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(a weak chess program by Chris Tatham)


///// What is included? /////

Numpty_Recharged_RM.txt - basic information

Numpty_Recharged.exe - executable (dated 21 October 2014)
Numpty_Recharged.bas - source code (dated 21 October 2014)

(files will have either 32 or 64 bit identifier)

(32 bit version includes Numpty-Uncharged.exe) (non-optimised version)


///// Overview /////

As a longstanding computer chess enthusiast I have always admired those who have
been able to write and release their own programs irrespective of how strong or
weak they are. It has been a bonus that so many have been made available for us
to enjoy for free! :)

Numpty is the culmination of a long held ambition of mine, to write and release
my own chess program. As I am very much a non-technical hobbyist with no
previous relevant experience, it has taken many frutstrating hours over a long
period of time. However, as well as being very challenging it has been an
immensely rewarding and also highly addictive experience!

In recent years too much time has been spent tweaking and testing minor changes
rather than more fundamentally overhauling and improving core elements - such as
improving the search functions (there is still no move ordering!). Given my lack
of knowledge about coding and program design when starting back in 2005, further
material improvement will only be achieved from rewriting the engine from scratch
which is, sadly, unlikely to happen.

Numpty is not the best coded or most efficient engine available by any means.
However, my primary objective in releasing Numpty is to make my experiences and
resources such as they are, available to other novice coders who are keen to
start writing their own programs. With this in mind, my source code which I have
documented as clearly as I can, is also freely available with this release.

Numpty was written and compiled in FreeBasic (up to Numpty DD in v0.15b and
subsequently v0.90), using FBIDE (V0.4.6r4). You can find out more about
FreeBasic from the following site:


If you enjoy using Numpty then please send me a tweet '@numpty_chess' and make
my day! :)


///// Strength /////

Strength of play wasn't the main focus in developing Numpty. Against human
opponents I believe Numpty plays at around 1700 - 1900 elo level, depending on
computer hardware (the faster your computer the better it will play).

Since July 2013 Numpty has been playing humans regularly on the Free Internet
Chess (FICS) server using the handle (numpty_chess). Numpty generally has a
rating between 1950-2100 for each time control (ie lightning, blitz and standard

Numpty should be a nice opponent for the average club player. Although still
relatively weak it will play 'reasonable' looking moves without too many gross

Earlier versions of Numpty chess will remain available as I have had feedback to
say these have been good opponents for novice players and children learning the


///// Installation & use /////

Numpty is winboard compatible engine and can be used within any of the common
commercial or freely available graphical user interfaces (gui). If you are
reading this you probably know what to do to install the engine in the desired
gui, but if you need further help or the software itself then please visit the

Free GUI:



Commerical GUI:



Console mode
You can use Numpty in 'console' mode, by simply by double clicking
the Numpty.exe file. However, the engine is not really designed for use in
console mode. Its main use is for testing move generation. As a result not all
features are supported. In particular games can only be played with a fixed
search depth as time controls are not supported in console mode.

Enter 'help' to get a full list of the available commands/options. These are
fairly basic and obvious so are not explained in detail here.


///// Acknowledgements & thanks /////

I would like to thank the following people for their help in making my dream a
reality! - Numpty would not exist without their kind input.

A *big* thank you to the following:�

- for his amazing job in translating the Numpty code and creating a functionally
identical copy of Numpty Omega from a very old version of Freebasic (0.15b)
in the most recent version (0.90); in so doing also improving and tidying up
some of my poor coding

Bill Rogers:
- for his encouragement and support including the exchange of source code
during development of the initial version of Numpty. Specifically, also for the
idea for multiple use of an �incheck routine� and permission to use and adapt
his opening book related code

Tom McBurney:
� for permission to use his basic Winboard interface code (it was a real thrill
to see my engine play its first game in Winboard!). I have adapted it for use in
Numpty and added additional features/options so any compatibility problems or
errors are entirely my fault.

John Merlino:
- for his extensive help in enabling me to resolve a longstanding and frustrating
bug that affected compatibility in the Chessmaster gui

Lars Hallerstrom:
- for his willingness to test many early development versions and his patience in
putting up with the many problems/limitations encountered!

