The TCEC season so far: Stockfish wins TCEC League / Stockfish wins TCEC Cup / Stockfish wins TCEC Swiss
Can anyone stop Stockfish? One by one its rivals stepped up, and one by one they failed. At the halfway point, Stockfish led Leela by half a point. With six rounds to go, this was by no means a large lead. However, Leela had yet to play superfinal runner-up Komodo Dragon. In a crucial sixth round, Leela failed to beat Komodo Dragon, and while Stockfish also failed to beat ScorpioNN, Stockfish kept the half-point lead. It was now up to the rest of the field. With a lower-bias book one might have hoped for Stockfish to drop points, but as it was, Stockfish reeled off win after win against Berserk, Koivisto, Revenge, Rubichess, and Seer. Leela kept pace with its own wins, but that half-point lead ultimately proved to be the winning margin. Stockfish’s win against Seer in the last round was especially brutal, with Stockfish signalling a +2 advantage after only 7 moves, rising to +5 after 11 moves.
Away from the top two boards, Berserk played a scintillating second half, culminating in a match win over defending champion Komodo Dragon in the penultimate round. That is not a typo – Berserk scored a 1.5-0.5 win. It is rare for top engines to lose to lower-ranked opposition, and Berserk not only pulled that off, it held the reverse! We can surely expect to see more of Berserk next season – I for one would be surprised if Berserk does not at least make League One. Defending champion Komodo Dragon finished a disappointing fourth with 12.5/22, just ahead of a crowd of engines on 12 points.
Further down the table, Velvet continued to overperform, finishing on a solid 10.5/22 – a very strong result for a Qualification League engine. Fellow QL engine Counter also overperformed, finishing half a point behind Velvet, while fan favorite Tomitank managed to avoid finishing last. It had been the lowest-rated engine going into Swiss, having finished 1.5 points behind Bagatur in the QL. In the Swiss however, it finished 2.5 points ahead of Bagatur, including a head-to-head win. Poor Bagatur ended the tournament as the only engine not to score a win.
Next up is a “simultaneous” exhibition – inverted commas because all games will be played sequentially on the TCEC machine. Stockfish will play against the remaining 47 Swiss competitors, dividing its time between all of them, with Stockfish developer Joost VandeVondele deciding on the exact time to reserve for each opponent. Abnormally for simultaneous exhibitions, an opening book will be used & reverse games played. We will see how many match wins Stockfish manages to score, and if anyone will (finally) be able to win a match against Stockfish. All games will be played live at https://tcec-chess.com/
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