Ultimate Chess is also one of the under 10.- USD barrier sold programs.The program size is 186 Kb.and comes in two files the program and the opening book.The registered version can be downloaded from Palm OS sources after payment is received.The
graphics are large and clear 2D mode but a single screen size only.
The menue is very limited and offers very litle possiibilities.It consists of New Game, Undo Last Move, can undo unlimited number of moves by using the same command several times .Human vs Palm ,Palm vs Palm (Autoplay),Change colors and level of play which consists of 5 prefixed levels with different thinking time.The user will miss
several other features which are not available.Such as Chess Clock,Reverse Board, PGN Recognition,Board Setup ,Force Move,Hints etc.I am still waiting for a reply of clarification from Messrs.Handbots regarding a planned future version that may include the missing features.
THE OPENING :
The Program when a new game is to start requires several seconds until the opening book is loaded.Human Playing White Against Ultimate Chess as Black replies to
White's 1.e4 as 1...e5 , 1...c5 , 1..e6 and 1...c6 and seldom 1..g6 and 1..d6
White playing 1.d4 the program as Black replies 1..d5 ,1..c6 ,1..f5 ,1..g6 and 1..e6
White playing 1.c4 the program replies 1..c5.1..c6 ,1..e5 , 1..e6 ,and 1..g6
White playing 1.Nf3 Black replies 1..c5, 1..d5 , 1..e6 and 1..g6
Unfortunately The program does not play with White pieces. The menue also confirms this.However to be on the safe side my e-mail also referred to such command however no reply received till now by the respective softwarehouse.
The reply to White's 1.b3 is 1..d5 or 1..e5
MIDDLE GAME :
During the middle game the program plays moderate chess and the engine is not strong.As the program only plays with Black Pieces it is not possible to have an idea about the programs capability when having the initiative.Also the non availabilty of Edit Position feature.does not give the chance of testing the programs ability from White's side.
THE ENDGAME :
There was no possibility of checking the programs endgame ability compared to former reviews.Due to the non availability of a.m. commands such as Board Setup.By coincidence reached endgame positions did not give an idea as neither the position nor the material was identical.
During the autoplay mode the program was blocked twice and the reset function of the Palm was used to cure this irregularity.
RAMPART CHESS : (Ver.2.1.0)
Another low cost chess program with good 3D graphics three different versions plus one with historical figures,Additional 2D Font version would be recommendable,as the 3D Fonts are sometimes misleading .The program size is 205K , having a satisfactory menu which consists of New Game which has a sub menu of determining the side to play who takes White or Black where the opponent is the computer,autoplay is also possible which is the Computer vs Computer Mode, There is a Human vs Human Mode and the Palm may be used as an Intelligent Board change of Board Size,Level of Play and type of play ,either Normal or Agressive are other choices.
Other menu selections: Chess Rules,Game Help which give information regarding the use of the Program and Info regarding the version of the program.
One misses PGN recognition and Chess Clock and The Reverse Board feature.
When The Program is thinking the message "Thinking" is reflected and "Your Turn" when the program stops thinking and it's the opponents turn.
The second column of the menu which gives the option of unlimited undo moves. Hint ,Switch Sides ,but no reverse board ability .The choice of playing White or Black,Edit Board being the position Setup.The Edit Board has a Sub Menu of Return to Game,Clear Board and Reset Board ,Preferences enable change of Board Size Large or Small with a selection of commands from the menu.This mode also helps sound On or Off and Message Length.The Last command of the menu is the selection of the Pieces and The Board Colors from the available choices.
The program playing Black against White gives the following replies:t
1.e4 is replied by 1..c5 , 1..e5 , 1..e6 1..Nc6 and 1..Nf6
1.d4 is replied by 1..Nf6 , 1..d5 and 1..f5
1.c4 is replied by 1..Nf6 and 1..e5
1.Nf3 is replied by 1..Nf6 , 1..e5 , 1..d5 and 1..f5
1.b3 is replied by 1..Nf6 and 1..Nc6
The Program Playing with White Opens:
1.d4 , 1.e4 ,1. Nf3 and seldom 1.c4
The frequency of moves either by White or the replies by Black in the opening are closely related to the level of play.
In the endgame the program can mate :
King + Queen the sole King
King + Rook the sole King
King + Bishop + Bishop sole King
Playing at lowest levels may sometimes lead to a draw due to 50 Move Rule or Stalemate related to mating with two Bishops or Queen respectively.
A pawn can promote to a Queen only and no other figure.This may be a drawback
in critical positions.
THE ENDGAME :.
The program knows the Opposition Principle.
We apply the passed pawn setup to Rampart chess too :
White : Ka1 , Pawns on f5, g5, h5
Black : Kc1 , Pawns on f7, g7, h7
Black to play
2.Ka2 2.. Kd3
3.Kb3 3.. Kd4
4.g6 4.. fxg
5.h6 if gxh
if .... 5..fxg then
Exchanging the squares of both Kings and White to play,White plays immediately
plays 1.g6 which is the wining move .
Screen Shots from Ultimate Chess
and Rampart Chess
PASSED PAWN text.
THE MIDDLE GAME :
During the middle game at higher levels , Level 4 and 5 in Both Mode, Normal and Aggressive the program will be a good companion for Regular Players and at lower levels for those who play leisure games frequently.Due to the Opening Library
you may test your yourself with your opening knowledge .The playing strength of the program will satisfy most chess players.There are no blunders during the middle game.The playing strength of the program does not reach a good Club Players level
no doubt.Advantageous positions reached during the midle game such as pawn majority or quality will be well handled by the program at higher levels.