Chess Engine Review: DisasterArea 1.54 Cognac

Today I’m proud to finally introduce you to a  favourite chess engine of mine.

DisasterArea 1.54 is a quite a strong engine based on CCRL ratings and already had a reasonable playing style, but I wanted it to be a sparring partner for ME and frankly…2800+ is a little too strong.

DisasterArea chess engine

A STRONG chess engine!

So I set about weakening it while changing its playing style by messing with the way it values mobility, king safety and other variables.

Here are my “cognac” settings, which are simple (for a dumb non-programmer like me), but devastating in their effect.

Chess Engine Settings

Enter these settings for instant Morphy!

Once the tweaks have been applied, this chess engine plays in a style which I can only describe as that of Paul Morphy.

Seriously, here are some examples.

Introducing my favourite chess engine

Game 1: DisasterArea-1.54 Cognac vs AnMon 5.75 (2530 CCRL)

In this game we see DisasterArea take on the King’s Indian Defence against a very reasonable opponent who is tempted into winning a pawn with 9…Qb6 and quickly gets caught in a tactical whirlwind.

The series of desperado sacrifices initiated by 14.c5!! is simply beautiful and the attacking position reached by white around moves 20-22 seems impossible from the white side of the Kings Indian and the finish is simply beautiful. Really a glimpse of Morphy in this game!

Game 2: DisasterArea-1.54 Cognac vs GoliathBlitz (2606)

In this game, we see DisasterArea play the opening in an unusual way locking black’s knight on g8 for some time, while in return giving black a target by castling early on the queenside.

DA shows more Morphy-esque characteristics in his emphasis on prevention of his opponent’s castling and also his continuing the attack into the endgame after the brilliant 21.Nxd5!!.

A highly enjoyable game to watch!

Games 3 & 4:

These games are so amazing, I decided to show you in person (via video) how beautifully (and human-like) DA can sometimes play. It’s really one of the most amazing engine (personalities) I’ve ever seen.

Enjoy this video guys!

Conclusion:

As you can see above, this chess engine (and my “cognac” personality) plays amazingly beautiful chess and is a wonderful player to watch (play against engines below about 2600 on the CCRL scale), and also great for training games and analysis.

Highly recommended!

Humanness of style: 9.5/10

Attractiveness of style: 10/10 (If you’re a fan of the “romantic” school of chess and 19th century players, use my settings with this one!)

Usefulness for analysis: Good for coming up with crazy attacking ideas in any position.

Estimated ELO: 2250 ELO

If you wanna download this engine and give it a try, you can download it here.