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Chess 960 Software and Database

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #1


    I am looking for a database or just plain chess program that can handle the nuances of Chess 960 castling. SCID does not get it at all (i.e. never allows it), Arena 3.0 has serious graphics interface problems (as well as problems not allowing castling in some legal postions), Babas Chess sometimes forgets to move the rook, and sometimes allows the king to overwrite a piece in both legal and illegal castling positions. Fritz 8, which I paid for and absolutely hate, does not even know what Chess 960 is.

    Is there a decent Chess 960 software out there? Or am I missing something in the programs I have? As it stands, when tracking a game, I usually (always when using SCID) have to save and reload as a new FEN position when it comes time to castle. Pain in the neck. Thanks.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #2


    Commercial - I'm sure the native Shredder GUIs do it right:  http://www.shredderchess.com/

    I don't know about Hiarcs Chess Explorer, you might want to research that one.

    Free - I haven't used either of these two free GUIs recently, but from what I've read, they should handle Chess960 castling correctly:

    Winboard 4.7.2 - http://www.open-aurec.com/wbforum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=51528

    ChessGUI 0.245a - http://biglion.bplaced.net/

    (ChessGUI is geared mostly toward engine-engine testing; You might not like the look of the GUI as much as the others.)

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #3


    Although WinBoard works perfectly well for playing, analyzing and editing Chess960 games, I must admit that the database functions (searching positions by several criteria in multi-game PGN files) might not work. These features are still highly experimental, and were written and tested only on collections of normal Chess games. I checked the code, and it seems that the routine responsible for packing the games in a PGN file into a more compact form into a memory buffer, so that it can be searched far faster, would choke on castlings that do not have the Rooks in the corner. (It castles with a corner piece in stead.)

    If this is important to you, I can post a version of WinBoard where this is fixed on my website.

    Drop moves (as in Crazyhouse or Shogi) also do not work yet in position searches.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #4


    Thanks for the feedback. I tried Winboard and it is clunky and crashes. So I will continue using SCID with its limitations (I have to save and copy games around castling moves, and hence position searches are going to be very problematic). I am an avid user of databases in my correspondence games, using database with 960 is going to be quite a challenge!

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #5


    Strange, I have never had WinBoard crash. What exactly were you doing, when the crash happens?

  • 17 months ago · Quote · #6


    Surprised no-one has mentioned the commercial products Chessbase-11 and Fritz-12. Both support Chess960 castling perfectly. Chessbase-11 even has a dedicated sortable column that lists games by their Chess960 number by calculating the number on the fly. The search functions all work fine.

    The only problem with the software is that Chessbase-11 cannot create a Chess960 opening book. Fritz-12 can create one however, and although it is very useful because it includes win/loss statistics, I think it may contain some small calculation bugs that were never fixed.

    There is also some inconsistencies in the way the PGN is handled compared to the rest of the world. Can't remember off hand but it is something along the lines of variant=Chess960 verses variant=Chess 960

    Not sure about the latest versions Chessbase-12 and Fritz-13 or 14 whatever it is, but since this is German software and Chess960 is popular in that country and I would be very surprised if they dropped 960 support.

  • 17 months ago · Quote · #7


    Thanks for the good info! I will hold on to that.

  • 17 months ago · Quote · #8


    The latest WinBoard release (version 4.7.3) now has the problem I mentioned fixed. Position searches should now work flawlessly in Chess960 as well as orthodox Chess. Crazyhouse and Shogi would still be a problem, however.

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