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[ Chess Programs ]

Keyword Query: Chess Programs
When you say 'programs', I assume you're referring to getting chess playing software for your computer.

First, The Free Option!

If you're looking for something for free, and you're running a PC (not Mac), then I know WinBoard to be a worthy option ...

WinBoard. Click To Begin Download.

Now, you're not going to get the advanced analysis and training features of paid programs - such as Fritz 12, or Rybka 4 - but you will be able to play a decent game of Chess.

It's got a simple, 2D layout; has a Chess Clock (with customisable time settings); you can Undo moves; it has a memory so you can playback your games and analyze where you went right/wrong; and if you don't like the color-scheme, you can change it.

First Of The Paid Options

If you're going to spend money on any one of the available Chess Programs, I have no hesitation in recommending Fritz 12:

How can I justifiably recommend Fritz 12?

Because I've got it and use it extensively - both on this website and when I'm analyzing my own games ...

... Because, as a beginner who's looking to learn and improve my Chess skills, I know it has the features I need - plus more that I haven't yet used.

GM Garry Kasparov is quoted as saying he "regularly analyzes with Fritz" ...

In addition to the features on offer, that statement was what convinced me to get Fritz 12.

I haven't been left disappointed; put it that way.

Other Options - Paid Chess Programs

Now, be aware that I haven't played/experienced the following, so, at best, all I can do is comment on what others have said ...

The two programs that seem to get favorable reviews, or are heralded as being truly great Chess software, are:

  1. Rybka 4

    Chess Software - Rybka 4

    Since 2006, Rybka has been the number one in the Computer World Chess Championship and is said to be an aggressive and tactically strong computer opponent.

  2. Shredder 12

    Chess Software - Shredder 12

    Prior to Rybka, Shredder was the most prolific champion amongst other commercial chess softare, having won more World Championship titles than rival software.

One thing to point out, Fritz 12, Shredder 12, and Rybka 4, while being slightly different in terms of playing style of their Chess Engine (apparently), they all share a common DNA: they're all produced by a Chess software company called Chessbase.

I might be wrong, but a beginner at Chess most likely won't be able to tell the difference between the playing characteristics of these programs.

Because of the Chessbase connection, all three offerings share many features. If I'd have purchased Shredder 12, or Rybka 4, it's just as likely I'd be similarly positive about my experience with them, as I am with Fritz 12.

All I can go on is my experience, and I'm well-happy with Fritz 12.

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