Ενημέρωση

First Games of King Salman World Rapid Championship played in Saint Petersburg

FIDE - Wed, 12/26/2018 - 20:21




The King Salman World Rapid Championships started on December 26 in St. Petersburg. There were five rounds in the Open Section and four rounds in the Women's Section.

His Highness Prince Fahad bin Jalawi bin Abdulaziz bin Mousaad Al Saud, Adviser to the President of General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia, made an honorary first move for the World Champion Magnus Carlsen in his second round game. FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich started the first round game between Guliskhan Nakhbayeva and Anna Muzychuk.


His Highness Prince Fahad bin Jalawi bin Abdulaziz bin Mousaad Al Saud 



FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich


The World Champion began the tournament with two defeats. He lost on time in the first game against the Ukrainian Adam Tukhaev, and then lost the second game to the young Uzbek player Shamsiddin Vokhidov. However, after that Carlsen won three games in a row.

After five rounds, the Open Section is led by Ian Nepomniachtchi, Dmitry Andreikin (both Russia), and the 15-year-old Alireza Firouzja (Iran) with 4.5 points each. 15 players scored 4 points.

The Women's World Champion Ju Wenjun (China) took the lead in the Women's Section with four straight wins. Half a point behind her are Anna Muzychuk, Mariya Muzychuk (both Ukraine), Tan Zhongyi (China), Dinara Saduakassova, Zhansaya Abdumalik (both Kazakhstan), and Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria).


Women's World Champion Ju Wenjun (China)


On Thursday, December 27, the tournament will continue with five more rounds in the Open Section and four more rounds in the Women's Section.

Official website

King Salman World Blitz and Rapid Championships 2018 Opened in Saint Petersburg



On Tuesday, December 25, the Central Exhibition Hall Manege hosted the opening ceremony for the King Salman World Blitz and Rapid Championships. A press-conference with World Champions Magnus Carlsen and Ju Wenjun, Vice-World Champion Sergey Karjakin, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, RCF President Andrey Filatov, and Manege Director Pavel Prigara took place prior to the ceremony.



In his speech, Arkady Dvorkovich thanked everyone involved in organizing this prestigious event: King Salman, St. Petersburg authorities, Russian Chess Federation, the sponsors – Gazprom, Russian Railways, Sberbank, PhosAgro, etc. The President of FIDE emphasized: “We chose St. Petersburg as the venue of the championships together. I am very happy that the event takes place in Manege – a beautiful historical building in the heart of the city. St. Petersburg is rightly considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and I am sure that many chess players will be happy to visit it again a few times.”

Andrey Filatov mentioned a unique feature of the championship: for the first time in chess history it is organized by two countries: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Russia. “It is a big honor for us to become organizers of the World Blitz and Rapid Championships. We are grateful to King Salman and FIDE leadership for the trust they put in us”, summarized the RCF President.

According to Pavel Prigara, it is a first sporting event ever hosted in Manege, which is normally an art exhibition hall. “Yet I think chess is the closest to art of all sports, so the decision seems logical – we will try to demonstrate beauty of sport in an art exhibition hall. As far as I know, Russian Chess Federation had already organized their tournaments in world's largest museums, including the Louvre and the Russian Museum. Our Central Exhibition Hall fits this list well”, said the Director of Manege.



Answering a question from the media, Magnus Carlsen and Ju Wenjun discussed bringing chess to school curriculum. Magnus Carlsen said that this is a great idea, however, he didn't think chess should be compulsory. According to the World Champion, those studying chess definitely benefit from it.

Ju Wenjun added that China is already implementing this idea in a number of schools, and she hopes that this number will increase in the future: “Chess teaches logic”.

In the beginning of the opening ceremony, the Deputy Sports Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Kosilov read out the welcome address of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.



There were welcome speeches from the acting Governor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov, President of the Saudi Chess Federation Rami Altassan, RCF President Andrey Filatov, and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, who declared the championships open.

In the drawing of lots ceremony Magnus Carlsen picked a black pawn, thus giving all odd numbered players in the Open Section Black in the first round. Ju Wenjun, who is number two in the tournament, in turn, picked a white pawn, therefore, all odd numbered players in the Women's Section will start the championship with Black.




A concert that followed consisted of ballet performance, aerial gymnasts' act, and several jazz pieces by the Acoustic Band. The technical meeting for the players concluded the evening.

 

The rounds begin at 3 p.m.; the games on the final day start at 2 p.m.

The total prize fund is USD 1,150,000.

General partner – General Sports Authority.

The Championship is supported by Gazprom.

Official partner – Russian Railways. Partner – Sberbank. General Partner of RCF – PhosAgro.

Official website

Categories: Ενημέρωση

Season's Greetings

FIDE - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 10:10


FIDE wishes a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, a Happy new year and all the best for 2019 to all chess lovers all around the world.


Gens Una Sumus!


Fédération Internationale des Échecs

Categories: Ενημέρωση

Dress Code for the King Salman World Rapid & Blitz Championships 2018

FIDE - Sat, 12/22/2018 - 19:15




Dear participants of the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2018!

We would like to remind you that the Article 4.10.1 of the WRBC Rules is strictly regulating a dress code in the playing area. The participants are obliged to wear appropriate casual clothes: a neat shirt with a collar, jacket/blazer, trousers for men and (neat shirt/blouse with a collar, jacket/blazer, trousers/skirt or dress for women.

The dress code is strictly observed: no players with t-shirts, sneakers, baseball caps, shorts, jeans or inappropriate dress are allowed in a playing zone. Any requests to wear national or traditional dress must be approved by the Chief Arbiter.

Official website: wrbc2018.com

RULES for FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Championship 2018

Categories: Ενημέρωση

FIDE announces Fantasysports contest in cooperation with ChessDraft

FIDE - Thu, 12/20/2018 - 12:54



FIDE announces Fantasysports contest in cooperation with ChessDraft.

The King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships 2018 is one of the most exciting events of the chess calendar, and now chess fans will have a chance to draft their favorite Fantasy team. FIDE teamed up with ChessDraft, providing a new experience for the spectators. It is a pilot project, and we will review our cooperation with other similar platforms in the future, in order to make our beloved game more popular and more enjoyable to follow.

Meanwhile, you are welcome to join the contest on chessdraft.co, and compose your dream team in every of the four events: Open (rapid and blitz) and Women (rapid and blitz) Championships. Please note that blitz contests will be launched after the end of rapid championships. The winner in each category will get special wooden chess set signed by the members of your Fantasy Team.

Let the smartest win!

Categories: Ενημέρωση

GM Leinier Domínguez Joins US Chess Federation

Chessdom - Thu, 12/20/2018 - 00:32

The US Chess Federation is pleased to announce that Grandmaster (GM) Leinier Domínguez, originally from Cuba and currently living in Miami, Florida, has successfully switched federations from the Cuban Chess Federation and will now play under the United States flag.

Domínguez says, “I am very excited about this new stage in my career and I am really looking forward to joining US Chess. It is great to see the tremendous level that the game has acquired in the U.S. and I definitely want to be a part of it.”

Leinier Dominguez

The 35-year-old was born in Havana, Cuba and became a grandmaster in 2001, going on to win the Cuban national championship five times between 2002 and 2016. He currently carries a rating of 2739, ranking him 20th in a world that includes well over 1,000 grandmasters. He instantly becomes one of the top players for the United States, joining recent world-championship competitor GM Fabiano Caruana (2832) and the rest of the “super” grandmasters from the U.S.: Wesley So (2765), Hikaru Nakamura (2746), and Sam Shankland (2724).

