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  1. Standard member Exuma
    Anansi
    20 Nov '10 21:52
    A lot of times in the forums people ask about ways to use a chess computer to improve their game. Here is my way:

    1. Set the computer on a really easy level (for you), where you can really get a good position, maybe get ahead in material.

    2. Play until you get the feeling there is a possible mate in there, trust yourself here.

    3. When you get that vibe turn on the analysis without looking at the suggested moves, just waiting for the magic words "Mate in ..." Sometimes you get a mate in 13 or something ridiculous, I usually ignore these unless its obvious and forced and keep playing my own moves until it gets down to at least Mate in 4.

    4. Turn the analysis back off (NO PEEKING) and you have just generated yourself a brand new chess problem to solve. Remember to look for all the possible mates in 4 (or 3 or 2 or 1 whatever you like) sometimes the obvious way through gets blocked!

    Here is an easy one from today's silly game. White to move

  2. 21 Nov '10 01:23 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by Exuma
    A lot of times in the forums people ask about ways to use a chess computer to improve their game. Here is my way:

    1. Set the computer on a really easy level (for you), where you can really get a good position, maybe get ahead in material.

    2. Play until you get the feeling there is a possible mate in there, trust yourself here.

    3. When you get that 's silly game. White to move

    [fen]1r4rk/1P2Q1bp/p4Bp1/5p2/2BP4/2P5/P4PPP/R3K1NR w [/fen]
    Bxg8?
  3. Standard member Exuma
    Anansi
    21 Nov '10 01:42
    Uries and Pawn of Prophecy both with a correct answer. Note that the white Queen could be pinned to the king along the open e-file....
  4. Standard member Exuma
    Anansi
    21 Nov '10 02:23 / 1 edit
    Here is another one - white to move, mate in 4 - 2 possible first moves

  5. 21 Nov '10 13:23 / 2 edits
    Hi Exuma

    I like the idea of dumbing down a box to make it playable to beef up your tactics.

    But am a wee bit worried about getting it to give you a hint when the mate is on.

    The 'vibe' as you call it, (I call it by various names, 'the stinger', 'the twinge'.)
    Is a very important part of chess development. Very important.

    I see you too find it hard to describe. It's impossible to explain to those
    players who have yet to experience it.

    It is the moment when you know there is 'something on'.
    A mate, a threat, a trap.... And now is the time to dig in and see what
    your inner eye has told you.

    Stronger players have this down to an art. It's been established that stronger
    players actually analyse less in a game than weaker players because they know
    (the vibe) when the postion demands their full attention
    Weaker players jump into the think tank at all the wrong times.

    Best I'm thinking is once you have 'the vibe' is to look first.
    And I mean really look. Give the postion a good going over till you
    find what the twinge was all about.

    If you see nothing then play on.
    After the game use the box to see if it can explain it.

    Your way, in my opinion, does not nuture the vibe.
    You are doubting yourself (trust the twinge...always trust the twinge) and
    getting a huge hint without doing the work and building up your board confidence.

    Just a thought.
  6. 21 Nov '10 16:38
    That makes a lot of sense, GP. I wonder if I should instate a "no CPU analysis month" and see if doing my post-mortems manually increases my understanding.
  7. Standard member Exuma
    Anansi
    21 Nov '10 21:26
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Hi Exuma

    I like the idea of dumbing down a box to make it playable to beef up your tactics.

    But am a wee bit worried about getting it to give you a hint when the mate is on.

    The 'vibe' as you call it, (I call it by various names, 'the stinger', 'the twinge'.)
    Is a very important part of chess development. Very important.

    I see you too find ...[text shortened]... nt without doing the work and building up your board confidence.

    Just a thought.
    Yeah I can see that. Its a bit lazy turning on the box to get reassured about that twinge.
  8. 28 Nov '10 06:39 / 1 edit
    "Stronger players have this down to an art. It's been established that stronger
    players actually analyse less in a game than weaker players because they know
    (the vibe) when the postion demands their full attention
    Weaker players jump into the think tank at all the wrong times."
    Good stuff, greenpawn. I used to fall to this always, analyzing the first half of the game to death and becoming fatigued in the critical latter parts of the match, after I've worked so hard for my position. Then it's all dashed away, and you were your own enemy.

    Exuma, I'm sorry if this has been answered 100x, but what/where are the computer opponents to which you refer? I imagine you're not playing Big Blue, and I'd love the steady practice - maybe try speed games. Where do I find computer opponents and are they free programs or website downloads? Again, I'm sorry if this has been asked over and over. thx!
  9. Standard member Exuma
    Anansi
    28 Nov '10 10:12
    Fritz, Chessmaster, Shredder all have a difficulty setting. I don't know about Rybka etc. I have an old version of chessmaster and it has "personalities" some of which are pretty "dumb". Greenpawn is right though, once mate is threatened the computer plays the move which will make the mate take the most moves, as opposed to playing moves which are hard to figure, or have a threat that you must deal with before you can go through with the mate. When you play a computer there will always be moves it makes that will take you forever to figure the why, and its not necessarily good even if you do - some number crunched position that doesn't contain *ideas*...
    Still I have some fun blitzing against the easy opponents in chessmaster especially when too tired to look at my RHP games, or CUI (chess under the influence)
  10. 29 Nov '10 13:11
    Originally posted by Randall Starr
    Exuma, I'm sorry if this has been answered 100x, but what/where are the computer opponents to which you refer? I imagine you're not playing Big Blue, and I'd love the steady practice - maybe try speed games. Where do I find computer opponents and are they free programs or website downloads? Again, I'm sorry if this has been asked over and over. thx!
    As Exuma said, most of the commercial programs offer weakened levels or personalities. If people have no chance of beating the programs, they'll stop buying the programs.

