ChatGPT vs. Stockfish (Game Results)

Stockfish, an open-source chess engine, has reigned supreme in the realm of digital chess for years, consistently showcasing a level of play that surpasses the world’s top human players.

Its algorithm, meticulously crafted and refined by a dedicated community of developers, evaluates millions of positions per second, exploring an extensive array of strategic possibilities and tactical nuances.

Stockfish doesn’t merely calculate; it demonstrates a profound understanding of positional play, material imbalances, and endgame theory.

ChatGPT: The Conversationalist with a Chessboard

ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, brings a different flavor to the digital chess arena.

While its primary design revolves around generating human-like text based on the input it receives, it also harbors a respectable level of chess skill.

Unlike Stockfish, ChatGPT doesn’t go into the abyss of near-infinite calculations and evaluations.

Instead, it relies on a generalized understanding of chess principles, strategies, and tactics, providing a playing experience that mimics a well-versed human opponent.

ChatGPT engages players not just with its moves on the board, but also through rich, interactive dialogue, offering a uniquely immersive chess-playing experience.

ChatGPT vs. Stockfish: A Clash of Distinct Capabilities

When ChatGPT and Stockfish play chess, it’s a fascinating intersection of divergent computational approaches to chess.

Stockfish, with its astronomical calculating capabilities, represents the highest level of brute-force computational strength and depth.

It sifts through a cosmic web of variations, unearthing tactics and strategies that are often several layers deeper than what meets the human eye.

Conversely, ChatGPT embodies a more intuitive, generalized approach.

It doesn’t calculate to the astronomical depths of Stockfish, nor does it aim to.

ChatGPT plays chess with a blend of strategic understanding and tactical alertness, offering a level of play that resonates with the casual chess player and enthusiast alike.

It provides insightful commentary, explains strategies, and even indulges in light-hearted banter, crafting an engaging, human-like interaction.

The Encounter: Calculation vs. Conversation

In a match-up, Stockfish will always dominate from a purely competitive standpoint, given its superior tactical and strategic depth.

However, ChatGPT would weave a narrative around each move, offering insights, explanations, and perhaps even a dash of humor, enriching the experience beyond the mere mechanics of the game.

Stockfish might unleash a devastating combination, exploiting a subtle tactical nuance in the position.

In response, ChatGPT might not only parry with the best move available but also talk about the intricacies of the combination in an accurate way, offering a glimpse into the tactical machinations at play.

The encounter becomes a harmonious blend of raw computational power and engaging conversation, providing spectators with not just a display of high-level chess, but also a narrative that is both informative and entertaining.

That’s what we found in our game comparing the two.

Let’s take a look.

ChatGPT vs. Stockfish – Result

Let’s take a look at ChatGPT vs. Stockfish.

We ran Stockfish and played as Stockfish.

Playing well through 4 moves…

ChatGPT knows chess theory and is able to explain moves and anticipate.

So far, so good.

Playing 16…f5 is ChatGPT’s first mistake.

It needed to take back with the knight:

17…f4 is a critical error that puts the position from +1.00 to +2.00 for white to roughly +7.50.

The knight will be taken.


Considering ChatGPT is lost here, the rest of the game is a formality.

It is making many decent moves, explaining them well.

28…Rb8 blunders the rook.

It then chooses to capture the knight with the rook, which blunders into mate-in-4.

Checkmate in 32 moves.

Stockfish vs. ChatGPT: Full Game

Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 Be7 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 b5 12. g5 Nh5 13. Kb1 Nb6 14. Na5 Qc7 15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. exd5 f5 17. Nc6 f4 18. Bxb6 Qxb6 19. Nxe7+ Kh8 20. Nc6 Rae8 21. Bd3 g6 22. Qb4 Qc7 23. Rc1 Ng7 24. c4 bxc4 25. Rxc4 Qd7 26. Rhc1 Nf5 27. Be4 Ne3 28. R4c3 Rb8 29. Nxb8 Rxb8 30. Qxb8+ Kg7 31. Rc7 Qxc7 32. Rxc7# 1-0


So, ChatGPT did very well in the opening for 15 moves.

Then it made an error on move 16 and blunder on move 17.

