The first TCEC Cup was convincingly won by Stockfish. It proved superior in Season 13 and did not give a chance to its opponents at any moment during the cup competition as well. TCEC Cup 2, however, was a different story. Stockfish stumbled at the semi-final against the S10 champion version of Houdini. This pitted Houdini against the bearer of the NN revolution Lc0, and the latter won its first major title in computer chess.
TCEC Cup 3 starts this Monday April 29 at 19:00 UTC. The cup holder Lc0 is going to defend its title in a race with the top 32 engines of the ongoing season. Its first match will be against a newcomer to the TCEC race – Marvin by Martin Danielsson (see Marvin’s rating at CCRL).
The main challenger of of Lc0 will be Stockfish. It starts at the other end of the brackets and the two can meet only at the final. The first match of Stockfish is against the 31st seeded – Rodent III by Pawel Koziol (see Rodent’s rating at CCRL). Rodent comes with last minute improvements and although having little chance against the many times TCEC champion, it will be a nice test altogether.
Despite an easy pairing in round 1, both Lc0 and Stockfish will have a difficult way to the final. Last year the surprise was Houdini. This year the pitfalls along the way are many. Komodo is playing with a new stronger version and is keeping up with the pace of the favorites. The new NN engine AllieStein is bringing hard time to the top engines, often putting decisive pressure on them and even defeating Houdini. Komodo MCTS is also among the dark horses – it just does not lose against its brother Komodo or against Houdini, while it drew 6/7 games against Lc0 in the Premier division. Xiphos, a stable Ginkgo, the updated Fire, or a new Laser can also bring havoc to the field.
TCEC Cup 3 pairings
The TCEC Cup 3 seedings are traditionally based on the ongoing season. As TCEC_Spectator explains, “TCEC Cup 1 pairings followed entirely the standings of the regular season. TCEC Cup 2, and subsequent cups, will have the winner of the previous Cup seeded as #1, while all the other participants will be seeded according to the regular season. The Premier Division will give the rest of the top 8 seeds of the competition. Seedings based on Divisions 1, 2 and 3 are straight forward. The 6 engines that did not promote are seeded in order of finish – Division 1 gives seeds 9 through 14, Division 2 gives seeds 15 through 20, Division 3 gives seeds 21 through 26. That leaves Division 4a and 4b. The teams finishing #3 and #4 in the 4 engine playoff for promotion to Division 3 make up seeds 27 and 28 respectively. The final 4 seeds are the 3rd and 4th place finishers (that did not make the playoff) in each of the two divisions 4a and 4b. The 3rd place teams are seeds 29 and 30 with the engine with higher points given the 29th seed. Likewise the 4th place teams are seeds 31 and 32 (finishing with equal points but Rodent III had more wins so was given seed 31).”
1. Lc0 (title holder)
3. Div P #3
4. Div P #4
5. Div P #5
6. Div P #6
31. Rodent III