Chess Programs - Perfecting The Software

Chess Programs - Shredder, Fritz & Deep Junior

Chess Games

In parallel with the years of building and testing dedicated chess computers, much effort has also gone into perfecting chess programs.

Computers such as IBM's Deep Blue exclusively used their entire hardware and software resources to win chess matches. In reality Deep Blue was a one trick pony albeit that it was a pretty impressive trick to outwit a Grandmaster like Gary Kasparov with silicon and computing power. For the rest of society whose computers have to earn their keep with spreadsheets, word processing and email, the solution is chess programs. These are specially-written pieces of software designed for regular computers to challenge their users to a game of chess.

Chess Programs - What's on Offer?

Naturally there is a diverse choice of chess programs on offer - from freeware to full commercial packages, from stark functional match play interfaces to stunning full color 3D graphics. Once regarded only for their novelty value, chess programs have in recent years made huge advances. Today's chess software can beat even the most experienced player, and, due to their ability to play at varying degrees of difficulty, are now viewed as a valuable learning aid.

The most notable chess programs are Shredder, Fritz and Deep Junior.

Among those claiming to be the strongest chess package, Shredder - developed by German, Stefan Meyer-Kahlen - has the best case. For Shredder picked up an unprecedented five world championship titles between 1996 and 2004.

Meanwhile, Fritz and its multiprocessor variant, Deep Fritz have similarly enjoyed success on the world stage, with Grandmasters, Gary Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik, both of whom have drawn tournament matches with the software, being fans.

Deep Fritz, developed by Frans Morsch and Mathias Feist's from their Fritz chess engine, beat rival chess program Deep Junior before holding Vladimir Kramnik to a 4-4 draw in the Brains in Bahrain tournament. A 3D graphic version, X3DFritz later held the world number one ranked player, Gary Kasparov to a 2-2 draw.

Deep Junior, meanwhile, was authored by Israeli programmers, Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky with the assistance of Grandmaster Boris Alterman. Like its rivals, Deep Junior has been successful at world championship level, winning two titles and drawing 3-3 with Gary Kasparov.

Deep Junior's developers claim the approach taken in analysing chess moves is more selective and leads to much better evaluation of an opponent's move. This helps Deep Junior to quickly learn their style and adapt to make capital from discernible weaknesses. As computer chess opponents go, Deep Junior has earned itself a reputation for an attacking style of play, willingly sacrificing pieces when it detects there is an opportunity to gain an overall advantage.

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