15 Best AI Chess Engines to Play Online (Your Brain vs. Silicon)

Best AI CHESS to Play Online

Are you ready to experience the cutting-edge of chess competition? AI chess engines have revolutionized the way we play, learn, and analyze the game. With their uncanny ability to calculate millions of moves per second and their deep strategic understanding, they offer a level of challenge and insight unmatched by most human opponents. In fact, the world's top chess engine, Stockfish 15, boasts an estimated Elo rating well above 3500, surpassing any human grandmaster.

Whether you're a seasoned chess enthusiast seeking a worthy adversary or a newcomer looking to rapidly improve your skills, there's an AI chess platform out there for you. In this guide, we'll uncover the top 15 AI chess tools available online, revealing their unique strengths, features, and how they can elevate your chess experience. Get ready to test your mettle against the silicon strategists!

AI CHESS to Play Online

AI chess refers to chess games played against computer programs known as chess engines. These engines are powered by advanced artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that can analyze millions of chess positions per second, strategize, and execute moves with incredible precision.

AI chess has revolutionized the game in many ways:

  • Unmatched Opponents: Top AI chess engines now surpass the skill of any human player, offering relentless practice partners and teachers. No matter your skill level, there's an AI opponent calibrated to challenge and improve your game. Whether you're a beginner looking to learn the fundamentals or a seasoned player seeking to refine your strategic thinking, AI chess engines can provide the perfect level of competition.
  • Powerful Analysis Tools: AI engines can dissect your games, pinpointing weaknesses and suggesting improvements far beyond what most human coaches could provide. Analyze past games move-by-move, identify recurring patterns in your play, and receive targeted suggestions for improvement. AI can also help you explore variations of past games, visualize different strategies, and assess the potential consequences of your moves.
  • Accessibility: AI chess is available on various websites and apps, allowing you to play and improve from anywhere. With your phone or computer, you can access a world-class chess trainer anytime. This flexibility makes AI chess a valuable tool for busy schedules, allowing you to squeeze in a quick game or analysis session whenever you have a free moment.
  • Training Innovation: Players can study games played by top AI engines, gleaning insights into novel strategies and opening ideas. Witness cutting-edge chess theory in action, and incorporate these innovative concepts into your own repertoire. By observing how AI engines approach the game, you can gain a deeper understanding of chess principles and discover new ways to outmaneuver your opponents.

Humans vs. Machines: 15 AI Chess Bots to Battle

AI Chess Games OnlinePRICING
LichessFree
Apha ZeroFree
FreeInternetChessServerFree
StockfishFree
Komodo Chess$59/month
Shredder Chess$3.99/month
Hiarcs$54.59/month
Rybka$99.90/month
ChessableFree
Fritz$99.90/month
Leela Chess ZeroFree
Houdini Chess$59.90/month
FIDE Online ArenaFree
PlayChessFree
Red Hot PawnFree

1. Lichess

Lichess

Lichess is a free, open-source online chess platform founded in 2010 by French programmer Thibault Duplessis. With over 5 million games played daily by its millions of users, Lichess has grown to become the second most popular chess website after Chess.com.

True to its name, which combines “libre” and “chess”, Lichess is entirely free to use and ad-free, relying on user donations rather than ads or subscriptions. Its interface is clean and intuitive, facilitating easy online play across desktop and mobile.

Beyond playing games, Lichess offers users a full suite of tools to analyze games, solve puzzles, and improve their chess. These educational features, combined with a vibrant user community and commitment to accessibility, are key reasons for Lichess's immense popularity.

Key Features:
Millions of opponents across various ratings and time controls
Visual evaluation of moves and positions
Share and discuss games
Thousands of tactical, endgame & pattern recognition puzzles
Interactive lessons for all levels
Teams and tournaments
Multiple languages
Keyboard shortcuts

Pricing:

Lichess is 100% free to use with no paid subscriptions or features. All tools and services are available for free.

