Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hiarcs 13 v Rybka 4 Opening Books War

The general chess public swooned when Jiri Dufek's Rybka 4 Opening Book (see image on right) hit the market (yes, the very same opening book that Topalov reportedly paid for and used for his World Chess Championship match against Anand earlier this year in Sofia).

But now, a new threat looms over the horizon in the form of the latest update to the Hiarcs opening book - Hiarcs 13c.

A few reports are now trickling in that this updated opening book is beating Rybka4 because Rybka is choosing less than stellar opening lines.

How does that affect me, you may ask?

Well, for the majority of players (those < 2,000 Elo rating), it probably does not matter. However for players above this rating level, things start to get hot under the collar.

Games can be won or loss straight out of the opening (as Anand can testify in Game 1 of the Topalov-Anand WCC match) and every advantage you have, you will use.

One of the main advantages of the Hiarc Opening Book is that it is constantly being revised and improved upon. When you purchase the Hiarcs opening book, you get a year's subscription which promises at least 4 periodic updates.

Sadly Chessbase/ChessOk's offering of Jiri Dufek's Rybka 4's opening book does not have such a feature.

As a chess engine, Hiarcs adopts a slightly different approach to Rybka. In the words of the programmer, Hiarcs tends to think positionally rather than analytically. As anyone who has used Hiarcs knows, Hiarcs tends to think in a more natural human-like way when finding evaluations.

Sadly, Hiarcs 13 was not sold and released as a Chessbase product as was Hiarcs 12 but that does not equate to mean that it is in anyway an inferior product to Rybka 4.

Both chess engines are inhumanely strong.

PS: I don't work for Hiarcs btw and am in now way affiliated to them.


  1. I can definitely give a thumbs up to the Hiarcs book!!

    I have been using it and games to study openings instead of normal opening books. And am finding it much more productive and fun.

  2. Hi Tommyg,

    Great to hear you're having a good deal of fun with Hiarcs! I have to say that their support for their products has been stellar.