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

November 18, 2016

Download problems with Box: Boxed Bugs for Bucks?

Yes indeed, i've just seen the same download problem on my on PC. Cliclking on the Download button does nothing at all!

Some web topics say it's because of bandwidth limit exceeded, some others are not even seriously answered by the help desk.

Finally i've tried below alternative method with success in Chrome Browser:
1) Copy the link
2) Open an new incognito tab (A regular tab may not work!)
3) Paste the link
4) Manually change "app.box.com...." address to "m.app.box.com...."

The trick is to simulate a mobile browser. As some blog visitors had reported they've got the same problem on PC but not on their smartphones, there should be something related to the O/S. Why it works on Android and not on Windows remains a mystery. I'm boxed...

Android UCI engine update: Chiron 3

Although it shows up as an update to the engine, i've noticed the version number remains the same. The what's new notice is also the same as the previous update.

* Improved parallel search
* Fixed a bug that could make Chiron stall

Download Chiron for Android on GOOGLE PLAY.

Chess Free AI 2.52

I doubt that the second item might be the main reason of the update. Thus i'd rather read it like: "Ad delivery improvements".

* Further minor fix to new book
* Ad stability improvements

Download latest Chess Free AI version on GOOGLE PLAY.

Houdini 5 for Android on the horizon according to Robert Houdart

We really need to make him release H5 for Android before he vanishes again for another three years.

Frankly speaking, who knows how long the magician will be around after TCEC-9 Superfinal, in case H5 can't resist enough against Stockfish 8?

What's another month of wait?

The current standing at TCEC predicts that Stockfish is close to grab the crown back again according to the bad score of Houdini: +1 =18 -6 after 25 games out of 100 to play. The huge ELO boost over H4 couldn't yet recover the gap.

No matter what, i would be more than happy to host Houdini 5 Android in Rapidroid. If my appreciation for the unexpectedly successful comeback is not a strong reason, let me just say how tired i am of seeing the old Critter 1.6 arm5 (now even arm7 and not compatible with Lollipop) still at 3rd place behind Stockfish and Komodo. We need a magician in Android arena!

Follow TCEC-9 Superfinal live on Chessdom.com HERE.

November 14, 2016

Android UCI engine update: Komodo 10.2

The Komodo team finally released the Android port of Komodo 10.2 on GOOGLE PLAY. I'm surprised to see how delayed the porting has been this time following the Windows release.

No matter what, Android users must be happy to receive the most recent version, though there seems to be little to add in terms of ELO strength over Komodo 10. 

Android UCI engine update: Stockfish Matefinder 8 AP

Matefinder is another Stockfish fork maintained by Joseph Ellis. It's dedicated to solve puzzles. The latest version v8, like other forks Brainfish and CFish. I suppose that's because it's based on Stockfish 8.

GET Stockfish Matefinder 8 for all builds

Android UCI engine update: CFish 8 AP

Stockfish official code is written in C++. If you rewrite it using C, you simply get closer to the processor level for extra speed but you sacrifice portability of the code among systems and you face more difficulty in translating the existing. It's kind of a downgrade for a programmer but if it makes your engine run faster, why not?

C++ is much more ergonomic and modern by definition but chess programmers always prefer speed. So CFish is a good idea.

After the release of Stockfish 8, CFish followed the official branch and thanks to Aprijal, we have an Android port of CFish. I can speak about 20% more kNps on my MTK6752 processor compared to SF8. It's by far the fastest Stockfish i've ever had!

GET CFish 8 AP for all builds

Previous versions i forgot to share last month (oops!):
GET CFish 20161017.AP for 32-bit arm7 pie
GET CFish 20161017.AP for 64-bit arm8

Android UCI engine update: Stockfish 8 SE AP

Stockfish SE is a special edition of the engine forked by Michael Byrne. It incorporating some additions to the standard code. I've seen tests around stating that SSE can achieve higher ELO vs official Stockfish in longer time controls. This remains to be verified.

