Richard's transcript from the Talkchess forum:
Please accept my apologies for the confusion I unwillingly created. This unfortunate Robodini thing got way more attention than it really deserves. I got a lot of questions regarding this by emails/pms/whatnot, so I decided to answer them all in a single forum post in the form of a FAQ document.
Q: Robodini is a clone of Houdini3?
A: Yes, that was the intent
Q: Robodini is a hex-edited/packed/modified H3 binary?
A: No. It was compiled from source code (written by me) and packed with MPRESS(64bit)/UPX(32bit). Compression ratio is close to 2.5:1
Q: Why that funny name?
A1: The name "Robodini" was inspired by dr. Wael Deeb
A2: I thought this name will fit the origin of Houdinis code base
A3: I realized that there is a typo - "Robbodini" would be more adequate Wink
Q: Are you serious about this engine?
A: No. In fact, I think it is pretty useless. It lacks many features of a full-blown chess engine. No SMP, no EGTB support, etc... Honestly, I don't want to see anybody wasting his time seriosly testing it.
Q: Is your Robodini stronger than H3?
A: Definitely not. At the source code level it has the _potential_ to be _at most_ equal to H3. But the published binary is some 10-12% slower than H3, plus I am sure there are some hidden bugs (it is almost impossible to write bug-free code in such a short time)
Q: What was your motivation to write such a "monstrosity"?
A1: It was a bet inspired by a discussion on the Rybka forum. Some people didn't believe it is doable.
A2: Besides that, I really (i mean REALLY) wanted to show how easy job is this given Houdinis origins. (With a truely original engine it would be almost impossible to do a decent RE in such a short time. Having Robbolito source code at my disposal was really essential.
Q: Please, will you release a multi-threaded version?
Q: Are you planning to develop Robodini further?
A: No. I won the bet, and I am done. The published version 1.1 is the last. There will be no SMP, no FiftyDistance, no MateSearch, no EGTBs, no whatever... If you want a full-blown engine, please consider purchasing the real thing (H3), or download a free alternative.
Q: Why is the executable so small?
A: One of the terms of our bet was (to prevent me cheating by hex-editing???) to produce an executable smaller in size than the compressed "material table" in the H3 binary. My challenger wanted to be sure I really did my job thoroughly Smile. In fact this gave me quite a bit of headaches. I am not really good at maths and it took a considerable amount of time until I derived the correct formulas for the H3 material table. I don't want to do it again...
Q: How close is the R1.1 evaluation to H3?
Q: I ran R1.1 through Don's similarity tester and it is incredibly close to H3. Why is that?
A: They are as close as possible. When fed by random middlegame positions, both engines should give exactly same moves/evaluations/node counts during at least one second or one million nodes. (1-thread, same hash sizes, and both engines restarted between searches). This was one of the terms of the bet. Due to a bug in H3 which is very hard to reproduce node counts may differ after some millions of nodes.
Q: Why you have published a cloned engine?
A: In order to claim my win on the bet I was supposed to publish a working binary on a public chess forum. I deliberately choose the Immortal forum (even the russian section) in the hope that there it will not attract too much publicity... Alas, I was mistaken - it seems once something is published, the community won't be ignorant.
Q: You did this to hurt mr. Houdart?
A: No. Although I do have some ethical objections against mr. Houdart, I think this release won't harm his sales nor his ego.
Q: How much time you spent writing this engine?
A: 3-4 hours per day for 2 weeks. It was certainly less than 80 hours. But agian, without Robbolito codebase it would be impossible in such a short time...
Q: How you did it?
A: I took the Robbolito sources and backported all the changes Robert made.
Q: Are you willing to publish source code?
A: No. Despite R1.1 being a H3 clone, it contains a lot of boilerplate code that is (c) by me. I hate the Robbodini coding style - I had to replace it with something more readable/maintainable while preserving its functionality.
Q: Can you improve H3?
A: I don't know. I won't try. I discovered several bugs, most of them are inconsequential. Only one of them affects the gameplay seriously, but it is not unimaginable that by fixing it the engine might become weaker...