"It just isn't conceivable that you can design a program strong enough to beat players like me."

January 31, 2015

Naka is the one!

May we expect another fearless attempt?

When queen vs queen becomes the endgame target

The target in chess is to capture the queen of your opponent, as per definition. I think it's not always the case. If you are ready to taste the truth, please take a look at above chess set and tell me that you really would prefer to checkmate your opponent rather than ensuring the longest game to trade all pieces one by one and swallow them until you reach for a happy queen vs queen draw.

You offer me a fool's mate on his board? No way. I will eat all your pieces.

New Android XB engine: Dabbaba 7.49.JA

Right here right now, another retrospective engine is welcome to Android thanks to Jim Ablett's compile-o-matic machine. This is Dabbaba written by Jens Baek Nielsen from Denmark. It's ELO is 1936 on CCRL's 40/40 list. On Android, better expect 1700 roughly. Remains to be tested when possible.

Download Dabbaba: HERE

RAPIDROID: Wheels are turning again

After a lot of updated versions of included engines, i've just started to replay games from the beginning.

Among the toppers, Stockfish 6 in gauntlet vs Black Mamba, Critter, Firenzina, Robbolito, Komodo 8 showed no big changes, except surprising losses against Komodo 8.

Stockfish 6 lost both games to Komodo while it's older bro had won by 1½ to ½ from the same position. It seems the new boy didn't like this opening.

Android XB engine update: ExChess 7.51.beta.JA

ExChess by Dan Homan is not unknown to Android. However, previous compiles hadn't work for me at all. I hope this new compile by Jim Ablett brings in a new functional engine to the platform. I didn't run it yet. So, ready and willing users have the opportunity to verify the features. The CCRL rating of this version is around 2900 and thanks to its multicore compatibility, it was one of the engines selected to play in TCEC-7 as well.

Download ExChess: HERE

RAPIDROID: How to keep it up to date under attack?

Managing the army would be easier for a minister of defense if there were no battle around. The same applies to a sales manager who wishes a carrier where customers never ask for price reductions.

When it comes to a rating list, the tester's wish is that the engines do not get any updates. And no new engines please! Then a perfect list is possible.

Truth is different. Although i'd managed to build a list of 56 Android engines after a few thousands of games played, it got destroyed by countless updates by Jim Ablett, which rained quickly. Many engines ported to Android for the first time completes the whole misery.

Well ok, now we have different methods to cope with updates, all with their pros and cons:
* Replacing old versions with newest ones and keep going. Easiest way without losing previous results but no rating accuracy because of different strengths mixed.
* Keep old versions as they are and add new versions separately: Easy to do, but leads to pollution, as well as statistical distortion.
* Replace all games of old versions with games played by new versions: Maximum accuracy but highly time consuming, like rewinding and replaying a cassette.

Regarding RAPIDROID, which is played at time controls like 15 to 30 seconds per move, way beyond blitz, i decide to take the challenge of going for the most accurate method. I will replay all games from scratch for each updated engine.

Again, too many targets, so little time, but also too many ambition!

Stay tuned for the best.

New Android XB engine: Colchess 8.0.JA

Colchess is written by Colin Frayn from England, like Beowulf which is just ported to Android by Jim Ablett. Although the name appears familiar to me when i dig deep into my old memories, i don't have any idea remaining about its strength. The engine is quite old and a retro taste is guaranteed.  

Download Colchess: HERE

PS: Just tested with Chess for Android. At 5 sec/move, it uses average time. Regarding Fischer clock, it simply gets flagged easily. Colchess is only eligible for engine tournaments with fixed time per move setting.

January 30, 2015

New Android XB engine: Beowulf 2.4.a.JA

Now, i'm quite sure Jim Ablett will not stop hunting free engines with source code, until all of them are compiled for Android, no matter how recent or obsolete their Windows versions are.

I barely remember Beowolf from the earliest chess engine years where automated tournaments were a true novelty in computer chess. The version 2.4a was released in 2006 and may reach 2200 ELO only on Android. Indeed, collection value overcomes playing strength this time.

Download Beowulf: HERE

PS: Just tested with Chess for Android. At 5 sec/move, it plays but uses too much time. Regarding Fischer clock, it plays instant moves. Unfortunately, Beowulf is not yet eligible for engine tournaments.

Best present for a chess addicted engineer

Not only funny looking, but also highly playable

January 29, 2015

Android XB engine update: Woodpecker 2.11.JA with time management fix

Following the initial release of Woodpecker compiled bny Jim Ablett, i wasn't able to get it running. A lot of games all ended with "Lost engine" error. This means the engine binary hangs. The bad is that if it's an engine tournament, it's interrupted and remaining games pend. A lot of wasted time.

