Strelka 5.5 wins 2014 World Chess Engines Knockout Championships (Informal)

Strelka 5.5 wins 2014 World Chess Engines Knockout Championships (Informal)

Mar 18, 2014, 8:40 PM |

World Champion chess engine Strelka 5.5 congratulations!  Prior to this tournament I had run numerous Swiss style,gauntlet style and "knockout format tourneys on both Arena and on the Fritz GUI........I stsrted leaning on the Fritz GUI due to the easier tourney management and letting the computer handle the heavy lifting (pairings) round by round......literally thousands of chess engines from around the world have been downloaded and then played in engine vs engine matches......the goal at first was to determine how strong my favorite chess engines/programs (Junior 7, Chessmaster 10 chessmaster 6000 Fritz 6 Fritz 5.32 Toga II Spike 1.2 Gandalf 6 Chesspartner Deep Shredder 10 etc would fare when matched against the Star chess programs of the current day (Houdini, Robbolito, Ivanhoe, Gull, Hiarcs, Fritz 13, Stockfish,Komodo,Fire, Naum, Rybka etc) In order to find out it became clear that I would have to test almost all of the engines becasue of all the claims and misinformation floating around on the internet.  I read alot online and viewed other site test results and ratings of the programs but was not in agreement with many of their findings....does 1000 games at 1min per game truly gauge the strength of a chess engine? Does a tourney with only 5 or ten engines entered really mean anything? hat opening book are they using? whats the best time control? When to cut off the opening books? I found that there would be two types of tourneys I would use.......Swiss system to come up with a rating (performance rating) just like regular players use......then once I had a rough rating for most/all of the engines I could then set up knockout tournament and find out which programs were the strongest head to head.......My first manually  run tournament using arena was run 4-5years ago and I used 32 the final Crafty 23.5 defeated Rebel Pro Deo 1.2 (quite a surprising final as many supposedly top programs got eliminated) thats when I knew I needed to take a close look at this issue.Next I became aware of some strong engines I had never even heard of like "Damirs Rybka Killer", "Mishas Mauler", Panchess, Onno, Vitruvious, Next I got a copy of Houdini 1.5 and Komodo and Naraku, Rybka 2.3.2 and Ivanhoe and Junior 12 and Houdini 1.5 won the next few knockout tournaments.I then soon had way too many chess engines to do manual tourneys so I decided to run one with Fritz gui using 128 chess engines and that one was won in shock fashion by Robodini beating Houdini 1.5 in the final (last year 2013) one win vs 3 draws best of 4. yet again another little known chess engine (Hannibal 1.3) pulled quite a few upsets to make the last1 6...New chess engines kept arriving......daily weekly and monthly........more stockfishes,Houdinis,Hiarcs,Juniors, Fritzs I still wanted to not only test the new chess engines...but also my older beloved chess engines like Junior and Chessmaster Gandalf and Fritz along with some new mostly unknown chess engines that I discovered along the way like Akkad and Minko chess and Gaviota and Deep Saros and Amyan and Thinker.....So finally I came across a number for a knockout tournament (512) that was large enough for all the top programs to be entered, and also for some of the older and some of the newer and less well known programs to be entered also so it would be interesting and educational also. I executed a series of swiss system tourneys and test matches and then after a good idea of the programs was obtained (the had partwas getting these many varied programs to workin the Fritz gui.......which took quite a long time. Then I was finally ready to create this knock out tournament.......... the Houdini engines cruised thru the early rounds.......the Rybka engines showed great positional skill and technique throughout the tourney.....quite a few early round surprises.........2nd round same thing.....Armaggedon 1.0 was first program to defeat a Houdini both Rybka 4.0 and 4.1 made it to the late rounds.....Robbolitos were solid thru the first 3 rounds. Suprise of the tournament was Stockfish 2.2.2 JA who nearly won the tournament....another shock was Saros Blitz 1.0 making it thru to the final 8 Also Rybka 4.1 beating Houdini 1.5 was a bit of a suprise.....Komodo 2.0JA had a surprising strength also comparedto the favorites Chessmaster and Junior and Gandalf did ok Toga engines did great early but were mostly gone after the first 3 round except  for Toga II 1.2.1....Overall quite a interesting tournament......Interesting results.......Smile


My thanks goes to those without whose assistance this project would not have been possible….all the chess engine authors, Lokosoft, Ubisoft, Chessmaster,Chessbase, Hiarcs, Shredder Chess, Junior Chess gui, Houdini Chess,  Rybka Chess, Toga Developers Group, Chessthinker page, Autochess,Immortal Chess, Chess2U, Ifreechess Rus, Comrades Chess, Brazil Forum, Chesshilton, Far East Download page, Chessgod101, Chessowl Chess, wbec-ridderkerk, Jim Hyatt, Jim Ablett, Chess Depot, Superchessengines and all the rest…you know who you are! Lol…….One last not to all the creative people working on these fantastic chess engines out there……keep up the great work…….but remember one thing……a huge opening book does not nessesarily make a good or a great chess engine……the key is to create a “thinking machine” that is able to work its way out of difficult situations…..creatively….that is what we look for when testing these machines….original thoughts and new concepts……good luck to all!!

Game Links and Docs.. 


Notes: Intel Pentium pc... limited hash limited... gui opening book...... 


Postscript don't believe all the marketing claims concerning chess engines........I found that there are only slight differences between chess engine models from one week-month-year to much stronger can Fritz 13 be vs Fritz 10 or Houdini 3 vs Houdini 1.5? or Stockfish 2.1 vs Stockfish 4 Or Komodo 1.3 vs Komodo 3? The most creative chess I observed was played by Rybka, Saros Blitz, Strelka 5.5, Szint engines (programmed) Junior chess engines etc.


Best Engines I observed











Shredder 12

Deep Shredder 12

Critter 1.6

Komodo 2.0 JA


Saros Blitz 1.0







Most Interesting Chess Engines I viewed

Gandalf 4.32 5.0 6.0

Chessmaster (The King) etc

Junior 7 10,12,12.5 etc

Fritz 5.32

Der Bringer


Cuckoo Chess

Minko Chess

Szint Tal

List 5.12

Gothmog 1.0

Saros Blitz

Deep Saros



Toga II 1.2.1

Inmichess 3.05 wb

Tao 5.4

Dragon 4.4.3

Damirs Rybka killer

Rybka 2.3.2

Tretola ML

Rocket 1.3

Fritz 10

Deep Fritz

Tytan 8.75


Zarkov 4.70

WChess 1.6

Chess Bin






Rebel Pro Deo

Rebel 6.0

Rebel Century

Ruffian Leiden

Shredder Classic

Deep Shredder 10


Thinker  4.7 5.1 5.2 5.4 etc

Arabian Knight


Sjeng 8.0, 8.5,12.7 1.0 1.5 2.5 3.0 etc


Plywood 1.7.3

Stobor B56




Little Goliath (all)

GNU Chess


Diep 2.0

Crafty (all)