Updated: May 28
It took me a long time to figure out what to write at the beginning of my review of the Deep Shredder 13 chess program and engine for Windows.
Does it matter that the engine Deep Shredder 13 (DS13 for short) has won the World Championship of chess engines 19 times ?
Does it matter that the author of Shredder Mr. Stefan Meyer-Kahlen is one of the creators of UCI (Universal Chess Interface) which is used by almost all chess engines nowadays ?
Does it matter that Deep Shredder 13 has the so-called Triple Brain - a unique tool to combine the advantages of two different chess engines during analysis or game play ?
Does it matter that Shredder has been present in the computer chess world since 1995 ?
Does it matter that Shredder is available on all popular hardware platforms such as but not limited to: Linux, Mac, Windows, Android, iOS ?
Does it matter that Shredder is purchased in over 100 countries ?
Does it matter that....
Everything I wrote matters !
The most successful chess program that for the last several decades has been the computer partner for chess players around the world when playing, learning, training or analyzing chess.
Shredder was and is a chess program that made and continues to make beautiful computer chess history.
And it is this chess program - Deep Shredder 13 - that I have come to review for you, dear readers.
First, let's take a look at some of the data in the table below.
Table of Deep Shredder 13 specifications.
Deep Shredder 13 released in October 2016. In 2022 we can use its updated version available for the latest Windows family systems.
The program and chess engine Deep Shredder 13 is also available for other operating systems such as Linux and Mac. Unfortunately, the versions for these operating systems are truncated compared to the Windows version reviewed in this article.
On the internet "birds are chirping" that Mr. Stefan Meyer-Kahlen is working on the next version of Shredder.
So it is worth taking a look at Deep Shredder 13 and through this review we will try to answer the question, is Deep Shredder 13 still the leading product in the chess software market in 2022 ? Can Deep Shredder 13 compete with other modern chess software such as Fritz or Hiarcs Chess Explorer ?
Let's start :)
Like the reviews of other chess programs on this blog, this one is divided into several topic segments. This is to make it easier for readers to possibly compare different programs.
Deep Shredder 13 in comparison with the other two versions (Shredder Classic, Shredder 13 Windows) is the best equipped version containing:
Latest Shredder user interface
The strongest and latest Shredder chess engine.
All 5 men endgame super fast Shredderbases
Extra large opening book with latest opening theory
Runs on all cores simultaneously
Best performance on your computer
DS13 user gets a complete set for playing, learning and analysis along with a chess engine.
Interface, Appearance, Access to Program Features.
DS13 has a customizable interface. The elements-windows and toolbar-can be active or inactive.
After launching, the program greets us with a Tip of the Day window from which we can learn a lot of interesting and useful information and tips.
The toolbar contains icons with shortcuts to the most frequently used functions. You can customize it according to your preferences by adding or removing elements. You can also change the size of the icons.
If we so desire, the DS13 look can be minimalist...
...With several windows active...
...With a chessboard of various sizes...
Of course, there is also the option to change the theme of the chess board and pieces.
A three-dimensional chessboard is also available.
However, I have my favorite set with warmer colors, because I spend a lot of time working in front of a computer monitor and it makes my eyes less tired.
Access to the most frequently used functions is provided by the toolbar at the top of the interface. Using the drop-down menu, you get use of all the other functions and capabilities DS13.
Some panels have context icons that when right-clicked, open windows.
The interface and all DS13 messages have been translated into several languages, which will certainly please users who prefer to use this program in their native language :-)
To sum up this part of the review, I have mixed feelings.
The interface is a little outdated by today's standards. The font in some panels is either too small or too large. Some embedded color themes and piece sets are not very clear.
The 3D chessboard - I wasn't able to comfortably play a single chess game using the 3D chessboard.
It is a pity that there is no dark mode available, although you can compensate for this a bit by choosing a theme with slightly warmer colors.
It is good that the program allows modifications and thus you can customize its appearance, window layout, font size and colors.
On the attached images above I tried to show the most interesting themes and interface elements.
In general, if you are lucky enough to find the right theme for you, or if you take your time and set up the DS13 interface according to your own preferences, you will definitely enjoy using this program.
Power of play.
In addition to an impressive number of Championship wins, in the past Shredder has topped the rankings multiple times.
The name of the engine does not come by chance, over the years the Shredder chess engine has made a name for itself as a merciless shredder of its rivals.
Shredder has "always" been seen as a chess engine with great knowledge and a very balanced evaluation of chess positions.
It is these qualities that often determined that Shredder was and still is one of the most chosen engines for training and accurate chess analysis.
It is worth noting that the reviewed Deep Shredder 13 engine (in May 2022) is almost 6 years old, which in the world of computer chess is a whole era.
Despite this, DS13 will play two matches against modern and contemporary chess engines so that we can evaluate "how the old Master" will do in this challenge.
Also, DS13 will play in the tournament along with some of the strongest engines currently available.
First, the Toga IV engine released in March 2022.
Toga IV uses a modern NNUE (Efficiently Updatable Neural Network) and is currently a dynamically developed chess engine.
Each engine had 4 CPU at its service and 1 minute per game; Deep Shredder 13 GUI and opening book.
Deep Shredder 13 won that match, winning 18 more games than Toga IV. 56 Elo points difference in this match between these two engines.
And two images showing what a match between two engines might look like.
An eye-pleasing, easy-to-read view.
Next, result from match consisting of 100 games Deep Shredder 13 against the Fritz 18 Neuronal.