US Chess Executive Board Vice President Randy Bauer enthuses, “Grandmaster Domínguez is a strong addition to the US Chess roster of world-class players. Leinier has achieved notable successes as a chess player, trainer, and author. But perhaps most importantly for our organization’s goals, he is an outstanding ambassador for chess worldwide, and we look forward to his adding to the already rich and diverse US chess culture.”

Categories: Ενημέρωση

WRBCC 2018: World Strongest Chess Players to Arrive in Saint Petersburg

FIDE - Wed, 12/19/2018 - 09:45



World Strongest Chess Players to Arrive in Saint Petersburg

The King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2018 will be held in Saint Petersburg on December 25-31.



Real chess stars are going to take part in the events. Starting lists of the open tournaments are headed by the reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway), world strongest grandmasters Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), Anish Giri (Netherlands), Viswanathan Anand (India), Alexander Grischuk, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Sergey Karjakin (all from Russia), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), and other top players.



In the women’s events, the reigning Women’s World Champion Ju Wenjun (China), Anna and Mariya Muzychuk (both from Ukraine), Kateryna Lagno, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Aleksandra Goryachkina, Valentina Gunina (all from Russia), Humpy Koneru (India), Nana Dzagnidze (Georgia), and other well-known players will fight for the titles.

In 2017, Viswanathan Anand won the King Salman World Rapid Championship, while Magnus Carlsen became the strongest in blitz. The women’s titles were gained by Ju Wenjun and Nana Dzagnidze respectively.

The World Champion Magnus Carlsen has already expressed his intention to win back the rapid champion’s title. “I’m going to take back the triple throne – no usurpers are going to be allowed”, said the Norwegian grandmaster.

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich: "I would like to thank our partners for supporting us in a tense moment and helping us organize the World Rapid and Blitz Championships with a decent prize fund within a very short time in one of the most beautiful cities of the world. Welcome to Saint Petersburg! I wish a bright play and good luck to all the participants!"

RCF President Andrey Filatov: "It is a great honour for us that FIDE has entrusted holding such popular and prestigious competitions as the World Rapid and Blitz Championships among men and women to us. In spite of being limited in time for the preparation, we will do our best to organize this event in our country on the highest level possible as always. We will be happy to see everyone, and let the strongest win!"



The venue is Manege, the largest exhibition space in central Saint Petersburg. Address: 1, St. Isaac’s Square.

An extensive additional programme, which will include tournaments for children and adults, solving contests, acquaintance with the RCF Chess Museum's exhibits and many other activities, will be organized during the Championships. The entrance is free for visitors.

Schedule: December 25 – Pre-start press conference, Opening Ceremony, Technical meeting, December 26-28 – World Rapid Championships, December 29-30 – World Blitz Championships and Closing Ceremony.

Pre-start press conference will take place in Manege and will begin at 6 p.m. (hereinafter – Moscow time). The Opening Ceremony will be held in Manege as well and will start at 7:30 p.m.

The entrance is for participants, officials, arbiters, and accredited journalists only.

The rounds begin at 3 p.m.; the games on the final day start at 2 p.m.

The total prize fund is USD 1,150,000.

General partner – General Sports Authority.

The Championship is supported by Gazprom.

Official partner – Russian Railways. Partner – Sberbank. General Partner of RCF – PhosAgro.


Official website


WRBCC 2018 Registration, Visa, Accommodation and Venue

Categories: Ενημέρωση

Komodo MCTS (Monte Carlo Tree Search) is the new star of TCEC

Chessdom - Wed, 12/19/2018 - 01:38

Komodo MCTS (Monte Carlo Tree Search) is the star newcomer to the Top Chess Engine Championship league. It has won Division 4, and qualified from Division 2 and 3 to enter the elite group of the top 16 engines in the world. Currently, it is placed second in Division 1 where after 13 rounds it has collected 8 points (+3 =10 -0) and is in a good position to enter the Premier division.

 

Komodo MCTS – Fritz 1-0 – Sicilian, Najdorf, Byrne (English) attack
Komodo MCTS – Chiron 1-0 – Giuoco Pianissimo, Italian four knights variation
Fritz – Komodo MCTS 1-0 – Sicilian, Najdorf, Byrne (English) attack

The authors of Komodo MCTS share their opinion on the current development of the engine, comparison and contrast to regular Komodo, give their opinion on Alpha Zero and the neural networks, and much more in a detailed interview for Chessdom.com

More about TCEC: TCEC live games / TCEC Season 14 information and rules

Congratulations for winning Div 4, and qualifying from Div 3 and Div 2. This is quite a feat for a newcomer to TCEC. Did you expect the relatively straight forward rise to this elite group level?

Mark Lefler: Thanks. With anything new there are certain issues we had not considered. Some from just learning about how to best use Monte Carlo Tree Search, some from bugs and some from not being able to test on such a large machine. I thought finding a good way to use all the cores was going to be the hardest part of MCTS search. MCTS prefer searching the best lines based on past history, but with many processors, things can get really crowded having them all work on the same tree node, so you have to be a bit clever about encouraging them to search other parts of the tree. But too much searching of the bad line hurts elo. So we have experimented a lot with improving this.

Larry Kaufman: I was pretty confident that we would reach Div 2 once we solved the problem of how to utilize more than a dozen or so threads, but I did not expect it to be by such a large margin over all the other non-GPU engines. There was always the concern about crashes or bad behavior on super hardware.

Judging by the play so far, where do you expect Komodo MCTS to end in the final standings of the season?

Mark Lefler: Larry might be best to answer this, but the playing strength of Komodo MCTS is somewhere between Stockfish 6 and Stockfish 7. So it is pretty strong.

Larry Kaufman: After the “big three” (Stockfish, Komodo, and Houdini) and Lc0, I would expect only one to finish above KomodoMCTS as things stand now. Komodo MCTS is progressing fast, but of course one of the other top few engines could also pull ahead, so sixth place would seem like a fair guess. I don’t rule out the chance that we will make a big breakthrough and contend for a top place.

Komodo MCTS is a newcomer and many do not know the details behind the engine and its innovative approach. Tell us more about Komodo MCTS

Mark Lefler: MCTS searches a tree in a kind of best first arrangement, preferring to expand lines where the win percentage has been good. So you need some estimate of win percentage. We use short alpha-beta search from each MCTS node to estimate these winning changes. But even these alpha-beta short searches are heavily modified from regular Komodo. So these scores get backed up to the root of the tree. A node selection process similar to UCT1 is used, but we heavily modified it, not using a log and not using the scheme in Leela or Alpha Zero, but trying to accomplish the same thing. Explore a lot at first, then narrow the search with more backed up nodes.

There is a new version of Komodo MCTS playing in Div 1. What are the improvements?

Mark Lefler: So many areas of improvement. Better node selection. Better time management. Some speedups. Better handling of positions with lots of terminal nodes like checkmate or 50 move rep. Some Syzygy-related improvements as well.

What is the motivation for splitting the efforts of you and Larry between developing Komodo and developing Komodo MCTS?

Mark Lefler: Well, since we use modified alpha-beta short searches to guide MCTS, work on regular search ends up helping both search modes. We have spent much more time on MCTS lately because it is great seeing a simple change giving 10 elo, and because it is fun to learn new things. We learn a lot every day.

