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I need a chess engine I can run to evaluate my games and improve my gameplay. I can't afford Houdini so what other options are there that are free with a high analysis strength?
Houdini 1.5 is excellent and free. You also need a GUI (graphic user interface). I've heard Stockfish is a great engine too. 2 popular GUI's are Arena and Scid v. PC. All can be downloaded from chess.com right here:
I use an older version of Fritz (cheap) loaded up with Houdin 1.5a and HIARCS ($50) so I can't say anything from personal experience about what's the best free stuff but try a "search forums" and you'll find lots of previous threads. Have fun!
Try Stockfish DD:
It's stronger then Houdini 3 and almost equall to Houdini 4.
Yes Stockfish DD can also utilize eight cores (4 physical 4 virtual). Beware since your mouse cursor will slow down if on at all cores so maybe 7 is best. I have a Haswell i7 so it's the best current and reasonably priced processor. It still doesn't find Staunton's objectively best Nh1!! unless I scroll past the move however.
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