- Full version...** — Opens the Get full version dialog. This dialog has three buttons:
- Buy full version — Opens a Web page that shows the price of a license key and allows you to purchase it online. The license key(s) are delivered to the email address that you specify during the purchase.
- Activate full version — Opens a dialog where the purchased license key shall be entered. The application will be upgraded to the full version upon entering a valid license key.
- Return to game — Closes the dialog.
- Next game — Starts a new game with the same settings as the last game and swaps the sides.
- Game against computer — Starts a new game against the computer, no time limit is set.
- Game against computer, with time limit — Starts a new game against the computer, with the previously set (or default) time limit. In timed games, each player has a per-game time limit and eventually a per-move time bonus.
- Two-player game — Starts a new game between two players on one PC.
- Two-player game, with time limit — Starts a new game between two players on one PC, with the previously set (or default) time limit. In timed games, each player has a per-game time limit and eventually a per-move time bonus.
- Game between coach and computer — Starts a new AI-only game, no time limit is set. The coach controls the side that plays from the lower edge of the chessboard. The computer controls the side that plays from the upper edge of the chessboard. Their parameters are set in the Level menu.
- Game between coach and computer, with time limit — As above, but with the previously set (or default) time limit. In timed games, each side has a per-game time limit and eventually a per-move time bonus.
- Game with custom settings... — Opens the New game dialog that lets user select game parameters. In the dialog, there are three sections:
- Player setup — This section lets you select from a single player game, two player game (on one computer) and a coach-vs-computer game.
- Perspective — Selects the color that will be adjacent to the viewer — starting at the lower side of the chessboard (screen) — and sets who will play this color.
- Clock — Determines if there should be time control in the game. Allows setting a per-game time limit for each side and optionally a per-move bonus.
- Exit — Quits the application. Game record is always preserved (auto save, auto load).
- Open... — Opens a game from file using the standard file open dialog. The application supports the standard Portable Game Notation (PGN) format as well as Forsyth–Edwards Notation (FEN). These formats are compatible with other chess programs. Games in these formats are widely available on the Internet. This application can open PGN files that contain multiple games. In such case, an additional Select game dialog will be displayed.
- Save* — Saves the current game into the file that was previously opened (applicable to single-game PGNs only, will not overwrite a multi-game PGN) or that was previously saved.
- Save as...* — Lets the user select a new or existing target file using the standard file save dialog. The current game is stored to the file. This application always stores only one game into a single file. If the target file exists then its content is overwritten.
- White — Chooses who controls the White pieces. Selecting an item resets the current move time.
- Black — Chooses who controls the Black pieces. Selecting an item resets the current move time.
- Flip board — The chessboard is rotated by 180 degrees.
- Flip board and swap sides — Swaps the sides. The chessboard is rotated by 180 degrees and the players swap the control of the colors.
- End game... — Opens the End game dialog that allows to choose a game result: win for White, win for Black, or draw.
The skill level is set for Computer (opponent) and Coach separately. Computer is the AI that starts the game at the top of the chessboard. Coach is the AI that starts the game at the bottom of the chessboard and also provides advice for either side when requested via the Coach menu.
- Random moves — The lowest difficulty setting, chooses random legal moves.
- Beginner — ELO of about 500.
- Novice — ELO of about 700.
- Recreational player — ELO of about 900.
- Hobby player* — ELO of about 1000.
- Chess enthusiast* — ELO of about 1100.
- Intermediate* — ELO of about 1200.
- Upper intermediate* — ELO of about 1300.
- Aspiring player* — ELO of about 1400.
- Club player* — ELO of about 1500.
- Tournament player* — ELO of about 1600.
- Strong player* — ELO of about 1700.
- Expert* — ELO of about 1900.
- Vicemaster* — ELO of about 2100.
- Master* — ELO of about 2300.
- Grandmaster* — The highest difficulty setting, ELO of about 2500.
- UCI engine...* — Opens the UCI engine dialog allowing to plug in and configure an external engine.
- Adaptive — Check this item to have the Computer level adjusted at the end of each game. At the same time, the player's progress towards the next level is shown. This feature may also adjust the level of Coach so that it correlates with the Computer level (this only applies to level Expert and higher).
- Show squares controlled by White — Highlights squares that are controlled by White. The number of such squares is displayed in the Status bar.
- Show squares controlled by Black — Highlights squares that are controlled by Black. The number of such squares is displayed in the Status bar.
- Suggest move* — Starts the computation of the best move for the current position. The quality of the result depends on the level assigned to Coach in the Level menu. Once the computation finishes, the result is displayed in the Status bar and graphically highlighted on the chessboard. The Evaluation and Main variation panels are also updated appropriately.
