The team behind the open-source chess engine Stockfish has recently announced the availability of Stockfish 16. If you’ve ever played against a computer engine and got whupped, Stockfish 16 can whup those engines, it’s that powerful.
According to the developers, this new release has been self-playing against the last major release, Stockfish 15 and after lots of games its Elo rating is up to 50 points higher. That means that Stockfish 15 can win some of the time, but the odds are always in Stockfish 16’s favour - it wins up to 12 times more game pairs.
Discussing the progress that had been made in this update, the Stockfish team said:
“This updated version of Stockfish introduces several enhancements, including an upgraded neural net architecture (SFNNv6), improved implementation, and refined parameterization.
The ongoing utilization of Leela’s data combined with a novel inference approach exploiting sparsity, and network compression ensure a speedy evaluation and modest binary sizes while allowing for more weights and higher accuracy.
The search has undergone more optimization, leading to improved performance, particularly in longer analyses. Additionally, the Fishtest framework has been improved and is now able to run the tests needed to validate new ideas with 10,000s of CPU cores.”
Stockfish, with changes available in Stockfish 16, has played in several computer chess tournaments and won the TCEC season 24 Superfinal, Swiss, Fischer Random, and Double Random Chess tournaments and the CCC 19 Bullet, 20 Blitz, and 20 Rapid competitions.
In most of those tournaments, Stockfish had reached the finals with Leela Chess Zero, another chess engine. The Stockfish team noted that this means the top chess engines are under free and open-source software licenses.
Aside from all the engine improvements, the team said that Stockfish now includes documentation inside the wiki folder when you download the engine, you can also read it on GitHub. It includes guides for users looking to start using Stockfish and for developers who want to compile the engine from the source, include Stockfish in their projects, or contribute to the project.