CHESS TIGER: FREQUENTLY ASKED
Is Chess Tiger for Palm a strong
Yes it is!
Chess Tiger for Palm is an integral
port of the latest version of Chess Tiger for PC, which is currently (January
world's strongest PC chess engine. It tops the SSDF list,
ahead of Deep Fritz, Junior 7 and Shredder 5.32. You can find the latest
SSDF list here.
In July 2001, Chess Tiger for PC
entered a very strong human tournament in Argentina. Chess Tiger won this
tournament with the incredible score of 9.5/11 (not a single loss),
and achieved an elo performance of 2788!!! This performance can be compared
to the one of a World Champion!!! During the tournament it has defeated
one IM (International Master) and 4 GMs (Grand Masters) in a row!!!
This is an historic performance,
which has been reported by several newspapers worldwide. You can find information
about this tournament here.
The only thing that has been removed
in the Palm version from the PC version is the support for endgame tablebases
(which requires several dozens of megabytes of memory, which are of course
not available in a Palm). Don't worry, Chess Tiger for Palm has still a
lot of knowledge about endgames! The rest of the chess knowledge is exactly
the same as in the PC engine.
At this time Chess Tiger is the strongest
chess program available for the Palm. On a standard Palm IIIx it
is around 2100 elo FIDE (probably around 2300 elo USCF). On an overclocked
Palm it could be over 2200 elo FIDE.
That means Chess Tiger for Palm is
of Master strength. If you are not a master, it is going to be a fantastic
challenge for you!
Is Chess Tiger going to beat
me every time?
It would be extremely boring to be
beaten all the time, so fortunately Chess Tiger has several options for
The most interesting are the "Trainer"
levels. These levels of increasing difficulty are designed to help you
to improve your chess.
In the "Trainer" modes, Chess Tiger
gives you some opportunities to win. Exactly like a real player would do.
Because nobody's perfect! Play very carefully, and you will most probably
be able to find a winning line.
When you are able to beat, say, the
"Trainer 4" level on a regular basis, switch to "Trainer 5". Each new level
is slightly more difficult to win.
By training against Chess Tiger you
will become a stronger chess player.
Why do I need a strong chess
program if I am not myself very strong at chess?
There are several reasons for this:
You are going to improve your chess
skills by playing against Chess Tiger for Palm. By buying a strong engine
you are guaranteed to be faced with an opponent from whom you will learn.
Of course you know that you won't improve your chess by playing against
The Palm is a rather slow computer,
compared to the current PCs. For a chess program, a slower computer means
a weaker playing strength. If you take an average program for PC (one that
can beat you) and transfer it on the Palm, it will turn into a very weak
chess program. That's why only the very best chess engines are worth porting
to the Palm. The other ones would be too weak to be of any use.
Does Chess Tiger have different
Can I simulate the playing style
of one of my opponents with Chess Tiger?
Yes, Chess Tiger has 8 different
There are 4 basic styles:
Normal: very balanced, rather quiet
Gambit: the program is going to play
a more active and attacking kind of chess.
Gambit Aggressive: the program is going
to play for king attacks, and will even take risks.
Gambit suicidal: the program is going
to play very active and will always try to attack your king, taking a lot
And for each of the aforementioned playing
styles, you can switch the "antihuman" option on or off. The "antihuman"
mode is designed to avoid closed positions, where it is more difficult
for any side to make any progress. In this mode the position will stay
open and there will be even more action.
With all these playing styles, you
can ask Chess Tiger to play like one of your well known opponents. You
always have problems against Mr. X at the club because this guy plays dangerous
attacks? Set Chess Tiger in "Gambit aggressive" mode, and train yourself
to stand those attacks. You have problems with the very quiet, Karpov-like
playing style of Mr. Y? Set Chess Tiger in "Normal" mode and learn to play
quietly yourself, waiting for the right moment.
What computer do I need in order
to use Chess Tiger for Palm?
