How I'd define a "reckless" move is that a perfect chain of response moves will quickly put the engine at a disadvantage, but any slightly suboptimal response will make the engine win very fast. I guess you could call them "polarizing" moves if that makes sense.

Does any engine/setting/etc. exist that behaves like this?

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    May try pkoziol.cal24.pl/opental Oct 28, 2022 at 20:33
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    Exactly. Ninja'ed. :-) Thus likely a duplicate, although this chess.stackexchange.com/questions/9029/… isn't the one I dimly remember. Oct 30, 2022 at 8:54
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    See also: "sharp" positions Oct 31, 2022 at 13:23
  • What do you mean by "a perfect chain of response moves will quickly put the engine at a disadvantage"?
    – ferdy
    Nov 2, 2022 at 0:30
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    Possibly close is contempt setting in Stockfish. It won't make engine prefer worse moves, but in situation where two candidates have approximate same evaluation high contempt will make it choose "less drawish" move (quoatiton marks due to vagueness of what less drawish actually means). Apr 3, 2023 at 12:42

3 Answers 3


You might be interested in Boris Trapsky, a Lichess bot that "estimate[s] your skill", then plays "interesting, tricky moves for you".


The sentiment above that "engines are built to find the highest win-rate moves" is wrong. Engines are built to find the "best" moves, with the enginemaker choosing the definition of best; it just so happens that most makers of engines are interested in "highest win-rate". The discussion above about only caring about the best move, not the second best, is not a fact of chess engines in general, it's only a fact of chess engines that use maximin.

This engine's goal is to give its opponent some swashbuckling fun, and I believe it uses the "find a move that's crushing against suboptimal responses" method you propose.

  • Very cool, I just played a game and it really feels interesting to play against, I'd say much more fun than the typical medium-difficulty engine.
    – MaxD
    Apr 19, 2023 at 0:49

There are no current engines that currently have a "reckless" setting, but there is no reason that it could not be done.

It is simply because "reckless" moves have a way of making the engine lose more often than it wins. However, the AlphaZero and Leela Chess Zero engines are known for playing aggressive and unpredictable moves that can lead to very sharp positions.


There is no such setting, because engines are built to find the best moves, not the ones against which the best move is "really hard to find". For what it's worth, humans should also not make such moves either. Let's say you make a move that opponent has 20 possible responses to. Of those responses, 19 of them lead to you winning, and the 20th leads to you losing. Do you make the move? If your position is already objectively lost then maybe, but otherwise, I hope you say no.

See my answer to another question for an example.

  • It definetly depends what level you are playing at Apr 25, 2023 at 17:01

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