there room for a chess computer in your life?
Don't make the mistake of confusing chess software with a chess
computer. Chess software is designed to run as an application on your
existing computer. A chess computer is a dedicated computer that does
one thing: It plays chess. While there are some pretty good chess
software programs available, it's hard to beat the power of a dedicated
No matter what your budget or skill level, there can be a chess computer
in your future. No matter how new or experienced you are, a chess
computer will make you an even better player.
Pick the size that's best for you:
You can get anything from a hand-held chess computer that's no larger
than a Palm Pilot, all the way up to desktop models with an amazing
array of features.
Hand-Held Chess Game
At the low end of the spectrum, the hand-helds come with an array of
buttons and touch screens. If you have big fingers, or can't read small
print easily, then this may not be the best choice for you. They are
hard to play in a car or airplane and most screens are not highly viable
in less than optimal lighting conditions.
Most hand-helds offer 50 to 100 programmed playing levels that get more
difficult as you go up. Most will let you play against a live opponent
as well as against the computer itself. Better models can be linked to
other player's computers via cable or IR ports. There are even models
which can connect to the 'net via WIFI or Ethernet. Prices range from
under $50 to $300 or more.
Bigger than hand-helds, these models come with pieces and pawns that you
move during play. You can play against the computer or another human
opponent and choose from among several hundred levels of difficulty.
Most of the better models come with "do over" options and include
routines that will analyze your moves and style of play. Prices range
from between $100 to around $500.
Desktop Chess Computers
These are the king of the chess computer market. These desktop chess
computers consist of a full-sized chessboard that's wired with circuitry
to recognize and respond to the movement of the pieces and pawns.
Whether you are playing against another opponent, or the computer
itself, each move is recorded for immediate playback, take-back, or game
analysis. There's usually several hundred levels of play available and
some can even replay tournament games which can be downloaded from chess
sites across the Internet.
Prices range from $199 to $2,000 or more. You get what you pay for so
study the features carefully.
A chess computer is a great companion when you have no one else to play
with and a great teaching tool when you want to sharpen your game. If
you can't afford the best, start out with the most you can afford and
then trade up as you get the cash.