what is the best interface for chess analysis of games

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Re: what is the best interface for chess analysis of games

Post by jefk »

well for really deep opening analysis Aquarium (or a successor) may still be
interesting, but as CCM correspondence chess player personally I don't need it
anymore (but it probably helped me to get the CCM title, almost IM a few years ago).

For a comparison of various -multi-purpose- chess GUI's, I asked chatgpt40:
and the answer:

"Comparing existing chess GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) like Fritz, Chessbase, Shredder, ChessAssistant, Aquarium, Scid/Scid vs. PC, ChessX and Arena can be subjective and largely depends on specific user demands and preferences. Each software has its strengths and unique features catering to different types of users. Here’s an overview of how these GUIs compare against general user demands and which might be considered the best depending on your needs:

### General User Demands for Chess GUIs
1. **Ease of Use**: Intuitive interface and user-friendly design.
2. **Analysis Tools**: Powerful engines, analysis features, and capabilities to evaluate positions.
3. **Database Management**: Ability to manage large databases of games.
4. **Training Features**: Tools to help improve chess skills, including tactics training, endgame practice, and opening preparation.
5. **Customization**: Options to customize the interface, themes, and analysis preferences.
6. **Compatibility**: Works well across different operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux).
7. **Price**: Affordability or value for money.

### Comparison of Popular Chess GUIs

#### 1. **Fritz**
- **Ease of Use**: High, with a polished and professional interface.
- **Analysis Tools**: Very strong, with access to powerful engines and cloud analysis.
- **Database Management**: Good, with integration into the ChessBase ecosystem.
- **Training Features**: Excellent, including built-in training modules, tactics, and endgames.
- **Customization**: Good, with various themes and settings.
- **Compatibility**: Primarily Windows.
- **Price**: Moderate to high, often bundled with ChessBase products.

#### 2. **ChessBase**
- **Ease of Use**: High, professional interface but can be complex for beginners.
- **Analysis Tools**: Excellent, top-notch analysis and engine integration.
- **Database Management**: Outstanding, best-in-class for managing and analyzing large game databases.
- **Training Features**: Extensive, with a variety of training tools and resources.
- **Customization**: Good, with multiple customization options.
- **Compatibility**: Primarily Windows.
- **Price**: High, considered the gold standard for professional players and analysts.

#### 3. **Shredder**
- **Ease of Use**: High, user-friendly and simple interface.
- **Analysis Tools**: Strong, with powerful analysis capabilities.
- **Database Management**: Basic to moderate.
- **Training Features**: Good, with specific training programs.
- **Customization**: Moderate, some customization options.
- **Compatibility**: Available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
- **Price**: Moderate.

#### 4. **ChessAssistant**
- **Ease of Use**: Moderate, slightly less intuitive than others.
- **Analysis Tools**: Strong, good analysis tools and engine integration.
- **Database Management**: Excellent, comparable to ChessBase in some respects.
- **Training Features**: Good, but not as extensive as ChessBase.
- **Customization**: Moderate.
- **Compatibility**: Primarily Windows.
- **Price**: Moderate to high.

#### 5. **Aquarium**
- **Ease of Use**: Moderate, can be complex due to its depth of features.
- **Analysis Tools**: Excellent, especially with IDeA (Interactive Deep Analysis).
- **Database Management**: Very good.
- **Training Features**: Good.
- **Customization**: High, very customizable.
- **Compatibility**: Primarily Windows.
- **Price**: Moderate.

#### 6. **Scid-Scid vs. PC**
- **Ease of Use**: Moderate, interface is functional but less polished.
- **Analysis Tools**: Good, with support for multiple engines.
- **Database Management**: Very good, especially for a free tool.
- **Training Features**: Basic to moderate.
- **Customization**: High, open-source with many customization options.
- **Compatibility**: Windows, macOS, Linux.
- **Price**: Free.

#### 7. **ChessX**
- **Ease of Use**: High, simple and intuitive interface.
- **Analysis Tools**: Good, supports multiple engines.
- **Database Management**: Good.
- **Training Features**: Basic.
- **Customization**: Moderate.
- **Compatibility**: Windows, macOS, Linux.
- **Price**: Free.

