Hiarchs Mac: First Impressions

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Eric Schiller

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Jan 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM1/27/96
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It arrived yesterday. Installation was simple, and the program runs. The
interface is sloppy and does not present analysis in a clear (i.e., SAN
rather than computerese) form. The board is ugly, but I haven't tried
customizing the colors. The manual is the DOS manual, so make sure you
read the Readme file.

These are my first two games, on a Mac PowerPC 6100 with 16 Meg native RAM
(32 Meg with Ram Doubler). The first game was all moves in 10 minutes, the
second at the ICC control of 2 minutes with 12 second increment.


[Event "Practice"]
[Site ""]
[Date "1996.01.26"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Eric Schiller"]
[Black "Hiarchs Mac 1.0 game "]
[Result "1-0"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Nbd7 8.O-O Nc5
9.f4 Nfxe4 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.f5 e5 12.Ne6 Qb6+ 13.Kh1 fxe6 14.Qh5+ g6 15.fxg6
Kd7 16.g7 Bxg7 17.Qf7+ Kc6 18.Ba4+ Kd5 19.c4+ Kxc4 20.b3+ Kb4 21.Qxg7 Nf2+
22.Rxf2 Qxf2 23.a3+ Kc3 24.Qc7+ Qc5 25.Qf7 Qd4 26.Qf1 Qxa4 27.bxa4 Bd7
28.Qf3+ Kc4 29.Qxb7 Raf8 30.Be3 Bc8 31.Qc6+ Kd3 32.Bh6 Rf4 33.Bxf4 d5 34.Bg5
Rf8 35.Rd1+ Ke2 36.Qc2+ 1-0


[Event "Practice"]
[Site ""]
[Date "1996.01.26"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Hiarchs 1.0 MAC 2+12"]
[Black "Eric Schiller"]
[Result "*"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6
9.Nbd2 Nc5 10.c3 Bg4 11.Bc2 Ne6 12.Qe1 Bc5 13.b4 Bb6 14.h3 Bh5 15.a4 Bg6
16.axb5 axb5 17.Rxa8 Qxa8 18.Bxg6 hxg6 19.Nb1 Ne7 20.Be3 Bxe3 21.Qxe3 c6
22.Nd4 Nf5 23.Nxf5 gxf5 24.f4 Kd7 25.Nd2 Qb7 26.Ra1 Ra8 27.Rxa8 Qxa8 28.Kf2
Qa2 29.Qd3 g6 30.g3 Qb2 31.Ke2 Qc1 32.Qe3 Qh1 33.h4 Qg2+ 34.Kd3 Ke8 35.Qf3
Qg1 36.Ke2 Ke7 37.Qe3 Qa1 38.Nf3 Qa2+ 39.Qd2 Qc4+ 40.Ke3 Qe4+ 41.Kf2 c5
42.bxc5 Nxc5 43.Kg2 Nd3 44.Qd1 Kf8 45.Qf1 Kg7 46.Qd1 d4 47.cxd4 b4 48.Kf1 b3
49.Ng5 Qxd4 *

The header info for PGN is poorly implemented. I did indeed specify a site
(Home) for each game, and there was no prompt for separate information, so
I stuck the time control in White. I abandoned the second game in a
trivially winning position. I played with only partial attention, trying
to correct a corrupt Win95 registry on my other machine.

For $39.95 this would be a bargain. For $59.95 it would be a reasonable
buy. For over $100 it is simply too poorly designed, but hell, it is
probably the best we can do on the Mac for the moment.

Eric Schiller

---ooo---
Colorless green ideas sleep furiously at the chessboard, awaiting user input

Clive Thomson

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Jan 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM1/28/96
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I'd like to respond to this review, but firstly

- the name of the program is HIARCS (no h)

and secondly

- I have a commercial interest in HIARCS. I feel it is important
to mention this.

I include the article in full - so not to be accused of selective
editing.

In article <Overlord-270...@schiller.vip.best.com>
Over...@chessworks.com (Eric Schiller) writes:

> It arrived yesterday. Installation was simple, and the program runs. The

so far - so good !

> interface is sloppy and does not present analysis in a clear (i.e., SAN
> rather than computerese) form. The board is ugly, but I haven't tried
> customizing the colors. The manual is the DOS manual, so make sure you
> read the Readme file.
>

"ugly" is subjective of course. On the whole, the user feedback has
been very
good. What is "sloppy" about it ? Is SAN v computerese not a personal
preference ?

However, we are the first to admit that HIARCS is not as pretty GUI
wise as
some other programs and I would like to tell people why.

The bottom line is that our feedback was that users were crying out for
a
strong chess program for the Mac - and they felt the choice was very
limited.