    There are a handful of free engines/programs that offer weakened play levels/personalities. You just have to know where to look to hunt them down. (I don't want to contaminate the thread with details - PM me if interested.)
  11. 29 Nov '10 13:30 / 1 edit
    Just post them Mad Rook and stop trying to boost your PM hits

    When bored I like Grommit. It plays OK (nearly humanish) and
    has a 3 move horizon so you set up combo's 4 moves deep. Good practise.

    This is a finish from a game I played recently against it.

    White has the old 1-2-3-4 mate. I played my Knight to f4 to set it up.
    Nice pattern this well worth knowing.



    White to play. Try it. (it's done with checks).

    Soultion follows


















  12. 29 Nov '10 15:12
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Just post them Mad Rook and stop trying to boost your PM hits
    You asked for it. I quickly threw this together yesterday, I don't guarantee absolute accuracy.

    Free Chess Programs/Engines with Weak Levels

    Note: The easiest way to get started with playing free weak engines is to either:
    1.Download Crafty Chess Interface 6.1, or
    2.Download and install Arena 2.0.1, then download, install, and configure any (or all) of the Hamsters 0.7.1, Tornado 4.4, or Ufim 8.02 UCI engines. (UCI protocol engines are generally easier to install and configure than Winboard protocol engines.)

    Program
    Crafty Chess Interface 6.1
    http://h1.ripway.com/valters/crafty/interface.htm
    Easy to use. Uses Crafty 23.4, levels 1-100. Unfortunately, tends to lose on time at lower skill levels. (But you can set the interface to keep playing anyway.)

    Program
    NagaSkaki 5.00
    http://www.mayothi.com/nagaskaki.html
    Personalities. Approx 2300 elo max

    Program/Winboard Engine
    Der Bringer 1.9
    http://chess.kearman.com/bringer/bringer-index.html
    Weak settings 1360 to 2400 elo. Max 2473 elo.

    GUI (Graphical User Interface. Install UCI or Winboard engines in GUI, then run engine from the GUI.)
    Winboard 4.4.4
    http://www.open-aurec.com/wbforum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=50387
    Difficult learning curve, not user friendly to Winboard newbies. But Winboard is rock-stable, something that can't be said about Arena.

    GUI (Graphical User Interface. Install UCI or Winboard engines in GUI, then run engine from the GUI.)
    Arena (stable version 2.0.1, beta version 2.5)
    http://www.playwitharena.com/
    Can use right out of the (virtual) box, but GUI has tons of features, and you should spend lots of time configuring things to get full use of the GUI.

    Engine (Winboard)
    Beowulf 2.4a
    http://www.frayn.net/beowulf/
    Skill levels 1-10. ? to 2284 elo.

    Engine (Winboard)
    Crafty 23.4
    http://homepages.tesco.net/henry.ablett/jims.html
    Skill levels 1-100. ? to 2860? elo.
    Tends to lose on time at lower skill levels. Must be compiled with the skill switch, so not all compiles will have the skill feature. Ablett's compiles usually offer the skill level version.

    Engine (UCI)
    Glass 1.6
    http://www.koziol.home.pl/marittima/glass/index.htm
    Personalities. ? to 2566 elo.

    Engine (UCI)
    Hamsters 0.7.1
    http://www.ascotti.org/programming/chess/hamsters.htm
    Weak settings 1000 to 2000 elo. Max 2688 elo.

    Engine (Winboard)
    Phalanx Reborn XXII JA
    http://homepages.tesco.net/henry.ablett/jims.html
    Must set levels with command line switch (switches a little glitchy in Arena).
    ? to 2451 elo

    Engine (Winboard)
    Pro Deo 1.5
    http://www.top-5000.nl/
    Personalities. Also pre-installed in Arena 2.0.1 Setup package. Install a little difficult (read instructions! Easier to just download Arena 2.0.1 Setup package.) ? to 2715 elo.

    Engine (Winboard)
    Pro Deo 1.6
    http://www.top-5000.nl/
    Personalities. Install a little difficult (read instructions!) ? to 2715 elo.

    Engine (UCI)
    Pupsi2 0.08
    http://wbec-ridderkerk.nl/html/details1/Pupsi.html
    Skill levels 0-100. ? to 2567 elo. Requires dotnet 3.5 framework to run.

    Engine (UCI)
    Rybka 2.2n2
    Pre-installed in Arena 2.0.1 Setup package (and Arena 2.5 beta package). Weak settings 1200 to 2400 elo. Max 3096 elo (x64, 4cpu). Max 2993 elo (w32, 1cpu).

    Engine (UCI)
    Rybka 2.3.2a
    http://www.rybkachess.com/index.php?auswahl=Demo+version
    Weak settings 1200 to 2400 elo. Max 3132 elo (x64, 4cpu). Max 3020 elo (w32, 1cpu).

    Engine (UCI)
    Tornado 4.4
    https://sites.google.com/site/mychessengines/home
    Weak settings 500 to 2600 elo. Max 2700-2850 elo? (But Tornado's 500 setting is stronger than Ufim's 700 setting.)

    Engine (UCI)
    Ufim 8.02
    http://wbec-ridderkerk.nl/html/details1/Ufim.html
    Weak settings 700 to 2000 elo. Max 2638 elo.

    Useful Links:

    http://wbec-ridderkerk.nl/index.html
    Useful information on new engine releases.

    http://freechess.50webs.com/index.html
    Zarkon Fischer's site about free chess programs. Sadly, will no longer be updated.