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  1. 26 Jan '08 05:52
    This may be a stupid question. But what exactly is a chess engine. How do I use one to analyze my past games. Oh yeah, I have a mac if that makes a difference. I want to become a better player, recently purchased "Reassess you Chess". I am trying to figure out if an engne will help me improve. Thanks for any input.
  2. 26 Jan '08 05:58
    Depending on what your rating is, "Reassess your Chess" is your best bet in improving your game. A Chess engine is not worth much unless you are a high rated player (no hate mail please, just my opinion).

    Michael
  3. Standard member irontigran
    Rob Scheider is..
    26 Jan '08 05:59
    Originally posted by remedyseeking
    This may be a stupid question. But what exactly is a chess engine. How do I use one to analyze my past games. Oh yeah, I have a mac if that makes a difference. I want to become a better player, recently purchased "Reassess you Chess". I am trying to figure out if an engne will help me improve. Thanks for any input.
    an engine is a computer program that plays scary good... look up fritz for a start
  4. 26 Jan '08 06:53 / 1 edit
    For a mac you can purchase either Shredder11 www.shredderchess.com and follow links to the online shop. There is another good engine (chess program) you can get from www.sigma.com.
    Slightly confusing this one as you can buy the sigma interface and have a selectable choice of engines to use - sigma and hiaracs. With both shredder and sigma I think you can download a trial version.

    The other possibility for a Mac is Chessmaster - http://chessmaster.uk.ubi.com/xi/index.php The most recent version is I think 11 (X1) but version 9 or version 10 will be fine. Chess master has many good training features such as being able to play against different characters with different strengths and styles and is the most kid friendly.

    Once you get familiar with your chess program it's possible to cut and past the pgn (a format for describing the moves of a game) into the engine and go through your (completed) game with it. The engine will show you improvements for your moves. It's considered best to try and find the improvements yourself, maybe spending an hour or more going through your game, before checking with the engine.

    The impressive and often talked about Fritz chess engine is only available for PC.

    Working through reassess your chess is a good way of progressing and if you find it too advanced place another post and you'll get recommendations for more introductory books...or trawl through the threads here as there are many book recommendation threads. Chess books are like language books in that it's a lot easy to work through the more basic books first and the more advanced books will benefit you later on. A book on tactics such as Yasser Seirawans "Winning Chess Tactics" will be a benefit too as will his book on endings.
  5. Standard member Ragnorak
    For RHP addons...
    26 Jan '08 07:51
    Originally posted by Mahout
    if you find it too advanced place another post and you'll get recommendations for more introductory books
    Winning Chess Strategies is a good primer for reading Reassess your chess.

    D
  6. 26 Jan '08 08:47
    Originally posted by remedyseeking
    This may be a stupid question. But what exactly is a chess engine. How do I use one to analyze my past games. Oh yeah, I have a mac if that makes a difference. I want to become a better player, recently purchased "Reassess you Chess". I am trying to figure out if an engne will help me improve. Thanks for any input.
    Going by your CC rating I think Reassess Your Chess might be a little over your head and your probably better off shelving it for later and starting with something more appropriate to your level of chess knowledge and understanding.

    I would probably recommend something like "A World Champion's Guide to Chess" by Polgar, which covers a lot of different areas, with an emphasis on tactic, at a level you'll find easier starting out.

    After you've read that, if you're hungry for more get her follow up book "Chess Tactics for Champions" and Chernev's "Logical Chess Move by Move".

    As to computers for help analyzing your play? My opinion: complete waste of your time. The computer will point out the obvious blunders to you, but anything more subtle than that and it'll just suggest alternative moves. The problem is that having an engine go over your game to show you where you blundered isn't going to do squat for your improvement. And even though it'll suggest alternative moves, it doesn't tell you why they're better than what you played. So again, useless.

    You're better off going over the game post-mortem with your opponent and putting your heads together to figure out your mistakes you each made and what you could have done better. Then annotate it. Then if you want more feedback that you can actually use, submit the completed work to the "Help Me Annotate My Game" thread on this page.