HIARCS' reputation is made on its strength not graphics. The choice of
programs sporting nice graphics on the Mac is considerably greater than
the choice of really strong programs. HIARCS is aimed at the latter
market.

We could have delayed the release of HIARCS for a year and implemented
fancy graphics - but I suggest that is not what the majority of people
who would buy HIARCS wanted.

(though I don't think it is ugly - but as they say, beauty is in the
eye of the
beholder).

Now onto the games. I think if someone says they beat as program it is
only fair
that they state their rating (After all everything is relative)

I think the time controls should also ne noted.

Could you be more precise ?

The "site" missing is a bug - one of the *very few* we have received
from our
users. This is obvioulsy one we, and our many beta testers, missed.

> (Home) for each game, and there was no prompt for separate information, so
> I stuck the time control in White. I abandoned the second game in a
> trivially winning position. I played with only partial attention, trying
> to correct a corrupt Win95 registry on my other machine.
>
> For $39.95 this would be a bargain. For $59.95 it would be a reasonable
> buy. For over $100 it is simply too poorly designed, but hell, it is
> probably the best we can do on the Mac for the moment.

When you say the "best we can do on the Mac" do you mean that HIARCS is
the strongest chess program for the Mac ? As you don't like the GUI
that is how I would take it (but I am biased !).

>
> Eric Schiller
>
> ---ooo---
> Colorless green ideas sleep furiously at the chessboard, awaiting user input

There is a demo version of HIARCS available on some of the more common
ftp sites
for chess. It won't show off the strength but it will allow users to
decide
whether HIARCS is ugly, pretty or plain !

Further comments welcomed,

Clive

-
- Clive Thomson cl...@atm-man.demon.co.uk -
- Software Engineer. Speaking only for myself -
-
Three addresses always inspire perfect confidence,
even in tradesmen - Oscar Wilde

Robert Harris

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Jan 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM1/28/96
to
In article <Overlord-270...@schiller.vip.best.com>,
Over...@chessworks.com (Eric Schiller) wrote:

> It arrived yesterday. Installation was simple, and the program runs. The

> interface is sloppy and does not present analysis in a clear (i.e., SAN
> rather than computerese) form. The board is ugly, but I haven't tried
> customizing the colors. The manual is the DOS manual, so make sure you
> read the Readme file.
>

> These are my first two games, on a Mac PowerPC 6100 with 16 Meg native RAM
> (32 Meg with Ram Doubler). The first game was all moves in 10 minutes, the
> second at the ICC control of 2 minutes with 12 second increment.

Eric,

Are you running Speed Doubler?

Since the program runs in emulated mode, playing strength should improve
considerably.

> (Home) for each game, and there was no prompt for separate information, so
> I stuck the time control in White. I abandoned the second game in a
> trivially winning position. I played with only partial attention, trying
> to correct a corrupt Win95 registry on my other machine.
>
> For $39.95 this would be a bargain. For $59.95 it would be a reasonable
> buy. For over $100 it is simply too poorly designed, but hell, it is
> probably the best we can do on the Mac for the moment.

I played Sargon 5 running on my 6100 (80mhz) w/SD against Mchess 3.12
(older version) on a '486-25. They were pretty much dead even w/Sargon
blowing a number of "won" endgames and permitting draws.

BTW, Speed Doubler reduces mate-in-n times for Sargon by a factor of 3 or
4 to 1.

Sargon is equally devoid of features, but available for $20-25.


Robert Harris


>
> Eric Schiller
>
> ---ooo---
> Colorless green ideas sleep furiously at the chessboard, awaiting user input

JFK Assassination Home Page
http://www.rt66.com/~rharris/jfk.html

Eric Schiller

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Jan 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM1/28/96
to
Yes, I am running Speed Doubler. When I get a change I'll try slower
controls to see if it plays better.

A better PGN interface would prompt for all PGN header fields, with input
masks where appropriate.

While I am sure the publishers would welcome detailed feedback, I can't
provide it. I am working for Mindscape on Chessmaster 5000 and my contract
discourages giving my feature sets away to competitors.

Clive Thomson

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Jan 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM1/29/96
to
In article <rharris-2801...@pma17.rt66.com>
rha...@rt66.com (Robert Harris) writes:

>
> Sargon is equally devoid of features, but available for $20-25.

"equally devoid of features" - are you comparing HIARCS with Sargon
for features ?

If so I'd be pleased to post a summary of HIARCS' features for you.

>
>
> Robert Harris

Robert G. Buice, Jr

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Jan 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM1/29/96
to
Could you tell me where you posted them demo of HIARCS mac? Thanks.