Larry Kaufman: I would add that there does not seem to be a realistic chance for regular Komodo to surpass Stockfish barring some major finding, but it is not difficult to imagine Komodo MCTS doing so since it is progressing more than ten times as fast as normal Komodo.

Are there parts that the two engines share?

M: They share a move generator, and they share some alpha-beta like search functions for the short search winning estimates. But both the search and the eval are modified from the traditional alpha-beta search. I am having to put in too many “if (useMCTS) … else ….;” lines, so we are likely to split the code base soon.

In the chat of TCEC you mentioned, “In this version of Komodo MCTS, once it sees it has a score of 7 pawns ahead (or 7 pawns behind), it uses Syzygy and regular search to finish off the game.” Does that comply with the rules that an engine has to be “unique”?

Mark Lefler: I will leave rule interpretation up to the people running TCEC, but the main reason we do this is that once a game is almost certainly won, alpha beta is just better at coming up with a faster end to the game. In alpha-beta search, win scores are scaled based on the number of moves until mate. In MCTS, a win is a win, and this gets converted to a 100% value, so shortest wins are not always found, so it can take a long time to get there. We thought it was not so interesting postponing the result. We are considering making this “mop up” feature an option people can turn on or off. There is not much of a reason to do the switch when we are totally losing, we may take that out. MCTS may well be better in such cases.

Larry Kaufman: The switch to alpha-beta only occurs when the result is something like 99.9% certain anyway, and for TCEC the effect is much less even than that because such positions are soon adjudicated. If TCEC decides that this very minor overlap with normal Komodo is a problem, we can make it an option you can turn off, or perhaps not do it at all when losing and only do it when winning after several moves, enough to comply with the TCEC adjudication rule.

Mark Lefler: More accurately, when Komodo MCTS sees a score greater than 7 pawns or less than -7 pawns it switches to alpha beta search. It is not exactly the same search as regular alpha-beta would do since time management is very different. It uses the allocated time it would for MCTS mode times a scaling factor.

Larry Kaufman: Aside from not wanting to prolong games unnecessarily, we had some crashes in very long games in the chess.com event, which does not adjudicate won games or even Syzygy position won games. We restored this 7 pawn rule as a temporary solution to avoid these long games which are both boring and prone to problematic behavior. We think the problems were Syzygy-related and have probably been fixed, but we haven’t been inclined to revert the 7 pawn rule. It’s rather silly to wait for say 40 moves to go by in a rook vs king ending and see Komodo MCTS only go for mate when it sees 50 move rule danger! There is much less need for it in TCEC due to adjudication. I’m sure we could make Komodo MCTS win easily won positions more quickly without the 7 pawn rule, but so far we haven’t been motivated to spend our time on this rather than on improving the MCTS engine when the result isn’t yet decided.

Recently, DeepMind’s Alpha Zero published a scientific paper where it detailed the domination over Stockfish. Have you read the paper and can you share your thoughts?

Mark Lefler: Yes I have. Pretty amazing accomplishment. The more complete paper shows more data, but that data seems to be from January 2018, so is pretty old given how much Stockfish has gained since then. They also did not appear to test with Syzygy, they had an unclear opening book in some tests. But they did seem to switch to a more realistic time control.

Larry Kaufman: Based on everything I’ve read, It seems that AlphaZero would probably lose a match to Stockfish 10 under TCEC conditions, as AZ beat an older SF by a rather narrow margin under similar conditions. It’s still rather remarkable that NN could achieve this much this quickly, but as of now I think that beating SF10 will suffice to claim to be the world’s best chess engine.

Now that you have MCTS , can you reveal if you are going towards a Komodo NN model or a hybrid?

Mark Lefler: We are working on a Neural Network for Komodo, which could be used for several things. A replacement of the existing evaluation in alpha-beta Komodo. A replacement for the short searches in Komodo MCTS. Training of this network is going on nearly 24 hours a day, but we have a way to go.

Larry Kaufman: It is pretty clear to me that the only advantage of NN for chess is that it can utilize a good GPU and so whatever it can accomplish is “free” if you don’t care about the cost and power consumption of the GPU. We are making such good progress on Komodo MCTS without NN that the parallel effort we (chess.com and Komodo) are making with NN may never pay off. But most likely some hybrid that can use the GPU will ultimately prove to be best. I think that it is quite unlikely that a pure NN program like Lc0 or AZ will ultimately come out on top. Five centuries of chess knowledge ought to be worth something!

Categories: Ενημέρωση

Nakamura wins Grand Chess Tour Final with dramatic last-round blitz victory

Chessdom - Tue, 12/18/2018 - 17:04

American Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura defeated Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the London Chess Classic and Grand Chess Tour Final by the super-slim margin of 15-13 – the win of a single blitz game – after a nail-biting sequence of seven draws.

After several rapid and blitz games where the difference between the two players hardly ever threatened to become of decisive proportions, in Blitz Game 4 Nakamura repeated a line of a hybrid Grunfeld-English they had played earlier in the match.

Vachier-Lagrave began to suffer after he unwisely moved his queen to the kingside with 15…Qf5, when its lack of safety became a decisive factor.

Thereafter Nakamura took control of the centre and allowed MVL’s queen no respite, with the death-knell for MVL coming with 24 Ng5, when the queen is cornered. The picturesque final blow was delivered by 29 Bg4!, forcing the win of the queen due to a killer knight fork.

Both players’ match strategy appeared to be aimed at surviving with Black and waiting for the Blitz portion of the match. Nakamura’s adoption of the super-solid Berlin Wall defence in London marked a departure from his usual counter-attacking style, but it paid off in the end.

Nakamura takes home $120,000 for winning the Grand Chess Tour, while MVL pockets $80,000 as runner-up.

In the Third Place Playoff match, US World Championship challenger Fabiano Caruana managed to salvage some pride, coming out on top in the Rapid and Blitz games against Armenia’s Levon Aronian, winning the second Rapid game and the final two Blitz games to secure victory by the score of 16-12.

(The scoring system awarded 6 points for each Classical game, while the Rapid games are worth 4 points and the Blitz games 2 points.)

Caruana’s payday was $60,000, while Aronian had to be satisfied with $40,000. Caruana’s third place guarantees him a place in the 2019 Grand Chess Tour, the GCT announced today.

In a press release, The Grand Chess Tour announced on Monday it will be expanded to include two new Rapid and Blitz events, in India and Cote D’Ivoire, which will replace the St. Louis Rapid & Blitz, while there will be a new Classical tournament in Croatia. The total prize fund will also be increased, to at least $1.5 million, and Gameplan Sports Pvt. Ltd, one of India’s foremost corporate and sports branding agencies, has been appointed as an official sponsorship and branding partner.

Hikaru Nakamura deploys the Berlin Defence to the Ruy Lopez against Maxime-Vachier Lagrave in Rapid Game 1 of the Grand Chess Tour Final on December 17. (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

The London Chess Classic is the final leg of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour. It is the flagship event of Chess in Schools and Communities and includes a range of amateur and age-grade competitions for 1,000s of children from the charity initiative nationwide.

By Tim Wall

Categories: Ενημέρωση

In Memoriam – WGM Milunka Lazarević

Chessdom - Tue, 12/18/2018 - 06:04

Milunka Lazarević, Woman Grandmaster, journalist, International Arbiter, Honorary FIDE member, passed away on 15th December at the age of 86.

She learned to play chess in the family, adding the game to a wide range of high school interests, including acting, guitar, poetry and singing in a choir. Soon she became champion of Novi Sad and at the age of 18 started playing in the Novosadski Chess Club.

