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All rules for the TCEC Season on one page.

TCEC Leagues Season rules

TCEC Season - Rules

Rules

1. Season

  1. The Top Chess Engine Championship (TCEC) Season is the premier championship for chess software.
  2. TCEC Leagues Season is a tournament, between engines with ELO 3000+, the main event of a TCEC Season, which further comprises the TCEC Cup, TCEC Swiss and TCEC FRC tournaments.
  3. A TCEC Leagues Season is divided into 6 Events, consisting of three Leagues, the Premier Division, the Infrafinal, and the Superfinal.
  4. Each of the Leagues, the Premier Division, the Infrafinal, and the Superfinal, is hereafter called: an Event.
  5. As soon as an Event starts, it will run 24/7 until all its games have been played. One game is played at a time - the next one starts automatically.
  6. There will be a short break between the Events, used for updates and testing, and for making sure everything is ok with the TCEC game server as well so as to prepare for the next Event.
  7. Updating engines will only be allowed for promoting engines between Events, never during Events.
  8. For all TCEC Events, engines will be invited by the organizers, and can be required to respond to the TCEC Questionnaire.

2. Qualification League

  1. The Qualification League or QL is the first Event of the TCEC Leagues Season.
  2. For the Qualification League Event, engines will be invited by the organizers.
  3. The Qualification League consists of engines recently submitted by their authors, all of which are under active development.
  4. Seeding of the playing engines in QL will be decided by the organizers per result of the last TCEC Swiss Event, by Elo or by the organizers' choice.
  5. It is a 9x double round Swiss format with reverse games at TC 30'+3" with each game beginning from the regular chess starting position (bookless).
  6. The top 4 engines promote to League 2.

3. League 2

  1. The League 2 or L2 is the second Event of TCEC Leagues Season.
  2. For the League 2 Event, engines will be invited by the organizers before the start of QL.
  3. League 2 consists of 12 engines including the promotions from QL.
  4. Seeding of the playing engines in L2 will be decided by the organizers per result of the last TCEC Swiss Event or by the organizers' choice.
  5. It is a 2x double round robin at TC 30'+3" with a sequential varied depth medium bias opening book.
  6. Engine order in cutechess at the start will be randomized.
  7. The bottom 4 engines relegate and the top 4 promote to League 1.

4. League 1

  1. The League 1 or L1 is the third Event of TCEC Leagues Season.
  2. For the League 1 Event, engines will be invited by the organizers before the start of QL.
  3. League 1 consists of 12 engines including the promotions from L2.
  4. Seeding of the playing engines in L1 will be decided by the organizers per result of the last TCEC Swiss Event or by the organizers' choice.
  5. It is a 2x double round robin at TC 30'+3" with a sequential varied depth high bias opening book.
  6. Engine order in cutechess at the start will be randomized.
  7. The bottom 4 engines relegate and the top 2 promote to Premier Division.

5. Premier Division

  1. The Premier Division or DivP is the fourth Event of TCEC Leagues Season.
  2. For the Premier League Event, engines will be invited by the organizers before the start of QL.
  3. Premier Division consists of 8 engines including the promotions from L1.
  4. Seeding of the playing engines in DivP will be decided by the organizers per result of the last Premier Division Event or by the organizers' choice.
  5. It is a 4x double round robin at TC 60'+6" with a high bias opening book.
  6. Engine order in cutechess at the start will be randomized.
  7. The top 2 engines promote to the Superfinal and the bottom 2 engines are relegated to League 1.

6 Infrafinal

  1. The Infrafinal is the fifth Event of TCEC Leagues Season and consists of a 50 games head to head contest between the 3rd and 4th place of the Premier Division.
  2. The Infrafinal consists of a 2 engine 50DRR, 100 games at TC 60'+6", with a high bias sequential varied depth opening book.
  3. The third place finisher of Premier Division takes the black pieces first in every pair of games.
  4. If the match is theoretically won for one side before game 100, the match will still continue until all 100 games have been played.
  5. In case the match ends in a tie there will be sets of Blitz matches of 2 games each, with a time control of 3' + 2", with random openings selected from earlier opening books in the same Season, until a decisive pair takes place and with it a winner is found.
  6. The winner of the Infrafinal is the official 3rd finishing engine of the TCEC Leagues Event.

