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Archive-Name: games/chess/part3

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Chess FAQ FAQ part 3/4

Please obtain all URLs from the current hypertext version of the faq

available From:

Publicly available material

  [18] Material Available via Anonymous FTP

  [19] Chess-Playing Computers

  [20] Chess-Playing Software

  [21] Database Software


[18] Material Available via Anonymous FTP

FTP is a way of copying files between networked computers. Information

on it is available via anonymous FTP from

"" in

the file /pub/usenet/news.answers/finding-sources.

If you do not know how to use anonymous FTP or do not have access to it,

you can retrieve the file by sending an e-mail message to with "send usenet/news.answers/finding-sources"

as the body of the message. (Send a message containing "help" for

general information on the server.) Or, see the posting titled "How to

find sources (READ THIS BEFORE POSTING)" in the news groups

comp.sources.wanted or news.answers. Information on what the various

compression extensions mean (like ".Z") and what utilities are available

to deal with them can be found in the comp.compression FAQ list (see the

posting in comp.compression or news.answers titled "comp.compression

Frequently Asked Questions," or from

"" in the file /pub/usenet/news.answers/compression-faq.

Miscellaneous. A general repository for chess-related material is

somewhat associated with the Internet Chess Server (ICS). Currently, the

'ICS FTP host' is "" or via

the web: "" Material is

in the pub/chess directory. New material may be placed in

pub/chess/uploads. Many freeware chess programs for different platforms,

including graphical ICS (see [17]) clients, are available (e.g., for

MS-DOS, MacOS, AmigaOS, NeXT, and UNIX vt100 or X Windows interfaces).

Scores of various matches and other groups of games as well.

While directories may change the following should give you an idea of

the probable directory structure and files available. An outline of some

of the recently available directories on ICS follows:

    pub/chess: general chess directory

    pub/chess/PGN: Portable Game Notation directory

    pub/chess/PGN/Standard: ASCII version of the PGN Standard

    pub/chess/PGN/Standard.TOC: Table of Contents for above

    pub/chess/PGN/Events: directory of directories of events by year

    pub/chess/PGN/Players: directory with many PGN games by player

    pub/chess/Tests: directory with many chess program test positions

    pub/chess/Tests/Manifest: description of EPD test files

    pub/chess/TB: endgame tablebases

    pub/chess/TB/README-TB: tablebase decyphering documentation

    pub/chess/TB/tbt.c: ANSI C tablebase test harness

    pub/chess/PGN/Tools: PGN tools and utilities directory

    pub/chess/Unix/SAN.tar.gz: Standard Algebraic Notation source kit

Chaos. A chess tournament pairing program (Swiss pairing as well as

Round Robin), GNU General Public License, runs on the Commodore-Amiga,

available from AmiNet mirrors (e.g.,, under

/pub/aminet/game/think. GNU chess. Gnuchess is a freely available

chess-playing software program. Gnuchess can be FTP'ed from:

* ""

* ""

* and probably other sites

It can be compiled for X Windows (with XBoard, below), SunView, curses,

IBM PC character set, or ASCII interfaces. Included in the package are

the utilities gnuan (analysis program), game (PostScript printout),

postprint (prints hashfile), checkgame (checks a game listing for

illegal moves), and checkbook (checks the opening book for illegal

moves). It has been posted to gnu.chess.


XBoard is an X11/R4-based user interface for GNU Chess or ICS. As an

interface to GNU Chess, XBoard lets you play a game against the machine,

set up arbitrary positions, force variations, or watch a game between

two machines. As an interface to the ICS, XBoard lets you play against

other ICS users or observe games they are playing. You can also use

XBoard as a chessboard to review or analyze games. It will read a game

file or allow you to play through a variation manually. This is useful

for keeping track of email postal games, browsing games off the net, or

reviewing GNU Chess and ICS games you have saved. Beginning with version

2.0, Tim Mann < has taken over development of XBoard.

The program can be FTP'ed from the 'ICS FTP host.'

LaTex chess macros. Piet Tutelaers' ( chess LaTex

package (version 1.2) may be FTP'ed from (;

please restrict access to weekends or evenings. A server can answer

e-mail requests (put "send HELP" as the message to

("" ). Get

TEX/chess12.*. See [23].

