Komodo (chess)

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Developer(s)Don Dailey, Larry Kaufman, Mark Lefler
Initial releaseJanuary 2010; 8 years ago (2010-01)
Stable release
12.1 / June 4, 2018; 5 months ago (2018-06-04)
Written inC, C++
Operating systemLinux, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android
TypeChess engine

Komodo is a UCI chess engine developed by Don Dailey and Mark Lefler, and supported by chess author and evaluation expert GM Larry Kaufman. Komodo is a commercial chess engine but older versions (9 and older) are free for non-commercial use. It is consistently ranked near the top of most major chess engine rating lists, along with Stockfish and Houdini.[1][2][3][4][5]


Komodo was derived from Don Dailey's former engine Doch in January 2010.[6] The first multiprocessor version of Komodo was released in June 2013 as Komodo 5.1 MP.[7] This version was a major rewrite and a port of Komodo to C++11. A single-processor version of Komodo (which won the CCT15 tournament in February earlier that year) was released as a stand-alone product shortly before the 5.1 MP release. This version, named Komodo CCT, was still based on the older C code, and was approximately 30 Elo stronger than the 5.1 MP version, as the latter was still undergoing massive code-cleanup work.[8]

With the release of Komodo 6 on 4 October 2013, Don Dailey announced that he was suffering from an acute form of leukaemia, and would no longer contribute to the future development of Komodo.[9] On October 8, Don made an announcement on the Talkchess forum that Mark Lefler would be joining the Komodo team and would continue its development.[10] The latest version, Komodo 12, was released on May 14, 2018.

Playing strength and style[edit]

Komodo heavily relies on evaluation rather than depth, and thus has a distinctive positional style. Its forte is to play when there is nothing to play.[11] Komodo author Don Dailey described it as such: "In positions that most engines would likely struggle or find it impossible to make progress, Komodo quietly prepares a break and ends up with the victory."[12]

Competition results[edit]

Komodo has played in the ICT 2010 in Leiden, and further in the CCT12 and CCT14. Komodo had its first tournament success in 2013, when it won the CCT15 with a score of 6½/7.[13] Komodo also fared very well in the TCEC competition, where in Season 4, it lost only eight out of its 53 games and managed to reach Stage 4 (Quarterfinals), against very strong competition which were running on eight cores (Komodo was running on a single processor).[14] In TCEC Season 5, it won the superfinal against Stockfish. It managed to reach the Superfinal in TCEC Season 6 again, but this time, it lost to Stockfish. Komodo regained the title in TCEC Season 7, defeating Stockfish in the superfinal. In TCEC Season 8, Komodo defeated Stockfish again in the superfinal.[15] Komodo won both the World Computer Chess Championship[16] and World Computer Software Championship[17] in 2016. Komodo once again won the World Computer Chess Championship[18] and World Blitz[19] in 2017. Komodo came third in TCEC Season 11 losing to Stockfish and Houdini, and came second in Season 12 losing to Stockfish.[20][21][22]

Notable games[edit]

Komodo vs Hannibal
a8 black rook
d7 black bishop
e7 black rook
g7 black king
h7 black pawn
c6 black pawn
f6 black pawn
g6 black pawn
b5 black pawn
c5 white rook
d5 black pawn
a4 black pawn
b4 white pawn
d4 white pawn
f4 white pawn
h4 white pawn
e3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white bishop
c1 white rook
g1 white king
Komodo plays the exchange sacrifice 33. Rxc6 and goes on to win the game, proving the superiority of its pieces over Black's two rooks.


  1. ^ "CCRL 40/40 Rating List — All engines (best versions only)". computerchess.org.uk. Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  2. ^ "IPON Rating List". inwoba.de. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  3. ^ "SWCR chess engine ratings list". amateurschach.de. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  4. ^ "CEGT Best Versions". husvankempen.de. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  5. ^ "CCRL 40/4 Rating List". CCRL. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  6. ^ Dailey, Don. "Komodo 1.0 JA by Don Dailey available". Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  7. ^ Dailey, Don. "Komodo 5.1 MP has been released". Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  8. ^ Dailey, Don. "Komodo CCT". Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  9. ^ Dailey, Don. "Komodo release". Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  10. ^ Dailey, Don. "Who is Don/Larry's new partner!?". Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  11. ^ Prakash, Om. "Hope for the new Komodo!". Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  12. ^ Dailey, Don. "Quiet game". Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  13. ^ Skinner, Peter. "CCT15 - Results". Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  14. ^ "Komodo - Performance". Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  15. ^ "TCEC - Top Chess Engine Championship - Archive Mode".
  16. ^ "WCCC2016".
  17. ^ "WCSC 2016".
  18. ^ "WCSC 2017".
  19. ^ "World Bltz 2017".
  20. ^ http://www.chessdom.com/tcec-season-11-final-standings/
  21. ^ http://www.chessdom.com/stockfish-convincingly-wins-tcec-season-11/
  22. ^ https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/tcec-2018-season-12-superfinal
  23. ^ a b "Interesting Games from Season 2". Archived from the original on 25 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  24. ^ Chen, Franklin. "The computer plays the exchange sacrifice". Retrieved 26 October 2013.

External links[edit]