Links

- REVIEWS -

main whatisnew download strength features shots subscribe reviews FAQ price list phonelistemail list how to order aegon bench database util epd2diagramj. noomen column DIAZ column misc. older topics comp. profile cartoon mode

REBEL 11.0 review

by Roy Brunjes



Rebel Century 3.0 - Review by a Beta Tester

Rebel Century 3.0 is a new and very much improved chess program from Ed Schroder. This program has long been known for its solid, accurate analysis of positions with resulting solid, accurate positional play.

Century 3.0 is very much improved as it now searches much faster. Oddly enough, while this improves its tactical ability (to be expected), it also seems to have improved its positional play noticeably from the older Century 1.0 version. I found this an unexpected benefit, but a pleasant one nonetheless. I can only notice this when analyzing GM games, as Rebel (like other top programs) trounces my badly in our individual games.

Thankfully, it is possible to tell Rebel to play like a weaker player (say ELO 1700 for me). This gives me a realistic chance at winning and Rebel really feels about like a 1700 strength player. This contrasts sharply with other chess engines that, when set to play at ELO 1700, seem like a 1300 player and in the same game like a 2000 player.

The ability to change engine parameters makes this program a delight to play against - you can pick what kind of opponent you want to play - strong attacker, solid positional player, etc. There are literally millions of combinations to these parameters! You can pit one personality against another in automated play to see if your creation is stronger or just more interesting than others.

As an example of how you can change Century 3.0 from a strong positional player that will usually attack your king if everything is right, I present a game played between Junior 6a and a customized personality I called STORM.

Note how aggressive STORM is. This is not to say that STORM plays better chess - it actually is too aggressive and would lose handily to the default Century. However, I estimate STORM to be about 100 ELO points weaker than Century 3.0. This means it is still in the 2400-2500 range for many computers. For me, a 2400 ELO player that loves to attack makes one interesting opponent! Here is the game:

The game below was played at Game in 15 minutes vs Junior 6a. First STORM as black sacs a pawn to open lines of attack against White's castled king (13 g5). Then he sacs the exchange and then a piece for a pawn as he shreds White's cover. Amazing play for a human I would think. For a program? Well, it's even more amazing.

White: Junior 6a

Black: STORM



1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 c5 6. O-O a6 7. Qe2 b5 

8. Bb3 Bb7 9. a4 b4 10. Rd1 Qc7 {This is first non-book move} 11. dxc5 Bxc5 

12. Bd2 Nbd7 13. Be1 g5!? 14. Nxg5 Rg8 15. Nf3 Ne5 16. Nbd2 Rd8 {Just look 

at how Black's forces are very nicely deployed for the upcoming attack! } 

17. g3 Qc6 18. e4 Nd3 19. a5 Qc7 20. Bc2 Bxf2+ 21. Bxf2 Qxc2 22. Nd4 Rxd4! 

23. Bxd4 Nxe4 24. Kf1 Nxg3+!! 25. hxg3 Rxg3 26. Qh2 Qc7 27. Qh4 Bg2+ { 

Black thinks he is up by almost 5 pawns! } 28. Ke2 Bf3+! 29. Nxf3 Nf4+ 

30. Qxf4 Qxf4 31. Ne1 Qg4+ 32. Kf2 Rh3 33. Be5 Qf5+ 34. Kg2 Re3 35. Rd2 Qe4+ 

36. Kf1 Qxe5 37. Rg2 Rh3 38. Kg1 Qd4+ 39. Rf2 Qh4 and White resigns 

Amazing play! Very beautiful.

So Century 3.0 can be modified to play calm, positional chess or bold attacking (and sometimes a bit careless) chess. Average players such as myself will also enjoy built-in personalities such as the Average Strength Club player which will make mistakes from time to time so that you can spot them and make it pay for the inaccuracy!

The database features of the program are largely unchanged from Century 1.0 though it now comes with an 800.000 game database compared to the previous Century 1.0 database of 300.000 games. These games are very high quality. I should also point out that on numerous occasions I have found games in here that are not at all in my entire ChessBase 7 Mega database. The database functions (search, etc) are unchanged from 1.0 as far as I can tell. And that makes them very good indeed. Search on position, search on material, and many other options. While the speed of search by position is not as fast as I would like, it is not poor by any means.

