What’d you think of the video above? Was the AnMon chess engine lucky to “swindle” me or was it a fair result?
I actually think it was a fair result.
(BTW…If you just want to download AnMon, you can do so at the bottom of this post 😉 )
Having outplayed the engine with my typically risky but dynamic style, I then played like a greedy Bond villain at the roulette table, pressed too hard and then lost (cue the violin music).
That’s life in chess.
So who is AnMon anyway?
The AnMon Chess Engine – Master Strength with a Balanced Style
It’s funny, in the video I described AnMon as having a positional style but if you look at some of the feedback from as long as 17 years ago, you’ll see people say that AnMon is a tactical engine!
Fernando Villegas, a Chilean computer chess expert who has played his training games exclusively against engines for at least TWENTY years, said of AnMon:
“I recommend all of you to download and play the AnMon chess engine. It is a real beast and dangerous as hell.”
That was back in June of 1999!
So if a friend of Karpov recommends AnMon, I guess we can at least give it a try!
AnMon Chess Engine Results
Despite being a freely downloadable engine, AnMon has had some pretty good results in computer chess tournaments, such as consecutive wins in the French Programmers Tournament which is held in the city of Massy.
AnMon won Massy 2005 ahead of Fruit ( a revolutionary engine at the time) and Capture (former French Computer Champion)
And as we can see above, the following year AnMon won Massy 2006 with a perfect 6/6, ahead of Pharaon and Chess Tiger (a great engine I reviewed here).
And this was the same 5.53 version I played blitz against in the post’s video!
Awesome haha, let’s look at some other nice games of AnMon then I’ll let you guys download AnMon for your own testing.
AnMon Chess Engine Best Games
As mentioned I’ve always thought that AnMon was a positional chess engine, while others described this engine as a tactical engine, so why the confusion?
The AnMon chess engine can play any type of position!
It’s like the Bobby Fischer of chess engines.
Now let’s see some examples.
Tactical Brilliance and Understanding of Compensation:
Game 1: Crafty 22.01 vs AnMon 5.53
This game is really impressive for a TEN-year-old engine.
AnMon grabs the Catalan c-pawn, hold onto it with 9…b5, and then when Crafty tries to exploit it with 10.Ne5, AnMon just sacrifices the exchange.
By the time AnMon plays 16…c3 he is down the exchange for a pawn, but he is STRATEGICALLY WINNING with a protected passed pawn on c3 and devastating pressure on the light-squares.
Meanwhile, Crafty can’t develop any of his pieces!
Check it out.
Fischer-style Technical Play and Light-Squared Bishop Use:
Game 2: AnMon 5.53 vs SmarThink 0.17a
Here you’ll see AnMon play a R+B vs R+N ending with the smoothness of Bobby Fischer against an engine of basically the same strength…pretty impressive!
This game illustrates in a simple way the basics of good endgame strategy:
- Keep your pieces active/not tied down
- Prevent counterplay (often by making the enemy pieces passive/tied down)
- Activate the king
- Push your passed pawns!
Kramnik-style Conversion and Use of Passed-Pawns
Game 3: AnMon 5.53 vs Amyan 1.72
This game is more Kramnik-like!
AnMon stakes an early claim on the light-squares with the forceful 13.e5, 14.d6, and 15.a4! gaining an edge pretty quickly and this time when Amyan (another great engine I’ll review another time) sacrificed the exchange with 16…Qa5 AnMon accepted without hesitation.
He then begins a rather human-like serious of moves to exchange pieces (you know the maxim “exchange when you’re ahead”) via 18.Nc7xa6 and 20.Bg5! initiating more beautifully forcing play.
The final flourish ending with 36.Nf5+ is very nice.
So what do you think? Not bad for an engine whose claim to fame was way back in 2006 huh?
As you know I love human-like engines and I firmly believe that engines make great training opponents.
Download AnMon below and give it a try yourself.
Till Next time…
Download Anmon and check it out for yourself!