TCEC Season 17 Rules

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TCEC Season 17 - Rules

Rules

1. Season

a. The Top Chess Engine Championship (TCEC) Season 17 is the premier championship for chess software. It is a tournament between engines with ELO 3000+ and is divided into two competitions consisting of 7 Events, together making up four Leagues, the Premier Division entrance playoff, the Premier Division and the Superfinal.
b. Each of the Leagues, the Playoff, the Division and the Superfinal, is hereafter called: an Event.
c. TCEC Season 17 runs 24/7 until all its games have been played. One game is played at a time - the next one starts automatically.
d. 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.
e. There will be a short break between the Events, to test and make sure everything is ok with the TCEC game server and to prepare for the next Event.

2. Two Competitions

a: The first trajectory of the TCEC Season 17 is split into two separate competitions, each consisting of one or more leagues.
b: The two competitions are split according to the type of chess engines playing: one is for engines running on CPU, hereafter called CPU-competition, and one is for engines running on GPU, hereafter called the GPU-competition.
c. The top 4 engines of each competition will eventually compete in the Premier Division entrance playoff Event.

3. Qualification League

a. The Qualification League Event is part of the CPU-competition.
b. For the Qualification League Event, engines will be invited by the organizers.
c. The Qualification League or QL consists of up to 16 engines recently submitted by their authors, all of which are under active development.
d. It is a 1x double round robin at TC 30+5 with a randomized 4-move opening book.
e. The top 6 engines promote to League 2.

4. League 2

a. The League 2 Event is part of the CPU-competition.
b. League 2 or L2 consists of 16 engines including the 6 promotions from QL.
c. It is a 1x double round robin at TC 30+5 with a randomized 6-move opening book.
d. The bottom 6 engines relegate and the top 4 promote to League 1.

5. Two League 1 Events

a. There are two League 1 Events, one is part of the CPU-competition and one is part of the GPU-competition.
b. These Leagues are called CPU-League 1 and GPU-League 1 respectively.
c. CPU-League 1 or CPUL1 consists of 16 engines including the 4 promotions from L2.
d. The CPU-League 1 Event is a 1x double round robin at TC 45+5 with a randomized 8-move opening book.
e. Of the CPU-League 1 the bottom 4 engines relegate and the top 4 will play in the DivP Entrance playoff.
f. GPU-League 1 or GPUL1 consists of up to 16 engines invited by the organizers.
g. The GPU-League 1 Event is a 3x double round robin at TC 45+5 with a randomized 8-move opening book.
h. Of GPU-League 1 the top 2 will play in the DivP Entrance Playoff.

6. Premier Division entrance playoff Event

a. In the Premier Division entrance playoff Event, or DivP entrance playoff and will feature 6 engines, consisting of the top 6 engines of the League 1 Events (4 from CPU and 2 from GPU competition).
b. The DivP playoff Event consists of a 2x double round robin at TC 60+5 with a randomized 8-move opening book.
c. The DivP Playoff Event will start immediately after League 1 finishes, to determine which 4 engines will promote to Premier Division.
d. In the DivP Playoff Event no updates after the respective League 1 events are allowed.

7. Premier Division

a. Premier Division consists of the 10 engines: the 6 engines that qualified from previous Season plus the top 4 engines from the Premier Division entrance playoff Event.
b. It is a 3x double round robin at TC 90+5 with a randomized 8-move opening book (different from the 8-move book of League 1).
c. The top 2 engines promote to the Superfinal and the bottom 4 engines are relegated back to League1.

8. Superfinal

a. The Superfinal consists of 100 games at TC 120+10, with 50 different openings, among them once the normal start position, so that each engine plays both black and white of the same opening position. The match will be presented with opening 1 used in games 1 and 2, then opening 2 used in games 3 and 4 etc.
b. If the match is theoretically won for one side before game 100, the match will still continue until all 100 games have been played.
c. 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 in the same Season.
d. In case it is still tied there will be sets of Blitz matches of 8 games each, with a time control of 3' + 2" until a winner is found.
e. When the Superfinal is over, the current Season ends.

9. The TCEC Grand Champion

a. 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 Superfinal.
b. 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.

10. Time control

a. Different classical time controls will be used throughout the season and the time control is increased as the season progresses.
b. For the Qualification League and League 2 Events, the time control is 30 minutes + 5 seconds added per move for the whole game.
c. For League 1 Events, the time control is 45 minutes + 5 seconds added per move for the whole game.
d. For the DivP playoff Event, the time control is 60 minutes + 5 seconds added per move for the whole game.
e. For Premier Division, the time control is 90 minutes + 5 seconds added per move for the whole game.
f. For the Superfinal, the time control is 120 minutes + 10 seconds added per move for the whole game.

11. Game adjudication

a. A game can be drawn by the normal 3-fold repetition rule or the 50-move rule.
b. However, a game can also be drawn at move 35 or later if the eval from both playing engines are within +0.08 to -0.08 pawns for the last 5 moves, or 10 plies. If there is a pawn advance, or a capture of any kind, this special draw rule will reset and start over. On the GUI interface, this rule is shown as "TCEC draw rule" with a number indicating how many plies there are left until it becomes official.
c. A game will adjudicate as won for one side if both playing engines have an eval of at least 10.00 pawns (or -10.00 in case of a black win) for 5 consecutive moves, or 10 plies - this rule is in effect as soon as the game starts. On the GUI interface, this rule is shown as "TCEC win rule" with a number indicating how many plies there are left until it becomes official.
d. Cutechess will automatically adjudicate endgame positions with 6-men Syzygy tablebases.

12. Tiebreaks

a. If necessary, tiebreaks shall be used to determine advancement.
b. For all Events except the Superfinal, the first tiebreak criterion is the "crash" tiebreak, meaning that if an engine has crashed once or more during this Event, it will fail qualification versus another engine that has not crashed or crashed less in the same event, if both of them have the same amount of points in the final result.
c. In case of still being tied, then the direct encounter between the tied engines decides.
d. The next criterion is the greatest number of wins.
e. The Sonneborn-Berger is the next criterion.
f. If they are still tied, then the tournament organizers will decide which engine gets the promotion.

13. Engine Updates

a. Except for the DivP playoff Event (see 13.f), all engines that promote to the next Event are allowed to update before the Event's submission deadline, no matter if it is to fix bugs uncovered during the previous Event, or to submit a better version.
b. Promoting engines may update UCI/xboard settings.
c. The deadline for engine submission is the last game of the current Event unless the programmer is given a specific deadline from the Tournament Director - the goal is to be able to start the next Event as soon as possible without any significant delay.
d. Note that despite testing between Events will be provided, engine authors update at their own risk.
e. Once an Event is being played, no updates are allowed during it.
f. For the DivP playoff Event, the League 1 versions will compete, and no separate updating is allowed.

14. Engine Ratings

a. The TCEC engine ratings can be found at https://tcec.chessdom.com/ordo.txt
b. 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.
c. Most testing games with sufficiently long time control are also used.
d. Version numbers are ignored and all games are included, including games lost on time or due to crash.
e. New engines are assigned a temporary rating based on testing, until an official rating can be calculated after they played in an Event.

15. Crashes

a. If an engine loses on time, the result will not be changed or the game replayed.
b. 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 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 less than ABS(0.10) 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.
c. An engine that crashes 3 times during an Event is disqualified and all its game results (points) will be annulled, also for its opponents.
d. In case of disqualification crashes are counted for all engines until the end of an event.
e. Crash counting is only reset at the next Event.
f. Crashes during the Superfinal are counted as losses.

Further information

See also TCEC Season 17 Further information.