I've watched a couple of games where people play against stockfish level 8 on lichess, and they pretty much lose all the time. Is it possible for someone to beat a level 8 computer in any time between 3+0 and 15+0?

  • 1
    The term "Stockfish level 8 computer" doesn't make much sense, maybe you just mean that the engine is set to level 8? :) Mar 3, 2018 at 8:22
  • yeah, the engine is set to level 8, @HarryWeasley
    – David Ni
    Mar 3, 2018 at 18:31
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    @user1583209 SF level 8 is just the default stockfish. The question is about asking anybody could beat SF at fast time control without cheating. Highly unlikely.
    – SmallChess
    Mar 21, 2018 at 18:32
  • @user1583209 I'm sure SF on lichess is just running SF on your browser. Lichess people don't code chess engine.
    – SmallChess
    Apr 24, 2018 at 13:26
  • @SmallChess As far as I understand they do modify stockfish for (at least) some chess variants. Not an expert on this, but I could imagine that some modification is necessary for running SF in a browser. Apr 24, 2018 at 19:06

6 Answers 6


Assuming Stockfish level 8 is full strength Stockfish, it's possible to beat it but extremely unlikely.

In very rare cases, Stockfish will incorrectly evaluate a complicated position, unless given a minute or two to think. If a human were to get in such a position in a 3 0 game, Stockfish could make a fatal blunder.

However, the chances of the human making a mistake first is far greater.

Making the time control longer than 3 0 favors Stockfish, since it has more time to think if it's misevaluating something.

If Stockfish level 8 is only 2200-2400 (I've read this on some online sources), then beating it is more realistic.


IMHO playing against Stockfish level eight is a lost cause when playing against its full 16 quad core processors and basically unlimited flash storage, no matter the time constraints. Magnus Carlson stated a couple of years ago that he always lost against that computer program. The lichess version is but a shadow of its real self.

  • While it is true that Stockfish (and any engine, afaik) can be stronger or weaker based on the hardware on which it runs, I don't understand what you're referring to when you say "...against its full 16 quad core processors and basically unlimited flash storage." Stockfish has no inherent CPU ("full 16 quad core processors") nor memory ("basically unlimited flash storage"). It's a program that runs on hardware, not a piece of hardware in itself. What are you referring to here? Oct 14, 2022 at 17:13

Yes, it is possibile and not so unlikely under two conditions:

  1. the human is quite strong
  2. lichess is browsed via mobile (not on a desktop pc)

Please note that the elaboration is not done serverside, but clientside. That means that it uses (part of) the resources of the hardware you are using when browsing lichess (!).

In other terms if you browse on a mobile the engine will be weaker.

Just today I drew a fast game (I’m near 2300 elo and I run it on a Samsung S8 hw).


Stockfish 8 CANNOT be beaten by a human in such fast time controls. Even strong GMs will face immense difficulty. It is definitely not impossible but it is highly improbable.

  • 1
    i meant SF level 8 Apr 24, 2018 at 12:51
  • I think fast time controls are the only way to beat it. Similarly to how LeelaChess got beaten in an ultra bullet to Andrew Tang, but I think Stockfish might have an opening table, or an equivalent recursive filter, so maybe that might be tough too. Apr 24, 2018 at 14:02
  • I beat stockfish in ultrabullet (after losing about 200 games). Game Link: lichess.org/f6BlPBCMs68t
    – Wais Kamal
    Apr 25, 2018 at 12:24
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    There was a bug in the engine that allowed it to be beaten: lichess.org/3Q0f9dcj. If the engine played that line, it would make a mistake on move 12.
    – ericw31415
    Apr 25, 2018 at 20:47
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    @Aravindakshan.Su But the question is about lichess Stockfish.
    – ericw31415
    May 25, 2018 at 1:48

I used LiChess's Advanced Search feature to search for games with Stockfish level 8 playing blitz. Stockfish has lost against bots multiple times, but I did not find any verifiable losses against humans.

Some wins by Demolisher95 (1; 2; 3) look like plausible human wins to me, with a kind of anti-Stockfish style, but the account states it uses "computer assistance", which makes these wins dubious.

There's a bunch of draws by strong players, e.g. Hungarian GM Gyula Pap achieved this draw (3+2 time control); a Ukranian IM achieved this draw (5+0 time control); a Dutch IM achieved this draw (5+3 time control); Russian FM Anton Maidel achieved this draw (5+3 time control); and so on. These draws were accompanied by multiple losses.

[Some wins by thinkabit (1; 2; 3; 4), Widyana, SexyChessMen, Amir_King1, and caballito64 are almost certainly with computer "assistance", so I disregard these wins.]


This book lists blitz/rapid games won by a human against Stockfish:


My winning games against Stockfish and Komodo. This is for real. I have played over 50 thousand engine games, of which more than 10 thousand against Stockfish, and a large number against Komodo, so I have my fair share of wins. Read the book to learn what openings are suitable to handle the machines, how to impose your style of play, and how to approach the game in a tactically relevant way. The games are amply commented and diagrammed. You thought competition between humans and machines has already ended? Not at all, it has just started!

  • 3
    Those games are fake and made-up. Simple Google would have shown that.
    – SmallChess
    Jun 22, 2018 at 1:13

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