Saturday, December 18, 2010
While surfing the web, I happen to come across a very neat free chess program called Lucas Chess (Website: http://lukasmonk.110mb.com/).
This nifty chess program does something very well. It trains you and allows you to play against progressively strong chess engines (using commercially free chess engines - think Rybka and Stockfish). In addition, the program also allows a lot of leeway when playing against a chess engine, you can predefine the number of takebacks or you can ask for a set number of hints from a stronger chess engine. It is similar in concept to using "helplines" on those "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" game shows.
After playing around with it, I have to say that I am EXTREMELY IMPRESSED with this program.
What is very interesting about this little application is that it achieves the abovementioned objectives INCREDIBLY well.
The interface is extremely beautiful and you can also choose from a variety of themes to customise the look of the board and pieces.
To add icing to the cake, LucasChess also includes a whole host of training modules. The modules included with the program are of a wide range, they include amongst other things, tactical combinations, chess problems (mate in 2, 3, 4 and more), basic endgame techniques (think Vancura, Lucena positions), and board memorisation.
Having played with it for quite a while now, I would say that this program is really what you need to get to at least 1700 level.
While some users may find the lack of customisation (in terms of adding add-on modules) somewhat restrictive, it detracts from everything else that is great about this program.
I can go on and on about the usefulness of this chess program but one thing is for sure, this application is going to be a keeper and a mainstay on my computer.
Many thanks to the programmers and all involved in the making of this application. It is a solid gold grade A effort!
Posted by tanch