TCEC Rules

The Season 7 Superfinal of the TCEC ahampionship is underway with Komodo 1333 playing Stockfish 141214. I was amazed upon learning game 3 began as a French: Chigorin, 2…c5. In this 64 game match the same opening is being played by both “engines.” This game began during the evening of December 17, 2014 with the same opening played the following game, with colors reversed, and I spent the night watching the games, with both being drawn.
The TCEC people force the “engines” to play 8 moves. When White plays 2 Qe2, after 1 e4 e6, it signifies the Chigorin. Black should be allowed to play any move it computes best in lieu of being forced to play a move it may, or may not, consider best. When Black, on move two, after 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3, plays Nf6 that signifies the Petroff defense. I fail to understand why the TCECers force the programs to play another SIX moves when it is obvious White should choose the third move. Another example is the Najdorf defense. After 1e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Black has a variety of choices. Playing 5…a6 signals the Najdorf. At this point White has a plethora of choices. The “engine” should make the choice. After 1 e4 e5 2 f4 White has chosen the King’s Gambit, and Black has many options. It is unfortunate but we will never know what an “engine” would play because humans have made the choice for the machines. Near the end of the line for the game of Checkers, with the advent of the Checker playing program Chinook ( the openings would be chosen for the human players in a tournament because so many openings were known to be a forced draw.
One would think that the humans in control of the TCEC tournament would at least choose an opening played numerous times by top GMs, but such is not the case. Take the aforementioned Chigorin game as an example. After 1 e4 e6 2 Qe2 White has, according to the Chessbase Database (, just played the top scoring move against the French, with White scoring 57%. The move Black makes in reply, 2…c5, is the most played move in the variation and can be considered the main line. On its third move the “engine” is forced to play 3 g3 when the most often played move, considered to be the “main line,” is 3 Nf3. According to the CBDB, Stockfish 181114 would play the little played 3 b3. I would rather see SF play this move, since it is the move determined best. Houdini would play another lesser played move, 3 d3. That is the move it should be allowed to play.
Black answers with the most often played move, 3…Nc6, the move considered best by Komodo. Stockfish 5×64 at depth 31 also plays 3…Nc6, but at depth 35 changes to 3…g6. It would be interesting to see a game between these two titans continue from this point.
The next move, 4 Nf3 is the main line, but Houdini 3×64 would play the little played 4 d3. This is followed by 4…Be7, considered best by both SF and Komodo, yet 4…g6 and d6 have been played more often.
5 Bg2 is for choice, as is the reply 5…d5. 6 d3 is the main line, but Houdini 4×64 would play 6 0-0. The next move, 6…Nf6 is almost automatic. The program is forced to play 7 0-0, the main line, but Komodo would play 7 e5, so maybe it is best?! 7…0-0 would seem to be a no-brainer, and it has been throughout chess history, and it is the first choice of both Stockfish and Houdini, but the humans in charge forced the “engines” to play the much lesser played 7…b6. Now White plays 8 e5 and Black retreats his Knight to d7 and the forced moves have ended and the programs can begin to “compute.”
The TCECers could have allowed the “engines” to compute beginning on move two, after White plays 2 Qe2, or they could have chosen the same opening moves chosen previously by the best human players to have played the opening. Instead the knuckleheads at TCEC forced the machines to play an obscure, little played line.
The first move produced by a program, 9 c4, is not only “main line,” but also seen as best by the “engines.” Stockfish played 9…0-0. Komodo would play the most often played move, 9…d4.
Stockfish played 10 Re1 (Komodo would play a TN, 10 a3) and Komodo responded with 10…h6, which is a TN. Stockfish 151214 shows 10…Ndb8 at depth 24, but give it more time to crunch and it produces the move chosen by Komodo.
The move 10…h6 is a deviation from “known theory.” A game was played with the move 10…Bb7 in lieu of 10…h6. Who were the players in this earlier game? Were they well-known GMs who devoted their lives to the Royal game? Not hardly…They were guys of my calibre:

