How many positions per second can the Sesse supercomputer analyze?

3 Answers 3


Obviously, it depends on the position. Since it is not running now, I relied on a Google search, and looked at some images. I am not going to post them since they are copyrighted, but you can do a Google search, and click on images, and find these in order.

In the first, a Carlsen-So game (dead link), after 49.b3, and endgame, Sesse is looking at 49,582,886/nodes per second.

In the second, Carlsen-Donchenko (players not shown in the photo), a middlegame, Sesse is looking at 17,380,039/nodes per second

In a third, Carlsen-Caruana, another endgame, but with more pieces on the board than the first example, Sesse is looking at 27,800,515/nodes per second.

In a forth, So-Carlsen, another middlegame, Sesse is looking at 15,699,501/nodes per second.

I was ready to post my answer, but then I found another one, Caruana-Carlsen, a middlegame, and Sesse is looking at 82,657,387/nodes per second!

So, you can see it really varies a lot, and depends on how complicated the position, but if you are looking for a high-end number, at least 82 million seems to be a good answer, but it could easily be higher.

  • 1
    I read in an article(en.chessbase.com/post/gm-arno-nickel-adams-can-beat-hydra) that a 2005 supercomputer named Hydra can calculate 200 million after it was upgraded. Is Sesse actually less?
    – SubhanKhan
    Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 11:00
  • Yes, and no. Yes, in that the numbers do not lie, and Hydra calculated more. That does not mean that Hydra was faster though. It may just mean that the way Hydra's software compared to the way Sesse uses Stockfish are different...in other words, how the software calculates. One thing that you need to realize is although many people call Sesse a "super-computer", it is just a stronger computer relative to other multi-core computers. It is just an ordinary server. I am an IT consultant, and I regularly work on servers that are stronger than what Sesse is running. Hydra was a cluster with Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 11:17
  • with 32 nodes, so in a way, it was more of a super-computer than Sesse is. I would still bet that Sesse is still much stronger, and it is the software differences that you are seeing, but we will never know for sure. Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 11:18

Wikipedia's article on the World Chess Championship 2018 has the following line on Sesse:

The games were analysed live by the Sesse computer, running Stockfish. The computer uses a 20-core 2.3 GHz Haswell-EP CPU, which is significantly more powerful than standard computers, but not at supercomputer level.

TCEC Stockfish is currently playing with 88 cores and runs at ~200 million nodes per second. If each core contributes exactly the same amount of nps, Sesse should get about 45 million nps.

And yes, 20 cores is significantly more powerful than common personal computers, but very, very far from supercomputer level.

  • 1
    Just to give an idea of scale of a modern top end supercomputer I have recently been involved in the procurement of a ~750,000 core machine. And while big it will certainly not be making a claim for the world's most powerful, probably somewhere in the top 20 or so.
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 15:19
  • 2
    AFAIK, you can have a personal computer with 20 cores if you're willing to pay for it. They're not exactly common, but they're not unicorns either. Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 16:15
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    @user253751 the highest end threadripper CPU (which is still technically meant for personal [but enthusiast] use) will get you 64 cores/128 threads. It'll also cost you $4kUSD...
    – mbrig
    Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 17:36

Monitoring Carlsen-Nepo game right now. It shows: "42,879,905,610 nodes, 203,357,230 nodes/sec, depth 58 ply (41 selective), 1,129,044 Syzygy hits" after move 11. So it's around 200M positions per sec. The HW used is also shown there at the bottom of the page: "main analysis: 200x2.0GHz Ice Lake-SP (OpenMPI), multi-PV search: 112x2.25GHz Zen 2"

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