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Maintenance Release

February 27, 2012

I quietly slipstreamed a “maintenance” release of Tarrasch V2 onto triplehappy.com a week or so ago. So anyone downloading Tarrasch recently has got this slight update. I try to avoid too many software releases, I find it really annoying when software is never stable and is constantly begging to be updated. Unfortunately though I couldn’t really rest easy whilst there were a couple of known and rather ugly bugs in the previous version.

This is not quite the V2.1 release I blogged about earlier. That was taking too much time and I wanted to get the most important bug fixes out there.

The new V2.01a is also now hosted on the Komodo and Rybka websites. Previously V2.00a was on triplehappy.com and rybkachess.com and V2.00b was on komodochess.com only. So it is nice to have only one version, all the same everywhere. Although having said that, all three packages now differ with respect to the engines included. And the Komodo version sets Komodo as the default engine, whereas the other two set Rybka as the default engine.

Here are some V2.01a release notes;

Bug fixes;

  • UCI “quit” command now proceeded by “stop”, “isready” if engine was thinking.
    (this is good practice in general and Houdini in particular would sometimes
    ignore the “quit” command because of this problem).
  • Directory selection for engine selection and document selection decoupled (this was partially implemented for V2.00b).
  • Keyboard (not just mouse) selection of disjoint games in games dialogs now
    works ok.
  • Restore to factory defaults now refreshes font, engine, language changes.
  • The 3rd and 4th Custom UCI parameters now work properly (thank you Ralph Moritz).
  • For completeness I will also note here a small bug sometimes affecting 4th line of kibitz text. This bug was present in V2.00a but fixed for V2.00b (the Komodo edition). So, this bug was fixed just before starting the source code repository.
  • For completeness I will note that something of a de-emphasis of the role of Rybka in Tarrasch,started with V2.00b, has been finished with this version. Tarrasch is now neutral and talks of “strong engines” rather than “Rybka” in help text.

New features;

  • Ctrl-A now selects all in games dialogs.
  • New button to save clipboard or session to a file.
  • New “no auto flip when playing black” general option.
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10 Comments leave one →
  1. H.G.Muller permalink
    March 4, 2012 7:10 am

    One question: How does one exclude moves from the engine analysis in Tarrasch GUI?

    • March 5, 2012 3:07 am

      I am sorry, Tarrasch does not have that feature.

      (Edit: It transpires that the questioner has no real interest in Tarrasch, or even in the obscure feature he asked about. He was hoping that Tarrasch wouldn’t have the feature so he could trash Tarrasch in an argument in the Rybka forums. I consider wasting my time in this way to be unfriendly and rude).

      (Edited edit: I have softened my view in the weeks since I wrote the edit above. As HG Muller correctly points out in the Rybka forums, the time wasted was tiny. Also I do respect the amount of time and effort he devotes to his Winboard GUI – he certainly works a lot harder on his GUI than I do on mine).

  2. José Luis permalink
    March 11, 2012 3:36 pm

    Your program is really good, I use it every day. But I think it would be more popular with some visual enhancements.

    The column h of the board is a bit narrow, missing 2 or 3 pixels.
    The separation between the board and the list of moves is very small.

    For beginners (and not just for beginners) is best to see the coordinates. Could be put on the left and down, so that by enlarging the space between the board and the list of moves, you can put in that space the indicator for turn to play. (Better a circle white or black than the letters B, W).

    It would be better to add more designs of pieces, the most popular are Alpha and Merida. Color in the squares on the board would also be interesting.

    • March 12, 2012 9:41 pm

      Thanks for this. I had somehow missed the missing 2 or 3 pixels. This explains some visual quirks actually. Thank you I will definitely fix this in the next release.

      The question of coordinates is interesting. This comes up a lot and I should definitely address it in the FAQ (at least). A lot of people want this but I have been quite resistant. It’s always possible I might change my mind. My attitude is this; Tarrasch is not really targetted at chess beginners. It is targetted at chess computing beginners. More completely it is for chess lovers who appreciate or need a simpler chess program. In other words keen players who for one reason or another never got into computer chess because they found chess software excessively fiddly and complicated. People like me!

