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Dasher - Chess Reviews


Dasher is a free chess interface that you can use to play against the computer, which also has to capability to connect to the Internet Chess Club (ICC). For more information on this chess server, click here to see my introduction to ICC. I am mainly going to discuss the ability to play against the computer using Dasher, however, feel free to try the 7-day trial at ICC.

To find Dasher, go to the ICC website and click on "Download Software" under "Help Center" on the left side of the screen.

After loading the program, clicking on "Play against my computer" loads a variety of different skill levels the user can select to play against.

Uniquely, the computer emulates human opponents of varying strength with a picture and a short biography of that fictional player. The opponents range from Scott, a young boy rated 1000, to GMs Bala, Martin, Daan and Petya (highest rating 2700).

The interface allows you to track your virtual rating (which starts at 1600) when you play 'rated' games.

The time limit can range from a 1-minute game to a 2 hour game plus 2 minutes increment per move. The default time limit is a respectable 5 minutes per player.

The default chess board is quite comfortable, and there is also the ability to customise the chess sets and boards. Players who are baffled in a position can ask for hints if they please.

I believe the chess engine that the user is playing against is Crafty, a freeware engine written by Dr Robert Hyatt, but the player is free to install other engines if he wants. See my free chess programs article for other downloadable free chess engines.


Overall, Dasher is an enjoyable program to use if you want to test your skills against the computer or simply want to connect to the commercial ICC server. The free software is suitable for beginners and intermediate players.

To purchase products, I recommend Wholesale Chess. They provide the highest quality chess products at the lowest prices (especially for US and Canadian players). They even offer to match prices with other chess websites! Even though I live overseas, this is where I choose to purchase chess goods.

For chess opening training and repertoire maintenance, I highly recommend the software I use, Chess Openings Wizard. This software was approved by Grandmaster Peter Svidler (FIDE rating 2744 as of January 2010) many years ago.


Posted by Webmaster on Sunday, February 28, 2010.


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