The Baron

The Baron is Winboard Chess engine that I have developed in my spare time.

The development of Baron started in August 2001. My intention is to make it a knowledge based engine rather than a fast searching engine.

When releasing the Baron for the first time I had to think of an appropriate name. It became ‘The Baron’

The city of Breda is the centre of the Barony of Breda and that is reflected in the names of a lot of sports clubs, a school, hospital and losts of others. As I am member of the chess club The Barony, it seemed a logical choice to call my engine The Baron. This is the real origin of the name.

However, a seconds story exists. Shortly after releasing the Baron, I googled a bit with keywords like ‘Baron’ and ‘Chess’, and found out that the first Chess ‘Computer’, The Turk,  was built by Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen to amuse Empress Maria Theresia of Austria. Since then I consider the Baron to be named after him as well.

The version of the Baron that is available for download on this site uses most standard chess programming mechanisms except for the highly selective search methods that are currently used. It has an opening book, is able to learn form its mistakes with position learning and is able to use the Nalimov six-pieces endgame tablebases. The search is pretty much brute force, except for null-move pruning. There is also a version of the Baron that is capable of playing Chess960 (Fischer Random Chess).

The strength is difficult to estimate. Although it is not the strongest engines that is available, the playing strength is sufficient to win (or at least draw) a fair share of games against most opponents. However, there are several competitions where the Baron participates. References to these online tournaments can be found on the Links page.

But since the last public release I completely rewrote the Baron. By use of semi-automatic evaluation tuning and the application of the modern search techniques it is quite a bit stronger than the public available version. I do not intend to release this version for download from this site.