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Old 12-12-2012, 04:20 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 217
Help a Chess Noob/Houdini

Hi All,

I'm an aspiring chess player, not strong but better than I was when I first started by playing a bunch of games on I'm guessing I'm around 1300 but I've beaten some 1700 players on occasion.

I'd like to step up my game by analyzing my matches with other players. I am a crossover from Backgammon and for those of you that know the BG world, I use XG2, the strongest BG bot currently available. I have gotten a lot out of looking at my games with human players in BG and I'd expect to improve doing the same with Chess.

I was hoping to install a Chess bot to analyze my games and from what I understand Houdini is the best out there. What I'd like for is someone to tell me exactly where to download it (hopefully a free version like Houdini 1.5 or 2.0) and which GUI to get and directions on exactly how to get it up and running and using it correctly. I'm usually not so computer unsavvy but in this case I appear to be. I run Win7 on a decent lenovo T410 laptop.

Links, directions and any suggestions are all welcomed, sorry if this is a repeat thread, I did search the forum a little and didn't find what I was looking for.

Thanks in advance for the help!
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:47 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2012
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Re: Help a Chess Noob/Houdini

For non-commercial stuff:
Then you can use the analysis mode to go through your games once you get it up and running. Feel free to ask more if (when) you get stuck at some point.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:31 AM   #3
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Re: Help a Chess Noob/Houdini

+1 to what wlrs said. Arena is a really great free GUI to use.

I would caution about relying too heavily on Houdini or any other engine. I think they're good to blunder check with and use for tactics, but be careful about using them every move. Many times they'll present a position with 3-4 moves that are all around the same evaluation, and it can really trick you in terms of trying to learn positions. Computers often suggest moves that are completely sound and playable, but are difficult to understand strategically for humans, particularly those of us that are trying to learn.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:21 PM   #4
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Re: Help a Chess Noob/Houdini

agree with TEX, tho they probably great to learn endgame as well with 1 or 2 pieces ( i think 4 or 5 but w.e) left on the board with pawns?
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:50 PM   #5
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Re: Help a Chess Noob/Houdini

Other things to be careful of:

Don't analyze openings with the computer. Short of finding actual blunders, they aren't so good in that stage of the game. Use an opening book or database instead.

Some positions require you to let the engine run for a while before they can give you 'the truth.' Sometimes, you have to let the computer analyze for a while, then play the suggested move and analyze again, continuing to walk down the line so the computer can get a more accurate assessment.

Make sure you get the settings correct for the plus and minus scores. I believe you can have the engine analyze and always give a positive score for white's favor and a negative score for in black's favor. Or you can have it be positive for whichever side you are analyzing from (I have it set so that if analyzing a position with black to move, a positive score means good for black and a negative score means good for white).
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