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Friday, April 19, 2019

Leela Zero Chess

     The Leela Chess Zero project was first announced on TalkChess.com on January 9, 2018. Leela Chess Zero is a free, open-source, and neural network based chess engine. Leela Zero and AlphaGo Zero, Leela Chess Zero only knows the basic rules and nothing more. 
     According to Wikipedia, Leela Chess Zero quickly reached the GM level, surpassing the strength of the early releases of Rybka, Stockfish, and Komodo. 
     In April 2018, Leela Chess Zero became the first neural network engine to enter the Top Chess Engine Championship (TCEC), during season 12 in the lowest division, but did not perform well, scoring +1 -26 =1. But, it improved quickly.
   In December 2018, Leela participated in season 14 of the TCEC and dominated divisions 3, 2, and 1, easily finishing first in all of them. In the premier division, Stockfish dominated while Houdini, Komodo and Leela competed for second place. It came down to a final-round game where Leela needed to hold Stockfish to a draw with black to finish second ahead of Komodo. This it successfully managed, and therefore contested the superfinal against Stockfish. It narrowly lost the superfinal against Stockfish with a 49.5-50.5 final score.
    In February 2019, Leela scored its first major tournament win when it defeated Houdini in the final of the second TCEC cup where it did not lose a game.  And, in April 2019, Leela won the Chess.com Computer Chess Championship: Blitz Bonanza. 
     Chessbase had a good article on it last year HERE. Installation instructions are also included, but you can also find them on Youtube. You can play against it on lichess. On the right hand side, click on “Play with the machine” then pick your level, time and color. 
     Yesterday I played it a 10 minute game on level 1 and won quite easily, but today playing it 10 minute games on level 8 was a different story! I became the crushee. Anyway, it was fun to play against. 

Here are the estimated Elo for each level. 
Level 1 = 1350 
Level 2 = 1420 
Level 3 = 1500 
Level 4 = 1600 
Level 5 = 1700 
Level 6 = 1900 
Level 7 = 2200 
Level 8 = 2700 

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