Leela Chess: Installation and Use

In the course of writing my April 2019 review for Chess Life, devoted to the fascinating new Game Changer by Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan, I had occasion to spend more than a few hours studying Leela Chess Zero, or “Leela.” Like Alpha Zero, Leela is a self-learning algorithm, combining a self-trained neural net and Monte Carlo-style searching to create one of the two or three strongest chess-playing entities on the planet.

But unlike Alpha Zero, Leela is open-source and freely available to use by anyone who downloads it. And with its near-win in the TCEC 14 super-tournament, Leela became a source of intense interest among computer chess aficionados and practical players looking for a new analytical tool. This game, in part, stoked that interest.

There are important differences between self-learning engines like Leela and traditional alpha-beta searchers like Stockfish. Some of these differences are easy to grasp, but others require explanation and instruction. Watching this video, the first in a series of occasional efforts for CLO, will tell you exactly what you need to know to install, configure, and interpret Leela’s output.

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  1. Good video! One important point that is not clear for me is the selection of the best network to be used at any given time. It’s very confusing. ELO evaluation fluctuates a lot, And there are different types of neural networks with different number of layers and nodes. Some of the latest are optimized for slower computers but they are not the strongest ones.
    Would you please provide advice on this subject?

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