maro's Rebel 8.0 Report
by Manfred Rosenboom (maro)
As a beta tester of Rebel 8.0, I had the opportunity, to use this brand new program version two month before general availability to the public. But no rose without thorns: to get this privilege, I should write in return a report about my impressions of Rebel 8.0. Well, a man should at least try to grow with his burdens ;-)
In testing Rebel 8.0, I used mainly my Windows 95 based Pentium 90 notebook with 32 MB RAM. All tests are run in the pure MS-DOS mode. Also a Pentium 75 based PC with 16 MB RAM and MS-DOS V6.2 was used.
Rebel 8.0 is the newest product of Schröder BV in the Rebel chess program line. Like all its predecessor's, Rebel 8.0 is a MS-DOS program. Despite this fact, Rebel 8.0 is a program with a comfortable user interface. To be more precise: in my opinion Rebel 8.0 is the MS-DOS based chess program with the best user interface.
Rebel 7.0 is reported with a ELO rate of 2412 (on a Pentium 90) in the August list of the SSDF. It is to expect, that Rebel 8.0 will have the same or a even better rating (Rebel 8.0 itself shows a ELO rate of 2432 in the OPT/Elo-Rating menu entry on a Pentium 90 with 32 MB RAM).
Like Rebel 6 and 7 before, database functions are part of Rebel 8.0. All Rebel versions (6, 7 and 8) are using the same Rebel specific database format. An import/export of this format from/to PGN and NicBase is supported directly by the Rebel 8.0 program. Import/export from/to ChessBase is available by the external utility program TB.EXE (shipped with Rebel 8.0). For me as a ChessBase user this is a drawback, but it could be worse.
A lot of search and statistics functions are integrated into Rebel 8.0. Therefore Rebel 8.0 can also be used as a small chess database with an integrated (very strong) chess engine. In principle, no special chess database is necessary to manage your own tournament results. The main missing database features for this purpose are print options.
For all available options, see the Rebel 8.0 menu descriptions DAT and PGN.
Due to the competitors, the Rebel 8.0 beta version was shipped with the Rebel 7.0 opening books (around 550.000 moves). The opening book of Rebel 8.0 will be an improved and even extended version (around 850.000 moves). Further opening books are available by Schröder BV.
New in Rebel 8.0 is the opening book editor for Rebel userbooks (.RBM files). With this editor, you can create your own Rebel opening books from scratch, or change/extend existing userbooks. With the option "Import DB > userbook" you can build a book with a special opening repertoire.
Also new in Rebel 8.0 is the import of Chessmaster 4000, Fritz and Genius books into the Rebel book format (.MVS). And the join function (melting two or more Rebel format books into one big Rebel format book).
The only tool I miss is a converter from userbook format (.RBM) into Rebel format (.MVS) and vice versa.
See the menu description MVS for details.
The game analysis features (menu LEV) are extended in Rebel 8.0 compared with Rebel 7. You can now decide to analyse both white and black moves or only to analyse the white, respectively black, moves only. With "Analysis Power" you can now restrict the analysis by choosing up to six moves, which are analysed exclusively as next move. "Game overview" (menu EXT) shows a game overview in 15 positions (including move number, the move and Rebel's position evaluation). New for position analysing in Rebel 8.0 is the EPD support (menu PGN).
Email chess games, especially games played in an Internet email chess organization like IECC (International Email Chess Club) or IECG (International Email Chess Group) can be managed with the Rebel 8.0 database. Rebel 8.0 supports reading and writing of email chess forms (menu PGN). In reading the email chess forms, the data can directly be written into the Rebel 8.0 database.
Rebel 8.0 supports up to 4 chessboards on parallel (clipboards, menu EXT). This boards can be used for separate games/analyses or for playing 4 simultaneous games. Rebel 8.0 always thinks/analyse for the current active board only.
New Playing levels
Two interesting playing levels are new in Rebel 8.0: Fixed level (Menu LEV) and ELO playing level (Menu OPT). In playing "Fixed level", Rebel 8.0 never compute longer than the given time. In "ELO playing level"
Rebel 8.0 play at the given ELO rate. Of course this ELO rate is only a estimated rated, but with this option, you have a "screw" to tune Rebel 8.0 at your own playing strength. Unfortunately, the options "Info", "Show hint" and "Show teacher" (Menu CFG) aren't available in this playing mode.
- A converter from userbook format (.RBM) into Rebel format (.MVS) and vice versa.
- Option "Analyse database" also for complete games
- Options "Info", "Show hint" and "Show teacher" available at playing in ELO mode.
