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ExaChess / ExaChess Lite 1.2

Chess database and toolkit for the Mac
© 1996-98 Exant Software and Rolf Exner

ExaChess is a powerful chess-database program for the Macintosh with many features. Use it to manage a database of hundreds of thousands of master games, as a chessboard to play through games, as a tool to record and annotate your own games, to play games against the computer, or to play perfect endgames.

ExaChess Lite is a freeware version of ExaChess which provides most of the features of ExaChess in a version suitable for maintaining a personal games collection.

ExaChess 1.2 includes several major features and numerous minor feature tweaks and bug fixes. If you are a user of earlier versions of ExaChess or ExaChess Lite, see the file 'Release Notes 1.2' for information on what's changed and how to upgrade to 1.2.

ExaChess now has its own web page! For the latest information about ExaChess visit <>.

To order the latest version of ExaChess, see the section How to order ExaChess Pro at the end of this file.


* Features of ExaChess Lite 1.2 (freeware)
* Features of ExaChess 1.2 (commercial version)
* How to install ExaChess
* On-line help
* The databases
* Tools
* Chess fonts
* Compatibility issues
* How to order ExaChess Pro

Features of ExaChess Lite 1.2 (freeware)

Both ExaChess and ExaChess Lite provide the following features:

* Direct support (without conversion) of ChessBase, NICBase, and PGN databases, as well as ExaChess's own database formats.
* Search across all databases or just a single database file by player name, event, year, result, ECO code, opening name, position, partial position, material, special game features, or any combination of these.
* Shows ECO code and opening name for each game and statistics for all matching games.
* Finds and allows easy removal of duplicate games from any database.
* Resizable, customizable 2-D color board with smooth animation.
* Flexible game parser that handles free-form text input, both algebraic and descriptive, including move and position evaluations, variations and text comments.
* Records full tree of moves. Switch to variation or return to main line.
* Shows opening tree (next moves for any opening position) with stats from the database. Quickly find matching games in database for any opening position.
* Supports play against the database or against external 'chess engines' via Apple Events, including ZZZZZZ (supplied), Crafty, GnuChess, and MacChess (available at Mac and chess Internet archive sites).
* Plays perfect 5-piece endgames using Ken Thompson's endgame database CDs.
* Detailed User Guide included.

ExaChess Lite is restricted to showing the first 256 games only of larger databases (128 games for ChessBase, NICBase), and limits searches across multiple databases to at most 8 databases.

Features of ExaChess 1.2 (commercial version)

All the features of ExaChess Lite plus the following:

* Accelerated for Power Macintosh (runs native on PowerPC).
* No 256/128 game limit on individual database files.
* No limit on the number of databases that are listed in the Games menu or All Databases window and which can be searched across in a single operation.
* Opens multiple games and databases at once, each in its own window.
* Provides 'Change Headers' command for easy bulk editing of database game headers.
* Exports formatted RTF text, including diagrams and figurines, for publication of games.
* Optional starter database of 70,000 games.

How to install ExaChess

The ExaChess application needs two folders alongside it: ExaChess Games and ExaChess Tools. The first of these holds databases (in ExaChess, ChessBase, NICBase, Text, PGN or EPD format) and individual game files.

To install your own databases, drag them to the ExaChess Games folder to supplement the ones supplied. You can create subfolders (one level only) within the ExaChess Games folder; these show as hierarchical menus in the ExaChess Games menu.

The Tools folder contains the Help file, the Opening Key file(s), and the external chess engines such as ZZZZZZ. Leave these files in the Tools folder.

On-line help

ExaChess has comprehensive on-line help available; choose Help from the Windows or Help (Balloon) menu. Balloon help is available for menu items and toolbar icons; turn it on using the Help menu. The Help file is an eDOC(TM) self-running application that can be printed to give a high quality User's Guide for ExaChess.

The Databases

ExaChess Lite and ExaChess come with 7 and 9 sample databases in the ExaChess Games folder respectively. The three Linares databases are found in the Linares subfolder:

Famous games (ExaChess format)
- a collection of 44 famous or spectacular games across the ages.

