How to use the top game viewer
Click on any red “click here to load this game” link in the top games section. You can also click on the heading for the game, and it will load automatically.
If you wish, you may set some options in the side panel. These options will be remembered on your computer using “cookies”, although you will need to refresh the page for the changes to take effect.
Hide computer evaluations allows you to play through the games without being distracted by a computer assessment of the position. This might also be useful for older browsers/computers that may have trouble quickly calculating the computer evaluation.
Load boards in a new tab/window opens each game’s “load this game” link in a new tab. It has no effect if you open the game by clicking on the title. Right-clicking on “load this game” links and selecting “Open in a new tab” or similar has no effect, so this is a workaround for that.
Having loaded a game, you are presented with the setup below:
The chess diagram in the middle is the board position. As you play through the moves, this will automatically update to show you the latest position in the game.
Directly to the right of the board position is the move list. You can scroll up and down the move list, and click on any move to see the board position at that time. Each move is presented in standard algebraic chess notation.
Underneath the board position are a set of controls. From left to right, clicking on these will:
- Return to the beginning of the game (before the first move was played)
- Go back to the previous move
- Go forward to the next move
- Move to the end of the game (position after the last move was played)
- Play through the remaining moves with an animation
- Stop any such animation
Once you have clicked within the board, you can also use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate between moves (this can sometimes have issues, particularly if you have more than one board open at a time).
Using Computer Evaluations
The chess engine used for the viewer’s evaluations is known as GarboChess JS, by Gary Linscott. This is a fairly strong engine in its offline form (a little over 2500 Elo against other chess engines at present) but its evaluation strength will depend naturally on the capabilities of your web browser (even if it is, arguably, the strongest engine that can run in a web browser at this time). Even most modern web browsers are not particularly optimised for chess evaluations, so for a more serious and detailed analysis you should go to our links page and download chess software.
For the most basic computer evaluation, check the bar to the left of the board position. The size of the dark blue portion of the bar is the computer’s rough estimation of black’s chances of winning at that position, while the light green portion is the computer’s rough estimation of white’s chances. As the game progresses, the relative size of the bars will adjust while the computer calculates each position.
For a more detailed analysis of the computer’s thinking, you can click on the “show computer thinking” link, to the right of the controls. This will give you an indication, first, of what sequence of moves the computer expects will happen next. This is useful, for example, if the computer is showing a large advantage for a particular side, and you are not sure why.
It also gives some general, statistics about how deeply the computer has thought about the position. Ply refers to “half moves” the computer is looking ahead, score refers to who the computer expects to win and by how much (ie a score of +1 means white has an advantage roughly equivalent to 1 pawn, while -3 means black has an advantage roughly equivalent to a bishop or a knight), and nodes means the number of possible positions the computer has thought about. To hide this more detailed evaluation, simply click the link again.
The longer the computer has to think about about a position, the more accurate its evaluation will be. Don’t be surprised if the bar adjusts while it considers various possible moves. As with most chess engines, GarboChess is much better at spotting short-term tactics than long term strategies.
If you want to stop the computer thinking (for example, to stop the page from using too much memory if you are running several boards at once) simply return the board to its initial position using the first button on the controls, and the engine will stop until you start playing through again.
Feel free to contact any of the website people around the club.