    The mere fact that you're wanting to get into chess books and analyze your games shows that you're on the right track though.
  7. Standard member Dragon Fire
    Lord of all beasts
    26 Jan '08 09:30
    Originally posted by remedyseeking
    This may be a stupid question. But what exactly is a chess engine. How do I use one to analyze my past games. Oh yeah, I have a mac if that makes a difference. I want to become a better player, recently purchased "Reassess you Chess". I am trying to figure out if an engne will help me improve. Thanks for any input.
    Engines are useful to help identify where you went wrong but don't help tell you why you went wrong.

    By all means download a completed game only into an engine and analyse it but at your level it will find loads of mistakes and you won't really understand why they are mistakes which is really useless.

    You would do far better getting a few good books and working on general opening principles and tactics.
  8. Standard member Frank Burns
    Great Big Stees
    26 Jan '08 18:57
    Originally posted by remedyseeking
    This may be a stupid question. But what exactly is a chess engine. How do I use one to analyze my past games. Oh yeah, I have a mac if that makes a difference. I want to become a better player, recently purchased "Reassess you Chess". I am trying to figure out if an engne will help me improve. Thanks for any input.
    The old cliche holds true here. There are no stupid questions. However, here at RHP, you will get plenty of stupid answers.

    Fortunately, in this thread, you got some great positive input. Good answers. Don't be afraid to ask questions on this sight. There are plenty of helpful people here who are willing to pitch in and give a hand. Our community is blessed to have many intelligent and caring people.
  9. 27 Jan '08 07:59
    Thanks for the help, I will look into some of the other recommended books for now.
  10. 27 Jan '08 12:28 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Mahout

    The impressive and often talked about Fritz chess engine is only available for PC.
    I think you mean for Windows. PC just means personal computer and has nothing to do with operating systems. All consumer computers are PCs. The trend to separate Macs from the PC category is illogical but popular.

    Anyway, what I'm really getting at is that you can easily run Windows on a Mac. I have a separate Windows partition that I can boot into anytime at native speed and I use the same partition thorough VMWARE Fusion directly from OS X Leopard. I rarely boot into it natively, but it's nice to have the option. There is also CrossOver if you don't want to bother with a Windows license.

    BTW: Shredder 11 MP is better than Fritz anyway. Unlike Fritz, Shredder can take advantage of the multiple cores and 64-bit architecture of modern Macs. Fritz functions only as 32-bit and on a single core.
  11. 27 Jan '08 12:36
    Engines are essentially computer programs that play chess from levels of 500-2500+ (I don't know the exact claims). But if you really want to improve, go through it with your opponent, if they're willing (no need to tie them to a chair), and talk. Talking is one of the key things. You can learn what their plan was, why they played a move etc.But engines are quite good at figuring out and indeed, pointing out, your mistakes.
  12. 27 Jan '08 14:23
    Okay, so I have downloaded shredder and am working with it. I plugged in one of my last games to see if I can figure out where I went wrong, or right. I actually won but am not entirely sure how I ended up in a good position.
  13. 27 Jan '08 14:52
    Originally posted by remedyseeking
    Okay, so I have downloaded shredder and am working with it. I plugged in one of my last games to see if I can figure out where I went wrong, or right. I actually won but am not entirely sure how I ended up in a good position.
    So, basically, you're going remedy seeking?
  14. 27 Jan '08 15:13 / 1 edit
    Please don't take this as an insult, but at your level analysing your games with an engine is a complete waste of time. Try discussing the game with your opponent when it is all finished instead.
  15. 27 Jan '08 15:15
    Originally posted by Fat Lady
    Please don't take this as an insult, but at your level analysing your games with an engine is a complete waste of time. Try discussing the game with your opponent when it is all finished instead.
    I agree. Discussing a game with something that can't talk or point out a previous plan or swindle, is like making a milkshake without shaking it.