written by Joe Petrolito

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Rebel Century is aptly named for those who believe the new century starts next year. It's the latest version of the highly-respected Rebel program. Like its predecessors, Century is a DOS-based program, but it will also run under Windows 95/98. If I had only two words to describe the new version, they would be "more" and "better". Since most of what I wrote in my review of Rebel 10 remains valid for Century, I'll concentrate on these two words in this review.


I'm always amazed how each new version of Rebel gives us more. For me, the main extras of Century are as follows.

Playing options

In my view, current chess programs are too strong for most players, and it's almost pointless to play them at their strongest settings unless you enjoy losing all the time. Century offers more ways to adjust its strength by adjusting the engine parameters. These adjustments can be used to create different "personalities", and saved for later use. The program comes with various predefined personalties, including some of famous players.

The playing style can also be adjusted by invoking the Chess Tiger engine, which uses a different search strategy. Finally, the "club player" option allows Century to blunder occasionally, and gives you a chance to win a game if you can spot the mistakes.


Century comes with a database of more than 500,000 games compared to around 300,000 for Rebel 10. This is an extremely generous feature for a chess-playing program. It's easy to take these large numbers for granted until you estimate how much time it would take to enter all the games! The increase in games is complemented by increases in the number of opening lines and moves in EOC. Extra specialised databases, such as games by famous players, are included on the CD.

Analysis options

The analysis options have been extended by the introduction of a blunder check mode. In addition, all analysis and games can now be logged in a standard ASCII file for later perusal. This option allows you to quickly see what went on in a game without having to do an analysis of it.


This is easy to overlook, but I believe it's one of the strengths of Century (and its predecessors). Registered owners get access to a web site that offers a range of useful items. This includes program updates, database updates, new opening books and general information. Hence, it certainly pays to register! The developers are easily accessible via email and the Computer-Chess Club, so help is available if required.



Although the improved strength of Century is not critical for playing games, it is important for analysis. Any increase in strength should lead to more accurate analysis, or at least comparable analysis in a shorter time. Hence, the increase in strength over Rebel 10 is good news. It's also clear from the test results on the web site that Century is one of the strongest programs currently available.

Interface and help system

Playing chess on a computer should be fun, and not a battle with the interface. Rebel has always had a clean and easy-to-use interface, and Century continues that trend with some extra refinements. The screen layout is highly configurable, so it should be easy to find one you like. The help file is now available in both a Windows help version and an html version.


Each new version of Rebel has been an improvement over the previous one, giving a strong and feature-packed program. If the century ends this year, then Rebel Century is a worthy end of the current Rebel line, as this is the last DOS-based version. Rebel has always been a great program; it just got better!