Chess Terms


The most powerful chess engines of all time are all well-known to most chess players. If you are wondering which available engine is the strongest, then look no further—Stockfish is the king of chess engines. 

Let's learn more about this mighty engine. Here is what you need to know about Stockfish:

What Is Stockfish?

Stockfish is the strongest chess engine available to the public and has been for a considerable amount of time. It is a free open-source engine that is currently developed by an entire community. Stockfish was based on a chess engine created by Tord Romstad in 2004 that was developed further by Marco Costalba in 2008. Joona Kiiski and Gary Linscott are also considered founders.

Stockfish is not only the most powerful available chess engine but is also extremely accessible. It is readily available on many platforms, including Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android.

stockfish chess engine
Stockfish logo. Image:

Stockfish's accomplishments are more impressive than those of any other chess engine. It has won more than 10 Top Chess Engine Championships so far. Stockfish has also dominated's Computer Chess Championship since 2018, winning the first six events and more. 

Stockfish had firmly established itself as the strongest chess engine in the world before 2017, which is why the chess world was shaken to its core when it lost a one-sided match to a neural network computer program called AlphaZero. This loss to AlphaZero led to the development of other neural network projects (most notably Leela Chess Zero, Leelenstein, and Alliestein).

Although Stockfish has kept its spot atop the chess engine list, the neural network engines had been getting closer and closer to Stockfish's strength. In September 2020, Stockfish 12 was released, and it was announced that Stockfish had absorbed the Stockfish+NNUE project (NNUE stands for Efficiently Updatable Neural Network). What does this move mean? Well, now the raw power of the traditional brute-force Stockfish has been improved by the evaluation abilities of a neural network engine—a mind-boggling combination!

stockfish chess
Stockfish 12 has added neural network evaluation abilities.

As of June 2023, Stockfish is the highest-rated engine according to the computer chess rating list (CCRL), with a rating of approximately 3530. In July 2020, Swedish Chess Computer Association (SSDF) rating list, Stockfish 9 is ranked #3, Stockfish 10 is ranked #2, and Stockfish 11 is ranked #1 with a rating of 3558. Taking the top three spots with three different versions is quite impressive.

According to this great video on the strongest chess engines of all time (based on the SSDF rating lists), Stockfish is the strongest engine of all time—a sentiment that is widely shared in the chess community.

Stockfish Accomplishments

As mentioned, Stockfish has dominated the TCEC since it started participating. It has won 14 TCEC championships and also has seven second-place finishes—it has placed first or second in every season it has participated since 2013. From 2018-2023 it won 12 out of 14 TCEC Main league seasons ahead of Komodo, Leela Chess Zero, Shredder, Houdini, and other top-level engines.

Stockfish also dominates the TCEC Fischer Random tournament, having won five out of six tournaments so far (as of June 2023). Stockfish also won seven out of 11 TCEC cups and never stepped off the podium—out of the remaining four Cups, Stockfish had three second-place finishes and one third-place finish.

stockfish chess
Stockfish has dominated the computer chess championships.'s Computer Chess Championship has also been a common winning ground for Stockfish. It has won 24 of the 30 events through 2023 and placed second in four others. Stockfish continues to defeat the neural network engines in most competitions.

Stockfish Games

The first game example is from the 2018 Stockfish-AlphaZero match. Stockfish wins quickly and easily—can you ask for more than defeating the strongest chess entity that the world had ever seen in a mere 22 moves? Stockfish sacrifices a pawn early in the opening and gains a large advantage after 13.Rd3. After 18.Rh4, all of Stockfish's pieces are active and developed, while all of AlphaZero's pieces are on the back rank (except for the queen):

Stockfish chess
All of Stockfish's pieces are active and developed after 18. Rh4.

The sacrifices with 19.Bc4! and 20.Nce4! are powerful and finish the game quickly.

Stockfish chess
The Stockfish-AlphaZero clash changed the entire chess engine scene.

In this second game example, we see Stockfish dispatch another famous chess engine that stood atop the chess engine world for years: Rybka. Stockfish gains a nice advantage out of the opening that it keeps throughout the game. The fireworks start with Stockfish's 28.Bxh6+!

Stockfish chess engine
Stockfish tears open Rybka's kingside with 28. Bxh6!

Stockfish keeps up the pressure with an exchange sacrifice on move 31 and dominates the rest of the game after Rybka's 32...Kh7:

In this fantastic video by's NM Sam Copeland, Stockfish+NNUE dismantles the neural network engine Stoofvlees:

How To Analyze With Stockfish On

Stockfish is the engine for analysis on It is very easy to use on this site in several ways. One is to go to and load your PGN or FEN:

Stockfish chess
You can access Stockfish on by going to

Another easy-to-use method of analyzing your games on with Stockfish is to click "Game Review" after you complete a game on our Play page.

Stockfish chess engine
After you complete a live game on, you can select "Analyze" and review your game with Stockfish.

In this video,'s IM Danny Rensch explains some of the Stockfish analysis features available on


You now know what Stockfish is, why it is important, how to analyze with Stockfish on, and more. Head over to to watch Stockfish and other top engines battling at any time on any day!

Explore More Chess Terms