Monday, August 06, 2018

Chess Engines on the Mac

Posted by Andrew Ooi
Yes I know I have retired from playing chess but that doesn't stop me from wanting to know who is better and what position a strong player messed up and when. After all I may not be a chess player but I am a blogger and sometimes need to know what's happening.

I can only do that if there is another strong player beside me or if I have a chess engine. Being primarily on a Mac computer makes it a bit harder. My initial search on the web for free chess resources for the Mac turns up this:-

Scid vs PC.



Installing it required the getting the GUI and engine separately. The GUI I chose is SCID vs PC. And since uncle Google said that Stockfish is the current strongest chess engine so I went for Stockfish version 9 (latest as of August,2018)

It's no Chessbase/Fritz + Stockfish combo but does give the basic functionalities of a chess engine. Missing is the "analyze whole game" feature which I like in Chessbase products as you can leave the engine analysing the game overnight and see the end results the next day. Still for finding out fast roughly where a blunder took place, this more than sufficed.

For example, in the recent Borneo Rapids, top seed Dimakiling made a move(from the diagram above)  that the engine didn't like which was g4 (giving it a -3 score - equivalent to losing a whole piece!) and subsequently lost to IM Nouri Hamed. Why the engine didn't like it? Wish it could say in real words but would require a good player to explain. That is also the main reason why good coaches advice students never to rely heavily on engines and to use their "brains" more often. Still, for the basics of identifying blunders and best moves, this would do for me.

Links:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/scidvspc/
https://stockfishchess.org/download/

Anyone else find a better Mac analysis engine combo please let this newbie/patzer know :)

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