TCEC 12: Komodo wins Premier Division

by Stephan Oliver Platz
6/19/2018 – The "Top Chess Engine Championships" (TCEC) is a competition of the world's best computer programs which play in several divisions. The strongest programs start in "Division Premier". TCEC Season 12 just came to an and was won by the new Komodo 12, place two went to Stockfish. On Monday, June 18, Komodo 12 and Stockfish started to play their 100-game superfinal.

Komodo 12 Komodo 12

In computer chess there is no getting past Komodo, a two-time ICGA Computer World Chess Champion. Find out how Komodo can take your game to the next level!


Komodo edges Stockfish, pending final match

The Division Premier of season 12 of the TCEC ended on June 13th, 2018. Komodo 12 won with 31 points from 48 games, half a point ahead of Stockfish (30½). Houdini finished third with 29½. Far behind followed Fire (22 points), Andscacs (20½), Ginkgo (19), and Jonny (15½). Chiron finished last — after crashing three times it was disqualified in accordance with the strict rules of the TCEC. Now Komodo and Stockfish play the superfinal which began on Monday, June 19th.

In the spirit of Tarrasch and AlphaZero

The fact that Komodo 12 won the tournament of the world's best computer programs half a point ahead of TCEC 11 winner Stockfish and 1½ points ahead of TCEC 11 finalist Houdini indicates that the new Komodo version, developed by Marc Lefler and Larry Kaufman, is really a great success. In the following game against the program Andscacs from Andorra, Komodo plays in the spirit of Tarrasch and AlphaZero. Komodo develops quickly and puts the rooks on open files. It does not shy away from material sacrifices and first gives a pawn and then the exchange to get a superior position in which White is much better developed. But instead of regaining material it keeps the pressure until Black no longer has an adequate defence against the many threats.


Final crosstable

    Points Komodo Stockfish Houdini Fire Andscacs Ginkgo Jonny  
1 Komodo 12 31.0 x ==0===== ==01==== =1=====1 1=====11 1111==== 1=111=11  
2 Stockfish 160518 30.5 ==1===== x ======== 1=1===1= ==11===1 =11===1= 1===1=1=  
3 Houdini 6.03 29.5 ==10==== ======== x ==0===== =11==1== =1=1=1=1 =1=1=111  
4 Fire 7 22.0 =0=====0 0=0===0= ==1===== x ======01 1=1===== ==0=0===  
5 Andscacs 0.93070 20.5 0=====00 ==00===0 =00==0== ======10 x 0=1=10== 1===1===  
6 Ginkgo2.014 19.0 0000==== =00===0= =0=0=0=0 0=0===== 1=0=01== x 1=1=10=1  
7 Jonny 8.1 15.5 0=000=00 0===0=0= =0=0=000 ==1=1=== 0===0=== 0=0=01=0 x  
8 Chiron 040318 disqu.                

Each program played eight games against each of the other programs. The time-limit was 1.5 hours for the whole game plus an increment of 10 seconds per move. The programs could use up to 43 processors at the same time.

All games


The Fire program developed by Kranium (Norman Schmidt) finished fourth but did not reach 50% which might have been partly due to the disqualification of Chiron. Andcacs and Ginkgo will remain in the Division Premier but Jonny and Chiron will be relegated to Division 1.

Superfinal: Komodo against Stockfish

Komodo 12 and the newest version of the open source program Stockfish will play the 100-game-superfinal. With one win and seven draws Stockfish could prevail against Komodo 12 in their direct encounter in the Division Premier. But Stockfish this time did not manage to win a single game against Houdini. All eight games ended in a draw. This indicates how close the world's best three programs are currently. And it is not at all certain whether AlphaZero on identical hardware would really be better than these programs.

According to the TCEC rules, the programmers are allowed to play the superfinal with new versions of their programs. In the superfinal of TCEC Season 11, in which Houdini played against Stockfish, Robert Houdart, the programmer of Houdini, did not use this opportunity. Stockfish won the final. One might assume that this time both teams will play with improved versions of the program in the superfinal because in this match of the world's strongest computer programs even a very slight difference can be decisive.

The superfinal began on Monday, June 19th. Let's look forward to exciting games!

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer

Fritz 16 - He just wants to play!

Fritz 16 is looking forward to playing with you, and you're certain to have a great deal of fun with him too. Tense games and even well-fought victories await you with "Easy play" and "Assisted analysis" modes.