#### 8. **Arena**
- **Ease of Use**: High, user-friendly with a clean interface.
- **Analysis Tools**: Good, supports multiple engines and easy to switch between them.
- **Database Management**: Moderate, good but not as advanced as ChessBase or ChessAssistant.
- **Training Features**: Basic to moderate.
- **Customization**: High, supports various skins and board themes.
- **Compatibility**: Windows and Linux.
- **Price**: Free.

### Which One is the Best?
- **For Professional Analysis and Database Management**: **ChessBase** is the best choice, providing comprehensive tools and features for serious analysis and professional use.
- **For Ease of Use and Broad Compatibility**: **Shredder** and **ChessX** offer user-friendly interfaces and compatibility across multiple platforms.
- **For Customization and Free Use**: **Scid-Scid vs. PC** are excellent open-source options with strong database and analysis capabilities. Similar **Arena** (not open source?)
- **For Integrated Training and Features**: **Fritz** provides a robust set of training tools along with strong analysis capabilities.

The "best" chess GUI depends on your specific needs, whether it's in-depth analysis, database management, training features, or platform compatibility. "
end of AI answer
Note, i didn't mention Cutechess and Banksia to the AI (chatgpt4) nor Encroissant (*)
because they are newer and still in (beta?) development
(*) yet another neat GUI attempt (comparable with ChessX maybe
but with easier download of lichess or chess.com games):
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Re: what is the best interface for chess analysis of games

Post by jefk »

forgot to include Chessquid Pro in the list, if i run it again in the AI,
it comes out similar to Shredder and Chessx wrt ease of use, and
regarding training facilities similar as Fritz (but it's cheaper than Fritz).
So i do wish them good luck (but it's hard to compete with Chessbase...)

Regarding the various open source apps, it imo seems all a bit fragmented,
uncoordinated, haphazard. But that's how opensource works apparently.
Regarding engines, there are hundreds of not more freeware engines,
and only the top ten (CCRL) or so seem to be actively supported with
SF and Lc0 as clear winners (and a few derivatives maybe).

So, regarding the current list of (opensource) GUI's, there also are online systems
as chess.com (commercial) lichess, chesstempo, and in total the list become
a bit too long for most users and imo we only will see some clear winners if somehow
the efforts would be more coordinated. Cooperate, rather than re-invent the
wheel(s) I would suggest, easy saying for a relatively old guy like me, i admit.
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Re: what is the best interface for chess analysis of games

Post by jefk »

forgive me for adding a 3rd posting, but -regarding Chess training GUI's i forgot
to mention the excellent LucaschessR2 (even used it with DGT board)
Not easy in beating some of these 'low-elo' engines (maybe the Elo limitations
in Uci or so are not always working correctly, at least that's my impression).

Regarding harmonization/cooperating in (continuing or new ) GUI development(S) , maybe a Discord channel
or so is an idea (similar as for engine/SF developers); combining all features in one app would be overdone, even Chessbase has two main apps, Fr and CB, (and many little tools in computer chess continue to exist) but
at least one main direction in a (newer) none-CB GUI would be useful for many users/chess players i guess.

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Re: what is the best interface for chess analysis of games

Post by jefk »

Forgot to mention the Tarrasch GUI, which also is quite a neat program
(which i've used a few times in the past, in fact)

Adding this to the GUI comparison made by the AI (cgpt40)
it produced a update of the conclusion(s):

"Which One is the Best?
-For Professional Analysis and Database Management: ChessBase is the best choice, providing comprehensive tools and features for serious analysis and professional use.
For Ease of Use and Broad Compatibility: Shredder, ChessX, Banksia, En Croissant, and Tarrasch Chess GUI offer user-friendly interfaces and are compatible across multiple platforms.
-For Customization and Free Use: Scid-Scid vs. PC, Arena, Cutechess, and Tarrasch Chess GUI are excellent open-source options with strong database and analysis capabilities.
-For Integrated Training and Features: Fritz, Chessquid Pro, LucasR and Banksia provide robust sets of training tools along with strong analysis capabilities.
-For Engine Tournaments: Cutechess excels in organizing and running engine tournaments, making it a unique choice for users interested in engine vs. engine competitions.
-For Web-Based Access: En Croissant provides a good web-based alternative, accessible from any device with a browser."

Note: in addition there are the online playing apps ofcourse chess.com and lichess,
which also have quite a lot of the above features.
Note: so most (of the modern) applications are crossplatform (or web base),
ie. can be run in Linux (or browser), except Fritz and Chessbase.