King's Indian Samisch (ExaChess format)
- 240 games featuring the King's Indian Samisch variation. This database has an Opening Tree index for demonstrating the Show Opening Tree feature: Open this database or select it in the All Databases window, then open a new game and select Show Opening Tree.

Linares93.cbf (ChessBase(TM) format, macified)
- 91 games by super-Grandmasters from the 1993 Linares tournament.

Linares94.g30 (NICBase format, macified)
- 106 games by super-Grandmasters from the 1994 Linares tournament.

Linares95.pgn (PGN format)
- 91 games by super-Grandmasters from the 1995 Linares tournament.

Max endgames (ExaChess format - ExaChess (Pro) only)
- 102 games generated by computer of the longest winning lines for various 5-piece endgames, from KNN v KQ (won in 1 move) to KQP-KQ (118 moves). The games come from Ken Thompson's endgame CD-ROMs.

Win At Chess 250 (ExaChess format)
- 250 problems with solutions taken from the book Win At Chess.

WorldCh (ExaChess format - ExaChess (Pro) only)
- All 905 games played in World championship matches from Steinitz-Zuckertort 1886 to Karpov-Kamsky 1996.

~Bratko-Kopec.epd (EPD format)
- 24 problems with solutions, devised by D. Kopec and I. Bratko, "The Bratko-Kopec Experiment: A Comparison of Human and Computer Performance in Chess", 1982, and now a common computer test.

ExaChess (Pro) optionally comes with 5 additional databases on Disks 2 to 6. These provide a starter database of around 70,000 games, and are installed simply by copying them into the ExaChess Games folder. The databases take up approximately 7 MB and will need a further 7 MB when fully indexed. To squeeze more games onto the disks, the databases are provided unindexed. To build their indexes: install the databases, choose All Databases from the Windows menu, select the databases from the database list in the window, and choose Rebuild Index from the Database menu. Reindexing will take about 4 minutes on a G3 Mac, longer on older ones. You may wish to do this as an overnight job if you have a very slow Mac. The databases are all in ExaChess format and are:

Pre-1950 games
1950-79 games
1980-89 games
1990-93 games
1994-96 games


The ExaChess Tools folder contains several files used by ExaChess Lite and ExaChess:

ExaChess Help
- This is the help file for ExaChess. It is a comprehensive User Guide to ExaChess in the form of a self-reading eDOC(TM) document. Print it out to produce a printed manual.

Format.rtf (ExaChess (Pro) only)
- This file is a Rich Text Format (RTF) definition of the format used by ExaChess when it exports one or more games in RTF format for print publication.

- This file is used by ExaChess to look up missing Elo values when doing a search by Elo. Famous players whose careers preceded Elo's rating system have arbitrarily been assigned a rating of 2499.

Opening Key
- This file is used to classify openings and supply opening names. ExaChess (Pro) comes with the additional files Opening Extn and Opening Names which contain transposition lines and the definitions of the opening names. Put an alias of Opening Names into the ExaChess Games folder for easy access to these definitions.

- This is a chess playing program by Gijbert Wiesenekker (, modified to handle the Apple Event suite used by ExaChess for communicating with external chess engines. ZZZZZZ has a simple text-based user interface, but can be controlled by ExaChess so that you need never use the text interface. The file ZZZZZZ.ReadMe contains more information about ZZZZZZ, and the files zzbook.w and zzbook.b contain its opening book. See the on-line help under Computer Play for information on how to drive ZZZZZZ or any other chess engine from within ExaChess. ZZZZZZ is set to make its moves within 15 seconds. ExaChess will launch or quit it as required. It is a fat binary.

Utilities (ExaChess (Pro) only)
- The Utilities folder contains two utilities that may be useful. CBSplitter can be used to split a very large ChessBase(TM) database into smaller chunks more easily handled by ExaChess. ExaResForkKiller can be used to remove the resource fork (the index) of ExaChess databases, as described under Recovery in the on-line help.

Chess Fonts

ExaChess (but not ExaChess Lite) supports publication of chess games including annotations, diagrams, and figurines, as RTF files for import into page layout or word processing programs. Both ExaChess and ExaChess Lite support copying a game position to the clipboard as a picture. For either these, you need a Postscript or TrueType chess font. ExaChess does not include such a chess font; you must obtain one from some other source.

