It has been an extraordinary year for everyone, but no less so in computer chess. You would be forgiven for thinking we had seen the last major revolution in the field, thanks to AlphaZero and all the works it inspired and spawned. The neural network technology they created was staggering and incredible, and while it is still being explored and worked on, a new development has come to the chess world thanks to chesss Japanese sibling, Shogi.
Although the AlphaZero neural network is extremely powerful overall, and consequently Leela and Fat Fritz, it is held back by the need to use a GPU (graphics processor) to read it, slowing it down by over a thousand times compared to traditional speed demons such as Stockfish and Komodo. That it could still compete with them on equal terms in spite of this handicap speaks volumes on just how powerful those neural networks are.
Still, this came at a price too. The nature of its search, averaging the various outcomes, good or bad, led to a strongly exploitative style, but could fail in technical endgames or positions where surgical precision was needed. The dream of combining a large and powerful neural network with the speed and accuracy of Stockfishs search seemed just that: a dream.
As chess players we naturally think of AlphaZero as a chess engine development first and foremost, whilst acknowledgingGo was its originator. It is easy to forget that the AlphaZero paper described its applications to three strategy games, not two, the third being the Japanese chess game known as Shogi.
Unsurprisingly, the shogi world was no less shaken up by the AlphaZero paper, but instead of just trying to reproduce it, a Japanese programmer, Yu Nasu, developed and published agroundbreaking paperfora different neural network architecture known as NNUE, inspired by DeepMinds success, whichran at full strength exclusively ona computer processor with no need for avideo card.
Just asAlphaZero and the first edition of Fat Fritz, NNUEalso builds it own chess knowledge by learning from chess positions and evaluations. NNUE completely revolutionized Shogi programs, leading to leaps of well over 100 Elo!It was their developers who shared their work with the chess world by adapting their open source Shogi NNUE code to the open source programStockfish. Based on the success of Stockfish 12, the first chess engine to implement NNUE, numerous other engine authors have also added NNUE into their work, such as the recently released "Dragon" by the Komodo team.
Order Fat Fritz 2 in the ChessBase Shop now
Fat Fritz 2 is trained and developed using this NNUE technology, runninginside the open source Stockfish binary, butwith a completely new and different neural network that differs significantly from Stockfish's on a couple of key points:
After all, if an elite neural network could be trained from just Stockfish evaluations, imagine what it could do with the sophisticated knowledge of Fat Fritz!To this end, some four billion positions were generated on thousands of hours of the most powerful graphics cards to train it.
So what was the result of this larger neural network with deeper chess knowledge?Ina large test at 1 minuteplus 1 second, Fat Fritz 2 scored +42 Elo over Stockfish 12.Click to download the PGN games.
Score of Fat Fritz 2 vs Stockfish 12:
286 wins / 99 losses /1167 draws
Elo difference: 42.1 +/- 8.5, LOS: 100.0 %, DrawRatio: 75.2 %1552 of 1552 games finished.
Note: the reason for the odd number of games is that the suite used has 776 positions, which with reversed colours leads to 1552games.
Also, there is reason to believe that its endgame play is superior overall, though even if true, exceptions will no doubt be found. Here are a few examples:
This has often been a very tough one for engines, even when enjoying all the tablebases available. Using a modest sixcores to emulate laptop users or those with less than premium desktops, here are the results of Stockfish 12 and Fat Fritz 2:
Analysis by Stockfish 12
While taking 37 seconds might not seem like a big deal, most people will not spend that long with an engine on a position unless they already suspect there might be something to uncover.
Analysis by Fat Fritz 2
Five seconds! True, this is but a single position, yet there is a reason Shirov's move remains in modern test sets to this day.
Another curiosity actually comes from an article published a few months ago by GM Karsten Mueller. He had asked for the analysis of a development version of Fat Fritz 2, and in itone of his moves had been refuted badly... much to his delight. The reason for his pleasure was that it showed new engines might become even more valuable tools in complex endgames.
Here Fat Fritz 2gave a winningline starting with 52...e7.
This same position was then shown to Stockfish 12, which had access to 30 threads, 7-piece tablebases, and after nine billion nodes it declared 52.d6 was winning and its choice.
There doesn't seem to be much doubt with such a high evaluation, does there?
Was this a case of more than one move doing the job? 52.d6 was then shown to Fat Fritz 2, but it declared this move and line a draw! According to it,there was a blunder just five plies into Stockfish's 50-ply mainline.
Instead of 56.h3? as shown above, Fat Fritz 2's 56.Nb4! saves the game. Granted, none of this is absolute proof, but this sort of thing has been common enough to stand out.
Regardless, it is clear Fat Fritz 2 is an enormous step forward, and will offer fantastic analysis and pleasure to all who use it. Anyone who felt left out, due to the previous need to use a powerful video card to reap the benefits of a world-class neural network, can now rejoice asthis is no longer required.
