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

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 grandmasters.

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.

Author: Michael Kanehl

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

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