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TCEC Season 9 officially announced (Updated)

TCEC Season 9 artwork by Santiago Mendez

TCEC Season 9 artwork by Santiago Mendez

The Top Chess Engine Championship TCEC is heading towards a new season. Season 9 of the competition is going to collect one more time the strongest computer chess software on the planet for a multi-stage 3000+ ELO chess battles.

TCEC Season 9 is starting this May 1st and will feature up to 32 participants. The season will feature a couple of innovations including:

* Stronger than ever hardware in the final stages
* New participants, worthy of attacking top 6
* An extended, yet more balanced field
* For the first time 1CPU engines of considerable strength will enter the event
* Media partners among mainstream media

Official website of the competition will be, the sponsors of the event are and

Official facebook page is

Support TCEC Season 9

TCEC develops and progresses thanks to the community. If you want to support TCEC, here is the official Season 9 support package with awesome presents


Starting this May 1st a total of 32 engines, ten of which over 3100 ELO, will participate in TCEC. Here is the latest confirmed list of participants:

Engine ELO
1 Komodo 3358
2 Stockfish 3340
3 Houdini 3256
4 Fire 3207
5 Gull 3200
6 Critter 3171
7 Rybka 3159
8 Nirvana 3157
9 Protector 3153
10 Andscacs 3150
11 Hannibal 3118
12 Naum 3105
13 Texel 3097
14 Chiron 3095
15 Ginkgo 3091
16 Vajolet2 3014
17 Fizbo 3003
18 Arasan 2995
19 Hakkapeliitta 2961
20 Gaviota 2948
21 Bobcat 2945
22 The Baron 2874
23 Raptor 2870
24 Jonny 2837
25 DisasterArea 2831
26 Fruit Reloaded 2789
27 Laser 2731
28 Jellyfish 2575
29 Fridolin 2520
30 Delphil 2499
31 Myrddin 2367
32 Firefly 2285


TCEC Season 9 system

The Top Chess Engine Championship (TCEC) Season 9 runs from May 1st to December 1st 2016. It is a competition between 32 of the best chess software engines, divided into three stages and a Superfinal. TCEC runs 24/7 until all games have been played. One game is played at a time – the next one starts automatically.

The participants list will be fully announced by April 20th. You can find the most updated version of the participants here.

Classical time control will be used through the season and it is increased the deeper the Season goes. For Stage 1, the time control is 120 minutes + 15 seconds added per move for the whole game. For Stage 2, the time control is 120 minutes + 15 seconds added per move for the whole game. For Stage 3, the time control is 150 minutes + 15 seconds added per move for the whole game. For the Superfinal, the time control is 180 minutes + 15 seconds added per move for the whole game.

In Season 9 TCEC uses openings put together by Nelson Hernandez (Stages 1 to 3) and Jeroen Noomen (Superfinal). Stage 1 will use a depth-limited opening book of 2 moves. Stage 2 and Stage 3 will use an opening book of 8 moves. The Superfinal will use a variable opening book. If you click the “Opening Book” button at the top you can read in detail how they prepared for this challenge.

The TCEC system for Season 9 is as follows:

Stage 1 (Preliminary A and Preliminary B)

Stage 1 is divided into 2 groups which consist of 16 engines each. Each group format is a single round robin. There is 2-move opening book in use here, so the engines have little help from the start. The top 8 from each group will move on to Stage 2, while the rest are out of TCEC for the current Season.

Stage 2 (Qualification)

Stage 2 consists of the 16 engines that qualified from Stage 1. It is a double round robin. The top 8 move on to Stage 3 while the rest are out of TCEC for the current Season. There is 8-move opening book in use

Stage 3 (Candidates)

Stage 3 consists of the 8 engines that qualified from Stage 2. The format for Stage 3 is an octo round robin (x 8) so that each engine will play both sides of the same opening against each other, four times. There is 8-move opening book in use. After Stage 3 has finished, the top 2 engines will meet in a Superfinal of 100 games.


This match is played with 50 different openings so that each engine plays both black and white of the same position. The match will be presented with opening 1 used in games 1 and 2, then opening 2 used in games 3 and 4 etc. If the match is theoretically won for one side before game 100, the match will still continue until all 100 games have been played. In the case of a drawn match there will be a rapid match of 16 games with a time control of 25′ + 10″ with random openings selected from earlier in the same Season. In case it is still tied there will be a Blitz match of 8 games with a time control of 3′ + 2″. When the Superfinal is over, the current Season ends.

The TCEC Grand Champion

The winner of the Superfinal will be crowned the TCEC Grand Champion and will keep this title until there is a winner in the next Superfinal. There is no automatic qualification for the reigning Grand Champion, it will have to go all the way through the next Season for it to be able to defend the title.

So far Houdini and Komodo have three titles each, while Stockfish has one gold and four silver medals.

More about TCEC Season 9

Expect more information in this article regarding Season 9 in the next hours, including initial participants list, hardware specification, complete rules, and more.

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