So I received an email from a reader who is a big fan of Manuel Bosboom…

In the email, an Argentinian friend of ChessnCognac said:

…you are a person who does magic with the Rodent engine, creates extraordinary personalities, then my request is this, there is a chess player IM that goes out of the logical values ​​so to speak of chess “normal” and enters the field of absolute creativity his name is Manuel Bosboom, maybe he knows it is Amsterdam Dutch (attached a video) then as you will realize it would be very exciting at least for me, create an engine with this player so creative,

We will forgive our Spanish speaking friend for his broken English, and take his message to mean that he’d like me to investigate Manuel Bosboom, deconstruct his style and then emulate it digitally with a chess engine personality.

Manuel Bosboom

Bosboom (left) in his blitz match vs Hing Ting Lai

Now friends… This is the type of challenge I love!

Now let’s get started…

Who is Manuel Bosboom?

IM Manuel Bosboom is a Dutch International Master who plays for the” En Passant ” in Bunschoten – a small town in Utrecht district of the Netherlands.

His Elo rating is 2404.

Wait a minute…

Bosboom is only 2400? What’s so special about a 2400 IM? Why should I make an engine version of such an “average” master?

Well…Maybe because Manuel Bosboom is not your average master.

Manuel Bosboom…A Playing Style of Fantasy and Imagination

I must confess that although IM Bosboom was on my radar (I’d heard of him and knew of his approximate strength), I had no idea about his playing style.

After seeing a few of his games, I realized what I’d been missing, and why my Argentinian buddy had spoken so highly of him.

You see, ChessnCognac readers by now know that I am not necessarily a fan of the strongest chess engines, but those which have the most interesting playing style.

Likewise, I believe that there are players in the human chess world who have such a unique playing style, that they deserve attention (and praise), regardless of their strength.

Manual Bosboom plays the openings in his own unique, creative and aggressive way and places his own slant on even the most mainstream openings.

Once achieving “his type of position”, he ruthlessly hunts the enemy king, burning all bridges on his quest for checkmate.

The most amazing thing?

He has been playing successfully in such a daring way for more than 30 years!

Here’s an example against my compatriot, GM Darryl Johansen.

Note: The French defense is one of Darryl’s pet openings, and he is generally SUPER solid using it…

Just not in this case.

In the final position, 25.Bd5+ will be an absolute killer.

What a nice dismantling of the French defense and with a rare, but aggressive approach.

Guerrilla Chess Openings in practice.

But if you think that was an impressive game, the next one will amaze you.

Bosboom plays a rather positional setup against the Slav defense, and then simply starts to launch his kingside pawns.

Black tried to do as theory suggests, that is – to meet a flank attack with forceful play in the center – but the Dutch maestro simply sacs a knight and focuses on his attack instead of defending.

12.a3!! is an amazing idea that seems to just drop a piece, all for merely allowing him to attack on the long diagonal (and to prevent 12…Nb4).

And the followup is simply beautiful. He sacrifices a whole handful of pieces and finally – his opponent is forced to give back everything with interest – just to avoid mate.

Check it out.

In the final positional black will lose his queen in order to avoid 29.Rh1+.

Can you imagine Mr Bosboom sitting and pondering such ideas in a game against you?

Would be slightly intimidating, no? 🙂

But such high-risk, “gambling” play doesn’t work against good players, right?

Maybe patzers fall into such tactical “traps”, but strong and experienced players would never.


I think Peter Leko is not only strong, but an experienced elite player and former World Championship challenger.

With a 2734 FIDE rating, I doubt he would fall for such tactical “tricks”… would he?

Amazingly, Bosboom bamboozled him in just 26 moves.

I think 21.Ng5! must have come like a splash of icy cold water to the Hungarian GM.

After the rook exchange, white will take on a6 and black is unable to recapture due to Qd8 mate.


So how do I create a “Bosboom personality” with a chess engine like Rodent?

Where do I start?

Creating a “Bosboom personality” by tuning the Rodent Chess Engine

Obviously we need to tell him not to value material so much (or at all?), be aggressive and to aim for the enemy king from move 1.

We need to tell him to use pawn storms as a primary method of opening up the enemy king’s position and that especially his h-pawn will be effective for this.

And we need to create a dedicated opening book based on Manuel Bosboom’s unique opening repertoire.

I am going to tackle this task and then I’ll let you know how it goes.

the first thing I’ll do is a deep study of Bosboom’s games, to get an idea of his prejudices, recurring patterns and so on…

And then I’ll do some testing with Rodent.

I for one, will look forward to the birth of Rodent III Bosboom!

For now, enjoy watching IM Bosboom play devastatingly quick blitz chess in the video below.

I’ll update you soon with news about Rodent III Bosboom!