My conclusion: when i look at the enormous list of already existing GUI's,
it looks a bit overkill; assuming the goal of most users, ie chess players
is to improve their skill, efficient use of the apps, thus only choosing a
few, would be key. Commercial solutions often have a few features which
the free ones lack, chess. com and maybe Chessquid Pro (49$) are probably
the most effective tools, with Chessbase for more advanced chess players.
Designing a new GUI from scratch would be a huge challenge and imo
would only succeed if initiated from a proper feasibility study, specifications,
technical design etc, in other words the usual system development cycle
in IT (rather than wild prototyping, even if this would be done by a large
group of GUI experts (only a dream i guess), via eg Discord or so.
Ideally such a development would be open source, with some special
binaries plus support (plus community) as commercial spin-off.
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Re: what is the best interface for chess analysis of games

Post by Dave Gomboc »

BrendanJNorman wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 4:24 pm
Werewolf wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 3:32 pm
BrendanJNorman wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 4:08 am
Dave Gomboc wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 2:25 am
Dann Corbit wrote: Fri May 10, 2024 12:32 pm I use Arena a lot just because of familiarity and what I use it for (Epd analysis and game contests)
Hmm. www.playwitharena.de has a download for Arena 3.5.1 for Windows (released on 2015-12-20) and Arena 3.10beta for Linux (released 2020-01-19). However, I don't see any source code at that site. It seems like the author of the program, apparently named Martin Blume, has been inactive for quite some time. Is there any chance that the author might consider open-sourcing the code so that it can be updated further by others?
Imagine if we had an open source GUI with a team working to optimize it like Stockfish.

Would be pretty cool.
That would be amazing. If it was for something to replace Aquarium (something heavy-duty for analysis) I would genuinely donate hardware, time, money...
Me too mate.

Maybe we should find some interested programmers and then setup a GoFundMe to help with whatever they need?

I'll throw some money at such a great idea without hesitation.
The open-source software ChessX, with which I am unfamiliar, was mentioned in a later post. https://chessx.sourceforge.io/ is its website. https://github.com/Isarhamster/chessx/ has its source code. I'm going to try it out.
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Re: what is the best interface for chess analysis of games

Post by Dann Corbit »

I would be interested to see someone's analysis of Banksia GUI for these same features.
It seems very interesting, but I have not had time to fiddle with it.

For engine testing, the following seem to be very popular:
littleblitzer, cutechess (with tceccutechess probably being the most modern variant), fishtest,

For checkmate analysis interfaces:
Olive, Pdb, Alybadix
Speaking of checkmate analysis interfaces, does anyone know of a GUI that works with Gustav?

Pdb is really nice, but it is fiddly on modern operating systems (you have to find and install the foxpro driver manually)
I guess that most people can only use it online.
Windows GUI (good luck):
Web interface:
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Re: what is the best interface for chess analysis of games

Post by jefk »

yep, these are the engine vs engine progs, and the problem solvers, for the open source projects the main features would be easy to import in a (possible new and more comprehensive) GUI, i think.

As for 'best' GUI's for me there currently are two, ScidvsPc and Lucaschess, (possibly Scid is
just as good but some reason (maybe polyglot book tuning) i came out for main use with
ScidforPc. For engine tourns etc it's not like Cutechess or Banksia but personally i don't care.

Both programs actually are very good packages:
https://chessionate.com/lucaswiki/index ... =Main_Page
(maybe Scid as a database has slightly more features as players pics, dunno)

Now about an 'ideal' GUI, like i said even Chessbase Gmbh have two main programs, Fritz
and Chessbase. But if i would suggest a complete opensource chess GUI with most things
combined, i would think of combining ScidvsC features (database) with LucasChess, and some
engine tourn stuff like in Arena and Cutehcess. Could that be done ? Well i don't know it would
be like uniting states as in the Usa or later the EU. Difficult but maybe not impossible.
But two groups of programmers probably wont unite so quickly, let's mention the main guys
(with applause) because they appear not to be so well known in this forum:
The main guy from Lucaschess is (the French?) Lucas Monge (applause again), also
for the coordinating efforts because there were (and probably still are) many
contributors to LucasChess(R). The main guys from Scid and thus ScidvsPC (applause):
contributed to further development of ScidvsPC:

