06 March 2018

TCEC Season 11 in Full Swing

Two world class computer championships in a twelve month period? Less than six months ago on this blog we had TCEC Season 10 Kickoff (September 2017), where I wrote,

Fans of engine-to-engine play -- and who isn't? -- know that the TCEC (Top Chess Engine Championship) is the toughest tournament of them all. Many consider it to be the real World Championship of chess engines. The TCEC takes place on Chessdom.com, and over the past month the site has announced plans for Season 10.

I could have used that same paragraph for this current post by changing 'Season 10' to 'Season 11'. I covered the end of TCEC Season 10 in Houdini, Komodo, Stockfish, and AlphaZero (December 2017), where I noted, 'With the score at +14-9=73 after 96 games, Houdini was declared the winner [over Komodo]'. While that season was itself in full swing, Chessdom issued a TCEC Season 11 press release (November 2017):-

Starting with its 11th season in early 2018, TCEC will adopt a league format consisting of four divisions of eight chess engines. The five divisions will be called the Premier, First, Second, Third, and Fourth Divisions. Each division will conduct a tournament which will lead to the top two engines in the Premier Division facing off in a 100-game Superfinal for the TCEC seasonal championship.

The league’s mechanics are straightforward. Divisional tournaments will be conducted in sequence from the lowest (Third Division) to the highest (Premier Division). At the end of the Third, Second and First Division tournaments the top two finishers will be promoted to the next-higher division. At the end of the Second, First and Premier Division tournaments the bottom two finishers will be relegated to the next-lower division.

That preliminary announcement was further embellished with TCEC Season 11 - information and participants (December 2017):-

TCEC Season 11 will start this January 3rd. It will involve 30 of the strongest computer chess software programs in the world. One more time the engines will be provided with a high quality hardware -- a 44 cores server -- and will compete in equal conditions to crown the strongest one in the Top Chess Engine Championship.

The last of the four divisions finished a month and a half later with Andscacs wins TCEC Division 1 (February 2018; includes links to results for lower divisions):-

With this division gold medal Andscacs earns the right to participate in the race for the TCEC title in the Premier Division, an event which will be the strongest computer chess championship in history.

This was immediately followed by the computer version of a candidates tournament: TCEC Premier Division – the strongest computer chess event in history (February 2018):-

After four divisions of exciting qualification battles, we are at the doorstep of the highest category of the Top Chess Engine Championship. The eight best chess software programs, that any professional player or aficionado can use on a home computer, are going to meet in a direct battle to determine the best of the best in the field. The eight participants include the defending champion Houdini, the vice champion Komodo, the top open source program Stockfish, as well as the challengers Fire, Ginkgo, Chiron, Andscacs, and Fizbo.

The November 2017 press release provided details about the format of the Premier Division:-

Top two Premier Division finishers advance to Superfinal competition; bottom two finishers relegated to First Division. • 6x double round-robin (engines play each other 12 times); 84 games each engine.

As I write this post, the tournment is at the start of its second half, the seventh round. The action goes on 24/7 at TCEC - Live Computer Chess Broadcast.

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