Notation. Notation is a chess game score preprocessor written by Henry

Thomas("" ). It reads chess

games, either in full algebraic or shortened notation (i.e., Nf1-g3 or

f1g3 or Ng3) and is able to output the games and/or the board at any

move, in ASCII, PostScript, TeX, or nroff. It also can generate output

for the gnuan and XBoard programs. It is multi-lingual for piece

identification; understanding French, English, German, Spanish, Dutch,

Italian, Polish, etc. The program also handles variations and symbolized

comments. It works fine on UNIX (Sun SPARCstation and Sun-3). It uses

standard C, and function declarations are done in both K&R-C and ANSI-C.

It won't be difficult to compile for MS-DOS with MSC. Sources have been

posted to comp.sources.misc. You can also get them from Mr. Thomas by


They may be FTP'ed from

.Z " )

(European users use

Chess notation tool kit. The Standard Algebraic Notation (SAN) Kit chess

programming C source tool kit is designed to help chess software efforts

by providing common routines for move notation I/O, move generation,

move execution, and various useful position manipulation services. There

are substantial additions to the previous version which include a

standard position notation scheme along with some benchmarking tests. A

main program is included which gives sample calls for the various

routines. Simple I/O functions are also provided. A clever programmer

needs only to add a search and an evaluation function to produce a

working chessplaying program. A programmer who already has the source to

a chessplaying program may improve it further by including tool kit

routines as needed for standardization. The author of this package is

Steven J. Edwards ("" ).

The SAN Kit may be retrieved from the

"" ICS FTP host .


Subject: [19] Chess-Playing Computers

There are numerous dedicated chess-playing computers available

commercially, as well as chess-playing software for various personal

computers. Prices vary from perhaps $10,000 for the most expensive

dedicated computer to perhaps $30 for the cheapest software (see [20]).

The differences are basically how strong the machine (or software)

plays, and the other features it has to offer (e.g., for dedicated

machines: size of board, wood/plastic, autosensory or "push the pieces,"


When purchasing a chess computer or software, it is best to buy

something which plays at least 300 points above your rating. Here are

the estimated USCF ratings for some of the more popular dedicated chess


A computer may assist in your learning in many ways. One of the best

uses is to auto-analyze your own games. Find out where you have erred

and what better lines were available. You may also set up positions that

are of interest or play out lines against the computer. If you are

working on a specific opening, you may play a vairiety of continuations

against the computer. Both middle game and endgame practice are also

useful. Set up positions that are in the instructional books you are

reading. Playing against the computer is excellent practise. Most people

recommend setting up a board, rather than just keeping the position on

screen. Unless of course you are cramming for the ICS.

The level of play now attainable on your personal computer has reached

that of being able to win against master level and above players. Even

world champion super-GM Garry Kasparov has lost to more than one chess

software program which would be available to anyone. (Fritz and Genius

in speed play) Recently on ICC a GM lost 4 to 5 five minute blitz games

in a row to Chess Genius playing on a Pentium. He tried to win using

tactics rather than postional strategy. These were casual games, to be

sure, but, none the less, computer chess has come a long way since David

Levy, in 1968, made a bet that a computer could not, within 10 years win

a match against him. In 1975, David Levy was able to undertake, and come

out well ahead, in a simultaneous exhibition against 12 chess computers.

I don't think any GM would enjoy doing that now.

In several books David Levy and Raymond Keene detail their strategy to

win against computer opponents. They suggest avoiding tactics,

concentrating instead on postiional advantages and using long term

strategy to slowly build an advantage. Some of their suggestions

include: allowing your computer opponent to castle first, then castle on

the opposite wing and launch a pawn storm. Software programs typically

use a wide band width brute force search, combined with an in depth

search for tactically active lines.

Sources of information on computer chess may be found in: _The Computer

Chess Gazette_, Box 2841, Laguna Hills, CA 92654. 714-770-8532. Focuses

on computer chess. _Chess Skill in Man and Machine; Editor Peter Frey.

Springer-Verlag. 1983. _How to Beat your Chess Computer_. Ray Keene and

David Levy. Batsford Chess Library. 1991. Estimated Ratings Of Dedicated

Chess Computers

There are a number of non-commercial chess-playing machines, the

strongest and most famous of which is "Deep Blue." It's predecessor Deep

Thought was built and programmed by graduate students Feng-Hsiung Hsu,

Thomas Anantharaman, Murray Campbell, Peter Jansen, Mike Browne, and

Andreas Nowatzyk at Carnegie Mellon University, and who are now working

(some of them, anyway) for IBM. Deep Blue beat Kasparov in the second of

their 2 matches. It calculates approximately 200 million moves per


Chess computers usually evaluate four types of chess values when

choosing their next move: material, position, Kingsafety and tempo.

