♕ Chess Software, Games & News on the Internet ♛

Chess databases & chess playing software have been steadily evolving over the past few decades & there are now several low cost or free options that are quite high quality. I'm not going to presume to make judgements about which play engine is stronger or "better" or even which database is bigger, partly because some of these parameters are subjective & partly because they're constantly changing.

There are at least a dozen or so Chess Playing Engines that are quite capable of playing above Elo 3000, so there's no trick at all to finding a program that's "strong" enough to assist in analysis of club games. Increasingly, the emphasis has been on providing features that allow for flexibility in playing style or user interface, or platform compatibility. A good example of this is the Shredder 12 program for Windows, which boasts the following features: New in this version:
  • Improved chess engine, more than 100 Elo stronger than the predecessor
  • Simulates a human player with any playing strength
  • Makes typical human mistakes
  • Rates your play in normal or rated games
  • Shredder adapts his playing strength automatically to your strength
  • Graphical display of your progress
  • Improved coach
  • Automatic display of the chess position from anywhere in the notation or the engine output
  • Improved opening book
  • Can create opening books for Pocket Shredder
  • Improved engine tournaments
  • Easier to operate
  • Many more improvements
Other features:
  • User interface that is easy to handle and can be set up individually
  • Six different sets of pieces and chessboards both in 2D and 3D
  • Chess engine with extremely powerful play, that can be individually adjusted and configured
  • Built-in Chess coach, who is alert of mistakes and suggests better moves
  • Own games can be automatically examined for mistakes
  • Daily updated chess puzzles with three levels of difficulty
  • The program always keeps up-to-date with automatic online updates
  • Opening advisor allows Shredder to play much better without opening book
  • Ability to play Chess960, also know as Fischer Random Chess
  • Direct access to huge online endgame database with more than 1200 GB data
  • User interface in German, English, French, Dutch, Spanish and Italian.
  • Moves can easily be entered by mouse or keyboard
  • Extensive documentation
  • Tip of the day
  • Games can be provided with alternative lines and comments
  • Many features for training and analysis
  • Manifold possibilities to systematically search and examine the chess endgame databases
  • Free, open protocol between chess user interface and chess engine (UCI protocol)
  • Possibility to simultaneously load up to ten chess engines
  • Several chess engines that differ in their playing style
  • Many possibilities for automatic tests and comparisons of different chess engines
  • Shredderbases: new extremely fast and compact chess endgame databases
  • Computer assisted game analysis
  • Direct access to online chess opening database with more than 16 million moves
  • Rated games against different computer opponents to measure one's own play strength
  • Automatic game level where Shredder will always play with your strength
  • Voice output of the moves
  • Arrows to show threats, hints, best engine moves and the last move
  • Graphical display of the legal moves and the attacked piecesv
  • Automatic histogram generation
  • Chess engine can access its own chess opening book

That same rationale would apply to online playing sites & to chess news outlets as well. Certainly some play sites will appeal to some people more than others for differing individual reasons & likewise some people may prefer the style or scope of news coverage provided by one news site over another for widely varying reasons. My intention is to list most of the major entities in each of these sectors & provide a brief description of what to expect. Eventually more specific details may be included, such as engine/database installation guidelines, or special notes about upcoming news events.

Ideally, comments here will focus on providing general useful information particularly for those less familiar with the finer details complexities of these products & services. My purpose is to be inclusive rather than judgemental, so for the most part reader feedback is welcome. Most of the major internationational tournaments & matches are covered by every news outlet, so selecting one or more of them becomes a matter of deciding whose style, presentation or depth you prefer.

♔ Chess Playing Engines

Stockfish v6 Free download
Komodo v8 available; v5 & v5.1 free
Houdini v4
Gull v3 Free download
EXchess v7.51 beta Free download
Rybka v4.1 free downloads
Deep Saros
Deep Shredder

Latest update of each Winboard/UCI engine! (since 01/07/2002)
TOP-UCI Engines
Chess2U Free Chess Engines
Computer Chess Rating List
Online Analysis

♕ Online & Stand-Alone Databases & Game Collections


♞ Interactive Chess Playing Sites

ICC ♘ Internet Chess Club
FICS ♟ Free Internet Chess Server
USCL ♖ United States Chess League

♖ Worldwide & Local Chess News Online

New In Chess
Malcom Pein Telegraph, UK
News on Chess.com
Susan Polgar Global Chess Daily News
Russian Chess News with English translation
Reddit Chess
Twitter Chess
News About Chess
Chess News

