Chess engines play a huge role in 21st century chess. Mostly due to their presence we now see 15, 14, 13 and even 12 year old grandmasters, something that was unthinkable just 20 years ago.
Ability to have a precise analysis of any given position changed the way players are preparing for the competition. Here is the list of 10 strongest free chess engines in the world.
Note: the engines were tested on identical 64-bit 4 CPUs machines.
Chess Engine 1. Stockfish DD, ELO 3247
Stockfish is the most powerful, free, open source chess engine in the world. Rated only 20 ELO points below the top commercial chess engine Houdini 4, Stockfish is definitely a great alternative for most chess players.
Stockfish plays better and faster than humans. And it’s one of the strongest chess engines in the world, appearing near or at the top of most chess engine rating lists.
Chess Engine 2. Critter 1.6a, ELO 3173
Critter is one of the youngest and strongest chess engines in the world. The first version was created in 2008. Critter does not have a distinct playing style (yet) and relies more on tactics. All I can say, it’s doing it pretty well.
Chess Engine 3. Fire 3.0, ELO 3159
Fire is another awfully strong chess engine, rated almost 300 points higher than the highest rated human chess player. After a multiple updates from the publisher, Fire scores high on many of the top computer rating lists.
Chess Engine 4. Gull 2.3, ELO 3155
Gull is a free, fast and very strong open source chess engine.
Chess Engine 5. Strelka 5.5, ELO 3118
Strelka is a Russian designed chess engine which is now one of the strongest in the world. It is especially good at quick time control chess such as blitz and bullet.
Chess Engine 6. Hannibal 1.4b, ELO 3092
Hannibal is a state-of-the-art chess engine with a distinct playing style. Hannibal is a strategic player and relies on its very selective search, good endgame knowledge and an understanding of material imbalances.
Chess Engine 7. Protector 1.5.0 , ELO 3071
Protector is yet another very strong chess engine, rated above 3000 ELO.
Chess Engine 8. BlackMamba 2.0, ELO 3068
BlackMamba build to imitate strengths of human players (such as piece sacrifices) but not the mistakes.
Chess Engine 9. Spike 1.4, ELO 3035
Spike was developed from the scratch but uses many ideas already tested on our two other engines: Cheetah and IceSpell. It has an aggressive playing style and “spiking” its opponents.
Chess Engine 10. Spark 1.0, ELO ~3000
Spark is a new chess engine with a unique playing style.
What is your favorite chess engine?
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The ratings used in the article are from CCRL as of March 1, 2014.