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

Strong anti-cheating measures
Comprehensive game analysis tools
Thousands of puzzles and lessons
Active community features like forums and teams

Cons: 

Smaller player pool than some competitors
Analysis tools have a steep learning curve

2. Alpha Zero

Alpha Zero

AlphaZero is a revolutionary artificial intelligence system developed by DeepMind that mastered the games of chess, shogi, and Go.

First introduced in 2017, it uses a novel combination of reinforcement learning and neural networks to learn superhuman gameplay purely by playing against itself, starting tabula rasa with no domain knowledge except the rules.

Within just a few hours of self-play, AlphaZero achieved a superhuman level of play, handily defeating the world's best chess engine Stockfish and Go engine AlphaGo Lee. It represents a major advance in artificial intelligence and the ability for systems to acquire complex game mastery through self-supervised learning.

Key Features:
Self-play reinforcement learning system
Monte Carlo tree search married with deep neural networks
Tabula rasa learning without human gameplay data
Learned chess in 4 hours
Learned Go in 3 days
Generalizable to any perfect information, two player game

Pricing:

No pricing available.

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

Cutting edge self-supervised artificial intelligence
Decisive victories against top human and computer players
Generalizability to any rule-based game

Cons: 

Not easily reproducible outside large tech companies
Limited real-world applications so far beyond games

3. FreeInternetChessServer

FreeInternetChessServer

FreeInternetChessServer, commonly known as FICS, is a pioneering online chess platform that has been a staple in the chess community for over two decades. Established in 1995, FICS is a free, open-source, and community-driven server that provides a virtual space for chess enthusiasts from around the world to connect, compete, and improve their skills.

Powered by a dedicated team of volunteers, FICS offers a wide range of features and services, including real-time multiplayer games, tournaments, puzzles, and analysis tools.

Whether you're a casual player or a seasoned competitor, FICS provides an inclusive and engaging environment for chess enthusiasts of all levels.

Key Features:
Real-time Multiplayer Games around the world
Play against AI opponents with adjustable difficulty levels for practice and skill development
Participate in organized tournaments, team matches, and special events hosted by the FICS community.
Improve your tactical skills and problem-solving abilities with a vast collection of puzzles and exercises.
Analyze your games and explore alternative moves with powerful analysis tools
Ha access to Community Forums and Chat
Available on Windows, macOS, Linux, and mobile platforms

Pricing:

FreeInternetChessServer is a free, open-source platform. There are no subscription fees or charges for accessing its core features and services.

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

Completely free to use, with no hidden costs or subscriptions
Vibrant and active community of chess players
Offers a wide range of features, including multiplayer games, tournaments, puzzles, and analysis tools
Provides opportunities to play against computer opponents
Cross-platform compatibility ensures accessibility on various devices and operating systems
Strong emphasis on fair play and anti-cheating measures

Cons: 

User interface and graphics may appear dated or basic
Limited resources for customer support or technical assistance

4. Stockfish

Stockfish

Stockfish is an open-source chess engine developed by a community of programmers. First released in 2008, it has grown to become the strongest chess playing entity in the world, reaching a peak Elo rating of over 3500.

Stockfish utilizes advanced chess algorithms like alpha-beta pruning and bitboard representation to efficiently search possible moves.

Stockfish is highly customizable and supports up to 512 CPU threads for increased analysis power. It can integrate opening books, endgame tablebases, and neural networks to further boost its gameplay strength. Stockfish excels at tactics, calculation, and exploiting small advantages thanks to its aggressive playing style.

Key Features:
World's highest rated chess engine
Advanced search techniques for deep analysis
Highly customizable evaluations and settings
Integrates opening books and tablebases

Pricing: Free

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

Exceptionally strong chess playing ability
Free and open source software
Great for analyzing games/positions
Highly customizable and extensible

Cons: 

Can be difficult for beginners to use
User interface is technical

5. Komodo Chess

Komodo Chess

Komodo is a commercial chess engine developed by Don Dailey and Mark Lefler, with support from chess grandmaster Larry Kaufman. First released in 2010, Komodo has grown to become one of the strongest chess engines in the world, winning multiple world computer chess championships.

