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Tcec season 14

The meaning of «tcec season 14»

The 14th season of the Top Chess Engine Championship took place between 17 November 2018 and 24 February 2019. Stockfish was the defending champion, having defeated Komodo in the previous season's superfinal.

The season is notable for two things: the emergence of two strong, new engines, the Komodo variant Komodo Monte Carlo tree search (MCTS) and the neural network engine Leela Chess Zero, and the dramatic superfinal. Komodo MCTS and Leela fought their way from Division 4 and Division 3 respectively to the Premier Division, with Leela further qualifying for the superfinal against Stockfish. The superfinal was a topsy-turvy affair with the lead changing hands several times. It finished as the closest superfinal TCEC has ever seen, with Stockfish winning by a single game, 50.5–49.5 (+10 =81 -9).

The season comprised five divisions: from the lowest Division 4 to the Premier Division. The top two engines of each division promote to the division above, while the bottom two engines relegate. The top two engines of the Premier Division contest a 100-game superfinal. The lengths of the opening books used increases as the divisions progress. The superfinal itself used a custom opening book designed by Jeroen Noomen.[1]

The TCEC draw and win rules were slightly modified for Season 14. The game is now adjudicated as drawn if, after move 30, both engines have evals ±0.08 for five consecutive moves, and there are neither pawn moves nor a capture. Win adjudication now occurs if both engines have an eval of ±10 for five consecutive moves.[2]

Following the controversy over DeusX's participation last season,[3] the uniqueness rule for neural networks was modified such that at least two of the following three hallmarks must be unique:

This change meant DeusX did not meet the uniqueness criteria and therefore did not participate. Aside from this change, the season used the standard rules of the TCEC.

New entrant Komodo MCTS dominated Division 4, winning by a clear four points, although it did lose a game to second-place finisher rofChade. Fellow new entrant Scorpio NN performed badly and finished last, drawing only one game and losing the rest.[4]

The neural network engine Leela Chess Zero had just missed promotion to Division 2 in the previous season. Since its relatively weak performance last season was partly due to hardware problems,[2] and since it had shown a lot of improvement in strength, it was the hot favourite in this division. Leela lived up to its billing by comprehensively defeating everyone else. In a portent of future divisions however, Leela surprisingly dropped a game to third-place Arasan. Komodo MCTS was also improving quickly, and an updated version finished second behind Leela. The gap between second and third was 6.5 points, illustrating the gulf in class.[4]

Although Division 2 engines are significantly stronger than Division 3, Leela and Komodo MCTS continued to dominate the competition, and again finished first and second. Komodo MCTS only lost one game to Leela, while Leela's tendency to occasionally lose to weaker engines saw her losing a game to 4th-placed Booot. Third place finisher Xiphos gave Leela and Komodo MCTS a run for their money, and was in the running up until the final rounds when it lost a crucial game to Leela. This loss left it one point behind Komodo MCTS in the final standings.[4]

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