She became Woman International Master in 1954 and Woman Grandmaster in 1976. During her rich career she was 11 times champion of Yugoslavia, 6 times club champion of Yugoslavia, silver medalist from 1963 Women’s Olympiad and 7 times World Championship candidate. For many years she was the strongest female player outside of Soviet Union.

She won six tournaments in Emmen, two tournaments in Roterdam, Sirmion 1955, Beverwijk 1957, Venice 1957, Bonn 1960, Amsterdam 1960, Vienna 1961, Belgrade 1972, Novi Sad 1980, Saltsjöbaden and Athens 1984.

Milunka Lazarevic

For her chess was the battle of ideas and intellects and “the most honest profession”. She always played for victory and the first place. With this attitude, she famously rejected a quick draw in the last round of Sukhumi Candidates Tournament, which was sufficient to become challenger to World Champion Nona Gaprindashvili. She played on and lost that game, “only tying” the first place with Kushnir and Zatulovskaya and finishing second in the play-off.

As Chairperson of FIDE Women’s Commission from 1970-1978 she introduced a number of revolutionary changes. She joined the Open and Women’s Olympiads together from Skopje 1972, expanded the Olympiad teams from two to three boards, established the WGM title, started the rating system for women.

In 1965 she established the traditional Belgrade tournament dedicated to Women’s Day 8th March, which is still running. She was the first female IA in Yugoslavia and the chief arbiter of Nona Gaprindashvili tournament in 1991, Investbanka tournaments in 1995 and 1997.

Categories: Ενημέρωση

Gawain Jones wins 2018 British Knockout Championship

Chessdom - Tue, 12/18/2018 - 05:16

Gawain Jones on Monday ensured his victory in the British Knockout Championship with 2 Rapid wins over fellow English GM Luke McShane, taking him to an insurmountable 17-3 lead without any need for points in the Blitz portion of the match.

In the first Rapid game, McShane – desperately needing a win to get back in contention, played an unsound knight sacrifice in the hopes of levering open the kingside. Jones refuted the sacrifice, wrapping up efficiently, and despite some nervy play in the second game, only once looked in danger when McShane could have tried to mix it up by opening files against the king.

The remainder of the games were played out in exhibition style, even though the match was decided, as per the tournament rules. The final score, after all 8 games, was 21-7.

In the Third Place Playoff match, Mickey Adams eventually triumphed 16-12, winning the second Rapid game and the last two Blitz games. The fact that the match was in doubt until the last Blitz game underscored that Adams appeared to be struggling to find his best form.

The British Knockout was run alongside the London Chess Classic, the final leg of the Grand Chess Tour, and provided welcome excitement during some of the Classical GCT games, where high-level endgame technique and subtle defensive resources led to drawn games without many thrills and spills for the average chess fan to appreciate.

Jones takes home a first prize of £15,000 and McShane, as runner-up, wins £10,000. Adams received £6,000 for his third-place finish, and Howell picked up £4,000 for fourth.

Gawain Jones more effectively took his chances in his match with Luke McShane, who had a mountain to climb after losing Classical Game 2 on Sunday. (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

The London Chess Classic is the final leg of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour. It is the flagship event of Chess in Schools and Communities and includes a range of amateur and age-grade competitions for 1,000s of children from the charity initiative nationwide.

By Tim Wall

Categories: Ενημέρωση

Vachier-Lagrave & Nakamura draw game 2, setting up Rapid and Blitz showdown

Chessdom - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 05:02

Accurate defensive play and good endgame technique once again featured in the second Classical Game of the London Chess Classic Final, with Hikaru Nakamura and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave drawing after 53 moves of an evenly-contested Ruy Lopez Berlin Wall variation.

As in Game 1, Black demonstrated full equality in a well-trodden main line of the queenless middlegame, leaving the players to dispute the merits of an ultimately level endgame that had elements of asymmetry, but not enough imbalance to create a serious advantage for either side. MVL’s 22 e6!? effectively led to simplification and further accurate play by both players ensured the draw.

As in the recent World Championship match, draws in Classical play now mean that the London Chess Classic, the concluding event in the Grand Chess Tour 2018, will be decided fully in the Rapid and Blitz portion of the match.

On Monday, there will be 2 Rapid and 4 Blitz games, and if required there will be a playoff of 2 more rapid games and ultimately an Armageddon game. The total prize money for the Final is $200,000.

The Third Place Playoff match between Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian, which has a prize fund of $100,000, also saw a draw in Game 2, with a draw by repetition after 21 moves as Caruana equalised comfortably with his trademark Petroff Defence.

Each Classical game counts for 6 points, while the Rapid games are worth 4 points and the Blitz games 2 points.

Live coverage of the London Chess Classic matches resumes at 14:00 UTC on Monday, December 17.

Joshua John, an England junior international who started playing chess through the Chess in Schools and Communities programme in Newham, plays the ceremonial first move for Maxime-Vachier Lagrave Game 2 of the Grand Chess Tour Final. (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

The London Chess Classic is the final leg of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour. It is the flagship event of Chess in Schools and Communities and includes a range of amateur and age-grade competitions for 1,000s of children from the charity initiative nationwide.

By Tim Wall

Categories: Ενημέρωση

Gawain Jones storms into lead in British Knockout Championship Final

Chessdom - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 04:46

Gawain Jones on Sunday stormed into a 6-point lead in the British Knockout Championship Final, dispatching Luke McShane with a neat combination starting with 25 Bxf7+ that left his fellow English GM a pawn down with a hopeless position.

Out of an equal French Tarrasch, Jones as White banked on a well-placed central bishop to counteract McShane’s bishop pair. After an awkward rook placement by McShane (21…Rc5?!), Jones was in the driving seat, and the unfortunate 24…Bd6 set up Jones’s killer blow.

Jones now has a large advantage going into the Rapid and Blitz portion of the match, as the 2 Rapid games are worth 4 points each and the 4 Blitz games count for just 2 points each.

The winner of the match stands to take home a prize of £15,000 and the runner-up £10,000 if the match is decided without a playoff.

In the Third Place Playoff match, Mickey Adams and David Howell drew in 46 moves of a Ruy Lopez Anti-Marshall, in which Adams as Black had an endgame advantage for a while, but Howell managed to escape.

Live coverage of the British Knockout matches resumes on Monday at 14:00 UTC.

Gawain Jones plays the Tarrasch Variation of the French Defence against Luke McShane in the second Classical game of the British Knockout Final on Sunday. (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

The London Chess Classic is the final leg of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour. It is the flagship event of Chess in Schools and Communities and includes a range of amateur and age-grade competitions for 1,000s of children from the charity initiative nationwide.

By Tim Wall

Categories: Ενημέρωση

Vachier-Lagrave & Nakamura tie game 1 of Final

Chessdom - Sun, 12/16/2018 - 18:22

• France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and American Hikaru Nakamura split the honours in a keenly contested Main Line Grunfeld in Game 1 of the London Chess Classic Final, the concluding event of the Grand Chess Tour, which was played at the Olympia Conference Centre.

• The result ratchets up the tension for Game 2, which will be broadcast live from 14:00 UTC on Sunday, as a win would give a lead of 6 points going into the Rapid and Blitz portion of the match on Monday.

• In the Third Place Playoff match, Levon Aronian challenged Fabiano Caruana strongly in an Italian Game, but the players acquiesced to a draw by repetition as Caruana neutralized Aronian’s initiative.

