The Week in Chess

Friday, February 7, 2014

Stockfish 140204 Mated Houdini 4 Pro with 2 Knights!

Today, I was casually watching a test match between Stockfish 140204 vs. Houdini 4 Pro when suddenly I saw something I had never seen in my lifetime - a mate with just 2 Knights in the endgame!  It was even more astonishing to know that the second strongest engine - Houdini was the victim by Stockfish. It is remarkable that the time control applied was only 20 seconds base + 500 milliseconds increment, there is no assistance with endgame tablebases and the computer used is an old AMD dual core with 4GB RAM.  Even with sub-second per move, a chess engine is still capable of "thinking right" that human grandmasters may not be able to beat easily.

Endgame textbooks tells us that with just 2 Knights in the endgame, it is a book draw. I read numerous chess books and magazines and had not encountered a game that showed a mate with 2 Knights. Probably every chess player had not yet seen such a real thing with 2 Knights mate.

Here is the gem I will treasure forever:



  1. Forgive my ignorance, but do the engines use tablebases in this tournament?

    1. I do not use endgame tablebases in my rating list.

  2. Quite awesome but a mate is possible if there are enemy pawn(s). The only time a mate is impossible is if it's a king and two knights vs a lone king. In this case, stockfish had two knights and houdini had 2 pawns, a mate is possible. The trick is not to capture the long as there are enemy pawns, a mate is possible with good play.

  3. Yes, that's right. What I am trying to convey is the rarity of this thing in actual strong tournament if it ever exists. I have not come across yet with the real mate with 2 knights in the endame until this one.

  4. Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post. The whole blog is very nice found some good stuff and good information here Thanks..Also visit my page chess beginners -  On this website we will show you how to win your chess games. Depending on your current knowledge we have several tips how you can improve your game.

  5. Y por el lado de los aplicativos.
    El programa Houdini será el motor de ajedrez domínante hasta el año 2014, para luego, desde el año 2016, ser superado largamente por los programas de código abierto como Stockfish 20160215 y Gull 6.

  6. In accordance with Nalimov EGTB move 87.Kc8-b8 was a loss in 19, Kc8-d8 is the continuation in the drawish zone.


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