--
Robert G. Buice,Jr supe...@pop.uky.edu
Analytical Spectroscopy Group Phone:(606) 257-5175
College of Pharmacy
University of Kentucky
PGP Key: http://kerouac.pharm.uky.edu/buice/rgbuice.html

Clive Thomson

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Jan 30, 1996, 3:00:00 AM1/30/96
to
In article <super295-290...@bird.pharm.uky.edu>

supe...@pop.uky.edu (Robert G. Buice, Jr) writes:

> Could you tell me where you posted them demo of HIARCS mac? Thanks.

People with better net access than me (ie. not a modem !) are kindly
uploading it for me. At present I know it has been uploaded to

-> email address ("macgifts") for the main macintosh Mac archives:
Sumex (Stanford) and umich (University of Michigan)
-> America On Line
-> in the chess area file section
-> in the "New files" area of the Mac Games section
-> BMUG BBS (Berkeley Macintosh User's Group - Berkeley, California)
-> LAMG BBS (Los Angeles Macintosh User's Group)

and I believe it should be on

ftp.pitt.edu
caissa.onenet.net

and possibly elsewhere if there are directories for demos (e.g. SUMEX,
University of Michigan etc.)

soon.

In due course, it will be uploaded to other sites as well.

I will post more information when I have it.

If people are really desperate for it I'll collect e-mail addresses
and do a big posting at the end of the week.

Note: the demo is strength and feature limited !

Regards,

Clive

>
> --
> Robert G. Buice,Jr supe...@pop.uky.edu
> Analytical Spectroscopy Group Phone:(606) 257-5175
> College of Pharmacy
> University of Kentucky
> PGP Key: http://kerouac.pharm.uky.edu/buice/rgbuice.html

William B. Wright

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Jan 30, 1996, 3:00:00 AM1/30/96
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In article <8228303...@atm-man.demon.co.uk>,
cl...@atm-man.demon.co.uk (Clive Thomson) wrote:


> However, we are the first to admit that HIARCS is not as pretty GUI
> wise as
> some other programs and I would like to tell people why.
>
> The bottom line is that our feedback was that users were crying out for
> a
> strong chess program for the Mac - and they felt the choice was very
> limited.

I disagree. If I'm going to be paying the kind of money you are asking,
I want a board that I can play on without causing eyestrain like most
of the available ones do. BTW, I haven't seen the product because I am
waiting to see the board layout on the demo. If the board is crappy, I
won't buy it.


>
> HIARCS' reputation is made on its strength not graphics. The choice of
> programs sporting nice graphics on the Mac is considerably greater than
> the choice of really strong programs. HIARCS is aimed at the latter
> market.
>
> We could have delayed the release of HIARCS for a year and implemented
> fancy graphics - but I suggest that is not what the majority of people
> who would buy HIARCS wanted.
>
> (though I don't think it is ugly - but as they say, beauty is in the
> eye of the
> beholder).
>
> Now onto the games. I think if someone says they beat as program it is
> only fair
> that they state their rating (After all everything is relative)
>
> I think the time controls should also ne noted.
>

He did note the time controls - G/10 and 2+12 as noted in the paragraph below.
As far as his rating, most people recognize chess author NM (FM?) Schiller
(USCF 2308)

--


Alastair Scott

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Jan 31, 1996, 3:00:00 AM1/31/96
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On Tue, 30 Jan 1996 06:50:39 GMT, cl...@atm-man.demon.co.uk (Clive
Thomson) wrote:

- snip -

>People with better net access than me (ie. not a modem !) are kindly

>uploading it for me. At present I know it has been uploaded to
>

- snip -

>and I believe it should be on
>
>ftp.pitt.edu
>caissa.onenet.net
>
>and possibly elsewhere if there are directories for demos (e.g. SUMEX,
>University of Michigan etc.)
>

- snip -

- blush, squirm -

My e-mail, on Monday morning, refused to work, and is resisting all
blandishments and threats to make it work. I have the horrible feeling
that Clive has sent me a copy of the Hiarcs Mac demo which I can't
read off our server at present: I was the person who volunteered to
upload it to ftp.pitt.edu and caissa.onenet.net.

Will post it as soon as (whenever) the experts solve the problem.

As they say, "Alastair Scott apologises for any delay and
inconvenience this may cause to your journey" - except I, unlike
British Rail, am sincere in my apologies.

Alastair

Eric Schiller

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Jan 31, 1996, 3:00:00 AM1/31/96
to
It isn't just the graphics. Decoding the information on the screen is very
difficult, compared with most programs. The insistence on computerese
rather than normal notation is annoying, and the failure to include simple
labels is too. It does not take much coding to produce:

Time: 00:46 Ply 8/123 Score: 1.25 Line: 25.Bxf6 Nxf6 26.Rxg7+

etc.

Nor does it take much to be able to click on a move in the move list to go
to the position you want.

