"My selection of the 50 opening lines for the TCEC 12 superfinal is slightly different from the previous three superfinals. The most important details:
- All important openings will be played
- The chosen lines typically have a length between 3 moves and 13 moves. With two exceptions: there is one 1 move (1 ply) line and one 19 move (37 ply) line
- Average move length is 8.18
- There are sharp lines in the set, as well as positional lines, more complex lines, lines with opposite castling ("SALC", i.e. short and long castling) and gambits
- The complexity of a position is one of my main selection criteria, i.e. most pieces are still on the board and there should be a lot of play left, with a reasonable chance for a decisive result
- In each line one side typically has a slight advantage, although I do accept higher book exits or book exits closer to 0.00, if in my opinion there is enough play to get an interesting game
- I have avoided positions that could lead to many exchanges and/or have a high draw rate, as well as positions with symmetrical pawn structures and positions that could lead to easy wins for the side with an advantage
ECO code distribution
- ECO A: 12
- ECO B: 12
- ECO C: 14
- ECO D: 6
- ECO E: 6
What did I do differently compared to the previous superfinal selections
There are some important differences regarding my selection method, compared to my previous superfinal selections:
- There are more risky lines in the TCEC 12 superfinal set, compared to the two previous superfinals; this slightly increases the odds of onesided 1-0 1-0 (or 0-1 0-1) results, but also increases the chance of more wins
- I reused opening lines from the TCEC 9 & 10 superfinals; some of them are the same, some of them are tweaked (i.e. a little shorter or a little longer, or with a different move inserted)
- I didn't do a time consuming quick check this time
- There are two popular opening lines that get special attention; this means that they occur more often than in the previous superfinals
- Because of the previous point, the distribution of the openings among the ECO codes is less balanced (see above)
The TCEC 9 superfinal saw 25% wins, the TCEC 10 superfinal 24% wins and the TCEC 11 superfinal 22% wins. As my selection for the TCEC 12 superfinal has more risky lines, I'd like to see at least 20% wins. But secretly I hope to beat the 25% wins of the TCEC 9 superfinal :-).
Anything can happen
I have seen quiet openings turn into wins and wild openings turn into draws in my first three superfinal selections. Hence it is my firm view that anything can happen in any line. 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 whom picks 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. For me it was once again a challenging but interesting job to pick the positions for this superfinal edition. I hope you enjoy the games and we will see lots of exciting chess games!"