• Game 1 in the British Knockout Final and Third Place Playoff matches also finished in well-contested draws.

Hikaru Nakamura took on Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in a main line of his favourite Grunfeld Defence in Game 1 of the London Chess Classic on Saturday but failed to achieve any advantage. After Nakamura’s far advanced passed d-pawn fell, MVL emerged with a small endgame edge, but was unable to convert it and a draw was agreed in 50 moves.

The result leaves the players on 3 points each going into Game 2. In total, the Grand Chess Tour Final will be decided over 2 Classical, 2 Rapid and 4 Blitz games, with a total of 28 points at stake. The winner of the Grand Chess Tour Final will pocket $120,000, while the runner-up will take home $80,000.

In the Third Place Playoff match, Levon Aronian caused Fabiano Caruana some awkward moments with a sharp pawn sacrifice for the initiative in an Italian Game, but Caruana was able to neutralize Aronian’s play and the players opted for a repetition after a series of checks against Caruana’s uncastled king.

In the British Knockout Final, Gawain Jones managed to neutralize Luke McShane’s Italian Game, rounding up an insufficiently defended extra kingside pawn to force a drawn king and pawn ending.

In the British KO Third Place Playoff, Mickey Adams pressed David Howell strongly in an offbeat Two Knights Caro-Kann. The game was drawn in 41 moves, when Adams was the exchange up for a pawn in the ending.

Hikaru Nakamura and Maxime-Vachier Lagrave contest a Main Line Grunfeld in Game 1 of their Grand Chess Tour Final at Olympia Conference Centre in London. The game was drawn in 50 moves. (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

The London Chess Classic is the final leg of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour. It is the flagship event of Chess in Schools and Communities and includes a range of amateur and age-grade competitions for 1,000s of children from the charity initiative nationwide.

By Tim Wall

Categories: Ενημέρωση

Nakamura & Vachier-Lagrave qualify for Grand Chess Tour final

Chessdom - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 01:24

• Hikaru Nakamura and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave qualify for the London Chess Classic Final, the concluding event of the Grand Chess Tour, after a pulsating day of Rapid and Blitz, beating Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian, respectively.

• Nakamura and MVL both take the lead in the Rapid games, then clinch their places in the Final with blitz victories.

• The British Knockout Semi-Finals, also taking place at Google DeepMind’s offices in London, are won by Luke McShane and Gawain Jones. McShane’s surprise win over Mickey Adams comes despite a valiant fightback by the England No. 1, who won three blitz games in a row to stay in the match.

• The Grand Chess Tour and British Knockout Finals and Third Place Playoffs take place from Saturday to Monday at Olympia London. Live coverage of the London Chess Classic & British Knockout Championship starts at 14:00 UTC.

Hikaru Nakamura qualified for the Grand Chess Tour Final by beating World Championship Challenger Fabiano Caruana 18-10 after the Rapid and Blitz portion of the Semi-Finals on Thursday, joining Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who defeated Levon Aronian by the same scoreline.

Both Nakamura and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave pulled ahead in the second Rapid game, and then pressed home their advantage in the Blitz games.

These results set up an intriguing Grand Chess Tour Final between two acknowledged Rapid and Blitz experts. Vachier-Lagrave’s results enabled him to overtake World Champion Magnus Carlsen in the live Blitz ratings, rising to 2948.2 versus Magnus’s 2939.0, according to Live Ratings website 2700.com.

In the British Knockout Championship, Luke McShane pulled off a surprise 16-12 victory over England No. 1 Mickey Adams, despite Adams winning three Blitz games in a row to stay in the match. But the final twist of fate came in the fourth and final Blitz game, in which Adams, with a winning position, fell for a basic knight fork to lose his queen.
In the other British KO Semi-Final, Gawain Jones defeated David Howell 18-10. Leading after two Classical games 1.5-0.5, Jones lost the first Rapid game but then clinched his victory with three Blitz wins.

The action now moves to Olympia London on Saturday, with the same three-day format of 2 Classical games, followed by a third day of Rapid and Blitz games.

Full regulations governing the London Chess Classic Final and Third Place Playoff matches can be viewed here.

Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana are all smiles as Malcolm Pein, CEO of Chess in Schools and Communities, asks Martha of Park End School in Middlesbrough to make the ceremonial first move before the first Rapid game 1 on Thursday. (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

Grand Chess Tour Semi-Final results:

Stp rp blitz
Semi final 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 A
Fabiano Caruana 2832 3 3 2 0 2 0 0 0 - 10
Hikaru Nakamura 2746 3 3 2 4 0 2 2 2 - 18

stp rp blitz
Semi final 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 A
M Vachier-Lagrave 2781 3 3 2 4 2 2 0 2 - 18
Levon Aronian 2765 3 3 2 0 0 0 2 0 - 10

British Knockout Championship Semi-Final results:

Stp rp blitz
Semi final 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 A
Luke McShane 2667 3 3 4 4 0 0 0 2 - 16
Mickey Adams 2706 3 3 0 0 2 2 2 0 - 12

Stp rp blitz
Semi final 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 A
David Howell 2697 3 0 4 2 0 0 0 1 - 10
Gawain Jones 2683 3 6 0 2 2 2 2 1 - 18

For media enquiries related to the London Chess Classic and the British Knockout Championship, please contact: Tim Wall – press@londonchessclassic.com

Media editors may use photos online from the London Chess Classic website’s Flickr account as long as they are credited to the LCC and the photographer. For permission to use the photos in print publications, editors should contact the photographer.

The London Chess Classic is the final leg of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour. It is the flagship event of Chess in Schools and Communities and includes a range of amateur and age-grade competitions for 1,000s of children from the charity initiative nationwide.

By Tim Wall

Categories: Ενημέρωση

WRBCC 2018 Registration, Visa, Accommodation and Venue

FIDE - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 15:27



The King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships-2018 will be held in Saint Petersburg on December 25-31.

The venue is Manege, the largest exhibition space in central Saint Petersburg. Address: 1, St. Isaac’s Square.

A classical building of Manege was constructed by Giacomo Quarenghi in the beginning of the 19th century for the Imperial Horse Guards. Then it was used for various purposes depending on the epoch. In 1970s, the Saint Petersburg Manege housed the Central exhibition hall. Now Manege is a modern platform which is capable to host all kinds of projects.



Real chess stars are going to take part in the events. Thus, the open starting lists are headed by the reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway), world strongest grandmasters Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), Anish Giri (Netherlands), Viswanathan Anand (India), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Alexander Grischuk, Sergey Karjakin, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Peter Svidler (all from Russia), and other top players.

In the women’s events, the reigning Women’s World Champion Ju Wenjun (China), Anna and Mariya Muzychuk (both from Ukraine), Kateryna Lagno, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Aleksandra Goryachkina, Valentina Gunina, Olga Girya (all from Russia), Humpy Koneru (India), Nana Dzagnidze (Georgia), Tan Zhongyi (China), and other well-known players will fight for the titles.

An extensive additional programme, which will include tournaments for children and adults, solving contests, simultaneous exhibitions and master classes, acquaintance with the RCF Chess Museum's exhibits and many other activities, will be organized during the Championships. The entrance is free for guests.



SCHEDULE

December 25 – Pre-start press conference, Opening Ceremony, Technical meeting
December 26-28 – World Rapid Championships
December 29-30 – World Blitz Championships and Closing Ceremony



ACCOMMODATION


Accredited players, accompanying persons and press are now able to submit their accommodation requests and travel details online at the registration system https://wrbc2018registration.fide.com.

