|Slow Chess Blitz by Jonathan Kreuzer|
Using Slow Chess:
If it's your turn and you click on one of your pieces, it will be selected,
and a white box appears around it. Then just click where you want to move it.
Castling is done by clicking the king, then the square where he would end up
after castling. En Passant captures are performed by clicking the pawn and then
its destination square.
Move button: Tells the computer to stop thinking and play the best move its found so far if it's thinking, otherwise it will tell the computer to start playing as the side to move.
Retract button: will take back the players last move so that he can make a different one.
< and > : will move a half a move backward/forward respectively.
<| and |> :will go to the first and last move of the game.
Clicking on the transcript will set the board to the move clicked on.
The Difficulty level uses all limits set. (Let's say it's set to 7 ply, 5 seconds. If it completes a 7 ply search before 5 seconds it will stop, otherwise it will stop after 5 seconds no matter how far it has searched.) The 28 ply is meant to be used for time based games, since it will always (except certain endgame situations) reach the time limit before it reaches 28 ply. Seconds per move defaults to 0, and when it's set to zero it uses the time control to choose how long to think about its next move, instead of thinking a set amount of time per move.
Displayed Search Info: When the computer is thinking, it will display info about the search unless this option is unchecked. It will display the furthest depth to which it searched a move completely (with a * afterwards if not all moves were searched to that depth, a * after the eval value means there's no value for this move at the current depth), the number of nodes it searched, and search speed in Kilonodes/sec, and the evaluation value of the best move.
Analysis: To start analysis of the position currently on the board, click the "Analyze" button in the side window. A window will appear below the board which will display the principle variation of the best move or best moves found. If you don't mind much slower best move analysis, you can use the '+' and '-' button to have the computer calculate the 2nd best-6th best moves in addition to the best. You can also turn on the analysis window while playing against the computer from the options menu.
In the window beneath a player's time, 1R, 2p beneath black's time would mean that black has 1 more rook than white, and 2 more pawns.
The large print top clock is the time left for a player to complete his move (according to the time limit set on the menu.) The bottom is the total time the player has taken to make his moves so far. If the time left runs out, you would lose the game by the rules of chess, but in this program your clock just stays at zero and you're free to continue to play.
Note on the opening book: You manually add or remove positions from the opening book with the 3 and 6 keys. (Also 1 or 2 keys = position prefered by black. 4 or 5 keys = position prefered by white.) Remember to Save the book when you're done, it never autosaves. You can also add .pgns to the book. If you load an opening book the positions will be added to whatever is in the book in memory. Slow Chess can't handle really large books.
Using Slow Chess as a Winboard Engine: (Skip this part unless you have Winboard and want Slow Chess to use it instead of its own GUI)
If you like to use winboard, slow.exe can be used as a winboard engine the same way as any other. Slow Chess only supports protocol #2, it doesn't support older winboard versions. Versions 2.93a and later also support UCI. Because it makes things much simpler for me to have only 1 .exe to update, I don't have a separate console winboard version. The only thing I've noticed because of this is there's an hourglass next to the cursor upon startup for a few seconds. Also note that Slow Chess saves its games under winboard as winboardgames.pgn in whatever directory it is run from. I just wanted to keep all the games it played, you can delete this file any time you want. For those who like to know the country of their winboard engines, Slow Chess' official country of origin is the United States.
I've mainly tested Slow Chess computer versus computer matches in the winboard GUI, over the past year version 2.89b to the latest have played over 1000 blitz/bullet games on my computers without problems (no crashes, or time losses when time control had an increment.) This doesn't mean there aren't bugs, but it has run fine for me. Other GUIs are not as well tested. Ending a name with a "." could cause an error in the Fritz GUI, so the name of Slow Chess Blitz no longer ends with a '.'
Known issue: On some computers (including my main computer), the Fritz GUI doesn't doesn't display the thinking lines until much later than they are received. This seems to be a problem particular to the Fritz GUI and happens to many other multi-threaded winboard/UCI engines. Checking the Slow Chess UCI option "Low Priority" should fix this, I don't know if this option will affect anything else.
Using Internet options:
(Note: I of course don't presume that the internet play is
bug-free, but I have tested it, so it seems to work okay for me so far.)
Make sure you both have the same version of Slow Chess, prefereably the version on this page. If you are not famaliar with computer networking/internet connections, you may have to brush up on this elsewhere to get this option to work for you. As this subject varies with your individual hardware&software, all issues are not explained here.
One player selects "Start Server" from the internet menu. This will start a
Slow Chess server that will listen(wait) for connections. Whoever starts the
server will be automatically connected as a client (player.)
Once a server is running, to connect to the server to play other clients, choose "Connect" from the internet menu, and type the ip of server in the popup and hit connect.
Up to 32 clients may be connected, but I haven't tested it with more than 4 or 5 people.
Slow Chess uses port 14324. If you are behind a router/firewall, and want to have someone connect from the outside internet, you may have to open this port and direct it to the computer that is running the Slow Chess server. Also you will need to give the external ip for people to connect to.