After ordering CA16 download from the USCF over the weekend I had to wait until the link came on Monday. After several tries I got the link to work, but the serial number I was given generated a massage saying that it was expired!! So, that afternoon I sent an e-mail to Chess Assistant explaining the problem and by 7:00 am the next morning I had a link that worked, but there was still a problem. The 6.45 million game database that was supposed to come with the program was nowhere to be found. That generated another e-mail to Chessbase Support and the next morning I got a reply directing me to the location on their site where the database plus several other components could be downloaded. I am not sure whether the need to do this is poorly documented or if I just missed it.
Learning all the secrets of Aquarium which was lost when my old laptop crashed was time consuming and at times confusing. I still had the CD for Fritz 12, but not the serial code because that got lost when our house flooded. I e-mailed Chessbase and explained the problem. They told me to go pound salt...buy a new program, they said. In any case, Chessbase has a lot of stuff in which I have no interest...like the Let’s Check and Engine Cloud (which requires a playchess.com membership) and half a year’s subscription to ChessBase Magazine.
Price was also a big consideration: CA16 Basic can be downloaded for $85 from the USCF and the CB13 Starter package is much higher at $219, plus there is no download version available. I finally decided that the basic Chess Assistant would do just fine.
CHESS ASSISTANT features:
- Database of about 6.45 million games
- Access to 7-piece Lomonosov Tablebases , but only until the end of the year - this is not too important because EGDBs are available free online.
- Automatic opening annotation that searches for novelties, adds annotations from the Opening Encyclopedia, CAP evaluations, inserts reference games etc. (Good for CC play)
- Multi-pass game analysis is an advanced analysis method to fine-tune each step of the search. (Good for CC play)
- Interactive analysis allows you guide the engine in its analysis and pick lines and it remembers the results. With Fritz once you leave the analysis and come back, it starts from scratch, so this feature is a very handy one.
- Chess Opening Encyclopedia with more than 8000 annotations and 40 million evaluations by strongest engines key positions.
- Search by position, header, maneuvers, material, comments, novelty search, advanced search by material
One nice thing is that you can download a restricted function version of Chess Assistant that makes it possible to experiment with. Playing around with this version for a few days is what convinced me to go ahead with the purchase of the full version. On the downside, the interface is a lot more cluttered that Fritz, but a lot of that is, I suppose, due to it having a lot more features. So far it looks like CA16 will be very useful, but it is going to take a lot of time learning how to use all its features. Download demo
Addendum 3-25-16...I have discovered that you cannot delete games in pgn which is rather odd as well as somewhat annoying, but so far I am liking this program a lot. The only other thing is that I do wish it had a wider choice of boards and pieces.