Top Chess Engine Championship

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Top Chess Engine Championship, formerly known as Thoresen Chess Engines Competition (TCEC or nTCEC), is a computer chess tournament that has been run since 2010. It was organized, directed, and hosted by Martin Thoresen until the end of Season 6; from Season 7 onward it has been organized by Chessdom. It is often regarded as the Unofficial World Computer Chess Championship because of its strong participant line-up and long time-control matches on high-end hardware, giving rise to very high-class chess. The tournament has attracted nearly all the top engines compared to the World Computer Chess Championship. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Chess_Engine_Championship)

There have been 27 games completed in the current TCEC Chess Championship, Season 22. The Chess program known as Stockfish has drubbed the Chess program known as Komodo by scoring ten wins with Komodo having registered only three victories. If this were boxing the bout would have been stopped much earlier. Although I have followed most of the previous TCEC Chess Championships I am no authority on what, exactly, is transpiring. There was an event preceding the final in which the two aforementioned programs competed, along with many other programs. Stockfish managed to win the event but Komodo won one of the games played with Stockfish with the latter not being able to score a win against the Dragon; the other games were drawn. This led the AW to believe the current match would be close. When it comes to computer program Chess, what the fork do I know?

It is difficult to write about the event with limited knowledge. I should probably do some research before writing but, frankly, I have no desire to spend time jumping through the hoops necessary to obtain more information, so will go with what I know, Joe.

In the Top Chess Engine Championship (TCEC) Season 21 Superfinal the top two engines from the Premier Division compete in a 100-game match for the TCEC Grand Champion title. Stockfish bested LCZero by a score of 56-44 (https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/tcec-season-21-superfinal-2021).

At this moment the twenty-eighth game is underway. The opening is an “A80 Dutch, Korchnoi Attack.” I have played the Dutch Defense for many decades and, to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time I have heard of the “Korchnoi attack.” I kid you not…This sent me to the Ironman. After inquiring Tim said he had never heard of the Korchnoi attack against the Dutch. Between us we have over a century of Chess experience, yet neither of us recalled the Korchnoi Attack, which is 1 d4 f5 2 h3
(https://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=4&n=53&ms=d4.f5.h3&ns=7.60.53). The ChessBaseDataBase contains only 136 games in which the Korchnoi Attack was played. The Big Database at 365Chess shows 394 games with the attack by Korchnoi. The name “Korchnoi” is found only once at the 365Chess.com webpage of the “Korchnoi Attack” (https://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=4&n=53&ms=d4.f5.h3&ns=7.60.53), and that would be the header: A80 Dutch, Korchnoi attack. The ongoing game shows Stockfish, playing White, has a completely won game after thirty moves…Komodo did, though, win the first game of the mini-match utilizing the Korchnoi attack (https://tcec-chess.com/#div=sf&game=27&season=22).

In an earlier round the featured opening was a Petrov defense, or as it is found over at 365Chess, “C42 Petrov, Cochrane gambit.” The opening moves of the Cochrane Gambit are: 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 d6 4 Nxf7… Both games of the mini-match were drawn. (https://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=8&n=1124&ms=e4.e5.Nf3.Nf6.Nxe5.d6.Nxf7&ns=3.5.5.221.601.707.1124)

The opening has been so rarely played that the Big Database at 365Chess shows 382 games contained therein. At the ChessBaseDataBase one finds only 113 games having been previously played in the history of Chess. This begs the question of who chooses the openings played; and why such obscure openings have been chosen; and “What the Fork?”

For over a decade I have wondered why the humans at TCEC did not allow the programs to choose their own moves. Human interference has marred the event. It would be more understandable if the programs were forced to play, say, 1 e4 c5, the Sicilian defense, the most popular opening of humans. I could understand letting the programs begin after the most popular Sicilian opening, the Najdorf, which is 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6. Yet the openings chosen force the game to begin after a long string of obscure moves have been played. What is the point?

Evidently other players, or at least spectators, feel the same because rarely does one see more than a couple of hundred people watching the “action.” The TCEC Championship was interesting when it began but the novelty has worn off along with the interest. After 44 moves played in the latest game the page shows Stockfish winning by 8.38. The game has obviously been over, for all intents and purposes, for many moves, yet the programs keep producing moves on demand, no matter how lopsided the score.

