Comparing typical opening move choices made by humans and chess engines

Mark Levene, Judit Bar-Ilan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The opening book is an important component of a chess engine, and thus computer chess programmers have been developing automated methods to improve the quality of their books. For chess, which has a very rich opening theory, large databases of high-quality games can be used as the basis of an opening book, from which statistics relating to move choices from given positions can be collected. In order to find out whether the opening books used by modern chess engines in machine versus machine competitions are 'comparable' to those used by chess players in human versus human competitions, we carried out analysis on 26 test positions using statistics from two opening books: one compiled from humans' games and the other from machines' games. Our analysis using several nonparametric measures shows that, overall, there is a strong association between humans' and machines' choices of opening moves when using a book to guide their choices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-573
Number of pages7
JournalComputer Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Chess engines
  • Computer chess
  • Man versus machine
  • Nonparametric association measures
  • Opening book


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