The description of the engine by Micheal says: "A fork of the Official Stockfish, has some features and functions that are not part of the official Stockfish source. Many of these changes were derived from the Stockfish team from pulled requests which were not committed, but which were interesting to me and subsequently incorporated in this unofficial fork of Stockfish.

As one can note above, none of these changes appear to be detrimental to Stockfish playing strength. New in this update , the "study" option from SF Matefinder by Joesph Ellis was added - based on some of the posts here, many of you should enjoy this option. So when one is looking at a position you can quickly get a second opinion without reloading an engine, just check the uci menu box for "study" and you are on your way. Also added the "Clean Search" uci option from Ellis' Matefinder. The "fast play" when mate is found is now a uci option, by default it is turned on. If you want SF 8 SE to keep searching for a shorter mate, check the uci "fast play" menu box off.

And naturally, this has the other features from previous forks, including Multi-PV when using TB's (submitted by Ronald de Man), the uci menu option "throttle" to simulate a slow pc from the 90's, select elo engine strength from the uci menu, which utilizes the 40 different skill levels ( official SF has 20 skill levels) and the fast play when mate is found mentioned above.

One can check out the "study" option from the command line "setoption name Study value true" and then type bench - the bench nodes will be significantly higher. On any position , this will provide a different perspective and, sometimes, a very interesting "second opinion" - very nice work by Joseph Ellis.

GET Stockfish 8 SEE package including all available builds.

Thanks go to Aprijal Pasaribu for compiling them all. 

November 13, 2016

Android UCI engine update: Brainfish 8 AP

It's good to see Aprijal getting back to Android builds after a busy period. I was not quick enough to share in time what he did last week but being late doesn't impact my queue and here i go!

The first release to mention is Brainfish 8 based on Stockfish 8. Aprijal's previous build was extremely voluminous in file size because it included the book. It worked okay for me as far as i could test and the engine played book moves regardless of the GUI settings.

However, i see that this time there's a separate book file to download and use with the engine. It's the default procedure used by some of the Android engines but not all of them can do this without problem even though they are supposed to do so under Android.

I've already heard about Brainfish 8 being unable to read the book when run with Chess for Android. I didn't test it myself, so i leave this to you. After all, Brainfish without book would be the same thing as standard Stockfish.

If you manage to make Brainfish use Cerebellum book with Chess for Android, just let me know.

GET Brainfish 8 AP all builds (1.9MB 7z compressed)
GET Cerebellum Light (The book: 23MB 7z compressed)

Stockfish 8 OEX installer for Android below 4.1

Before i forget, i must notify about Javier Fernandez' alternative Stockfish installer specially packed for users of Android versions below 4.1.

The initial release of the app was dedicated to newer devices working with PIE (Position Independent Executables) without problem. It seems that Javier preferred to pack all NOPIE builds in a separate app, which is quite logical.

Users of Android 4.0.X or older can download the package from GOOGLE PLAY to taste the eighth fish.

Mobialia 5.3

Mobialia is a standalone chess app for Android and it uses Alonso Ruibal's Carballo chess engine. Carballo is not among the top engines as you can see in CCRL rankings but its latest versions came way stronger than before. 
On the other hand, the best part of Mobialia for me are the nice graphics, especially the 3D presentation of the chess board. The app is free without limitations but there's also a paid one without ads.

After a quite long silence, now we have the 5.3 version with below mentioned improvements.

* New database feature allowing to search for games or positions
* New sidebar in the main screen including the database section
* New option "Search Position in DB" in the board screens
* Fix a bug picking a piece that is going to be captured
* Many optimizations in the 3D library
* Some improvements in the PGN parser
* Fix some layouts for small screens
* Updated the chess engine to Carballo 1.7

Download Mobialia from GOOGLE PLAY.

