30 October 2021

CCC C960 Blitz Championship

There's one more idea left from the recent post, Crossover Ideas from my Main Blog (October 2021):-
Review the recent CCC chess960 tournament • The semifinal finishes this weekend. Can we expect a final? Short answer: Probably.

Change that 'Probably' to 'Yes'. In the most recent post in the ongoing TCEC/CCC engine saga, TCEC Cup 9, CCC C960 Blitz Final : Both Underway (October 2021), I continued,

In the 'Chess960 Blitz Semifinals', Stockfish finished a point ahead of Dragon as both engines qualified for the final match. Only one game of their 40-game [semifinal] minimatch was decisive, with Stockfish winning. Lc0 lost three games to each of the two engines, winning none. The other three engines were far behind.

In the final match Stockfish beat Dragon +10-1=589. Yes, more than 98% of the final games were drawn. Earlier this year, in TCEC C960 FRC3 (March 2021), I reported,

In the 'FRC 3' final, KomodoDragon beat Stockfish by a score of +2-1=47. A 94% draw rate echoes the sort of result we expect from a traditional chess match (SP518 RNBQKBNR) between engines.

Note that the CCC's Dragon and the TCEC's KomodoDragon are the same engine. It's also worth noting that Stockfish switched to NNUE evaluation last year, while Dragon is also an NNUE engine, as I noted a year ago on my main blog in Komodo NNUE (November 2020). Is the high percentage of draws because they both use the same technology for evaluating positions?

The following chart shows the result of the CCC semifinal round. Stockfish and Dragon finished 1st and 2nd, ahead of 3rd place Lc0 and three other engines. I know the black background makes the chart hard to read, but the individual game results, especially the losses in red, are clearly discernible.

Stockfish didn't lose a single game during the event, while Dragon lost only one game, to Stockfish. As mentioned above, both engines beat Lc0 three times, which itself lost only a single game to the three engines in the bottom half of the crosstable. The bottom half is a sea of red.

Given that engines' evaluations for every move are available in the event's PGN game scores, perhaps there is something to be learned about the 960 different start positions. That investigation would make a good follow-up post.

23 October 2021

GM Carlsen's Online Chess960

Continuing with last week's post, Crossover Ideas from my Main Blog (October 2021), the second idea was to 'Review Carlsen's chess960 activity':-
So far I've identified two chess960 events for the [Carlsen] TMER. Were there others? Short answer: Yes.

The TMER is Magnus Carlsen's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (2000-), currently up-to-date only through summer 2018. The two chess960 events were tournaments played on Lichess:-

GM Carlsen played using the handle DrNykterstein (lichess.org). From there we find three more events. The first was another 'Titled Arena' tournament, although he played only five games:-

The others ('Fischersjakk'!) were restricted events: 'Must be in team Offerspill Sjakklubb':-

Although the Lichess events are missing, the TMER records three other chess960 events, the last two currently marked 'In preparation':-

2018-02 Fischer Random Rapid/Blitz 2018; Baerum NOR
2019-10 World Fischer Random 2019; Hovikodden NOR
2020-09 Champ Showdown 9LX 2020; Lichess.org INT

All three have been covered on this blog. The last two 'In prep' events were:-

The 'Champions Showdown' is worth special mention because it was played on Lichess, but doesn't show up on the DrNykterstein account. If we follow a page for the three day event...

...we see that Carlsen played on the account of STL_Carlsen (lichess.org). The other players in the elite event also played under 'STL' (St.Louis) names. Before playing on Lichess as DrNykterstein, GM Carlsen had another account, DrDrunkenstein (lichess.org). There are no chess960 games recorded on that account.

16 October 2021

Crossover Ideas from my Main Blog

Since this is a month with five Saturdays, I get three opportunities for a chess960 post. By coincidence, I have exactly three ideas for those posts.

1) Add CFAA posts to the download tag

A few months ago I created New Label 'Download' (August 2021), to keep track of posts with a download, most likely a PGN file. Before starting this blog I used my main blog 'Chess for All Ages' to write about chess960. Were there any posts on that blog to add to the 'Download' label? Short answer: No.

2) Review Carlsen's chess960 activity

Again referring to my main blog, I've been building a reference for World Champion Magnus Carlsen's playing record over the past three years. The most recent post was Carlsen's TMER 2019-21, 'Online = Y' (October 2021), where TMER stands for 'Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record'.

So far I've identified two chess960 events for the TMER. Were there others? Short answer: Yes. A post on this blog, Carlsen Wins Lichess Again (March 2019), discussed one chess960 event and pointed to a previous event, neither of which is listed on the TMER. While researching those two events, I discovered a third. This needs more work.

3) Review the recent CCC chess960 tournament

Another recent post on my main blog, TCEC Testing Cup 9; CCC C960 Blitz Semifinal (October 2021), refers to Chess.com's ongoing 'Computer Chess Championship' (CCC), where the latest event is the 'Chess960 Blitz Championship'. The semifinal finishes this weekend. Can we expect a final? Short answer: Probably.

I'll come back to Carlsen's chess960 activity and the CCC chess960 tournament in the next two posts scheduled for this month. I expect both of those posts will lead to new ideas. That's life in the chess960 blogosphere!