Are there any chess programs, which play gambits? I have two solutions in mind:

  1. It tries to offer situations where one of your moves looks quite promising on the short term (3-5 moves), but later it turns out to be disastrous.

Or the opposite:

  1. It tries to reach positions, which look bad for you, but there's a single line (hard to find), which can save the day.

I guess the difficulty of writing such programs can be that it's not trivial to decide which lines are easy to be found by a human and which aren't. (And that also depends on the skills of the player, so some parameters would be required.)


2 Answers 2


Houdini may be worthwhile checking out. See link.

http://www.cruxis.com/chess/houdini.htm (4th paragraph down)

"The Chess Club Live Facebook page phrased it like this: "If there ever was a computer descendant of the romantic players like Morphy, Anderssen, Spielmann, Marshall, Bogoljubow, Tal, Nezhmetdinov, Shirov, Morozevich it would be Houdini. Houdini is the current World number 1 chess engine and plays in a very romantic style."

I didn't notice when the quote was from because the last time in the TCEC Championship that Houdini was #1 was 2013.

I use Houdini 5. I can attest to the romantic style of play. Quite a change when you are used to seeing how Komodo or Stockfish play. Settings are relatively user friendly.

It is a commercial engine but the developers do offer Houdini 1.5 for free.

  • Referencing section 1 of your opening post. I have played games where it made sacrifices that made me feel like I was gaining the upper hand but either due to poor play on my part, the strength of the engine or a mix of both Houdini won.
    – hangejj
    Nov 9, 2017 at 1:22

Stockfish, among several others (e.g. Fritz), has an aggressiveness parameter; you'll want to look in the 'Play Style' setting, or words to that effect, in the UCI.

A more aggressive engine has a higher propensity to make potentially unsound material sacrifices; it translates to positions where accurate play leads to an advantage, though assessing the ease of finding the refutation is beyond me.

  • (-1). The option has been removed from Stockfish for several years. See github.com/official-stockfish/Stockfish/blob/master/src/….
    – SmallChess
    Nov 8, 2017 at 5:44
  • Furthermore, this answer is irrelevant to the question. The question is about looking for an engine playing dirty tricks, not aggressiveness. There's nothing in the answer that is relevant.
    – SmallChess
    Nov 8, 2017 at 5:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.