Stephan is a passionate collector of chess books and for yours has been successfully playing as an amateur for his German club. The former musician and comedian works as a freelance journalist and author in Berlin and in the Franconian village Hiltpoltstein.
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King_Fish King_Fish 7/5/2018 04:27
Just a few questions...

1) How could you write on June 19 that "TCEC Season 12 just came to an end" when it actually ended today, which is a month later? Do you have a crystal ball?

2) "The fact that Komodo 12 won the tournament of the world's best computer programs half a point ahead of TCEC 11 winner Stockfish"

No, Komodo has not won the tournament. In fact, that's pretty much the opposite as it was literally pulverized by Stockfish. Final score 60-40 for Stockfish.

I understand that such a crushing loss to an open-source program looks really bad for a commercial product but still, there's a limit to dishonesty...
CypherOz CypherOz 7/5/2018 04:26
TCEC Super Finale Result ... Stockfish 180614: 100 games: +29=62-9 (60 points) vs Komodo 12.1.1 (40 points)

A very decisive result, Stockfish performance rating was around 3630
sovaz1997 sovaz1997 7/5/2018 10:14
@CypherOz They write only when the commercial engines win. And it does not matter at what stage. Yes, Stockfish won and it is really the strongest engine in the many tests. But it's not profitable for ChessBase to write about the victories of Stockfish.
CypherOz CypherOz 7/5/2018 09:32
The was division Premier - NOT the super finale... Komodo lost to Stockfish in DivP and Stockfish was unbeaten in DivP.
The 100 game 50 round (playing a variety of openings, each opening played B & W) Super Finale has 1 game to go...

Currently Stockfish 180614: 99 games: +29=61-9 (59.5 points) vs Komodo 12.1.1 a CRUSH by any measure.

Stats: 99 played game(s): W:29(29.3%) / D:61(61.6%) / B:9(9.1%)
sovaz1997 sovaz1997 6/21/2018 12:25
"very slight difference"? 50-70 is very slight difference?
You are constantly trying to raise the paid engine and downgrade the free. Continuous lie. You are obliged to make an article about the winner of the final of the TCEC 12, when it will end.
vishyvishy vishyvishy 6/20/2018 05:36
Stockfish 160518 Never Lost a single game is also worth to note
genem genem 6/20/2018 02:51
Are the sacrifices made by Komodo 'less' speculative that the sacs made by the younger Mikhail Tal?
garyklien garyklien 6/19/2018 09:44
Komodo was indeed VERY impressive! As were stockfish and houdini. But indeed Komodo edged them out. Stockfish had a very Komodo like squeeze, and sacrifice upon sacrifice against Komodo as well! PLaying very much like a human playing anti chess against komodo :) [Event "TCEC Season 12 - Division P"]
[White "Stockfish 160518"]
[Black "Komodo 12"]
[Site ""]
[Round "16.4"]
[Annotator ""]
[Result "1-0"]
[Date "2018.05.29"]
[WhiteElo "3554"]
[BlackElo "3466"]
[PlyCount "72"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. f4 Nc6 4. Nf3 g6 5. Bc4 Bg7 6. d3 e6 7. 0-0 Nge7 8. Qe1 a6 9. a3 0-0 10. Ba2 d5 11. Ne2 a5 12. e5 b6 13. Be3 Ba6 14. g4 Qd7 15. Qg3 f6 16. Rf2 f5 17. h3 Rac8 18. Qh4 Bb7 19. c3 a4 20. Rd1 Na5 21. Rg2 Ba6 22. Ng3 Kh8 23. d4 Rc7 24. Ng5 h6 25. Nf3 Nc4 26. Bc1 Na5 27. Bb1 Qe8 28. Kh2 Rg8 29. Rdg1 Qf8 30. gxf5 exf5 31. Ng5 Rc6 32. e6 Bf6 33. Nxf5 Bxg5 34. fxg5 h5 35. Rf2 Rxe6 36. Nd6 Qxf2+ 1-0
Karbuncle Karbuncle 6/19/2018 08:46
It's difficult to decide what's more impressive: Stockfish going undefeated with a win over Komodo, or Komodo still placing first in spite of two losses!

The final will tell the tale though. It appears Stockfish is better tuned for Komodo than any other engine, so it's going to be a nail-biter!
Kurt Utzinger Kurt Utzinger 6/19/2018 05:35
A fantastic game of Komodo. BTW: All the strong moves are found at once by Leela Chess Zero Cuda.
Marselos Marselos 6/19/2018 05:30
But the real big program is always Fritz 11 SE I use it with ChessBase Reader 2017 and I am OK.
THX ChessBase.