The usual rules for material apply: a pawn is considered to be worth a

value of 1, knights and bishops are each valued at 3, a rook value is 5,

and the most valuable piece the Queen counts for 9. The King is far

beyond value, and cannot be lost during the game. His impending capture

via checkmate signifies a loss and is the end of the game.

Position is more complex. In pre-Nimzovitch time, it was thought that

control of the center was all that mattered. Most grandmaster games

before the 20th century began by moveing the Kings or Queens pawn to the

fourth rank. In this century "hypermodern" openings have been used which

delay the development of the center. The hope is that the opponent will

overextend himself.

Position in one sense signifies the number of squares controlled,

particularly on the opponents half of  the board.

The defensive aspect of position is the safety of the King. You don't

want your king to fall victim to a simple attack.

Tempo is related to who gets to place is pieces well first.

Subject: [20] Chess-Playing Software

Since the question most often posed is "how strong is the software", we

will start with a quick look at the rankings.

SSDF Rating List

October 2002

1 Deep Fritz 7.0 256MB Athlon 1200 MHz  2755 31 -29 614 71% 2603
2 Fritz 7.0 256MB Athlon 1200 MHz  2741 30 -29 574 64% 2636
3 Shredder 6.0 Paderb 256MB Athlon 1200  2734 25 -24 852 65% 2624
4 Chess Tiger 15.0 256MB Athlon 1200 MHz  2731 33 -31 517 67% 2609
5 Shredder 6.0 256MB Athlon 1200 MHz  2717 32 -31 505 64% 2618
6 Chess Tiger 14.0 CB 256MB Athlon 1200  2715 30 -30 557 61% 2636
7 Deep Fritz 256MB Athlon 1200 MHz  2711 31 -30 531 62% 2628
7 Gambit Tiger 2.0 256MB Athlon 1200  2711 29 -29 583 58% 2652
9 Junior 7.0 256MB Athlon 1200 MHz  2687 28 -28 623 57% 2637
10 Hiarcs 8.0 256MB Athlon 1200 MHz  2680 26 -26 738 55% 2642
11 Chess Tiger 15.0 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2679 50 -48 210 60% 2607
12 Rebel Century 4.0 256MB Athlon 1200 MHz  2675 29 -29 590 60% 2604
13 Shredder 5.32 256MB Athlon 1200 MHz  2662 27 -27 659 53% 2642
14 Gandalf 4.32h 256MB Athlon 1200 MHz  2651 34 -33 430 54% 2623
15 Deep Fritz 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2648 22 -22 1031 59% 2582
16 Deep Fritz 7.0 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2645 52 -51 184 54% 2616
17 Gambit Tiger 2.0 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2641 29 -28 634 66% 2526
18 Gandalf 5.0 256MB Athlon 1200 MHz  2640 49 -50 202 46% 2671
19 Gandalf 5.1 256MB Athlon 1200 MHz  2637 25 -25 758 55% 2603
20 Junior 7.0 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2633 24 -23 925 62% 2546
21 Fritz 7.0 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2631 38 -37 348 53% 2608
22 Chess Tiger 14.0 CB 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2629 26 -25 753 59% 2565
23 Gromit 3.11.9 256MB Athlon 1200 MHz  2622 57 -59 148 45% 2661
24 Fritz 6.0 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2620 21 -21 1154 60% 2550
25 Shredder 6.0 UCI 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2617 43 -43 264 52% 2607
26 Crafty 18.12/CB 256MB Athlon 1200 MHz  2612 27 -27 647 52% 2601
27 Shredder 5.32 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2606 28 -27 639 58% 2549
28 Junior 6.0 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2590 18 -17 1605 56% 2549
29 Hiarcs 8.0 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2587 37 -38 344 44% 2626
29 Shredder 5.0 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2587 20 -20 1217 55% 2551
31 Rebel Century 4.0 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2566 52 -53 178 46% 2592
32 Nimzo 8.0 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2554 22 -22 1011 49% 2559
33 Nimzo 7.32 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2552 21 -21 1130 53% 2531
34 Gandalf 5.0 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2535 73 -68 102 60% 2461
35 Gandalf 4.32f 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2532 28 -28 627 51% 2525
36 Hiarcs 7.32 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2529 20 -20 1260 45% 2564
37 Gandalf 4.32h 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2521 34 -34 418 52% 2506
38 SOS 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2518 18 -18 1514 44% 2562
38 Rebel Century 3.0 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2518 30 -30 546 49% 2523
40 Chessmaster 8000 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2515 44 -45 251 45% 2548
41 Goliath Light 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2510 22 -23 992 39% 2588
42 Crafty 17.07/CB 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2490 23 -23 912 47% 2514
43 MChess Pro 8.0 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2478 25 -26 753 40% 2549
44 Crafty 18.12/CB 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2476 32 -34 471 36% 2578
45 Genius 6.5 128MB K6-2 450 MHz  2474 29 -29 565 48% 2488
46 R30 v. 2.5  2274 41 -38 343 69% 2135
47 Meph Genius 68 030 33 MHz  2195 43 -42 267 55% 2157
48 Chess Tiger 14.9 Palm m515 16MB 42MHz  2101 69 -74 100 39% 2180
49 Atlanta SH7000 20 MHz  2089 29 -28 647 69% 1948
50 Sapphire II  2009 34 -32 464 63% 1919

