written by Stephen Pribut
Rebel 10 Schroder BV
REBEL 10 is the latest Rebel in the long line of highly rated programs produced by Schroder BV. For years the Rebel line has been at or near the very top of all listings of high performance Chess software.
This past summer, a version of this software beat Vishy Anand in a match of rapid play chess. And last year the previous version beat Yusupuv, also in a match of rapid play chess.
Rebel is a DOS based program, written in finely crafted Assembler and one day soon will make the transition to Windows. At this time, it brings to a DOS based program, much of the functionality of a stand-alone windows program and pushes this environment as far as it can go.
Rebel has the reputation of playing a human-like game with a good sense of position in addition to the usual tactical mastery displayed by our silicon companions. But, unlike the humans you and I know, Rebel will rarely lose.
Rebel also has database functionality, a brand new tree function and the ability to import PGN files. Supplied utilities will convert Nicbase and Chessbase cbf files to Rebel database format and books from† Fritz 4,† versions of† Genius and Chessmaster 6000 can also be converted to Rebel format.
I tested Rebel 10 from within the Windows 95 environment on a Pentium 300 MHz with 64 Meg of RAM and on a 266 Pentium II with 64 Meg of RAM.
Without booting up in DOS, Rebel ran smoothly from the Windows 95 environment.
General impression (user comfort etc.)
As a previous user of REBEL Decade, Rebelís 7, 8, and 9 there was no difficulty in learning the new functionality of REBEL 10. Both mouse and keyboard can be used to operate the program.
Ed Schroder has listened to user suggestions and taken nearly all of them into account to make this REBEL one that reflects the type of power in a chess engine that he always manages to produce and one that has also been shaped by the needs and desires of the REBEL users.
The screens are clean and† the graphics are clear. The colors have always been well chosen for viewability and to prevent eye fatigue. While they truly do not require adjustment, all of the screen elements are user configurable.
The windows are now moveable so besides the several screen layouts that come with Rebel, you can now make your own and position the elements wherever you would like them to be. REBEL 10 is more customizable than any other program available.
Up to 24 different buttons can be configured to operate any function that the software can perform and they are relocatable.
These buttons can be configured to pop up your custom configuration, change the time setting, switch to analysis or anything else you can come up with. Another windows like feature is the pop-up hints that occur when your mouse lingers over one of the buttons.
Once Rebel 10 has been installed, the user friendly copy protection does not require refreshing.† Unlimited installs for your personal use are allowed.
The REBEL programs have been at the top of the charts for many years. Besides the matches that REBEL won against Yusupuv and Anand, there have been many other tournaments won. One of the most important tournaments for computer chess programs is the annual AEGON Man versus Machine tournament which pits 50 computers and 50 humans against each other. Six rounds are played. In the most recent AEGON tournament of April 1997 12 GMs and 11 IMs participated. REBEL playing against 4 IM's and 2 GM's and scored 4.5 points achieving a tournament performance rating of 2619 ELO. The really scary thing is that Rebel 10 may be even better!
The database functions in Rebel dramatically improved in Rebel 9 and have moved forward again in Rebel 10. The free subscription offered allows you to download new games on a monthly basis.
Of course you can also download The Week In Chess games every week in PGN format and import them to a Rebel database. The Rebel database structure has been made publicly available by Ed Schroder so third party utilities are encouraged. The new database utilities within Rebel itself, now allow ELO sorting and searching, Black Name, White Name and a free form field for user defined classifications, which can contain date, location, tournament or text of your own choosing.
Besides the above mentioned search fields a thorough search mask is also included.
As you scroll through the database you will see the ECO and the name of the opening for each game, along with the two position screens showing the defining opening position and the final position of the game.
At the click of a button, Rebel will determine an evaluation for you and also present a multiboard overview of the game. On this screen you can also see an evaluation for each position.
Rebel 7 had 550,000 positions in its standard opening book, Rebel 8 had over 870,000, Rebel 9 had over 1.2 Million positions and Rebel 10 adds another half a million positions resulting in a more than† 1.7 Million position opening book.
A smaller general opening book of 100,000 moves is also included with the program for use on smaller computers or to be combined with specific specialized openings that are available separately.
Jeroen Noomen, a Dutch opening specialist, has compiled the openings for Rebel 9. Jeroen has worked on opening books with Ed Schroder's chess programs since 1989. He began with the opening book for Mephisto Polgar and has since crafted opening books for several other Mephisto Series programs and for Rebel 6, 7, 8 and 9.
His opening books are always based on current theory even including games played at top tournaments this year.
