Today Chess.com published their “2022 Chess.com Awards Winners.”
“Over 10,000 members chimed in with their votes this year, and Chess.com is happy to announce the winners of the 2022 Chess.com Awards! These awards are an opportunity to celebrate the fantastic year 2022 has been for chess. They are also a way for the community to recognize and reminisce on the great games, moves, players, creators, and other highlights this year brought us.” (https://www.chess.com/news/view/2022-chesscom-awards-winners)
Chess.com writes: “At Chess.com, our members played more than 3.5 billion games throughout the year, and that’s not even counting the over 1.5 billion games played against bots. We’ve also surpassed 100,000,000 members—if Chess.com were a country, we’d be the 15th most populous on Earth!”
Do tell… The ten thousand members who “chimed in with their votes this year…” divided by the one hundred million members tells us only .0001 members did the chiming.
One reads: “Watching top chess engines playing chess is a unique experience. No other chess games are as beautiful—and, at times, chaotic—as engine chess. This year, Stockfish’s unbelievable tactical victory over Leela Chess Zero takes the prize for Computer Game of the Year. Stockfish sacrificed material left and right to roll over its silicon nemesis in a game filled with ideas that no human mind could ever come up with.”
Stockfish vs. Lc0, TCEC Season 23 - Superfinal
Stockfish vs. Lc0, CCC 17 Blitz: Finals
Stockfish vs. Lc0, CCC 17 Blitz: Semifinals
Who wrote that crap? Could it maybe be the collective “wisdom” of Chess.com? Let us break it down by sentence.
“Watching top chess engines playing chess is a unique experience.”
Say what?! Watching “top chess engines playing chess” may have been a “unique experience” way ‘back in the day’ when computer programs were new, but those days ended when Kasparov tanked against one of the programs. Today it is an every day occurrance.
The next sentence states: “No other chess games are as beautiful—and, at times, chaotic—as engine chess.”
One often hears that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” means that everyone’s view of beauty is subjective, and there is no general standard of beauty. What one person finds beautiful, others may find ugly, and vice versa.”
The origin of the saying, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” comes from the author, Margaret Wolfe Hungerford (née Hamilton). Hamilton would use the pseudonym “The Duchess” for much of her career. Her book “Molly Brawn,” published in 1878, features the saying in its modern format.
This needs repeating: “No other chess games are as beautiful—and, at times, chaotic—as engine chess.”
The unnamed person, or persons, who wrote the above obviously have never replayed any game by the Magician from Riga, Mikhail Tal!
No one in his, or her right mind who has replayed the games of Tal would ever write such nonsense. Unfortunately, it continues:
“This year, Stockfish’s unbelievable tactical victory over Leela Chess Zero takes the prize for Computer Game of the Year. Stockfish sacrificed material left and right to roll over its silicon nemesis in a game filled with ideas that no human mind could ever come up with.”
BULL EXCREMENT! I loathe and detest nattering nabobs who sell we humans short. Many of the games of Mikhail Tal prove the obviously ignorant humans at Chess.com wrong.
Stockfish vs. Lc0, TCEC Season 23 – Superfinal
Stockfish vs. Lc0, CCC 17 Blitz: Finals
Stockfish vs. Lc0, CCC 17 Blitz: Semifinals
I attempted to click onto the first, hoping to watch the game chosen as the “Computer Game of the Year” but is was not possible. After reading the whole damn article the game was not found. Therefore I did a search and found what may be, or may not be the game in question:
The Chess program known as Stockfish is in the process of drubbing the Chess program known as Komodo in the latest battle for supremacy of the “engines.” What is the point? To make things worse, some obviously inept human has chosen the openings for the “players.” I can understand assigning a particular opening, such as the Sicilian, and making the opening moves of 1 e4 c5 for the programs and let them go from there. I could even understand forcing the programs to play the Najdorf, far and away the most often played Sicilian, by beginning the game with White choosing the sixth move after 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6. I cannot understand a game beginning after ten inferior moves, as is the case in the following examples. The TCEC show seems to be a complete exercise in futility. The only interesting thing about TCEC is what move the top programs will play in the opening when out of ‘book’. That said, you know this writer found interest in the two Leningrad Dutch games which follow. I must add that the move 7…Nc6 is no longer the “main variation” of the Leningrad Dutch. Stockfish prefers 7…c6, and so should you.
KomodoDragon vs Stockfish TCEC match game 51.1 A89 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with Nc6
1.d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. c4 d6 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Qb3 h6 (The was the last ‘book’ move. I kid you not. Some inept human forced the programs to begin playing in this position. It makes me wonder what’s going on…I was curious, so regular readers know what comes next…Let us begin anew…)
d4 f5 2. Nf3 (Although Stockfish 14 @depth 52 prefers the move played in the game, SF 14.1 will fire 2 Bg5 at you! Is that amazin’, or what? If you play the Dutch you had better come to the board armed with the latest ideas after 2 Bg5 or you will go down HARD, like rot-gut whiskey. According to the ChessBaseDataBase the most often played move has been 2 g3, with the CBDB containing 8954 games with the move. Deep Fritz 13 prefers this move, which has scored 59%. The game move shows 5006 games with white scoring 56%. 3 c4 comes in third with 4240 examples scoring 56%. In fourth place is the move 2 Nc3. In 2923 games it has scored 57%. 2 Bg5 comes next with 1895 games that have scored 58% for white. The move 2 e4 is next and it has scored only 48% for white in 707 games) 2…Nf6 (Stockfish 14.1 @depth 48 will play this move, as will Fritz 17 @depth 28, but leave it running a little longer and at depth 29 the program plays 2…e6, which is proof positive there is something amiss in the bowels of Fritz 17) 3. g3 g6 (Although Sockfish 14 plays 3…e6, SF 14.1 corrected the obvious problem by switching to 3…d6, which has scored the highest, 58%, albeit in limited action of only 555 games. The game move has been the most often played move while scoring 55% in 2409 games) 4. Bg2 (According to the CBDB this move has been played far more than all other moves shown combined and it is not even close, as the game move has been played 5094 times while scoring 56%. With 863 games the move 4 c4 is next, and it, too, has scored 56%. It is indeed interesting that Stockfish 14.1 @depth 47 will play 4 Bg2, but @depth 51 shows 4 b3, a move having been seen in only 108 games while scoring 59%. But then at depth 60 it reverts to 4 Bg2. It makes me wonder, why?) 4…Bg7 (This move has been played in 5496 games and has scored 57%, but in 1079 games 4…d6 has scored 59% for white. Here’s the deal…@depth 44 Stockfish will play 4…Bg7, but leave it running only a short time and @depth 45 it changes it’s algorithm to 4…d6…) 5. c4 d6 (5…0-0 has been the most often played move, and it is the choice of Stockfish 10 [TEN? What happened to the latest programs? The CBDB is in dire need of a tune-up!]. Fritz 17 will play the second most often played move of 5…d6. Deep Fritz 13 will play 5…c5. The CBDB contains only ONE GAME with the move 5…c5) 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Nc6 (As has been written on this blog previously, 7…c6 is the best move in the position. 7…Qe8 was the choice of the leading exponent of the Leningrad Dutch, GM Vladimir Malaniuk.
