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World's Strongest Chess Program for Free


Is it really true? Or am I just flattering you. No, it's absolutely true (with a few small catches). The Rybka UCI chess engine is available for you to download for free. According to the CETG computer rating list, the version that is free to download is rated 2961 on 2 CPUs or 2929 on 1 CPU.

The word 'rybka' means little fish in Russian. Rybka took the computer chess world by storm a couple of years back and has lead the rating lists ever since. It is currently (at the time of writing) leading in all significant computer chess rating lists (including SSDF, CEGT, WBEC and CCRL).

The freeware download comes with two main catches. Firstly, it is not the strongest version of Rybka at the moment. 'Rybka 3.0 x64 4CPU' is currently destroying the competition with a rating of 3238 on CEGT. The version available for download is Rybka 2.2n2 (including the opening book), which is nevertheless one of the strongest free engines available. It is much better than the 'Rybka 1.0 Beta' that they used to offer.

The second catch is that you need an interface to run the engine under. I will discuss a few possible interfaces:

Fritz or Aquarium (recommended)

If you already have Fritz (commercial program), it is easy to install Rybka 2.2n2. Simply copy and paste the executable file into your 'engines' folder, under C:\Program Files\ChessBase\Engines. Then open Fritz and go to Engine --> Create UCI Engine. Select the relevant Rybka executable file in your 'engines' folder and you can now run the engine. I have used Rybka 2.2n2 for a while now and it works seamlessly on the Fritz interface.

Aquarium GUI (graphical user interface) is another interface designed to take "full advantage of all Rybka features". I have not tried this software before, but the interface seems to be quite intuitive. Click here to try the Rybka Aquarium demo.

Free interfaces

Some people don't like to spend money. I have a few solutions for you.

Arena is a freeware GUI for chess engines by Martin Blume, which runs on Windows. It supports chess databases and runs Rybka. Click here to see instructions of running Rybka in Arena.

Tarrasch is another free GUI with a simple and extremely easy to use interface. It comes with Rybka 2.2n2 preinstalled. You can play against Rybka with ease. Click here to see the link to the version of Tarrasch with the preinstalled Rybka. Or go to the Tarrasch homepage.


So that's it! If you can live with those two catches, the free Rybka download will be a breeze for you.

Click here to download Rybka 2.2n2 from the official website.

You can find updated information regarding chess engines on the GeniusProphecy Chess Blog.

To purchase products, I recommend Wholesale Chess. They provide the highest quality chess products at the lowest prices (especially for US and Canadian players). They even offer to match prices with other chess websites! Even though I live overseas, this is where I choose to purchase chess goods.


Posted by Webmaster on Sunday, December 13, 2009 (edited 19/08/10).


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