29.10.2012 – In 2009 Robert Houdart, a Belgian structural engineer working on nuclear power plants and astronomy, wiled away his time waiting for a telescope mirror by writing a chess program. To everyone's suprise it turned out to be the strongest engine around. Now version three is out and will be soon available from ChessBase. We asked the author to explain the genesis of this remarkable chess engine.
Interview with Robert Houdart, author of Houdini
Robert, you are not primarily a programmer. What exactly is your background?
So how did you suddenly come up with Houdini, which was from the start a very strong chess program?
Working on his telescope project – more about that shortly
What is the secret of Houdini, what makes it so strong?
How much do you owe to other programs and programmers? Did you collaborate with anybody, did you receive any advice and assistance?
What are the specific strengths of Houdini – apart from the fact that it can beat all its rivals in one-on-one matches? Chess amateurs and professionals are more interested in how it can specifically help them.
Can you show us some examples of how Houdini comes up with interesting and useful ideas that other chess engines cannot find?
Do you plan to continue work on the program, keep making it stronger and more useful for chess players? Or will you at some stage return to engineering and astronomy?
So how strong is the current version, which ChessBase will release next week?
An unbeatable combination: the world's strongest chess engine
running on the world's finest chess interface
- The Houdini 3 engine
- The DeepFritz 13 user interface in Windows Office 2010 standard
- The DeepFritz 13 database management system
- Classic membership of Playchess.com for twelve months
- The ChessBase Engine Cloud
- The ChessBase "Let’s Check" function (until 31.12.2015)
- A database with over 1.5 million games
ISBN 978-3-86681-336-6 – EAN 4027975007229. Price: 79.90€
Supports up to 32 cores and 256 GB of hash + 12 months Playchess.com (classic)
ISBN 978-3-86681-337-3 – EAN 402797500723-6. Price: 99.90€