Ordinarily I would post a game to go with the words, but TCEC makes it difficult, if not impossible, to cut and paste the moves. If you would like to see any of the action, check it out @ https://www.chessdom.com/

Dutch Springs Leak

The Dutch dam erected earlier on Jefferson Davis Highway in DC cracked in the penultimate round of the World Open. Wins pouring through the sieve as Viktor Laznicka lost to Illia Nyzhnyk, and Isan Suarez gave way to Mark Paragua. The CCA website crashed, so I have Monroi (http://www.monroi.com/) to thank for the games. Nyzhnyk fianchettoed his Queen Bishop which was the favored method of IM Boris Kogan. He explained that the dark-squared Bishop often has difficulty finding a good square, so the early development takes care of that problem. The results shown at the Chessbase Database (http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/onlinedb/), and 365Chess (http://www.365chess.com/) look good for White in this line, proving, if proof be needed, “Hulk” Kogan knew what he was taking about when it came to chess theory.
Illia Nyzhnyk vs Viktor Laznicka
2014 World Open d 8
1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 g6 5.O-O Bg7 6.b3 O-O 7.Bb2 c6 8.Nbd2 a5 9.a4 Na6 10.Re1 Qc7 (10…Nb4 11. h3 Ne4 12. Nxe4 fxe4 13. Nd2 d5 14. c3 Na6 15. f3 Qc7 16. Kh2 exf3 17. Nxf3 Bf5 18. Qd2 Be4 19. Rf1 Rf6 20. Ba3 Raf8 21. Qe3 h6 22. h4 R8f7 23. Rac1 Qd8 24. Bh3 Nc7 25. Nd2 Bf5 26. g4 Bd7 27. Nf3 Rf4 28. Ne5 Bxe5 29. Qxe5 Re4 30. Qg3 Rxf1 31. Rxf1 Ne8 32. Bc1 Nf6 33. Bxh6 Nxg4+ 34. Kh1 Bf5 35. Bf4 Qd7 36. Rg1 Nf6 37. e3 Rxf4 38. exf4 Bxh3 39. Qxg6+ Kf8 40. Qg7+ Ke8 41. Qh8+ Kf7 42. Rg7+ Ke6 43. Qb8 Qd6 44. Qxb7 Qd8 45. Qxc6+ Kf5 46. Qb7 Ng8 47. Rg5+ Ke4 48. Qb5 1-0, Lubomir Ftacnik (2430) – Ratmir Kholmov (2550) CSR-ch 1979) 11.c3 e5 12.dxe5 dxe5 13.e4 Rd8 14.Qe2 fxe4 15.Ng5 Nc5 16.Qc4 Rd5 17.Ndxe4 Ncxe4 18.Nxe4 Nxe4 19.Bxe4 Be6 20.Bxd5 Bxd5 21.Qe2 Qf7 22.f4 Bxb3 23.fxe5 Re8 24.Qd3 Bd5 25.Ba3 Bxe5 26.Rab1 Bc4 27.Qe3 Re6 28.Qa7 Qe8 29.Qxa5 b5 30.Rbd1 Bd5 31.Bc5 Bd6 32.Bf2 bxa4 33.c4 1-0
Taimanov, Mark E – Malaniuk, Vladimir P ½-½
A87 Baku 1983
1. Nf3 f5 2. d4 d6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 g6 5. b3 Bg7 6. Bb2 O-O 7. O-O Ne4 8. c4 Nc6 9. Nbd2 Nxd2 10. Qxd2 e5 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Qd5+ Kh8 13. Qxd8 Rxd8 14. Rad1 1/2-1/2
Mark Paragua (2506) vs Isan Suarez (2592)
2014 World Open d 8
1.d4 f5 2.Bg5 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Nc3 Nh6 7.Qd2 Nf7 8.Be3 c5 9.Na4 (9. O-O-O Bxd4 10. Bxd4 e5 11. Bb5+ Nc6 12. Qe2 Qd6 13. Be3 Be6 14. Nxd5 Bxd5 15. c4 a6 16. Rxd5 1-0, Alexandr Kharitonov (2437) – Thomas Rendle (2240), EU-ch U18, 2003) cxd4 10.Bxd4 e5 11.Bc5 Nc6 12.Nf3 Be6 13.Bb5 Nd6 14.Ng5 Bh6 15.Be3 Bg8 16.Nf7 Bxf7 17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.Bxh6 Nc4 19.Qb4 Rb8 20.Qc5 Qc7 21.f4 Rb5 22.Qf2 Qa5 23.Nc3 Rxb2 24.O-O Qb6 25.Na4 Qxf2 26.Rxf2 Rb4 27.Nc5 e4 28.f5 Ke7 29.c3 Rb2 30.Rxb2 Nxb2 31.Rb1 Nd3 32.Rb7 Kf6 33.Be3 Rd8 34.Bd4 Kxf5 35.Rxf7 Kg4 36.h3 1-0

DC Invaded By Dutch!