The new build of Woodpecker, according to JA, will remedy above issues. The binary is available is HERE

Android UCI engine update: Stockfish 6.0 original

Yummy! Here is the official compile released by Stockfish team at their homepage. This build is made under Linux, using GCC 4.9 for arm7 target, meaning that the performance on an arm7 device must be higher than an arm5 compile.

The wait is over. Go get it: HERE

Time to smile

After another 3 engines spread by Jim Ablett today, it's time to think about a post with a different content. Consequently, i wanna go for a humorous break. Smile!

January 28, 2015

Android XB engine update: Xpdnt 091007.JA with time management fix

This is a new build of the same version of Xpdnt with a time management fix. It's one of the engines i've been testing at severe time controls like 1'+0", 2'+0" and 1'+1". Unfortunately, it could not pass due to time forfeit losses.

It's a sad reality that xboard (or winboard if you prefer) engines on Android suffer from GUI delays spent during transactions. Xboard doesn't send updated clock infos to the engines with every move like UCI. Therefore, cumulated time differences often cause losses on time at the end.

Few engines (Amy, Chenard, Cilian, Crafty, Fairymax, GK, Resp, Sjaak, uMax so far) have already survived enough, during long games.

Previous build of Xpdnt had played instant moves on the first trials. I hope this new build will make it compatible with timed games.

Download it: HERE

New Android UCI engine: Komodo Beekay-1028 JA

Some chess fans are too young to remember the times when Komodo was free like Stockfish. Then, one day, following a TCEC victory, it went commercial.
Jim Ablett has recently found in his dusty archives the source code of an old Komodo from 5 series and he didn't hesitate to push it into his compilator-matic.
We used to run 5.1MP free on our PC's. Now, we have something very close available for Android devices too.
Not too many users will be interested in a relatively old version. Besides, the latest one is not expensive at all for Android. However, Beekay comes free of charge and should not play bad at all.

Enjoy it: HERE

New Android XB engine: Bruja 1.9.1.JA

Bruja is a medium level xboard engine by Dan Honeycott which may attract collectors only. Its ELO is 2472 @ CCRL. On Android, probably under 2300, given that xb engines are subject to more degradation compared to uci.

Download link: HERE

Android UCI engine update: Stockfish 6.JA

Jim Ablett worked quicker than Stockfish team. We've got the long awaited version 6 at last. It's great news of course but let me state that it's an arm5 compile and the expected official compile based on arm7 instruction set will be probably stronger than JA. We'll see about that later on.

Download Stockfish 6: HERE

January 27, 2015

New Android UCI engine: Robocide 28.12.14.JA

We know Daniel White as a chess engine programmer from his earlier works such as Adroit. He's recently concentrated on Robocide, another engine project. Robocide is not yet stronger than Adroit. Let's say, it's of similar strength within 1900-2000 ELO range on a PC.

You may download and try Robocide: HERE

Stockfish 6: Parade of the Candidates!

Those who wait for the new Stockfish release since the end of TCEC-7, have enough reasons to be disappointed by never ending release candidates. As of today, RC3 is trying to calm down the impatient community.

Androiders must wait for an official release via Stockfish site, expected to become available right after Windows compiles. For the moment, 121014 version seems the strongest available in hand, after 272 games it played vs SF5.

I still have the first set of 64 games where SF5 had decisively beaten 121014 but repeating the same with same device and same settings showed opposite results. Extending up to 272 games did not change the verdict: 121014 had ~30 ELO more and my first test proved to be wrong. Maybe due to a bad version of 121014. I didn't track the versions details, so the mystery will remain.

The RC1 version compiled by Jim Ablett needs a serious test for which i didn't want to waste time as SF6 should come soon. SF6 is expected to add 40-50 ELOs over SF5 as measured by the test network. Normally, Android must be similar.

Remembering that an arm5 compile can lose 35 ELO versus an arm7 compile on an arm7 device, such match between SF6 RC1 arm5 vs SF121014 arm7 requires too many games to issue a trustable result, by definiton. And you know, the pratice often meets the theory in chess.

Android UCI engine update: Glaurung Mainz.JA wih time control fix

Jim Ablett has updated the compile of Glaurung with a time management fix. Though, i didn't notice any issues during my first tests, my time control was set to 60+0 (1 minute for whole game). The update may be then adressed to fix time per move setting that i didn't test.

Anyway, it's a fix and we must just keep the latest binary. Download it: HERE

January 25, 2015

Android UCI engine update: KnightCap 3.7F.JA

KnightCap is an xboard engine written by Andrew Tridgel. It existed as v3.6 previously for Android but some bugs had kept me from including it in my experiments. I hope the new compile of v3.7F, provided again by Jim Ablett, proves to be fully compatible with engine tournaments under Chess for Android. I would really like to push it into the divine ELOmeter!

