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Computerized chess engines have come a long way from the early likes of El Ajedrecista or even the fraudulent Turk. It wasn't until Deep Blue controversially beat Garry Kasparov that the wider public became aware of computer chess engines and the complex thought they were capable of. That was 1996; since then many new and uniquely planned chess engines have been created for computers, the current reigning champion being Rybka.

Rybka was created by International Master Vasik Rajlich and the very first beta version of the engine was released on December 2, 2005. The name itself means "little fish" in Polish and Czech.

The strength of the engine when it was first released was rated at 2809 Elo, with the current commercial version claiming to be even 200 Elo stronger than that. It has the capabilities of supporting 32 and 64 bit processors, and comes with its own book of chess knowledge and moves. For the time being it is a stand-alone engine, without a GUI method for interacting with a human user, meaning that it must be loaded into another chess program software, such as Arena, Chessbase or Shredder.

Personally, I'm not an expert at chess. I certainly enjoy a game whenever I can, and am not a complete novice. However playing against the might that is Rybka always results in a crushing defeat. Always. The engine is astonishingly quick at a depth of, say, 14, its also incredibly aggressive marching forward and through my ranks in no time at all. Suffice to say Rybka humbles me. I know that, in essence, I'm playing a Grandmaster with every possible move combination at its branch-search disposal, but I feel like I'm getting training-under-fire whenever it annihilates me.

If ever there were a computer program that could, or would, take over the world and start the Robopocalypse given the chance, as many movies or sci-fi novels have warned us of, it's Rybka.


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