For this much money, you should be able to create an interface that is
informative and easy to use.

ChessMan

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Feb 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/1/96
to
Here's a repost of my unofficial patches for Hiarcs 1.0 and Hiarcs 1.0 Demo.
Use at your owm risk. Cosmetic changes only - will not make the demo 'full
strenghth'. My first post was uunencoded, this one is not - use BinHex on it
- then open file w/ Expander. It will be a Compact Pro file that you double
click on. The resultant folder will contain two patches and a readme file.
You must have the Hiarcs 1.0 or Hiarcs 1.0 Demo for this patch to work.

ChessMan

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Feb 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/1/96
to

I am posting here a 2 patches (both are included in his posting) -- both
unofficial -- to Hiarcs 1.0 and Hiarcs 1.0 Demo. The patches are comestic in
nature - changing the board colors and adding a few 'option commands'. You
must have Hiarcs 1.0 or the demo to apply the patches. No -- the patches
will not make the Demo 'full strength' :).

You do not need RESedit to apply the patch - they are a self patching
application as long as you can find Hiarcs 1.0 or Hiarcs Demo on your
harddrive -- nor will they alter your original applications.

Please use at your own risk - but thay have worked fine on my two machines.
There is a small readme file included.

Mike

ChessMan

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Feb 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/1/96
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BEGIN -- Cut Here -- cut here
begin 644 hiarcs_p.bin
<uuencoded_portion_removed>
END -- Cut Here -- cut here

ChessMan

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Feb 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/1/96
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BEGIN -- Cut Here -- cut here
<uuencoded_portion_removed>
-`"T8`````````````` ` `
`
end

ChessMan

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Feb 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/1/96
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In article <super295-290...@bird.pharm.uky.edu>,

supe...@pop.uky.edu (Robert G. Buice, Jr) wrote:
>Could you tell me where you posted them demo of HIARCS mac? Thanks.
>

it's here: (for web browsers)

ftp://ftp.pitt.edu/group/student-activities/chess/PROG/hiarcs_d.hqx

Mike

or ftp to same site:

ftp.pitt.edu/group/student-activities/chess/PROG/hiarcs_d.hqx

ChessMan

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Feb 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/1/96
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BEGIN -- Cut Here -- cut here
begin 644 hiarcs_p.bin

ChessMan

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Feb 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/2/96
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In article <4eqqni$5...@news.voicenet.com>,


The patch will be placed in the 'Prog' directory eventually - if not there
check the 'upload' directory

ftp.pitt.edu/group/student-activities/chess/upload/hiarcs_p.bin

here's a description of the patch - it's unofficial, it's free and you use it
at your own risk:

I have uploaded a small file that contains two Unofficial Patches for the
following programs:

Hiarcs 1.0 (full strength commercial version)
Hiarcs 1.0 Demo

The patch is comestic in nature: For both programs - it patches the program
with different board colors - the traditional "Green & Beige" that is often
found at tournaments in the US. I have reposition the initial board slightly
- on my machine both boards were a tad too high and paritially covered. I
also added numerous option commands - too many to list here - and change the
wording on "Restore Game" to "Open game". The 'command-O' is the traditional
MAC command to open a file - which is what you do to restore a game and I also
wanted to to use the "Command-R" for resign. I hated going to the menu when
it was time to resign - which I have done often :). I did not restore any
features or playing strength in the Demo patch - but you'll see option
commands added for all the functions that I have added commands for.

In addition, I have made the full stength Hiarcs 'multi-processing' aware.
The distributed version is the absolute full strength version -- but that
decision for some users has one slight draw back:

If the program is not in the foreground - it does not process at all. So if
you are program switching on your MAC, every time you switch out of HIARCS -
it stops analyzing the position. By making it 'multi processing aware' - you
can be working on other things, set the MAC for a longer time control and
check on the game once in a while. The draw back to doing this is that when
you are just playing chess, the Hiarcs engine is not quite as fast. It is
hard for me to gauge the penalty, but if you are running 2 or 3 CPU intensive
programs -- it could be severe. I use mostly text and spreadsheet programs -
so the penalty for me is not that bad.

If I get a sufficient number of requests for the color and position change
without the 'multi-processing aware' piece of the patch, I will consider
posting a patch for that as well. Both patches require that you have the
program.

Also , one other benefit for the full strength 'Hiarcs 1.0' owners: I got rid
of the annoying "register your product' dialog when you start the program.
Demo owners will have to figure that one out on their own:)

Enjoy!

Mike Byrne
chessman @voicenet.com

Robert G. Buice, Jr

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Feb 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/3/96
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In article <4eqgma$2...@news.voicenet.com>, ches...@voicenet.com
(ChessMan) wrote:

It appears to be corrupted.

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