I downloaded Arena 3.5.1, and then downloaded stockfish from https://stockfishchess.org/ it had 4 files:

stockfish_8_x32.exe stockfish_8_x64.exe stockfish_8_x64_bmi2.exe stockfish_8_x64_popcnt.exe

I loaded the four engines to Arena, but it always says at the top (2000), which means level 2000, how do I make it level 3000+?

Also when I am playing on Arena, it takes 15 seconds and more for each step from the computer to play, is this right?

Thanks, am still new to all these things.

  • I'm like 4 years late, but the reason Stockfish plays slowly is likely because the default time control in Arena is something like 2 minutes + 6 seconds increment. For a faster paced game you can change the time control through the Arena GUI: Levels --> Adjust and there set whatever time control you want.
    – koedem
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 8:54

2 Answers 2


You need only one of the four engine files. The four executables are compiles of the same source code for different CPUs. They differ in speed only; sorted in descending order these are: stockfish_8_x64_bmi2.exe, stockfish_8_x64_popcnt.exe, stockfish_8_x64.exe, stockfish_8_x32.exe. Keep the fastest which runs on your system and delete the other three.

I loaded the four engines to Arena, but it always says at the top (2000), which means level 2000, how do I make it level 3000+?

This number doesn't set the playing strength. It has informative purposes only. You can change it as follows:

  1. Open 'Engine Management' (F11).
  2. Click the 'Details' tab and select Stockfish from the list.
  3. Click the 'Information' tab in the right part and type the desired value into the 'Rating' field. If this field is empty, a default value of 2000 will be used.
  4. Close the dialog and start a new game to display your new setting.

You can't set Stockfish to play at a given Elo level. If you want to weaken it, change the Skill Level in the engine settings (Ctrl+1, if it's loaded as 1st engine). '0' is the weakest setting and the default value '20' means full strength.


Are you beating it when it says 2000?

As of December 2016 Stockfish 8's Elo computer rating was 3478 as seen CCRL. This was calculated by pitting Stockfish against other Chess engines under controlled conditions and compiling statistics. The testing framework used by Stockfish in those competitions can be found HERE.

Rest assured that the 2000 you're seeing is more a problem with Arena's inability to calculate a meaningful rating, than Stockfish's ability to play at the highest levels.

In order for any rating to be believable, lots of games (data) in controlled conditions needs to be seen (for humans those are competitions). I'm apt to believe the CCRL rating before Athena.

Athena is known to struggle with accurate rating calculations. So to answer you: be wary of believing Athena.

  • Which good engine player would be the fastest and the hardest? Arena is really slow, and it doesn't show the real rating of opponent.
    – Jacky
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 4:05
  • Arena is only a user interface for Chess engines. If you don't like Arena, find another GUI. With respect to chess engines, I use Stockfish daily found here: abrok.eu/stockfish or I use Fire5 found here: chesslogik.wixsite.com/fire/download
    – user34445
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 4:18
  • Check out the first link above (CCRL). Those are all the best chess engines playing each other. You want a good one? Pick one from there. Also with respect to chess interfaces other than Athena (which I like) consider looking at SCID or SCIDvsPC. Their ability to use chess databases makes them incredibly useful tools for study.
    – user34445
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 12:46

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