Download new KnightCap: HERE

Android UCI engine update: Arasan 17.5.JA

A new version of Arasan has been made available by Jim Ablett. You can download it: HERE

Android UCI engine update: Senpai 1.0.JA with fixed TC

Senpai 1.0 compile by Jim Ablett was victim of time control issues causing losses on time while the original version worked flawlessly. This fixed version promises to heal the problem. Don't forget that JA compile shows higher nodes. It should play better.

Download fixed version: HERE

January 24, 2015

Android UCI engine update: Texel 1.05

Another beautiful gift from Peter Österlund. It's very nice to hear he released a new version of Texel for different platforms, including Android.

Regarding Android, it's more than a simple update from 1.05.a8 because the definitive version implements multi core usage, a long awaited feature previously available for Windows but not for Android

Bearing in mind in a quad core device, search speed can increases by 3 to 4 times depending on the code, one can see the added ELO may count more than all other improvements integrated.

Texel is continously improving and this latest version will surely place it higher in rankings. +100 ELO with 4 cores would not be surprising at all. However, don't ask me when i'll test it. I would say "maybe after Jim Ablett stops pouring engines every day" :-)

Download Texel 1.05: HERE

Enough engines today. Some fashion please!

Jessica Alba

Fixed builds for Cilian, K2 and Wing

Three engines compiled by Jim Ablett receive an update of the binaries. If you have downloaded them before, do not forget to replace with below builds which corrects issues like movetime command processing and time management. These are pure fixes and there's no reason to keep old builds.

I have just refreshed the files in the engine collection. Links remain the same but they forward to new files.

New Android UCI engine: JFresh 0.1.JA

JFresh is created and developed by Christian Daley. I don't know how strong it is but now we can check and see on our devices using Jim Ablett's Android port.

The binary can be downloaded from HERE

New Android UCI engine: Napoleon 1.5.0.JA

Jim Ablett has just ported Napoleon to Android, as part of his daily B52 attacks. Hooray, we are hit hard again. Napoleon is a medium strength engine, still under development by its author Marco Pampaloni. Under heavy bombardment, i didn't have time to test it but i hope chess fans will enjoy having a new engine in the panel.

Download Napoleon: HERE

New Android UCI engine: Minace 1.0.JA

We don't exactly know who develops Minace since the nickname 'Zekyll' is not very descriptive. It's an engine around 1700 ELO after all. But i really like all engines below 1800 when they work flawlessly. I'm curious to see if Minace is one of those.

Downlad Minace: HERE

New Android UCI engine: Deep Saros 0.9.JA

Deep Saros is one of the strongest Ivanhoe derivatives. The version compiled by Jim Ablett for Android looks different from the most recent Windows version. It's not surprising at all because all this bunch of derivatives used to be forked by countless involved people who mostly hide their real names. If you google the web, you may encounter hundred versions of Ivanhoe already and you would not discover what's really the difference between.
Even though the roots are subject to millons of forum posts everywhere, we must notice Deep Saros is a top engine, meaning that its level of play is not to be underestimated. Ivanhoe is part of a generation who broke the barrier upwards some years ago and folllowers still keep working on it.

Downlaod and enjoy Deep Saros HERE.

New Android XB engine: Kitteneitor 061513.JA

Kitteneitor by Emilio Diaz was released in 2013 and no update has come since. Its strength is estimated as 1500-1600 ELO on Android. If you're looking for a modest engine, it's a good destination. Download Kitteneitor HERE.

New Android UCI engine: Claudia 0.5beta.JA

Claudia is one the latest generation of engines, still in development by Antonio Garro. The 0.5 beta version was released for Windows first. Now, it comes to Android via rocket compiler Jim Ablett.

I think it will take some more months for Jim to recover all engines released during his absence.

Download and try Claudia beta HERE

January 23, 2015

New Android XB engine: Morphy Chess 1.0.5.JA

Morphy is developed by Dominic C Marcello. I don't know if the playstyle of the engine matches its name but it should be difficult enough to create a program who can play like Morphy, the untitled chess genius of two centuries ago.
Often compared to R.J.Fischer in terms of possessing extreme brain skills, too complex to manage a usual life, Morphy was a personality to examine in details for every chess fan.

Regarding the power of Morphy Chess, don't expect more than 8 years old human Morphy. CCRL ranks it around 1800 ELO. On Android, probably no more than 1700.

Morphy Chess can be downloaded HERE.

New Android XB engine: Resp 0.19.JA

Resp is a relatively old chess engine developed by Peter Rosendahl. I remember it as part of my first engines collections back in the beginning of 2000s where UCI protocol was too new and xboard engines were dominating the field. Thanks go to Jim Ablett for compiling it and enlarging our enginotheque!

The version 0.19 of Resp dates from 2010 and should reach 2100-2200 on an average Android device. You can download it HERE and test.

January 21, 2015

Judit Polgar on Playboy? What?

