What's The Most Fun Chess Program Out There These Days

Scott Tortorice

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Do you need to be a paid up member of chess.com to be able to play ftf/live? Or do you access live games via the open search?
Free members can play live chess, too. To access live chess, just click on the 'live chess' button and it will open up a new window and load the software.
 

peterk1

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No, I lost the chess bug a bit last week. Tried to hunt down a copy of Chessmaster 11 in town and couldn't find any so I ordered it on-line, but then i was trying to think of something else to play while waiting for it to show up so I got Close Combat - The Longest Day. It's sort of like speed chess with machine-guns and flamethrowers!

Just joking. I'll do it now. Account is peterk01. Challenge away.

Hey Scott. Just saw that you recently got a " !! " from fritz. Congratulations. I remember how thrilled I was when I got my first !.
 

peterk1

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Grrr. Hate you guys for getting me to join chess.com. :)
I tried to join a tournament tonight and you need at least 5 games played to join most of them of them and I thought "man, that's going to take forever", so I started browsing through the list of offered games and went on a spree of starting and accepting games. I think I have 7 or 8 of them going now.

Alright 12 games going now. I think I better stop. Shopping for easy victims is really, really addictive!
 
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peterk1

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Well, since I didn't "shop" for our game, you're obviously not included in my"easy victims" group. :)
Man, it's tough playing openings first thing in the morning when you're still a bit groggy. Just did 7 moves and am praying I didn't screw anything obvious up.
 

peterk1

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Hey Scott,
Thanks, will check them out.
Mind you I've got 12 games going now on chess.com and my Chessmaster 10 just arrived yesterday and I'm doing puzzles constantly. Chess coming out my ears right now!

I'm going to post a nice book recommendation in a little while. Found a gem.
 

kcdusk

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Urrrrgh!
Opened chessmaster 7000 for the first time in a long time, played 25 moves from a recent game i've just completed into the game room to have CM analysis it (more on this later). Once i hit the "analyse" button, it crashed. I restarted the game, re-entered the 25 moves (each side!) and ... crash. Rinse and repeat 4 more times. Net result? One CM7000 disk flung across the room and breaking. And i just ordered the lastest CM for XP.

Sheese. < tapping fingers > how looooong is this new cd going to take getting here?

Back to why i was running a game through CM for the first time in a long time ... i've been reading allot lately (chess cafe is my friend). I've been picking up some new things and trying to put them into practice. One of my games at chess.com is very uneven! I played 3 moves normally, then the next 4 moves were influenced by an article i was reading, the next 7 moves are influenced by the second article i read and now the last few moves have been based on stuf i've just read in another article! Sometimes the article and what i learnt matched up with the situation on the board and i probably played "above" my ranking, but i am sure theres been moves where the article advice has been great but hasnt matched the situation on the board and my moves have been random and/or below my current level. Oh well. My play is getting stronger even though my ranking is taking a (short term?) dive ...
 

peterk1

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Poor Chessmaster. :(
The old man deserved a better end than that.

You're going to love Chessmaster 10 or 11. I just got 10 a few days ago and it's amazing. They improved tournaments a lot. The post game comments are much better and there's a nice feature where teh program suggests a good next opponent for you and so far it's been right on the money in guiding me to the sweet spot as I play those first painful 20 games to get my ratings so I can start playing rated tournaments.

You're also going to be in for a shock. With CM 6 and 8, when I was playing seriously 10 years ago I used to be at around 1580-1600. I almost got to the point where I could win against those opponents again after 2-3 weeks of practicing. But in CM 10 I've been knocked all the way back down to playing against the 1000-1100 range. It's way stronger....and I've been a little careless (blown win, stalemate instead of win etc, etc).
 

kcdusk

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GTA?

