Stockfish Wins Computer Chess Championship As Neural Networks Play Catch-Up
Is Stockfish the computer chess GOAT?

Stockfish Wins Computer Chess Championship As Neural Networks Play Catch-Up

pete
pete
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36 | Chess.com News

The reigning Chess.com Computer Chess Champion Stockfish continues to assert itself as the greatest chess engine of all time, recently picking up a win in CCC 9: The Gauntlet.

Stockfish won CCC 9 over Leelenstein, a neural-network chess engine based on Lc0, the leading machine-learning chess project.

The champion engine triumphed in the blitz time control of CCC 9, beating 17 other engines in a "gauntlet" format.

Stockfish wins CCC 9.
Stockfish wins CCC 9.

Stockfish now looks to defend its title in CCC 10: Double Digits, an 18-engine tournament played in four rounds. CCC 10 is now in progress—watch at the Computer Chess Championship.

The first three rounds of CCC 10 will all be played at a time control of 10 minutes plus a three-second increment, on the border between blitz and rapid.

The two-engine finals of CCC 10 will be 400 games split up among three blitz and rapid time controls to determine the champion. 

The neural network engines, led by Lc0, will try to dethrone the legendary Stockfish. Lc0 and Leelenstein will play in the first two stages, while various less-proven engines will try to qualify. The Allie neural network engine will join the tournament in stage two without playing in stage one.

The latest version of Stockfish, updated on August 5, boasts a big rating gain thanks to a recent patch. CCC organizers estimate the fish will gain a whopping 13 Elo points over its old self. 

Stockfish.
The recent update to Stockfish should make it even stronger than before.

Lc0 will also bring its A-game to the tournament, running with net 42850, which should be the strongest network produced in the most recent training run, according to CCC planners. 

Returning to the Computer Chess Championship is the enigmatic Stoofvlees engine, which is an experimental project combining several cutting-edge artificial intelligence techniques. The Stoofvlees engine uses feature recognizers paired with a neural network that was trained with an oracle of grandmaster games. The results were then built into the Deep Sjeng engine to create the new chess machine. Stoofvlees is written by the former Leela Go author "GCP," and reached the quarterfinals of CCC 9. 

You can vote on each game and follow the always-running Computer Chess Championship:

Leelenstein will look for revenge on behalf of the neural network engines in CCC 10.
Leelenstein will look for revenge on behalf of the neural-network engines in CCC 10.

CCC 10: Double Digits Information:

  • Engines: 18
  • Stages: 4
  • Games: 1,756
  • Estimated duration: 32 days

CCC 10 Stage 1 (qualifiers):

  • Format: 3x round-robin
  • Engines: 13
  • Games: 468
  • Time control: 10+3
  • Opening book: yes
  • Adjudication: bullet mode + 20-ply dead draw rule
  • Engine list:
    • 1. Stockfish
    • 2. Leelenstein
    • 3. Lc0
    • 4. Ethereal
    • 5. Laser
    • 6. Xiphos
    • 7. Andscacs
    • 8. Dark Queen Lc0
    • 9. Rofchade
    • 10. Rubichess
    • 11. Stoofvlees
    • 12. Winter NN
    • 13. Lc0-CPU

CCC 10 Stage 2 (quarterfinals):

  • Format: 4x round-robin
  • Engines: 12
  • Games: 528
  • Time control: 10+3
  • Opening book: yes
  • Adjudication: bullet mode + 20-ply dead draw rule
  • Engine list:
    • 1. Stockfish (Automatic from CCC 9)
    • 2. Leelenstein (Automatic)
    • 3. Lc0 (Automatic)
    • 4. Allie (Automatic)
    • 5. Komodo (Automatic)
    • 6. Houdini (Automatic)
    • 7. Komodo MC (Automatic)
    • 8. Fire (Automatic)
    • 9-12. Top four qualifiers from previous stage

CCC 10 Stage 3 (semifinals):

  • Format: 12x round-robin
  • Engines: 6
  • Games: 360
  • Time control: 10+3
  • Opening book: yes
  • Adjudication: bullet mode + 20-ply dead draw rule
  • Engine list:
    • 1-6. Top six finishers from previous stage

CCC 10 Stage 4 (finals):

  • Format: 200 games at 3+2, 120 games at 10+3, 80 games at 25+5
  • Engines: 2
  • Games: 400
  • Time controls: 3+2, 10+5, 25+5
  • Opening book: yes
  • Adjudication: bullet mode + 20-ply dead draw rule
  • Engine list:
    • 1-2. Top two finishers from previous stage

CCC 9: The Gauntlet Finals Crosstable:

CCC 9 Finals Crosstable. Click on the image for a larger version.
CCC 9 Finals Crosstable. Click on the image for a larger version.

CCC 9: Finals PGN Download and Selected Games:

In this game that should be in chess textbooks on how to deal with gambits, Stockfish absorbs an early sacrifice on f7 by Leelenstein, then launches a scorching counter-attack on the other side of the board, checkmating in an astounding 26 moves. Brutal and beautiful.

Stockfish thought it was winning the following game, assigning a huge -2.5 evaluation—that is, until Leelenstein uncorked the neural-network thematic (and totally insane) sacrifice 33. Bxh6 to blow the traditional engine off the board, with a move that Stockfish just couldn't anticipate.

This game demonstrates the rich, nuanced and necessarily mysterious mastery of the game possessed by these top neural-network engines, where we can't possibly know what they are thinking. All we know is that it works. 

 Follow the always-running Computer Chess Championship:

Can Stockfish defend its title against the rising tide of neural network antagonists in the Computer Chess Championship? Let us know what you think in the comments, and be sure to vote on the games at the CCC main site. 

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