Komodo utilizes advanced search techniques like alpha-beta pruning and bitboard representation. It excels at tactical calculations but also has a strong positional understanding thanks to its balanced evaluation function, refined by GM Kaufman.

In 2020, Komodo introduced a new engine called Dragon that incorporates efficient neural networks (NNUE) for enhanced evaluations. Dragon has achieved dramatic rating increases over Komodo, exceeding 3500 Elo on some measures.

Key Features:
Advanced search algorithms for efficient analysis
Balanced evaluation based on chess fundamentals
Supports multi-core CPUs for parallel search
Integrates opening books and endgame tablebases
Adjustable playing styles and skill levels
New Dragon engine with NNUE technology

Pricing:

  • Dragon 3: $59.90
  • Komodo 14: $99.90

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

Very strong positional understanding and move evaluation
Flexible playing styles – can be aggressive or positional
Supports multi-core CPUs for faster analysis
Integrates opening books and endgame tablebases

Cons: 

Commercial software, not free like Stockfish
Smaller user community than open source options

6. Shredder Chess

Shredder Chess

Shredder is a commercial chess engine and user interface developed by German programmer Stefan Meyer-Kahlen since 1993. It has won numerous computer chess championships over the years, establishing itself as one of the strongest chess playing entities.

Shredder combines advanced search techniques like alpha-beta pruning with a balanced evaluation function refined by grandmaster Larry Kaufman. It excels at tactical calculations but also has a strong positional understanding.

Shredder is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android platforms. There are three main versions for Windows and macOS – Shredder Classic, Shredder, and Deep Shredder. The latter supports multi-core hardware for enhanced performance. All editions provide features to play, analyze, study openings/endgames, solve puzzles, and customize the engine.

Key Features:
Play chess against adjustable AI
Analyze games with computer evaluations
Study openings with explorer and books
Solve puzzles for tactical training
Customizable engine parameters
Multi-core support (Deep Shredder)
Mobile app versions available

Pricing:

  • Shredder Classic Windows: €39.99
  • Shredder 13 Windows: €49.99
  • Deep Shredder 13 Windows: €79.99
  • iOS/Android apps: $3.99

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

Very strong chess engine
Comprehensive training features
Active development over decades

Cons: 

Steep learning curve for some tools
High hardware requirements

7. Hiarcs

Hiarcs

Hiarcs is a commercial chess engine and software suite developed by Mark Uniacke since 1993. It excels at deep positional understanding and tactical calculations, renowned for its aggressive yet natural playing style. Hiarcs has won multiple World Computer Chess Championships over three decades of development.

The Hiarcs software suite includes the main Hiarcs chess engine which can integrate with popular GUI interfaces. It also offers the Hiarcs Chess Explorer, an integrated database, analysis, training, and playing interface. This allows users to play against Hiarcs, analyze games with computer evaluations, study openings/endgames, solve puzzles, run matches, and customize parameters.

Hiarcs Chess Explorer has a clean intuitive layout and supports PGN databases. It offers strong analysis thanks to integration with the champion Hiarcs engine. Explorer provides features like coach feedback, move quality markings, and adaptive playing levels to aid in training. Recently released Hiarcs Chess Explorer Pro offers advanced multi-engine analysis and access to large online databases.

Key Features:
Advanced search techniques like alpha-beta pruning
Excels at tactics and aggression but understands strategy
Integrates with UCI compatible interfaces
Supports multi-core hardware
Tactical puzzles, lessons, player reports
Realistic playing levels with feedback
Cloud access to opening/endgame databases

Pricing:

  • Hiarcs Chess Explorer: $54.95/month

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

Very strong positional understanding and move evaluation
Flexible playing styles – can play aggressively or positionally
More “human” style of play compared to neural net engines
Still actively developed and improved over 30+ years

Cons: 

Not as tactically sharp as neural network engines
Weaker in open positions compared to closed positions

8. Rybka

Rybka

Rybka is a commercial chess engine developed by International Master Vasik Rajlich since the early 2000s. It dominated top computer chess championships between 2007-2010, widely regarded as the strongest chess playing entity during that period.

