Saturday, May 5, 2018

Season 12 division 2 crash watch

Division 2 is running, the first 4 double rounds are over. Unfortunately it appears that this is going to be one of the most unstable stages in recent TCEC history. There were three crashes in the first double round alone. So far there have been 5 crashes in the first 34 games, with 4 engines crashing: ChessBrain, Arasan (twice), Fritz, Hannibal. ChessBrain has an additional strike since it was updated between divisions.

With 88 more games to play and the 3-strike rule in effect there is a serious concern that more than 2 engines will be disqualified and relegated, causing an administrative headache about which engines will play in the division next season. All game results of disqualified engines are removed, this makes the current standings unreliable. The whole viewing experience is negatively affected, when there's always a chance an engine will crash mid-game.

The most probable cause of these crashes is the engine updates, with the developers unable to test their engines under TCEC conditions. TCEC tests the engines before each stage but this is not sufficient to catch all problems. The fact that the GUI is also under development makes the whole TCEC experience a bit shaky at the moment. Hopefully this is going to improve from now on.

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