10 February 2014

Frontend and Backend

After Fishing on the River Chess and Testing an Engine, I still had two other chess packages to install and test: SCID and Arena. Why use both? I've discovered through the years that it's useful to separate the frontend from the backend when analyzing a chess position.

SCID is the software I use for the frontend. It lets me build a chess game the way I like to do it -- move by move, variation by variation, note by note. Because it recognizes PGN, which is essentially a text format, I can rearrange a game's components using a standard text editor. Unfortunately, SCID doesn't recognize chess960, but I have procedures to get around that limitation.

Arena is the software I use for the backend. It handles the details of running an engine. Whatever noteworthy results it discovers, I record using SCID.

Having two pieces of software means I have two copies of a game. The SCID version contains everything I've collected about the game, while the Arena version contains only what I need to analyze specific positions of interest. The advantage of being able to annotate and analyze simultaneously outweighs the slight disadvantage of maintaining two versions of a game.

The biggest challenge in switching to a new version of any software is to tailor it according to my preferences. This is never as easy as it should be and I didn't finish the job before completing this post. Looks like I'll be running the older versions of both SCID and Arena for at least a few more days.

No comments: