The Top Chess Engine Championship (TCEC) is approaching yet another critical moment. Today the computer chess world will know who will progress to the prestigious Stage 3 of the event.
A total of 6 engines will qualify from Stage 2. The last round is being played now and key games will be live all day long at the official website.
The biggest battle will be for the 6th and final qualification position. Ginkgo with 10,0/21, Fire with 9,0/21, Texel with 9,0/21, and Hannibal with 9,5/21 all have chances to go on. The most difficult is the situation of Fire (ELO 3126) as it not only needs to with with black vs Gull (ELO 3124), but also needs the other competitors to lose their games. Texel (ELO 2963) has it a tiny bit easier, as it has white, but it is facing the mighty ex-champion Houdini (ELO 3194). If Ginkgo (ELO 3091) wins its game against Nirvana (ELO 2939) then it is mathematically qualified. However, this is the last game of the stage, so Hannibal (ELO 2976) will have to give it all against Chiron (ELO 3017) in their match before that.
The winner of the previous season and defending champion Komodo, playing with the new 9.2 version, has already won the Stage 2, having collected 18,0/21 points. This is full two points ahead of its main competitor Stockfish. But we are yet to witness the biggest challenge for Komodo so far in the event and a small preview of what is going to come in next weeks. Today Komodo will have for the first time in TCEC Season 8 black pieces against Stockfish in a battle for honor and glory.
Last year’s battles between Komodo and Stockfish hit major scientific and mainstream media , including The Wall Street Journal publications. This year even bigger interest is to be expected, as the two engines have developed a lot over the past 12 months.
Other engines that have already qualified are Houdini with 13,5/21, Gull with 13,0/21, and Protector with 11,5/21.