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REBEL 11.0 review

by Sarah Bird


Rebel 11 is the latest product from Rebel.

  • Rebel Tiger II (Windows) with both ChessTiger 13.0 and Gambit 1.0 engines.
  • Lokasoft Chess Engine (Windows).
  • ChessPartner 5 (CP5) Interface for the Windows engines.
  • Rebel Century 3 (Dos)
  • Rebel analysis engine module for use in Rebel Tiger II (Windows)
  • Rebel database with over 800,000 games
  • Various opening books for use with Century 3.
  • EOC database
  • CAT database

Engine Strength

Both Rebel Tiger II engines ChessTiger 13.0 and Gambit 1.0 are without doubt among the strongest currently available. My own testing against the other top rated programs indicate that one of these engines has the potential to reach the No. 1 spot on the rating list published by SSDF. Both engines appear equally strong at blitz time controls as they are at standard time controls.

The difference between these two engines is that the Gambit engine plays a more aggressive game. It is more willing to sacrifice for the initiative. The Tiger 13.0 engine while playing a solid game rejects these speculative sacrifices preferring the standard position squeeze.

Century 3.0 while without doubt a strong engine I had little success in playing autoplayer games. In the games I did manage to play Century scored well; +4 vs. Fritz, +3 vs. Junior 6, where each match consisted of approx. 20 games. It should be noted however, that I was only able to play with Century 3.0 as white. Century's play appears to be much more positional than the play of either Tiger 13.0 or Gambit 1.0. Whether this will translate into a higher or lower rating remains to be seen.

Century can also be adjusted by changing the engine parameters, allowing the user an opportunity to try and create a stronger engine than the default. The program also comes with 11 standard personalities to choose from as well.

Server Capability

Depending upon personal preference this may either be an additional benefit or of no interest. For me personally this is something that I am always looking for in chess programs. Both RebelTiger II engines can be used within the ChessPartner 5 interface and play online at any of the available chess servers. Setup is simple as the program comes with various server consoles for the different chess servers. With the user simply changing a couple of setup options they can be online playing automatically in seconds. All the normal commands are available as are the normal functions.

Winboard Engines

The CP5 interface can be easily configured to use a number of either free Winboard engines or of purchased Winboard engines. This allows the user also to use any of these engines on a server or against another program using the installed autoplayer. These engines cannot be played against each other.

Database Functions

Century 3 comes complete with an 800,000 game database. This database can be searched by position, color, material or tournament. I found the search speed surprisingly fast considering the size of the database. The CAT database is something new and the idea appears to make Century a stronger opponent by allowing it to extend it's own knowledge of a position by allowing it to use analysis from other programs. Although I have yet to utilize either of the databases fully, the games contained in the database seem of a high quality. The CAT function is something of great interest as for example the user can import new games to increase the knowledge of the program.

Personal Likes
  • Without doubt the price for this program is cheap in relation to what the user will get.
  • The engines again are without doubt among the very best available.
  • Having what would appear the strongest available engines server compatible without the additional need for learning some other method of server setup or having a second computer.
  • Being able to use Winboard compatible engines in the CP 5 interface.
  • Both interfaces Century and CP5 are fully configurable and each is simple and easy to understand.
  • The CP5 interface contains significant improvements over the previous CP 4.3 interface.
  • All the three main engines Century 3, Tiger 13.0 and Gambit 1.0 play a totally different game of chess.

Personal Dislikes
  • Being unable to run Century 3 automatically on a server.
  • Century 3 being DOS. I simply cannot fully enjoy something that is not as compatible as other programs.
  • Not being able to have multiple position analysis.
  • Not being able in the CP5 interface to play engine, engine matches.
  • Neither Century or Rebel Tiger II use endgame tablebases.
  • The CP pgn file when read with a viewer is not clean, and the time for each move isn't shown.
  • Autoplayer games cannot be adjudicated.
  • The ChessTiger 12.0 engine cannot be easily used and previous versions are overwritten by the install of Rebel Tiger II.

Known Problems
  • There are a few known spelling errors within the program.
  • In the CP5 interface sometimes it fails to save the complete game score while online.
  • While playing online the console window moves each time the program moves, this makes writing or reading the console difficult. This did not happen in the last beta of the program.
  • Observing games on a server with analysis and switching to another game does not update the players names.

Overall Summary

Rebel 11 was a chess program package that I had much enjoyment testing. With the purchase comes access to the online Century subscription area as well as access to subscription areas of previous versions, where you will find additional books, additional personalities, games for the databases, important tips and Rebel's first ever PC Chess program, Gideon, for free. And as a customer service you can download Century 3.0 and use it prior to your CD arriving if you ordered Rebel 11 online. Rebel have their own message board where additional information about the programs can be found and provides the user with the opportunity to receive answers to specific questions. At the price the product is being sold for it would seem to be the chess software bargain of the year.