Adam Hair:
- for his dedication in testing weaker engines like Numpty and enabling them to
be included in the CCRL - it was a real thrill to see Numpty appear in the widely
known and highly regarded rating list

Uschi and Dusan Stamenkovic

� for the wonderful Numpty logos

Engine testers:
- for their unflagging support and encouragement of my efforts. Thanks in
- Leo Dijksman for the superb WBEC - sadly no more :(
- Olivier Deville for his excellent Chesswar - sadly no more :(
- Sergio Martinez; Claude Dubois; Ciro Vignotto, Guenther Simon, Richard

..... all those who have used (and hopefully enjoyed) earlier versions of Numpty
chess and the many people who have offered support, given feedback or informed me
of bugs - thanks! :-)

I have used the following resources extensively in learning how to program a chess
engine and can recommend them highly:

Levy D � Chess Computer Handbook (Batsford, 1984)

- I used this book for the basic ideas of how a chess program works.

Levy D � How Computers Play Chess (Batsford, 1976)

- Earlier engine versions used the swap-off algorithm described in this book.

Levy D - Chess Computer Compendium (Batsford 1988)

- A magnificent compiliation of papers relating to all aspects of computer
chess from the early days of chess programming

Chess Programming wiki (http://chessprogramming.wikispaces.com/)

- An invaluable reference source. Numpty's piece square tables are developed
from and based on the ideas from this site

JAMCA (http://eli.thegreenplace.net/programs-and-code/jamca/)
- an excellent and readable introduction of the basics of how a program plays
chess � thanks to Eli Bendersky


///// Known and other issues /////

My objective has only ever been to write a rock solid reliable chess engine
so if you find any bugs or encounter any unexpected behaviour please let me

The only GUI compatibility issues or problems with Numpty that I am aware
of are:

Arena users:
When setting up a position manually for Numpty to play (ie using setboard)
please re-start Numpty before starting the engine thinking.

Where preference is given for book use I would appreciate it if Numpty could
use my own neutral engine v engine book (libra8.abk). Numpty was extensively
tested using this book during the development phase.
Chessbase users:
Numpty will not play consecutive games without being restarted manually.

If you need support or help with the engine, you can tweet @numpty_chess and
I will do my best to help.


///// version control /////

Numpty Recharged < October 2014 >


Strength (approx +100 elo over previous version)

Fixed - error using force mode (re ep square) resulting in rare engine hang or
illegal move when using external book)
Fixed - odd error in engine book due to manual coding - occasionally resulted in
illegal book move or book line not being engaged
Fixed - error in trapped bishop eval condition (checking wrong pawn!)

Added - resign and draw functionality
Added - additional book lines (still manually entered & tuned!)
Change - less aggressive pruning of search at root (sadly still very crude!)
Change - less aggressive use of 'easy move' (now d = 5)
Change - first 64bit version and use of compiler optimisation
(additional Numpty Uncharged (non-optimised) version released for
existing human players not wanting such a step up in strength)

First version developed using FB 0.90 (all previous development used 0.15b)

Previous Numpty versions are available from the Numpty homepage (GIYF!). The
ReadMe file in each release give details of the changes in each version.

Numpty DD < January 2014 >

Numpty Omega < November 2011 >

Numpty 0.7pr < September 2010 >

Numpty 0.6pr < March 2010 >

Numpty 0.5pr < December 2009 >

Numpty 0.4pr < June 2009 >

Numpty 0.3pr < May 2009 >

Numpty 0.22pr < December 2007 >

Numpty 0.21pr < September 2007 >

Numpty 0.2pr < March 2007 >

Numpty 0.1pr < 15 December 2006 > - The first public release of Numpty!


///// Small print ////

Please feel free to edit, enhance or otherwise use Numpty's code as you wish.
There is plenty of scope for improvement! Any errors or bugs in the existing
code are entirely my responsibility.

This program and related files are free to use and distribute subject to the
conditions below.

1) If you wish to use specific code in any program that is publicly released,
please first seek permission from and then credit the relevant author's

2) This read me file and the relevant source code must accompany any secondary
distribution of the Numpty executable.

There is no warranty given or implied and the Numpty program and related files
are used at your own risk.

(c) Chris Tatham - Oct 2014