Senior Chess 1.86

Since the last time i'd posted about Senior Chess, two updates were released. You can download the latest version from GOOGLE PLAY.

Version 1.86: Some bugs have been fixed.
Version 1.85: I found out that version 1.84 did not work for Android 4.3. This problem has been fixed.

Chess for Android 5.2.5 with new Modern and Russian piece sets

The new Modern and Russian sets will remind to most users the mobile version of Richard Lang's ChessGenius. It's not a coincidence because they are designed by Bryan Whitby, the same artist.

A notice from Bryan explains: "I initially designed both sets for Richard Lang's ChessGenius handheld computers. Richard still uses my original Modern set whilst Aart will use a slightly updated version. The Russian pieces were designed as an additional set for a recent ChessGenius update only Richard's are silver & black and Aart's are Brown & Silver."

Chess for Android is indeed more attractive with these new goodies.

Download latest version of Chess for Android from GOOGLE PLAY.

November 6, 2016

Video: Why Humans will have fewer and fewer chances against Chess Computers?

A beautiful case to show us how unlikely it is for humans to find the winning move in such not very (or extremely) complex position where a modern chess engine like Stockfish knows how to crush the opponent.

Watch: HERE

If you want to see how long it takes for your engine to find Rc6!!! you may use two links below to load the position on your GUI:
1) Insert FEN string: r4rk1/1b1p2pp/1p1b3q/pP1P1p2/8/P2Q1BP1/1BR2P1P/4R1K1 w - - 0 1
2) Import PGN file: HERE

November 5, 2016

Video: How Computer Chess Changed The World?

HERE's an interesting interview with two members of Deep Blue Team.

Published on Jun 24, 2013
Not long ago, the idea of a computer beating a human at chess was the stuff of science fiction. But some of the most creative programmers of the 1980s and 90s were determined to make it a reality. And they did. In two matches that riveted the world, Deep Blue, the IBM supercomputer, took on the brilliant world chess champion Garry Kasparov, and finally the computer won. Check out WSF's fascinating discussion with computer scientist Murray Campbell, and grand master Joel Benjamin, two key members of IBM's team involved in the epic match-up between man and machine.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for all the latest from WSF.
Visit our Website: http://www.worldsciencefestival.com/
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PARTICIPANTS: Joel Benjamin, Murray Campbell
Original program date: June 1, 2013

Participant introductions. 00:04
When did you meet Deep Blue? 1:05
What were the origins of computer chess? 2:39
The prediction that computer will never win? 5:16
How did you get involved with playing against Deep Blue? 7:41
What was the public's reaction to this technology? 12:30
Did the Deep Blue team have you in mind? 16:55
Why did he quit the game? 21:46
Moving technology to Jeopardy. 24:00
Can a computer figure out protein folding? 25:44

Video: How do modern chess engines work?

Note that this video is not new at all but anything explained here is valid today as well. Presented by Daylen Lang, one of the maintainers of Stockfish website, this briefing explains what are the basics of developing a modern chess engine.

If you never ever watched THIS, you must do so now. 56 minutes, be a god boy, be patient...

Senior Chess 1.84

WHAT'S NEW: Since 16 September the opening book did not work properly. This has been fixed in this version.

Download latest version of Senior Chess for Google Play: HERE

Chess Free AI 2.512

This update fixes a very rare bug in new book look-up.

Download Chess Free AI from Google Play: HERE

Android UCI engine update: Stockfish 8.0 official

Stockfish team hadn't submit an official release of Stockfish 7 but they did this for 8th version. Now chess addicted fishers can download an Android build from www.stockfishchess.org or from my repository using below links.

It's unknown to me who prepared these two builds but one thing remains to remember: Aprijal's builds are running significantly faster than the official ones.
Additional info: Shortly after publishing this post, it's been confirmed that official builds are taken from Droidfish 1.63. Now we know Peter Österlund compiled these.