Some Old, Some New, Nothing At All That Is Blue

* Rebel 10

* Rebel Decade  3 ~2200 Free on the net at:

* Fritz, Junior, Nimzo, Shredder, et. al.

Freeware and Shareware Available Online:



Bionic ic/download/


Bug Chess






The Crazy Bishop http://www-


La Dame Blanche http://members.xoom. com/mphuget/ladame.htm







Gnu Chess


Huuhkaja sharee.htm



Owl Chess

Phalanx Unix, Windows binary, Winboard, xboard, RoboFICS compatible.

Y Chess http://stud1.tu

Siberian Chess

SSE Chess II

Green Light Chess


Nero http://www.math.j

MS Chess http://www.microsof




Rebel Decade 3.0 The Best




Light Tiger sharee.htm


Z Chess


R Chess - MAC

Chess ++ - MAC http://hypera

GNU Mac version


Crafty with Xboard

Phalanx with Xboard




Olithink -

Gromit -



ZZZZZZ - Unix 3.4.tar.gz

Pocket Chess

Pocket Chess for Windows CE

PocketGrandmaster For Pocket PC

Chess Genius

Pocket Fritz

Palm OS

Chess Tiger (Palm)

Chess Genius

Chessmaster For Palm

WinBoard (Viewer/Adjunct to Chess Engines)

Many of the freeware/shareware programs operate within the

Winboard/Xboard environment. This is a truely fun and useful tool to use

for those with at least mild geeky tendencies. A wealth of information,

documentation, and even source code for some of the programs is


Winboard performs three major functions: 1) PGN reader, 2) Interface to

chess engines, 3) Interface to online Chess Sites such as FICS and ICC.

Winboard may be downloaded at Tim Mann's chess pages: . You will also find a listing of 100

chess engines that work with xboard/winboard at:

Details on Winboard/XBoard are on the Winboard/XBoard FAQ at:[A0]  and additional information

at: .

The "Winboard Engine Newsticker" has the latest news on engines that run

with winboard online at:


Winboard compatible engines may run within Chessbase and Fritz 5.32 and

up using an adaptor found at:

WB Tourney Manager will allow you to set up a round robin tournament

on your win32 computer with winboard. The author is Jori Ostrovskij.

A discussion forum on winboard is online at:

Subject: [21] Database Software

Chess databases store games and information about games, and can

manipulate and recall that information in a variety of ways. The "big

four" of chess databases are Chess Assistant, ChessBase, NICBase, and


You can purchase data disks for each of these databases. NICBase and

ChessBase are game-oriented, Chess Assistant is position or tree

oriented as is Bookup. While Bookup is primarily known for studying

openings it really is also useful for endings.

Chessbase 8.0 The ultimate in databases.

