14 October 2019

Stockfish Wins TCEC S16; CCC11 Underway

In last week's post TCEC S16 Final Widens; CCC10 Bonuses on the two foremost engine-vs-engine tournaments, I decided,

After following the TCEC & the CCC for nine months, and with both events transitioning to new seasons, this looks like a good time to end the blog's coverage. I'll produce a summary of those nine months for my next post

I jumped the gun with that decision. Here's a summary of the rest of that post:-

TCEC: Stockfish now has an eight point lead over AllieStein. This extrapolates to a 56-44 match win for Stockfish. • CCC: No plans for CCC11 have been announced.

Two significant evolutions took place during the week. Both signal a logical break in my ongoing series on engine tournaments.

TCEC: Stockfish beat AllieStein by a final score of 54.5-45.5, more specifically +14-5=81.

CCC: Chess.com announced, CCC11 Starts Now!: 'Title says it all. So head over to chess.com/ccc and join the fun.'

The announcement continued, 'CCC11 format is available here', with a link to a document on docs.google.com/spreadsheets. When I tried to access the document, I received the message 'Access Denied: You need permission', so I'm out of luck. The 'CCC11 Qualification' is already underway with 12 engines competing.

What about that summary of the past nine months? I'll have that in my next post. In the meantime, here's a reminder of other winners during the past few months:-

In a nutshell, recent winners were -- TCEC S15: Leela; S16: Stockfish • CCC8: Stockfish; CCC9: Stockfish; CCC10: Leelenstein. Neither the traditional A/B engines (represented by Stockfish), nor the more recent AI/NN engines (Leela & Leelenstein) can claim dominance.

[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]

13 October 2019

'How Is This Not a Thing Yet?'

With World Championship qualifying events like the World Cup (finished a week ago) and the Grand Swiss (happening now), my short list for this month's featured video had more quality clips than I've seen in a long time. Too bad I'm a sucker for the offbeat. From Youtube's channel 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon':-


Jack White and Jimmy Fallon Play Grape Chess (1:17) • '[Published on] Sep 26, 2019'

The description said only,

Jack White and Jimmy take an intense game of chess to a whole new level.

The video has attracted nearly 250 comments. For example:-

'I mean do I really have to say it? Jack White should play chess with Jack Black.' • 'Did you know Jack White and Jack Black are actually really good friends?' • 'Whoever the writer is on Fallon who every so often comes up with these ridiculous and random sketches, props to you my friend.' • 'Grape Chess... How is this not a thing yet?' • 'Berries, the most royal and lovely of fruits, should have been the edible of choice.'

If you're wondering who Jack White is, see Wikipedia's Jack White ('an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer'). If you're wondering who Jimmy Fallon is, you're on your own.

07 October 2019

TCEC S16 Final Widens; CCC10 Bonuses

In last week's post on two important engine-vs-engine tournaments, the title summarized the status: TCEC S16 Final Underway; Leelenstein Wins CCC10. More specifically,

TCEC: After 22 games in the 100-game final match, Stockfish has a two point lead over AllieStein. • CCC: Leelenstein beat Stockfish by a score of +19-15=166 in the CCC10 final. No plans for CCC11 have been announced.

The intervening week has seen no substantial change in either tournament. Here's the current status:-

TCEC: After 64 games in the 100-game final match, Stockfish now has an eight point lead over AllieStein. This extrapolates to a 56-44 match win for Stockfish, which has been the victor in the last six decisive games.

CCC: Still no plans for CCC11 have been announced, although a planning spreadsheet is available via the server's !Commands. Last week I neglected to mention that, following the CCC10 final, a 'Bonus' event had been played and that a 'Bonus III' event was underway. What happened to 'Bonus II' is anyone's guess.

After following the TCEC & the CCC for nine months, and with both events transitioning to new seasons, this looks like a good time to end the blog's coverage. I'll produce a summary of those nine months for my next post.