Note that the above apply only if the above mentioned accredited participants participants would like to be accommodated in one of the two official hotels of the event, with the agreed pricelists. Transfers will be only provided from the airport or the railway stations to the official hotels and vice versa.

AZIMUT HOTEL SAINT-PETERSBURG 4* and ANGLETERRE HOTEL 5* are the official hotels of the WRBCC.



AZIMUT HOTEL SAINT-PETERSBURG 4*

Special prices are available for the participants:

SMART standard single — RUR 3900 per night. The price includes full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner – buffet) and transfer to and from the venue.
SMART standard double — RUR 5000 per night (RUR 2500 per night for each person). The price includes full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner – buffet) and transfer to and from the venue.

AZIMUT Hotel Saint-Petersburg is located in the very center of the city. The address is: bld. 43/1, Lermontovsky ave. (2,5 km to the venue)
The hotel’s website: https://en.azimuthotels.com/Russia/azimut-hotel-saint.



ANGLETERRE HOTEL 5*

Special prices are available for the participants:

Executive room (single) — RUR 10500 per night. The price includes full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner – buffet).

Executive room (double) — RUR 15200 per night. (RUR 7600 per night for each person). The price includes full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner – buffet).

The number of available hotel rooms: 20.

Angleterre Hotel is located in the very center of the city. The address is: bld. 24, Malaya Morskaya str. (around 500 m to the venue).
The hotel’s website: http://www.angleterrehotel.com/  


BOARDING FEE:

The boarding fee if paid to the Organizers upon arrival. Volunteers will be meeting the participants in the lobby.


TRANSFERS:

The Organizers provide transfers from the Pulkovo airport / Moskovsky Railway Station / Vitebsky Railway Station to the official hotels and back on the days of arrival and departure. The total cost of the transfers is RUR 2300. The amount shall be paid upon arrival.

Volunteers will meet the participants in the airport and at the railway stations, and will accompany them to the busses.

To book transfers email us at: hello.wrbcc@gmail.com
Contact person: Marina Nepochatykh


ADDITIONAL HOTELS


For your convenience the Organizers made a list of the hotels close to the venue (maximum 10-12 minutes walk). You are welcome to make reservations there as well on your own. Check the list.



AEROFLOT TICKETS ANNOUNCEMENT


All the participants are welcome to book air tickets in “Aeroflot” sales offices around the world. In case there is a difficulty with flights availability for the period of WRBC, a participant should name the object of the flight: “FIDE2018”. Then the company representatives will contact “Aeroflot” Headquarters to confirm the flight availability and will provide maximum support in finding the best possible option to arrange the flights.



VISA SUPPORT

Please be informed that the invitation letter for Russian Embassies will be available for download at the online registration system https://wrbc2018registration.fide.com, under section B. Registrations. Please note that the download option will be available only for accredited participants that based on the submitted country of passport, they are required to have a visa to enter Russia.

You will be able to proceed with the visa procedure from December, the 10th.

•    A participant may apply for visa either in his home country or abroad.
•    The main condition is to apply for a Russian visa only in official institutions, such as the Consular Section of the Russian Embassy, Consulate-General or an official Visa Application Center.
•    Other institutions and travel agencies offering their services will have no access to the information regarding the World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championships.
•    When applying for a Russian visa, alongside with a complete set of documents requested by the Embassy, participants must provide the official invitation from the Russian Chess Federation. This invitation was approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. It is the main basis for issuing a visa that substitutes for a telex/ reference number.



Registration of the Reigning National Champions 2018

Please note, that each Reigning National Champions 2018 should provide a proof of the title via National Federations.
The official letter from your National Federation need to be sent to RCF official representative Artem Pugachev pugachev@ruchess.ru in order to be accredited.

 

  For more information please read:
FIDE extends the deadline for registrations for WRBCC 2018
Information for the participants of FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Championships 2018
FIDE introduces additional prizes for the World Rapid and Blitz Championships


Categories: Ενημέρωση

2019 FIDE Budget

FIDE - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 11:58



Dear chess friends,

The 2019 FIDE budget is adopted and published. It implements the two fundamental planks of my electoral campaign. When I ran for the FIDE President, I promised you that the budget would increase while the FIDE fees charged to federations, players and organizers would decrease dramatically.

You can see it in black and white now.

First of all, the 2019 FIDE annual budget reached 5.5 million Euros while the previous, 2018 budget had only 2.3 million Euros. It means that total expenses in the 2019 budget increased 2.4 times compared with the previous year.

Secondly, I promised a significant, across-the-board reduction in FIDE fees. Unfortunately, it is only the General Assembly that can change the fees specified in the regulations. Still, when there’s a will, there’s a way. After deliberations with the Presidential Board members and our legal counsel, we decided to divide all contributions payable in 2019 into two parts, the second of which shall be due only in December 2019. At the same time, we decided to submit to the FIDE General Assembly (planned for Fall 2019) an amendment to the Financial Rules that would reduce the fees and will be applied from January 1, 2019. If the General Assembly approves our proposal, no federation, player or organizers will have to pay the second part of the fees due. This way, a significant reduction will be achieved in the manner that benefits everyone.

More money for development and for national federations. Less fees for everyone, especially for seniors and juniors. These are the tangible benefits that the new FIDE management team brings you in 2019. We continue working with all of you for the benefit of chess worldwide.


Arkady Dvorkovich

FIDE President

Download the 2019 FIDE Budget (pdf)

Categories: Ενημέρωση

89th FIDE Congress: General Assembly Minutes and Annexes

FIDE - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 11:32


FIDE publishes the Minutes and Annexes of the General Assembly meeting that was held in Batumi, Georgia, 3-5 October 2018.

Download the 2018 General Assembly Minutes and Annexes here.
Categories: Ενημέρωση

TCEC Season 13 – the 13th Top Chess Engine Championship

Chessdom - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 03:36

Written by Guy Haworth and Nelson Hernandez
Reading, UK and Maryland, USA

This is the first in a new series of analytical articles on TCEC events. The full text can be read below on this webpage, and at the bottom you will find a link to the full layouted article in pdf format, including the important tables, graphs and images.

TCEC is very grateful to the authors for their kind permission to publish these substantial and scholarly analyses of its events!

Introduction

After the successes of TCEC Season 12 (Haworth and Hernandez, 2018a), the Top Chess Engine Championship moved straight on to Season 13, starting August 3rd 2018  with the same divisional structure as for Seasons 11 and 12.

Five divisions, each of eight engines, played two or more ‘DRR’ double-round-robin phases each, with promotions and relegations following. Classic tempi gradually  lengthened and the Premier division’s top two engines played a 100-game match to determine the Grand Champion.

The formidable 44-core server of TCEC11-12 (Intel, 2017) was joined by a second server sporting two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GPUs (Nvidia, 2018) to provide better support for two engines, LC0 and DEUS X which both exploited LC0’s ‘NN’ neural network architecture. CHESS 2K and IVANHOE were also new to TCEC while FRUIT chose to step away from the action this time. The tie-break sequence was changed to ‘number of disconnects’, ‘head-to-head results’, wins, 0-1 wins, Sonneborn-Berger
score. Given CHIRON’s and others’ technical failure in Season 12, and the added risk factors associated with the more complex common platform, the rules for modifying engines were redefined to include mandatory scaling-down and one repair of engines between the games of a division.