ChessBase 8 for Windows;

 Multiple games may be viewed simultaneously, each one may be
miniaturized so

 that 6 or more games may be visible, each with independent controls.
The same

 game may be viewed  at different stages. It is easy to edit or add

 lines and comments, annotations or "?", "!", etc to any game in your

Just begin using your mouse to enter the moves or click on the

appropriate icon to add comments. You do not have to switch to any other

submenu area. This is an incredible convenience and an amazing time

saver. The game may then be saved either in the original database or an

alternate or "training" database. Several games may be combined. If you

are studying a particular opening and want to combine 4 or 5 games that

exemplify this opening, you may combine them together as alternate lines

of each other. Highlight the games, press the enter key and the games

will be combined together. ECO type viewing of the lines is available

one mouse click away. Searching and sorting on a variety of fields is

available. Classification by ECO is one Control-C away. Besides the

oridinary position search a feature called "find novelty" features a

modified position search which will find games that are similar to the

game that you are viewing or have just entered. It will search the

currently open database. The printing and publishing features are

exceptional, and like other truetype windows printing programs,

extremely easy to use.

An helpful feature is Alternate-F1, which turns on tool-tips and floats

bubble over the icons telling what each does as your mouse passes over

it. ChessBase magazine includes approximately 1,000 games every second

month, 25% - 50% annotated, along with a section on tactics, endgames,

dramatic master errors and an opening study. These may be added to your

database choices within CBW. $115.

The TASC System-TascBase Tasc has a fine looking and interesting program

available. The complete information may be seen at their web site along

with information on a variety of their products. The Tasc ChessSystem

Demos of Chessica, Tascbase, Tasc Chess Tutor - Clubmate Clubmate is

database software for Windows. ClubMate provides a huge range of

powerful features at a low price.Whether you want to record your own

triumphs and disasters, study openings, or collect thousands of games by

masters, ClubMate gives you ease of use, clear presentation. speed of

data retrieval, and excellent technical support. And if that's not

enough, ClubMate has a free upgrade policy. Clubmate was formerly

freeware, then shareware and now costs approximately $64. A functional

demo is available at their home page. Clubmate - Database Software

NICBase 3.0 (MS-DOS or Atari ST: $195 with 5,000 games; $595 with 50,000

games) & NICTools ($125) from Chess Combination, Inc. P.O. Box 2423

Noble Station, Bridgeport CT 06608-0423. Phone 203-367-1555 or

800-354-4083; fax 203-380-1703;

SmartChess, available from R&D (Chess)Publishing. 800-425-3555 2679
Highway 70, Manasquan, NJ 08736

Macintosh Software Contact: Paul Hodges

("" )

SmartChess Web:

Chess Assistant 6.1

Bookup Transpositional database and more for

training. Free limited version is available at the website.

While Bookup initially gained its reputation for opening study, it is

also useful for many more aspects of chess. FM Chuck Schulien has

written a Bookup book called "100 Essential Endings" which contains

7,000 positions. This follows his "King & Pawn" set of endgame studies.

The "Rubinstein Collection" is FM Chuck Schulien's more advanced

analysis of Akiba Rubinstein's instructive endings. Bookup may also be

used for middle game study. Entering positions from your favorite

middlegame or tactics book will be helpful. You can than set Bookup to

training and test your ability to handle these positions. Bookup can

also be integrated with several chess computer programs. These programs

all utilize the EPD format. More information on the expanding list of

chess computers can be obtained directly from Bookup. This is useful to

generate an analysis of the postions in your specific book.

[21.2] Freeware/Lowcost Database Software:

SCID freeware database

If you have the patience to set everything up, this is a full sourcecode
available database with many features.

ChessBase Light

Chessbase Light was designed to be a special limited version of
ChessBase 6.0
and is available for free download. It is limited to 8000 games per
database and supports the CBH format of ChessBase 6 and Fritz and the

Within the 8000 games limit you may save, copy, convert, annotate,
search, analyse, merge and classify games.

Help and tips are available at the chessbase website. While old, it
works just fine.

---- The FAQ is compiled and posted by Stephen Pribut .

Copyright (c), 1995-2003 Stephen M. Pribut.

Permission to copy all or part of this work is granted for individual

use, and for copies within a scholastic or academic setting. Copies may

not be made or distributed for resale. The no warranty, and copyright

notice must be retained verbatim and be displayed conspicuously. You

need written authorization before you can include this FAQ in a book

and/or a CDROM archive, and/or make a translation, and/or publish/mirror

on a website (scholastic and academic use excepted). If anyone needs

other permissions that aren't covered by the above, please contact the


No Warranty: This work is provided on an "as is" basis. The copyright

holder makes no warranty whatsoever, either express or implied,

regarding the work, including warranties with respect to merchantability

or fitness for any purpose.

User Contributions:

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