z f chess guide to chess software

The Top 10 Chess Engines (& free versions)

graph showing the relative strength of the top engines

Which are the strongest chess engines?

The chart above is based on the IPON rating list (as at 4/11/12), and shows the relative strength of the top engines running on a single core. It can be seen that, in a match, Deep Fritz 13 could be expected to score 0.23 of a point for every point scored by Houdini 3; e.g. a final score might be 81-19 to Houdini in a 100 game match. On systems with multiple processors/cores, Komodo 5 and 3, which are only available in SP versions, wouldn't be so highly placed; my guess is that they would fall somewhere between Rybka 4.1 and Chiron.

Below are the ratings with the release date and cost of the multiple processor version of the engine. Links to their websites are on the right of the page, with free engines in a red border. Critter 1.4a isn't available on the author's website, but the latest version, 1.6a, has virtually the same rating.

pos.nameIPON ratingscorereleasedcost
1Houdini 330871.0010/201240€
Houdini 1.5a30170.6701/2011free
2Komodo 530010.6107/201224€
3Critter 1.4a29810.5412/2011free
Komodo 329720.5208/2011free
4Deep Rybka 4.129590.4803/201165€
5Stockfish 2.3.129580.4809/2012free
6Chiron 1.528450.2512/201128€
7Deep Fritz 1328290.2306/2012100€*
8Naum 4.228290.2303/2010n/a
9Hiarcs 1428160.2108/201260€
Rybka 2.3.228020.1906/2007free
10Deep Shredder 1228000.1910/2009100€**

* Chessbase engine. Includes the Fritz interface and 12 months premium membership at playchess.com. ** UCI engine with the Shredder interface, or a Chessbase engine with the Fritz 12 interface and basic membership at Playchess.