[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]

06 October 2019

Easton Chess Press

To blog or not to blog. In The End of Daily Blogging (September 2019), I wrote,

Sunday: I've been rotating monthly through eBay, Youtube, Flickr, and sociology. These are all subjects that expand on some random, chess-related topic, where I always learn something new. I'll continue with some of these until I finally close the blog.

The eBay series is Top eBay Chess Items by Price (March 2010) and -- today being the first Sunday of the month -- by force of habit I scrolled through eBay's closed items for September looking for a subject worthy of a blog post. Of the half-dozen items that made my short list, four were for autographs. I rejected three of those autographed items because they weren't visually interesting or were similar to other posts on this blog. Here are their titles and selling price:-

  • '1958 PRODIGY BOBY FISCHER & 15 Grandmasters Signed Portoroz Chess World Champion'; US $2,314.00
  • 'Original document SIGNED by CAPABLANCA chess moves world champion 1929 Autograph'; US $400.00
  • 'ICELAND CHESS Bobby Fischer vs. Spassky match - Fischers autograph'; US $400.00

The fourth item was something new for me:-

  • 'Easton Press - Burgess Mammoth Chess, Karpov and Kasparov (Signed 1st editions)'; US $650.00

The following composite image of the item shows the books on the left and the autographs on the right (Kasparov top, Karpov bottom).

The description of the eBay item listed the full titles:-

* Anatoly Karpov - Karpov on Karpov: Memoirs of a World Chess Champion (Signed First Edition 1991)
* Gary Kasparov - How Life Imitates Chess (Signed First Edition 2007)
* Graham Burgess - Mammoth Book of Chess (First edition 2010)

After long excerpts from reviews of each book, the description continued,

Easton Press books are bound in genuine premium leather and come with moire fabric end-sheets and a permanent satin ribbon page marker. The spines of these luxurious books are accented in 22-karat gold and are hubbed with traditional raised rings. Each unique binding is decorated with a deeply inlaid design of 22-karat gold. The page ends are gilded in 22-karat gold for beauty and protection against dust and humidity. Easton Press Books are also printed on archival-quality acid-neutral paper that is Smyth-sewn for strength and durability. • Condition: Near mint, no nameplates.

I have paperback copies of all three books and I never would have guessed that they might be treated like 'Moby Dick' or 'The Great Gatsby'. The Kasparov book, although worth reading, is not one of his best. I once blogged about it in Me, Myself, and I (May 2011). I found another description of the eBay item on Signed by Garry Kasparov "How Life Imitates Chess" Easton Press Signed First Edition (veryfinebooks.com), where it is offered for $295.00:-

Personally signed by Garry Kasparov directly onto a limitation page. Condition: As New - Still sealed in the original shrink-wrap from Easton Press. The condition is of the highest quality.

Easton Press. Norwalk, CT. 2007. Garry Kasparov "How Life Imitates Chess: Making The Right Moves, From The Board To The Boardroom". Signed Limited First Edition. Limited to only 1,350 signed and numbered copies. Full genuine leather. Certificate of Authenticity from Easton Press guarantees the signature.

I had to look up the meaning of 'limitation page', which is also called a 'signature page' and which refers to numbered copies of a limited edition. Like I said at the beginning of this post, when it comes to the Sunday series, 'I always learn something new'. Next stop: Youtube.

01 October 2019

October 1969 'On the Cover'

Even though I announced The End of Daily Blogging two weeks ago, there is another ongoing, monthly series on this blog that needs to be closed separately. The first post in the 'On the Cover' series, March 1964 'On the Cover' (March 2014), asked, 'What was happening in the U.S. chess press 50 years ago?' I've been answering the same question monthly for over five-and-a-half years. This current post, pegged to October 1969, is the logical end of the series.


Left: 'The Benko Family : 3-week-old Palma, Giselle and Pal, Triple Crown Champion'
Right: 'Message of Progress'

Chess Life

It's been only a month since I took a special look at GM Benko in Pal Benko 'On the Cover' (September 2019). Fifty years ago we learned that he had become a family man. Although there was nothing in that month's publication related to the cover, there was an article by Benko on an emerging variation that would eventually bear his name: the 'Benko Gambit'.