New to Century 3.0 is the CAT database which allows Rebel Century 3.0 to use analysis of positions from other programs such as Fritz, Junior, Hiarcs, Shredder, etc. and incorporate their analysis into its own search (or extend its opening book). While I have not used this feature much during the beta test period, it seems a natural choice for this internet-ready age where computer game scores and their analysis are shot around the world in seconds. It stands to be a means to make Century 3.0 much stronger if a high quality database of CAT games is acquired by the user.

Dann Corbit has done much work in this area and interested parties should visit www.icdchess.com and visit their Computer Chess Club forum where Dann Corbit posts quite regularly.

Century 3.0 does not use endgame tablebases. It does not matter. Its endgame play is very strong and I have watched it outplay Junior 6 in endgames while Junior 6 had access to all 3, 4, and most 5 man tablebases. Ed Schroder has built a great deal of knowledge into this program, and it still fits so easily on your harddrive as there are no tablebases to chew up 2 or more GigaBytes. It does sometimes drop a half point here and there to Junior 6 or other tablebase-enabled programs, but in my experience, it holds its own very nicely in this department.

Century 3.0 runs as a DOS program under Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows 2000. Windows NT is not supported. Before you think this program suffers from a lack of polish on the user interface (most DOS programs do), stop and look at screenshots on www.rebel.nl. This is the most professional piece of DOS software I have ever seen in my life. It is smooth and very functional. I do not even realize it is a DOS program when I am running it. Photorealistic pieces are NOT possible with DOS, but aside from that, it has all of the features you need (and most likely could want).

The Rebel website is an absolute treasure. There is so much information there! Helpful downloads of new personalities for Century, updated opening books, updated game collections (sometimes with Rebel analysis) all of this can be found there. You are strongly encouraged to register as a user of Rebel as this gives you access to a private portion of this website where new goodies are placed. In the past, this has included engine updates as well as GM game collections.

I highly recommend this program to anyone wishing a top rated analysis partner or sparring partner that can be configured to provide a wide variety of playing styles. I own many programs, but Rebel remains the one that actually runs daily on my computers.

Roy Brunjes


Rebel Tiger 13.0 and Gambit Tiger 1.0 - Review by a Beta Tester

Rebel Tiger 13.0 is a remarkable chess program from Christophe Theron. Christophe has been collaborating with Ed Schroder (of Rebel fame) and their ideas have enriched both programs greatly over the last few years.

Tiger 13.0 plays a somewhat quiet style of chess, but the instant you make a tactical mistake, he is all over you. He will even sometimes play bold attacking chess if he senses weakness in your king position. He is very tough to beat as many on the various Internet chess servers have found out.

Tiger plays on the Internet without the aide of other software. This makes it easy to pit Tiger against other programs or even IMs and GMs on the Net. Many have found that this program is a major force to be reckoned with. Tiger's endgame knowledge is frequently quite impressive. Without tablebases, it correctly and forcefully plays many endings that seem drawn, and he wins.

Both Tiger 13.0 and Gambit Tiger 1.0 run under Windows in a Graphical environment. At first, I found the interface cumbersome and hard to learn. After a few days however, I now can report I actually like it!

This review cannot continue, however, without mentioning the second Tiger engine on the Rebel 11 CD - Gambit Tiger 1.0. Gambit Tiger is Tiger 13.0 with a major attitude. This program sacrifices material and slashes at your kingside with (occasionally) reckless abandon.

It is entertaining chess to be sure. Sometimes, this wild attacking style gets it into trouble and a wary computer opponent (or very strong human player) can show Gambit Tiger the error of its ways. Many times however, Gambit Tiger throws pieces into the fray until mate is seen. Either way, the chess sparks fly all over the board when Gambit Tiger plays!

Both engines are part of the Rebel 11 CD package (Tiger 13.0, Gambit Tiger 1.0, Rebel Century 3.0, plus the Rebel Century 2.0 Engine for running under the Tiger user interface).

This makes the Rebel 11 CD an incredible value as you get 4 top notch engines on one CD. And the Century 3.0 engine can be tweaked to assume multiple playing styles. I would place my order for this CD ASAP at twice the retail price. It is that good.

Roy Brunjes