Friday, September 28, 2012

Also-Rans List - September 28 update

The Also-Rans rating list has been updated.

Friday, August 24, 2012

August 23 Update Correction

As it turns out, the only thing correct about my update yesterday were the ratings I posted. There were problems with the database, and with the statistics generated from that database. So, I have made the corrections and uploaded a corrected PGN.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Also-Rans Ratings List Update - August 23, 2012

The Also-Rans list has been updated. I have also updated the statistical information and the database. The link to the Also-Rans database can be found at the ratings page.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ed Schröder's Donationware

Ed Schröder, the author of chess programs such as Mephisto MM IV and MM V, Rebel, and Pro Deo, has decided to make his older Rebel PC chess programs Winboard and UCI (via WB2UCI) compatible and provide them as donationware. As stated at Wikipedia and Ed's site, donationware is a licensing model that supplies fully operational unrestricted software to the user and requests an optional donation be paid to the programmer or a third-party beneficiary (usually a non-profit). Ed's request for donations is for raising money to create a "World Championship" competition among the top-rated chess engines. So feel free to download the versions of Rebel that Ed converts and makes available. If you can, please donate 1 Euro (via PayPal) for each engine you download.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Also-Rans Update - August 8, 2012

A ratings list that is in continued fluctuation is of no use to anybody. Having said that, I have made one more change (and, with high probability, the last change) to how the Also-Rans list is computed. I have decided to compute the ratings from a database of games consisting of the CCRL 40/4 pure, single CPU database and the Also-Rans games. The list shall be calibrated so that Brutus RND, a random mover (chooses its next move at random from the legal moves available), has a rating of 0 Elo. The Also-Rans list will consist of all engines outside the top 200 engines of the combined database. Since the CCRL ratings may be computed in this manner within the next year (more games are needed to meet the CCRL standards), the Also-Rans list will finally be stable.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chess for Mobile Devices - ChessGenius

ChessGenius - A program written by the legendary Richard Lang in the 1990's, originally for MS-DOS, that has been ported to Palm, Windows Mobile, Bada phones, Symbian phones, iOS, and Android devices.

Richard Lang is famous for winning the World Microcomputer Chess Championship 10 times, from the mid 1980's with Mephisto to the mid 1990's with ChessGenius. ChessGenius became the first chess program to beat a world champion (none other than Gary Kasparov) at a non-blitz time control, and obtained a rating of 2795 in the same tournament (1994 Intel World Chess Grand Prix), while running on a 100 MHz Pentium PC.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Long History of Mephisto - Part 1

Mephisto is a name long associated with chess playing mechanisms. In 1878, Charles Godfrey Gümpel, a maker of artificial limbs, displayed a chess playing pseudo-automaton named Mephisto in London. It was controlled remotely by electromechanical means, as opposed to hiding a human operator. In 1889, it was shown and operated at the Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris. After the exposition, it was dismantled and its ultimate fate is unknown.

Mephisto automaton

Anyone who wants to read a bit more about Mephisto can read batgirl's posts (Mephisto the Magnificent, HOW MEPHISTO WAS CAUGHT, Mephisto - Promotional Material, and Mephisto revisited) in her blog "Le blog de la Batgirl at

However, Gümpel's invention is not the only chess playing mechanism named "Mephisto". It is also the name for a long line of dedicated chess computers, first manufactured by Hegener & Glaser in 1980. Several renowned authors have been associated with the Mephisto line, including Frans Morsch (best known for Fritz), Ed Schröder (author of Rebel and Pro Deo), and Richard Lang (author of Chess Genius). Hegener & Glaser was acquired by Saitek LTD in 1994. Saitek continued manufacturing the line, and still does to this day.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Chess for Android Update - Version 4.0

Aart Bik has announced that all user facing (text read by the user), other than engine messages and chess notation, in Chess for Android has now been translated into the following languages:

  • English (the default)
  • Dutch (translated by Aart Bik)
  • German (many thanks to Philip Stutz)
  • Hebrew (many thanks to Haran Talmon)
  • Polish (many thanks to Michal Kaczmarek)
  • Spanish (many thanks to Krizia Lopez)
  • Swedish (many thanks to Anton Hansson)

My favorite Android chess program is getting even better :-).

You can download Android for Chess 4.0 at Google Play or as a direct download.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chess for Mobile Devices - Chess Legends

Chess Legends ($0.99) : A iOS chess app created by Schogini Systems featuring Komodo 4, one of the top chess engines (created by Don Dailey and Larry Kaufman). From a Schogini press release:

Update - July 19, 2012

I am sorry for the lack of new material. I am trying to reformat a couple of pages to improve navigation of the information. I am also working on a page that is a tutorial for running engine matches in various various GUIs. Though it is not completed, I will be uploading the tutorial soon. I also expect to completely update the Also-Rans list this weekend.

Still Working Regards :-),

Friday, July 13, 2012

Also_Rans List Updated - July 12, 2012

I have added Chess4j 0.1 (James Swafford), Rocinante 2.0 64-bit JA (PB*)(Antonio Torrecillas), RumbleMinze 1.0.30 (Erik Madsen), Milady 3.04 (Yves Lejeail), and SUPRA 11.5.1 64-bit (Pedro Mourao Correia). I have not updated the database nor the chess engine information spreadsheet as of yet.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Geert Maeckelbergh, a Belgium computer chess enthusiast, runs an interesting chess engine tournament called CountryChess.