Division 4

Division 4: 2 DRR phases, 28 rounds, 112 games, tempo 30′+10″/m

As for TCEC12, each engine played both White and Black from 14 defined four-ply openings. The results are as in Fig.3: ‘P%’ is the %-score and ‘ELO±’ is the change to the engine’s nominal ELO based on its performance. ‘nSB’ is the Sonnerborn-Berger score, normalised as for one double round-robin.

Online interest naturally focused on the new ‘NN approach’ engines LC0 and DEUS X (Silver, 2018), DEUS X being powered and trained by LC0 software. It is however trained from human games rather than from zero which is the convention for training ALPHAZERO and LC0. As seen in the results of Fig. 3, and surprising to those not actually involved, LC0 justified its ‘wild card’ invitation with a comfortable win and DEUS X was the runner-up on debut and in its very first version.

Division 3

Division 3: two DRR phases, 14 rounds, 112 games, tempo 30′+10″/m

Again, the eight engines involved played both sides of 14 prescribed four-ply openings. LC0 upgraded to a new version. 13 games were won ‘below the diagonal’ including NEMORINO-LC0 g11.1/45.

ETHEREAL (Grant, 2018) was way out on its own. LC0 and ARASAN were 6.5 points behind, ARASAN progressing courtesy of the one win between them, g19.1/73. The key error was 29. … Bg4?? which missed 30. c6+ Ka7 31. Rd3 Rxd5 32. Nxd5 Qxb2 33. Ne3 Qc1+ 34. Nd1 Qc2 35. Nf2. LC0 and DEUS X, the latter some 2.5 points behind LC0, were in fact frustrated by overheating in the GPU hardware which therefore had to be throttled back. First impressions are that LC0 and DEUS X play in a more human way, being relatively strong on strategy like ALPHAZERO but weaker on tactics. NEMORINO rather than HANNIBAL was demoted as it crashed twice, one being against ARASAN.

Division 2

Division 2: two DRR phases, 14 rounds, 112 games, tempo 30′+10″/m

Nine of the 40 wins are below the diagonal in the cross-table of Fig. 5. ETHEREAL and CHESSBRAINVB quickly distanced the rest of the field and finished three points clear of XIPHOS, an engine that doublepromoted from Division 4 in TCEC12. ETHEREAL won, adding another 28 games without defeat. In game 19.2/74, ETHEREAL reached an adjudicated KRKRPP mate in 42 moves against XIPHOS. There is always a question of what contribution the sub-7-man EGTs make. Here, XIPHOS was not using the Syzygy 6-man EGTs (de Man, 2018) while ETHEREAL was in the end consulting them more than 10 million times per move.

VAJOLET cut back on threads and power after two disconnects. ARASAN had one less win than NIRVANA and so was this time on the wrong end of the third tie-break.

Division 1

Division 1: two DRR phases, 28 rounds, 112 games, tempo 60′+10″/m

Eight wins went to engines relatively lower in the final table, most notably g7.2/26 LASER’s defeat of CHIRON (a wild finale of 30 moves and two Q-sacrifices) and CHESSBRAINVB’s two wins over FRITZ, g6.2/22 and g20.2/78.

Other notable games included g1.3/3 CHIRON-FRITZ, EGT-adjudicated as a 61m mate after 83 moves: in fact, it had been a 7-man 46m mate after 72 moves but the shortest route to goal is not usually the one most easily traversed. BOOOT sadly got off on the wrong foot with disconnects in games 2.2 and 4.3. ETHEREAL playing Black swiftly demolished FRITZ in g7.3/27 and JONNY in g8.2/30. In g9.4/36, ETHEREAL demonstrated the value of the EGTs in beating CHESSBRAINVB after reaching a KRPKNP endgame with mate in 37 moves: ETHEREAL consulted the EGT over 100m times on move 50w.

ETHEREAL and CHIRON had established their claims to the top spots on the podium with the first round-robin. They extended away with FIZBO a distant third. ETHEREAL has just one loss, to CHIRON, in its last 84 games and has uniquely promoted three times this season. It won both sides of an opening on CHESSBRAINVB, JONNY and FRITZ here. CHESSBRAINVB mysteriously worsened with each round-robin and returned to Division 2 after being third at the mid-point. The two early crashes by BOOOT led to its downfall and saved LASER from the same fate. Given that crashes are so disappointing for the online audience, TCEC could usefully pull together the known intelligence on how to avoid them.

Premier Division

Division P, four DRR phases, 56 rounds, 224 games, tempo 90′+10″/m

ANDSCACS, ETHEREAL, GINKGO, KOMODO and STOCKFISH updated for this season whereas CHIRON, FIRE and HOUDINI did not. A key question was whether CHIRON and ETHEREAL would stay in the top division after their promotions. The mandated openings from the second author here specified the first eight moves.
After the first round-robin, STOCKFISH led KOMODO with ANDSCACS, ETHEREAL and HOUDINI contesting third place. After colour-switching the engines in the second round-robin to level the playing field, a clearer potential podium suggested itself: STOCKFISH, HOUDINI, KOMODO, FIRE in equidistant line astern with ETHEREAL just fifth. However, a presumably updated ETHEREAL might fare better in the TCEC 2018 Cup (Haworth and Hernandez, 2018c), an interlude following this division. After the first quarter, where one might claim to be half-informed statistically, GINKGO and CHIRON were occupying the relegation zone. The matches STOCKFISH–ANDSCACS and KOMODO–GINKGO were 2-0 wins for the first-named engine.

At the half-way point, STOCKFISH had pulled 3½ points clear of HOUDINI, courtesy of two relatively successful results, 4-0 v ANDSCACS and 3½-½ v ETHEREAL. Both leaders remained unbeaten and had scored 3-1 against KOMODO which was clear 3rd. FIRE was a lonely 4th: the top half of Division P seems to be unchallenged and perhaps sequenced. ETHEREAL just edged 5th on number of wins but was only 1½ points clear of tail-ender GINKGO.

The third DRR saw KOMODO wake up, breathing fire. It inflicted a first loss on STOCKFISH and its third on FIRE and ETHEREAL: it sustained no losses itself. It finally overhauled the still unbeaten but win-shy HOUDINI with scores of 4½/7 in RR5 and 5½/7 in RR6. Would KOMODO continue in this vein: would HOUDINI’s +2 against Komodo save it in a tiebreak? Who would ultimately join STOCKFISH in the Superfinal? In RR8, g50.4/200, KOMODO beat STOCKFISH and two games later, STOCKFISH beat HOUDINI: the first game had plenty of play left after 73 moves but the second was a clearer and quicker win from an advantageous opening.

The division was marked by relatively few wins for Black, the long g14/4.2 FIRE-KOMODO battle being of particular interest. Perhaps the only two notable ‘underdog wins’ below the cross-table diagonal were by the demoted engines against ETHEREAL (games 25.4/100 and 52.1/209) which was only three points above demotion itself.

Superfinal

This season, TCEC introduced a change of mode between Division P and the Superfinal. This was the ‘TCEC Cup’, a knockout tournament involving all the TCEC 13 engines. It was an excellent innovation which will no doubt be repeated. The authors here report on its thirty-one matches separately (Haworth and Hernandez, 2018c).

Jeroen Noomen (2018) had adjusted his approach to choosing superfinal openings. His comments reveal how much thought goes into this aspect of TCEC. The 50 openings split across the ECO A/B/C/D/E range 13/12/12/6/7, the D/E lines being considered “too easy for top engines”. The openings aimed to leave a position with an advantage in the range [0.2, 0.55] and, despite the excellence of the engines, a win-rate of 20% was expected with 25% as target.

