Monday, October 4, 2010

Chess Engines On The Cheap

.... well actually, free. :)

Unless you happen to be a chess professional or a serious chess enthusiast/player and absolutely want the latest and greatest chess engines, ranging from Hiarcs 13 to Rybka 4 and you have a bit of moolah to spend, then you probably don't want to read this blog post.

An amateur and a patzer such as myself, don't use the latest nor the greatest chess engine at all.

Besides the ever common Crafty (did you know it came in joint 2nd in the recent 2010 World Computer Rapid Chess Championship?) which you can get for free (, there are also a few free chess engines available.

Rybka v2.3.2a is available for free from the Rybka website (

Stockfish is another free chess engine ( along with Toga II.

There are also other free chess engines that are available and which have been removed from participation due to accusations of decompilation and cloning by the Rybka team. These chess engines include Firebird and Ivanhoe (which are reputedly even stronger than Rybka4). As to where to get these chess engines, well, I don't need to tell you how to find them, do I?


  1. For some reason I always find myself gravitating to the commercial engines. They generally have the limit strength feature and can provide more service.

    I have also noticed that for the most part the commercial engines tend to have a "style" or personality. Again that can make it more fun to play against and you get different assessments.

    Stockfish is a great free engine as is Crafty.

    I won't use the ones suspected of cloning Rybka.

  2. Hi Tommyg,

    I use Stockfish myself and Crafty is excellent as it is one of the few remaining engines that still retains its XBoard compatibility (it's my main engine for use with Chess Position Trainer which cannot support UCI engines unfortunately).


  3. My Rybka version v2.2n2 played pretty decent shootouts with my Fritz 11, I will replace it with your Rybka v2.3.2a, this one is half a year later version.

  4. Good luck, it's indeed very nice of Rybka to release older versions of their chess engine - which is still heaps powerful. :)

  5. Acused wrongly , they were.
    Came to light now that Rybka was indeed the cloner, as allways said by the several programmers of the "SO CALLED CLONES" lol...
    IM Vas (Rybka's con-man) managed to fool a whole community of chess lovers... Aye aye...

  6. Hi Square theory, Rybka has always been under a cloud with respect to its origins. The problem herein is that free engines have continue to dominate the scene for quite a while now.

    Stockfish is on par (if not stronger) with Rybka and Houdini is no doubt stronger than Rybka.

    This could signal the end of the commercial chess engines. Open source development will always have encourage more volunteers to jump on board, thereby providing more manpower, more resources than commercial engines (unless you are Microsoft/Google and have the financial backing to pour a lot of $$$).