Order Fat Fritz 2 in the ChessBase Shop now(best by download, to get it immediately)
No such work is the result of one person, whether directly or indirectly, and this is no less true of Fat Fritz 2.
Deepest thanks and gratitude go to my friend Daniel Uranga, a brilliant Argentinian programmer who helped realize and test every mad idea I came up with, and there were many. His help was invaluable and his skill has now been deservedly recognized by Amazon who recently hired him and brought him to the UK.
Also, warmest thanks to my friend Dietrich Kappe who is an endless source of useful scripts and ideas, and who helped take the project to the next level. His friendship and generosity cannot be overstated.
Finally, where would any of this be without the fabulous Stockfish team and their legion of contributors, as well as Yu Nasu for his groundbreaking NNUE work, and Tanuki (nodchip) for his translation of the Shogi code for use in chess.
- Grand Chess Tour Returns to Board With Superbet Classic in Romania - uschess.org - June 11th, 2021
- Abhimanyu Mishra: World's youngest grandmaster in the making - THE WEEK - June 11th, 2021
- Catch The Clash's grand champions in today's episode of 'Rise Up Stronger: The Road to NCAA Season 96' - GMA Network - June 11th, 2021
- Chess on the water at Hempel World Cup Series - Allianz Regatta - International Sailing Federation - June 11th, 2021
- Aamir Khan to battle Viswanathan Anand in a game of chess to raise money for fighting Covid-19 - The Indian Express - June 11th, 2021
- Asian Zonal Hybrid Chess Ranindu wins to reach third place - nation.lk - The Nation Newspaper - June 11th, 2021
- FTX Crypto Cup: Caruana wins the prelims, Carlsen and Nepo qualify - Chessbase News - May 30th, 2021
- Throwback Thursday: Ivanchuk wins the 2016 World Rapid Championship - Chessbase News - May 18th, 2021
- Anish Giri wins the Mr Dodgy Invitational again! - chess24 - May 18th, 2021
- US Trainer Khachiyan Recognized by FIDE, Wins First Liu Wenzhe Award - uschess.org - May 18th, 2021
- Coronavirus | Good response to GMs moves - The Hindu - May 18th, 2021
- MDI 2, Day 2: Jobava dances to win over Grischuk - chess24 - May 18th, 2021
- On chess: Grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi Wins FIDE Candidates, Qualifying To Face face Magnus Carlsen In The World Chess Championship - St. Louis... - May 5th, 2021
- How NOT To Improve At Chess - Chess.com - May 5th, 2021
- Editors Picks: 11 Events for Your Calendar This Week, From a Chess Grandmaster at the Rubin to a Modern Spin on Artemisia Gentileschi - artnet News - May 5th, 2021
- Let's talk about the Candidates... with Eric van Reem and Jonathan Tisdall - Chessbase News - May 5th, 2021
- The Mind Hack Will Smith Uses to Stay Focused and Motivated - menshealth.com - May 5th, 2021
- Nepomniachtchi: 'I Don't Have The Tendency To Downgrade Myself' - Chess.com - May 5th, 2021
- The Armageddon of cancel culture - TheArticle - May 5th, 2021
- Fischer, Karpov and Kortschnoi - Chessbase News - May 5th, 2021
- Candidates Round 14: Ding, MVL and Alekseenko finish on a high note - Chessbase News - May 5th, 2021
- World #6 chess grandmaster compares watching esports to watching chess - PC Gamer - April 21st, 2021
- Worth the Wait in Gold: Caruana Wins in Candidates Restart - uschess.org - April 21st, 2021
- Will Smith Reveals His Favorite Moment From 'The Pursuit of Happyness' - Yahoo Entertainment - April 21st, 2021
- Square Off is a smart chessboard that lets you challenge opponents anywhere - Boing Boing - April 21st, 2021
- Lime and its competitors plan to flood parts of NYC with e-scooters - Mashable - April 21st, 2021
- Rising Through The Ranks: Queens 12-Year-Old Has Eyes On One Day Being Chess Grandmaster - CBS New York - April 5th, 2021
- Explained: Can Grandmasters cheat in online chess and get away? - The Indian Express - April 5th, 2021
- an ode to chess - The Brown Daily Herald - April 5th, 2021
- FIDE World University Championship Participants Disqualified Without 'Proof Of Actual Cheating' - Chess.com - April 5th, 2021
- BINGE IT!: Netflix's 'The Queen's Gambit' teaches the game of life through chess - WALB - April 5th, 2021
- On Chess: Online Chess Interest Soars Since The Start Of The Pandemic - St. Louis Public Radio - April 5th, 2021
- Instructive endgames from the European Club Cup - Chessbase News - April 5th, 2021
- The Meeple Guild: Chess in Canada: Part II - Yorkton This Week - April 5th, 2021
- Euro Club Cup: Clichy and Deizisau in the lead - Chessbase News - April 5th, 2021
- Chess: Guildford, unbeaten for eight years, find the strongest ever Eurocup a bridge too far - Financial Times - April 5th, 2021
- IBM's New Debater AI is a Terrible Idea, Here's Why - Digital Information World - April 5th, 2021
