05 September 2022

Chess324 Is a Thing

The most recent post on my chess960 blog, TCEC DFRC1 (August 2022), mentioned a new idea in the specialized world of chess engines:-

'!chess324 • A subset of DFRC where the Kings and the Rooks are at the usual starting position. Since castling is standard, this allows all engines to play.' For more about that definition, see Chess324 (talkchess.com; lkaufman, aka Larry Kaufman of Komodo++ fame).

That Talkchess thread ran its course and eventually died out, then came roaring back with a follow-up post by the same lkaufman: Re: Chess324 (talkchess.com):-

Chess324 now being used in CCC tournament! Dragon currently in first place (8 player multiple round robin), but it's early. Plenty of decisive games already, as hoped, though none yet between engines in the top half.

One of the ensuing discussions concerned the relative performances of three setup strategies -- chess960 (FRC), DFRC, and chess324 -- for reducing draws. Another was a substandard performance by Leela:-

Current working theory -- the [Leela] bad performance so far would be because we submitted an untested branch which ended up having a pretty bad bug. Whether that's actually why Leela has performed so poorly remains to be seen, but it's the most probable explanation, considering the analysis I was running on the side during games with a known good version. The playing Leela was updated to a fixed version around game 154.

At this point a CCC insider ('AndrewGrant') pointed out,

The mid-event "update", was actually a mid-event "revert one commit", so I felt happy to do it. Not a super serious event, so no harm done really by having some buggyness.

Grant is a well known personality in chess engines. His page, Andrew Grant (chessprogramming.org), says,

An American computer science and mathematics major at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is author of the UCI compliant open source chess engine Ethereal, first officially released in June 2016, and the distributed SPRT testing framework for chess engines, OpenBench.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, OpenBench was featured in an August CCC event called, 'OpenBench Interlude #1'. Can we conclude from this that Andrew Grant has taken over responsibility for the CCC, at least temporarily? The following image displays what Chess.com, the owner/sponsor of CCC, has to say about the current(?) CCC TD and his apparent(?) successor.

About Chess.com (chess.com; 'Updated: Aug 26, 2022')

The LinkedIn page for 'Connor' confirms the end date: 'CCC Tournament Director; Chess.com; Jul 2021 - Aug 2022'. Will this personnel change be confirmed by a Chess.com announcement? I don't recall this being done the last time, so my guess is that we'll have to monitor 'About Chess.com' for any updates regarding CCC administration. See CCC Changes the Guard (October 2021), for the previous transition. Thanks, Connor, for a job well done.

No comments: