Tip of the Week#14

Sherwood, Russell  Sunday, September 12, 2021

Engine rating lists 

It is difficult to compare the relative strength of chess engines, there are many rating lists around, but most of these suffer from a very similar flaw which is the time control that is used in the games used to generate the rating list. It s far too short compared to that used by most correspondence players. 

To use an analogy if you wanted to know who the best middle-distance runner was,would you look at their 100 or 200 m times? No you wouldn't, you'd  look at the middle distance times. So how do we compare engines?

Firstly we know Stockfish is super strong, to gain the best appreciation we have to look at  the results of games played at longer time controls and the longer, the better but this doesn't always give us a true indication either because this is a measure of the engine playing on autopilot, which whilst an indication of how strong the engine can be, is subtly different to that when human input and direction is added on top. 

The general advice that can then be given is to use the rating lists but look at a number of factors:

  1. How the moves of the engine "feel" to you?
  2. How does the engine do in competition against other engines, some are closer to the top as they have a dominance over a specific opponent.
  3. Consider the results of Engines against test sets - this is a much older method of engine testing but one that, for our purposes, is much reliable.


Correspondence ChessTipoftheWeek

Updated Sunday, September 12, 2021 by Russell Sherwood

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