17 February 2020

TCEC S17 L1 & CCC12 Bonus Series Ongoing

Two weeks ago, the previous report on the two ongoing, world-class engine vs. engine competitions that I've been following for more than a year was TCEC S17 L1 Underway; CCC12 Bonus Series. To summarize the situation at that time:-

TCEC: S17 L2 finished with 8 of the 16 engines qualifying into L1, which was underway. • CCC: CCC12 was won by Lc0, which beat Leelenstein in the final match. After the event ended, the CCC ran a series of bonus matches.

The situation at the time of that report was much the same as the current situation.

TCEC: L1 is still underway and has reached the second of its two double round robins. Ethereal has a small but clear lead over the other 15 engines. Another six engines are all within two points of each other in the competition for the other three qualifying spots into the next stage.

CCC: The site continues with bonus events -- another half-dozen events have been played since that previous report. The current event is 'Trillion-Node Throwdown II', a match between Lc0 and Stockfish. I couldn't find any trace of 'Throwdown I'.

The event played before 'Throwdown II' was called 'Lc0-T59 Madness', a four-engine event with Lc0, Lc0 CPU, and two other CPU engines. The result is shown in the following crosstable.

The technical info for the four engines at the bottom of the chart indicates that the same version of Lc0 was running on both a GPU configuration and a CPU config. A recent forum post, Leela CPU becomes Top 5 engine (talkchess.com), explains,

As smaller net T59 10x128 become stronger and stronger, Lc0 without graphic cards will also be a top-5 engine.

That means 'a top-5 CPU engine', which means the AI/NN engines running only on CPUs can compete equally with the non-AI/NN engines on their own turf. Is this another significant milestone for the AI/NN engines?

[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]

16 February 2020

Old Adversaries

This year will see the 25th anniversary of the second (and last) PCA title match, 1995 Kasparov - Anand, New York.


Left: Tata 2020 - Round 7 © Flickr user Frans Peeters under Creative CommonsRight: DLD Munich 20 © Flickr user Hubert Burda Media under Creative Commons.

The fellow on the left recently celebrated his 50th birthday: Anand: 'I Hope People Get To Know Me A Bit Better' (chess.com; 11 December 2019). A month later, the fellow on the right was participating in a conference:-

Garry Kasparov (Avast) playing multiple games of chess at the DLD Munich conference 2020, Europe’s big innovation conference, Alte Kongresshalle, Munich, 19 January 2020.

Their stories never get old.

14 February 2020

Kiss a Frog

Subtitled: 'I Heart FIDE'. Today I intended to continue with last week's post, Spectating the 90th FIDE Congress?, but this being Valentine's Day, there are more important themes in the air.


Google search on 'chess heart'

Like much of the chess world, I'm often critical of FIDE officials, so I'll take advantage of the day by sending some positive vibes their way. That wasn't so hard, was it!

10 February 2020

Stockfish vs. Leela Explained

A year and a half ago I featured a Kingscrusher video in A Leela Surprise in the Nimzo Indian (August 2018). Since then the double master -- chess player and video maker -- has continued to produce chess videos at an astonishing rate. He also has a couple of playlists to keep track of his videos about two leading chess engines:-

The first six videos on both lists are currently identical, so if you're looking for informed commentary on Stockfish vs. Leela, Kingscrusher's Youtube channel is the place to visit.

09 February 2020

Retro Engine Chess

This Youtube channel explains,

Perifractic's Retro Recipes is all about keeping our childhood memories alive: In new episodes most Saturdays you can bathe in the warm glow of nostalgia as Ladyfractic and I cook up retro computing projects, 8-bit computer restorations, retro gaming, how tos & more. I do a lot of Commodore 64 stuff but also grew up with the Amiga, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad & Apple II so it's all born from a love of all these beautiful vintage machines, yet always served with a side of fun!

In the middle they could have cut about 15 minutes of the chess moves. Once you've seen a few of Interplay's Battle Chess animations, they lose their novelty, but the commentary before and after the games is worth the price of admission.


Can an 80s computer beat a new one at Chess?! Amiga vs Mac - 1987 vs 2020 (28:45) • '[Published on] Feb 8, 2020'

The video's description says,

What happens when you try to use 1987's Commodore Amiga 500 artificial intelligence to beat a 2019 MacBook at chess?

The more than 400 comments testify to the popularity of the concept -- 'Difference between an 80's Amiga and a Mac? In 10 years the Commodore will still be working.' • 'Chess... A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.' • 'Never in my life did I think I'd be sitting watching and enjoying someone play computer chess.' -- Albin's Counter Gambit anyone?

07 February 2020

Spectating the 90th FIDE Congress?

