BOTW: 2018.08.31

Our Best of the Web has Machine vs Machine, Man vs Machine, Man vs Man, and Woman vs All Comers. All on, and all free.

Machine vs Machine: Computer Chess Championship

Starts August 31, 2018

For years, TCEC has been the premier computer chess engine competition, but has started an alternative which might replace it. The three elements needed to make it the #1 computer engine competiton are:

  1. the best engines (this part is easy and cheap)
  2. the strongest hardware (expensive)
  3. a good format, especially the quality of the opening books (!? - needs chess skill and the right combination of transparency and secrecy)


The engines in the 2018 CCCC are mostly those at the top of the CCRL 40/4 list, including the latest versions of the perennial contenders --- Stockfish, Komodo, and Houdini --- as well as other well and less well known enginges like Fire, Fritz, and "Deep Shredder" (the "deep" means it's still using an old-fashioned sales strategy where they charge extra for multi-core support). Possibly for historical interest, they've included Crafty. CCCC also includes a version of the AlphZero-inspired self-taught neural net program LeelaZero, which will run on very very powerful GPUs. 

Hardware promises that the hardware will be the strongest ever used in a computer chess tournament, and their specs back this:

  • CPUs: 2 x Intel Xeon Platinum 8168 (96 logical cores; 48 per engine with ponder ON)
  • GPUs: four Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs** 

Compared to the high-end video card GeForce GTX 1080Ti, a Tesla V100 has just over 1000 more CUDA cores and, depending on the task, is between 20% and 800% faster.

**that sounds like an Nvidia DGX workstation: on sale now from Nvidia for only $49,000 US -- you save $20,000 off the regular retail price. Buy now before they're all gone!


The 2018 CCCC runs in three stages:

  1. Stage 1: 24 engines; 2xRR; 15+5; no opening book.
  2. Stage 2: top 8 from stage 1; 10xRR, 15+5; 4-ply book.
  3. Match: top 2 from stage 2; 200 game match;  15+5; opening book of "100 hand-selected opening positions".

The only unknown here is the quality of the opening books, and we'll have to wait for those games to be played to know.

Live Games

2018 CCCC Info 

Woman vs All Comers: Alexandra Botez 24-hour Twitch Stream

Canadian expert Alexandra Botez doesn't play OTB chess anymore, but she still plays chess: 

  • she does online streaming on Twitch most Thursday nights and some weekends,
  • was a special guest alumna at the 2017 Susan Polgar Foundation Girls Invitational,
  • was the live on-site interviewer at the 2018 PRO Chess League final, where she even got to show off her Chinese.

MissBotez will be running/attempting a 24-hour stream on her Twitch channel on Saturday-Sunday of the 2018 Labour Day weekend. Expect her to be joined by a variety of the regulars -- Anna Rudolph, Danny Rench, HelmsKnight, and maybe even the Norwegian troll "GMjlh". If you're a member you might want to challenge her to a game.


 Man vs Machine: MVL vs Komodo (odds match)

September 5, 3pm EST on

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FIDE 2779) plays a blitz and handicap rapid match against Komodo, the #2 rated engine in the world. Format:

  • five blitz (5+5) games with MVL as White and Komodo limited in strength and single-threaded.
  • six rapid games (15+2) at odds: positions of varying material and moves to handicap Komodo

Best of all, MVL will play with his webcam on, and will comment on the games as they play: a rare chance to see a top player (try to) explain his thinking in a variety of opening positions he has never seriously studied.


Man vs Man: Speed Chess Championship

There are two matches this week in the Speed Chess Championship: 

  1. Karjakin - Duda      (Sept 6, 2018: 1pm EST)
  2. Giri - Mamedyarov (Sept. 7, 2018: 1pm EST)

Karjakin is the huge favourite in his match with Duda. The Giri-Mamedyarov game should be a fascinating contrast in styles.

The format for the matches is 3 hours of online play, broken into three formats:

  1. 90 minutes of 5+2 blitz, 
  2. 60 minutes of 3+2 blitz,
  3. 30 minutes of 1+1 bullet

For this season they have dropped the one chess960 game in each time control. 

Live Games