The First Division of the Top Chess Engine Championship starts today at 22:00 CEST, live on the official website and the Twitch TV channel. The six seeded participants will be Jonny, Chiron, Laser, Fizbo, Booot, and Fritz. They will be joined by the Div 2 winner Ethereal and the runner up ChessBrainVB.
Version updates for First Division
Laser, Booot, and Chiron will play First Division with upgraded version and additional ELO points in their favor. Jonny, Fritz and Fizbo will feature the same versions as last season. The newcomers Ethereal and ChessBrainVB also rely on their versions form the previous division, where they outclassed the competition.
More about S13 of TCEC: Full participants list / Leela Chess Zero wins TCEC Div 4 / Ethereal wins TCEC Div 3 / Ethereal wins TCEC Div 2
Ethereal enters this division as a favorite one more time, after having smashed through opposition in Division 3 and Division 2. Bonus test games after its last victory showed that Ethereal is still slightly below Stockfish 8 as strength, but it managed to take a decisive game from the Season 9 champion. That would put it as a clear favorite to qualify for the Premier Division, but first it has to prove its abilities against seasoned participants like Jonny, Fritz and Fizbo, and also against actively developed and ambitious engines like Laser, Booot, and Chiron. Adding to the mix ChessBrainVB which will be even stronger due to the longer time control makes the upcoming First Division the most unpredictable computer chess event of the year so far.
Interview with the author of Ethereal – Andrew Grant