woensdag 28 maart 2018

TCEC 11 superfinal: opening selection

The opening selection for the TCEC 11 superfinal between Stockfish and Houdini has been made by Jeroen Noomen. It's Jeroen's third superfinal selection, after the TCEC 9 & 10 superfinals. Here are Jeroen's comments:

"My selection of the 50 opening lines for the TCEC 11 superfinal isn't fundamentally different from the previous two superfinals. The most important details:


  • All important openings will be played
  • The shortest line is 1 move (1 ply), the longest line is 14 moves (28 plies)
  • Average move length is 6.92
  • There are sharp lines in the set, as well as positional lines, more complex lines, lines with (a possible) opposite castling and gambits
  • Main lines are included, as well as less frequently played lines
  • All lines have been checked by the top 3 engines by means of a quick check
  • The quick check means an analysis of each final position of approximately 15 minutes on a Ryzen 1700X system
  • By using the quick check I avoided positions that would lead to many exchanges, multiple 0.00 scores or drawish looking outcomes
  • In each line one side typically has a slight advantage, although I do not shy away from lines with scores closer to 0.00 if in my opinion there is enough play to get an interesting game
  • I have tried to avoid too one-sided positions that would lead to both engines winning easily from the side with the advantage
My expectations
The TCEC 9 superfinal saw 25% wins, the TCEC 10 superfinal 24% wins. Of course I would be very happy to see a similar result in the TCEC 11 superfinal. In any case, I hope to see at least 20% wins. A number between 15% and 20% would be OK. If we get less than 15% wins, I would be rather disappointed :-).

Anything can happen
In the past two TCEC superfinals I have seen engines turning very sharp and exciting positions into relatively uneventful draws, but I have also seen numerous wins from more quiet and positional lines. Therefore it is my firm view that anything can happen in any line. Of course it is up to the engines to decide how to follow up an opening line and to turn it into an interesting battle (or not). I see myself merely as a facilitator to pick lines that can lead to interesting and exciting games, but it is surely no guarantee that this will happen :-).

Last but not least: have fun!
TCEC is currently the most important chess engine tournament around. I wish both team Stockfish and Houdini author Robert Houdart good luck in the superfinal of the 11th edition. For me it was once again a challenging but interesting job to pick the positions for this superfinal. I hope you enjoy the games and we will see lots of exciting chess games!"

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