Well over a year ago, in Spectating the 89th FIDE Congress (December 2018), I wrote,

I was starting to wonder whether the recent change in top-level FIDE management meant that FIDE communication with the outside world would cease. [...] Now I can do a series of posts like I did last year, when I covered the following topics...

Copy that to February 2020, when we now have 2020 FIDE Extraordinary General Assembly Agenda and Executive Board Agenda:-

FIDE publishes the Agendas for the 2020 FIDE Extraordinary General Assembly and Executive Board, scheduled to be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, 28-29 February 2020.

This will coincide with the 90th FIDE Congress (fide.com/calendar):-

90th FIDE Congress • Place: Abu Dhabi, UAE • Start: 26-Feb-2020 • End: 01-Mar-2020

There is another Congress scheduled for later this year, i.e. 91st FIDE Congress (ditto):-

91st FIDE Congress • Place: Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia • Start: 29-Jul-2020 • End: 05-Aug-2020

The two FIDE agendas reference annexes from other FIDE bodies. These will let me do a series of posts on the topics that interest me the most. After the 'Spectating the 89th' post, I looked at the following:-

I also did a post on my World Championship blog:-

Although the annexes attached to the agendas are pre-'90th Congress', they are all we have to document FIDE's activities in 2019. Will there be other documents issued from the 90th Congress? If so, how long afterwards?

04 February 2020

February 1970 & 1995 'On the Cover'

Was the lag time in the USCF's flagship publication shorter 50 years ago than it was 25 years ago? So it would seem. The 1969 U.S. Championship was held in December 1969; the 1994 Championship was held in October 1994. Both events were reported in February of the following year.


Left: 'Champion Sammy Reshevsky' (Photo: Bert Hochberg)
Right: 'Gulko Wins Interplay U.S. Championship'

Chess Life & Review (50 Years Ago)

Sammy Reshevsky became U. S. Champion for the sixth time. Asked later about his ambitions should he play in the Interzonal later this year, he said, "Maybe I'll be World Champion when I'm 60!" Referring to his form in this tournament, Reshevsky told me [CL&R Editor Hochberg] he thought he had played as well as he ever did. He is the only participant to go undefeated; in fact, he never had a lost position. And when you consider that the competition included five grandmasters and three international masters, that ain't hay, my friends.

For the results of that Interzonal, see 1970 Palma de Mallorca Interzonal Tournament. A few paragraphs later, the Hochberg report continued,

Since this championship, as it is every three years, is the FIDE zonal from which the top three players go to the Interzonal late in 1970, Addison qualifies by finishing second. We are happy and proud to see Bill Addison in the Interzonal and we wish him great success.

Pal Benko has never done better than third place in a U. S. Championship. Always a shrewd strategist with a strong interest in chess psychology, Benko seems to be changing his style somewhat in the last two or three years.

It signed off,

The question will of course be asked: "Why didn't Bobby Fischer play?" The answer to this question, in the form of a letter from Fischer to USCF. Executive Director E. B. Edmondson, will be published next month, along with Mr. Edmondson's reply.

That wasn't the final answer. Even though he didn't play, the tournament was the first step in Fischer's climb to the World Championship. For more about that story, see World Championship Zonals 1969-1972.

Chess Life (25 Years Ago)

The 1994 Interplay U.S. Chess Championship was held in Key West. Florida, between October 9 and October 27. The event was dedicated to the memory of Nina Denker, and sponsored by Interplay, manufacturer of the popular Battle Chess 4000.

Standing, left to right: Press Secretary Bill Cornwall, Tournament Director Carol Jarecki, Teresa Schultz, Organizer Don Schultz. • Standing, middle row: Alexander Ivanov, Dmitry Gurevich, Alexander Shabalov, Gregory Kaidanov, Georgi Orlov, Alexey Yermolinsky. • Seated: Nick deFirmian, Joel Benjamin, Larry Christiansen, Boris Gulko, Ben Finegold, Walter Browne, Yasser Seirawan. • In the front: A. J Steigman, who did a wonderful job working the wall boards.

In the lower right photo, USCF Executive Director Al Lawrence (l.) receives the $30,000 sponsorship check from Interplay's Marketing Production Manager Jerry Luttrell.

Cyberchess took another step towards world domination when WChess triumphed at the fourth Harvard Cup (lower left). Photographer Kevin Dyke caught the essence of the man-versus-machine conflict.

Not mentioned in the group photo: Boris Kreiman, who is second from the right in the players identified as 'Standing, middle row' (green t-shirt). The tournament also served as a zonal event; see World Championship Zonals 1995-1997 for a crosstable.