♕ Women In Chess

Current Women Chess Champions

World Champion
♕ Hou Yifan, China
USA Champion
♕ Irina Krush
Highest Rated Woman in MA
♕ Katrine Tjoelsen
WCC Champion
♕ Carissa Yip
  • Won her first Chinese Women's Chess Championship at age 13, June 2007.
  • First GM norm, Aeroflot Open, Moscow, February 2008.
  • GM title, August 2008 at the age of 14 years 6 months 2 days.
  • Won the Women's World Chess Championship, December 2010 in Hatay, Turkey. Youngest women's world champion in history.
  • Successfully defended her Women's World Champion title, November 2011.
  • Knocked out in the 2nd round of the Women's World Chess Championship, November 2012.
  • Regained her Women's World Championship title, September 2013.
  • Scheduled to play in the Hawaii Grandmaster Challenge in March 2015. Since this conflicts with the Women's World Chess Championship 2015 (knock-out) she will be relinquishing her title at the conclusion of that event.
  • Won the U.S. Women's Chess Championship 1998 at age 14 to become the youngest ever to do so.
  • Suggested a novelty on move 10 in the "Kasparov versus the World" chess competition in 1999.
  • Played first board on the bronze medal winning U.S. Women's team in the 38th Chess Olympiad, 2008.
  • Won the U.S. Women's Championship on five other occasions: 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013 & 2014.
  • Earned FIDE GM title in 2013.
  • Currently plays for the New York Knights in the U.S. Chess League.

  • Won Norwegian U16 (including girls AND boys) Championship at the age of 14 in 2007
  • Finished 9th at World Juniors Girls Puerto Madryn, Argentina, November, 2009.
  • Earned FIDE WIM title in 2010.
  • Ranked 45th on FIDE Top 100 Girls 2013.
  • Class of 2016, MIT Electrical Engineering & Computer Science.
  • Her last USCF rated tournament was the FIDE Closed Invitational in Naperville, IL in March 2014. (Which means unless she plays another USCF rated event before March 30, 2015, she'll no longer be on the active list & whoever is the second highest female player in MA will ascend to this honor. [Any wild guesses on who that would most likely be?])

  • Youngest ever US female master at age 11 in 2015
  • Youngest ever US female expert at age 9 in 2013
  • Youngest player ever to win WCC Championship
  • Youngest girl ever to beat a grandmaster in USCF rated play, 2014.
  • Finished 4th at World Youth Chess Championship Girls U10, UAE, 2013.
  • First & only female ever to win WCC Championship in 55 years.

♕ An interesting statistic that some may not be aware of & certainly might not be apparent to the casual observer is, I believe, right now the Wachusett Chess Club is at an all time high for total number of female members. ♕ ♕ ♕ ♕

Susan Polgar Chess = Susan Polgar's Daily News and Information blog
9 Queens = Two time US Women's Champion, Jennifer Shahade's non-profit chess site
JenniferShahade.com = Jennifer Shahade's main site
Lizzy Knows All = Elizabeth Vicary Spiegel's chess blog, main page
Castling Queenside = Polly Wright blog, main page
Alexandra Kosteniuk = Former Women's World Champion Kosteniuk'sofficial site
Natalia Pogoninia = WGM Pogonina's home page of bronze medal winner at the X Women European Chess Championship!

Here's a list of some short Biographies of women in 2014 US Women's Championship.

PhysOrg.com article attributing the low incidence of women at the highest levels in chess to a direct result of their much lower participation rate rather than to innate biological differences.

One of the most tragic events in the world of women's chess recently is this:
FIDE Obituary of Vesna Rozic
[WARNING: This is really sad, so don't read it if you're already on the brink of depression.]

♟ Chess Equipment

Flexible Silicone Chess Pieces
[Finally you can have a full set of pieces that match the "pencil eraser feel" of your silicone chessboard!]
At a price less than $5 above the original cost of the silicone boards, these are destined to become the latest craze!
Comments Junkie Sets, Boards, Pieces, Clocks, Videos, & accessories for sale online.
Chess Sets Bd Staunton chess sets
The Chess Store Sets, Boards, Clocks, Videos, etc.
USCF Sales Sets, Boards, Clocks, Videos, etc.
Wholesale Chess Sets, Boards, Clocks, Videos, Trophies, Tables, T-Shirts, etc.

♗ Other Useful Items

Online PGN Editor - for entering games into PGN format to save or send here for publication.
Chess Diagram Generator - "Quickly and easily make great looking chess diagrams to put on your website, blog, forum post or printout."
WinBoard - for entering & displaying games