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Best program for automatic game analysis / annotation


  • 22 months ago · Quote · #21

    dadam

    I add the game i played move by move into Fritz with just the "explain all moves" and i also write it down on my chess journal.

    When Fritz suggests that the move i played it's really weak i add his variation and on the paper i try to explain in words the whys.

    I find it more useful and I have also more fun.

    That sounds really interesting.  Smile

    I will try it.  

  • 22 months ago · Quote · #22

    mldavis617

    An interesting thread.  As a former teacher, I know that different people learn in different ways - visual, auditory, tactile, etc.  I also know it depends on the attention span of the student as to how long (s)he can stay "on task" before losing concentration and becoming bored, so that factors in as to what works best.  My personal method of improving means spending time re-playing the game without time pressure.

    As Martin_Stahl outlines above, using a stronger player or chess engine can give you alternate variations that you may have completely missed.  I use the UCI to input the moves quickly, generating a PGN of the game from my scoresheet with no analysis.  Then I set up a chessboard on a small table along side of my computer and replay the game on the board, following along on the computer until I reach a position of question.  I study the board while the computer is turned on to analyze with no time limit.  When I have spent what is a reasonable amount of time over the board, I then turn to check the computer analysis and variation which I may or may not play through on-screen, depending on its inherent interest.  The board stays set up according to the original game position and I can return the on-screen position to match the board with a single click of the mouse.  For me, for some reason, I seem to see things differently (and better?) using a board than I do on-screen.  Perhaps this will change with more practice, but it is a consideration.  If on the other hand, your play is online and on-screen, then you may not profit from board analysis.

    When I played tournament chess years ago, I used to make notes in the margin on my scorepad of alternative moves that looked interesting that I passed up in favor of the move actually made.  I even had a personal code I used that the opponent looking at my pad wouldn't be able to use to discern my thought process.  Then, after the game, I would play the game over and analyze on a board.  Admittedly, this was in the days of Chessmaster and Sargon II.  Today's UCI's are wonderful for analysis.

    You might consider looking at one of the Chessbase products such as Fritz 13 which I just purchased.  In addition to the common UCI features such as automatic move recording and analysis of "best move", it also contains features such as suggesting a move, explanation of all possible moves, brief strategic description of the position, and various other tutoring functions.  These can be turned on/off of depending on what you're trying to learn.  I think these features are much stronger in the commercial versions I looked at as compared to the freeware.  Ultimately, however, I just use the power of the engine to check my analysis and look for the best move(s) in a position; and any good combination such as SCID vs. PC and Houdini 1.5a or Fritz 13 allow you to install and use multiple engines simultaneously and compare results. 

    Also of value is playing over games from players of different styles.  This can give you a look into differences in positional vs. attack lines.  I play over annotated master games and compare the annotations to the chess engine in tricky positions.  The level of annotation varies greatly from very verbose basic theory to subtle alternative lines that may be above my level of understanding, so find several authors who write at your level and seek them out.  Remember that today's chess engines are stronger than any author writing annotations, and there may well be flaws in their understanding and analysis and/or in the engine (though not likely).

    From your initial post, you seem to be playing quick games online rather than tournament play.  I think there are two ways to improve under those conditions:  First, I would adapt several openings for white and black and stick with lines you know to avoid blunders.  If the Ruy (for example) becomes boring after a while, learn one new opening or a variation you haven't played.  Learn what the initial tactical intent of the opening is and play over master games to see how that is implemented.

    Second, play over lots and lots of games including your own.  If you don't spend a lot of time in real time analysis, you need to learn positions and combinations that recur and learn to recognize threats quickly.

    Ultimately, however, it is not the power of the engine, as virtually all chess engines today are stronger than we are and provide better moves in most positions (endgames being a potential exception depending on the tablebase being used).  The value of a commercial UCI such as Fritz is that it can be tailored to tutor according to your needs and contains features mostly (but not completely) lacking in freeware UCI's which are predominately PGN readers and positional analysis programs.  But they cost money and may not do what you want, so be careful.

  • 22 months ago · Quote · #23

    GabrieleMiceli

    mldavis617 wrote:

    An interesting thread.  As a former teacher, I know that different people learn in different ways - visual, auditory, tactile, etc.  I also know it depends on the attention span of the student as to how long (s)he can stay "on task" before losing concentration and becoming bored, so that factors in as to what works best.  My personal method of improving means spending time re-playing the game without time pressure.

     

    For me, for some reason, I seem to see things differently (and better?) using a board than I do on-screen.  Perhaps this will change with more practice, but it is a consideration.  If on the other hand, your play is online and on-screen, then you may not profit from board analysis.