ForwardChess.com sent two new books
which were downloaded onto the laptop, and were the first two books read via computer. Unfortunately, the author, Mihail Marin,
focused exclusively on the above mentioned, second-rate move, 7…Qe8 for the Leningrad Dutch. Not wanting to write a negative review, I eschewed writing about the book. Marin dedicated the book “To my late mother, who used to tell me: “Play beautifully, Bobita!” The author writes, “…I became so deeply involved in the world of the Leningrad that in five consecutive tournaments I played 1…f5 in all my games, except those starting with 1 e4. I actually adopted a similar strategy with White, starting all my games in those tournaments with 1 f4.” Regular readers know what that meant to the AW! Before reading the books I ‘just had’ to replay each and every one of those games, while making notes for the review that never was…You, too, can reply the games, which are easy to locate at 365Chess.com. Let me say that the book was enjoyed immensely, but I have trouble recommending any book using an antiquated line as the basis for the book. On the other hand, his other Dutch book, Dutch Sidelines, is an EXCELLENT book that I highly recommend, and it should be read prior to any player attempting to play the Leningrad Dutch, or any opening beginning with 1…f5, because the players sitting behind the White pieces will throw everything including the kitchen sink at you before you ever get to play a Leningrad Dutch proper, so you better be prepared for all the sidelines, and this is a FANTASTIC book for just that purpose! See (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/09/08/a-chess-game-begins-with-the-opening/) You can thank me later…) 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Qb3 h6 (In 128 games this move has allowed White to score 64%. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 46, and Komodo 14 @depth 37, will play 10…e6, a move shown in only 24 games at the CBDB. White has scored 69% against the move, so if you intend on playing the Leningrad Dutch you need to produce better moves before reaching this position.
Stockfish vs KomodoDragon TCEC match game 52.1 A89 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with Nc6
I wondered about the move 11 Be3 in the first game and was therefore not surprised when Stockfish varied. 11 Bd2 (varies from 11 Be3 in the first game of the mini-match. Komodo 14 @depth36 will play 11 Rd1. The CBDB contains 48 games with the move and it has scored 66% versus 2445 opposition. Going one fathom deeper to depth 37 Komodo 14 plays 11 Bd2. There are only 4 games in which this move has been attempted while scoring 50% against a composite player rated 2433. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 41 prefers the move 11 a4. Only two games are shown at the CBDB, and both ended in wins for players of the White. At depth 39 Stockfish 11 [SF 11?! How many years has it been since SF 11 was state of the art?] will play 11…e4. Going one fathom deeper the same antiquated ‘engine’ plays 11…e6…
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.
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).
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/
A disgruntled reader took exception to the post, USCF Drops Set & Clock (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/08/12/uscf-drops-set-clock/). He defended the USCF for not having posted the last round games along with the other eight rounds. Only seven of those rounds can be found at the USCF website. There was/is an error with the fifth round and when clicks on the round this is found:
The disgruntled one excoriated the AW for not finding the games at lichess (https://lichess.org/). I will admit to missing the notification in the article by Alexy Root,
U.S. Open: Chess games, awards, signings, meetings, as I sort of glanced at the pictures on the way to the games, of which there were only three. Although I had previously been to the lichess website, I returned, finding the same page. From what was displayed I thought the website was only for playing online Chess. What do you think
Yesterday while watching the coverage of the Sinquefield Cup
I noticed GM Maurice Ashley
using a lichess board to display moves played in the ongoing games, so I returned to lichess and there was the same page as above. I did not want to waste time looking at the website because I was enjoying watching the gentlemen. Frankly, it was excellent having three Grandmasters analyze the games live without having a much lower rated woman onscreen.
There are many Chess websites and they are in competition. Like the Highlander,
The same screen has been up since the conclusion of the TCEC (https://tcec-chess.com/) match, won convincingly by Stockfish over LcZero. Although I visit most every Chess website the surfing begins with The Week In Chess (https://theweekinchess.com/), moving to Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/), then on over to Chess24 (https://chess24.com/en), and when there is Chess action, I go to the ChessBomb (https://www.chessbomb.com/), and also use Chess24. The best place to view is TWIC because the board contains only moves, unlike ChessBomb, which color codes moves, and Chess24 which has some ridiculous white strip on the side of the board that moves up or down depending on the current move. It reminds me of a thermometer. Wonder why the two websites did not make the ancillary accoutrements optional? They broadcast most of the same events, but the Bomb has been running all games played in the World Chess Championship matches, and is now up to the 1981 Karpov vs. Korchnoi match. (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/1981-karpov-korchnoi) I am still enjoying replaying the Bobby Fischer versus Boris Spassky match. (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/1972-spassky-fischer) Although I like the darker background found at Chess.com I agree with a gentleman with children who said, “Chess.com is geared toward children.” And why should it not be “geared toward children”? Children are the future and the battle rages for their little hearts, minds, souls, and their parents money.
The sixth game of the 2018 World Human Chess Championship was drawn, as were the first five games.
There are multiple reasons all games have been drawn. The format of only twelve games lends itself to many drawn games. When Bobby Fischer
defeated Boris Spassky in 1972 the World Chess Championship was comprised of twenty four games. A player could lose a game, or two, as did Fischer to begin the match, and still have time to mount a comeback. In a much shorter match the combatants know one decisive game could be all she wrote. In addition, the players are evenly matched. One would expect extremely close games between the two best human players in the world. Then there is the fact that human players are much stronger and better than their predecessors. As Chess players improve there will be more draws, unless there are changes to the rules.
In the recent 2nd Du Te Cup 2018 played in Shenzhen, China 4th to 11th November 2018, six of the top Grandmasters in the World, rated between 2709 and 2816, played an eight round double round robin in which a total of twenty four games were played, only five of which ended in victory, and each was a win for the player with the white pieces. The first win did not come until the fifth round.
The recent TCEC computer program World Chess Championship is a possible indication of what could happen in future human tournaments and matches. Stockfish and Komodo played one hundred games; only twenty one were decisive. Stockfish won thirteen games with white; Komodo won five, for a total winning percentage of eighteen percent for white. Playing black Stockfish won only two games, while Komodo won only one. Only three percent of the games played ended in victory for the black pieces. Seventy nine percent of the games played by the two 3500 rated programs were drawn.
It was my intention to write something about the revelatory Chess articles being written at the website of ABC News, FiveThirtyEight (https://fivethirtyeight.com/), which has been on my radar because of the excellent articles written about Major League Baseball. I first surfed over to FiveThirtyEight to read an article mentioned on another Baseball website and soon was surfing there every day, and not only because of the MLB atricles.
“The resulting brouhaha convinced one respected chess journalist, GM Ian Rogers of Australia, to resign his job working with the American team: @GMIanRogers: Sadly parting ways with @ChessLifeOnline after a decade… (twitter.com):-
…I declined to accept edits to my round 4 World Ch’p report which would downplay responsibility of editors of the Caruana video, downplay the effect of the video on Caruana’s chances, and omit the key image from the video.
On top of that, all of the videos produced by the St.Louis Chess Club disappeared from Youtube. Out of sight, out of mind? Hardly. Someone in St.Louis is guilty of an unprofessional lapse of judgement. That’s the person who should resign — not a journalist doing the job he was paid to do.”
I must concur conclusively with Mark’s astute assessment of the situation. Who is guilty in St. Louis? Inquiring minds want to know…
In the latest column by Oliver Roeder, Chess World Rattled As Someone Nearly Wins Game, it is written, “Chess players are second only to maybe biological taxonomists in their proclivity to elaborately name things, and sure enough even this rare position has its own proper name: the Karklins-Martinovsky Variation. But neither player was troubled by Karklins-Martinovsky, they said after the game. Its theory is well known to these elite players.
And so they played on. The powerful queens came off the board by move 8, but this loss took no edge off the fight. For a while, the game looked less like a battle and more like a dressage competition, as 66 percent or more of each player’s first 12 moves were knight moves.”
The following paragraph can be found in the November 16 post by Mr. Roeder:
“The data scientist Randal Olson analyzed hundreds of thousands of chess games in an article a few years ago. The closer players are in rating, he found, the longer games tend to go. And as the players get better, draws become far more common. Carlsen and Caruana are as good — and about as close in rating — as you can get. Indeed, they are even beyond the scope of Olson’s chart below, with Elo ratings (which measure the strength of players given the opponents they’ve played) north of 2800.”
I clicked on the link provided and was sent to a column written May 24, 2014, by Randal S. Olsen. There is a fantastic picture of Bobby Fischer playing Mikhail Tal, which I saved. It was worth clicking on just to see the picture.
