Season 21 of the Top Chess Engine Championship is starting this May 10th at 17:00 UTC. The event will start with the Qualification League, progress through L4, L3, L2 and L1 stages, and culminate with the Premier Division and the Superfinal.
One of the key elements of TCEC is the opening book. Playing at a 3000+ ELO strength, backed by serious hardware, often leads to series of draws in direct battles. Providing imbalanced opening lines is essential to differentiating engine playing strength. Or the way the tournament organizers specify it, “We believe that a champion chess program ought to be able to perform well in a wide variety of opening systems, not merely those that it favors.”
The opening book becomes increasingly important as the TCEC championship progresses and is essential in the Superfinal, where the stakes are highest. As of today, the TCEC S21 Superfinal opening book has a serious team upgrade: Jeroen Noomen and GM Matthew Saddler are teaming up!
Jeroen Noomen commented:
I am excited to announce that the TCEC 21 superfinal book has been made in cooperation between chess Grandmaster Matthew Sadler and myself (Jeroen Noomen). Matthew is a well respected grandmaster and the co-author of the great book “Game Changer” together with Natasha Regan. It was an honour to get Matthew on board and I am very pleased with the result!
Jeroen Noomen also notes that just like in the previous three TCEC superfinals there will be a lot more risky opening lines compared to TCEC 16 and before. This is necessary to avoid an excessive number of uninteresting draws. Statistics of the previous two superfinals show that a Leela book exit of +0.30 or lower is an almost 100% certain draw. The opening book of the previous season is available for download in pgn.