Rybka combines advanced search techniques like alpha-beta pruning with a highly optimized evaluation function refined by GM Larry Kaufman. It excels at deep tactical calculations but also demonstrates strong positional understanding.

Earlier versions were sold via ChessBase and integrated with their Fritz interface. After a controversy where Rybka was accused of plagiarism and banned from computer chess events, Rajlich has continued developing new versions independently. The latest edition Rybka 5 was released in 2020.

Key Features:

Utilizes efficient bitboard representation

Advanced search with selective extensions
Balanced evaluation of positional and tactical factors
Supports multi-core hardware
Integrated Syzygy endgame tablebases
Adjustable playing styles from positional to aggressive
Latest version Rybka 5 with NNUE evaluations

Pricing:

  • Rybka 5: $99.90/month

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

Very strong tactical calculator and attacker
Positional understanding on par with top engines
Flexible playing style from positional to aggressive

Cons: 

Earlier versions had some problems in open positions
Weaker in the endgame compared to openings/middlegame

9. Chessable

Chessable

Chessable is an online chess training platform, founded in 2014, that leverages spaced repetition software to help players master openings, tactics, endgames, and strategy. Its key innovation is a MoveTrainer feature that quizzes users on chess variations, automatically scheduling reviews based on an algorithm to boost long-term retention.

Over 300 instructors have published chess courses on the site across beginner and advanced levels. Courses integrate text, visual arrows/highlights, variations with computer analysis, and community discussion forums. Chessable also offers a tactics trainer, endgame practice, and videos.

The platform follows a freemium model with free access to some basic courses and features, but a Chessable Premium membership unlocks additional content like unlimited offline access. The site has over 1 million members and has popularized a science-backed approach to efficient chess improvement.

Key Features:     
MoveTrainer for openings, endgames etc
Spaced repetition algorithm
Customizable settings
Quizzes key positions
Solve puzzles adaptively
Watch video lessons
Offline access, customization

Pricing:

  • Free: Free access to core features and courses
  • Premium membership: $11.99 per month

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

Spaced repetition system helps memorize openings/tactics
Lots of free and paid courses by top players/coaches
Tactics trainer connects puzzles to your games
Sync chessboard with videos for easier learning

Cons: 

Can feel overwhelming for beginner/intermediate players
Interface and site design needs some improvement

10. Fritz

Fritz

Fritz is a commercial chess engine and software suite developed by German programmer Mathias Feist since 1991. Originally created by programmer Frans Morsch, Fritz pioneered computer chess in the early 1990s by defeating rivals like Deep Blue. Fritz combines advanced search techniques like alpha-beta pruning with a refined evaluation function to achieve strong positional and tactical play.

Key Features:
Openings, tactics, endgame training
Database management
Customizable engine parameters
Mobile app versions available
Integrates with ChessBase apps
New AI training methods in Fritz 19

Pricing:

  • Fritz: 19: $99.90
  • Previous versions: $49.90-$79.90

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

Strong chess engine for analysis and playing against
Good user interface and training/learning features
Handles chess databases well for storing games
Integrates with ChessBase apps and file formats

Cons: 

Commercial software, must pay for license
Interface can be confusing or overloaded

11. Leela Chess Zero

Leela Chess Zero

Leela Chess Zero (LCZero or lc0) is an open-source neural network-based chess engine adapted from the Leela Zero Go engine. LCZero was created in 2018 by programmer Gary Linscott and a community of open source developers to showcase the potential of neural networks and self-play reinforcement learning for mastering chess.

Like AlphaZero before it, LCZero starts with no chess knowledge except the rules. It trains itself from scratch by playing over 300 million games against itself in an ongoing distributed computing project. This self-play enables LCZero to build intuition about chess strategy akin to human learning.

As of 2023, LCZero plays at a super Grandmaster level, even defeating world champion Stockfish in major computer chess championships.

