Leela Chess Zero, an intelligent open source chess engine


Leela Chess Zero (LCZero or LCZ) has been introduced as a free and open source chess engine. It was developed by Alexander Lyashuk and Gary Linscott, who is also a developer of the Stockfish program. Leela Chess Zero It is inspired by the Leela Zero engine, which is based on DeepMind's AlphaGo Zero project.

Leela Chess Zero is a UCI compliant chess engine designed to play chess through a neural network. Like Leela Zero and AlphaGo Zero, Leela Chess Zero knows only the rules of the game and nothing else.

A chess engine contains the algorithm that calculates the best move in a given position.

These shows are different from each other, they have a customizable play style, a specific name and rating systems, in short, they have a personality. There are all levels and they can be commercial, open source or free.

However, it is necessary to distinguish the graphical interface of the chess engine. This user interface (or GUI chess) is the program that will host, run these engines and will manage the environment visible to the user (chess board, information on the calculation of modules, evaluation of the position, use of table bases, depth of Investigation, animation of variants, etc.)

These interfaces also allow engines to find each other during tournaments. Another advantage is that programmers can focus on the performance of their engine without having to manage the visual representation of the chessboard.

These interfaces can be XBoard / WinBoard, Arena or Chessbase (commercial).

About Leela Chess Zero

Leela Chess Zero is trained on a dedicated website. A few months of development and training is enough for Leela Chess Zero to reach the level of a GMI (i.e. the title of International Grandmaster (GMI), created from 1950, used in both chess and checkers). It outperforms previous versions of Rybka, Stockfish or Komodo, also powerful chess engines, while analyzing fewer positions than these programs.

In April 2018, Leela Chess Zero became the first neural network-based engine to enter the Superior Chess Engine Championship (TCEC) during season 12 in the smallest division.

How to install Leela Chess Zero on Linux?

For those who are interested in trying Leela Chess Zero, they should first know that there is a new version of Leela Chess Zero, version 0.21.2, available since June and available on GitHub.

This release includes the following changes:

  • Optimizations for GTX 16xx cards (cudnn-fp16 now works for them, even if it doesn't improve performance, as well as for RTX cards)
  • the "Post-it" function is enabled by default: this improves the LC0 game when you see a teammate somewhere during the search
  • Centipawn formula has been updated: LC0 will now show evaluation values ​​more similar to what other engines show
  • Optimization for a broader neural network (more filters) for future runs (maybe test60).

Now will be able to download the files, which are this and this other.

These files They must unzip them and with the resulting folders we will do the following.

We will enter the folder "lczero-common-master"Inside it we will find a folder called"proto", We will move this folder into the other resulting folder which is"LeelaChessZero-lc0-46e4053"But inside another folder that is inside"libs" What is it "lczero-common"

Leaving the following route "LeelaChessZero-lc0-46e4053 / libs / lczero-common / proto".

Now here the developer gives us some indications:

  • If you want to use NVidia graphics cards, please install CUDA and cuDNN.
  • If you want to use AMD graphics cards, please install OpenCL.
  • If you want the OpenBLAS version I install OpenBLAS (libopenblas-dev).
  • To carry out the compilation we must previously have ninja-build, meson and optionally gtest (libgtest-dev).

The compilation will be done by going to the main directory and executing the file:


Finally, if you want to know a little more about it, as well as other installation methods for some specific Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, openSUSE and on a Raspberry Pi you can consult the following link.

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  1.   debianita-fierce said

    These instructions are to compile the latest version, in Debian / Devuan you can install a less current version, from the official repos with
    sudo apt-get install leela-zero
    I leave the comment for those who are looking for info and get here