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.