Introducing Dragon 2.5 by Komodo Chess
Mastermind GM Larry Kaufman introduces Dragon 2.5 by Komodo Chess
September 24, 2021
We have released Dragon 2.5 at komodochess.com. Dragon uses NNUE (Neural Network Updated Efficiently) technology, originally developed for the game of shogi.
Komodo has a great deal of chess knowledge in its evaluation. Training an NNUE network based on this evaluation was both an advantage and a challenge, requiring experimentation
with architectures and data generation of billions of positions. The reinforcement learning phase for Dragon is in its infancy, but is already showing great promise.
Dragon 2.5 is a huge strength improvement over Dragon 2, roughly 60 elo on four threads and 70 elo on one, even more in MCTS mode and for playing Fischerandom (chess960). The gains over Komodo 14.1, the last pre-dragon release (Nov 2020), are in the 250 to 300 Elo range depending on threads, mode, and game type, all at CCRL blitz time control (2' + 1"). The improvement over Dragon 2 is due to a larger, "smarter", and better-trained net, to deeper search due to search enhancements, and to parameter tuning. The improvement from Komodo to Dragon is due to the embedded neural network providing much more accurate evaluation and also in some sense gaining an extra ply or so of search by seeing some tactics that a normal eval can not see. Our testing also shows that Dragon is especially strong in Fischerandom (960) chess, which was confirmed when Dragon won the TCEC FRC 2021 championship, and again in our latest testing that shows Dragon 2.5 convincingly defeated Stockfish 14 in a 3200 game bullet chess Fischerandom match. Dragon also won the 2021 TCEC Swiss championship (normal chess). We believe that Dragon will play in a more human-like style than standard Komodo since it relies on learning what actually works in games rather than just on pre-assigned values for eval terms.
The Skill levels have been increased to 35, made much more human-like, and are now intended to correspond to human Fide ratings in Rapid chess, so for example an 1800 FIDE rated player should be closely matched with Skill level 18 at 15' + 10". Also the MultiPV play of standard mode is dramatically improved from the initial dragon release, on top of the actual strength gain. Other features added since Komodo 13 include Armageddon mode, MCTS Optimism, Personalities, and Auto-Skill. Standard mode is usually the stronger mode objectively, while MCTS mode is usually better at setting problems for human opponents as it does not assume perfect defense, especially with more than a few seconds to consider.
What is the 'one year subscription'?
This option is for chess players who need the strongest possible engine. We release updates to Dragon three to five times per year. The subscription is basically Dragon plus these 3-5 updates for a discount.
Note: this product is available for immediate download after purchase. Log in to My Account to download.
- Chess Assistant
- Hiarcs Chess Explorer
- Shredder (Classic)
Minimum: 64-bit processor, Pentium 4 F-series, 1024 MB ram
Recommended: Processor with AVX2 strongly recommended (most computers since 2013 have this). No need for GPU.
Operating system: Windows, Linux, Mac OSX 10.7 or higher (available only from Google).
Note: the program does not include a 'chessboard'. See .
Komodo/Dragon is three-time TCEC champion, the most prestigious online computer chess event, and has also won several CCT events and several World Championships.
- Evaluation developed by a Grandmaster
- Multi-core support (up to 256 cores)
Note to people who purchased Komodo 14 or a later version on komodochess.com: Thanks for your continued support. You get a 20% discount.
The discount is applied during checkout