Choosing a Chess Engine

Russell Sherwood  Monday, March 5, 2018

So what should you look for in choosing (a) Chess Engine(s)? Much depends on what you want to do with it but a few factors to consider are:

Cost – How much are you willing to pay? If the answer is nothing then there are still plenty of choices!

Advanced Parameters – Does the engine have features useful to Correspondence Chess, such as LMR, Wide Search…….

Saveable Hash File – Are you able to save the Hash file to be able to resume later?

Learning – Does the engine has a learning function implemented?

Speed – Is the engine fast enough for your analysis style? (Whilst some engines appear to be going deeper than others, in general, this means that the engine is being much more selective in the lines it is examining, which does mean it goes deeper but could also mean that it misses something!)

Frequency – How often is the engine updated? Some engines are only updated on almost a yearly basis, whilst others are updated almost weekly. How much difference this has to the strength of the engine is debatable but psychologically this can be an issue for some.

Family – Is the engine part of the same family as the other engines you use? If using a multiple engine strategy then different families of engines are a must!

Maximum Cores/Hash – Is your hardware and the engine compatible so that you will get the most out of it?

Correct Version – is there a version for your hardware or better still one you can compile yourself?

Tactical Mode – Does the engine have one?

Tablebases – Which (if any) tablebases will the engine interface with?

Welsh Correspondence Chess FederationBritish Correspondence Chess AssociationSchemingMind Internet Correspondence Chess ClubSocial Correspondence Chess AssociationWelsh Chess UnionInternational Correspondence Chess Association