GET Stockfish 8.0 official for 32-bit arm7 pie
GET Stockfish 8.0 official for 64-bit arm8

November 2, 2016

Android UCI engine update: Stockfish 8.0

Stockfish team has already released Stockfish 8.0 before the Superfinal of TCEC-9 where the fish will have to deal with an old rival coming back to the scene after years of silence. Houdini's return attracts much more attention than Komodo nowadays.

Indeed it's surprising to see such release before the community meets the new TCEC champion but it's not surprising to see many Android builds from all active compilers, coming so quickly. So, there's already a big variety of builds available and at least one should meet the configuration of your device.

Released by Javier:
GET Stockfish 8.0.20161101.JV 32-bit for arm5 pie
GET Stockfish 8.0.20161101.JV 32-bit for arm7 pie
GET Stockfish 8.0.20161101.JV 64-bit for arm8
GET Stockfish 8.0.20161101.JV 32-bit for x86 pie
GET Stockfish 8.0.20161101.JV 64-bit for x64_64

Released by Peter Österlund:
GET Stockfish 8.0.DF163 32-bit for arm5 nopie
GET Stockfish 8.0.DF163 32-bit for arm5 pie
GET Stockfish 8.0.DF163 32-bit for arm7 nopie
GET Stockfish 8.0.DF163 32-bit for arm7 pie
GET Stockfish 8.0.DF163 64-bit for arm8
GET Stockfish 8.0.DF163 32-bit for x86 nopie
GET Stockfish 8.0.DF163 32-bit for x86 pie
GET Stockfish 8.0.DF163 64-bit for x86_64

Released by Aprijal Pasaribu:
GET Stockfish 8.0.AP 32-bit for arm5 nopie
GET Stockfish 8.0.AP 32-bit for arm5 pie
GET Stockfish 8.0.AP 32-bit for arm7 nopie
GET Stockfish 8.0.AP 32-bit for arm7 pie
GET Stockfish 8.0.AP 64-bit for arm8
GET Stockfish 8.0.AP 32-bit for x86 nopie
GET Stockfish 8.0.AP 32-bit for x86 pie
GET Stockfish 8.0.AP 64-bit for x86_64

Stockfish Chess Engine as OEX installer by Javiolo

If you remember CEPA (for Chess Engines Paly & Analysis), you already know about Javier. He's regularly updating this beautiful GUI and each version is bundled by his own compiles of latest Stockfish sources.

For those who wish to directly install Stockfish for generic access by various OEX compatible GUI's, the same author has published an app which accomplishes this task. Those with good memory will remember the same manner from Karl Schreiner's Stockfish Chess app but Javier's is coming with a variety of architectures and also with the brand new Stockfish 8!

As the app will install the engine only, the users need to make sure a compatible GUI is in place. Just follow the instructions.

GET Stockfish Chess from Google Play

Droidfish 1.63 ft Stockfish 8

Peter Österlund's new update is featuring two exciting improvements. The hash info added to the engine PV display is useful when you want to monitor and verify your hash size setting.

...and the long awaited Stockfish 8 is included to complete the Chef's Menu!

Remember that in case you see no change when you increase the hash, you can always force it by creating a blank text file named ".unsafehash" under UCI folder of Droidfish, so that the default max is ignored.

Version 1.63:
* Updated Stockfish to version 8,
* Show engine hashfull information.

GET latest Droidfish from Google Play
GET Droidfish 1.63 apk from my repository

In case of trouble downloading from your PC, use your mobile device or refer to THIS POST.

Chess Free AI 2.51

Chess Free by AI Factory Ltd is updated to v2.51. You can install the latest version of the app from Google Play: HERE

* Adds a new modern compressed opening book with 515000 moves for upper difficulty levels, 700 times bigger than the old book. This will add much more play diversity and depth.
* Levels 6 to 11 also re-graded,
* Levels 1 and 2 weakened, in response to user requests.