    What you say from your teaching experience is totally true :)

    I think that for people like us that play and study chess for passion, the trick is to find a personal (sound) method that for us is also fun. The fun factor is the key to keep studying.

    It's the same for me. And Also Yusupov in his great book

    Build Up Your Chess 1: The Fundamentals

    suggests to replay the matches and to do important exercises on the board

  • 22 months ago · Quote · #24

    GabrieleMiceli

    For Dadam: Try it, I'm sure you will benefit from it.

    I especially noticed how LOGIC is the development of the computer.

    Sometimes the moves are "so logic" that i blame myself for having played so bad :) But don't get discouraged!
    I would also like to suggest you a book from Susan Polgar that it's very good explaining tactics: chess tactics for champions.

  • 22 months ago · Quote · #25

    dadam

    GabrieleMiceli wrote:

    I would also like to suggest you a book from Susan Polgar that it's very good explaining tactics: chess tactics for champions.

    Thanks, but i have enough stuff but not enough time thats my problem.

    "Tasc Chess 2" is my favorit.

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #26

    avenger9mm

    try Chessmaster 10 or 11

  • 13 months ago · Quote · #27

    DrFrank124c

    dadam wrote:
    GabrieleMiceli wrote:

    I would also like to suggest you a book from Susan Polgar that it's very good explaining tactics: chess tactics for champions.

    Thanks, but i have enough stuff but not enough time thats my problem.

    "Tasc Chess 2" is my favorit.

    How about "Spelling 101?"

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #28

    kyleford948

    There is a great FREE android smart phone app called "Chess Time" which supports self analysis with no need for a pencil and paper. It has a forwards and back button on an editable chess board so that you can replay board positions over and over just by undoing or resetting. Also it is an awesome multiplayer app that allows you to play against pros and beginners around the globe, and it saves the PGN annotation of every game so that you can analyze your past games and positions at any given time in the future. No need for paper. It also has a email function that will automatically email your PGN to anyone you want. Also as far as an engine goes, Here is a FREE web-based Houdini, garbo, fruit, stockfish, toga, and critter Chess analyzer engine with an editable chess board.
    http://analyse.deep-chess.de/
    Stuff is easier to come by than you think. Make life simple. Isn't that what chess is all about? The best possible move? The best move is the simplest move that accomplishes the same task the complicated move accomplishes with less time spent and less cost. Free, and now is the best move.

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #29

    I_Am_Second

    enhorning wrote:

    After playing a game, I like to run it through a chess program to spot blunders and mistakes.

    What do people think is the best program (GUI) for doing this?  I tried the demo for the Shredder Classic GUI, but found it clumsy for stepping through the game after the analysis was finished, and disliked a few other aspects of it.

    I'm using ScidVsPC currently, but am finding myself running into the same minor nuisances over and over.  Plus, it analyses from start to end, instead of going from the end of the game backwards to the start, which means less effective use of information in hash tables.

    Is there anything out there that's better?  I am tempted by the Hiarcs Chess Explorer, but they have no demo, so I would have to purchase that on faith and hope it doesn't come with any annoying quirks.

    (For the actual AI engine, I've stuck to Houdini 1.5a so far - is there a good reason to use one of the other free programs instead?) 

    The first thing you should do, is your own anyalysis.  It is one of the fastest ways to improvement.  Run your game through an egine only after doing your own analysis. 

    Using just an engine, will start you saying thgings like "I was up .4 of a pawn..."  But youll have no idea that that even means.

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #30

    mldavis617

    I agree with @Second.  Do your own analysis first before asking an engine for the move.  This is the way many top instructors teach, and is the basic way the great Yusupov book series demands.  Set up the board, write down all the ideas and variations you can think of, commit yourself to a move and then check what the computer or book says.

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #31

    Crimguy

    I always look at the engine only after I analyze the move myself.  I'm never surprised at how wrong I was ;-D


    I find value in the computer looking over my games, and do so for every game I play (although I don't do as many games of chess as many here).  I have a number of apps I've accumulated over the years.  First I bought chessbase about 5-6 years ago thinking it was the only game in town.  Analysis throws it over to fritz, which I didn't own.  I then bought fritz 11, which is pretty nice for analysis.

     

    A couple years ago I got a bundle for an insanely low price ($50?) for Aquarium 2011 and Chess Assistant Starter edition.  Both of these applications have some really neat features.

     

    The plus of Aquarium is their interactive mode, called iDEA.  This is my favorite because you can look at a position and send it to iDEA.  While it's thinking, you put in your candidate moves and it will analyze them and keep track of both good and dubious entries.  So not only is it showing you the relative strength of your moves, it also gives weight to whatever else you were thinking of.  Really awesome.  The interface is confusing though.

