Playing with or against Chess Software: T...

Playing with or against Chess Software: This you've got to try!
by Michael Kanehl

If you're getting a little long in the tooth, and grey on top, then you
might be stuck back in the days of yon when chess software wasn't worth
the price of the floppy disk that it came on. Well my friend, times have
changed, and this is definitely NOT your father's chess software we're
talking about here.

Human vs. Computer

Computer chess software really came into its own in February 1996 when
legendary Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov played a six-game match in
Philadelphia against IBM Chess software nicknamed "Deep Blue". Although
he declared his 4-2 score a "win for mankind", he also admitted that it
was the most difficult tournament of his career.

IBM, sporting their next generation of chess software named "Deeper Blue"
demands a rematch which in played in May of 1997 in New York. The chess
software puts a whuppin on Kasparov and defeats him 3.5-2.5.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon your point of view, IBM
didn't sell their chess software and the industry kind of went to sleep
for a while. Well, it wasn't really sleeping, big things were going on
behind the scenes. And that's great news for us chess software geeks!

The availability of chess software has exploded since the days of Deep
Blue. Now you can run chess software on all of the popular computer
operating systems including Windows, MAC, Linux, Unix, and the Palm. You
have choices when it comes to the categories or functions of chess
software as well.

Chess Training Software

Chess software in this category is designed to improve visualization and move
calculation skills in Chess. These are basic essential skills that need
to be honed in order to move from being an amature to a master.

Many chess software training titles also teach strategies for the
opening middlegame and endgame so you can learn how to strategise and
thwart your opponent's moves while still executing your game plan.

Peer-to-Peer Chess Software

The chess software category is simply amazing. Peer-to-peer chess
software enables you to play chess against remote opponents without
connecting to a chess server. You simply connect directly to each other
over the Internet or via any other network connection including your
home Windows LAN.

Most titles give you the opportunity to connect directly to a
pre-arranged player or to find an available player through available
message boards.

Peer-to-Peer software may likely become the dominant chess software in
the future and replace chess servers as the preferred method of playing
chess on the computer.

Chess Software Database

Chess software databases are like holding the sub total of the world's
chess knowledge on your local PC. Most programs offer thousands of past
grandmaster games for you to review either in text or video format.
There are endless opening, middlegame, and endgame strategies. You can read annotations and some titles even have photos of the world's

Some chess software databases come with built-in chess software that
lets you play out the games that are in the database and even allow the
database to analyze your game.

Prices are low and chess software databases make a great learning and
analytical tool.

Computer vs. Computer Chess Software

These chess software programs pit computers against computers using an
Internet or LAN connection. They are good learning tools in some ways
but you shouldn't read too much into their strategies. These chess
software programs can't actually "think" like humans do. Theirs is a
mathematical world where moves are calculated according to a set of
formulas that allow it to determine the "best" move based upon all
possible moves at the moment.

In spite of their "non-thinking" processing, chess software has evolved
to become a formidable opponent even for the grandmasters.

In my opinion nothing beats a head-to-head game with a living breathing
opponent who is seated a few feet away from you on the other side of a
real chessboard. However, I realize that today's lifestyle does not
always allow us the luxury of pre-planned leisure time and they have to
pick up a game whenever and wherever we can. With that it mind, you
should pick yourself up some chess software for those times when a human
in he same room is not an option.

About the Author

Michael is fascinated by all aspects of the game of chess. - Find more at