An opening book editor for user defined opening books is included. Rebel's own format opening books can be merged with other Rebel books and with those of Fritz, Genius or Chessmaster. This is an easy to use feature and can be used to create master books from your favorite masters or your current opponents.
Rebel will readily convert a database into an opening book. This allows you to make a database of your favorite opening line and convert it into a book to play against.
Fritz can also import Rebel books and you may then examine the resulting trees. When you do this, however, it appears that not every move that exists in the Rebel book appears in the Fritz tree. Rebel seemed to flawlessly import the Fritz fbk files.
Over the past year on the Rebel 9 subscriber page, there have been new specialty opening books posted and other treats. This has been free to Rebel 9 owners and now Rebel 10 owners will have access to both this and their own free subscription page.
The books on the Rebel 9 Bonus CD (a separate product) amounted to over 50 megabytes of material. Many free evaluated opening books are available on the subscription page including Gambit Play, English, French, Benoni, Caro-Kann, Grunfeld, Sicilian, Ruy Lopez, Scotch, Petroff, etc. Opening lines can go well out past 25 moves or more. If you are examining a particular opening you can switch to another opening book which specializes in the opening to shorten your analysis.
I enjoy switching to the French, Caro-Kann or Ruy books, when analyzing games played in these openings. It is also good to practice against these books. The opening books show both the moves present in the book and their calculated score.
At any point you can close the opening book and just play Rebel against its own evaluation. Overviews of the opening books are available as a menu selection.
One of the best other features is the Rebel Subscription page. Free books, free games for the database, free utilities, tips and more. The subscription service alone is worth the price of the program.
A supplement to the oppugn books is the new EOC. This is a large tree, called the Encyclopedia of Chess which contains statistics on a large number of GM games. A larger EOC is available as a separate product. The EOC shows statistics in a tree form for moves from GM games. It also displays the top GMs who made the moves, in an easy to use and read format.
Some of the other great features include simul games, a blitz fun time feature (which can be set to do some strange things such as give a time bonus for pawn moves, subtract time for captures, etc.),
The strength and configurability of the program are strong points. The high interest value of the type of game produced by Rebel products has always been enjoyable. The free extras available on the Rebel subscription page are helpful.
The new Hints For Experts and Hints for Novices are both helpful for all of us.
Schroder BV is an extremely responsive company. From my wish list of Rebel 9, the added feature of a Fischer Clock was one of my desired features. There is now a fully configurable Fischer Clock.
Also on my short list was a configurable button to flip the board. That is there too, as are a total of 24 configurable buttons.
Iím looking forward to a Windows version. While the move will not be easy for the programmers, and Schroder BVís goals have been to have the strongest possible engine, the move is crucial. This move to windows will eliminate some of the memory problems that users who have tried to Boot up in DOS have reported and the inability to copy information readily from within the program to another Windows program.
Another feature that I miss is storing multiple variations, but they can be played from within the analysis setting. Iím sure this will be in the Windows version. And perhaps a configurable tree will also be added in the windows version.
Every thing else that was on my wish list from Rebel 9 was incorporated into this program. In looking at some of the other reviews of Rebel 9 it seems that the suggested features were also all added, with the exception of the two items above. I did notice on the Internet, someone who wanted Ed to add an ICC (Internet Chess Club) direct link up to play as a computer, but this might have been from someone who wanted to boost his own rating a bit.
I highly recommend this program to serious lovers of chess. Read my review again to see why. For those of you anxious to know the bottom line on Windows versions and pricing, Ed Schroder has announced that a beta version of the Windows version of Rebel will be available for free on the Rebel 10 Subscription page, next summer.
Because of the new price war in chess software the pricing is now at an amazingly low price. $59.95 or DM 99,00. An upgrade is available for $29.95 or DM 49,00. Schroder BV Software is the only company that Iíve encountered that gives an amazing subscription service for its products for free.
Free books, free games for the database, free utilities, tips and more. The subscription service alone is worth the price of the program. And the program, at this price, should not be passed up by serious chess players, even those of us married to Windows.
In general REBEL10 (new) costs $59.95, REBEL10 (upgrade) costs $29.95. For specific valuta check the Rebel price list.
The below two companies ship REBEL software all over the world, allow all possible payments like VISA/MASTER etc., are known for good service and fast delivery. You can email Gambit Soft (Germany) or ICD Your Move (New York) by clicking on the companies logo for remaining questions or to enter your order.
Order from Gambit Soft (Germany) attention Bert Seifriz.
Order from ICD Your Move (USA) attention Steve Schwartz.
If you want to order from your local dealer then check out the REBEL dealer list.
REBEL dealer list (by phone)
REBEL dealer list (by email)