Going Mac, Will I look back...


I need the help of the Chess.com Community. Mac users. WHAT should I do for the best chess program for Mac? I've heard that Shredder has made leaps and bounds and now has better database functionality? Or should I just buy Virtual PC/Parallel Windows and get ChessBase?

PLEASE knowledgable people with experience only!

Thanks everyone...


You are dead to us!

Tongue Out

ACEChess wrote:

I need the help of the Chess.com Community.

PLEASE knowledgable people with experience only!

Pick one.

Seriously though: I have no idea, surely this is something that only you can decide.



VMWare Fusion + Windows Install Disk + Chessbase or whatever works great and is what I primarily use. 

Hiarcs Chess Explorer is a pretty decent and is usable but isn't really up to par with CB I bought it because of the positive feedback I've heard, and it really isn't bad. But the big issue is that you can't really use the majority of engines with it. Still, you can get Hiarcs, Stockfish, Komodo, and a few others working -- just not Rybka or Houdini, which are the one's most people really want. 

There are some free options like SCID, but they all pretty well suck compared to the payware options.

If you have a student in the family, the student pricing for VMWare is very reasonable. If you don't have a student, it's a bit pricey and you can look into other options: 

https://www.virtualbox.org works pretty darn well and is free.  


VMWare + PC software's a little slow compared to native hardware, but not by much. If it's a new Mac and you're moving from a slightly older PC you won't see a difference.  I would never recommend bootcamp as a solution, having to reboot for switching applications just sucks!



I am using Hiarcs Explorer on my Mac and love it, it took some getting used to after using Chessbase etc for so long, however, now I have got used to it I wouldnt go back.

Good Luck.


Just updated too...


I like it pretty well!


Can you update the database that comes with Hiarcs with TWIC and or other PGNs? Do they provide updates?


Yes, but you have to do it manually, it's not like a megabase subscription where the updates just happen with a button click. 

Which isn't really all that bad, but is one of the little things that irritates me about it ;) 


I have used Chessbase for a while on parallels, running on a macbook air. The performance penalty is managable if you have lots of RAM. What mac is it exactly?


Oh, noticed I didn't fully answer the question: they don't provide updates as a service, but using TWIC or ICOFY is the simple answer to that issue. 

Note that if you use the ICOFY database HIARCS has  a file size limit and will not read the entire ICOFY database if you merge the A, B, C, D, and E files together as it exceeds that file size limit.

Also some features of OSX Mountain Lion (10.8.x) are not fully supported in the current build. I assume that will change in the near future. None of the missing features are stability issues or effect usability in substantial ways.  

My guess is that you would find Chess Explorer to be adequate but not great. Consider it to be about at the same place ChessBase was for Chessbase 6.

One thing I LIKE about Chess Explorer is that it uses PGN files. This means that you can run CQL queries against it.

Of course, to run CQL you need a dos emulator or windows install, but hopefully that will change one day.  


Also, does anyone know if ChessBase will run in WINE? If so, there's a Macport of Wine available so you could get by without the windows disk and VMWare. But I've never tried it.


Also, can you quickly output PGNs or FENs? Meaning, from a position in ChessBase you can "Copy Game" or "Copy Position". Can you do these things in Hiarcs? Can anyone look for me? Wink


Yes, you can copy games, positions very easy, emailing is simple as well. Importing games also is very easy.


MacBook Pro. i7 2.4Ghz 8GB RAM Turbo Boost Possible.

No CD Drive. Is that OK? I can download Hiarcs I assume?

Also, Kingpatzer... You are too techy for me Tongue Out I have no idea what CQL is or ICOFY BUT if I can download TWIC PGNs by hand and do it that way I don't mind. 

Again, what about quickly outputting PGNs or FENS? Need that for my job here at Chess.com...


We used Hiarcs Chess Explorer in the VIP Commentary room at the London Chess Classic for relaying games and it worked great. It's really smooth to use, has all the basic features that you'd expect such as those mentioned above and is constantly being developed.

The main problem with it is, is that it has a game limit of 1.75 million games for a single database meaning it can not yet really be a substitute for Chessbase as a serious database tool.


ICOFY is an extensive, free database available here: 


No CD drive is not a problem, you can download it just fine.

The game limit isn't a huge issue if you are willing to divide your games up by some reasonable criteria. For example, for investigating current players you really don't need games from 1963, games from the last few years will suffice.  But it is an issue that means you have to do file management in a way you would not with Chessbase. 

Again, think of it in terms of Chessbase 6 -- it really is pretty equivilant to that release: all the basic functionality, some additional features that make things nice, but just enough bumps in the road to make you notice that it isn't perfect, but nothing you can point to and say it's really broken.

CQL is "chess query language," and is a really useful tool if you learn how to use it. Info here: http://www.rbnn.com/cql/


Hi, I had Hiarcs on my Windows PC, I had Vista. It was very good and easy to use, you can play games, analyse and download games etc.

I am sure you will have no problems with it but hopefully others with more knowledge than me will give you some advice as well.Smile


Sorry ZoOogle, I didnt read your post correctly, yes my Hiarcs is single core and it has all you will need.


Thanks for all the help guys! Last question seems to be going unanswered:

Can I output single game PGN files easily? Can I output FEN positions? FENs are position setups like this on ChessBase: http://grab.by/kwqw see the "Copy FEN" in the corner?

And in ChessBase you can output PGN files super easily, like this: http://grab.by/kwqC

Thoughts? Can anyone with Hiarcs see a comparable to those?