26 September 2022

TCEC S23 Paused; 'CCC19 Blitz Main' Underway

Another fortnight has passed since our previous report on the planet's top-two, ongoing, engine vs. engine competitions: TCEC S23 L1, CCC19 Blitz - Both Underway (September 2022). Here's a summary of that report:-

TCEC: S23 L2 finished with four engines promoting. The 12-engine L1 is in the second of its four round robins. • CCC: Dragon edged Lc0 by three points in the 'CCC18 Rapid Challenger' match. Later the site started a series of 'CCC19 Blitz' events. Between CCC18 and CCC19, the CCC launched an eight-engine 'Chess 324 Bonus' event.

In the two intervening weeks, both sites have progressed. The following is the latest on TCEC S23 and CCC19.

TCEC: S23 L1 finished with Ethereal and Berserk promoting into the Premier Division (DivP). Before DivP starts, the site is running 'S23 - Viewer Submitted Openings Bonus 22', with the terse !next explanation 'VSOB22 until replacement GPU'. For the previous discussion of VSOB on this blog, see Stockfish Wins TCEC DFRC1, Leads CCC18 Rapid Final (August 2022). VSOB appears to be the stand-by filler when the regular schedule of TCEC events is paused.

CCC: In the previous post, 'CCC19 Blitz Underway', I also wrote, 'It's not clear what direction [the CCC] intends to take with the new season, so I'll say no more for this current post.' The site is currently running 'CCC19 Blitz: Main' with 10 engines. This was preceded by three other 'CCC19 Blitz' events: 'Newcomers' (6 engines), 'Qualifier #1' (8), and 'Qualifier #2' (8). 'Where it stops, nobody knows!'.

The site's !next command says, 'Main Event: Stockfish, Leela, Dragon, Ethereal, Slowchess, Berserk, +4 top engines from Qualifier #2.' The CCC's Club and Discord sites are both silent.

[For further information from the various stakeholders in the engine-to-engine events, see the tab 'TCEC/CCC Links' at the top of this page. • NB: Leela = LC0 = LCzero; Dragon = KomodoDragon]

25 September 2022

'The Root of All Evil'?

In this blog's long-running monthly series on The Sociology of Chess (November 2016), this is the second post in a row to deal with the so-called 'root of all evil'. Last month we had Was Fischer Avaricious? (August 2022).


Who Has Won The Most Money In Chess History? (2:45) • '[Published on] Aug 25, 2022'

The description said,

The highest-earning chess players throughout history. We collected data from 1851 to now and here are the results! How do Kasparov, Carlsen, Fischer, Anand and Hikaru compare in this chess timeline of prizewinners?

The description linked to a related article: Who Is The Biggest Prizewinner In Chess History? (chess.com; Nathaniel Green). Unlike too many comments to a typical Chess.com article, some here are spot on.

'Should add Naka Twitch' and 'xQc should be in list', but later 'Nakamura is a streamer, not a chess player, so this is a meaningless comparison.'

'Did you include any of the matches versus computers that were played by Kasparov, Kramnik and Anand? Did you include the top level rapid and blitz tournaments? Did you include the Melody Amber tournaments?'

And on an unrelated, but topical point: 'Kasparov accused the computer of cheating. Funny. At that time, dishonesty meant tips from people. Now it's the other way around.'

The last time I featured a similar video in a post (also in the series 'Sociology of Chess') was Top Tweeters (August 2020). I called it the 'time travel bar chart technique'. Watch what happens starting 1:30 into the clip.

23 September 2022

1992 Fischer - Spassky 'Under the Weather'

This post could have been the next in the 'under the weather' series, last seen in Not the 'Under the Weather' Channel (November 2021), but I've found that keeping busy is a good medicine for a bad cold. That and lots of sleep.

Instead I'll continue the 'Fischer Friday' series, seen last week in FS 1972 + 20 = FS 1992 (September 2022). In that post I wrote,

I don't have much in my photo archive about the 1992 [Fischer - Spassky] match. The following composite image shows the wirephotos that I found. These are black-and-white photos, although there are also many color photos documenting the match.

For color photos, let's return to a technique last seen in The Sociology of Chess in Images (September 2021), shown in the following composite image.


Google image search on '1992 Fischer Spassky'
[Call the rows 'A' to 'F' (from top to bottom) and number the images in each row '1' to '8' (from left to right).]

Unlike all of the previous posts using the chessboard naming scheme, this latest post combines the first two pages returned in the Google image search. More photos means more fun, and more fun means more to talk about.

The first thumbnail (A1) leads to a page dated May 2011, Fischer - Spassky 1992 (chess.com; IM Silman), which opens with a question worthy of a FAQ about the match: How good were the games?:-

In Andrew Soltis' book BOBBY FISCHER REDISCOVERED, page 278, he states (regarding the rematch in 1992 with Spassky), "In fact the match games were of a fairly high quality particularly when compared with Kasparov’s championship matches of 1993, 1995 and 2000, for example." Kasparov has ridiculed the quality of play in this match while Soltis who featured the 1st and 11th Svefi [sic; Sveti] Stefan games in his book felt otherwise. Your opinion?

The thumbnails with a yellow border (A2, A4, and B3) lead to Youtube videos. The Youtube channels aren't given.

Some of the photos appear so often that they might well be iconic. Consider, for example, A5, B2, and D5. Photo E1 appears to be the same scene, but has a different tint and angle; Spassky's French flag is visible and Fischer's U.S. flag is not. Photos E5 and F6 are also the same. The match poster is seen in B7 and F2.

Several photos are not from 1992. Photo C4 is from the 1972 match, although it illustrates a game from 1992. Photo C6 is from a game played before 1972 (Siegen 1970, I think).