Once again, Jeroen made target. The win-rate was 22%, STOCKFISH winning 16 to KOMODO’s 6. STOCKFISH had two wins with Black to KOMODO’s one and there was only one game-pair, games 85-86, where both sides won. Thus, the final score was 55-45, see Fig. 8, a performance that would suggest an ELO difference of only 36. In fact, although KOMODO lost the match, it did marginally better than might have been expected.

Wool (2018) provides an admirably generous and informative commentary on the games, covering the wins of course but also showing the struggle inherent in the many draws.

Summary

The two innovative engines exploiting neural-network architecture progressed to Division 3 with LC0 nearly promoting again to Division 2. Shall we see one of them passing through Division 2 next season?!

TCEC are to be congratulated for taking on the cost, risk and controversy of including GPUs to facilitate these exciting NN developments. They are now being rewarded by positive momentum and results from these new engines. No doubt the overheating and reliability problems will be addressed and solved. Another highlight was ETHEREAL’s progression from Division 3 to Division P where it still gained ELO points despite shipping several losses.

The TCEC exploration of chess openings by the second author here and by Jeroen Noomen has been treated above. Terminations by the 50-move rule and ‘EGT wins’ are very rare as the engines anticipate these endings and evaluate accordingly.

Assaf Wool (2018), as mentioned above, continues to provide his usual statistics and perspective on the TCEC tournaments, picking out his own favourite games for each round robin. This is very much to be applauded. ‘GM TheChesspuzzler’ (2018) set up further playlists on YouTube. Kingscrusher (2018) is also commenting on TCEC and particularly LC0 in his comprehensive YouTube presence, 5000 videos and counting.

The pgn and logfiles for TCEC13, together with some chess and statistical analysis as in Fig. 10, are available (Haworth and Hernandez, 2018b) for further study. Some of the decisive games have had an exemplar playout added as a variation. Whether you are looking for opening novelties or subtle endgames, the longest, most balanced or the shortest, most dramatic battles, see Fig. 9, there is plenty of interest here, plenty of occasion for reflection. Feedback to the authors is most welcome.

Full article

To read the full article in pdf, click HERE

Categories: Ενημέρωση

Caruana narrowly misses #1 spot

Chessdom - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 15:52

• World Championship challenger Fabiano Caruana is held to a draw by Hikaru Nakamura in the first semi-final game of the London Chess Classic, the final leg of the Grand Chess Tour, despite coming close to a decisive kingside attack on multiple occasions.

• The result leaves Caruana still just short of World Champion Magnus Carlsen’s No. 1 spot on the live ratings.

• Levon Aronian presses Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in an endgame but is also held to a draw in 74 moves.

• In the accompanying British Knockout Semi-Finals, Luke McShane forces a perpetual after mounting a strong counter-attack on Mickey Adams’ king.

The big question on everyone’s lips at the start of play at the London Chess Classic Semi-Finals was whether Fabiano Caruana could win to overtake Magnus Carlsen – just 3 points ahead of him in the live ratings – to grab the coveted World No. 1 spot that the Norwegian has held for seven years.

Caruana came very close to securing the win, playing aggressively against Hikaru Nakamura’s Queen’s Gambit Declined, and sacrificing the front of two g-pawns to mount a kingside attack against Nakamura’s king. Yet perhaps in an echo of Caruana’s World Championship match last month with Carlsen, the win proved elusive as even computer analysis showed no clear way through, despite giving Caruana a sizeable advantage.

The other game in the Semi-Finals, with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave playing a Ruy Lopez against double king-pawn specialist Levon Aronian, was eventually drawn despite the Armenian having a slight advantage in the endgame.

Both games in the British Knockout Championship, which were played in the same auditorium at Google Deep Mind’s London offices, were also drawn. While David Howell versus Gawain Jones was a fairly sedate affair, Luke McShane’s game with Mickey Adams was an end-to-end running battle, with first Adams and then McShane taking the initiative on the kingside. An exchange sacrifice by McShane led to a forced draw, leaving all still to play for in Game 2 tomorrow.

Both the London Classic and British Knockout follow the same Grand Chess Tour knockout format. After the second Classical game on Wednesday, play switches on Thursday to two rapid and four blitz games. If the players are still level, rapid playoff matches and if required an Armageddon blitz game will decide who goes through to the finals.

DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis plays the first move in Fabiano Caruana’s game with Hikaru Nakamura on Tuesday at the London Chess Classic.

The London Chess Classic is the final leg of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour. It is the flagship event of Chess in Schools and Communities and includes a range of amateur and age-grade competitions for 1,000s of children from the charity initiative nationwide.

By Tim Wall

Categories: Ενημέρωση

British Knockout Championship semi-finals

Chessdom - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 18:39

• England top 4 Mickey Adams, David Howell, Gawain Jones and Luke McShane all negotiate their way through a tough quarter-final stage to qualify for the British Knockout Championship semi-finals.

• David Howell triumphs eventually over IM Ravi Haria in a rapid playoff, despite almost coming to grief in the first Classical game.

• Semi-Finals pit Adams vs McShane and Howell vs Jones.

• Live coverage of the Semi-Final matches, starting Tuesday at 11:00 UTC, is available on the London Chess Classic website.

Despite valiant efforts from the underdogs in the British Knockout, England Olympiad team members Mickey Adams, David Howell, Gawain Jones and Luke McShane all managed to win their Quarter-Final matches – although not without a struggle.

Qtr Fina1 1 1 2 3 4 A
Simon Williams 2466 ½ 0 - - - ½
Mickey Adams 2706 ½ 1 - - - 1½

Qtr Fina1 2 1 2 3 4 A
David Howell 2697 ½ ½ 1 1 - 3
Ravi Haria 2436 ½ ½ 0 0 - 1

Qtr Fina1 3 1 2 3 4 A
Gawain Jones 2683 1 ½ - - - 1½
Alan Merry 2429 0 ½ - - - ½

Qtr Fina1 4 1 2 3 4 A
Jonathan Hawkins 2579 ½ 0 - - - ½
Luke McShane 2667 ½ 1 - - - 1½

David Howell had the closest shave of all the top seeds, only managing to qualify for the Semi-Finals after winning a nail-biting playoff match 2-0 against IM Ravi Haria.

Elsewhere, Mickey Adams enjoyed a convincing victory in Game 2 of his match, after putting GM Simon Williams’s central king position under pressure in a double-edged Sicilian Richter-Rauzer. As his position started to crumble, Williams launched a desperate knight sacrifice against Adams’ king, but to no avail.

Gawain Jones, after his Game 1 win against IM Alan Merry, opted for a pawn sacrifice and active play with an ‘octopus’ knight to keep the balance, drawing comfortably in a rook endgame to ensure qualification.

Luke McShane played a nicely controlled endgame to knock out GM Jonathan Hawkins, using a strong rook on the seventh rank and an active king to bring home the point.

After a break on Monday, for the Pro-Biz Cup at Google HQ in London, the Semi-Finals resume on Tuesday.

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The London Chess Classic is the UK’s largest chess tournament and the concluding leg of the Grand Chess Tour, an international circuit of world-class chess events inspired by legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov. It is the flagship event of Chess in Schools and Communities and includes a range of amateur and age-grade competitions for 1,000s of children from the charity initiative nationwide.

By Tim Wall

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