Chessmaster turned up today. Just getting familiar with it again. After you run game analysis and go to save the file, what file type do you save it as?
CMG? PGN? Board position? Forsyth position?
And what are the differences, does anyone know? I couldnt see anything in the user guide.
 

peterk1

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Save as a CMG - which is the internal Chessmaster format - unless you are using Fritz as your database/analysis tool. It saves a lot of extras that are useful for CM but you can't read it directly in a text editor.
PGN is a standard format used by ALL chess programs and it is readable as straight text.
Forsyth is just a shorthand for saving a single position on a chessboard. So I guess when you save as this, you get your games as a series of positions rather than a series of moves.
 

kcdusk

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Chessmaster Analysis and Auto Annotation tab
What is the information this tab gives you?
Score: i understand the score part. + means white is up, - means black.
After the score, there is often a series of moves - is this the suggested best play for both sides? Its usually followed by what looks like a time (perhaps time for analysis?) and a depth (3/11 for example), can anyone explain what this depth number means?
Auto annotation: shows the moves that were actually made, and final pieces in the exchange.
Player annotation: looks like it gives a time (?) and a score but its different to the earlier score (why?). And then another depth (2/4 for example). Why is this called player annotation if the PC puts stuff here (and why is it different to the earlier score etc???
 

kcdusk

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Chessmaster Problem?
When i promote a pawn, the "new" piece is not visable (the square looks empty). But the piece can be moved and be taken, you just cant see it which makes it kinda awkward. Anyone else having this problem or know of a fix (i've checked the CM site but couldnt see any mention of it in any patches).
 

peterk1

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Phew, lots of questions here. Let's go through them.

When you see a search depth of something like (4/21), it means that the computer looked at all possible moves 4 half-moves deep (2 moves for each player) and then looked an extra 21 half moves into the future but only looking at criticals, things like captures, checks, moves that result in a big jump in score.

The player annotation score is being added in as the game is being played. You can configure whether you want the time stamp there or not in the CM.INI file, but strangely enough there does not seem to be any way to turn that on or off from inside the game. It's probably being done there because someone asked for it. If you import a game into Fritz without doing a CM analysis, it's kind of nice to have the time-stamps and that's the only logical place for it to go. The score that's being added, is the score AS JUDGED BY THE OPPONENT YOU'RE PLAYING while the game is going on.
The score obtained during the analysis is generated by CM running at its optimal strength.

The moves after the score lead to the position that actually provides the score. Those moves are the theoretical best moves for each side. The reported score of a position is not really the score of the current piece positions, it's the score of some other position in the future.

That promotion thing sounds horrible and (thankfully) I haven't experienced that. You can do what I do, and play off an actual board set up beside my computer - that way you don't really care f the computer's off a bit. It's easier to stare at something that's 3-D for 3 hours than a screen. Have you tried minimizing the program and maximizing it again to refresh the display?
 
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kcdusk

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On one hand theres nothing like getting home from work, logging onto chess.com and seeing all your games are "waiting" for you.

On the other hand, it occurred to me the only time all my games are waiting for me is when all my opponants have me on the backfoot and they arent having to take there time thinking too hard! :)
 

kcdusk

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Can anyone tell me, in plain english, what the difference is between a "positional" player and a "tactical" player?
 

Lurker

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(Definitions from http://www.chess-poster.com/english/glossary.htm#T)

Positional Chess: A move or style of play based on long range considerations. The slow buildup of small advantages is said to be positional.

Tactics: A term used to describe a short-term sequence of moves involving threats and counter threats. Maneuvers that take advantage of short-term opportunities. A position with many traps and combinations is considered to be tactical in nature.
So a so-called tactical player would be one whose style emphasizes the latter over the former, or one where the player's games tend toward very sharp play over solid positional build-up.

The war concepts of strategy and tactics apply in a sense to positional and tactical.

IMO, to be a really good chess player one should be good at both and I think most grandmasters are. Although throughout history you can look at the old-time greats and sometimes see clearly which style influenced their play. Tal was considered a positional genius while Bronstein was a tactical wizard. Others like Botvinik (spelling?) and Fisher were adept at either style. This is not to say that the tactical or positional GM couldn't adapt his play to do either; just that the preponderance of their games may lean heavily on either very sharp positions rich with dizzying tactical opportunities or a very solid style of small accumulated advantages that choke the opponents to death slowly.
 
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