 more pieces stayed on the board. The engines castled in opposite directions, Houdini advanced pawns on the king side and Komodo concentrated forces on the queen side. On move 28 only QRB vs QRB remained, Houdini gave two pawns to advance a passer but evals stayed at zero. Komodo was able to stop and capture the passer but gave the material back. After exchanging queens the game reached a draw.

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