I want to invest my hard-earned money to buy a chess engine which can help me to:

  • analyze games easily
  • experiment with different opening repertoire
  • strategical analysis
  • positional play

I don't expect an answer like, all are good enough to beat a human player, etc. I am not looking for an engine whom I can beat, as I know it's not humanly possible for a 1600 rated player to beat these engines, but my purposes are different (as given above).

So, if you have or use any of these engines, please let me know a comparative detail on which one I should go for.

  • 1
    Don't forget to factor in extras such as end game tables and opening books.
    – Tony Ennis
    Dec 22, 2012 at 15:56
  • 2
    I'm not clear on what sort of comparison you are looking for. Have you used any of these or other engines for analysis before? Is there some feature in particular that you're after? To some degree, any engine works as well as any other (assuming sufficient strength) as a tool for analysis etc.
    – ETD
    Dec 23, 2012 at 15:21
  • @Ed Dean: An engine with a 3000+ rating, is sufficient and strong enough.what i am looking for is features that are embedded with these.for your questionHave you used any of these or other engines for analysis before?it's a matter of commonsense, that a player with a 1600+ rating obviously might have used something earlier,but i haven't used any of these listed above (Rybka, Fritz, or Houdini) or else i won't have asked this question here. I have used Chessmaster GM earlier, and experimented with Crafty, fruit etc.open source engines won't provide xtra features tat a commercial one provides.
    – RajSanpui
    Dec 24, 2012 at 8:12
  • @kingsmasher1, you answer my question with: "it's a matter of commonsense, that a player with a 1600+ rating obviously might have used something earlier." OK, but you might not have as well, which is why my request for clarification wasn't unreasonable at all. "but i haven't used any of these listed above ... or else i won't have asked this question here." It could have been the case, say, that you had used one of these before but not the others, so again I don't think my question was unreasonable. Best of luck.
    – ETD
    Dec 24, 2012 at 14:34
  • @EdDean: Thanks, but finally i ordered a Houdini 3 Pro today with Chessbase (Fritz) interface, the argument being it is the strongest, and the interface provides lots of features like "lets check", "engine cloud", "endgame heuristics" etc. Eagerly waiting for that to arrive. Lets see, how good really it is and what more it has to offer once it arrives.
    – RajSanpui
    Dec 24, 2012 at 14:51

6 Answers 6


I would suggest you look into some open source engines. And tools for analysis. These will be free. Some will be quite fully featured and very very powerful:

Stockfish. Rating: 3121 Critter (free) Rating: 3207

Also, look into SCID: an information database to which you can import millions of games and pair the database with analysis engines, add chess move-engines etc. -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shane%27s_Chess_Information_Database

note 1: there are millions (literally) of master games which have been annotated, and can be downloaded in zipped .pgn files, then which can be imported to SCID for play through etc. So analysis, openings, endgames etc, can all be analysed via scid though whichever engines you decide on (no reason to only have one).

note 2: Crafty finished in second place in the 2010 Fifth Annual ACCA Americas' Computer Chess Championships. Crafty lost only one game to the first place winner Thinker.

note 3: In various computer chess rankings Stockfish 2.1.1 was second or third behind the top gratis program Houdini and the free program Critter.

Good Luck!

  • I don't think the OP is looking for maximum playing strength so much as for top-notch analysis capabilities.
    – Tony Ennis
    Dec 23, 2012 at 0:42
  • Thanks. But can you please also compare these? Deep Rybka vs Houdini Pro vs Deep Fritz?
    – RajSanpui
    Dec 23, 2012 at 5:10
  • @kingsmasher1, out of curiosity do you have much programming experience? As a mathematician, I am a relative novice in chess-engine development: my suggestions are meant to point you in a learning/cost maximization direction. However, I am -myself- working on a stats/pattern matching evaluation engine. Please ask community here to help you compare said engines: I am sure they/we can be of help.
    – bmf
    Dec 23, 2012 at 8:28
  • I am a software developer by profession, having 6 years of professional experience. I have worked with Motorola, Nokia-Siemens-Networks, Sony, and currently at Novell. C, C++ are my primary skill-sets, on Linux platform. However, i won't take the pain of analyzing their source code to see which is a more full-proof and bug free one.
    – RajSanpui
    Dec 23, 2012 at 9:00
  • 3
    @kingsmasher1, great C.V. My point was to suggest looking into some analysis tools which are free (as in beer as well (not just to dive into code)). Sorry I could not be of more help.
    – bmf
    Dec 23, 2012 at 16:11

About a year ago, I chose Houdini. I had read that Houdini excelled at position evaluations while the other engines tried to excel with tactics but seemed inferior with positional concepts. Using Houdini and comparing it with Fritz, I agree that it is positionally stronger. I also observe that Houdini is very strong with tactics. Houdini can quickly find mat in 15 and other things that are beyond my comprehension. But position play and position evaluations are far more important since those concepts often have a longer range impact.


The other answers are a bit old... The best answer is Stockfish 5. Stockfish 5 is rated number one on the rating list


and it's free!


Houdini if you want to spend, Stockfish for a free engine. Houdini is simply the most human-like.

  • I would prefer Houdini since it would make games sharper and more tactical by playing gambits.
    – user24344
    Aug 17, 2020 at 22:32

I would prefer you to buy shredder as per my experience.I honour the suggestions made by others like rybka, stockfish 5, deepfritz etc... but I personally feel that shredder is good as it has helped me improve my game a lot.I started with a mere FIDE rating of 1326 and now have ended up in 2398.In achieving all this shtedder has helped me a lot.You may visit rhe following site to know more about shredder http://www.shredderchess.com. They have also got a free online version of it.


To the best of my chess knowledge I would purchase the best ever software on this earth it is Houdini. It is simply incredible. No software has ever beaten Houdini.

  • 3
    That isn't true at all. First of all, Houdini is stolen code. Second of all, it isn't on top anymore in the ratings list. Stockfish 5 is. Open source ftw. To finish this, lots of engines can beat Houdini. It doesn't play perfect chess. Nothing does. The same reason why Carlsen is beaten by other top GMs.
    – MikhailTal
    Aug 7, 2014 at 20:21
  • 1
    +1. Houdini has stolen code from Robolito, so it's an illegal software. Also, SF 5 is stronger and free.
    – SmallChess
    Aug 8, 2014 at 4:00
  • That and it has a tendency to only play about half a dozen openings. IIRC they're Ruy Lopez, Reti, QGD, Queen's Pawn and 1 or 2 of the centre games. I've never seen it choose to play a Sicilian or Caro-Kann, for example. Whereas Stockfish, Deep HIARCS, Deep Junior and others have a wider or deeper repertoire.
    – Ben
    Aug 13, 2014 at 21:55

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