In addition to the Leningrad Dutch Kazim Gulamali played in round four this game was also played:
Yury Shulman (2568) – Viktor Laznicka (2679)
World Open 2014, rd. 4
1.c4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.b3 Bg7 5.Bb2 d6 6.d4 O-O 7.Bg2 c6 8.O-O Na6 9.Nbd2 e5 10.dxe5 Nd7 11.Ba3 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 Bxe5 13.Qc2 Bxa1 14.Rxa1 Qe7 15.Rd1 Be6 16.Bb2 h6 17.Qc3 Kh7 18.b4 Rad8 19.Nf3 c5 20.a3 d5 21.cxd5 Bxd5 22.b5 Nc7 23.Qa5 Be4 24.Rc1 Ne6 25.Qxa7 Ra8 26.Qb6 Rfd8 27.Be5 Rd5 28.Bf4 g5 29.Be3 Rd6 30.Bxc5 Nxc5 31.Qxc5 Rd1+ 32.Bf1 Qxc5 33.Rxc5 Rxa3 0-1

There was a dearth of games on Monroi both during and after the fifth round games, and the CCA page only shows four games, so I have no idea how often the Dutch Defence was unsheathed, but today’s sixth round saw THREE Dutch Defense games on the top boards. The 2014 World Open has seen a virtual cornucopia of f5! With two wins and three draws thus far, I would have to say the Dutch is more than holding its own!

Timur Gareyev (2640) – Andrey Gorovets (2446)
World Open 2014, rd. 6
1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bf4 e6 4.e3 a6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bd3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.O-O Nc6 9.Ne2 Qe7 (9…Nb4 10. a3 Nxd3 11. cxd3 Bd7 12. Rc1 Rc8 13. Qd2 O-O 14. Rxc5 Rxc5 15. Bd6 Rc8 16. Bxf8 Qxf8 17. Rc1 b6 18. Ne5 Rxc1+ 19. Qxc1 Qc8 20. Qxc8+ Bxc8 21. Nd4 a5 22. f4 Kf8 23. Kf2 Ke7 24. h3 Nd7 25. Ndf3 Nc5 26. Ke1 Bd7 27. Kd2 Be8 28. b4 axb4 29. axb4 Nb7 30. g4 fxg4 31. hxg4 Nd6 32. Nd4 h6 33. Ke2 Kf6 34. Ndf3 g5 35. fxg5+ hxg5 36. Kd2 Ba4 37. Ke2 Bb5 1/2-1/2, Varuzhan Akobian – Gata Kamsky, 2014 US Championship) 10.Ned4 O-O 11.c4 Bd7 12.a3 Bd6 13.Bg3 Bxg3 14.hxg3 Kh8 15.cxd5 Nxd5 16.e4 Nxd4 17.Nxd4 Qf6 18.Bc2 fxe4 19.Bxe4 Rad8 20.Bxd5 Bc8 21.Be4 Rxd4 22.Qc2 g6 23.Rad1 e5 24.Rfe1 Qd6 25.Rxd4 exd4 26.Bd3 Bd7 27.Qd2 Kg7 28.Qg5 Re8 1/2-1/2