The archive mac-chess-fonts.sit, available from Info-mac in the font subdirectory, is a collection of freeware Truetype and Postscript fonts available on the Internet, converted to Macintosh format. The included fonts are Cheq, Chess Berlin, Chess Marroquin, Chess Maya, Smart Chess, Tasc Chess Figurine, and Traveller Standard. Most of the fonts were obtained from the Nørresundby Chess Club web site, an excellent site for chess fonts located at:


Several vendors sell high quality chess fonts suitable for use with ExaChess. The fonts sold by Alpine Electronics - the fonts Linares, Hastings and Zurich - are highly recommended:

Alpine Electronics sells a variety of TrueType and PostScript chess fonts for both Windows or Macintosh computers. They can be used to create chess diagrams with six different borders and algebraic figurine notation with the complete set of Informant and New-In-Chess annotation symbols. There are three main styles or font families -- Linares, Hastings and Zurich. Each font family also includes rotated pieces for chess variants and one style of checker pieces.

Each chess font family (Linares, Hastings or Zurich) includes many different keymap versions (over one megabyte of chess fonts) in both TrueType and PostScript formats and a nice 14 page User's Guide. The cost for one font family is $29, two font families cost $49 and all three are $59 postpaid (airmail shipping to non-US addresses is extra). All of the fonts have a 30-day unconditional money back guarantee.

Linares is an American style chess font. Many chess books have been published with the Linares fonts. Hastings is a font based on an older ornate chess font (the brick work on the rooks is visible for example). Several chess books have been published with the Hastings fonts. Zurich is European style chess font similar to the font used by New-In-Chess or the British Chess Magazine.

If you want to order the fonts, specify Windows or Macintosh and send a check or MasterCard/Visa number, expiration date and name as it appears on the card to: Alpine Electronics, 526 West 7th St., Powell, WY 82435, USA. For overseas orders add $3 for airmail postage for each font and send either a check drawn from a US bank or an international money order or a MasterCard/Visa number, expiration date and name as it appears on the card.

Steve Smith
Alpine Electronics
526 West 7th. St. Powell, WY 82435

Compatibility Issues

* PGN databases should be text files in Macintosh format. Users who download text files from Unix sites as binary files need to convert the Unix line endings (linefeeds) to Mac format (returns) before opening the file with ExaChess. You can see the linefeed characters with most text editors, where they show as boxes. If you convert the text file to a true Mac text file, ExaChess will handle it correctly.

* ExaChess may crash when used with old versions of SuperBoomerang or Shortcut. The problems occur when ExaChess uses the System 7 (and System 8) routine 'StandardGetFile'. You can avoid these problems by leaving the checkbox 'Use StandardGetFile' unchecked in ExaChess's General Preferences.

* There have been reports of crashes on the original 68000 Macs (SE, Classic) often when opening text or PGN games. ExaChess should be able to handle System 6, non-color Macs, and 68000 Macs, but perhaps not the combination of all three.

* Database files whose name begins with a period can cause crashes. Do not use filenames starting with a period.

How to Order ExaChess Pro

ExaChess Pro is available direct from Exant Software. Send your order to:

Exant Software / Rolf Exner
14 Service Road
Blackburn, Victoria 3130

Fax: +61 3 9894 8301
Web: <>

The cost of ExaChess 1.2 without the optional starter database is A$120.00 (approximately US$82), and for ExaChess 1.2 with the starter database is A$130.00 (approximately US$88). Both prices include postage and handling.

To purchase ExaChess, indicate which of these packages you require, and enclose your Visa or MasterCard number or Australian Bankcard number with name and expiry date as they appear on the card. Bank checks in most non-Australian currencies can also be accepted, but you should add the equivalent of an extra A$10 to allow for the additional processing charges applied by the banks.

If you have an Internet mail address, please indicate that with your order so that you can be notified of bug fixes and new releases.

Original file name: ExaChess README - converted on Tuesday, 12 October 1999, 10:43

This page was created using TextToHTML. TextToHTML is a free software for Macintosh and is (c) 1995,1996 by Kris Coppieters