Samuel Minor (2092) vs Matthias Schoene (1846)
Frankfurt-ch 05/15/2006

1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Qe2 Nf6 4. Nf3 c5 5. g3 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nc6 8. e5 Nd7 9. c4 b6 10. Re1 Bb7 11. h4 Re8 12. Nbd2 Nf8 13. Nf1 Qc7 14. N1h2 Nd4 15. Nxd4 cxd4 16. cxd5 Bxd5 17. Bxd5 exd5 18. Qf3 Bb4 19. Re2 Rad8 20. Ng4 Ng6 21. h5 Nxe5 22. Nxe5 Rxe5 23. Bf4 f6 24. Bxe5 fxe5 25. a3 Be7 26. Rae1 Bf6 27. h6 Qd7 28. Rc2 e4 29. dxe4 dxe4 30. Qxe4 d3 31. Rd2 Bg5 32. f4 Bxh6 33. Qe6+ Qxe6 34. Rxe6 Kf7 35. Re3 g5 36. fxg5 Bxg5 37. Rexd3 Bxd2 38. Rxd8 Bc1 39. Rd7+ Kg6 40. Rxa7 Bxb2 41. a4 h5 42. Kg2 Kg5 43. Kh3 Bc3 44. Rd7 Bb4 45. Rd5+ Kg6 46. Rb5 Ba5 47. Kh4 1-0

For the record here are the two games played by the computer programs:

Stockfish 141214 (3218) vs Komodo 1333 (3210)
TCEC Season 7 – Superfinal game 3
C00 French: Chigorin, 2…c5

1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. g3 Nc6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. Bg2 d5 6. d3 Nf6 7. O-O b6 8. e5 Nd7 9. c4 O-O 10. Re1 h6 11. Bf4 d4 12. h4 Bb7 13. Nh2 Rb8 14. Ng4 h5 15. Nh2 g6 16. Nd2 a6 17. Nhf3 b5 18. Rab1 Qc7 19. cxb5 axb5 20. a3 Rbc8 21. Rbd1 Ba8 22. Ne4 Rfe8 23. b3 Qa7 24. Rb1 Qc7 25. b4 cxb4 26. axb4 Bxb4 27. Rf1 Qb8 28. Nf6+ Nxf6 29. exf6 e5 30. Bh6 Bc3 31. Bh3 e4 32. dxe4 Rcd8 33. Qxb5 Qxb5 34. Rxb5 Na5 35. Rc1 Bxe4 36. Nxd4 Bxd4 37. Rxa5 Bb2 38. Rf1 Bxf6 39. Bg2 Bf5 40. Bf3 Bc3 41. Ra2 Rd3 42. Be2 Rd4 43. Rc1 Rde4 1/2-1/2

Komodo 1333 (3210) vs Stockfish 141214 (3218)
TCEC Season 7 – Superfinal game 4
C00 French: Chigorin, 2…c5

1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. g3 Nc6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. Bg2 d5 6. d3 Nf6 7. O-O b6 8. e5 Nd7 9. c4 O-O 10. Re1 h6 11. Bf4 d4 12. h4 Bb7 13. Nh2 Re8 14. Qg4 Bf8 15. Bxc6 Bxc6 16. Bxh6 f5 17. Qg6 Qe7 18. Bf4 Qf7 19. Qxf7+ Kxf7 20. Nd2 b5 21. Nhf3 Be7 22. cxb5 Bxb5 23. Nc4 Bc6 24. Ng5+ Bxg5 25. Bxg5 Reb8 26. Na5 Bb5 27. Rad1 Rb6 28. b3 Rab8 29. Re2 Ra6 30. Nc4 Bxc4 31. bxc4 Rab6 32. f3 Rb2 33. Rde1 Rxe2 34. Rxe2 Rb1+ 35. Kf2 Nb8 36. Re1 Rb2+ 37. Re2 Rb1 38. g4 fxg4 39. fxg4 Nc6 40. h5 a5 41. Kf3 Rd1 42. Bd2 Ra1 43. Be1 a4 44. g5 a3 45. Kf4 Rb1 46. g6+ Ke8 47. Ke4 Rb2 48. Kf3 Nb4 49. Bxb4 cxb4 50. h6 gxh6 51. c5 b3 52. c6 Rxe2 53. Kxe2 bxa2 54. c7 Kd7 55. c8=Q+ Kxc8 56. g7 a1=Q 57. g8=Q+ Kb7 58. Qf7+ Ka6 59. Qxe6+ Ka5 60. Qd5+ Ka4 61. Qc6+ Kb4 62. Qc4+ Ka5 63. Qc5+ Ka4 64. Qc4+ 1/2-1/2

If any of this is logical to you, please leave a comment and elucidate the AW because none of this makes any sense to me whatsoever and I am certain Mr. Spock would question the logic behind the moves.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s