Chess & Go
July 20, 2006 11:33 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for two things on OSX: 1) A chess trainer 2) "Go" (and if it has a training function, even better)

Feel free to recommend other good board game clients for mac as well.
posted by BuddhaInABucket to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Kiseido Go Server's client runs in Java. And there's no better way to learn than playing real people. There's a link on that page to teach you the basics, then just log in and ask politely for a teaching game.
posted by squidlarkin at 11:55 PM on July 20, 2006

I really like the goban client. It has no trainer, but does run gnugo. If you are a beginner, turn it down to the lowest skill level and play with a 6 or 9 stone handicap (also try small board games). Unfortunately it does not support KGS (as they use a proprietary protocol).
posted by advil at 12:04 AM on July 21, 2006

Best answer: There are open source chess games out there which are pretty good.

But there does not exist any program on any computer which plays go well, and you probably won't ever live to see it. The kinds of approaches which were used for computerized checkers, chess, and reversi won't work for Go, and the best computer go programs in the world aren't even able to beat human players who are well below what in chess would be considered "master" class, let alone grandmasters.

I would suspect that a 4 kyu Go player (4 steps below 1 dan, the first "grandmaster" rank) could easily defeat any computerized go program in the world.

They're a poor choice for training purposes, too. They don't play the way humans play, and if you use them for training, you'll actually learn bad habits which you'll have to unlearn again.

The big problem is that they do pretty well at tactical play but are totally hopeless at strategic play -- and it is strategic play that makes the difference between a 12 kyu and a 1 dan.

Back when I was playing heavily and at my best I reached 9 kyu, which isn't very good as such things run. I once had a chance to play a 4 dan. He gave me 9 stones, and I got wiped. (I really should have had 13 stones, but handicaps above 9 stones are vulgar and self-respecting players don't use them.)

If you want to play go, either find a club, or play humans online. You won't learn anything playing against computerized opponents.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:09 AM on July 21, 2006

They have trouble writing computer programs to even SCORE Go correctly, much less play it.

The best chess trainer I've found is probably Chessmaster, um, I think it was 9000. It really will teach you a great deal. It's Windows-only, but it's not particularly ambitious in terms of graphics, and I bet it would run nicely under Parallels.
posted by Malor at 1:22 AM on July 21, 2006

Try Sigmachess. It is still PPC only but the Pro version is supposed to come with a great chess engine.

posted by DuckFOO at 4:34 AM on July 21, 2006

For chess, Chessbase stuff is really the only game in town. I'm guessing Parallels?
posted by NucleophilicAttack at 4:52 AM on July 21, 2006

While playing Go bots might form bad habits, it's also a lot more fun (I found) than playing Chess bots. I found playing chess bots that they just didn't make mistakes the way humans my level would. Go bots, though, screw up all the time in comical ways, so you get practice at punishing overplays, destroying territory, etc.

KGS is great, too. I'd start there. For learning, I would recommend Sensei's Library, a sprawling Go wiki. It's nice because all the strange terminology is cross-linked so it's easier to pick it up than reading books.
posted by heresiarch at 7:16 AM on July 21, 2006

To somewhat hijack this question, are there any chess programs out there that have famous games stored and have annotation/commentary about the moves?
posted by The Castle at 7:22 AM on July 21, 2006

chessmaster 9000 is available for the mac. I never bought it as the reviews indicated it requires the CD to be inserted while it's running. I don't know if that is "work-around-able" or not, but I'd seriously consider how big of a PITA it'll be before you buy.

Also google for it for other reviews.
posted by devbrain at 12:43 PM on July 21, 2006

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