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looking for: Engines with variable strength or weak strength for amateurs to play against

I have been looking for quite some time without any luck.

Can anyone recommend an engine which is both *open source* and UCI compatible that has variable strength that dips into the beginner ranges? I'm talking about 800-1400 elo, preferably with a high degree of granularity. Ideally an engine that is fun to play against.

All of the engines I have looked at so far have a minimum of about 1600elo (including stockfish), which are not helpful for my project.

I copied this question over to the discord channel and got some feedback, so it's not urgent.

Stockfish lowest is 1350. Also you can try to play a non-rated game against my bot, it will adapt to the opponent's strength.

You can use Leela Chess Zero with a weak network weights file (like me) and/or configure parameters to make it artificially weaker (e.g. having one node per move like @LeelaInstinct or @bomtot). If you're feeling adventurous, you can also train your own network weights.

I also like the PyChess engine. It has 20 difficulty levels and it feels like playing a human.

Lastly, if you have a Linux machine, you can use cpulimit to artificially weaken your engine by limiting its CPU usage. A nice side effect of this is being able to play many games at once without putting too much stress on the CPU.

Thanks for responding @high_five and @LeelaWeak I'll look into each of those options.

I noticed stockfish went down to 1350, but I was hoping for something that could go down even lower, and perhaps play more human-like moves than a tuned down stockfish which can play somewhat erratically.

I really like the idea with training leela to be weak, which is actually very much in line with the end goal of my project. Once I get some groundwork done I'll definitely go that direction. In the mean time, all those other tips will probably fit the bill.

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