A question about chess engines


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Yannick Maret    (2006-10-09)
A question about chess engines

At first I was against using engines but the opinions given in another thread made me believe that they might be an useful teaching mean.

So I'm starting to think about using a chess engine here... but just to check if the moves I chose spring any tactical opportunities for my opponent! Following the suggestions of the engine would just remove the fun of the game for me.

Anybody has an idea on how to do that easily, and what engine to use? I would like a method that avoid the temptation of playing moves suggested by the engine!

Thanks in advance,


Thibault de Vassal    (2006-10-09 11:19:53)
UCI / Winboard engine

Hello Yannick.

Maybe you could try a free chess engine like Crafty (quite strong already, also running on Chessbase / Fritz interface), GNUchess, Arasan, Ghost or any engine running on Winboard / Arena free interfaces...

See a list of chess engines here :

A well-known french speaking website about computer chess :

Actually it's probably very hard not to be influenced by chess engines suggestions, but the point is to understand, then find better moves...

All depends on the level you want the engine to play. There are hundred of engines to download...

Rodrigo Jaroszewski    (2006-10-10 05:27:08)

Use Toga II if you're looking for a freeware one. Crafty was simply too unreliable. 15 minutes of brute-force search, returning ~18-ply results with slight advantage; then I'd play them one by one and about the 10th ply, *bang*, a blunder. Very nice if you're trying to emulate Topalov-Kramnik, but not nice if you want to get some good advice.

The trick is to have a general understanding of the opening, and notice when the game has entered the realm of the middlegame (this is still very blurry for me, but I'm getting the hang of it). Then you just have to try to learn as much as you can about basic middlegame concepts. That's as far as my understanding goes up to now, tactics and strategy are not within my grasp yet.

Of course, this is for total noobs like me, if you know more you'd like to test more advanced concepts.

Yannick Maret    (2006-10-10 11:37:56)

Thanks for the links... I will have a look!

Actually, I'm looking for a program on which I can set the actual position of a game. Ideally, I would then propose a move and the program would tell me if the move is sound or not (without giving its reasons). Then I can figure out by myself why the move is unsound and choose a new one... without being overly influenced by the engine.

Hmm, I guess I want too much... and should implement an interface for doing just that :(

Thibault de Vassal    (2006-10-10 16:04:54)
Arena chess

I suppose it's possible to evaluate a position without displaying the lines under Arena...
Free program, hundreds of chess engines...


Rodrigo Jaroszewski    (2006-10-10 18:28:43)
Fritz et al.

You can try Fritz and the like (Shredder, etc.), as they come with a chess coach that give small tips like "I don't think you should put your Queen there." I just don't remember which playing modes and under which conditions you can use that without displaying the engine thinking lines, but it's really nifty.