My name is Tim Tobiason and I am the co-author and owner of TobyChess
and the distributor of the TobyTal chess engine. In 2003, I hired a
programmer to create Deep Tactics, an interface which does many
wonderful things. Early on my programmer wrote a chess engine which
found every checkmate at the end of every game in the chessbase
database which we stored. It then analyzed backwards finding every
possible way to force mate. We stored these and that is how we created
the 12 million checkmates which we sell with Deep Tactics and Toby
Tal. We discovered that the average mate in 4 has 140 solutions and
the average mate in 6 has over 1,000 ways to mate so we have a reader
which displays every branch of the tree in our trainer. We called this
engine nutcracker and it is part of TobyTal.
A year ago we created a new engine called serpent which beat Rybka
every single game. It beat every engine every time except Hiarcs which
got 4 draws in 16 games. Its elo rater rating was 3600+. It was
designed to run on 128 bit machines and we ran it off of a server.
This engine did not use trees, nodes, branches, etc. It created a new
kind of table-base it could make on the fly and then plan on how to
achieve the future positions. Authorities stepped in and stopped us
from selling it and no amount of money would have changed this. I
cannot divulge the rest of the story at this time.
I asked the programmer over the last year to make a new engine with
ideas and last November he provided me with a test copy of Toby-Tal.
It was small, 120K. It used nutcracker and ideas from Serpent although
we still use searches, nodes and trees. I showed this to a customer in
Kansas at that time and was told about a new engine that was out
called Robollito. We did not release TobyTal at this time because we
had a serious hash table read error which caused us to switch from 32
bit hash tables to 64 bit hash tables. This fixed the problem of our
engine getting weaker over time from read errors from the old hash
On release of our engine a couple of weeks ago by e-mail and at the
American Open, I found I had received profane e-mails from "anonymous"
accusing me of selling a clone (Robo). My website was attacked with
millions of hits and taken out of business along with my e-mail for
about a week while I was on the road. We are now back up running and I
will address the issues which have been raised.
1. TobyTal is a unique engine which we created. It is 120K in size.
Robo is 301K and Rybka about 2.3mg. Our engine is encrypted but not
compressed. This is to protect our code which I paid to create and
which I personally contributed to. It is our legal property with
dozens of new ideas which I intend to protect. This is the first
engine in which part of its program was actually written by another
2. It solves about 1/2 of the Nolot puzzles on Wikipedia. hese are
puzzles too hard for chess engines to solve. On puzzle 9 we found a
novel solution (Nxh6) which wins in every variation! Neither Robo or
Ryka can solve more than 1-2 of the 20 puzzles. We find unique moves
in many situations because of a special King attack routine we
invented. I have seen arguments accusing us of being the same as Roby,
etc because we play the same moves in a position that they do. When I
run the positions in Fritz 12 it also finds the same moves, therefore
Fritz 12 must be a clone too?
3. We have multi move and search move and Robo does not. We do not
have tablebase support yet. We also have nutcracker and serpent code
4. We do not run on most windows XP systems (which we hope to fix
soon) while the other engines do.
5. Using a checksum to compare the engines, we found about 5%
identical code with Robollito which I consider convenience code used
by all chess programs. Things like Quintz search and null move are
common among all strong programs and we use some of these as wells.
6. We play better chess than Robo or Rybka by 20-80 points right now
which is a lot at that level. If you look at the games, they run in
streaks. When we lose in the streaks, we have a hash table read error
or other major bug which only happens in play game mode. It does not
happen in analysis mode. Once this bug is found and fixed we may play
a hundred points or more above Robo &Rybka!! 7. Our engine is 32 bit
bit but plays well vs the 64 bit versions of Robo and Rybka.
7. In the end if the Robo people wish to resolve this in court, we
will happily submit our code to the court for 3rd party comparison
under the courts supervision to ensure our code remains secret.
I am selling our engine on-line and at tournaments. At the North
American Open in Las Vegas, we sold 21 TobyTal's while Chess Palace
told me they sold 5 Fritz 12's and 4 Rybka's. People could see the
engine matches and install them on their own computer and test them
I do not sell the engine online as a download. We only sell it with
the Deep tactics interface and to prevent piracy, future versions will
be tied to the interface like Fritz 12.
The issues will be settled on the chessboard in the coming months. We
will add tablebase support, new chess knowledge and make a windows XP
version in the next few weeks and will hopefully fix the bug in the
current version. I will send this to all of you as a free upgrade if
you have already purchased TobyTal [Thanks for the business]. After
that we will create multi core and 64 bit versions with opening
learning and multi computer capabilities. This will be sold as Deep
TobyTal for $89 or an additional $30 upgrade.
In 4-6 years, there ill be no more chess engines as chess will be
solved and the
moves will simply be looked up in tables (similar to the dinosaur
methods of tablebases used today). Then all these chess engine
arguments will be obsolete.