Monday, December 13, 2004
In my previous chess post, I wrote that I needed to spend more time playing against the computer, because I was doing so poorly against humans on the internet.
The computer chess program that Iíve been using is ChessGenius for the PocketPC. In fact, itís not even the full version that Iíve been using, but the demo.
The full version costs $25, but you can download the program and play in demo mode for absolutely free. From what I can tell, the only limitation of the demo mode is that the computer will only think for a maximum of one second per move, so if you want stronger play you have to pay $25 for an upgrade.
The problem with the demo, for the guy who owns the program, is that the demo is too strong. Iím totally and completely incapable of beating the demo, even though it only thinks for one second per move. Why do I need to pay $25 to upgrade?
ChessGenius for the PocketPC has a lot of other positive things going for it. The program makes excellent use of the limited screen size of the PocketPC. The board is very easy to look at, and the interface for moving the chess pieces around is very simple and intuitive. ChessGenius will give you a hint if you ask for it, and you can also check an option where it will warn you if you made bad move. And of course you can take back moves.
The advantage of playing chess on a PocketPC, as opposed to a regular computer, is that you can play anywhere you like. On your couch, in bed, or on a train. The disadvantage is that the limited screen size, memory, and processing power of the PocketPC compared to the desktop means itís a more limited program. Of course, as I wrote above, the power of ChessGenius is more than adequate to beat me every single time.
If you have a PocketPC and even the slightest interest in playing chess, thereís absolutely no reason not to download ChessGenius. It takes up less than 400K of memory on your PocketPC, which is hardly anything.
But is it worth $25 for the full version? Even though itís a great program, this is still a little bit overpriced considering all it does is play chess. After all, you can buy a chess program for a regular PC for the same price (I paid $30 plus shipping for Fritz 8 Deluxe) that will do quite a bit more than ChessGenius for the PocketPC. You can also buy old versions of Chessmaster for only $10 or so. I suppose that if I ever started beating the ChessGenius demo (I could only hope), or even coming close, then Iíd fork over the $25, because itís a pretty good program.