At the time of the last article, Stockfish had already won the TCEC Season 22 Superfinal, but it was still pursuing two potential records: the record for the most decisive Superfinal, and an ‘undefeated’ Superfinal where it loses no openings. Unfortunately for Stockfish fans, Stockfish failed to break the first record – its final score of +19 is still eclipsed by the +20 margin of victory its younger self scored against Komodo in Season 12. It did, however, manage the second record. Stockfish did not have it easy, especially in the final game pair. Out of a sharp Sicilian, Komodo Dragon launched a kingside attack that won a clean pawn, and converted the endgame effortlessly. In the reverse, Stockfish pursued a different plan with central play. allowing exchanges into an endgame where it had the bishop pair as well as a comfortable space advantage, but no direct win. For a moment it looked like Komodo Dragon had real chances of holding, but Stockfish eventually showed that the queenside pawn structure is a decisive long-term trump. Live: TCEC official site / TCEC Twitch TV / Superfinal preview Review: TCEC Premire division final standings / Report after DRR2 / Report after DRR3
We asked some viewers what they thought of the Superfinal. GM Matthew Sadler said that the match was very enjoyable. Although it was one-sided, Komodo Dragon didn’t play badly, it just had the misfortune of going up against an inspired Stockfish that played some sparkling chess. Stockfish was especially good at blocked positions compared to Komodo Dragon, converting several games unexpectedly. Jeroen Noomen, who made the book together with GM Matthew Sadler, agreed that there were lots of interesting games. There were more ‘busted’ openings (i.e. both engines win the opening) than in Season 21, but that was only natural given the number of risky lines. Still, with engines as strong as they are, such risky lines are necessary in order to produce decisive games. Noomen also noted that the second half of the Superfinal seems to be less bloody than the first half in general. Perhaps engines get tired the same way humans do?! Finally, Stockfish developer Michael Chaly gleefully pointed out that he had predicted a crushing victory for Stockfish, although Stockfish not losing any game was a surprise. Still, Chaly thinks Stockfish still showed some noticeable weaknesses, and there was work to be done writing elo-gaining patches. True to form, he currently has several Stockfish patches being tested.
The subfinal is next, and Leela is a small favorite among viewers to win. Testing is currently in progress, with the first games starting in a few hours. All games will be played live at https://tcec-chess.com
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