All in all Rebel 8.0 is a very strong chess engine with a comfortable user interface.
I know the following programs:
- Chessmaster 4000
- Fritz 3/4
- Genius 2/3/4
- IsiChess 2.0
- MChess Pro 5.0
- Nimzo 3
- Rebel Decade/7.0/8.0
The user interface and chess playing style and strength of Rebel 8.0, beside Genius 4, I like most.
Personally I would prefer a Windows based version of Rebel. But on the other hand I can follow Ed's arguments, explained at rec.games.chess.computer, for a MS-DOS based version. But at last, when a truly 32 bit successor of Windows 95 will be available, Ed should made up his mind again.
Last but not least I wish to thank Ed Schröder for his support during testing Rebel 8.0.
Rebel 8.0 Option Overview
Because I can't describe all of the Rebel 8.0 options in detail, here a short description of all Rebel 8.0 menu entries, to see the richness of options in Rebel 8.0:
- Menu POS
This menu contains all position related options.
- New game
Starts a new game.
- Set up
Enter the chessboard position setup editor.
- Remove all
Empty the chessboard.
- Abort set up
Abort the chessboard position setup editor. And display the last board position.
- White to move
White to move (after setup).
- Black to move
Black to move (after setup).
- Exit to DOS
Exits Rebel 8.0 and save the actual configuration.
- Menu LEV
Playing strength related options.
You can choose from the following medium computing times for Rebel 8.0:
- 2 seconds
- 5 seconds
- 10 seconds
- 30 seconds
- 1 minute
- 2 minutes
- 3 minutes
- 6 minutes
You can choose from the following max. computing times per match and player:
- 2 minutes
- 5 minutes
- 10 minutes
- 15 minutes
- 30 minutes
- 1 hour
- 2 hour
You can choose from the following max. computing times per match and player (1st time: player, 2nd time: Rebel 8.0):
- 10 minutes <> 5 minutes
- 15 minutes <> 5 minutes
- 30 minutes <> 5 minutes
- 60 minutes <> 5 minutes
- 30 minutes <> 10 minutes
- 60 minutes <> 10 minutes
You can choose from the following tournament playing times per match and player:
- 40 moves in 01:00
- 60 moves in 01:00
- 40 moves in 01:30
- 60 moves in 01:30
- 40 moves in 02:00
- 60 moves in 02:00
- 40 moves in 02:30
- 60 moves in 02:30
Rebel 8.0 computes at most up to 1 - 10 plies.
- Mate in
Rebel 8.0 can solve mates from 1 - 10 moves.
- User level
The user can enter a medium computing time (Format: mm:ss) for Rebel 8.0.
- Fixed level
The user can enter a max computing time (Format: mm:ss) per move for Rebel 8.0.
Rebel 8.0 computes until a mate is found, or the actual evaluated move is forced by the user.
Rebel 8.0 evaluates all legal moves in the actual position.
- Analysis Power
Rebel 8.0 evaluates up to six given moves in the actual position.
- Menu OPT
General program options.
- Player <> Player
Switches of the Rebel autoplay mode. All moves must be entered by the user.
- Autoplay on
Back to autoplay mode.
- Analyse game
The user can analyse the actual game:
Rebel 8.0 analyse the game with the choosed playing option.
- Analyse for white
- Analyse for black
- Analyse for both
- Analyse database
Analyse all games in a database. This option can not be used for game databases, but position databases only, because Rebel analyses the first position of a game only.
- Go to move
- Search move
- Replay game
- Make move note
Enter a move comment.
- Game to textfile
Save the actual loaded game moves to a ASCII file.
- Permanent brain
Rebel evaluates the position during the user time.
- Brute force
Don't use any selective heuristics.
1 - 9 or N
Choice of the general playing style:
Choice of the general playing strength:
Configuration of the hashtable size (0 to max available RAM).
- ELO-rating 2432
Rebel 8.0 plays at the given ELO rate. On a Pentium 90 (32 MB RAM) a ELO rate of 2432 is the default. The user can enter any ELO rate <= this value.
Use the external PC auto board for playing.
- Autoplay 232
Use the AUTO232 driver for playing against another program.
- Menu DAT
Rebel database options.
- Load game
Load a game from database.
- Next game
Load the next game from database.
- Save game
Save the actual game to database.
- Rewrite game
Overwrite the loaded (and changed) game in database.
- Delete game
Delete game from database.
- Reorganisation db
Reorganize database: free no more needed disk space.
- Search names
Search for all games in database with the given player name.
- Search for text
Search for all games in database, containing the given text.
- Search for moves
Search for all games in database with given move sequence.