Then I went to Mr. Olsen’s home page (http://www.randalolson.com/) and found this: “Does batting order matter in Major League Baseball? A simulation approach”
a well known and highly respected Go workshop teacher, has witten a new book, “Rethinking Opening Strategy: The Impact of AlphaGo on Pro Play,” published by Slate & Shell (www.slateandshell.com).
The difference between Go and Chess playing programs is that the computer programs are on their own from the first move. In tournaments, such as the ongoing TCEC tournament (http://tcec.chessdom.com/), the “engines,” as they are called in Chess, are forced to play opening moves made by human players, even if their algorithm would never play such a move. Who knows what the “engines” consider best play? Who in the Chess world wants an answer to the question of what each “engine” considers best play? How many books, or articles, have appeared concerning the impact “engines” have had on opening play?
Last month Yuan Zhou returned to North Carolina for his 11th Workshop. It was held December 8-10, 2017, in Raleigh, North Carolina.
“Yuan Zhou excels at explaining Chinese language phrases and meanings relating to Go. This year, in addition to sharing many new expressions, he shared some of the meaning of professional 9 dan Tang Weixing’s name (唐 韦星), tracing the surname Tang back to the seventh century A.D. Dynasty, and the meaning of xing as a celestial star.”
One of the most difficult things about learning the great game of Go is the language barrier. As a young man in his twenties I studied the Russian language in order to read Chess books and periodicals such as the Shakhmatny Bulletin and 64. Since I subscribed to the Russian Chess periodicals there is no doubt there is an FBI file with my name on it. I have done the same as an old(er) man while learning the myriad Go terms and I am here to tell you it was much easier in my youth. There was no Google translator in the 1970’s as there is now, so we had to do it the old fashioned way and “earn it.”
Houdini, a computer Chess program with the third highest rating, surprised the computer Chess world by making the TCEC Super Final against the favorite Komodo, then astounded the computer Chess world when it convincingly beat the Dragon. Houdini becomes the engine with most titles in the decade history of TCEC.
In an interview Robert Houdart, author of the champion engine Houdini, said, “It is a great feeling to win the Top Chess Engine Championship and be the engine with the highest number of titles. I’ve worked non-stop for the past two years to bring Houdini back to the top level, and I’m really happy that this has resulted in a new TCEC title, which is the equivalent of “world champion” status. Before the tournament I expected a close contest between Houdini, Komodo and Stockfish, and that’s exactly what we’ve got.” (http://www.chessdom.com/interview-with-robert-houdart-author-of-the-champion-engine-houdini/)
For those who can afford and simply must have the new new thing, the new and obviously improved version of the Escape Artist is already available for purchase at the official website. (http://www.cruxis.com/chess/houdini.htm)
Unfortunately for Houdini this could prove to be a Pyrrhic victory what with the announcement near the end of the tournament of AlphaZero’s devastating victory over Stockfish, winner of last year’s season nine TCEC tournament. AlphaGo’s ‘machine learning’ is already being incorporated into some Go programs for sale and it is only a matter of time until that same technique will be incorporated into future versions of Chess programs, which will destroy the current big three Chess engines unless they also do what Google’s Deep Mind has done. (https://deepmind.com/) For example, consider this exchange from the aforementioned interview:
Alpha Zero just defeated last year’s champion Stockfish 8. Your opinion on the paper published and the match that took place?
It’s fascinating and amazing, and at the same time very much expected!… We even discussed this during the interview with Nelson and the Komodo authors. It opens entirely new, astonishing possibilities for chess engines! I do hope Google will publish more details about their approach, so that the chess world in general and the computer chess world in particular can benefit from their achievement.
Season 11 is starting after the rapid and blitz. TCEC is becoming a league and Houdini starts in the Premier division. Do you expect more competition besides Komodo and Stockfish for the top spots?
