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possiblegenius 53 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess programs Hey ya'll,

I'm wanting to purchase a new chess program. And I have been unable to decide between Chessmaster 10th and Fritz8. I've decided not to go with the latest fritz because of the current price. The chessmaster, I've read, is better for amatuers and people who need an easier to use interface. Yet Fritz8 is much better for those who are already more progressed players. I'm about a 1100 rating and would like to get much better and also how difficult is the interface really with all the latest patches?
So which should I go with? Thanks.
alberlie 107 ( +1 | -1 )
Neither ... Fritz nor Chessmaster comment on their moves. And while Fritz or Chessmaster will find blunders in every game you play/played, their suggestions for better moves will likely not make too much sense to you because they are moves that
a) follow "computer-chess" rules (i.e. not fearing absurd tactical complications because after 7 to 10 moves, this move is 0,5 pawns better than that move - something a GM would probably never do)
b) are generally way to "deep" for players of a medium/mediocre level (such as mine and yours) to understand. (i.e. a pawn move that frees a bishop which is needed to control a square that prevents a 3-move tactic. It's easy to point out with a coach who sees such things, but it's hard to figure out with the engine only.)

If you want to improve in chess, invest that money into a Tactics-book and download some free engine off the net. Practically any modern engine plays at GM-strength - which is more than sufficient for you.
possiblegenius 37 ( +1 | -1 )
Actually I've just "invested" in two chess books and am in the process of reading them currently. I've only just started reading them but I'm enjoying them throughly. Do you have any suggestions for other books?

I'd still like to purchase a program to play against on the comp. So it sounds like it may be a better idea to get one with an easier to use format at this time?
alberlie 13 ( +1 | -1 )
look at this weeks "novice nook"-thread. IN the linked article, Heisman gives some good suggestions!
coyotefan 43 ( +1 | -1 )
Books a TOTAL waste of money All books have flaws, and since unlike programs that can be updated, books are wrong forever. Books are for reading, some theory, not studying!

No book in the world can do better than Fritz or Chessmaster in analyzing your games. While it may be true that it will not write sentences as to why your move is bad, it will tell you the better move, and you will be smart enough to figure out why your move is bad :)
ganstaman 75 ( +1 | -1 )
Total? Come on, you know you're exaggerating a lot. Even if a book is later found to have flaws, most lines it gives will still be correct. If someone is serious about studying, they'll keep up with theory and find out what parts of the book are no longer thought to be true.

When you say books are for reading theory, not studying, are you saying that studying theory is impossible?

No one buys a book to analyze their game. That would be retarded. You buy a book to learn theory and learn some concrete lines as well. Books are very good at this.

Finally, how can software be updated if it's incorrect? By coming out with a new edition, right? Did you know that books can come out with multiple editions too?
ccmcacollister 282 ( +1 | -1 )
I'm retarded ... 8( For my bad otb games, I would come home and look to the opening books to extend my good moves next time, or find alternatives. Or just to see where They deviated from theory.
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For Postal Chess MCO-14 was a Gold Mine for digging up lines that people would follow blindly but be assessed over optimistically. Especially for black positions, imo. Informants were the hot theory of the time. And some of the periodicals. But MCO is where most players would go to. So if you did find a discrepancy there, it was worth more than its gold-weight in wins! Especially since you could be involved in multiple games in that line, and none know what the others had played. Unlike here at GK, where your lines show up after a 5 move delay at most. Unless they are Private games. One good improvement, or TN, near a mainline was a very wonderful thing to find. Buried treasure.
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I'm not convinced that a computer gives you a better move than you can find yourself. At least one should understand their own concepts better than a computer's.
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I have both Fritz and ChessMaster. Just dont get a whole lot of use from either one. Prefer human opponents. I would like to look into the idea of setting it to play as different styles of opponent tho. But havent gotten around to that yet.
Or seeing which will do it. But that sounds like good practice to me.
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Kotov's "Think Like a Grandmaster" is a Must to have, in my book ... It tells you how to analyze properly and many other things. I would consider someone at a major disadvantage if they do not understand the material presented in it, and must play someone who Does.
I also like all publications by GM Larry Evans or CCM Alex Dunne. And found Silman's "Amateur's Mind" to be a great presentation of needed concepts, albeit incomplete (tho every Chess book IS!), and an excellent precursor to Think Like A GM. IM John Watson is a fantastic author of specific openings, if you are ready to look into that.
In my view however, perhaps the most important thing you can do ... besides reviewing and improving your own games ... is a chose at least one, preferably several GM's whose play seems to resonate with your psyche. And study them to the Nth degree. Until you can look at a position and make a move like they would make. From them you will learn how to do some things very well. If you study them enough, you Will start to see things their way, and feel their influence upon your style. It starts when you can say, TAL (whoever) would NEVER do THAT ! And progresses to what they Would DO.
So if either of the computers can be told to Play like Tal, or Kasparov, Fischer, etc and use their openings and style, that one would be my choice.
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}8-)
coyotefan 73 ( +1 | -1 )
ganstaman The original post was asking what program should he buy. He was advised to get a book. A book is a TOTAL waste of money. Spend an hour with a book, an hour with Fritz or Chessmaster. You will get 100% more results with either software package. Books are a TOTAL waste of time and the 21st century.