Key Features:
Self-play reinforcement learning system
Neural network with convolutional and residual layers
No human chess knowledge beyond rules
Learned via community volunteer computing
Defeated Stockfish and won TCEC cup
Plays in a dynamic, attacking style

Pricing: Free and open source software

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

Creative, human-like chess understanding
Community driven development
Runs on consumer hardware

Cons: 

Evaluation method is complex and opaque
Training process requires immense self-play

12. Houdini chess

Houdini chess

Houdini is a commercial chess engine developed by Belgian programmer Robert Houdart since 2010. It combines advanced search techniques like alpha-beta pruning with a refined evaluation function to achieve strong tactical and positional play. Houdini excels at making use of extended search depth and has a very high tactical accuracy.

Earlier versions up to Houdini 1.5a were available free for non-commercial use. But from Houdini 2.0 onwards, it became commercial software. The latest major release is Houdini 6 in 2017.

Houdini is renowned for its creativity, flexibility, and “romantic” attacking style of play. It has dominated computer chess championships over the years, defeating rivals like Stockfish and Komodo. Houdini has integrated Syzygy endgame tablebases since version 4 for enhanced endgame play.

Key Features:
Advanced search with selective extensions
Refined evaluation function by GM Larry Kaufman
Supports multi-core hardware
Very high tactical strength
Flexible style from positional to ultra-aggressive
Integrates Syzygy endgame tablebases

Pricing:

  • Houdini 6 Standard: $59.90
  • Houdini 6 Pro: $99.90

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

One of the strongest chess engines
Excels at tactics and attack
Creativity close to “romantic” players
Actively developed over 12+ years

Cons: 

Expensive compared to free engines
Some compatibility issues

13. FIDE Online Arena

FIDE Online Arena

The FIDE Online Arena is the official online chess gaming platform of the International Chess Federation (FIDE). It is the only platform recognized by FIDE where players can compete for an official online rating and earn FIDE Online Arena (FOA) titles.

Operated by World Chess, the organizers of the prestigious World Chess Championships, the Arena aims to provide a tournament-like experience for online chess players. It offers a range of time controls, including rapid, blitz, and bullet, allowing players to participate in rated games and tournaments.

One of the unique features of the FIDE Online Arena is the ability to earn official online titles recognized by FIDE. These titles, ranging from Arena Candidate Master (ACM) to Arena Grandmaster (AGM), are awarded based on the player's performance rating and the number of games played at a specific time control.

Key Features:
Official FIDE Online Rating
Earn prestigious online titles, including ACM, AFM, AIM, and AGM, based on performance and game requirements
Participate in rated games and organized tournaments across various time controls
Access tools for game analysis, puzzles, and training resources to improve your skills.
Attend exclusive masterclasses with elite chess players and grandmasters.
Access to vibrant community nngagement

Pricing:

The FIDE Online Arena offers both free and paid membership options:

  • Free Membership: Non-members can play for free indefinitely
  • Pro Annual: €49.99/year
  • Pro Monthly:€5.99/month

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

Recognized by FIDE for official online ratings and titles
Offers opportunities to earn prestigious online titles
Access to masterclasses and game analysis tools

Cons: 

Limited player base compared to other popular online chess platforms
Paid membership required to access certain features and earn online titles

14. Playchess

Playchess

Playchess is an online chess server launched in 2001 and managed by ChessBase. It enables users to play chess games, watch broadcasts of top tournaments, solve puzzles, analyze games, join discussions, and improve their skills with lessons.

Playchess utilizes a freemium model – core features like playing games are free but a Premium membership unlocks additional content. There are over 20,000 daily players across various ratings and time controls. Along with online play, Playchess is known for its live commentary on tournaments by grandmasters. It also offers simultaneous exhibitions, tactical training, blogs, and global chat rooms to foster a community.

Users have a Playchess rating based on their results to measure their strength. The platform aims to provide serious chess enthusiasts with competition and enrichment to aid in their enjoyment and improvement of chess.