But it played mostly accurate moves the entire time.

Given ChatGPT has been trained on a lot of chess documents, it’s not surprising its opening knowledge is relatively solid, but it’ll tend to struggle once it gets to a unique position.

But it’s reasoning even in those positions is quite impressive and it plays accurate moves the vast majority of the time.

ChatGPT vs. Stockfish – Or Partnership?

In artificial intelligence and machine learning, different models and engines are often designed with specific goals in mind.

ChatGPT and Stockfish, while both remarkable in their domains, serve distinct purposes.

However, rather than viewing them in opposition, it’s intriguing to consider the potential of their partnership.

By leveraging the strengths of both, we can envision a synergy that offers both high-level chess gameplay and insightful explanations.


Stockfish stands as one of the world’s most formidable chess engines.

Its design revolves around evaluating an immense number of chess positions in mere seconds, utilizing sophisticated algorithms and heuristics tailored for the game.

The engine can predict the best moves in a vast array of positions, making it a favorite tool for professional players and enthusiasts.

However, while Stockfish excels in computational prowess, it lacks the ability to provide human-understandable explanations for its moves.


Enter ChatGPT. As a state-of-the-art language model, ChatGPT’s strength lies in understanding and generating human-like text.

It can converse, explain complex concepts, and even delve into the intricacies of chess strategy in a manner that’s relatable to users.

But, unlike Stockfish, it doesn’t possess the specialized algorithms to play chess at an elite level.

ChatGPT-Stockfish Partnership

Now, imagine a partnership where Stockfish calculates the optimal moves in a given position, and ChatGPT elucidates the underlying strategy, tactics, and rationale behind those moves. Such a collaboration would offer users the best of both worlds:

  1. High-Level Gameplay: Stockfish would ensure that the moves are of the highest caliber, adhering to the best strategies and tactics in any given position.
  2. In-depth Explanations: ChatGPT would bridge the gap between the cold calculations of the engine and the human desire for understanding. It could explain why certain moves are preferred, delve into the strategic implications, and even provide historical context or similar game references.

This synergy could revolutionize chess learning and analysis.

Beginners could benefit from understanding the reasoning behind top-tier moves, intermediate players could refine their strategies with expert insights, and even advanced players could gain a deeper appreciation of complex positions.

In essence, while ChatGPT and Stockfish individually offer unique advantages, their combined capabilities could usher in a new era of chess analysis and education, where computational excellence meets explanatory text to help bring out the logic behind the moves.

Q&A – ChatGPT vs. Stockfish

What is ChatGPT and how does it differ from Stockfish?

ChatGPT is a language model developed by OpenAI based on the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) architecture. It’s designed to understand and generate human-like text based on the input it receives. Its primary function is natural language processing and generation, and it’s not specifically designed for any particular domain like chess.

Stockfish, on the other hand, is a free and open-source chess engine. It’s one of the strongest chess engines in the world and is designed specifically to evaluate chess positions and determine the best moves. Stockfish doesn’t have natural language processing capabilities; its primary function is to play and analyze chess games.

The main difference is their primary functions: ChatGPT is a general-purpose language model, while Stockfish is a specialized chess engine.

Can ChatGPT play chess like Stockfish?

While ChatGPT can understand the rules of chess and can play the game based on its knowledge, it doesn’t play at the same level as Stockfish.

Stockfish is a highly optimized chess engine that evaluates millions of positions per second and uses sophisticated algorithms to determine the best moves.

ChatGPT, being a language model, would rely on its training data and general understanding of the game, which is not as refined or specialized as Stockfish’s capabilities.

How does the chess engine of Stockfish compare to the capabilities of ChatGPT?

Stockfish uses a combination of advanced algorithms, heuristics, and a vast opening book to evaluate chess positions.

It can analyze millions of positions per second, using techniques like alpha-beta pruning, bitboards, and endgame tablebases.

Its primary goal is to find the best move in any given position.

ChatGPT, while knowledgeable about chess rules and strategies, doesn’t have a specialized chess engine under the hood.

It can provide advice on moves, discuss strategies, and understand chess notation, but it doesn’t evaluate positions with the same depth or precision as Stockfish.

