written by Ian Macey
OverviewI'm fairly new to chess and although I knew how to play, I have only been playing seriously for the last eight months. One of the first things I did when I decide to take up chess as a serious pastime was to look for a good chess program, and via the Internet I came across Rebel Decade. And what a great program it is ! When Rebel 8.0 was announced and beta testers requested, I applied and was accepted. I have been testing Rebel 8.0 for one month now on two PC's (an AST Bravo 4/33 [upgrade to an Intel 486DX 100mhz] and a Compaq Aero 4/33c) and Rebel 8.0 runs very well on both machines.
I use both Rebel programs as training aids in helping me improve my chess, and they have help immensely. Although I play against the machine, I also use the analysis and database facilities quite extensively.
General impression (user comfort etc.)There are now a lot more options available with Rebel 8.0 via an extensive menu system, and it took me a little while to get used to selecting the right options that I required. But once mastered they are easy to use and remember. The user interface is flexible and easy to use. You can use a mouse or keyboard, or both. Change the colours, amount of information displayed, sound, style of chess pieces, and lots more.
Playing strengthAs a novice player I did not venture on to the higher playing levels as I knew that I would be beaten easily, so I stuck with the intermediate level and have been able to beat Rebel on one or two occasions. Rebel 8.0 is very flexible in setting its playing strength. You can set a playing strength i.e. intermediate, and then fine tune it even further by setting the amount of time Rebel 8.0 has to make its moves and turning its permanent brain off. There are lots of options to use and adjust and it does take a bit of time finding what is suitable for your own level of play. What I did like a lot was Rebel 8.0 "Energy Level", this makes Rebel a strong player at the opening game and slower getting weaker, or visa versa.
Database functionsI have used the database functions quite a lot. I use Rebel 8.0 to keep a record of all matches I play, for analysis and to see how I'm improving, for importing games from other sources/formats, and utilising the game databases already provided. The database functions are very flexible but I would like to see a drill down facility. i.e. If you do an openings overview of a database, I would then like to be able to get more information about a selected opening ( for example a complete list of the matches making up the selected opening overview), this would be useful for tracking down specific games.
Book functionsRebel 8.0 comes with several opening books and also gives the user the ability to create their own. I have not yet created my own opening books, but I have found the books provided to be an valuable training aid.
Remaining optionsI use the analysis features quite extensively as a training aid. I find it useful to enter a game that I have played at my local club and then get Rebel 8.0 to analysis what both my opponent and I have done, from there I can see were I went wrong and get new and better ideas for improving my game. The 4 clipboards are useful because you can save an analysed game into one of them, play out a suggested variation, and then quite easily go back to the original game.
A list of what "I like on Rebel 8.0".The simple answer is I like everything about Rebel 8.0. It is a great program, and I have found it invaluable as a training aid.
A list of what "I do not like".There is nothing that I don't like about Rebel 8.0, but I would like to see drill down functionality added to the database functions of Rebel 8.0
ConclusionIf you are new to chess and want a great chess program that will help you improve your game, then get Rebel 8.0
Last update August 12,1996