Chess&, the finest chess blog on the net…is proud to announce…

The Jinan Rapid Invitational!!

This will be a fast paced chess tournament featuring some of the most dangerous and interesting chess engines from around the world (and one brave human) battling it out for the ultimate prize


respect chess engine

Here are some details:

Time Control: 25 minutes each with 5 second increment from the start

Opening Book: All engines will share the “Perfect 2015” opening book and be restricted to only the first 8 moves (in order to make engines work “on their own” once they’ve entered a sound opening).

Format: The tournament will be a single round robin (everybody will play everybody once).

Fair play: The human player will switch off the engine’s thinking window as well as the opening book window so as to have no advance information about the engine’s thinking/move choice.

All of the rules clear? Okay! Let’s meet the participants!

tournament table

The participants (in no particular order)

1. Brendan J.Norman

Brendan Norman

Long time chess addict, super-coach and proud owner of this blog (who also loves to speak in 3rd person), Norman is proud to battle it out in this event and hopes to do well enough to justify his participation. 😉

Despite being inactive from over-the-board chess since 2011, Norman has kept active in online chess most notably on and where his ratings have maintained a respectable level.


Norman’s style in recent times has been aggressive, sharp and risky although he mentioned that he will be more cautious in this event against some of the heavy hitters.

Here is a sample of Norman’s play.

2. Frenzee 3.5.19

Frenzee chess engine

Frenzee is a chess engine which has a very Capablanca-like style of play comprising mastery of positional play and very nice endgame technique.

Packing a 2719 CCRL rating, Frenzee is a clear favourite in this tournament although, not untouchable by any means.

Here’s a sample of his play dominating another super-strong engine with crystal clear technique much in the style of a Capablanca or Fischer. Watch out for the move 33.Rxf7!! which really does remind us of one of Capablanca’s “little combinations”… Great stuff!

3. Thinker 5.1E Active

thinker chess engine

Thinker is a chess engine which has a reputation for having a very nice playing style and comes in a package of several different engines.

First there is the so-called “Thinker Passive” which is designed for matches against other engines, then there is the experimental “Thinker Inert” and finally there is “Thinker Active” which is designed to play against humans. This engine plays in a very aggressive human way and even tries to swindle when in a lost/bad position, so Norman will need to be very careful against this guy.

A sample game against one of this tournament’s fellow combatants is below.

Thinker plays in a nice style, putting pressure on the black kingside until his opponent is forced to give a piece and then converts the ending effortlessly.

4. Twisted Logic Cognac

twisted logic chess engine

This chess engine plays like a brilliant attacking genius, who sometimes risks too much for the win. He is reviewed extensively here, but I’ll show you a pretty standard (and beautiful) win by him.

5. Rodent II Henny

rodent chess engine

This chess engine (soon to be reviewed) plays like one of those Chinese teenagers who despite making moves that the old-timers know “Karpov would frown upon”, bringing his queen out early, attacking and sacrificing material willy-nilly, he gets the job done and usually in a very flashy way.

Consider him the Wei Yi of chess engines!

Here’s an example.

6. Disaster Area Cognac

disaster area chess engine

If Rodent II Henny is the Wei Yi of chess engines, Disaster Area Cognac is the Kasparov!

This chess engine (reviewed here) plays in a non-apologetic, aggressive and dynamic style reminiscent of the 13th World Champion and demolishes strong opponents in much the same way.

If you have any doubts, witness the game below!

7. Disaster Area Karpov

disaster area chess engine

If any chess engine is going to teach these aggressive engines to “calm down”, it is…

Disaster Area Karpov!

This chess engine (explored in depth here) plays in a positionally aggressive way and is a monster with the two bishops. Let’s see if Karpov can give Kasparov another lesson in this tournament!

Witness his powerful pawn play as he positionally crushes his opponent in the following game.

8. Gambit Fruit Cognac

gambit fruit chess engine

This chess engine was already aggressive by design (just look at its name), but with extra tuning here at , has been turned into a human-killing machine!

Witness the way he burns all bridges (sacrificing tons of pawns in the process) and risks all to pawn storm the enemy king in the following game. Was it really an engine who played this game?? 🙂

9. Zappa Mexico Dissident Aggressor

zappa mexico chess engine

This combatant really needs no introduction (to real computer chess heads).

Dissident Aggressor is a version of the commercial chess engine “Zappa Mexico II” which was tuned (long before the days of Chess & Cognac) by a user named Robert Flesher to play like “Tal on angel dust”.

I’d say he got it pretty right.

Witness here how he breaks apart the Sicilian Defence of a 2900 rated engine!

Very much in the style of….well, Tal on angel dust!

10. Rebel 12 Tal

This chess engine…well…is a legend in terms of balancing playing style and strength and is certainly one of my favourite opponents for training games (notice how I’ve switched back into first person narrative here? Very professional writing indeed! 😉 ).

Rebel 12 is the predecessor of Rebel 13 (who I reviewed here), but sacrifices a little strength for style (in mine and some other’s opinion).

The Tal personality is aggressive, but sober and plays beautiful, human-like attacking chess without burning bridges like some of the gladiators above.

Just look at the classy way he converts his advantage in the following game.

Keep an eye out for 36…Rxc1!! and 40…Nxe3!! which are beautiful expressions of this engine’s style!

11. Dark Horses!

dark horses

These last 6 chess engines (with the exception of Mephisto Amsterdam) are a little unknown to me, but have very good reputations as human-like and challenging engine opponents.

Mephisto Amsterdam, Schola, Deep Sjeng Redshift, Comet A98, Big Lion and Neurosis will be dangerous opponents in their own right and I’ll have to stay on my guard against them.

This promises to be a very exciting tournament and I’ll be providing weekly round-by-round reports on Chess & Cognac for all those who want to follow along with the action.

For now, here (for those who like video) is the quick video preview I made for you.