Has there been any head-to-head match between ChatGPT and Stockfish in chess?

Stockfish will win every game in a head-to-head matchup with ChatGPT.

It’s worth noting that such a match would be a bit like comparing apples to oranges, given the vastly different purposes and capabilities of the two systems.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of ChatGPT in chess compared to Stockfish?

Strengths of ChatGPT in chess:

  • Can explain moves and strategies in natural language.
  • Can discuss historical games, famous players, and general chess knowledge.
  • Can interact with users in a conversational manner, making it suitable for teaching and discussing the game.

Weaknesses of ChatGPT in chess:

  • Not optimized for high-level play.
  • Doesn’t evaluate positions with the depth or precision of specialized chess engines.
  • Relies on general knowledge rather than a dedicated chess database or opening book.

Strengths of Stockfish:

  • One of the strongest chess engines in the world.
  • Evaluates millions of positions per second.
  • Uses advanced algorithms and techniques specifically designed for chess.

Weaknesses of Stockfish:

  • Doesn’t have natural language processing capabilities.
  • Can’t explain its moves in a human-understandable way without external tools.

How do the algorithms and methodologies of ChatGPT and Stockfish differ?

ChatGPT is based on the Transformer architecture, which is a deep learning model designed for working with sequences, such as text.

It uses layers of attention mechanisms to weigh the importance of different words in a sentence, allowing it to generate coherent and contextually relevant responses.

Stockfish, on the other hand, uses a combination of search algorithms, evaluation functions, and heuristics specifically tailored for chess. Some of its techniques include:

  • Alpha-beta pruning: A search algorithm that reduces the number of positions evaluated by the engine.
  • Bitboards: A data structure used to represent the chessboard and optimize move generation.
  • Endgame tablebases: Databases that provide perfect play in endgame positions with a limited number of pieces.

While both are complex and sophisticated in their domains, their underlying methodologies are fundamentally different due to their distinct purposes.

Can ChatGPT be trained to improve its chess-playing abilities like Stockfish?

ChatGPT can be fine-tuned or retrained on specific datasets, including chess-related data, to improve its knowledge in that domain.

However, even with extensive training on chess, it wouldn’t match the specialized capabilities of a dedicated chess engine like Stockfish.

Stockfish’s strength comes from its specialized algorithms and vast evaluation capabilities, which are tailored for chess and not general language processing.

How do the computational requirements of ChatGPT compare to Stockfish when playing chess?

ChatGPT requires significant computational resources, especially for the larger models, due to the complexity of the Transformer architecture.

However, its requirements are more or less constant regardless of the task it’s performing, be it answering questions about chess or discussing a completely different topic.

Stockfish, when playing chess, can scale its computational requirements based on the time available.

In rapid or blitz games, it uses fewer resources than in longer games where it can analyze positions more deeply.

In analysis mode, where it’s trying to find the best moves in a position without time constraints, it can utilize as much computational power as is available to it.

In a direct comparison, Stockfish, when analyzing a chess position deeply, might use more computational power than ChatGPT answering a chess-related question.

However, the exact requirements would vary based on the specific configurations and tasks.

What future developments can we expect in the realm of AI chess engines like ChatGPT and Stockfish?

The world of AI and chess is always evolving.

For Stockfish and other dedicated chess engines, we can expect continued refinements in their algorithms, better evaluation functions, and more efficient use of computational resources.

There’s also a trend of integrating neural networks into chess engines, as seen with engines like Leela Chess Zero (Lc0), built off the AlphaZero concept. which could lead to new hybrid engines that combine traditional algorithms with deep learning.

For ChatGPT and similar language models, while their primary function isn’t chess, we can expect them to become more knowledgeable about the game as they’re trained on newer data.

They might also become better at understanding and generating complex strategies, making them more useful for casual players and educators.

In the broader realm of AI, the integration of specialized knowledge (like chess) with general knowledge (like natural language processing) is an exciting frontier.

We might see AI systems that can not only play games at a high level but also explain their decisions and strategies in a way that’s understandable and educational for humans.

We already see this in domains like investing, where LLMs can be used to explain the underlying logic of trading algorithms.

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