Chess Engines

12 Strong Free and Open Source Chess Engines

Chess is a recreational and competitive board game played between two players. It is a very popular game, played by millions across the world, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.

Chess has the virtue of being suitable for people of all ages. It has many positive attributes such as to help individuals develop their memory, improve and enhance their concentration, as well as logical thinking. It also promotes and improves imagination and creativity. Chess is one of those games that takes a few days to learn and the rest of your life to master, with the game being a never ending learning process, even for the top players.

The game is played on a square chessboard with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. Each player controls 16 pieces, and the object of the game is to checkmate the opponent’s king.

Linux chess software generally is separated into a “front end” application and a “chess engine”. There is a wide range of chess-playing software for Linux, which can defeat most master players under tournament conditions. Computer chess has been a phenomenal success, aiding chess analysis, and allowing players to play when no human opponents are available. Other types of chess software include chess databases and tournament managers. Chess databases provide a convenient way to store your own games, a time-efficient method to study, and offers access to statistics about your own games and of titled chess players.

Here are strong chess engines. They all run under Linux, free to download, and published under an open source license.

Chess Engines
StockfishStrongest open source chess engine which keeps getting stronger
Lc0 Extremely strong neural network based chess engine
RubiChessUses magic bitboards. This engine is written in C++
NemorinoVery strong UCI-compliant engine
IgelUCI chess engine forked from GreKo
XiphosEmploys modern search techniques and multithreading
LaserA very strong chess engine
DefenchessDesigned to be a strong chess engine. It's written in C++
AndscacsThis engine doesn't appear to be actively maintained
HalogenPowerful chess engine
ArasanIncludes an opening "book" with over 750,000 moves
CombuskenUses the Alpha-beta algorithm

Our recommended chess client is Lucas Chess. This lets you play against many top chess engines.

Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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2 years ago

These chess engines are so strong I cannot beat them even if they give me Queens odds.

Scuba Diver
Scuba Diver
2 years ago

Support Stockfish! Be aware there’s a commercial product that has just taken the entire Stockfish code, made a few tweaks and trying to flog it for a lot of bucks.