Chess Tiger runs on all current PalmOS
computers. You need PalmOS 3.0 or above. This includes: all the Palm III
(IIIe, IIIx, IIIc and so on), all the Palm V (Vx and so on), Palm VII,
the m100, m105 and all the recent Palm computers (m125, m130, m500, m505,
m515, m705...). It also runs on the IBM WorkPad, the TRGpro, the HandEra,
all the Sony Clié models and all Handspring Visors including the
Chess Tiger displays the board and
icons in color on color enabled Palms. On the other models, it uses gray
How do I install Chess Tiger
on my Palm?
Please follow the below instructions
to install Chess Tiger on your handheld:
1 - GETTING THE CHESS TIGER PACKAGE
The Chess Tiger package
is contained in a file named "ChessTiger.zip".
If you do not have this file already,
you can download it by clicking here.
You can save it, for example, in
your "C:\Palm\Add-on" folder (that means: the "Add-on" folder contained
inside the "Palm" folder on your hard disk).
2 - GETTING A FILE EXTRACTING
ChessTiger.zip is what we
call a "compressed archive". It contains several other files, and they
are in "compressed" format (so it takes less time to download them). If
you are not using Windows Millennium, you need an extraction program like
WinZIP in order to extract the files.
If you are using Windows Millennium,
you do not need WinZIP because the system is able to "open" ZIP files,
so just go directly to step 3: extracting the files.
If you are not using Windows Millennium,
you can download WinZIP for free and register it later if you use it very
often. just click here
to download it.
3 - EXTRACTING THE FILES FROM
THE COMPRESSED ARCHIVE
Now you can extract the
Chess Tiger files contained in "ChessTiger.zip".
open the folder where you have saved
ChessTiger.zip (for example C:\Palm\Add-on).
double-click on "chesstiger.zip". This
will "open" the file and you are going to see the files that are contained
extract all the files to a folder of
your hard disk (for example C:\Palm\Add-on\ChessTiger).
close the ChessTiger.zip window.
4 - INSTALLING ON THE HANDHELD
Now that you have extracted
the files, you can install them to your handheld:
Now Chess Tiger is installed on your
handheld, in the "Unfiled" category (you can move it to any category of
your choice later).
open the folder in which you have saved
the files during the previous operation (for example C:\Palm\Add-on\ChessTiger).
you should be able to see at least the
following 2 files:
double-click on "chesstiger.prc". An
"Install tool" window should appear. Click on "Done".
double-click on "book.pdb". The "Install
tool" window appears. Click on done.
do a HotSync.
How do I extract the files from
ChessTiger.zip is what we call a
"compressed archive". It contains several other files, and they are in
"compressed" format (so it takes less time to download them). If you are
not using Windows Millennium, you need an extraction program like WinZIP
in order to extract the files.
If you are using Windows Millennium,
you do not need WinZIP because the system is able to "open" ZIP files.
If you are not using Windows Millennium,
you can download WinZIP for free and register it later if you use it very
often. just click here
to download it.
Why do I get a "No opening book"
You are wondering why the product
keeps telling you "WARNING: no opening book" each time you launch
Like most chess players, Chess Tiger
plays the first moves of any game "by heart". The starting position of
chess has naturally been studied extensively since centuries, and there
are known good ways of starting a game.
There are good ways of playing the
very first move of the game, as well as good ways to answering to this
first move. And also good known answers to this answer, and so on...
The knowledge about these opening
moves is stored in an "opening book".
The opening book of Chess Tiger is
a file named BOOK.PDB.
When you installed Chess Tiger on
your handheld, you forgot to install book.pdb together with chesstiger.prc.
You can install this file now. Chess
Tiger will stop complaining about its opening book.
Try to find on your hard disk the file
If you do not find it, try to locate
"ChessTiger.zip". Book.pdb is stored inside ChessTiger.zip, you
just have to extract it and save it into a folder (for example C:\Palm\Add-on\ChessTiger).
Once you have Book.pdb in a folder,
double-click on it.