Denys Shmelov (2393) – Alex Shimanov (2644)
World Open 2014, rd. 6
1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nc3 d6 6.d5 c6 7.Nh3 e5 8.dxe6 Bxe6 9.Qb3 Qe7 10.Ng5 Bc8 11.O-O h6 (11…Na6 12. Rd1 Nd7 13. Qc2 O-O 14. Nf3 Ne5 15. b3 Nc5 16. Nxe5 Bxe5 17. Bh6 Re8 18. Qd2 Be6 19. Rac1 a5 20. Bg5 Qf8 21. Be3 Rad8 22. Bd4 f4 23. Qb2 Bf5 24. Qa3 Ra8 25. Bf3 h5 26. Na4 Ne6 27. Bxe5 dxe5 28. Qxf8+ Nxf8 29. gxf4 exf4 30. Nc5 Rab8 31. a3 Re7 32. Rd4 g5 33. Bxh5 b6 34. Nd3 Ne6 35. Rd6 Rd8 36. Rxd8+ Nxd8 37. c5 b5 38. b4 axb4 39. Nxb4 g4 40. Rd1 Rd7 41. Rxd7 Bxd7 42. Nd3 Nb7 43. Nxf4 Nxc5 44. Ng6 Kg7 45. Ne5 Kf6 46. Nxd7+ Nxd7 47. Bxg4 Ne5 48. Bf3 Ke6 49. h4 c5 50. Kf1 Nc4 51. h5 Nxa3 52. Bd5+ Kf6 53. e4 c4 54. h6 Kg6 55. e5 c3 56. Ke2 b4 57. e6 Nb5 58. e7 Nd6 59. Bc6 Kxh6 60. e8=Q Nxe8 61. Bxe8 Kg5 62. Ba4 Kf4 63. Bc2 Ke5 64. Ke3 Kd5 65. Bb3+ Ke5 66. f4+ 1-0, Yuri Drozdovskij (2509) – Friso Nijboer (2571), Cappelle la Grande, 2006) 12.Nf3 Na6 13.Rd1 Nc5 14.Qc2 O-O 15.Rb1 a5 16.Bf4 Rd8 17.Na4 Nxa4 18.Qxa4 Be6 19.Nd4 Bf7 20.Qc2 d5 21.c5 Ne4 22.Bxe4 Qxe4 23.Qc3 g5 24.Bd6 Re8 25.Rbc1 Bg6 26.Rd2 f4 27.Rf1 Kh7 28.gxf4 gxf4 29.f3 Qe3 30.Qxe3 fxe3 31.Rdd1 a4 32.Kh1 Rg8 33.Rg1 Bf6 34.Bf4 a3 35.b3 Rae8 36.Bd6 h5 37.Bg3 Be7 38.Rc1 Bf6 39.Rcd1 Bd8 40.Be1 Bc7 41.Bg3 Ba5 42.Be1 Bc7 43.Bg3 Bd8 44.Be1 Rgf8 45.Bg3 Rf7 46.Rc1 Ba5 47.Be1 Bxe1 48.Rgxe1 Rf4 49.Red1 Bf5 50.Nxf5 Rxf5 51.Rd4 Kg6 52.Rb4 Re7 53.Ra4 Kf6 54.Rxa3 d4 55.b4 Ke5 56.Rd3 Rg7 57.Rcd1 Rf4 58.h3 Rg8 59.a3 h4 60.Kh2 Rg3 61.Re1 Rf7 62.Red1 Rfg7 63.Rxd4 Rg2 64.Kh1 Rxe2 65.Re4 Kf5 66.Rd8 Re1 67.Kh2 Re2 68.Kh1 Rg3 69.Rf8 Kg5 70.Rg8 Kf6 71.Rge8 Rxh3 72.Kg1 Rg3 73.Kh1 Rh3 74.Kg1 Re1 75.Kg2 Rhh1 76.R8e6 1/2-1/2

The following game features 11…Nbd7 in lieu of 11…h6 or Na6 as above.

Oms Pallisse, Josep (2498) – Menvielle Laccourreye, Augusto (2254)
74th ch-ESP Absoluto 2009

1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 d6 6. d5 c6 7. Nh3 e5 8. dxe6 Bxe6 9. Qb3 Qe7 10. Ng5 Bc8 11. O-O Nbd7 12. Rd1 h6 13. Nf3 Nc5 14. Qc2 Be6 15. b3 O-O 16. Bb2 Rad8 17. Nd4 Bf7 18. e3 Nce4 19. Rac1 Rfe8 20. Re1 d5 21. cxd5 Bxd5 22. Nxd5 cxd5 23. f3 Ng5 24. Qc5 Qxc5 25. Rxc5 Ne6 26. Nxe6 Rxe6 27. Bd4 Ne8 28. Bxg7 Kxg7 29. Kf2 Rd7 30. Rec1 d4 31. exd4 Rxd4 32. R1c2 Red6 33. Bf1 Rd2+ 34. Ke3 Rxc2 35. Rxc2 Kf6 36. Rc8 Re6+ 37. Kd4 Nd6 38. Rc1 f4 39. g4 Nf7 40. Bc4 Rd6+ 41. Ke4 Rc6 42. Rc2 g5 43. Bd3 Re6+ 44. Kd4 Rd6+ 45. Kc3 Rc6+ 46. Kb4 Rb6+ 47. Ka5 Rd6 48. Be4 Rd7 49. Kb4 Rd4+ 50. Kc3 Rd7 51. Re2 Ne5 52. Rd2 Rxd2 53. Kxd2 Ke6 54. Kc3 b6 55. Kd4 Kd6 56. Ba8 Ke6 57. Bb7 Ng6 58. b4 Nh4 59. Be4 Ng2 60. a4 Ne3 61. Bd3 Kd6 62. Be4 a5 63. bxa5 bxa5 64. Bd3 Nd1 65. Bb5 Ne3 66. Ke4 Ke6 67. Bd3 Kd6 68. h4 gxh4 69. Kxf4 Nd5+ 70. Ke4 Nc3+ 71. Kd4 h3 72. Bf1 h2 73. Bg2 Nxa4 74. f4 Nc5 75. f5 Nd7 76. Ke3 a4 77. Kd4 Nf6 0-1

