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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Recent Results with Stockfish

      For the past several months now I have been using the latest version of Stockfish on Lechenicher SchachServer instead of Houdini (both the free version and H2) and was curious to see how my results compared in the last 33 games where I’ve used SF vs. the last 33 using Houdini.
Houdini +9 -8 =16 (51.5%)
Stockfish +7 -4 =22 (54.5%)
      Percentage-wise Stockfish didn’t make a lot of difference, but I went from +1 to +3 and that is, I think, an improvement.
      However, of late I have been using both engines, relying on H2 in closed positions plus I have tried to spend more time analyzing different ideas in closed positions that are not suggested by the engines. SF tends to be considerably more optimistic/pessimistic in its evaluations and I notice that in closed positions when the engines start aimlessly shifting pieces around (especially Rooks) and don’t seem to be doing anything then it is time to start looking for a human inspired plan. Sometimes many moves later you will find out the evaluation will change one way or the other. Since I have been taking this approach the results improved considerably: +4 -0 =11 (86.4%)! I wanted to enter another tournament last week because one of the players was titled: an ICCF Master. But I messed around and missed the chance.
      What made the following game rather difficult was that at points both SF and H2 couldn’t seem to offer any clear advice: several moves of nearly equal worth, different top suggestions for the engines and different evaluations. The result was that several times I had to forget the engines and rely on my own judgment. Just selecting the engine’s top move doesn’t guarantee a win. They may smash us OTB because they spot tactical errors, but eliminate the tactics and sometimes engines begin to have their ‘doubts’ about what the best move is just like we humans do.

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