An "Install tool" window appears. Click
Do a HotSync.
Now when you start Chess Tiger
on your handheld, it should not say anything anymore about its opening
My register screen gives me a
"Device ID", but no registration code.
You are using an older version of
Chess Tiger for Palm.
Before version 14.7, the register
screen gave a "Device ID".
Now the register screen gives a "registration
It's just a change in the terms.
What we call "registration code" is exactly the same thing as the "Device
ID". It's a number made of up to five digits.
So if you have bought the product
and you are still waiting for your key, please do the following:
(optional) download the latest version
from here, and install it on your handheld.
send us the "Device ID" or the
"registration code" (it does not matter how it is called, that's
the same thing: a number of five digits or less). We will send you
a key to unlock all the features of your Chess Tiger.
NOTE: you can send us
the "Device ID" of an older version and then update to the latest version.
This does not change the key. So you can update at any time without fearing
to lose your "registration" (access to all the features).
Using Chess Tiger:
Where is the menu ???
What is the meaning of the icons?
Many thanks to Richard A. Fowell
for this picture!
What is the meaning of the bottom
Here we comment the bottom line of
the screen presented above.
P3: the program is currently
"searching" (trying to foresee) 3 plies ahead. So it tries to see every
possible combination of 3 moves starting at the displayed position, in
order to find the best move it should play now. Actually most of the time
the program sees deeper than 3 moves: it sees all the possible combinations
on 3 moves, and from the 4th move on it only looks at captures and checks
(so it does not stop at the 3rd move if a piece can be captured for example).
This is similar at what a human would do. Also, it will stop analyzing
some variants before it reaches 3 moves of depth if the variant in question
looks really silly (that's what we call "selectivity"). So "3 plies deep"
is to be taken with a grain of salt. Let's say it's 3 plies in average.
+0.34: the program thinks that
it has an advantage of 0.34 pawns (approximately one third of a pawn: that
is not a material advantage, just a modest positional advantage).
Nxa5 Bxe2 Nxd7 Bxd1...: this
is the "best line", from the program's point of view. Chess Tiger thinks
that its best move is Knight takes a5, that your best answer to this is
Bishop takes e2, that it should then play Knight takes d7, and so on. Don't
forget that the first move in the line has a much better reliability than
the moves near the end of the line. So generally the first and second moves
of the best line make sense, while the other ones can look a little bit
4.94s: the time taken by the
998 pos: the number of positions
(=moves) searched during that thinking.
202 p/s: the number of positions
(=moves) computed per second in average during the last thinking.
What is a "ply depth"?
A "ply" is also called a "half move".
That is a move by one side.
Computing to ply depth 1 means that
the program only tries all the moves it can play, and chooses the one that
puts it in the best position (naturally without giving away one of its
Computing to ply depth 2 means that
the program is going to try all the legal moves it can play, and for each
of these moves it will also try all your possible answers. It will play
the move that puts it in the best position, taking into account that after
its move you will try to play one that will worsen its position as much
As you understand, computing to a
depth of several plies is a complex and time-consuming process. The deeper
the program can compute, the better the move will be.
By using a fixed ply depth level
you do not have much control over the time that the program will take to
play. It will depend on the complexity of the position.
What is the "Infinite" level?
Infinite means that the program will
think forever. It will never play; it will just try to compute deeper and
deeper. You stop it when you want, knowing that the longest the program
is allowed to think the better it plays. The infinite level can be used
to solve problems. You set up a problem and wait until the program finds
the solution (by displaying a mate score or a high score).
What is the "Analysis" mode?
In "analysis" mode, the computer
never plays, but constantly shows you its evaluation of the position.
You are free to move the pieces
on the board or to navigate through the moves of an existing game. Chess
Tiger starts to think again each time there is a new position on the board,
and displays its opinion, that is both the best move (from its point of
view) and its evaluation. The more you let it think on the position, the
better the analysis will be.
So you can replay an existing game
and look for blunders for example with the help of the computer. A blunder
is detected when you see a sudden jump in the evaluation of the program.
