Top Chess Engine Championship

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Top Chess Engine Championship, formerly known as Thoresen Chess Engines Competition (TCEC or nTCEC), is a computer chess tournament that was organized, directed, and hosted by Martin Thoresen until the end of Season 6; from Season 7 onward it has been organized by Chessdom. It is often regarded as the Unofficial World Computer Chess Championship because of its strong participant line-up and long time control matches on high-end hardware, giving rise to very high-class chess.[1][2]

The first TCEC season was held in 2010. After a short break in 2012,[3] TCEC was restarted in early 2013 (as nTCEC)[4] and is currently active (renamed as TCEC in early 2014) with all-day live broadcasts of chess matches on its website. Supported by original engine authors and based on voluntarism and donation, it caused a furor in February 2011, when the free version of Houdini defeated reigning computer chess champion Rybka in a 40-game match.[5][6]

Since season 5, TCEC has been sponsored by Chessdom Arena.[7][8] The current TCEC champion is Stockfish 180614, which defeated Komodo 12.1.1 in the TCEC Season 12 Superfinal 100-game match held in June–July 2018.

Overview[edit]

The TCEC competition is divided into Seasons, where each Season happens over a course of a few months, with matches played round-the-clock and broadcast live over the internet. Each season is divided into four qualifying stages and one Superfinal, where the top two chess engines battle it out over a series of 100 games to win the title of TCEC Grand Champion.

pondering is set to off. All engines run on the same hardware and use the same opening book, which is taken from recent strong human Grandmaster tournaments, truncated to the first 6 or 8 moves, and changed in every stage. Large pages are disabled but access to various endgame tablebases is permitted. Engines are allowed updates between stages; if there is a critical play-limiting bug, they are also allowed to be updated once during the stage. TCEC generates its own elo rating list from the matches played during the tournament. An initial rating is given to any new participant based on its rating in other chess engine rating lists.

There is no definite criterion for entering into the competition, other than inviting the top participants from various rating lists. The list of participants was personally chosen by Thoresen before the start of a season. His stated goal was to include "every major engine that is not a direct clone".[9] Usually chess engines that support multiprocessor mode are preferred (8-cores or higher). Both Winboard and UCI engines are supported.

Tournament results (TCEC)[edit]

Season Date Winner Runner-Up Superfinal score
TCEC Season 1 Dec 2010 – Feb 2011 Houdini 1.5a Rybka 4.0 + 12 = 23 - 5
TCEC Season 2 Feb – Apr 2011 Rybka 4.1 + 9 = 26 -5
TCEC Season 3 Apr – May 2011 N/A (season not completed)
TCEC Season 41 Jan – May 2013 Houdini 3 Stockfish 250413 + 6 = 38 - 4
TCEC Season 52 Aug – Dec 2013 Komodo 1142 Stockfish 191113 + 10 = 30 - 8
TCEC Season 6 Feb – May 2014 Stockfish 170514 Komodo 7x + 13 = 45 - 6
TCEC Season 6 FRC3 June – July 2014 Stockfish 260614 Houdini 4 N/A (no superfinal stage)
TCEC Season 74 Sep – Dec 2014 Komodo 1333 Stockfish 141214 + 7 = 53 - 4
TCEC Season 8 Aug – Nov 2015 Komodo 9.3x Stockfish 021115 + 9 = 89 - 2
TCEC Season 9 Rapid5 September 2016 Houdini 200716 Komodo 1692.19 N/A (no superfinal stage)
TCEC Season 9 May – Dec 2016 Stockfish 8 Houdini 5 + 17 = 75 - 8
TCEC Season 10 Oct – Dec 2017 Houdini 6.03 Komodo 1970.00 + 15 = 76 - 9
TCEC Season 10 Rapid December 2017 Stockfish 051117 Houdini 6.03 N/A (no superfinal stage)
TCEC Season 10 Blitz December 2017 Komodo 1959.00 Stockfish 051117
TCEC Season 116 Jan – Apr 2018 Stockfish 260318 Houdini 6.03 + 20 = 78 - 2
TCEC Season 126 Apr – July 2018 Stockfish 180614 Komodo 12.1.1 + 29 = 62 - 9
1 Originally named "nTCEC Season 1".
2 Originally named "nTCEC Season 2".
3 Special Chess960 quad-round-robin tournament consisting of the top 8 engines from Season 6 that had support for Chess960.
4 Season 7 did not use endgame table bases. Stage two did not use opening books.
5 Double round robin tournament.
6 League format.

Notable games[edit]

Shredder vs Gull, TCEC S4
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8
Chessboard480.svg
b8 black king
e7 white rook
b6 black pawn
a5 black pawn
c5 black pawn
g5 black pawn
a4 black queen
b4 black knight
c4 white bishop
d4 black knight
g4 white queen
h4 black pawn
f3 white pawn
b2 white pawn
b1 white king
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Shredder (White) is on the brink of being checkmated, but found the defensive resource 46. Bb3 Nxb3 47. Qf4+ gxf4 48. Rb7+ Kc8 49. Rc7+ Kd8, etc. If Black captures the white rook, it is stalemate.[10][11][12]

Pre-TCEC:

Season 1-3:

Season 4:

Season 5:

Season 6:

Season 9:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kosteniuk, Alexandra (August 15, 2013). "TCEC Computer Chess Championship New Season starts August 26th". Chess News Blog. Archived from the original on October 25, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ Soltis, Andy (June 9, 2013). "Engine Super Bowl". New York Post. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ Thoresen, Martin (May 28, 2011). "TCEC announcement: End of project". Talkchess. Archived from the original on October 25, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  4. ^ Thoresen, Martin (January 12, 2013). "Official (re)launch of TCEC - website is up!". Talkchess. Archived from the original on October 25, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Video annotation by Kingscrusher on YouTube
  6. ^ Monokroussos, Dennis. "Houdini 1.5a defeats Rybka 4: 23.5-16.5". Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Thoresen, Martin (August 15, 2013). "TCEC and Chessdom announces partnership". TCEC. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  8. ^ "TCEC computer chess championship New Season starts August 26th". Chessdom. Chessdom. August 15, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  9. ^ http://blog.chabris.com/2015/01/martin-thoresens-world-chess.html
  10. ^ a b The game on chessgames.com
  11. ^ a b "Shredder - Gull, Stage 2b: Stupendous Stalemate Swindle". Archived from the original on 25 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "A defensive brilliancy". Archived from the original on 25 October 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  13. ^ Annotated by FM Dennis Monokroussos at TCEC
  14. ^ Annotated by FM Dennis Monokroussos at TCEC
  15. ^ Annotated by FM Dennis Monokroussos at TCEC
  16. ^ The game on chessgames.com
  17. ^ Annotated by FM Dennis Monokroussos at TCEC
  18. ^ Annotated by GM Ioannis Papadopoulos at TCEC
  19. ^ Chen, Franklin. "The computer plays the exchange sacrifice". Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  20. ^ Annotated by GM Ioannis Papadopoulos at TCEC
  21. ^ Annotated by GM Davorin Kuljasevic at TCEC
  22. ^ "SPECIAL EDITION Why Houdini 5 sacrificed his Queen? Superfinal Game 15 TCEC 2016". Youtube. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]