From Geert's front page:

In the first stage, chess engines of the same country will play a double round-robin tournament. The winner of each country competition meets other country winners in qualification matches or in the Champions League, according to its place on the country ranking list. Top ranked countries will be represented by 2, 3 or even 4 engines in the Champions League.

About me:
My name is Geert. I live in Belgium and I am visually impaired. I prefer to update an easy blog, friendly for a blind user. My goal is to organize tournaments and to share the games and results. I don't like wasting time on unaccessible webdesign programs. So don't expect a perfect lay-out; since my brail display is able to read the texts, you'll probably have no troubles to read them as well :-).

My English is not perfect at all. If you see language errors or other mistakes, don't hesitate to send me an e-mail.


Geert also posts results from time to time at the Tournaments and Matches subforum at TalkChess.

Thanks, Geert, for sharing your matches with the community.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Chess System Programs of Chris Whittington

I completely botched the portion of my previous post that concerned Chess System Tal. As my penance, I have committed myself to write an in-depth post about the Chess System programs.

The Chess System programs were created by Chris Whittington in the 1990's and marketed by his company, Oxford Softworks. Their creation was guided by Whittington's philosophy that encoding knowledge into a chess program is much preferable over fast and deep searches.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Free DOS Chess Programs

In many people's opinion, the DOS chess programs from the 1980s and 1990s are more enjoyable to play against than modern programs. Possible, this is because there was more emphasis on style and a little less on strength. Or perhaps it is simply because the moves they played were less mystifying than today's juggernauts. Several have been described to play in a human-like manner, such as the revered Chess System Tal II * (authored by Chris Whittington):

Chess for Mobile Devices : Droidfish

Droidfish (Free) : A chess program for Android devices developed by Peter Österlund, author of Texel (formerly CuckooChess). The main engine for the program is Stockfish (authored by Marco Costalba, Joona Kiiski, and Tord Romstad).

Chess for Mobile Devices : Stockfish Chess

Stockfish Chess (Free) : A chess program developed for iOS devices by Tord Romstad, the author of Glaurung and one of the authors (along with Marco Costalba and Joona Kiiski) of Stockfish (the active continuation of Glaurung). The engine for the program is a port of Stockfish, one of the strongest chess engines available.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Alan Turing

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Alan Turing (June 23, 1912 – June 7, 1954) was a British mathematician and logician who is considered the father of computer science and artificial intelligence (AI). Among his accomplishments were: an independent proof that Hilbert's Entscheidungsproblem was, in general, unsolvable; the invention of the idea of Turing machines; the formulation of the halting problem; played an integral part in breaking the German ciphers in WWII; presented the first design for a stored-program computer; discovered LU decomposition (used to solve matrix equations); invented the idea of the Turing test to determine if a computer could successfully imitate a human; and contributed work in the field of mathematical biology.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Novag Super Constellation

The Super Constellation, also known as the Super Connie, was a dedicated chess computer manufactured by Novag and first sold in 1984. The chess playing code was written by the acclaimed computer chess programmer Dave Kittinger, who was also known for writing the engine for ChessMaster 2000 and his DOS program WChess. Scott McDonald, an American chess master, assisted Kittinger.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chess for Mobile Devices: CHESS PRO

CHESS PRO ($9.99): A chess program created by Christophe Théron for iOS devices. The engine within the program is Christophe's famous Chess Tiger.

Chess for Mobile Devices: Chess For Android

This is inspired by my friend Julien MARCEL, who has been posting about chess programs for iOS devices at TalkChess. I will attempt to cover chess programs for iOS devices (using Julien's TalkChess posts) and chess programs for Android devices.

The first program I will post about is the Android program I use and love:

Chess for Android (Free) : A computer chess GUI for Android devices created by Aart Bik.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Also-Rans Rating List Update - June 4, 2012

I have updated the rating list. I have added more games for Blikskottel 0.8, Eden 0.0.13, Gargamella 0.5.0, Gullydeckel 2.16pl1, JChess 1.0, Kanguruh 1.93, PLP 1661571, and Chad's Chess 0.15. Also, I have added CmcChess 2.27, Freyr 1.09 64-bit JA, and Mephisto MM5.1 to the list.

The games can be found at this link.