You can also study a very difficult
position with the help of the computer. Just play variations on the board,
and Chess Tiger will tell you what it thinks about them. By playing manually
the variations you are interested in the most, you can get with the help
of Chess Tiger a pretty good idea of what your opponent could do.
Analysis mode can be used to:
* analyze one of your game once
the game is finished, in search of better moves (or blunders).
* help you to play correspondence
* help you to understand complicated
positions (by using a "what happens if I play this..." approach).
* play "Advanced Chess" (advanced
chess is a modern form of chess promoted by Kasparov and other top players
where each player is allowed to use a computer during the game).
What is the ELO rating of the
The tables below will help you to
find out about your own strength depending on the highest Trainer Level
you can beat.
||1900 (average club player)
||2000 (good club player)
RATINGS (Europe, Africa, Asia)
||1000 (absolute beginner level)
||1700 (average club player)
||1800 (good club player)
How to read these tables:
they say that if you are able to beat Chess Tiger set at Trainer Level
4, in a regular game, without using the "take back" feature and without
thinking for more than one minute per move, then you are probably above
1700 USCF ELO (or 1500 FIDE ELO). In order to get a good validity for such
a claim, you should be able to beat it constantly, not just once.
The strength of the Trainer Levels
is fixed and does not depend on the speed or memory capacity of your Palm.
How do I get rid of the green
Each time you tap on a piece (one
of yours or one of your opponent's), Chess Tiger indicates all the legal
destination squares of this piece with green dots (small circles on black
and white devices).
This is what we call the "teacher"
<-- Teacher mode icon
This mode is on by default, but can
very easily be disabled. Just tap on the icon which has a question mark
on it, or go to the menu and select "View", then tap on "Teach moves".
How do I delete games and positions?
Games and positions are saved in
the MemoPad application, as normal memos.
You can view them and delete them
How can I view the games on my
PC or Mac?
One application you certainly want
to try if you have a PC running under Windows is ChessPad.
ChessPad is free and quite powerful.
It will allow you to load games in PGN format and replay them.
You can download it from: http://www1.tip.nl/~t799997/chesspad.htm
Install ChessPad in a new directory
(for example C:\ChessPad).
When you want to replay a Chess Tiger
for Palm game with ChessPad, do the following:
1) do a Hotsync to transfer your
Chess Tiger games into your PC
2) open ChessPad
3) open your Palm Desktop application
4) in the Palm Desktop, select MemoPad
5) look in the unfiled section for
6) click on your game
7) right click on the right pane
and click on "select all"
8) right click again on it and then
9) go back to ChessPad and click
on the "Load a game from the clipboard" icon
It sounds complicated because we
have explained it step by step, but it is simply a copy-and-paste operation
from Palm Desktop to ChessPad.
When the game has been pasted into
ChessPad, you can replay it on ChessPad's board.
An alternative to ChessPad is SCID
SCID also works under Linux and Unix.
For MacIntosh, try ExaChess Lite:
How do you know that Chess Tiger
is the strongest chess program for the Palm?
There are two other chess programs
for the Palm, as far as we know: PocketChess and ChessGenius.
PocketChess has one of the weakest
chess engines we have ever seen. Against Chess Tiger, it loses almost all
the games. Just try it by yourself, you'll realize it pretty quickly. PocketChess
has other features that make it a nice chess program, but the chess engine
is not a serious one.
ChessGenius has a better chess engine.
ChessGenius is based on the 1987 world champion, which was called the Mephisto
Roma (this information can be found on ChessGenius' web site). So it has
a rather old chess engine (14 years old), and does not use hash tables.
However it is true that this chess
engine is rather well adapted to the slow processor of the Palm, which
is the kind of processor you could find inside top level hardware of 1987.
So it is true that ChessGenius has
been the strongest chess program available for the Palm before Chess Tiger
But Chess Tiger is stronger than
ChessGenius. Chess Tiger has won all the matches that have been organized
between the two.