7 Superfinal

  1. The Superfinal is the sixth and final Event of TCEC Leagues Season and consists of a 100 games head to head contest between the winner and 2nd place of the Premier Division.
  2. The Superfinal consists of a 2 engine 50DRR, 100 games at TC 120'+12", with a very high bias sequential varied depth opening book.
  3. The winner of Premier Division takes the black pieces first in every pair of games.
  4. The match will still continue until all 100 games have been played, even if the match is theoretically won for one side before game 100.
  5. In the case of a drawn match there will be a rapid match of 16 games with a time control of 25' + 10" with random openings selected from earlier opening books in the same Season.
  6. In case it is still tied there will be sets of Blitz matches of 8 games each with a time control of 3' + 2", with random openings selected from earlier opening books in the same Season, until a winner is found.
  7. When the Superfinal is over, the current Leagues Season ends.

8. The TCEC Grand Champion

  1. The winner of the Superfinal will be crowned the TCEC Grand Champion and will keep this title until there is a winner in the next TCEC Leagues Season's Superfinal.
  2. There is no automatic qualification for the reigning Grand Champion, it will have to go all the way through the Premier Division of the next Season for it to be able to defend the title.

9. Time control

  1. Different classical time controls will be used throughout the season and the time control is increased as the season progresses.
  2. For the Qualification League, League 2, and League 1 Events, the time control is 30 minutes + 3 seconds increment added per move for the whole game.
  3. For Premier Division, and Infrafinal, the time control is 60 minutes + 6 increment seconds added per move for the whole game.
  4. For the Superfinal, the time control is 120 minutes + 12 seconds increment added per move for the whole game.

10. Game ending

  1. A game can end in a draw by three-fold repetition, 50-move rule, stalemate, tablebase adjudication, and the TCEC draw rule under 6.b..
  2. The TCEC draw rule applies when a game has reached a position with 8 or fewer pawns, as well as 8 or fewer pieces (excluding pawns). Both engines' evaluations will have to stay within [-0.20, +0.20] for 10 consecutive plies for automatic draw adjudication by Cutechess-cli. This rule resets if by pawn promotion there are again 9 pieces. There are no resets by pawn moves or captures of the rule and there is no stipulated minimum number of moves before the rule can kick in.
  3. Cutechess-cli will adjudicate 6-men (or less) endgame positions automatically with Syzygy tablebases.
  4. A game is won by mate, opponent's illegal move, opponent's resignation, or by tablebase adjudication.

11. Tiebreaks

  1. If necessary, tiebreaks shall be used to determine advancement, based on the final standings of a League or Division. For all Events except Qualification League, Infrafinal and Superfinal, the following criteria will be used, in the order as presented below:
    1. In case of engines being tied, then the direct encounter(s) between the tied engines decides first.
    2. The Sonneborn-Berger is the second criterion.
    3. r-mobility tiebreak is the third criterion.
    4. Fourth criterion is greatest number of double wins (winning both sides of a game pair and/or book exit)
    5. Fifth criterion is lowest average number of moves in won games
    6. Sixth criterion is highest average number of moves in lost games
    7. In the unlikely event engines are even then still tied, the Tournament Organizers will decide on promotion or relegation.
  2. In the Qualification League, Swiss-type tiebreaks shall if necessary be used to determine the final rankings. The following criteria will be used, in the order as presented below:
    1. The Sonneborn-Berger is the first criterion
    2. r-mobility tiebreak is the second criterion.
    3. The third criterion is the greatest number of wins.
    4. The fourth criterion is the direct encounter(s) between the tied engines.
    5. In the event engines are even then still tied, these engines will share those places. The next place in ranking will start at an appropriate number, taking into account the number of engines ranked higher (e.g. if there is a two engine tie at first place, the next engine will have third place etc.).

