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Stockfish wins the Premier Division, Lc0 qualifies for the Superfinal


Stockfish, winner of the Premier Division of TCEC S14

The dominance of Stockfish in the Top Chess Engine Championship continues full steam ahead. The open source engine by Marco Costalba, Joona Kiiski, Gary Linscott and a huge community of contributors, won the Premier Division of Season 14 convincingly, not losing a single game along the way. With the victory Stockfish qualifies for the Superfinal, where it will be looking for a 4th consecutive and 6th overall TCEC title.

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For the first time in history Stockfish will be in a situation where the “big 3” of computer chess in not existent anymore. Lc0 aka Leela Chess Zero – the Neural Network built as an open source adaptation of DeepMind’s recent Alpha Zero artificial intelligence demonstration project – has broken the dominance the “big 3” and has taken second position in the Premier Division ahead of Komodo (3rd) and Houdini (4th).

Live now: TCEC Superfinal at the official website

This is going to be the first match of Stockfish and Lc0 on the highest level of computer chess. The two could not meet in the recently concluded the TCEC Cup, due to a shocking loss of Stockfish to Houdini. In a mid-division test it was demonstrated that Lc0 is highly superior to Stockfish 8, mimicking the conditions and results of the SF8 – Alpha Zero match. However, Stockfish 10 is going to play the Superfinal, and it is much superior to the Stockfish 8 version, which makes the task for Lc0 exponentially more difficult.

This sentiment is shared among the computer chess fans. Out of the over 1000 votes in the poll, 65% expect a Stockfish win in the Superfinal, while 35% expect Lc0 to be victorious. However, both Stockfish and Lc0 are going to line-up new versions compared to the TCEC Cup and anything can happen.

About the TCEC Superfinal

The Superfinal is a match between the winner of the Premier Division – Stockfish – and the second placed in the Premier Division – Lc0. It is a 100 games match, which 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 winner is crowned the Grand Champion of TCEC.

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