Top Chess Engine Championship, formerly known as Thoresen Chess Engines Competition (TCEC or nTCEC), is a computer chess tournament that has been run since 2010. It was organized, directed, and hosted by Martin Thoresen until the end of Season 6; from Season 7 onward it has been organized by Chessdom. It is often regarded as the Unofficial World Computer Chess Championship because of its strong participant line-up and long time-control matches on high-end hardware, giving rise to very high-class chess.
After a short break in 2012, TCEC was restarted in early 2013 (as nTCEC) and is currently active (renamed as TCEC in early 2014) with 24/7 live broadcasts of chess matches on its website.
Since season 5, TCEC has been sponsored by Chessdom Arena. The current TCEC champion is Stockfish 190203, which defeated LCZero v20.2-32930 by a score of 50.5-49.5 in the TCEC Season 14 Superfinal 100-game match held in February 2019.
The TCEC competition is divided into seasons, where each season happens over a course of a few months, with matches played round-the-clock and broadcast live over the internet. Each season is divided into several qualifying stages and one "superfinal", where the top two chess engines play 100 games to win the title of "TCEC Grand Champion". In the superfinal, each engine plays 50 openings, once as each side. Beginning in Season 11 in 2018, a division system was introduced; the top 2 engines in each division are promoted, and the bottom 2 are relegated. Currently there are 5 divisions (a Premier division, and divisions 1-4); newcomers generally start in division 4.
Pondering is set to off. All engines run on mostly the same hardware and use the same opening book, which is set by the organizers and changed in every stage. Large pages are disabled but access to various endgame tablebases is permitted. Engines are allowed updates between stages; if there is a critical play-limiting bug, they are also allowed to be updated once during the stage. If an engine crashes 3 times in one event, it is disqualified to avoid distorting the results for the other engines. TCEC generates its own elo rating list from the matches played during the tournament. An initial rating is given to any new participant based on its rating in other chess engine rating lists.
There is no definite criterion for entering into the competition, other than inviting the top participants from various rating lists. Initially, the list of participants was personally chosen by Thoresen before the start of a season. His stated goal was to include "every major engine that is not a direct clone". However, Shredder's developers have declined to enter it in the competition. Usually chess engines that support multiprocessor mode are preferred (8-cores or higher). Both Winboard and UCI engines are supported.
Shredder vs Gull, TCEC S4
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