Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Season 11 division 1, after 6RR

Crosstable after 6RR

The current draw rate is 102/168 (60.1%). There were more draws in RR5-6 compared to RR3-4.

Andscacs extended its lead to 3 points ahead of Fizbo. Booot and Jonny are still in the race, both have lost 0.5 points to Fizbo in RR5-6. Nirvana and Hannibal close the table. Hannibal reduced the score difference to Laser and Gull by 0.5 point and still has a reasonable probability to avoid relegation. It is interesting to note that Hannibal's results are better than Laser's against most opponents, and the reason Laser is ahead is that it beat Hannibal 3 times in their head to head games.

There were no crashes in RR5-6, Nirvana and Hannibal are still 1 crash away from disqualification.

A few interesting games

Laser - Fizbo: Queens were off early and Laser had an advanced passer on the 6th rank. After exchanging all rooks Fizbo's eval started to increase, reaching a peak of over 2. In a BNN vs BNN position the black king was very active as an extra piece. Laser held on to its passer as long as it could but lost it eventually, however by then evals were dropping and there were not enough pawns on the board, Laser held the draw.

Hannibal - Gull: The game reached a RB vs RB position on move 29. Hannibal was up a pawn but evals stayed constant at around 1 for a long while. Somehow Hannibal stumbled on a path to improve, exchanging the rooks and using zugzwang to capture two pawns and win.

Hannibal - Jonny: Jonny pushed pawns on the king side, driving off defenders and threatening the white king. Hannibal exchanged queens to stop the attack, Jonny's eval was over 1 in a RRN vs RRB position. Hannibal still felt safe after Jonny traded a rook for a knight and pawn, but Jonny's pawn majority on the king side was quickly turned into an advanced passer, and a win for Jonny.

Gull - Andscacs: Gull started with a significant eval advantage, and the evals stayed high for over 40 moves, reaching over 1.5. Andscacs sacrificed a pawn and a bishop, drawing the white queen away. Then with its queen, a rook and two advanced pawns Andscacs created a strong enough attack that forced a draw.

Laser - Hannibal: Laser had an opportunity to move further away from the relegation zone. It was a pawn ahead with an eval advantage that peaked over 1.5. Hannibal traded down to a drawn rook ending, it is still fighting to stay in the division.

Jonny - Andscacs: Jonny was up a pawn with evals over 1 and rising. The engines traded most pieces through a queen pin along a major diagonal, reaching a QB vs QB position on move 30. Evals continued to climb and after exchanging queens Jonny's eval was over 4, Andscacs' eval over 2. Jonny had 2 pawns and Andscacs only one, Jonny gave a high score to this 7-man position using 6-man tablebases, and yet Andscacs held the draw. Did Jonny miss the winning path, or was it a draw to begin with?

RR5 is over. There were many draws in RR5, 19/28. This is closer to the draw rate of the bookless openings in RR1+2. As a result there are only a few changes in the crosstable. Andscacs is in the lead, 1 point ahead of Fizbo. Booot and Jonny are still in the race. Hannibal and Nirvana close the table. Nirvana looks a sure bet for relegation. Hannibal still has hopes, closing the gap to Laser by 0.5 points and to Gull by 1 point in RR5. There were no further crashes in RR5, Nirvana and Hannibal are still one strike away from disqualification.

Andscacs - Nirvana: Andscacs advanced pawns on the queen side facing the white king. Nirvana ignored this and attacked the uncastled black king with a QN combination. Nirvana gave a knight for pawns and exposed the black king, but its attack was not effective. Evals were over 2 in favor of Andscacs with the white king close to being mated. Nirvana tried to defend but gradually lost pawns, the extra piece was enough for a win for Andscacs. This is the 2nd double win for Andscacs against Nirvana.

Hannibal - Andscacs: For the first 30 moves the game was balanced with many pieces on the board and evals close to 0. Andscacs' eval climbed over 1 as more pieces were exchanged and Andscacs won a pawn. The game reached a rook endgame, for a while it seemed that the pawn advantage was only good for a draw. Evals jumped when Hannibal allowed the black king to advance. This apparent blunder gave Andscacs the win.

Laser - Booot: Booot equalized and took the initiative. It had a pawn majority on the king side, and Booot converted that to a passer with evals over 1. Then Booot traded down to a B vs N ending, Laser had to stop the passer allowing Booot's king to get to the queen side first for the win.

Jonny - Fizbo: Jonny was up two pawns with a connected pair of passers, its eval over 2.5. However, Fizbo had its own connected pair of passers which was more advanced, and even after being a rook down Fizbo was able to force a draw. A missed opportunity for Jonny to get closer to 2nd place.

Hannibal - Laser: The engines started to shuffle on move 26, both reluctant to advance their passers, Hannibal in the center and Laser on the queen side. Evals were close to 0 for 50 moves, Laser's pawns crept forward slowly. Laser's eval started to increase as it opened the king side, and all of a sudden it had passers on all fronts. After exchanging down to a RB vs RN position Hannibal couldn't handle all the pawn threats. An important win for Laser, after Hannibal almost closed the gap between them.

Featured game: Hannibal - Fizbo 
Division 1, round 37
Link to game on TCEC

Hannibal had an eval advantage from the opening. On move 17 Fizbo gave a pawn on the king side. The white pawn on e5 was hanging but Fizbo preferred to leave it for a few moves. Taking with the queen leads to a skewer attack by the DS bishop, and taking with the knight opens a file with an attack on the king.

However, a few moves later Hannibal was already two pawns ahead and its DS bishop found a different skewer attack, this time on the queen side. Fizbo couldn't take the bishop with the knight since both the rook on d8 and the bishop on f8 were hanging.

Fizbo was forced to lose material. A few moves later after more pieces were exchanged Hannibal was up a piece and a pawn in a winning position.

The game was adjudicated a win for Hannibal not long afterwards. This opening had a 1-1 biased result, but it was surprising how fast Fizbo's position crumbled. This was a good result for Hannibal, it still had hope of staying in the division.

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