      I think 99% of good players are intimately familiar with the co-ordinates and have absolutely no need to have them cluttering the display. Do you immediately and without thought know that b6 is a black square – a square that the black queen often visits first in order to pressure the black diagonal towards f2 and g1 and also the possibly poisoned pawn on b2 (also a black square) ? If not I am hard pressed to believe you are a real chess player. Having said that I know there are exceptions. I know a very talented young player, with intuitive grasp of chess and now a 2200 rating and a WIM title. She has absolutely no idea of these things and works out the co-ordinates each time she plays a move in order to complete her game score. This is bewildering to me, but the human mind and its machinations are an amazing thing. Never-the-less I think not having the co-ordinates on screen will quickly help improving players who use Tarrasch a lot absorb the co-ordinates subconsciously, this must be a plus for their chess.

      If I am going to be completely honest, I must also admit that graphical design is one of the trickiest parts of creating a chess program – it’s not my strength and programmatically, getting the co-ordinates on the screen and looking good is distinctly non-trivial.

      Otherwise my priorities for improved display are 1) resizable 2) colour selectable and 3) different designs. I am sorry to demand so much patience from Tarrasch users!

  3. José Luis permalink
    March 12, 2012 10:37 pm

    Thank you very much for your reply. Excuse my bad English and my many proposals.

    I must say that, in part, I agree with you about the coordinates. But although I am not a beginner, it helps me to see the coordinates when the board is rotated and I play with black. On the other hand, I have recommended Tarrasch to beginners and they liked to use the training mode. Please do not limit your potential audience. The coordinates could be put on and off with a menu option.

    Another improvement easy to do: Improve the layout of the menu items, divided into coherent groups and placing separators between them. The menus ‘Edit’, ‘Commands’ and ‘Options’ are complicated by lack of structure. In particular, ‘Set position’ may be better placed in the ‘Edit’ menu.

    Something I like to do is to have Tarrasch in my pendrive. I transfer the file Tarrasch.ini to the folder program and works well. The only problem: you have to replace the paths to the opening book and engines. This is not much problem, but would be facilitated if the paths could be relative rather than absolute. It may be interesting to make a portable Tarrasch instead of installable.

    Greetings from Down Under (I live in Spain).

    • March 14, 2012 2:19 am

      Thanks José. Actually your English is excellent. And certainly at least a billion times better than my Spanish. Actually from my week in Brazil in 2002 I can remember one word, “Hola!” and of course that is Portuguese so it is quite likely to have a different Spanish equivalent.

      Taking your suggestions one by one;
      I have added a section about coordinates to the FAQ. I am not going to promise a time frame but I endeavour to add a coordinates option in the future.
      I am pretty happy with the menu categorisation, but you are right some additional separators could make the structure clearer.
      I have previously described how to manually create a no-install version of Tarrasch on the FAQ, but I have now taken it a step further and put everything in place ready to go. Testing it out I think it works really well, please give it a try.

      I am not sure whether you mean greetings to Down Under, or whether you recognise the arbitrariness of up and down in this context. Or perhaps you know that New Zealand and Spain have the interesting property of being more-or-less perfectly antipodean; about 100Km north of me is the spot directly on the other side of the world from Madrid!

      • José Luis permalink
        March 14, 2012 5:41 pm

        Thanks for being so polite. Being a Tarrasch user since the first version, I failed not carefully reading the FAQ. Now that I’ve already done, I have some things clearer. I appreciate your efforts to improve a program that I enjoy. Now I’m going to try the portable version.

        Indeed, the correct word is ‘antipodeans’. I was not sure how to spell in English. My first thought was that if Oceania is called ‘Down Under’, maybe I was in ‘Up Over’. But I thought of the arbitrariness of what is up and down, and I thought that from the point of view of you, I’m who is ‘Down Under’. You have a subtle sense of humor.

  4. Vitaly Ivanov permalink
    April 21, 2012 9:51 am

    Hello,
    One feature suggestion: batch kibitzer. You load a PGN and select the engine + analysis time limit per move, and Tarrasch outputs short analysis for every move, so you can see blunders or just better opportunities. Would be pretty useful for chess players who want to learn from their own mistakes.
    Btw, configurable field/piece size is still very desirable.

    Thanks

    • April 22, 2012 3:39 am

      Thanks Vitaly. I am clearly in a low activity period with Tarrasch. One thing I have been doing is collecting and organising all feature requests, or at least the ones I eventually intend to implement. Your feature requests both already appear in my notes, which I promise to publish within a couple of days here as a “roadmap”.

  5. iamdesperado permalink
    June 21, 2012 9:37 pm

    Just found out there’s a misspelling in the program. Threefold repitition should be threefold repetition. By the way, excellent chess software, very easy to use. Thanks a bunch!

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