Key Features:
Mobile app and desktop site
Watch live chess broadcasts
Commentary by renowned grandmasters
Adaptive difficulty levels
Solve without time pressure
Global chat rooms
Ad-free experience

Pricing:

  • Free access to core features
  • Premium membership: €4.99/month

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

Good platform for competitive online chess play
Tactics puzzles and other training tools
Ratings system to measure your progress

Cons: 

Mostly appeals to serious/advanced players
Interface less modern than rivals

15. Red Hot Pawn

Red Hot Pawn

Red Hot Pawn is an online correspondence chess site established in 2001. It enables users to play daily chess games with time controls from 1 day per move up to 30 days per move. Players are matched based on their rating, and can compete in tournaments and join “clans”.

As of 2023, Red Hot Pawn has over 300,000 members and averages 15,000 games played daily. It aims to provide a friendly community for players of all levels to enjoy correspondence chess.

Red Hot Pawn is accessible via web browser on desktop and mobile devices. Native mobile apps are also available. The interface allows for easy game management and highlights conditional moves. Community features include public and private chat rooms, forums, teams, and blogs.

Key Features:
Daily, weekly and monthly time controls
Free and paid membership options
Rating impacted by game results
Public chat rooms
Private messages
Mobile optimized site
“If-then” move planning

Pricing:

  • Free: Free membership with core features
  • Paid membership: $44.99 annually

Pros and Cons:

Pros: 

Good platform for correspondence chess play
Ratings system to measure your progress
Community features like forums and blogs

Cons: 

Some users report glitches
Issue with players dropping out

What are some of the achievements of AI CHESS?

achievements of AI CHESS
  1. In 1997, IBM's Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a six-game match! This was the first time a computer beat a reigning world champion in classical chess under regular time controls. It demonstrated AI's ability to surpass human chess skill.
  2. In 2017, DeepMind's AlphaZero AI taught itself chess in just 4 hours by playing games against itself and went on to decisively beat champion chess engine Stockfish. This highlighted the potential of AI self-play learning without human knowledge!
  3. Modern top chess engines like Stockfish, Leela Chess Zero and AlphaZero have Elo ratings exceeding 3200, higher than the peak ratings of any human chess player in history!
  4. Chess engines utilize sophisticated algorithms like search trees, evaluation functions, machine learning and neural networks to play at super-human levels and analyze millions of moves per second.
  5. The use of chess engines and AI analytics has transformed chess training, opening preparation and post-game analysis, enabling humans to play at stronger levels.
  6. Chess has been an important testbed for AI developments like search algorithms, reinforcement learning and neural networks that have later been applied successfully to other complex problems.

Top FAQs on AI Chess to Play Online

Will AIs make human chess tournaments obsolete?

No, the complexity of chess means AIs cannot yet fully “solve” the game. Human creativity and intuition still play a big role at the top level.

How do chess AIs train and improve?

By playing against updated versions of themselves millions of times in a process of reinforcement learning and neural network training.

What hardware is required to run the top chess AIs?

Very powerful, specialized hardware like multi-GPU servers.

Can chess AIs explain their moves and analysis?

Not extensively yet. They can provide evaluations and principal variations but lack generalized reasoning abilities beyond chess.

What are the key algorithms used in chess AIs?

Neural networks, Monte Carlo tree search, alpha-beta pruning search, and reinforcement learning.

Will chess ever be “solved”?

Potentially yes – if an algorithm to produce perfect moves from any position is found. But the complexity makes this extremely difficult.

Let’s Sum it up

So, what are your thoughts?

Behind the code, sophisticated algorithms like neural networks and Monte Carlo tree searches fuel their creative and strategic play.

Yet their role is not to replace human players but augment them. By studying master games from engines like Stockfish, Komodo and Leela Chess Zero, chess enthusiasts like you can keep improving!

Online platforms now grant anyone access to these engines as training tools or opponents.

Wthey transform the meaning of talent and preparation in chess, they also make the game more engaging, opening up ideas no unaided human could conceive!

The future of chess will see man and machine push each other to new heights together!

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