There is another strong evidence
that Chess Tiger is stronger.
has tested both Chess Tiger (but a version of 3 years ago, version 11.8)
and ChessGenius (but a version of 1996, that is 9 years after the Palm
version) on the same platform: the Pentium 90 MHz.
On Pentium 90 MHz, here are the ratings
of both programs:
11.8 Pentium 90 MHz 2382 43 -43
(check out these numbers by yourself
click on "download the list in DOS format" to find the ratings quoted above).
Genius 5.0 DOS Pentium
90 MHz 2329 18 -18
The numbers 2382 and 2329 are the
estimated elo ratings of the programs. The strength difference as measured
by the SSDF is 53 elo points (Chess Tiger is 53 elo points stronger than
The numbers 43, -43, 18 and -18
are the error margins for 95% confidence.
And don't forget that ChessGenius
for Palm is much weaker than ChessGenius 5! And that Chess Tiger 14.5 (the
Palm version) is significantly stronger than Chess Tiger 11.8!!!
You can find the official SSDF list
(click on "download the list in DOS format" to find the ratings quoted
The SSDF is an independent Swedish
organization. They have been testing chess computers and chess programs
for more than 16 years now. They are universally regarded as the most reliable
source of information about the strength of chess computers and chess programs.
Recently an independent tester contacted
us and offered to test Chess Tiger against ChessGenius. You can find the
result of his 26 games match
Does Chess Tiger for Palm have
an opening book?
Yes, it knows "by heart" a lot of
opening moves. At this time it knows approximately 8000 opening moves.
You can learn some of the most popular
openings by letting Chess Tiger play them for you.
The opening book is separated from
the chess engine, so you will be able in the future to download updated
opening books from www.chesstiger.com and to install them on your Palm
without the need to reinstall the entire program.
Does Chess Tiger for Palm learn?
Yes, Chess Tiger will try to avoid
replaying an opening it has lost recently. So you won't be able to beat
it by playing the same game over and over again.
Is Chess Tiger able to exchange
games with PC or Mac chess programs?
Yes it is!
Chess Tiger can read and save games
in "PGN" format. This format is a worldwide standard for chess games. Here
is an example of a game saved in "PGN":
The great thing with PGN is that it
is a "text" format: it is not only readable by a computer, but also by
humans like you and me. The text above has been produced by the "Save game"
command of Chess Tiger, and has been directly saved into the MemoPad application.
|[Event "2001.05.25 03:05"]
[White "Chess Tiger"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 e6 4. e3 Nf6
5. Bd3 Bd6 6. Nc3 Nbd7 7. c5 Bc7
8. O-O O-O 9. e4 dxe4 10. Nxe4 Nxe4
11. Bxe4 Nf6 12. Bd3 h6 13. Be3 Nd5
14. Ne5 Bxe5 15. dxe5 Nxe3 16. fxe3 Qg5
17. Rf3 Qxe5 18. Qc2 f5 19. Raf1 Kh8
20. e4 Qd4+ 21. Kh1 g6 22. g4 Kh7
23. b3 Rd8 24. exf5 exf5 25. gxf5 g5
26. f6+ Kh8 27. f7 Rf8 28. Rf6 Qh4
29. Qb2 Qe4+ 30. R6f3+ Kh7 31. Bxe4+ Bf5
32. Bxf5# 1-0
This memo can be read later by Chess
When you press the HotSync button,
all your games are automatically copied to your PC or Mac.
And as "PGN" is a standard format,
this game can be read by any PC or Mac based chess program.
Likewise, you can save a game in
PGN format with your PC or Mac favorite chess program, copy/paste it into
the Palm desktop application, and it will be transferred to your Palm the
next time you press the HotSync button.
And Chess Tiger for Palm will be
able to read it.
Here are some detailed explanations
about this process:
Palm -> PC/Mac
You can transfer a game
saved in PGN format to most commercial chess programs running under Windows
or MacOS. Here is how to do it:
Save the game on your Palm with the
"Save game" menu option.