12. Engine Updates

  1. Testing will be done and provided to all invited engines; there are three entering slots by invitation:
    1. Before start of Qualification League: for all new engines as well as those engines that have a League seed in QL.
    2. Between Qualification League and Leaugue 2: for all promotions and L2 engines.
    3. Between League 2 and Leaugue 1: for all promotions and L1 engines.
    4. Between League 1 and Premier Division: for all promotions and DivP engines.
  2. The deadline for engine submission is the last game of the current Event unless the programmer is given a specific deadline from the Tournament Organizers - the goal is to be able to start the next Event as soon as possible without any significant delay.
  3. Although testing between Events will be provided, engine authors update at their own risk.
  4. Once an Event is being played, no updates are allowed during it.

13. Engine Ratings

  1. The TCEC engine ratings can be found at https://tcec-chess.com/bayeselo.txt
  2. This list is updated live after every official game and includes all games, including rapid or faster time control games from current and previous season.
  3. Most testing games with sufficiently long time control are also used.
  4. Version numbers are ignored and all games are included, including games lost on time or due to crash.
  5. New engines are assigned a temporary rating based on testing, until an official rating can be calculated after they played in an Event.

14. Crashes

  1. If an engine loses on time, the result will not be changed or the game replayed.
  2. In case of a server disconnect, or time loss due to lag, or other interruptions not caused by the engines there are five possible scenarios:
    1. If the web server crashes, the game continues unaffected, and broadcasting will be resumed as soon as possible;
    2. If at the moment of game server interruption the evaluation of both engines is more than +10, or if the evaluation of both engines is less than -10, the game is scored as a win;
    3. If the evaluation of both engines is less than ABS(0.15) at the moment of game server interruption, and both engines have completed 35 moves, the game is scored as a draw;
    4. If a game interrupts with 7 pieces on the board, position on the board at the instant of game server interruption will be adjudicated according to 7-man EGTB;
    5. In all other cases the game is restarted from the position that the two engines reached before the disconnect, with time compensation to fill up the cache.
  3. Crashes are counted as losses.
  4. Any engine crashing more than once, yet promoting, is allowed to fix the problem leading to the crashes, but not update in the sense of changing any other part of the software.

Further information

See also

TCEC Cup rules

TCEC Cup - Rules & Information

Rules

1. Event

a. For all TCEC Events, engines will be invited by the organizers.
b. The TCEC Cup is a knockout format played in TCEC, including all invited qualifying participants.
c. The 32 qualifying engines consist of the top 32 ending participants of TCEC Season, dropping those that are out of apparent development.
d. These engines will be seeded according to their respective final results in the TCEC League Season's final standings.
e. The winner of the last TCEC Cup will be seeded number 1.

2. TCEC Cup knockout matches format

a. The TCEC Cup will take place after the TCEC Superfinal.
b. It will be a knockout championship with the 32 participants divided into brackets.
c. Each participant will be equal distance seeded according to its final standing in the TCEC league event with the #1 seed meeting the #17 seed, #2 meeting #18, etc.
d. The TCEC Cup will consist of a total of 32 matches divided into 5 rounds: round of 32, round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, bronze match and final.
e. For an engine to win the TCEC Cup gold medal it must win a total of five matches. The two losing semifinalists will play a match for 3rd and 4th place (`small final’).

3. Matches and tiebreaks

a. Each of the matches will consist of pairs of games (every second with reversed colors and the same opening), the number depending on the round. Cutechess-cli will adjudicate the match if a decisive result has been reached within the set number of games.
b. The lower seeded engine will start playing with the white pieces.
c. For the first round of 32 a set of 2 game pairs is played; for the round of 16 a set of 3 games is played; for the quarter finals a set of 4 games is played; for the semifinals a set of 5 games is played; for the bronze match and the final, a set of 6 games is played.
d. In case of an equal score after the initial game pairs (2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, as described above) have been played, a tiebreak will be played out immediately.
e. A tiebreak consists of as many additional game pairs that are needed to achieve a single decisive game pair.