- Pieces — Visual styles.
- Board — Visual styles.
- Transparent background — If checked, then the main window has a transparent background providing a modern look. Otherwise, the background is grey which may improve text legibility.
- Moderate game speed — This item causes the AI to wait about a second after each move before it starts a computation.
- Animated moves — If this menu item is checked, then the moves are animated.
- Sounds — If this menu item is checked, then sounds are played.
- Highlight last move — If checked, then the source and destination squares of the last move are highlighted.
- Highlight possible moves — If checked, then possible destination squares are highlighted every time the player clicks on a piece.
- Highlight move being computed — If checked, then the so far best move is highlighted during computer's computations. This provides a graphical representation of the move selection process.
- Refresh — Redraws the chessboard and the Status bar.
- Number of possible moves — If checked, then the Status bar message will include the available move count.
- Main variation* — If checked, then the Main variation is displayed.
- Taken pieces* — If checked, then the Taken pieces are displayed.
- Copy FEN to clipboard* — Saves the current position in the FEN format into the Windows clipboard.
- Paste FEN from clipboard* — Loads a FEN position from the Windows clipboard.
- Delete position and truncate record* — Deletes the current position and all following moves from the Record. This may be useful prior to saving a game if omitting some moves is desired.
- Edit mode* — If this menu item is checked then the application enters the edit mode. In this mode, it is possible to move pieces arbitrarily across the board, off the board and back. Use the Taken pieces panel to move the pieces off the board and back on. Place pawns on the 1st or 8th rank in order to promote them. The game play is paused, but it is possible to invoke the Coach functionality to analyze the position.
- Edit from basic setup* — Sets pieces up into the starting formation and turns the edit mode on.
- Edit from empty board* — Clears the board and turns the edit mode on.
- Active color...* — Opens a dialog that allows setting the next move number and the side to move (Black or White).
- Manual... — Launches this help page.
- Game rules... — Displays the Rules of chess.
- News... — Opens the News section of this website.
- Products and pricing... — Opens the Products page on this website.
- How to shop... — Opens the How to shop page on this website. This item may be replaced by an offer to move to a new product.
- About Chess 2024... — Displays the About dialog showing version and copyright information as well as the End User License Agreement (EULA).
- Automatic updates* — When checked, the app automatically downloads new versions of itself. The user will be prompted when an update is ready to be installed, giving the choice to install immediately or later.
The center left part of the screen represents the chess position and allows the player to make moves. Point and click the piece to be moved, point and click the destination square. You can also drag & drop the pieces. If a requested move is not performed, please consult the Status bar.
This panel displays move history for the current game. The moves are written in Algebraic Move Notation. The panel also allows to browse the record. Simply click a move on the list and the position will be shown on the chessboard. After selecting a position, it is possible to play it: If it is player's turn then the player can simply make a move; if it is computer's turn then click the Start/Stop engine button in order for the computer to continue from the selected position. Record browsing is also allowed during computer's move computation, the game will return to the position that the computer evaluates as soon as the computation is finished.
- Back — Returns to the previous position.
- Forward — Moves ahead to the next position.
- Jump button — Contextual button that allows for a quick transition from one game to another. The actual function of the button changes depending on the game status and the button text reflects this dynamically. For the position on the screenshot, clicking the button will open the End game dialog allowing to set the result without playing to a technical end such as the checkmate.
In games without a time limit, the clock shows the time the player or the computer takes to make a move (i.e., time elapsed since the last move). In timed games, the clock shows the remaining time the players have in the game.
The app displays the evaluation of the current position as a byproduct of move calculations (in the units of centipawns, 1 pawn = 100 points). The panel shows the evaluation of each move that the computer or coach selects as a good candidate. The figures can be used to asses the status of the game. Positive numbers indicate White's advantage, negative numbers indicate Black's advantage.
This area shows computation progress and allows starting and stopping the computation by clicking the Start/Stop engine button. This button operates as follows:
- It's Player's turn:
The button requests a suggestion from the Coach.*
- It's Computer's or Coach's turn:
The button starts move computation.
- A computation is in progress:
The button stops the computation.
This panel shows pieces that have been captured during the game. Taken pieces can be shown or hidden via the View menu.
The pieces are sorted according to their value. Hence, it is easy to tell the strength of each side. Captured pawns are shown in matching columns. Other taken pieces are sorted according to their value and their starting file.
If the highlighting of the last move is turned on — see the View menu — and a piece has just been captured, then that piece is also highlighted on this panel.
The status bar is located at the bottom of the app window and displays the current state of the game and responses to user actions.