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I've been thinking about getting a new chess engine. So far, the only ones that I own are Chessmaster 7000 and Fritz 8. Neither of those are compatible with my operating system any more and are out of date.
I am considering getting Fritz 12. It has gotten pretty good reviews and would be a nice update to my old chess engines. However, some people have told me that playing strength is more important than anything else, and that Rybka 3 is the better choice.
What do you guys think? Should I get Fritz 12, Rybka 3, or some other top chess engine? Also, I am also considering getting Questions of Modern Chess Theory: A Soviet Classic.
However, a recent review (http://www.chess.com/article/view/how-to-study-chess-openings) claims that the book lacks the part on the Ragozin Defense that was in the original. Should I buy the book, or does the missing section make it not worth the money?
First, you must decide the reason for purchasing an engine. If it is to play against you, then ANY of the modern engines are fine in that they are all so strong they will crush the typical player. If it is to analyze your games, then an engine that somehow also generates some commentary might be helpful. If it's to play against others on the internet (in venues which allow this), then Rybka 4 (soon to be available) will undoubtedly be the best you can do. But for $50 or so dollars, any of them will beat the pants off you.
Rybka 4 is coming out in the near future. Of course you must wait for this.
There's quality, free engines going begging all over the net. Some good ones here:
Fritz 12 isn't just an engine... it's a GUI+Engine... if all you want is a better engine you can download very strong free engines, such as stockfish 1.7 or Fire 1.2 and run them as your main engine in the Fritz 8 GUI (i think this is true... I have fritz 10 and they run seamlessly in the fritz 10 gui) ... However, I think Fritz 12 is an improved GUI to the one you have with Fritz 8, with more features, better help files, etc. The Fritz 12 engine is plenty strong... I think if you have the money to spend you won't be sorry getting the new Fritz.
Engine strength will probably matter at some time in the training. I agree with DrawMaster that it depends on your purpose.
I've only started with an engine (stockfish) and a database (scid) ~10days ago. My first objective is to build a decent repertoire -- and I find that for my level of play, good explanation of the opening themes are far more important than the engine strength beyond a point, of course (I guesstimate that point to be about +400 of my rating )
Just this morning I analyzed a game I played on LiveChess -- with both chess.com and stockfish. Both showed that I made a mistake in one place; both had different solutions. I don't think I can reproduce either level of calculation OTB. So either I just grasp the broad ideas --or-- memorize the stronger variation. Needless to say, I went for the former.
My conclusions: #1: Objectives matter. #2: Depending on objectives & learning methods, engine strength may or may not matter beyond a point.
What OS do you have? Windows usually allows you to run things in compatibility mode (although there may be other problems).
I am a tightwad, I use "Crafty" which comes with the BabasChess (Free and legal) interface when I use my Free Internet Chess Server (FICS) account. I also use it to anylize my chess puzzles for errors and to review games.
the free Stockfish 1.71 engine is very strong and is about equal in strength to Rybka according to several online tests.
You can load it in a free chess GUI such as Arena (http://playwitharena.com), which itself comes with many free but weaker chess engines such as Spike 1.2, SOS 5.1, etc.
For my purposes the simple user interface of Arena suffices. If you want to see why a move is bad, just make the "bad" move and press the Analyze button, whereupon an engine would churn out the line that would crush the bad move. Also, Arena supports simultaneously analyzing with up to 3 engines, so you can see how the different playing styles of different engines result in different lines. Also, Arena lets you have engine matches and engine tournaments on your computer... quite cool for looking at spectacular tactical brilliancies (when a strong engine plays against a weaker one) or drab 100-move endgames (when two strong engines play against each other). Fritz only allows a different chess engine to play against the Fritz chess engine, so it is quite limited in this respect.
However, unlike Fritz, Arena does not have a "Coach" that informs you of your bad moves. Instead, you are supposed to infer that your move was bad by just looking at the score outputted by the engine. Then again, if you keep looking at the engine scores, it would affect your play; hence, this is one of the reasons why more expensive GUIs like Fritz or Shredder are considered better for learning chess.
If such is your cup of tea, the Fritz GUI can run engine matches or tournies amongst any and all UCI or Chessbase engines, just the same as Arena. The Fritz engine does not have to be involved.
Never mind... I was confused. gah... this is embarrassing.
New engine? 7 litre V8
If you want an engine to play against, and you like something that is realistic, when you scale it's strength back to match yours, I think Shredder 12 is excellent. You can download a free demo and see if you like it at the Shredder website.
Wait a week or so, and get Rybka 4! Undoubtedly one of the strongest engines, and comes with the sleek new chessbase interface known from fritz12, which is also great for database purposes & cataloguing your own games - it's simply a very powerful tool at an affordable price. You also get a one year subscription to the chessbase site included.
Really??? We gotta wait for the future?
"The future will be better tomorrow."
"My interest is the future because I'm going to spend the rest of my life there"
Charles F. Kettering
I personally have rybka 3. It is easy to use and ultra powerful. That said, wait for rybka 4. It's still Rybka, just stronger.
I don't have Fritz 4 so obviously my post is very biased. I am very happy with Rybka though..
Hope this helps.
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