I am just wondering if anyone knows of a good (preferably free/cheap) chess program for Mac OSX Lion?
Any input is appreciated!!!!
There are several free chess database programs that work with Lion. I would recommend ChessX, SCIDvsMac, and SCID in that order. have posted the most recent version of ChessX for the Macintosh (not available elsewhere) along with the latest version of the free stockfish UCI engine for the Macintosh at www.box.com/chessx . ChessX is an extremely nice program for studying PGN chess files. It will load the stockfish engine for analysis purposes. If you only want a program to play against you can download the Stockfish 2.0.1 GUI for Mac at http://www.stockfishchess.com/download/ , it is also free.
SCID and SCIDvsMac have many more features than the current version of ChessX but in my opinion the user interface is nowhere near as good. Since they are free you can try all three and see which you prefer. I would recommend geting ChessX from www.box.com/chessx as it is up to date with the latest changes and improvements. I have also posted the latest Macintosh build of the stockfish engine, which by the way is very very strong and works with all three.
I posted a screen shot of ChessX
Hi James! Could you tell me how to install the new Stockfish engine for ChessX? I think to have the latest version of both, but when I want to analyze a game it gives me error.. :( How it's done right? Thanks in advance!
daniw - Are you running Mac or Windows Make sure you have the right engine for your operating system and machine. Some engines like stockfish for windows has several versions 32bit, 64 bit, 64bit Modern, 64bit SSE, etc. You won't be able to run some of them (like 64bit Modern or 64bit SSE ) if you have an older or cheaper PC. If you have a 32bit OS Windows machine you will of course need a 32bit windows engine. On the Macintosh things are generally simpler. You can run the engine standalone from the Macintosh Terminal program or a Windows Command Prompt and it should reply with the name of the engine and some version information if it is suitable for your machine.
Once you have a engine suitable for your computer
Basically you first install the engine into ChessX from
Preferences.. Menu --- Engine Tab -- Add... (Browse to your engine and fill out the dialog the defaults should be ok. Hit OK button
Then you open the Analysis 1 View Select your engine and hit the Analysis Button. It should now be analyzing the current move
Then to analyze the full game, keep the engine analyzing, Browse into the first move of your game and enable Auto Analysis on the Game Menu
Thanks! I have a Mac, I followed your instructions and it works :) Though the analyses are confusing for me. Thought the variations it gives me are simpler or easier to visualize and analize, or that it gives you a notice when you make a bad move.. Thought it to be more straightforward. But maybe its just a personal thing and I need more practice :) But what are the numbers it gives you in the analysis on each variation? I don't get it. Thanks again!
The numbers it gives you in the analysis on each variation in the analysis window give a evaluation for the suggestion at the depth shown so in the following example the engine gives f6 an advantage to white of about half a pawn and an evaluation for 18...a5 of about a pawn advantage for white. Plus means an advantage for white and Minus means an advantage for Black.
The [+] and [*] copy the first move and all the moves of the variation into the move list.
the depth is how far down the search tree the engine has looked.
The time after that is how long the engine took.
+0.48 [+] [*] 18... f6 19. Bg3 a6 20. h4 Kf7 21. h5 Ke7 22. f3 Nd6 23. Kf2 Bc2 24. Rh1 Nf5 25. Bf4 Nd6 26. g4 b5 27. Bg3 Rc6 28. Ra1 Rc7 29. Rhc1 Rac8 30. Bf4 Ra8 31. a4 (depth 26, 0:00:34)
+1.01 [+] [*] 18... a5 19. Bb5 Kf8 20. Bc6 Ra7 21. f3 Bd3 22. Rfd1 Ba6 23. e4 Nf6 24. Re1 dxe4 25. fxe4 Bb7 26. d5 exd5 27. Bxb7 Rxc1 28. Rxc1 Rxb7 29. exd5 Nxd5 30. Rc8+ Ke7 (depth 26, 0:00:34)
If you do a Auto Analysis for the game then the evaluation numbers are entered as comments (shown in green) at the end of the variation.
Probably the most useful thing is Not to Analyze the Game but just to step through the moves of your game with the engine running. When the evaluation changes dramatically from one move to the next that will usually indicate an error. Then study the alternatives the engine suggests and try to understand why it thinks its suggestions are better than the move made in the game.
I usually find in my losses there are a small number of moves where I have played bad moves, most often because I missed a tactic. Sometimes when I play a much stronger player I just see a slow creep in the evaluation where I am playing second or third best moves just because I don't understand the positions.
Great advice, thanks a lot for the info! And one more personal thought from you please :) What do you think about other chess programs like Shredder or HIARCS? Are they worth paying for? Are there significant differences between them and the Stockfish engine and ChessX? Sorry to bother you ;)
I highly recommend HIARCS. It is a lot like chessX but with decent opening books and the ability to play against it.
Shredder used to be good but hasn't been updated in a long time and has been passed by.
You will notice that HIARCS and chessX share a lot of features. They both share the major developer Michal Rudolf and are both based on the same Qt technology. Boards from chessX can be used in HIARCS and vice versa. I have posted some boards from chessX and some I created ( *.png files ) on my www.box.com/chessX site and they can be used with HIARCS you can insert the boards into "HIARCS Chess Explorer.app/Contents/MacOS/data/themes/boards/scaled" on the Mac ( hint just right click on HIARCS Chess Explorer.app and select "Show Package Contents"
Also "Everyman Chess" publishes many of their books in pgn format, for which ChessX is an excellent free reader. HIARCS also works well to read the Everyman books.
I just downloaded ChessX and Stockfish for 64 bit Mac OSX Mountain Lion - works great! Thanks!
The location of the data folder which chessX will look for to find extra boards has been moved. The location it expects is shown in the about box. Since on the Mac it is in a subdirectory of the Library folder which is hidden, you might need to open it ( type cd "folderpath" then type open .. ) from terminal. I have posted a sample data folder on my www.box.com/chessx web site as well as current builds of chessX.
Also hopefully the official release 1.0 of chessX from the official site should be happening fairly soon as it is getting close.