I recently came across a topic on settings for the Firebird engine on Open Chess Forums where a Dr. Wael Deeb has experimented with the parameter setting for thsis engine and claims “The settings are stronger than Houdini and Rybka 4.” He claims to have run over 300 games at long time controls (20 minutes + 20 seconds) against the Rybka,Houdini and eight of the strongest Ivanhoe versions and using his settings, Firebird it won three tournaments in a row without a single loss. Note: These settings are for version 1.1 only.
His settings for the parameters are:
Bishop Pair Value=70
Also now available is the new Firebird 1.2 which is commented by many computer chess specialists as the new strongest chess engine in the world, even stronger than Rybka 3 & RobboLito. Firebird is a UCI windows 'console' application, without any GUI (graphical user interface) that you may use with free programs like Winboard, Arena, Chess-gui or with Chessbase 9 & 10. DOWNLOAD
I have not had time to test any of these engines against Houdini yet, but plan to do so in the near future.