Launch a Hotsync operation.
Start the "Palm Desktop" program in
Click on "MemoPad".
Select the "Unfiled" section.
Look for your game in the Unfiled section,
and right click on it.
In the menu, click on "Copy".
Start your Windows or MacOS chess program
and follow the instructions of this program to transfer the content of
the clipboard to this program (for example with Rebel-Tiger for PC you
just need to right click on the chessboard and select "Paste").
PC/Mac -> Palm
It is the opposite operation.
Start your PC/Mac based chess program
or open the PGN game in a word processor (NotePad works also).
Copy the game to the clipboard (do not
copy multiple games, just one).
Start the "Palm Desktop" application.
Go to the "MemoPad" section.
Click on "New" to create a new memo.
Paste the content of the clipboard to
the newly created memo.
Load the file with Chess Tiger for Palm.
Does Chess Tiger for Palm use
hash tables (also called "transposition tables")?
Yes it does. At this time it uses
48 Kb of RAM for its hash table. This amount has been chosen because it
is enough (considering the speed of the Palm's processor) and it is also
reasonably small in order to save memory space.
Hash tables are extremely important
in the endgame. Programs without hash tables are weak in the endgame. But
hash tables also help the program at any stage of the game.
Is it safe to overclock my palm?
Yes! Most Palms can run twice faster
than their default speed.
THERE IS NO WAY THAT YOUR PALM CAN
OVERHEAT WHEN YOU OVERCLOCK IT. The processor in the Palm consumes so little
power that it simply cannot happen, even at the highest speeds.
So you cannot damage your Palm by
overclocking it. And in order to overclock you do not even have to open
your Palm. It can be done with a software utility called "AfterBurner"
(version 3.1 or higher, you can find it at PalmGear: http://www.palmgear.com).
Before you try to overclock, you
should perform a HotSync operation, so your data is safely backed up to
Overclocking too much can in some
cases hang your Palm and erase its data. Actually when you experiment with
overclocking that's exactly what you want to do in order to know the upper
limit your Palm can stand.
When you have found this upper limit,
press on the reset button that is at the back of your Palm with a pin.
If your data has been erased, just HotSync again and everything will be
put back into place.
Reinstall the overclocking program
if necessary, and set it to the highest speed that did not hang your Palm.
You are done!
Is there a limit to how much you
No absolute limit. As stated above,
you should try it by yourself and see at what speed it hangs. If it ever
hangs... My m505 runs at 54MHz (the highest speed you can set with AfterBurner
3.1) and never crashed.
Has anyone had any problems with
The only problem is that if you overclock
too much (even without crashing the Palm) the internal clock could be off.
The problem occurs because the internal device that generates the frequency
cannot reach the speed you have set, but AfterBurner believes it can, and
tries to adjust the clock accordingly.
When it happens, the Palm believes
that the time passes more slowly than it does in reality. The clock in
Chess Tiger runs too slowly.
In this case all you have to do to
fix this is to decrease the speed with AfterBurner (actually your Palm
will run as fast, but this time will be well informed about its real speed).
How to do that?
1) overclock your Palm as explained
above with AfterBurner 3.1 or higher. Note that AfterBurner is free for
speeds up to 37MHz. If your Palm can go higher, you have to buy the registered
version of AfterBurner ($9). It will allow you to try frequencies of up
2) Download Chess Tiger from http://www.chesstiger.com
("Download" link). Install it on your Palm (it will be in demo mode until
you actually pay for it, but for the experiment we want to do it does not
3) Start Chess Tiger and play the
first move of a new game (this will start the players clocks). Compare
Chess Tiger's clock with a REAL clock.
4) If Chess Tiger's clock run too
slowly, you have to decrease the frequency with AfterBurner and go back
to step 3.
When you have finished this procedure,
your Palm is OPTIMALLY overclocked!
Will there be a Windows CE (Pocket
PC) version of Chess Tiger?
Yes, in a few months from now.