- Go From Chess Beginner To Master With This Mega Bundle Of Courses, Now Less Than $40 - IGN Southeast Asia - February 20th, 2021
- AI mistakes black and white chess chat for racism - The Independent - February 20th, 2021
- This aluminum chessboard and its iconic chess pieces have been crafted for the millennial grandmasters - Yanko Design - February 17th, 2021
- AICF to start Indian Chess League - The Indian Express - February 17th, 2021
- Why our relationship with young achievers is so complicated - BBC News - February 17th, 2021
- Chess: Wesley So notches another title at world No. 1 Magnus Carlsens expense - ABS-CBN News - February 17th, 2021
- Were all content businesses: esports orgs borrow from the media owners playbook in search for new revenues - Digiday - February 15th, 2021
- Titled Tuesday: Svidler Winning With Grunfeld - Chess.com - February 12th, 2021
- A chess game without chess - Knight's Retreat is now on Xbox One, Series X|S, PS4 and Switch - TheXboxHub - February 12th, 2021
- The Queen's Gambit and The Modern Era of Chess - The Oberlin Review - February 12th, 2021
- Opera Euro Rapid QF: Carlsen, So and MVL off to winning starts - Chessbase News - February 12th, 2021
- Morning sports update: Bart Scott thinks Patriots fans will run Bill Belichick out of town without quarterback fix - Boston.com - February 12th, 2021
- LeBron James' longevity and consistency will define him in the end as Los Angeles Lakers push for another title - Sky Sports - February 12th, 2021
- Loving the Alien | chess24.com - chess24 - February 10th, 2021
- Levon Aronian's mother speaks in defense of her son - Information-Analytic Agency NEWS.am - February 10th, 2021
- The Queen's Gambit: Why Beth Ending Up Single Was The Best Choice - Screen Rant - February 7th, 2021
- Chess grandmaster rates 7 chess scenes in movies and TV for accuracy - Insider - Insider - February 6th, 2021
- Equity derivatives house of the year: Citi - Risk.net - February 6th, 2021
- Chess Is a Netflix Star. How About Other Games? - The Wall Street Journal - February 6th, 2021
- Four Americans to Play in Third Champions Tour Event - uschess.org - February 6th, 2021
- Here are some films based on sports that are in the pipeline - The Tribune India - February 6th, 2021
- Soccer looks to AI for an edge: Could an algorithm really predict injuries? - ESPN - February 6th, 2021
- How the Queens Gambit Made Me a Better Investor - Wealth Morning - February 6th, 2021
- Nihal Sarin: Well-guided and on the right path - Sportstar - February 4th, 2021
- Shane Battier says there was no player he wanted to beat more than Kobe - Silver Screen and Roll - February 3rd, 2021
- COLUMN: Hobbies are essential in the pandemic - The Depaulia - February 1st, 2021
- Tony Romo on Super Bowl for Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes - The Athletic - February 1st, 2021
- What Thanos Black Order Did After His Death in the Comics - Screen Rant - February 1st, 2021
- 15 People Whose IQs Are Higher Than Albert Einstein's and What They Do For a Living - nation.lk - The Nation Newspaper - January 28th, 2021
- Chess: Carlsen loses to 18-year-old Russian as a new generation surges at Wijk - Financial Times - January 26th, 2021
- Niemann on Earning the GM Title | US Chess.org - uschess.org - January 26th, 2021
- The ultimate Grandmaster | Opinion | kelownadailycourier.ca - The Daily Courier - January 26th, 2021
- "The game of the lady" on Netflix, "Grandmaster" for chess players - Vaughan Today - January 25th, 2021
- Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2021 hosts Checkmate with World Champion Viswanathan Anand in conversation with Boria Majumder - United News of... - January 25th, 2021
- Nano Dimension Appoints Dr. Eli David to the Board of Directors - GlobeNewswire - January 25th, 2021
- Nano Dimension Appoints Dr. Eli David to the Board of Directors - StreetInsider.com - January 23rd, 2021
- What does it take to be a grandmaster chess champion? | Watch News Videos Online - Globalnews.ca - January 20th, 2021
- Who are the Botez Sisters, one of chess's most popular streamers? - Sports Interactive Network Philippines - January 20th, 2021
- Pop artist Keith Haring exhibit now on display at the St. Louis World Chess Hall of Fame - KTVI Fox 2 St. Louis - January 20th, 2021
- The best make a welcome return to the chessboard - Washington Times - January 20th, 2021
- How to learn chess online: Beef up your skills with these courses - Mashable - January 20th, 2021
- This wooden chess, checkers, and backgammon set will definitely class up your game night - Boing Boing - January 20th, 2021
- Soviet humour and the Great Yoghurt Gambit - TheArticle - January 20th, 2021