BENONI COUNTERGAMBIT CONTINUED by Pal Benko • After my last victories with this gambit, I was asked why I never use the opening in international tournaments if I was so convinced it was good for Black. I had, in fact, played it against International Master Vukic at Sarajevo 1967 with success. In my most recent European tour following the 1968 U.S. Open, I played it twice against International Masters. In my next report, perhaps you will see how this opening fares against Grandmasters!

Chess Review

Many people will recognize I.A. (Al) Horowitz in the cover photo. The October 1969 issue of CR carried a note from its editor/publisher.

MESSAGE of PROGRESS • Dear Chessplayer: Happy days! I have good news for you. CHESS REVIEW as a periodical and its auxiliary operations, Postal Chess, the sale of books and equipment and news of chess, are being acquired by the U.S. Chess Federation. In. the pages of CHESS LIFE, the official organ of the USCF, will appear the results of postal competitions and the other outstanding features of CHESS REVIEW together with the notable writings of CHESS LIFE.

Key personnel of the Review, including Jack Straley Battell and Al Horowitz, will join CHESS LIFE in what purports to be the biggest, greatest and the best periodical in all the world. The interests of subscribers, customers and postalites of CHESS REVIEW will be well secured. Through an amalgam, to be known as CHESS LIFE AND REVIEW, a new dynamic force in the royal game will dominate the American scene. Those who get both magazines now should notify us so that the subscriptions may be adjusted accordingly.

Cordially yours,
AL HOROWITZ

And so ended one of the most important chapters in American chess journalism. Chess Review had been published continually since January 1933. And so ends this series on American chess in the 1960s.

30 September 2019

TCEC S16 Final Underway; Leelenstein Wins CCC10

Last week's report on two world class engine-vs-engine competitions, TCEC S16 DivP & CCC10 Final Nearly Complete, saw both nearing the end of an advanced stage. To summarize that report:-

TCEC: The Premier Division will finish later today. Stockfish is almost certain to qualify for the final match. The other two engines are neck-and-neck. • CCC: Leelenstein and Stockfish finished tied for 1st/2nd in the 'CCC10 Semifinals', thereby advancing to the final match.

Both competitions finished their respective stages within a day after the report. What happened then?

TCEC: The Premier Division finished with Stockfish, AllieStein, and LCZero at 1st/2nd/3rd, each separated by a half-point. The following chart shows the top four of the eight participating engines.

After 22 games in the 100-game final match, Stockfish has a two point lead over AllieStein. The match will last another week and a half.

CCC: Leelenstein beat Stockfish by a score of +19-15=166 in the CCC10 final. No plans for CCC11 have been announced.

I've been tracking the two competitions weekly since Results: TCEC S14-P / CCC3 S3 (January 2019). The time has come to close the series and move on to other topics. I'll summarize the previous nine months in the next post.

[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]

23 September 2019

TCEC S16 DivP & CCC10 Final Nearly Complete

Last week's post, TCEC S16 DivP & CCC10 S3 Both Underway, summarized, 'Both the TCEC and the CCC have reached the stage that will determine the participants in the finals.' More specifically:-

TCEC: The Premier Division has another week to run with three engines -- AllieStein, LCZero, and Stockfish -- within a half point of each other. • CCC: The 'CCC10 Semifinals' stage is underway with three engines -- Stockfish, Lc0, and Leelenstein -- well ahead of the other three.

The current status of the two engine-vs-engine competitions is summarized below.

TCEC: The Premier Division will finish later today. Stockfish is almost certain to qualify for the final match. The other two engines are neck-and-neck.

CCC: Leelenstein and Stockfish finished tied for 1st/2nd in the 'CCC10 Semifinals', thereby advancing to the final match. The following chart shows that Lc0 was well behind the two finalists.

Chess.com issued a report, CCC10 Finals: Leelenstein vs Stockfish. Of the 200 games scheduled for the 'CCC10 Finals', 190 games have already been played. Leelenstein has a narrow but convincing lead over Stockfish.

[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]