The central match of the day was Gull (3033 ELO) vs Stockfish (3168 ELO), featured also as a main game of the ChessBet prediction race. Stockfish misjudged the power of the “a” and “b” pawns in a Symmetrical English (2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 g6) right after the opening and spent a lot of energy dealing with the potential danger. Gull used a slow buildup to strangle its opponent and reach a decisive endgame R+3p vs B+3p.
The victory of Gull puts a whole new spin of TCEC Season 7 as t certainly will not be a two horses race between the new Komodo 8 and the defending champion Stockfish. The stages format and the season rules will give room to more surprises and in later phases nothing will be clear until the very end.
In another interesting encounter of the day, Chiron 2 made a bid to enter the 3000 ELO club by defeating with black its higher rated opponent Critter. Right from the start Chiron evaluated better the opening and saw the way to victory, a strategic example of a Catalan with 4…c6 5.Nf3 (replay here)
Cheng4 was also victorious with black against Arasan, proving it will be one of the engines to watch even in later stages.
After five rounds leaders are Cheng4 and Gull with 4,0/5 each with three wins and a draw. They are followed by Stockfish, Chiron, and Hannibal with 3,5/5, Spike and Critter with 3,0/5. A total of seven engines qualify for the next stage, see full standing at the bottom part of the official website.
Update: The first game of round 5 has finished. Arasan made a surprising draw in an inferior position against Chiron in a 191 moves thriller. Replay the game here Currently live is another 3000+ ELO battle, Stockfish vs Critter, follow it live here