Installation instruction of shogi engines (v.2019 May, update January 2021)

Update in January 2021: the following instructions remain mostly valid. The current version of Yaneuraou (Windows version) is 6.00, whose rating is about 200 higher than v.4.85. The binary package of Yaneuraou becomes huge because it includes too many versions, depending on the evaluation file formats, optimization to many CPUs, and the experimental functionality for the developers. For most users, the version which you use is, YaneuraOu_NNUE-tournament-clang++-XXX. The final part, "XXX", depends on the CPU of your computer. If it is a relatively new Intel CPU, XXX=avx2. If it does not work, try sse42, sse41, sse2, no_sse versions. If your computer has a recent AMD CPU, your choice is zen1 or zen2.

Currently, the strongest evaluation file seems to be Suisho (水匠), which is available from here. The newest version is "水匠3改".

If you use Mac or Linux users, you have to compile the binary from the source. Good news: Shogidokoro for Mac is now available! Finally, Mac users can use the full functionality of the Shogi software!

Since my last instruction to install the strongest shogi software, there are remarkable developments in shogi engines. The strongest software at that time has a rating of 4150, but now it reaches R4400! (We note that the ELO rating of top human players is about R3100). This dramatic change comes from an invention of a neural network system to evaluate the position. It should be distinguished from the software which uses deep learning, such as Alpha Zero. Instead, people use shallow layers, which is manageable by CPU. This new method was invented by Yu Nasu, who belongs to a team "the end of genesis T.N.K.evolution turbo type D" in the "world championship of Shogi software 2018 (WCSC28)". While the evaluation file in my last instruction (based on the so-called KPPT format) is considerably large (nearly 1GB), the new evaluation (which is called NNUE format) is merely 64MB, but the latter is much stronger than the previous format!

As in the previous instruction, we have to combine

(1) interface programs

(2) engine

(3) evaluation file

(4) (option) initial move book

(1) As in my previous instruction, the best free interfaces are Shogidokoro and ShogiGUI. The installation of them overlaps with my previous explanation.

(2) The best engine is still Yaneuraou, but the version is upgraded to 4.85. For Windows users, you can download the binary file "". After you unzip it, you find many files. You have to choose one of the files for the engine. To use the NNUE format evaluation file, you need to select "Yaneuraou2018NNUE_*". Suppose your CPU is relatively new and supports AVX2 instruction, the best choice *=tournament version (YaneuraOu2018NNUE_tournament). If your CPU is old, you have to choose sse42, sse41, sse2, nosse versions (without tournament in the name). You may check which version works by click these binary files. The latter one is slower than the previous but can be more widely used. If a black DOS screen shows up, this version works! You need to make a directory to put files, say "Yaneuraou2019". You move an exe file to this directory and need to make a directory called "eval"; then you can move to the next step

(3) Installation of evaluation file. Currently, the strongest evaluation file is called "Kristallweisen" (named after German white beer), "illqha4" (a Japanese word for Dolphin), and "orqha1018", which are supposed to be the strongest at this moment. You may grab one of them, download and decompress. You can find "nn.bin" in the decompressed files, which should be moved into the "eval" directory which you created in the previous step.

The directory structure should look like follows,


-- YaneuraOu2018NNUE_tournament.exe

-- eval

|- nn.bin

You are more or less finished. You can register the new Yaneouraou from interface programs as previously. (For ShogiGUI, you choose menus Tools-Engine settings. Press the "Add" button and select the Yaneuraou exe file. You meet the "Engine settings" window, which may look as follows,

There are many options. What should be careful is

USI_Ponder: This should be off for the self match (game between two software on the same machine)

Threads: depend on your hardware. I recommend that it should be lower than maximum thread-1 or 2 or just the CPU core number)

Hash: 16 (MB) is too small. I recommend it to be higher than 1024 (1GB) if your computer supports it.

NetworkDelay, NetworkDelay2: They are options to circumvent the delay of response on the games through the network (in the unit of milliseconds).

DepthLimit, NodesLimit: They should be zero to tune the engine strongest. For the matches with the human, I recommend starting from DepthLimit=1, or NodesLimit=100, the weakest tuning thatthat may be weak enough for intermediate players.Book(Something): These are options to use the initial book set-up. If you are planning to install the initial book as well, you have to be careful. I will explain to them if there are requests.

That is it! Enjoy Shogi!

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