4. Openings books

a. All matches are played with a book exit from one of the six opening books in use: these books are referred to as Book32, Book16, Book8, Book4, BookBronze and BookFinal.
b. All six books have been pre-randomized to ensure unpredictability in the occurrence of specific exits.
c. All games take place in pairs in which both engines each play each side of every book exit. Engines will play both sides of each position selected. Openings chosen will roughly approximate human games in terms of their frequency. A new opening should thus occur every other game, then the reverse game is played, so two games in a row from the same starting book position. Because each engine will thus play both sides of every opening, fairness is guaranteed.
d. The Books used in the TCEC Cup Event are assembled by Eduardo Sauceda (Cookie_Monster_71) and Bastiaan Braams (kbg519v1a). These consist of relatively short, variable-length lines that are known in high-level human play. The bias ranges from moderate in the early rounds to high (DivP and SuFi-level) near the end.

5. Time control

a. Time control will be 30 mins + 3 secs increment per move for all games in a match, including the tiebreakers.
b. If an engine loses on time, that results in a loss and will be registered as such. The game will not be replayed.

6. Game ending

a. A game can end in a draw by three-fold repetition, 50-move rule, stalemate, tablebase adjudication, and the new TCEC draw rule under 6.b..
b. The new TCEC draw rule applies when a game has reached a position with 8 or fewer pawns, as well as 8 or fewer pieces (excluding pawns). Both engines' evaluations will have to stay within [-0.20, +0.20] for 10 consecutive plies for automatic draw adjudication by Cutechess-cli. This rule resets if by pawn promotion there are again 9 pieces. There are no resets by pawn moves or captures of the rule and there is no stipulated minimum number of moves before the rule can kick in.
c. Cutechess-cli will adjudicate 6-men (or less) endgame positions automatically with Syzygy tablebases.
d. A game is won by mate, opponent's illegal move, opponent's resignation, or by tablebase adjudication.

7. Crashes

a. Engine crashes are counted as losses.
b. If an engine loses on time, the result will not be changed nor the game replayed.
c. In case of a server disconnect, or time loss due to lag, or other interruptions not caused by the engines there are five possible scenarios:
i. If the web server crashes, the game continues unaffected, and broadcasting will be resumed as soon as possible;
ii. If the evaluation of both engines is equal to or more than ABS(10) at the moment of game server interruption, the game is scored as a win;
iii. If the evaluation of both engines is equal to or less than ABS(0.15) at the moment of game server interruption, and both engines have completed 35 moves, the game is scored as a draw;
iv. If a game interrupts with 7 pieces on the board, position on the board at the instant of game server interruption will be adjudicated according to 7-man EGTB;
v. In all other cases the game is restarted from the position that the two engines reached before the disconnect, with time compensation to fill up the cache.
d. Whether a game is immediately restarted or played rather at the end of the round will be decided by the responsible TCEC staff.

8. Engine Updates

a. Under no circumstances are updates and fixes to engines allowed once the Cup competition has started.

Further information

See also

TCEC Swiss rules

TCEC Swiss - Rules & Information

Rules

1. Event

a. For all TCEC Events, engines will be invited by the organizers.
b. The TCEC Swiss is an 11 Double Rounds Swiss tournament format played in TCEC, including all invited qualifying participants.
c. These engines will be seeded according to their respective final results in TCEC Season's and/or last FRC Event's final standings, to the discretion of the organizers.
d. If the winner of the last completed TCEC Swiss participates, it will be seeded number 1.

2. TCEC Swiss Tournament Event format

a. The participating engines will be equal-distance group-seeded into a number of sections, each consisting of a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 7 engines, leading to the first round of Monrad system pairing. The number, and the size of, these pairing groups will be determined by the tournament organizers, mostly depending on the number of participating engines.
b. Each pair will play a double round, so each engine plays the other once with each color, reversing the opening in the second game.
c. Each game will use a randomly automated chosen opening, called book exit.
d. The overall structure and the detailed seeded pairing procedure for rounds of the Monrad system used in the TCEC Swiss is described on the special page TCEC Swiss Tournament System.
e. At the end of 11 rounds the winner(s) will be the engine(s) with the highest number of points. In case of a tie, the following tiebreak paragraph will determine the ranking between the engines.