Photo D1 is about a moment from the opening press conference that is more famous than any of the games played in the match. It shows Fischer with the letter that led to the famous spit incident. I remember that my parents, who were not at all interested in chess, asked me about that incident. I answered that chess players were basically harmless. They weren't convinced.

19 September 2022

Talkchess Talks Current Topics

The buzz in the chess world has been dominated for the last two weeks by the Carlsen/Nakamura vs. Niemann affair. Finding it impossible to ignore, I documented it in the post Chess Players Behaving Very, Very Badly (September 2022). Talkchess members discussed the technical possibilities for cheating in two related threads:-

  • 2022-12-06: Carlsen withdrawal after loss to Niemann (talkchess.com; lkaufman) • 'I am posting here to ask those who are technologically knowledgeable how they would go about getting computer help in an event where the players are "wanded" for electronic devices, where spectators are barred (for Covid reasons), and where everyone is on camera during the games.'
  • 2022-12-13: Chess Cheating Hackathon! (talkchess.com) • 'I wanted to see if anyone had ideas on how to best circumvent the present cheating protocols being used at the [Sinquefield] Cup at the moment.'

That first Talkchess thread was initiated by GM Larry Kaufman, who has appeared recently on this blog in two unrelated posts:-

Another Talkchess thread pointed to a different Kaufman interview, apparently more recent than the one featured in the Chessbase video.


Interview with world-class expert, Larry Kaufman (44:12) • '[Published on] Sep 15, 2022'

The description said,

A warm, semi-technical interview covering an overview of chess engine development from 1960 to the present day. Larry goes on to describe Komodo Dragon's unique approach which can give a practical edge in human v human competitions!

The related YouTube channel, 'Carl Bicknell', has a few other videos related to chess engines. Unlike many engine enthusiasts, he's also a competent, expert level player.

18 September 2022

World Champion Petrosian Chess 'School'

Chess is so popular in Armenia that the title of this photo, 'Chess School Yerevan', doesn't tell us much. Yerevan is the capital of Armenia.


The Chess School Yerevan © Flickr user mcfarlandmo under Creative Commons.

Thanks to Google I found a similar photo on Wikipedia's page Tigran Petrosian Chess House. The page starts,

Tigran Petrosian Chess House, officially the Central House of Chess-player named after Tigran Petrosian, is the center of the sport of chess in Yerevan, Armenia. It was opened in 1970. In 1984, it was renamed after the former world chess champion Tigran Petrosian.

The same photo is on another Wikipedia page Chess in Armenia. Since I've already referenced that page in Armenian Candidates (March 2016), specifically for 'Teaching of chess in schools', I'll stop here.

16 September 2022

FS 1972 + 20 = FS 1992

For the last few months I've been running a Fischer Friday series, focused on the 1972 Fischer - Spassky Title Match (m-w.com). Now it's time to change the subject, if only for a few weeks. Twenty years to the day after Spassky resigned the 1972 match, a new match began:-

Unfortunately, I don't have much in my photo archive about the 1992 match. The following composite image shows the wirephotos that I found. These are black-and-white photos, although there are also many color photos documenting the match.

That composite is inspired by a pair of posts I've been using as an illustrated guide to the 1972 match:-

In the top line of the composite image, the first two photos are from game one of the 1992 match. The last two photos show Zita Rajcsanyi [Rajcsany], plus the start of the eighth game.

The first photo in the bottom line shows Fischer meeting Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. It is followed by a photo from the 30th (and last) game plus two photos of Fischer wearing a wreath marked 'The World Chess Champion'. The last three photos have the same date.

***

It's a good time to take a checkpoint on the Fischer Friday series to date. Posts marked '(*)' were not part of the series, but are nevertheless relevant.

Also worth noting are three related resources, the first two of which are valuable external references.

I plan to come back to the 1972 match, but first I'll spend few posts exploring the 1992 rematch.

12 September 2022

TCEC S23 L1, CCC19 Blitz - Both Underway

The summer season is traditionally a slow season for chess, but the world's two foremost engine vs. engine competitions keep chugging along at the same speed as during the other seasons. Let's start our fortnightly post with a summary of the previous post, TCEC S23 Leagues Underway; CCC Rudderless? (August 2022):-

TCEC: S23 QL has finished and L2 is just getting started. • CCC: Stockfish beat Lc0 in the 300 game 'CCC18 Rapid Final', after which the site launched a 'CCC18 Rapid Challenger' 300-game consolation match between Dragon and Lc0. The CCC has deviated from the sequence of events seen in CCC16 and CCC17. Has it undergone some sort of administrative shake-up?

Two weeks can be a long time in engine competitions. What has happened since that previous post?

TCEC: S23 L2 finished with four engines promoting. The 12-engine L1 is in the second of its four round robins with Minic having the best chance of the four L2 engines to promote to the next stage, the Premier Division.

CCC: Dragon edged Lc0 by three points in the 'CCC18 Rapid Challenger' match. Later the site started a series of 'CCC19 Blitz' events. It's not clear what direction it intends to take with the new season, so I'll say no more for this current post.

Between CCC18 and CCC19, the CCC launched an eight-engine 'Chess 324 Bonus' event. It was won by Stockfish with a four point lead over second place Dragon, which finished eight ponts ahead of third place Ethereal. Lc0 finished fifth, a point better than an even score. The bonus event was followed by an 'Chess 324 In-house [whatever that means] Final' match between Dragon and Ethereal. Dragon won by 21 points, without losing a single game. For more about the two events, plus some speculation on the administrative shake-up I noted two weeks ago, see last week's post Chess324 Is a Thing (September 2022).

[For further information from the various stakeholders in the engine-to-engine events, see the tab 'TCEC/CCC Links' at the top of this page. • NB: Leela = LC0 = LCzero; Dragon = KomodoDragon]