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comments by Jeroen Noomen
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Game 1, Sicilian. Stockfish 8 - Houdini 5 1-0 (match result: 1-0)
In the first game Stockfish quickly gains an opening advantage,
resulting in strong attacking possibilities. Houdini diverts the
attack by sacrificing an exchange, but the resulting ending is
winning for white. So the first strike comes from Stockfish.
Game 2, Sicilian. Houdini 5 - Stockfish 8 draw (match result: 1.5-0.5 SF)
In the return game Houdini converts its opening advantage into a
better ending and even goes two pawns up. However, the bishops
of opposite colours prevents white from winning the game, in the
end the draw is clear.
Game 3, Slav. Stockfish 8 - Houdini 5 draw (match result: 2-1 SF)
Houdini quickly gives up a pawn, but one move later it agrees this
is not such a good idea. Stockfish, however, allows black to
exchange knights to achieve bishops of opposite colours. When
rooks come off and the K-side gets blocked, it is clear the result
will be a draw. The game ends in a draw at move 133, after a lot
of shuffling (not included here).
Game 4, Slav. Houdini 5 - Stockfish 8 1-0 (match result: 2-2)
In the return game we get a very interesting position around move 25,
where SF thinks it is (almost) equal, while Houdini gives white the
advantage. Houdini proves right, it puts black's position under a lot
of pressure and scores a convincing win. The match is equal again.
Game 5, Ruy Lopez. Stockfish 8 - Houdini 5 draw (match result: 2.5-2.5)
This lively Zaitsev line of the Ruy leads to a very tense fight. Stockfish
gains the advantage and after some adventures it liquidates into what
looks like a completely winning ending. Eval goes up to over +4, but
in reality Houdini has a fortress and the position cannot be won.
Amazing. I give the game without engine data, because otherwise
I would exceed the maximum number of characters in one posting.
And I wanted to post the full game, to show it really ended in a draw.
Game 6, Ruy Lopez. Houdini 5 - Stockfish 8 draw (match result: 3-3)
The Zaitsev return game is more level, Stockfish equalizes and reaches
a well known drawn ending, where white has an h-pawn and the bishop
of the wrong colour.
Game 7, King's Indian. Stockfish 8 - Houdini 5 draw (match result: 3.5-3.5)
The Mar del Plata variation of the King's Indian always leads to exciting games,
with white attacking the Q-side and black trying to force an attack on the K-side.
This game is no exception. It seems Houdini's attack as black is running out
of steam and Stockfish is creating winning chances on the Q-side, but black's
active play holds the balance: draw.
Game 8, King's Indian. Houdini 5 - Stockfish 8 0-1 (match result: 4.5-3.5 SF)
The TCEC 9 superfinal didn't produce a black win (although it was close in
a couple of cases). In this match we can celebrate the first black win already
in game 8! Stockfish's attack after the pawn sac g4-g3! quickly gains steam
and black scores a very convincing win.
Game 9, French. Stockfish 8 - Houdini 5 draw (match result: 5-4 SF)
In the Chatard-Alekhine variation of the French it seems Stockfish has a nice
advantage after 16.Nd6, but Houdini quickly gives back its pawn plus,
solves the problem of the black king and achieves a draw without too
Game 10, French. Houdini 5 - Stockfish 8 draw (match result: 5.5-4.5 SF)
In the return game we see Houdini pressing for the win. White wins the
exchange, but SF's active knights and the extra pawn hold the balance: draw.
Game 11, Grünfeld Indian. Stockfish 8 - Houdini 5 draw (match result: 6-5 SF)
White looks somewhat better after the Modern Grünfeld with 3.f3, but Houdini
is able to liquidate into an ending where it has 2 strong bishops. Black even
shows some advantage, but it turns out the ending is level and therefore a
draw is the correct result.
Game 12, Grünfeld Indian. Houdini 5 - Stockfish 8 1-0 (match result: 6-6)
A very long game, which I'll give without engine data. Houdini is pressing
with white, but it seems Stockfish can hold. Far into the ending, with time
pressure looming, Houdini suddenly sees the win with 113.Rd4 and a +1.76 eval.
Stockfish takes a couple of move extra to see the danger, but then it is
too late. The match is even again!
Game 13, Caro-Kann. Stockfish 8 - Houdini 5 1-0 (match result: 7-6 SF)
In the 3.e5 Advance variation of the Caro-Kann Stockfish gets a nice
advantage after the opening, but Houdini defends and in the end we
get a strange ending RRB vs RR. This should be drawn, but suddenly
Stockfish shows 80.Rd8 with a +6 score! A few moves later the game
is over. Stockfish takes the lead again.
Game 14, Caro-Kann. Houdini 5 - Stockfish 8 draw (match result: 7.5-6.5 SF)
The return game is not very eventful. Houdini enjoys a space advantage
and is able to press, but apart from a lot of shuffling not much happens.
Hence a draw is the inevitable result.
Game 15, English Hedgehog. Stockfish 8 - Houdini 5 draw (match result: 8-7 SF)
In a typical hedgehog position Houdini suddenly gets aggressive with 28... f5.
This alters the structure of the game completely. Black's pieces come to life,
Stockfish wins a pawn, but black's active counterplay is enough to keep the balance.
Game 16, English Hedgehog. Houdini 5 - Stockfish 8 draw (match result: 8.5-7.5 SF)
In the return game Houdini allows black to play the freeing 19... b5!, which
equalizes immediately. White cannot keep the plus pawn and the game
quickly fizzles out into a draw.
Game 17, Sicilian Dragon. Stockfish 8 - Houdini 5 draw (match result: 9-8 SF)
In a main line Sicilian Dragon, Yugoslav attack, Stockfish acts surprisingly timid.
Houdini has no problem to equalize and the game ends in a disappointing draw
by repetition. You would expect more from such a sharp line!
Game 18, Sicilian Dragon. Houdini 5 - Stockfish 8 draw (match result: 9.5-8.5 SF)
The return game in the Dragon sees more action. Houdini also plays the white
position very timid and Stockfish takes the initiative. Black wins two pieces
for a rook, but in the ending this advantage is not enough to win the game.
Game 19, Nimzo Indian. Stockfish 8 - Houdini 5 draw (match result: 10-9 SF)
Houdini plays the Hubner variation very passively and Stockfish enjoys a nice
space advantage. But then nothing happens anymore. After endless shuffling
the game ends in a draw. I'll give the game without engine data.
Game 20, Nimzo Indian. Houdini 5 - Stockfish 8 draw (match result: 10.5-9.5 SF)
The return game is more open and this time Houdini enjoys an advantage.
But history repeats itself: the position gets blocked and when the heavy
pieces are traded nothing happens anymore: draw.