26 December 2020


On my main blog I've been keeping track of the TCEC engine vs. engine tournaments. Last month, in Stockfish Wins TCEC Cup 7; CCC GPUs Back (November 2020), I reported,
The [TCEC] '!next' plan says, 'next FRC2 testing and FRC2 ~1.5 weeks'. When was FRC1? As far as I can tell, it was more than six years ago. [...] I'm looking forward to reporting on FRC2 for [my chess960] blog.

Two weeks later, in TCEC FRC2 Underway; CCC 'Currently Uncertain' (November 2020), I reported,

After 'Sufi Bonus 3', the [TCEC] ran a chess960 event, dubbed 'FRC2'. It started with 16 engines in four 'Leagues' (A to D), followed by eight engines in two 'Semileagues' (1 to 2), followed by four engines in a 'Final League', followed by two engines in a 'Final' match. The 'Final League' is currently underway.

Another two weeks passed and in TCEC S20 Underway; CCC Less Uncertain (December 2020), I reported,

In the FRC2 Final League, LCZero and Stockfish finished first and second to qualify for the 50-game final match. Stockfish beat LCZero +8-0=42.

The first of the three posts above linked to Stockfish, the Strong (July 2014) on this blog, plus two other followup posts based on FRC1. FRC1 was held three and a half years before AlphaZero made waves with its revolutionary AI/NN technology, soon to be followed by Leela Chess Zero (aka LCZero / LC0). The chart below overviews the different events that made up FRC2. The top portion of the chart flows upward; the bottom portion flows downward.

Source: TCEC Wiki

The semifinal event, dubbed 'Final League' in TCEC nomenclature, had Komodo representing the traditional engines that competed in FRC1, Lc0 and AllieStein representing the AI/NN generation of engines, and Stockfish representing the even newer NNUE generation. I haven't decided if I'm going to spend time looking at the games from FRC2. We already have years of engine experience documented in the CCRL datasets (see the right sidebar under 'Resources') and I'm not sure what can be gleaned from the latest TCEC experiment.

19 December 2020

Wesley So's Strategies

A couple of months ago a new resource appeared on my radar: The Ascent - Wesley So's Fischer Random Strategies and Tactics (chessable.com). GM Wesley So has been seen on this blog many times, most notably in So Beats Carlsen in FWFRCC Final (November 2019; 'FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship').

Chessable is a newcomer here, although it's merited several mentions on my main blog. The first post was Chessable and 'Game Changer' (February 2019), followed some time later by 'Smart Is the New Sexy' (September 2019), where I linked to 'Chessable joins the Play Magnus chess24 family (chess24.com)'.

The Chessable price for the recent 'Wesley So's Fischer Random Strategies and Tactics' is more than I care to pay for a resource of unknown quality. After a few searches on the site -- 'chess960' returns nothing, 'chess 960' returns everything headed by two relevant courses, 'random' returns only the two courses -- I found a second course at Short & Sweet: Fischer Random Chess [FREE] (chessable.com, also by Wesley So). I can't argue with 'Free', so I started the course and hope to have more to say in a followup post.