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Tcec season 16

The meaning of «tcec season 16»

The 16th season of the Top Chess Engine Championship began on 15 July 2019 and ended on 13 Oct 2019.

The season showed how fast neural network-based engines were progressing relative to traditional ones, with neural network-based engines making up half of Premier Division for the first time. Furthermore, AllieStein, a neural network-based engine that had reached Premier Division last season, made its first appearance in the superfinal after finishing second in Premier Division. Nonetheless, a traditional engine – Stockfish – won both Premier Division and the superfinal.

TCEC changed its format for this season again, with the aim of allowing more chances for new engines to climb the rankings. This is in turn necessary because of the fast pace of development in computer chess, with numerous very strong engines emerging quickly. The superfinal and Premier Division were kept, but the lower divisions were replaced by three leagues: a Qualification League, League Two, and League One. The top six engines from the Qualification League promote to League Two (where the bottom six relegate), while the top four engines from League Two promote to League One (where the bottom four relegate). Finally, the top four engines in League One contest a playoff, with the top two finishers advancing to Premier Division.[1] The top two engines in Premier Division then contest the superfinal. All three lower-division leagues are single double-round robins, while Premier Division is 3x double-round robin, and the superfinal remains a 100-game match.

The qualification league comprised 18 engines; however, one engine - Leela Chess Zero's CPU version - would only be used as a benchmark, and its scores zeroed out to determine final standings.

Right from the start it became apparent that two engines - the new engine Stoofvlees and ScorpioNN - were significantly stronger than everyone else. ScorpioNN had been plagued by crashes last season, but those issues had been fixed, and it had further improved rapidly. It defeated ten of its seventeen rivals 2-0, and did not drop a match. Stoofvlees turned in a similarly dominant performance, also defeating ten of its seventeen rivals 2-0, but it dropped a game to 3rd-place Marvin. Both engines comfortably claimed the first two spots, six points ahead of Marvin. The remaining promotion slots were more contested. Marvin and Wasp were able to distance themselves from the chasing pack, but Asymptote and Winter were able to keep up with Topple and chess22k up until the final rounds, eventually finishing two points off the pace.[2]

Fresh from promotion and with an update before the start of League Two, Stoofvlees comfortably placed first with 22.5/30, two points ahead of ScorpioNN. Ominously however, it showed erratic play and lost three games. Second-placed ScorpioNN did not lose a game and promoted smoothly as well. In contrast, the remaining two promotion spots were closely contested. Pedone was whitewashed by Stoofvlees, but was able to defeat six engines 2-0. This eventually allowed it to finish third, one point ahead of Arasan and Fritz. Arasan and Fritz both finished with 18/30. Like ScorpioNN, Fritz did not lose a game, but it wasn't able to score many wins either. This allowed Arasan - who had narrowly missed promotion last season - to claim the final promotion spot on the third tiebreak (number of wins).[2]

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