3. Tiebreaks

If necessary, tiebreaks shall be used to determine the final rankings. The following criteria will be used, in the order as presented below:
1. The Sonneborn-Berger is the first criterion
2. r-mobility tiebreak is the second criterion.
3. The third criterion is the greatest number of wins.
4. The fourth criterion is the direct encounter(s) between the tied engines.
5. In the event engines are even then still tied, these engines will share those places. The next place in ranking will start at an appropriate number, taking into account the number of engines ranked higher (e.g. if there is a two engine tie at first place, the next engine will have third place etc.).

4. Openings books

a. All matchups will be played with a randomly chosen book exit from a Book created by Nelson Hernandez.

5. Time control

a. Time control will be 45 mins + 4.5 secs increment per move for all games in a match.
b. If an engine loses on time, that results in a loss and will be registered as such. The game will not be replayed.

6. Game ending

a. A game can end in a draw by three-fold repetition, 50-move rule, stalemate, tablebase adjudication, and the TCEC draw rule under 6.b..
b. The TCEC draw rule applies when a game has reached a position with 8 or fewer pawns, as well as 8 or fewer pieces (excluding pawns). Both engines' evaluations will have to stay within [-0.20, +0.20] for 10 consecutive plies for automatic draw adjudication by Cutechess-cli. This rule resets if by pawn promotion there are again 9 pieces. There are no resets by pawn moves or captures of the rule and there is no stipulated minimum number of moves before the rule can kick in.
c. Cutechess-cli will adjudicate 6-men (or less) endgame positions automatically with Syzygy tablebases.
d. A game is won by mate, opponent's illegal move, opponent's resignation, or by tablebase adjudication.

7. Crashes

a. Engine crashes are counted as losses.
b. If an engine loses on time, that results in a loss and will be registered as such. The game will not be replayed. (5.b)
c. In case of a server disconnect, or time loss due to lag, or other interruptions not caused by the engines there are five possible scenarios:
i. If the web server crashes, the game continues unaffected, and broadcasting will be resumed as soon as possible;
ii. If the evaluation of both engines is equal to or more than ABS(10) at the moment of game server interruption, the game is scored as a win;
iii. If the evaluation of both engines is equal to or less than ABS(0.15) at the moment of game server interruption, and both engines have completed 35 moves, the game is scored as a draw;
iv. If a game interrupts with 7 pieces on the board, position on the board at the instant of game server interruption will be adjudicated according to 7-man EGTB;
v. In all other cases the game is restarted from the position that the two engines reached before the disconnect, with time compensation to fill up the cache.
d. Whether a game is immediately restarted or played rather at the end of the round will be decided by the responsible TCEC staff.
e. In case of a system crash or server disconnect the system should pause the tournament. If however that inadvertently did not happen, and this at the end of a pairing round leads to a wrong automated new round pairing and new games already played with this wrong pairing, these games and the pairings will be invalidated, and the tournament restarted from the game and point where the system crash or server disconnect occurred, which is where the system should have paused as mentioned above.

8. Engine Updates

a. Under no circumstances are updates and fixes to engines allowed once the Swiss tournament has started.

Further information

See also

TCEC FRC rules

TCEC FRC - Generic Flowchart of leagues and stages with equal distance seeding

TCEC Fischer Random Chess - Rules & Information

Rules

1. Event

a. For all TCEC Events, engines will be invited by the organizers.
b. The TCEC FRC is a progressive leagues knockout format played in TCEC, including all invited qualifying participants.
c. The qualifying engines consist of the top engines able to play Fischer Random Chess natively under Linux, dropping those that are out of apparent development. The Tournament Direction at its discretion may invite additional engines to complete an even number.
d. The engines will be seeded taking into account earlier results and standings in recent TCEC Events, to the discretion of the organizers.
e. If the winner of the last completed TCEC FRC participates, it will be seeded number 1.

