27 August 2022


In a perfect world, this post would be a followup to the previous post 2022 FWFRCC Kickoff (August 2022; 'FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship'). That event will undoubtedly dominate the blog for the next few months, but first I have to tackle an outstanding topic before it becomes old news.

This post is more of a followup to last month's TCEC C960 FRC5 (July 2022), because it's also about the TCEC. It's in reference to a post on my main blog, Stockfish Wins TCEC DFRC1, Leads CCC18 Rapid Final (August 2022). As a summary of DFRC1, I wrote,

In DFRC1 ('Double Fischer Random Chess: (960*960) possible starting positions'), Stockfish and LCZero finished tied for 1st/2nd places with 16.0/22, 1.5 points ahead of KomodoDragon, which was 2.0 points ahead of Stoofvlees. In the 50 game final match, Stockfish beat LCZero 29.5-20.5 (+18-9=23). For more discussion of the event, see the next post on my chess960 blog.

I know, this isn't the 'next post' on this blog; it's the 'next+1 post'. The unexpected news about the FWFRCC took priority. To understand what the TCEC accomplished -- and it's without question a noteworthy accomplishment -- let's quote some TCEC !definitions [Warning! : Serious chess engine jargon ahead...]:-

!dfrc • Double Fischer Random Chess: The same as Fischer Random Chess [FRC; C960], except the White and Black starting positions do not necessarily mirror each other. Double FRC has 921,600 (960*960) possible starting positions. [Also has links to files for DFRC 'Openings' and 'Evals'.]

!dfrctest • Initial test of !DFRC at TCEC. To check a) engines handling of DFRC - see !bugs, b) some DFRC start positions, c) cutechess handling of DFRC, d) GUI handling of DFRC. Time control: 7 minutes + 1 second/move. Duration 1 week

!dfrc1 • 1.SF (on SB 196) 2.Lc0 (SB 192.5) 3. KD. 26 participants (FRC5 + Bagatur), Swiss format, games from starting positions, 11 rounds, and 30min+3s TC. Estimated duration: 12 days.

!bookdfrc • Selected 1600 opening positions for the DFRC event, and for the DFRC testing. These are the positions for which KD, Eth, Berserk and SF (the latter through dbcn) agree that white has about a 50% chance for a win. The selection was then further pruned using careful SF analysis.

!unbust • Took positions where starting position abs(eval) >= 2.00, 17739 DFRC positions. Played Stockfish 202206020749 200k vs Stockfish 100k and 8071 were still 'busted'. Played those 1M vs 100k and 1172 were left 'busted'. Played those 10M vs 100k and 83 were left 'busted'. Finally, those 100M vs 100k and 10 are still 'busted'. These will be used in Bagatur vs Stockfish bonus.

!chess324 • A subset of DFRC where the Kings and the Rooks are at the usual starting position. Since castling is standard, this allows all engines to play.

For more about that last definition, see Chess324 (talkchess.com; lkaufman, aka Larry Kaufman of Komodo++ fame). The dean of chess engines explained, 'The Kings and Rooks are placed on their normal positions. All the other pieces for White and Black are placed randomly, with no symmetry requirement, the only restriction being that for each side the Bishops must be on opposite colored squares.'

Chessbase weighed in on a related topic with Double Shuffle Chess: a fun variant against Fritz Online (chessbase.com; Albert Silver). In this variant the Kings aren't required to be between the Rooks and there is no castling. No thanks, I'll pass. Maybe the TCEC or the CCC will give it a try.

After that little detour, let's get back to the TCEC. For archive info (crosstables, PGN, etc.) about the DFRC1 events, see:-

Since I'm already following the TCEC, I'll keep an eye on their DFRC events. My first impression is that it's more for chess engine enthusiasts than for chess960 enthusiasts, but I was no fan of chess960 when it first appeared on my radar either.

20 August 2022

2022 FWFRCC Kickoff

Last month, in my post Reddit Chess960 (July 2022), it was mainly a rumor:-
'[A] Fischer Random championship will be broadcasted by the end of October. [reddit.com]' • That's great news indeed. I hope we'll be hearing more about the event soon. The Reddit post suggests that the event will be held in Iceland.

As I often do, I interjected a note of caution:-

There's nothing to prevent anyone from touting a chess960 tournament as a 'World Championship'. [...] Let's see how the Icelandic organizers justify their event as a World Championship.

This month it's a reality. The justification as a World Championship is solid as a rock:-

The event is spread over multiple sites/venues:-

  • 2022-08-18: Announcing The 2022 FIDE Fischer Random World Chess Championship (chess.com; FFRWCC) • 'Chess.com is excited to announce that the FIDE Fischer Random World Championship is back, brought to you by the Government of Iceland and the City of Reykjavik! Top players from around the world will compete in a series of classical Fischer Random games for their share of the $400,000 prize fund and the title of FIDE Fischer Random World Champion. • The first qualifier starts on August 22 at 9 a.m. PT (18:00 CEST) on Chess.com. Any titled player can participate in the qualifiers for a spot at the championship, which will happen on October 25-30 in Reykavik, Iceland, and their share of the $2,500 qualifier prize fund.'

  • 2022-08-18: Play in a Chess World Championship (lichess.org; FWFRC) • 'Lichess announces global entry paths to the FIDE World Fischer Random Finals, with anyone eligible for entry, entirely for free. The 2022 edition of the FIDE World Fischer Random Championship will take place this October in Reykjavik, Iceland.'

Note that the three announcements use three different names for the event -- the corresponding acronyms are FWFRCC, FFRWCC, and FWFRC -- so take your pick. I'll pick FWFRCC, which was the acronym I used for the 2019 event:-

  • 2019-12-21: FWFRCC Wrapup • A summary of a dozen posts on the event. 'Dare we call the tournament the first FWFRCC? Will there be a second?'
  • 2022-06-25: FWFRCC PGN • 'The summary post finished with a question: Where are the game scores?'

All three announcements use the same banner/logo for the event, so I assume it's as official as these things get.

The Lichess announcement includes details about the organization of the event, which is already underway on their site. Chess.com introduces the details on a separate page, Fischer Random World Championship Finals Knockout 2022 (chess.com; Oct 25 - Oct 31), which starts in a few days on their site.

Are the rules consistent across Lichess and Chess.com? Experience says, 'Probably not', but we'll find out for sure as the event unfolds. I'm looking forward to everything!