     

    Speaking of confusing interfaces, Chess Assistant apparently hasn't changed since its' Windows 95 days.  BUT - if you want to do a complete "hands-off" game analysis, it has tons of adjustments that can be made.  I am loving it. As a plus, the database search features are really fast - I'd say 1/2 the time chessbase takes for a similar sized database.  It's a shame the GUI is such a mess.

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #32

    Tapani

    Was utterly disappointed / confused by the automated analysis software out there. So I ended up making my own (which is not nearly complete yet, and likely never will be).

    But I also agree that you should scrutinize your own play after the game before seeing a computer analysis. The scrutiny process itself will have you think more about different nuances of the game -- which in turn leads to insight and improved play.

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #33

    Andique

    Nothing about Chessmaster (i use 10th. edition). With ghost pieces.

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #34

    scandium

    This has probably said already at least a few times, but you gain very little from pure engine analysis. Sure it'll find blunders, but mostly it uses brute force calculation to find the most promising line of play.

     

    The problem is, we aren't computers. Its brute force calculation will find the best sequence, but that's of little value as a tool for improvement when you cannot duplicate this type of analysis to determine the best move in a given position. You need to rely instead on ideas that computer analysis can't teach you.

     

    I agree with the recommendation of very strong players and coaches that you should analyze your game as deeply as you can either by yourself or with your opponent first. Only then should you use the engine to check your analysis.

     

    Done this way, you have a measure of how accurate your analysis is and where your mistakes were. You also have an aid, your own analysis, in trying to decipher why the engine preferred some moves over lines played or analyzed.

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #35

    aman_makhija

    enhorning wrote:
    Immryr wrote:

    the automatic analysis feature should be avoided really. you will get a lot more benefit going through your games yourself and only using the engine to spot any tactical shots you missed.

    That is probably true, but in practice, unlikely to happen.  The goal is to be able to have a very quick look over the game - if I were to spend significant time (of my own - if the computer takes time to produce annotation, that is fine) on it, I'd rather use that time to play another game.

    If I ever play 40 moves in 120 minutes tournament games over-the-board, that might be a different matter... but with casual 15|10 games online, I definitely don't want to spend as long analysing as it took to play the actual game.

     

    Then again, unlike some (most?) people, I am not viewing improvement as a big goal - my main aim is to have fun, with improvement a distant second to that.

    So, to reiterate, what program is best to produce some automatic annotations that I can then quickly look through before moving on to the next game?

    1. The more you improve, the more you will enjoy chess, it's a positive cycle, even if you don't wanna be a GM.

    2.This is why people say engines are killing chess. People use engines, instead of putting serious effort into improving. 

    3.Even if you don't want to spend your own time analyzing you should give your games to your chess coach.

    Anyway, if you ever want to improve, STOP using engines, START analyzing on your own, or giving your games to your coach (if you don't have one, i suggest you get one.)

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #36

    mldavis617

    I think the danger in relying on computer analysis is not to recognize that the computer is looking forward far more moves than a human is capable of seeing.  What might work as an advantage 20 moves later also depends on perfect computerized counter-play which your opponent will never have.

    One way around that in my analysis is to limit the depth that I allow the computer to go.  If I can't see much beyond 5-6 moves, I can limit my engine to that depth and better approximate (my) human play limitations.

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #37

    aman_makhija

    mldavis617 wrote:

    I think the danger in relying on computer analysis is not to recognize that the computer is looking forward far more moves than a human is capable of seeing.  What might work as an advantage 20 moves later also depends on perfect computerized counter-play which your opponent will never have.

    One way around that in my analysis is to limit the depth that I allow the computer to go.  If I can't see much beyond 5-6 moves, I can limit my engine to that depth and better approximate (my) human play limitations.

    You're acting like computers will always evaluate correctly.

    Some elements of positional play are not evaluated better by computers. Humans can evaluate them much better.

  • 4 months ago · Quote · #38

    mldavis617

    I agree, but I think it depends on whether you are evaluating a play line or the strength and planning from a given position.  If computers were weak at positional evaluation, they would be easily beaten by strong chess players, and of course they are not.  Perhaps that's an argument that positions are not as important as being able to see farther down the play line, or that positions are not as important as we would like to think.

    The main strengths of computers, I think, are that they don't often make mistakes or blunders, they are not subject to mental fatigue, and they have a huge time advantage.

    I don't suggest that a computer is better than a good chess coach for learning chess - certainly not.  But computerized analysis is easily accessible and much cheaper, and for many of us it is the only option outside of books and videos.


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