- Search for position
Search for all games in database with given position.
- Complete overview
- Top 40 perc
- Top 40 elo
- Load database
Load a database (change actual database).
- New database
Create a new (empty) database.
- Menu MVS
Opening book options.
You have to distinguish between Rebel book format (.MVS) files and userbook (.RBM) ASCII files.
- Load opening book
Load a Rebel opening book.
- Join opening book
Join two Rebel opening book into one book.
- Import book from
Import of a
opening book into Rebel book format.
- Overview MVS-file
- Load user book
Load a userbook.
- New user book
Create a new (empty) userbook.
- Make userbook from DB
Create a new userbook from the actual Rebel database. The user can enter the max. number of moves of each game, that will be copied to the userbook.
- Edit userbook
Edit an userbook.
- Save userbook
Save the edited userbook.
- Menu CFG
General program configuration options.
Choice of the informations, displayed in the info box.
- Show hint
If activated, Rebel displays a hint for the next user move.
The pieces will either be displayed as characters (K,Q,R,N,B) or as pieces icons in the move box.
- Show teacher
If this option is activated, the user gets some information in the info box in pressing ALT T.
Rebel 8.0 either resigns never (Off), or from the given evaluation value on.
- Turn board
- Drag pieces/Click on squares
- Load piece set
- Opening book
If activated, the Rebel 8.0 REBEL.MVS opening book will be used.
- Tournament book
If activated, the Rebel 8.0 buildin opening book will be used.
- User book
If activated, the actual loaded userbook will be used.
The Rebel 8.0 user interface can be displayed in the following languages:
Switch sound on/off.
Switch mouse support on/off.
Display dates either in day-month-year, or month-day-year format.
- Small Pulldown
- Save configuration
Save the actual Rebel 8.0 configuration.
- Standard config.
Reset to the Rebel 8.0 standard configuration.
Game import/export options.
- Game to PGN
Save actual loaded game into a PGN file.
- Database to PGN
Export all games in database to a PGN file.
- PGN into database
Import all games in the given PGN file to database.
- Position to EPD
Append the board position to a EPD file. The following modes can be used:
- As a new file
- Add to existing file
- Position to
Append the board position to the actual EPD file.
- Database to EPD
Export a position database to a EPD file. The following modes can be used:
- As a new file
- Add to existing file
- EPD into database
Append all positions in the given EPD file to a database.
- Analyse Bookup EPD-file
Analyse all positions in a Bookup created EPD file.
- Write game to email-file
Write all game data
into a email file
- Without diagram
- With diagram
- Load email-file
Load the game data from a email file
- only as game
- also in database
- overwrite in database
- Open NicBase game file
Open a NicBase database.
- Load NicBase game
Load a game from a NicBase database.
- Next game
Load the next game from the NicBase database.
- Load previous game
Load the previous game from the NicBase database.
- Search in NicBase
- Import NicBase -> Rebel
Import a NicBase file into a Rebel database.
- Convert Rebel -> NicBase
Convert a Rebel database into a NicBase file.
Rebel color settings options.
- White squares
- Black squares
- White pieces
- White background
- Black pieces
- Black background
- Background black
- Info square
- Menu square
- Current line
- Pulldown shadow
- Pulldown line
- Reset colors
- Save colors
- Load colors
- Standard colors
Rebel extended options.
Enter name of white player.
- REBEL 8.0
Enter name of black player.
- Four boards
Display the four boards (clipboards).
- Game Overview
Shows a game overview in 15 positions with related evaluation.
Choose one of the following energylevel playing levels:
Energylevel playing disabled.
Rebel starts with a low playing strength and will play stronger and stronger.
Rebel starts with top playing strength and play weaker and weaker.
Rebel play each move at random playing strength.
- Program info
Program version and some other data of interest (e.g. free memory, size of hashtable).
- Data info
Rebel shows the following currently in use (or memorized) files:
- Opening book
- User book
- EPD file
- Blindfold chess
Rebel 8.0 supports blindfold chess playing:
- Back to normal
Display all pieces.
- no white pieces
Only the black pieces are displayed.
- no black pieces
Only the white pieces are displayed.
- ? only, colordistinction
All white pieces are represented by white question marks and all black pieces by black question marks.
- ? only
All pieces are represented by black question marks.
- ? only white pieces
All white pieces are represented by white question marks and the black pieces aren't visible.
- ? only black pieces
All black pieces are represented by black question marks and the white pieces aren't visible.
- no pieces at all
Real blindfold playing.
- Clear movecomments
Last updated: Saturday, 24. August 1996
Author: Manfred Rosenboom