Fritz 18 Neuronal is one of ChessBase's flagship and modern chess engines that is currently in sales and further active development. Just a month ago, at the end of April 2022, the Fritz 18 was upgraded to Neuronal version, making it even more powerful.
Each engine had 4 CPU at its service and 1 minute per game; Fritz 18 GUI, Prefect 2021 opening book.
Fritz 18 Neuronal won this match, scoring 62 more Elo points.
Is this a convincing victory ? In my opinion, absolutely not.
Out of 100 games, the almost 6-year-old Deep Shredder 13 against Fritz 18 Neuronal - the latest version of the commercial engine - was able to win 18 chess games and as many as 44 draws.
And a little more challenge for Deep Shredder 13 and more computer opponents. There were 15 engines in the tournament. Each engine had 4 CPU at its service, game time 1 minute per game +1 second extra for each move. DS13 GUI, Perfect 2021 opening book.
Below is the tournament table with results.
Deep Shredder 13 finished in a good 7th place at the top of the table achieving a ranking of 3165 Elo !
DS13 was up against some of the strongest current engines such as Dragon 3 by Komodo, Stockfish 15 or Berserk 8.5.1. The tournament also featured other renowned chess engines such as former World Champion Deep Junior, Deep Hiarcs and once one of the strongest engines Zappa.
The DS13 gave way to the newest and most modern chess engines, outperforming all other rivals in this tournament.
Deep Shredder 13 currently (May 2022) is still a strong chess engine capable of winning against challenging opponents.
It is evident from the match and tournament results achieved that it is inferior to the world's top chess engines. However, let me emphasize again, this engine is almost 6 years old, does not use the latest techniques (e.g. NNUE) and is able to win against some modern engines (Toga IV). This is a good sign for the future; the new version of the Shredder engine will certainly be more powerful and perhaps join the top of the strongest chess engines.
Syle of play.
The most natural way to recognize Deep Shredder 13 style of play is to play games against it. Which I did :-)
I played 30 games in ranked mode with adaptive strengths enabled.
Time for each player: 3 minutes + 2 seconds after each move.
Below are 16 of the 30 ranked games I played against Deep Shredder 13. These are games from round 15 to 30. I don't have the earlier ones (1-14) because I lost them due to a external hard drive failure.
Let's start at the end - with the ranking I achieved according to the DS13 measurement.
2010 Elo, after 30 chess games.
For comparison, Hiarcs Chess Explorer Pro calculated my ranking at 2216 Elo after 31 games.
And on the PlayChess server, where I regularly take part in tournaments, my average ranking usually oscillates around 2150-2250 Elo.
According to my feelings and experience, ranked games opposite DS13 are hard. My first few chess games against opponents rated 1600-1800 I alternated between winning and losing. Any "human improvisation" on my part, tactical or strategic traps - most of the time - did not result in victory at best - and usually led to my defeats.
The games in which I won - almost all of them were long, where I laboriously built up a strategic advantage and after 50-60 moves led to the surrender of my computer opponent.
In general, you can "feel" that Deep Shredder 13 even playing at lower ranking levels has extensive chess knowledge. In practice he very rarely makes tactical mistakes; strategically it plays well or at least correctly.
This is not the way people play on that rating levels. Not for 30 games in a row.
Therefore, when playing against DS13, I felt all the time that I was playing against a computer opponent who is programmed to make some strategic inaccuracy or tactical mistake once in a while (rarely) - but always at level 1400, 1600 or whatever level Shredder is currently playing at. People playing at level 1600 will sometimes play a move at level 1000 or 1200 during the same game and sometimes a move or moves at level 1800 or even higher than 2200 will appear in the same game. Shredder always plays at the same level during one gme - this is my subjective feeling.
I was "banging my head against the wall"; to each game I had to approach with maximum focus.
I will add more in the section describing training opportunities with DS13.
It's one thing to play with DS13 in ranked mode, but how will the engine do when analyzing games played by people - very high level games ?
I have chosen games from games played by humans, with difficult positions for chess engines.
My goal is to test the Deep Shredder 13 engine on 10 positions giving it a maximum of three minutes of thought per move. I have assumed that these will be positions played by people who have allotted up to a few minutes for a move. Therefore, I did not take into account positions created in correspondence games.
During testing, DS13 used 4 CPUs and a 1024MB Hash table.
We start with a relatively simple position for a man to solve - the only effective option is to break the black pawn barrier by sacrificing the Queen.
DS13 failed to find the correct Qxb5.
The engine sees a very big white advantage, but does not indicate a winning continuation.
In the following final position, the elegant c5 wins! This time DS13 found the best move after 2 minutes and 42 seconds.
And another ending, this time much more complex. DS13 failed to find the correct ...Rxb3.
The following position is from a match between then World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov and the computer Deep Blue. G.Kasparov surrendered the game in this position, although the draw was led by Qe3!! The correct continuation was noticed by DS13 after only 6 seconds.
Another position involving titled players. A tactical Queen play to the d3 square DS13 finds after 29 seconds of thinking time.
In the following position, on the other hand, the winning move is Knight's "quiet and inconspicuous" move to field c7. For many years this was an unsolvable position for many chess engines in a reasonable amount of thinking time.
DS13 failed to find the correct ...Nc7.
In the following position many chess players are able to point out the strongest move Qf6+ although it is harder with justification :-).
DS13 failed to find the correct Qf6+ in 3 minutes, and during the analysis I saw that in under 3 minutes DS13 started to consider the best move, which is confirmed in the analysis after 4 minutes and 5 seconds.