Now speculating about a harmonization/combining project, above guys already have done quite
some -amazing- work and thus i don't see them going to work together on one combined GUI
(although you never know; at least hopefully they would not look negative to
the following wild idea below).
Both projects are opensource, and in principle a new project from scratch for a new GUI could
start with these two, trying to get features from both projects. warning this would be a huge
project, and just with wild programming it probably would fail. A phased approach as with
the system development cycle with (further) feasibility study, information analysis, specifications,
technical design etc would imo increase the chances for success considerably.
Maybe it could be done in a 'kickstart project' way or similar, combining an open source approach
with some commercial incentives, it would help if initially some (rich) investor being a (computer)
chess fan would throw some money at it, maybe (although in above two projects people
didn't do it for the bucks; and the results were still awesome). My 2 cnts 8-)
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Re: what is the best interface for chess analysis of games

Post by jefk »

here's a comprehensive list/overview of chess gui's (many discontinued), some also for the Mac:

http://computer-chess.org/doku.php?id=c ... pport_list

besides programs already mentioned in this thread, there are several Fics/Icc clients.
Banksia is listed in the category 'incomplete Gui's' (which you find if you scroll below).

As i said, imo ScidvsPC (*) and Lucaschess are the best opensource/free ones. And seem the
most suitable/promising for further development or use in a possible new integrated project;
the latter -besides Linux- ideally also should have Mac (and possibly android) support
(cross platform), although there also is something like VM virtual box. The internet chess
club still is functional so besides Fics (like in ScidvcPC) having a client for ICC builtin also would
be a good idea, as well as a -very good- 3 D board option (with Fritz currently being the best).

At the bottom of above link also many tools are listed, some expired; and possibly the list is
incomplete; anyway you can't /shouldn't combine all little computer chess tools in one Gui,
that most likely would be(come) a(n) (even) big(ger) mess... :shock:

(*) for player pics in SvP simply download the file from the Scid sourceforge site,
and unzip them in a 'photo' (sub)directory in the bin directory. So for most practical
purposes, it seems that SvsPc supersedes the original Scid.
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Re: what is the best interface for chess analysis of games

Post by AdminX »

Until today, I never heard of Chess2020/2024. Something new and different, well at least for my old eyes. :wink: Thanks for sharing that last link.

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Re: what is the best interface for chess analysis of games

Post by Albert Silver »

I worked with Chess Assistant for several years (when they were still called Convekta), and let me start by saying they were great guys, especially Viktor Zakharov. That said ease-of-use discussions were complicated because my complaints/suggestions were often incomprehensible to them. Let me illustrate: In Chess Assistant 5.0, deleting a variation from a game required three steps, including right-clicking on the line, then finding the proper subsection, then telling it how to delete it. I told them this was extremely convoluted for a basic editing function. Bury something else behind that wall of steps, but not deleting a variation. Viktor took this to their developer/programmer meeting, and it was voted down almost unanimously with the core reply being: 'it is easy, just do those many steps.' Thankfully, Viktor was the chief honcho and saw reason and in CA 6.0 a line was removed by hitting the Delete key. The work was full of these weird oddities that fell on tone-deaf programmers. CB6/7 (at the time) had a third of the functions, if that, but was intuitive and easy to figure out, not to mention easy on the eyes (i.e. Prettier). The competition between the two was not nearly as overwhelming as it is today (there is no competition), but these issues were a clear obstacle. It also suffered from an excess of options and functions that while interesting on some levels just left the program seeming bloated and daunting, which are really bad impressions if you are seeking to become popular.

Most computer-savvy people, and especially programmers, cannot begin to imagine how computer deficient their user base is, even pros whose livelihoods depend on these tools, never mind the Average Joe. I most often see them (programmers) placing the blame on the lazy users who need only read the manual, tutorial, or what-have-you, and then complain about why they are not a runaway success when they have X functions the rival does not. Chessbase once had a guy offer to pay airfare and hotel if they would send a person to INSTALL FRITZ ON THEIR PC for them. And no, it did not involve anything more than sticking the CD in the machine and letting the autoplay start the installation, but such was the panic and fear. An extreme example, but the point remains. (They did not BTW, and phone calls resolved the panic-stricken customer).

By today, even ChessBase has a bit of this excess in functions, simply because with almost 40 years of active development, it has accumulated so many features. But it still remains quite intuitive for the most basic features.

Really the key to GUI philosophy should be, IMHO: 'Show it to your mother, or least computer-savvy family member or friend, with no instruction or manual, and if they stumble at core functions, then those are design points that need addressing.'

My 2 cents.
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