To answer your second question, errors in software can be updated online for free. No such patch for a book.

To answer the posters original question, at 1100 consider purchasing an older version of Fritz. Most of the improvements have nothing to do with the tools you would need. Fritz 7 is available for under $25. I am sure you will be very happy with your improvement.
ganstaman 187 ( +1 | -1 )
coyotefan Are you serious? I don't think I can agree with you at all. Books are not a waste of money, no matter what year it is. All those programs do is tell you what move is tactically best. They can't explain why to make certain moves, or what long term plans you should be making. Do you really think an 1100 rated player just needs to see what moves are best? What an 1100 player, and most players IMO, need most is the why and general plans. From there, he can begin to understand the moves and make the right ones more often.

Have you ever tried teaching someone chess? If you have, have you worked on openings at all? If you have, did you just tell the player what moves make up the Ruy Lopez, and what the Italian game is, etc? Or did you explain instead what goals each side should try to achieve in the opening phase, showing several popular openings as examples (but not to memorize)? Whether you have or not, I think it should be clear to everyone that the latter is the much better teaching technique.

Books are an invaluable tool, and I'm really in shock that there exist people who don't recognize this. Books can explain a lot of things that software doesn't, and that's what a player needs to learn best.

To the updating issue: if someone is serious enough about learning that they check for and download updates for programs, then they are serious enough to read online sources to find out if new analysis shows some lines they've seen to be evaluated differently. That is, someone who is interested in continually learning will be able to do so with both books and programs.

Anyone who wants to learn should make use of both resources. Anyone who says otherwise, with all due respect, doesn't know what they're talking about.
thunker 49 ( +1 | -1 )
My printed library preferences..
Basic theory:
J.R. Capablanca "Chess Fundamentals" and "A Primer of Chess"
Opening theory:
Rueben Fine "The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings"
Advanced theory:
Dr Hans Berliner: "The System"

In my humble opinion - there are still pros & cons for both book/paper & eletronic media. Else, we'd already be in a paperless society and that's not going to happen anytime soon I think?

Of course, the future always determines future results and/or facts! :-)

thunker
ganstaman 43 ( +1 | -1 )
a quick aside I'm defending books so much that I think my opinion on programs may have be overlooked/not said. I think programs are great, as they help you find mistakes in the games you actually played. Very useful tool. I only have experience with Chessmaster, so I can't really recommend one over the other. I think that in the end, either can find the mistakes most amateurs will make and want to be aware of.
coyotefan 137 ( +1 | -1 )
Both Fritz and Chessmaster Have great tutorials as well as their chess engine. I prefer CM's tutorials to Fritz, but Fritz's is still good. The true problem is that there is not a book or program in the world that will teach you chess vision. You only improve that by playing games, and books make HORRIBLE opponents. They lose on time on the first move every time.

Yes, I have taught chess to many for many years, and never encouraged or used any books in my training. My nephew just won his school's club championship, and he never read a page of a book. I taught him from the knight is an "L" to an approx. 1600 rating. Honestly, if there were not computer problems I would have had him use game collection and problem solving books, but THANK HEAVEN, I did not have to punish him in such a way. He plays at least 10 games a day against Fritz, and now sometimes beats me in serious games. He is 12.

