TCEC Cup 5 rules

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TCEC Cup 5 - Rules & Information


1. Event

a. The TCEC Cup 5 is a knockout format played in TCEC, including all qualifying participants.
b. The 16 qualifying engines consist of the top 16 ending participants of TCEC Season 17.
c. These engines will be seeded according to their respective final results in TCEC Season 17's final standings.
d. The winner of TCEC Cup 4 will be seeded number 1.

2. TCEC Cup knockout matches format

a. The TCEC Cup 5 will take place right after the TCEC Season 17 Superfinal.
b. It will be a knockout championship with the 16 participants divided into brackets.
c. Each participant will be seeded according to its final standing in the TCEC league event with the #1 seed meeting the #16 seed, #2 meeting #15, etc.
d. The TCEC Cup 4 will consist of a total of 16 matches divided into 4 rounds: eighth-finals, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.
e. For an engine to win the TCEC Cup gold medal it must win a total of four 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 initially consist of 2 pairs of games (4 games, every second with reversed colors and the same opening). Cutechess-cli will adjudicate the match if a decisive result has been reached within 4 games.
b. In case of an equal score after these 4 games, tiebreakers will be played out at the end of the Cup round. Tiebreakers consist of additional game-pairs; a decisive pair of tiebreaker games decides a match.
c. Tiebreakers will be played according to the following rules:
i. If a match is tied after its scheduled regular 4 games, more game-pairs will be played until there is a decisive game-pair result.
ii. If the match is still drawn after 8 games the time control (TC) will be shorter with each next pair of games, according to the following steps (always indicated as minutes base time + seconds increment per move completed: 2 games at 16m+4s, 2 games at 8m+3s, 2 games at 4m+2s, 2 games at 2m+1s, and finally pairs of 1m+1s will be played until a decisive pair is reached (no armageddon game therefore).

4. Openings books

a. All matches are played with a book exit from one of the five books in use: A through C.
b. No bookless games will be played in the TCEC Cup.
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. BOOK A created by Nelson Hernandez, also used in TCEC Season 17 League 1. This book is used in the first round.
e. BOOK B created by Nelson Hernandez, also used in TCEC Season 17 Premier Division. This book is used in the quarter- and semifinal rounds.
f. BOOK C is an opening positions compilation by Nelson Hernandez with unique positions from the former Superfinal books TCEC Seasons 9-17, created by Jeroen Noomen for a higher level of decisiveness in a panoramic range of ECO codes; this book will be used in the final and "small final" (3rd/4th place match).
i. All three books will be used randomized.

5. Time control

a. Time control will be 30 mins + 5 secs increment per move for the normal games in a match, as well as for the tiebreakers up to and including game 8. As described in 3.c.ii, time control will change as of game 9 in 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.
c. If the TCEC game server locks up at any time during a game (BSOD, freeze etc), that game will be restarted unless the last position was a 7-man or less tablebase position, in which case it will be manually adjudicated.
d. Whether a game is immediately restarted or played rather at the end of the round will be decided by the responsible TCEC staff.

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 +0.08 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 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. The game will be adjudicated as won for one side if both playing engines have an eval of at least 10.0 pawns (or -10.00 in case of a black win) for 4 consecutive moves, or 8 plies - this rule is in effect as soon as the game starts. In the website this rule is shown as "TCEC win rule" with a number indicating how many plies there are left until it kicks in.
d. 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 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.

8. Engine Updates

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

9. Engine Ratings

a. Because the TCEC Cup works with a different time control, TCEC ratings are not affected by the engines' results in the Cup. A separate rating list may in time be created for this event and time control.

TCEC Hardware

Current TCEC CPU server

  • CPUs: 4 x Intel Xeon 4xE5-4669v4
  • Cores: 88 physical / 176 threads
  • RAM: 128 GB DDR4 (available to engines)
  • RAM: 1 TB (available to 6-pieces Syzygy)
  • HDD: 15 TB total
  • OS: CentOS Linux release 7.7.1908 (Core)

Current TCEC GPU server

  • GPUs: 4x V100
  • CPU: Intel(R) Xeon(R) Platinum 8163 CPU @ 2.50GHz, 32 vcores
  • RAM: 48GiB (available to engines)
  • RAM 128GiB (RAM unused by engines is used for caching tablebase files)
  • SSD: 500GB
  • 6-piece Syzygy and 6-piece Scorpio bitbases
  • OS: Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS