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Friday, January 4, 2013

Fire 2.2 xTreme

      Fire 2.2 xTreme GH x64 was out for some time but I never paid much attention to it until a couple of days ago.  Apparently it is no longer available for download; I am not sure why. However, it can be downloaded from MediaFire HERE.
      For a while now I have been relying on Critter 1.6a 64-bit for my analysis instead of Houdini 1.5 x64 but decided to run a quick and very unscientific test by playing some engine vs. engine 5-minute games and was kind of surprised at the results.  I am quite aware that this ‘test’ in no way meets even the minimal standards for testing, 5-minute games are not a satisfactory time limit and the Fritz Opening Book may not be a suitable book for all three engines, but the results were still interesting.
      Critter scored +3 -3 =7 against Houdini so I ran some quick games to pit FirexTreme against Houdini. FirexTreme also tied with Houdini with a +2 -2 =5 score.  Then I pitted FirexTreme against Critter.  FirexTreme won that match by a score of +4 -0 =0!
      So, against Critter and Houdini, FirexTreme scored +6 -2 =5.  Of course this hardly constitutes anything even close to being ‘scientific’ and a long match might give totally different results, or even longer time controls for that matter, but the results are worth further investigation.  I could not find FirexTreme on any rating lists, so am not sure how it stacks up against other engines.
      The following game was interesting because Critter misevaluated the ending. After 55.a5 it took Houdini a minute or so to discover the mate while FirexTreme found it faster and also a shorter mate.  Even after several minutes Critter had not found a mate. When I finally played 55…a3 after about 3 minutes Critter started showing a mate in 24 while FirexTreme was showing one in 14.  My impression is that Critter is a little slow in its calculations. Other than that you can’t draw any real conclusions, but it was an interesting…let’s call it a quiz.

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