2. TCEC FRC Event format

a. The participating engines will be equal-distance seeded into 4 Leagues, called League A, B, C, and D.
b. Throughout the tournament, the engines will play a number of double round robins (with reverse games of every opening therefore), the lowest seeded engine will always start a pair of games with the white pieces. This format will proceed by round robin, so the reverse games will not follow immediately, except in the Final.
c. In each of the Leagues A-D a single double round robins are played (1DRR).
d. The top 2 engines in each League advance to the next level, called Semileagues 1 and 2, tiebreaks will be resolved according to article 3.
e. In each of the Semileagues 1 and 2, two double round robins are played (2DRR), tiebreaks will be resolved according to article 3.
f. The top 2 engines in each Semileague advance to the Final League.
g. In the Final League, four double round robins are played (4DRR), tiebreaks will be resolved according to article 3.
h. The top 2 engines of the Final League advance to the Final, in which they will play 50 games (25DRR).
i. In case the Final ends in a tie after 50 games, pairs of games at the same time control will be played until one engine wins such a pair.

3. Tiebreaks

If necessary, tiebreaks shall be used to determine advancement, based on the final standings of a League. For all Events except the Final, the following criteria will be used, in the order as presented below:
1. In case of engines being tied, then the direct encounter(s) between the tied engines decides first.
2. The Sonneborn-Berger is the second criterion.
3. r-mobility tiebreak is the third criterion.
4. The fourth criterion is the greatest number of wins.
5. In the unlikely event they are even then still tied, then the tournament organizers will decide which engine gets the promotion or relegation.

4. Openings books

a. All matchups until the Semileagues stage will be played from a randomly generated FRC aka Chess960 start position.
b. For the Semileagues, the Final League and the Final a shallow book will be used.

5. Time control

a. Time control will be 30 mins + 5 secs increment per move for all games in a match, including the tiebreakers.
b. If an engine loses on time, that results in a loss and will be registered as such. The game will not be replayed.

6. Game adjudication

a. A game can be drawn by the normal 3-fold repetition rule or the 50-move rule.
b. A game can also be drawn at move 35 or later if the eval from both playing engines are within +0.15 to -0.15 pawns for the last 5 moves, or 10 plies. If there is a pawn advance, or a capture of any kind, this draw rule will reset and start over. In the website this rule is shown as "TCEC draw rule" with a number indicating how many plies there are left until it kicks in.
c. Cutechess-cli will adjudicate 6-men or less endgame positions automatically with Syzygy tablebases.

7. Crashes

a. Engine crashes are counted as losses.
b. If an engine loses on time, the result will not be changed nor the game replayed.
c. In case of a server disconnect, or time loss due to lag, or other interruptions not caused by the engines there are five possible scenarios:
i. If the web server crashes, the game continues unaffected, and broadcasting will be resumed as soon as possible;
ii. If the evaluation of both engines is equal to or more than ABS(10) at the moment of game server interruption, the game is scored as a win;
iii. If the evaluation of both engines is equal to or less than ABS(0.15) at the moment of game server interruption, and both engines have completed 35 moves, the game is scored as a draw;
iv. If a game interrupts with 7 pieces on the board, position on the board at the instant of game server interruption will be adjudicated according to 7-man EGTB;
v. In all other cases the game is restarted from the position that the two engines reached before the disconnect, with time compensation to fill up the cache.
d. Whether a game is immediately restarted or played rather at the end of the round will be decided by the responsible TCEC staff.

8. Engine Updates

a. Under no circumstances are updates and fixes to engines allowed once the FRC tournament has started.

Guidelines

Schaker Bobby Fisher aan bord (archief), Bestanddeelnr 924-7362.jpg

See the FIDE rules Section Guidelines II. Chess960 Rules (the nomenclature of FIDE, in contrast to Wikipedia, fails to acknowledge this chess variant's inventor Bobby Fischer, naming it anonymously "Chess960" after the number of possible positions).

Further information

See also