The gap between the top 3 and the rest is quite big, I don’t expect any other engine to bridge it soon. Then again, 16 months ago everybody was talking about the “top 2” and the rest, nobody expected Houdini to make a comeback. Anything can happen, Season 11 should be fascinating!
The TCEC Season 10 – Superfinal between defending Champion Komodo and challenger Houdini has begun! As I write game five has just ended and game six began immediately. Games are played 24/7 until all ONE HUNDRED games are finished. I wonder what La Bourdonnais and McDonnell, who played a series of six matches, a total of eighty-five games, between June and October 1834, would have to say about the Superfinal?
Before calling it an evening about ten o’clock last night it looked as though the Dragon would score first with the Black pieces in a MacCutcheon variation of the French defense. TCEC narrows it down further to, “Lasker, 7.bxc3.” Imagine my surprise to learn this morning that it was not the Dragon taking the lead, but the escape artist known as Houdini the Magician! Houdini managed to draw the game, with much help from Komodo, and then draw first blood by beating the Dragon’s “Sicilian: Taimanov, 6.Be3 a6 7.Qd2.”
I have been following the TCEC computer program championships for years. I still enjoy watching the games played by humans, but let’s face it, if it were Baseball the only way to describe it would be akin to watching minor league baseball as opposed to Major League Baseball. The difference in the lay is so great now that humans could be described as playing at least two levels lower than computer programs, something along the line of the difference between MLB and class AA baseball, maybe even class A. Do not get me wrong, I have watched, and enjoyed, many a minor league baseball game, and, for that matter, many college baseball games, in many different cities, but if I want to watch the best baseball being played, I must go to a MLB game. That is one reason I have found it so humorous that the F.I.P.s at FIDE have decided to try and bilk the small Chess public out of all they can by charging to watch the games played during real time. Back in my day we waited until the next day for the games of the World Championship to appear in a newspaper, and WE LIKED IT! Now the fools in power charge for what one can obtain just a few hours later on the internet after the completion of the games. As far as Chess moves go this one is what GM Yasser Seriwan would call a “Howler.” The only thing FIDE has done is hurt people like Mark Crowther, who has put out The Week In Chess for decades. (http://theweekinchess.com/) I mention TWIC because Mark shows only a Chess board and the moves, without any kind of analysis whatsoever, for those of us who prefer to actually THINK about what move may come next. These FIDE people are so stupid they do not even realize they are damaging the game because the GAMES are PUBLICITY, which bring more PEOPLE into CHESS. If it were not so serious I would LAUGH. As it is, it makes one want to CRY. What FIDE is doing is reminiscent of greedy MLB owners refusing to allow radio, and then television, broadcasts thinking it would cut down on attendance, until one owner thought it could possibly be good for the game by bringing the game to the fans, thereby engendering more fans.
The Superfinal is the third stage of the Championships. I was transfixed by the first stage this season, the tenth, as what many would call “offbeat” openings were used. This was right up my alley! When playing over the board I built an opening repertoire (http://www.mark-weeks.com/aboutcom/aa02i07.htm) consisting of hand written openings kept in what one legendary player called “Bacon’s book of death lines!” Before lost in what I now call the “Crazy Cousin Linda Flood,” the BODL was intact except for the cover, which had been lost somewhere on the Chess road who knows when. Now whole books are written devoted to what were my “death lines,” such as, The Extreme Caro-Kann: Attacking Black with 3.f3, by Alexey Bezgodov. I hope to live long enough to see a book on 2 Qe2 versus the French.
The expected media follows after a data dump. Here are the games I copied from the first stage, hoping to find time to look at each and every one of them. This should give those of you asking “Who are you?” insight to my Chess character.
TCEC season seven is history and Komodo emerged victorious after beating the old champion, Stockfish, by a score of 7-4, with 53 draws. All of the decisive games were won by White. What does this portend for the future of chess?
These chess playing “engines” are rated two classes above the World Human Champion, Magnus Carlsen, three classes above your regular, everyday grandmaster, called “tourists” by former World Human Champion Garry Kasparov, until an “engine” left him black and Deep Blue, and four classes above the bottom-rung GM’s. The difference between a 3200 program and the lowest level to earn a GM title is the same as a NM and a class “C” player. If the best GMs continue to improve, how long will it be before a game will never be won by Black?
