09 March 2015

TCEC Season 7

After that little detour for FIDE Federation Codes (Unofficial!), let's return to the main subject of engines, specifically Houdini, Komodo, Stockfish. The biggest event for engines is undoubtedly the Thoresen Chess Engines Competition (TCEC).

TCEC season 7 finished at the end of last year with the announcement Komodo is the new TCEC Grand Champion. Detailed results for the multi-stage tournament are at TCEC Archive, where the 'News' button leads to TCEC @ Facebook.com. I located Facebook posts for the results of each stage and built the following table.

This composite image shows the crosstables for stages two through four.

The last round 'Superfinal' between Komodo and Stockfish was a 64-game match where the adversaries played both White and Black on 32 hand picked openings. A note in the TCEC Archive explains,

The 32 openings that will be seen in season 7’s Superfinal have been selected by IM Erik Kislik, one of the world’s top (and hardest-working) opening theorists, a chess teacher, writer and advisor to grandmasters. After a lively email exchange during last season we agreed in principle that the Superfinal’s openings should be carefully hand-selected and well diversified by “pawn structures”.

The Superfinal finished in Komodo's favor +7-4=53, with White winning all decisive games. How does the TCEC stack up against the 'official' world computer championship? As I discovered last year, in Guardian of the WCCC, some experts consider the TCEC to be the 'De-facto World Computer Chess Championship'. My page on the World Chess Championship : Computer Chess lists Junior as the winner of the two most recent WCCC tournaments in 2011 & 2013. Junior was eliminated in stage 3 of TCEC season 7, finishing well behind the four engines that qualified to stage 4.

An International Computer Games Association (ICGA) page at icga.leidenuniv.nl offers '2015 ICGA Tournament Rules and Event Information' (browser warning: 'This Connection is Untrusted : The certificate is not trusted because no issuer chain was provided.'). The document starts,

The 21th World Computer Chess Championship will take place from June 29 – July 5, 2015 in Leiden, the Netherlands, in the Snellius building of the Leiden University. We are grateful to LIACS and the Boerhaave Museum that they have offered to sponsor and organize five events in cooperation with the ICGA, viz. the 21th WCCC, the 5th WCSC, the 2015 World Computer Chess Blitz Championship, the Computer Olympiad, and the 14th Advances in Computer Games Conference (ACG2015).

TCEC season 7 generated considerable interest in the chess world. Will the 21st WCCC generate similar interest?

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