I stand by my statement "Spend an hour with a book, an hour with Fritz or Chessmaster. You will get 100% more results with either software package."

Oh, and by the way I used to own a 300+ chess book library and got rid of them. OOPS, not true, I kept Korchnoi's life book, and I do not believe it has any actual chess in it. A great read. Other than that the only books with any value were the Informants, and I purchased them on CD.
peppe_l 148 ( +1 | -1 )
Have to disagree... "All books have flaws, and since unlike programs that can be updated, books are wrong forever. Books are for reading, some theory, not studying!"

I have an old book written by Larsen. In one of the games he misses mate in 6. This "flaw" has no effect whatsoever to the instructive value of the book.

"No book in the world can do better than Fritz or Chessmaster in analyzing your games. While it may be true that it will not write sentences as to why your move is bad, it will tell you the better move, and you will be smart enough to figure out why your move is bad :)"

That's not true at all and you know it. SEEING the best moves has zero value. The chances of same exact position occuring in one of your future games is minimal, so it doesn't matter whether you "miss" the mate in 25 or not. UNDERSTANDING the good moves and bad moves is important. And there is no way 1100 player can learn much, if anything, from lines given by computer programs.

A good book giving some verbal analysis and general tips is way more instructive than (huge analysis tree) -> +/= after gazillion moves. It doesn't even matter if the GM level author failed to see some tactical shot. It doesn't mean you will miss something in your next game. What counts is you learn the IDEA, and how to apply it. During the game you are on your own, anyway.

Last but not least: let's remember you are 2000+ player. Possiblegenius is not. What's good for you isn't necessarily good for him.
johnrowell 150 ( +1 | -1 )
Books are good Not all of us have a chess tutor available that can sit with us and teach us good chess, so the next best thing when starting out are books, which teach the standard themes (outposts, space advantages, opening development, queenside majorities, and so on). These are all aspects which books can teach very well, and it doesn't matter if they are 100% up-to-date and accurate, they simply need to get across the basic ideas to the novice. They are also very good in teaching how to play certain openings - no computer program I've seen explains what your goals are in the various openings. You need to get the right books for your level. Personally I've always found books based on GM matchplay completely over my head, as was Bobby Fischer's most memorable games. Once you get to a certain level, I think books have a limited value, and computer software can take you the next step, although books remain a good read. Regarding programs, I have Fritz 8 and I do quite like it, and it's at an affordable price. It's amazing how often that in post-game analsysis I see my position was good using Fritz 8, whereas during the game I thought I was in trouble, and vice-versa. Basically, to improve at chess, you need to do a lot of things, and not one of them alone will suffice. Books, Chess Programs, tactics training, opening training, endgame technique, over the board play, and so on - all of these activities should be worked on in proportion.
chilliman 103 ( +1 | -1 )
I bought Shredder 9 and it is very easy to use. it has great analysis features and plays a very tough game. I thoroughly recommend it.

follow this link for some professional user advice (even though it talks about Fritz/ChessBase the same info applies to Shredder/Fritz/Junior and Hiarcs too I believe).

-> www.chesscafe.com and then look in the ChessBase Cafe by Steve Lopez. I'm sure that will make your decision making easier.

a much cheaper option is to download 'Arena' for free off the net and then locate some free chess engines - try Rybka v1.0 or TogaII or Aristarch 4.50 or Shredder's Classic Engine. The Arena interface is very simple to use and offers a lot for something that is totally free. If you want to know some sites where you can download these send me a pm or just 'surf the 'net'.

BTW - have a look on ebay for new 'older' software, you can pick up fritz 8 etc very cheaply.
coyotefan 4 ( +1 | -1 )
Ebay You can currently pick up CM 8000 for under $10
lucasbeauchamp 42 ( +1 | -1 )
Books vs. Programs vs. Programs I have at least a half-dozen chess programs, and more than 64 books. Both are immensely useful.

Chessmaster is a good program that can aid the development of your chess skill, but it cannot compare to Fritz unless you are a complete beginner. Chessmaster X is not easier to navigate for the neophyte than Fritz, either, although Chessmaster 9000 was. Chessmaster X also will not run on many CD/DVD RW, but prefers a CD-ROM drive.