Aleksandr Lenderman (2600) – Viktor Laznicka (2679)
World Open 2014, rd. 6
1.c4 f5 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bf4 Bg7 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Qb3 c6 (Nh5 8. Ng5 Nf8 9. c5 h6 10. Qf7+ Kd7 11. cxd6 hxg5 12. dxc7 1-0, Hans Hermesmann (2300) – Bernhard Juergens (2066) Hamburg Ani Cup 2004) 8.c5 d5 9.h3 Ne4 10.Be2 e5 11.Bh2 O-O 12.Rc1 Qe7 13.Rc2 exd4 14.exd4 Ng5 15.O-O f4 16.Nxd5 Nxf3 17.Bxf3 cxd5 18.Re2 Qh4 19.Qxd5 Kh8 20.Qd6 g5 21.Re7 Nf6 22.Bxb7 Bxb7 23.Rxb7 Rad8 24.Qe7 Qh6 25.c6 Nd5 26.Qc5 Qe6 27.Qxa7 Rg8 28.Qc5 g4 29.c7 Rc8 30.hxg4 Bf8 31.Qc2 Rxg4 32.Rb8 Rg7 33.Rxc8 Qxc8 34.Qe4 Rd7 35.Qf5 Nxc7 36.Bxf4 Nd5 37.Be5 Bg7 38.Re1 Qd8 39.Re4 Ne7 40.Bxg7 Kxg7 41.Qe5 Kg8 42.Qe6 Kg7 43.Qe5 Kg8 44.Qe6 Kg7 45.Qe5 1/2-1/2

Paul Keres showed the way to play Nbd7 back before my day!

Tamm, P. – Keres, Paul
A81 EST training 1935
1. Nf3 f5 2. d4 Nf6 3. g3 d6 4. Bg2 Nbd7 5. Ng5 Nb6 6. O-O g6 7. Re1 Bg7 8. c3 O-O 9. e4 fxe4 10. Nxe4 Nxe4 11. Bxe4 e5 12. dxe5 Bxe5 13. Bh6 Bg7 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 15. Qd4+ Qf6 16. Qxf6+ Kxf6 17. Nd2 c6 18. Bg2 d5 19. f4 Na4 20. c4 Be6 21. b3 Nc5 22. cxd5 Bxd5 23. Ne4+ Bxe4 24. Bxe4 Rad8 25. Rac1 Nxe4 26. Rxe4 Rd2 27. a4 Rfd8 28. Rce1 Rb2 29. Re6+ Kg7 30. Re7+ Kh6 31. R1e2 Rxe2 32. Rxe2 Rd1+ 33. Kg2 Rb1 34. Re3 Rb2+ 35. Kh3 b6 36. g4 Kg7 37. Kg3 c5 38. h3 Kf6 39. g5+ Kf7 40. Kf3 Rc2 41. Kg4 c4 42. bxc4 Rxc4 43. Ra3 Ke6 44. h4 Kd6 45. Ra1 Kc5 46. h5 gxh5+ 47. Kf5 h4 48. Rh1 Rxa4 49. Rxh4 Ra1 50. Rxh7 b5 51. g6 b4 52. g7 Rg1 53. Kf6 b3 54. Rh5+ Kc6 55. Rg5 Rxg5 56. fxg5 b2 57. g8=Q b1=Q 58. Qc8+ Kd6 59. Qe6+ Kc7 60. Qe7+ Kb6 1/2-1/2