Friday, June 1, 2012

HGM and The Matchbox Chess Computer

The types of computers used to play chess have been varied. For example, El Ajedrecista was an electro-mechanical computer that could play and win KRK endgames:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fidelity Chess Challenger 1

Want to play chess and have no one to play against? In no time at all, you can download dozens of engines and a GUI. There are hundreds of engines and several GUIs available. However, it has not always been this way. 35 years ago, you had no options other than finding another human being, unless you knew how to program a chess engine and build your own computer. That changed with the introduction of the Fidelity Chess Challenger 1.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Also-Rans Rating List update - download links

I have included a link to Google Documents. The spreadsheet I have created contains information, including download links, for most engines on the list. I am in the process of adding more engines to it. It also contains info on engines not yet on the list.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Computer Chess Utilities Updated

The computer chess utilities page has been updated. It now includes information about the adapters Wb2Uci, InBetween, and Polyglot. Also, I have included information about the Elo rating programs Bayeselo, Elostat, and Ordo.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Also-Rans Rating List Update - May 26, 2012

I have updated the Also-Rans rating list. The update includes additional games for St Andersen 1.31 64-bit JA, ChessRikus 1.466, Frank-Walter 1.08, Jester 0.84 JA, Nero 6.1, Pooky 2.7, Roque 1.1, SdBC 0.41.40, and Simon 1.2 64-bit JA. These games have also been submitted to the CCRL 40/4 lists. I have also taken the opportunity to clean up the list a bit.

The games are available for download here.

The Many Projects of Kirill Kryukov

Kirill Kryukov, a founding member of the CCRL and creator/maintainer of KCEC, is a man of many computer chess interests. In addition to engine testing, he has contributed much in several other areas:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Watching Engine Matches Online - Part 1

There are several people who broadcast engine versus engine matches online, most notably Oliver Deville (Chess War), Graham Banks of the CCRL, and Fonzy Bluemers, one of the authors of the chess engine Dirty. The following is a description of how to view these broadcasts:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Les Diodes du Roi

No matter how much I search and read about computer chess, I keep finding new information and new websites. At least they are new to me. For example, I found on Óscar Toledo G.'s website a link to a French site Les Diodes du Roi, which Google Translate renders into English as "The King of Diodes". The site belongs to Eric Terrien, and the focus of the site is dedicated chess computers, the history of computer chess, and free chess programs (engine plus GUI) for PC and Mac. Eric includes screenshots, information, and links for each of the chess programs. Les Diodes du Roi is much like what I hope my chess site to be, only it is done much better.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Engine Downloads

In order to indulge in the hobby of computer chess, it is necessary to download at least one chess engine (unless you author your own engine). The following sites will allow anyone to find the download link for any publicly available chess engine:

WBEC (links to Winboard engines also can be found here)

Computer Chess Wiki


Jim Ablett Winboard Chess Projects

Arena Chess GUI 3.0

Homepage links for each CCRL tested engine can be found at its results page.

Finally, you can ask for a copy of an engine at any computer chess forum (such as TalkChess, OpenChess, Winboard forum, etc ...) and you request may be fulfilled.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Other Rating Lists

UCI Engines Ligue (UEL) is a French language blitz rating list. Though the rating list is no longer maintained, the website is still active and contains a wealth of information as well as the UEL database.

SWCR was a rating list maintained by Frank Quisinsky (in German and English) from 2009 until January, 2012. The database, which is of quite good quality, is still available for download, as well as opening books constructed by Frank.

Leo Dijksman maintains a rating list based on the accumulated games from the WBEC tournament.

Clemens Keck has a blitz rating list, though I am not sure if it is still active.

Sedat Canbaz occasionally constructs rating lists from his engine-engine matches.

There are many more rating lists, some made public and some maintained in private.


Kirr's Chess Engine Comparison (KCEC) is a rating list (and much more) maintained by Kirill Kryukov since 2005. Superficially, it is a rating list which can be considered ancillary to the CCRL 40/4 lists (the KCEC database is also a subset of the CCRL 40/4 database). The great value in Kirill's work is not the rating list itself, but the bug reports and the statistical analysis he has performed on the data. Statistics concerning draw rates, ECO, openings, ponder hits, and more can be found there.


The Computer Chess Rating List (CCRL) was founded in 2006 by Graham Banks, Ray Banks, Sarah Bird, Kirill Kryukov and Charles Smith. Similar to the CEGT in several ways (indeed, the founding members were/are testers for the CEGT), it is most well-known for the amount of statistical information (derived from its databases) that it provides to the public. Also of note, it provides the only known FRC (Chess960) rating list.

ATOMICC Computer Chess Testing

ATOMICC Computer Chess Testing is a new rating list conducted by Brent M. It focuses on testing the top engines under non-varying conditions (much like IPON). The games produced are high quality.


IPON is the best rating list for comparing the strongest chess engines. The rating list is generated and maintained by Ingo Bauer. He is normally quick to test new engines or new version of engines that might be among the top 20 strongest engines.


Chess Engine Grand Tournament (CEGT) is a well-respected ratings organization. Founded in 2005, the group tests chess engines at 40 moves/4 minutes, 40 moves/20 minutes, and 40 moves/120 minutes (ponder off), as well as 40 moves/20 minutes (ponder on). Also, it tests 32-bit and 64-bit versions of engines, as well as single cpu and multiple cpu versions of engines.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Swedish Chess Computer Association (SSDF) is the longest running rating list in existence. Its origins can be traced to 1979 as a subscription group for a computer chess magazine called PLY. In 1984, the SSDF was formally founded, with the purpose "to coordinate the interest for computerchess and chesscomputers in Sweden, and to release PLY". The first public rating list was published in PLY in that year. A history of the SSDF can be found here.