If a new rule awarded a higher score for a win with the Black pieces it would not matter since Black would never win. Something needs to be done to help Black. In Wei-Chi, known as Go in the US, something was done about the advantage of the first move and it is called “Komi.”
“Komi is a Japanese go term adopted into English. In a game of Go, Black has the advantage of first move. In order to compensate for this, White can be given an agreed, set number of points before starting the game. These points are called komi, which is short for komidashi. The English term “compensation points” or simply “compensation” is often used as a translation for komi.”
Sometime ago I read about a football- soccar in the US- fan who was a mathematician. His team must have lost after a sudden-death shootout because he posited, and proved mathematically, that it would be better to have the team kicking second also take the third shot on goal. After the first team takes the fourth shot the teams alternate. I recall this because he used myriad equations to prove his theory, while I simply added 1+4=5, and 2+3=5.
It is time for a “New Rule.” What if, after White made the initial move, Black made the next two moves, with the caveat that only one move can be made with the same pawn or piece? Without the caveat it is obvious after 1 e4, Whites game is in its last throes. This would preclude all 1 e4 2 Nf6 3 Nxe4; and 1 e4 2 d5 3 dxe5, type openings.
In the marathon 64 game match between the two “engines” left standing to battle it out for the TCEC championship, Komodo 1333 and Stockfish 141214, both rated over 3200, the Glek variation of the Four Knights was the opening chosen by humans for the two titans in games 37 & 38. The first game began early enough that I was able to follow it live. I opened the CBDB (http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/database/) and 365Chess (http://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=8&n=1004&ms=e4.e5.Nf3.Nc6.Nc3.Nf6.g3&ns=22.214.171.124.47.57.1004) in order to check out which variation would be used. After 4 g3, 365Chess shows the database contains 99 games by GM Igor Glek, the man for whom the variation is named. Surely, I thought, the variation chosen by the TCECers would feature one of the variations promulgated by GM Glek.
The first surprise was 4…d5 since 4…Bc5 is played more often, but the former move is one of the standard moves. It would have been wonderful to see which move the “engine,” left to its own devices, would have played. 4 g3 signals the Glek variation and one would assume the humans would have forced the “engines” to begin the game by answering it with the move the “engine” playing Black considered best. We all know what happens when one makes an assumption…
The next moves through White’s 7th move are all standard, but Black’s 7…Be7 is not standard, as 7…Bc5, and 7…Bd6, have been played far more often, and with better results. GM Glek has faced 7…Bc5 seventeen times, and 7…Bd6 eleven times, while having faced 7…Be7 on only four occasions. Hummmm…
For the final “forced” move, the humans chose 8 0-0, and it has been the most played move by far, but has been outscored, by far, in limited action, by a move near and dear to my heart, Qe2! The last forced move was 8…0-0.
Stockfish 141214 (3218) vs Komodo 1333 (3210)
TCEC Season 7 – Superfinal 37
Four Knights: Glek, 4…d5
From the comments left in the “chat” window it was obvious the fans did not care for the choice of opening because some spiced their comments with profanity. How are these eight moves chosen, and who makes the choice? If the Glek variation is chosen, why not stop the forced moves as soon as it becomes a Glek variation when White plays 4 g3? What is the point of forcing the top chess playing things in the universe to play additional moves they may, or may not, play on their on volition?
Here is a recent game played by GM Igor Glek:
Igor Glek, (2438) vs Rustam Kasimdzhanov (2700)
FIDE World Rapid 2014 06/17/2014
This is the oldest game found, and it makes me wonder why the variation is not called the “Nimzowitsch variation.” Could it be that there are so many other variations named after Nimzo that it would be too confusing to have another one? Or is it a variation is not named after a player who loses the initial game?
Aaron Nimzowitsch vs Ernst Gruenfeld