30 July 2018

Grobbing and Gaming

A couple of weeks ago, when I reported that Stockfish Wins TCEC Season 12, I wrote,

There were four openings where both engines won as White. [...] There was one opening where both engines won as Black.

I covered the first case last week in Four Fatal Openings, and I intended to cover the second case this week. When I started to gather the details about the opening where Black won both games, I was disappointed.

Games 45-46 (23.1-23.2)

A00: Grob: 1...d5
1.g4 d5
S-K: 2.e3 h5
K-S: 2.h3 h5

Two of the most sophisticated chess engines in the world running on one of the most powerful platforms available anywhere, only to show that the Grob is a lemon? I understand why the openings have to be dictated to the engines and I appreciate that two decisive games (1-0 & 0-1) give the same total score as two drawn games (1/2-1/2 & 1/2-1/2), but there must be better ways to prevent the engines from exchanging all of their pieces while following 25 moves of rock-solid theory. What's to prevent the organizers from dictating the moves 1.a4 a5 2. h4 h5, followed by four Rook lifts? Nothing. Just like there is nothing to prevent me from losing interest in artificial, uninteresting games.

Fortunately, today's post was saved by the announcement, TCEC Season 13 - the advance of the NNs (chessdom.com):-

Season 13 of the Top Chess Engine Championship is going to start this August 3rd. A total of 32 engines will compete for the title in the premier computer chess event. [...] For the first time ever the TCEC competition is going to see two NN engines competing. This will be Leela Chess Zero and DeusX. [...] The traditional chess engines will once again run on a 44 cores computer. The NN engines will be provided with 2 x GTX 1080 Ti GPU hardware. According to experts in the TCEC chat, this is approximately 35% of the power that Google supplied to Alpha Zero.

There are two terms here that I didn't understand: 'DeusX' and 'GTX 1080 Ti'. The first term is a mystery. After combing the resources used in Tracking Leela ('After the previous post, Finding Leela, I now know where to look to keep up with Leela's progress.'), the only relevant info I found was in the LCZero forum: What the heck is DeusX?. That question went unanswered, except for speculation about 'the internet majors' (like Google) and Shay Bushinsky (of Deep Junior fame). The second term led to answers like the following image.

GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Graphics Cards

The fine print there says,

The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is NVIDIA's new flagship gaming GPU, based on the NVIDIA Pascal architecture. The latest addition to the ultimate gaming platform, this card is packed with extreme gaming horsepower, next-gen 11 Gbps GDDR5X memory, and a massive 11 GB frame buffer. #GameReady.' [...] GeForce GTX 10 Series graphics cards are powered by Pascal to deliver up to 3X the performance of previous-generation graphics cards, plus breakthrough gaming technologies and VR experiences.

That inevitably leads to more questions, but I'll just wait for the start of TCEC Season 13 before getting too far ahead of myself.

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