15 October 2018

Catching Up with Engine Competitions

Wrapping up that month-long series on World Champion Carlsen's record over the past two years, in last week's post Carlsen's PGN 2017-18, I promised,

For my next post in the Monday series, I'll return to the subject of engine-to-engine competitions. I need to catch up with two tournaments: TCEC season 13 and Chess.com's Computer Chess Championship (CCCC).

I still have some work to do on Carlsen's PGN, but I plan to do that while I'm watching the 2018 Carlsen - Caruana World Championship match, which starts in less than a month. The last time I looked at engine-to-engine competitions was as part of a series on AI engines, A Leela Surprise in the Nimzo Indian (August 2018). A few days ago, in Catching Up with Leela, I mentioned,

The [Leela] journey has included three tournaments -- TCEC Seasons 12 & 13 and this year's edition of the CCCC -- of which TCEC S13 is still underway.

In fact, I originally wrote, 'of which the last two are underway'. Then while researching this current post, I discovered that the CCCC finished almost two weeks ago, indicating that it was high time for me to bring myself up-to-date. Let's first tackle the TCEC S13, which most engine aficionados would probably agree is the more important of the two events, serving as a de facto World Computer Chess Championship.

I couldn't find an official announcement for the results of the most recent stage of TCEC S13. The TCEC archive told me that the Premier Division (aka 'Division P'), finished on 2 October, and gave the following crosstable.

That means Stockfish and Komodo will be slugging it out in the final match. This will likely be a repeat of S12, which I reported in Stockfish Wins TCEC Season 12 (July 2018). In the meantime, the organizers are holding TCEC Cup 2018 brackets (chessdom.com):-

The TCEC Cup will take place right after the Premier Division and before the Superfinal, the exact dates will be announced soon. It will be a knockout championship with 32 participants divided into brackets.

The cup tournament has reached the 'OctoFinal' stage, perhaps better understood as the 'Round of 16'. Half of the quarterfinalists are already known.

As for the CCCC (shouldn't that be five 'C's, i.e. 'CCCCC' for Chess.com Computer Chess Championship?), we learned a couple of weeks ago that Stockfish Wins Computer Chess Championship Rapid; Lc0 Finishes 3rd (chess.com; NB: 'Lc0' means 'Leela Chess Zero', or simply 'Leela'):-

The chess engine Stockfish proved its might with a decisive victory over Houdini in the 200-game final match of the Computer Chess Championship's first event, the Rapid Rumble. Stockfish scored 120/200 in a match that was never in doubt. Houdini, which admirably proved itself superior to the other 22 engines in the tournament, could manage just four wins over Stockfish in the final 200 games. Like all stages of CCCC 1, the games were played at the rapid time control of 15+5.

A week later, in Computer Chess Championship Returns For Blitz Battle, Chess.com announced,

The Chess.com Computer Chess Championship returns with a greatly expanded field and thousands of games to determine the best blitz chess engines in the world. [...] The Computer Chess Championship Blitz Battle will consist of three stages, all held at the blitz time control of five minutes plus two seconds increment. Stage one will begin with 33 competitors before the field is winnowed down to 10 engines for stage two and a final four engines for stage three.

That must be 'CCCC 2'. Maybe the 2018 CCCC hasn't finished yet and my first 'Catching Up' post was right after all. Maybe I'd better come back to this topic another time, because my head is spinning with all of these computer chess events. They are starting to be like elevator music -- always there but doesn't demand any real attention.


Later: Re 'I discovered that the CCCC finished almost two weeks ago', for some reason I had missed (or ignored) all of Chess.com's intermediate reports on the event. Here they are, in chronological order, ending with the report already linked above:-

As a further reference, here are the first and last values of the '[Date]' tags stored in the PGN files for each of the three stages.

  • Stage 1: 2018-08-31 to 2018-09-16
  • Stage 2: 2018-09-17 to 2018-09-25
  • Stage 3: 2018-09-25 to 2018-10-01

This event was the first to show that an AI/NN engine could compete against the best of the traditional engines in a neutral setting.

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