I'd never thought Playboy was interested in chess. That's why i was first shocked to read such headline on chess sites. After stopping competitive chess play, the legendary female genius J.Polgar had been showing up on some artistic photo shoots to make people think she's going to another direction.

Hopefully the interview and photos inside are not way too different than the issues presenting Garry Kasparov years ago. It's about chess, life etc.
And for those who only heard about Judit Polgar and never seen her (is there anyone like that?), let's underline that the cover photo of the issue does not belong to Judit Polgar :-)

Android UCI engine update: Stockfish 6.RC.JA

Since Jim Ablett restarted compiling engines for Android, a lot of chess fans were expecting him to take a look at latest Stockfish versions. It was quite reasonable given that latest Droidfish version included many improvements but nothing changed on the engine, the same Stockfish version 121014 came in it.

Today, the expectation is fullfilled by the port of Stockfish 6 Release Candidate version. I can't yet confirm it will surpass the 121014 because it's compiled for Arm5 instruction set. Previous benchmarks practiced on Arm5 and 7 versions of Stockfish, extracted from different installations, had shown about 50% speed increase with Arm7 set. Arm5 works well on Arm7 cpu's but they are slower. I'm sceptical by nature, therefore i suggest you test that.

Download Stockfish 6.RC.JA: HERE

In a couple of days, there may be a definitive release of Stockfish v6 together with Android version complied for Arm7 as usual. To follow up on www.stockfishchess.org

As a bonus of the day, Jim did not forget to compile Stockfish 5 either. The same remark applies here as well because official compile of Stockfishchess.org being identical to the one coming with Droidfish, targets Arm7 and might be stronger than Jim's Arm5 compile. My humble guess...

Download Stockfish 5.JA: HERE

January 20, 2015

New Android UCI engine: Pulse Chess 1.5.JA

Pulse Chess is weak engine developed by Phokham Nonava. estimated ELO rating is below 1500. Without any doubt, it's one of those rare engines which let you pratice human victories vs computer programs.

Download PulseChess: HERE

New Android UCI engine: Sayuri 20150117.JA

Updated several times since 2014, Sayuri is not yet a monster engine but it's improving quickly thanks to the efforts of the Japanese developer Hironori Ishibashi. I'm not surprised to see Jim Ablett catching it in the act and compiling the very latest version for Android devices.

Expected ELO of Sayuri around 1600 on Android.

Download Sayuri: HERE

New Android UCI engine: CPW 1.1.JA

CPW is an experimental engine developed by Pawel Koziol (author of Rodent too) and Edmund Moshammer. Its expected rating is around 2100 on Android. The version ported to Android by Jim Ablett was released in 2014 for Windows.
Pawel Koziol
Download CPW: HERE

January 18, 2015

New time controls of CfA v5 to heal problem engines

The new version of Chess for Android will be soon available in Google Play with minor corrections over 5.0.1.

5.0.2 is a nice candidate for exciting engine tournaments using game in x minutes + incerements per move, the way we are more familiar with.

This huge step forward means that, in addition to Jim Ablett's enourmous updates in january, we can bring back the engines labeled "Not good for use with CfA".

In most cases, these engines used to ignore the "go movetime" command and they were either moving instantly or using timers on their own.

I decided to give another try to the abandoned ones and the good news came quick:
* Fruit Reloaded: PASS
* Fairy Max: PASS
* Gödel: PASS
* Octochess: PASS
* Knight Cap: FAIL
* Pawny: FAIL unexpectedly. It still works with Droidfish.
* Sissa: Instant moves again. I checkmated it in 18 moves...
* Minko, GfC, some others: To test later.

These are the results of sample games i've played using 60+1. It's preliminary and longer time controls like 900+1 (the setting i'm planning for Rapidroid) may still reveal issues.

By the way, it must be noted that while some problem engines revive with new time control, many engines currently respecting fixed time per move may become bad boys with Fischer clock. To investigate later on.

New Android UCI engine: Hakkapeliitta 2.0.JA

I won't try to type the name again because I don't wanna make an error. Mikko Aarnos is the developer of this quite strong engine, rated over 2700 on a PC. We owe the Android version to Jim Ablett (to who else would we anyway?).

Download link HERE

Android UCI engine update: Cheng4 0.38.JA

Another great news i've heard yesterday was that, Martin Sedlak, the author of Cheng is back on duty.
Cheng, named without relation to China and simply stripped from "CHess ENGine", is a sort of speedy Gonzales when it comes to hit nodes per second records. Although its play level is not among the Top-10, being present in every TCEC event and causing problems to big ones from time to time is already a sign of appeal.

Thus, the development of Cheng restarted and first outcome is in our hands now with approximately 30 ELO added. Ported to Android today by Jim Ablett. This makes his 28th engine release for Android in January.

Download it HERE, plug it into your GUI and enjoy.