HIARCS Chess Software for PC Windows, Apple Mac and iPhone/iPad Mac Chess FAQ
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This page contains answers to common questions you may have, along with some tips and tricks that we have found useful and presented here as questions. This page will grow over time as new questions and answers are added. Please note the latest version of the Sigma Chess GUI is 6.1.6 and latest version of the HIARCS chess engine is 12.1. All the examples on this page equally apply to the latest versions (with the version names being new of course).

  1. Which computers will Sigma Chess HIARCS run on?
  2. What is the latest version of Sigma Chess HIARCS?
  3. How do I install Sigma Chess HIARCS on my Macintosh?
  4. How do I install the HIARCS 12 chess engine in Sigma Chess?
  5. How do I register and activate the full HIARCS chess engine?
  6. How do I restart the HIARCS chess engine?
  7. How do I add a new UCI chess engine like HIARCS 12 MP?
  8. Does the HIARCS 12 MP license key work with the SP version too?
  9. Is HIARCS 12 the strongest Macintosh chess program ever?
  10. What levels are there for the beginner and average club player?
  11. What does the free Sigma Chess HIARCS 12 Lite offer?
  12. I like Sigma Chess HIARCS 12 Lite, why should I purchase the full version?
  13. I own HIARCS 11 for Mac, what does HIARCS 12 offer me?
  14. Why is there a HIARCS 12.1 but no 12.0?
  15. Is there a HIARCS chess product for the older Mac Classic OS 7, 8 or 9?

 

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Which computers will Sigma Chess HIARCS run on?

Sigma Chess HIARCS is compatible with Apple Macintosh computers running Mac OS X 10.3 or later. This includes Power PC (G3/G4/G5) and Intel based Macintosh computers. It also includes multiprocessor or multicore Apple Macintosh computers where the multiprocessor version of HIARCS can fully harness the power of these very fast machines.

For all Intel Core Duo or Quads or multiprocessor PowerPC Macintosh computers you should choose the Multiprocessor version of Sigma Chess HIARCS 12 for maximum performance and to get the most from your hardware.

For customers with older single processor core PowerPC (G3/G4/G5) Macintosh's who do not intend to upgrade their hardware in the next year (08/09) would be better selecting the Single processor version of Sigma Chess HIARCS 12.

Both the Single and Multiprocessor versions of HIARCS 12 will run on both PowerPC and Intel hardware with one or more processors or cores. The distinguishing feature of the MP version is that it alone can take full advantage of multiple cores or processors to maximum performance on those machines.

HIARCS now supports up to 8 cores and makes maximum use out of the latest Mac Pro machines.

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What is the latest version of Sigma Chess HIARCS?

The latest version of Sigma Chess GUI is version 6.1.6 and is now bundled with the new HIARCS 12.1 engine! This engine is a Universal Binary and thus runs at full speed on Intel Macs. Additionally, a multi processor version is available for even stronger play.

The latest version of the HIARCS chess engine is version 12.1 and contains the following enhancements over v11.2:

bulletBuilt on Intel compiler technology for maximum performance on the latest Apple computers.
bulletDeeper search with new evaluations giving significantly improved chess performance.
bulletNew engine parameters to configure the engine.
bulletDramatic improvements to opening book with new theory and novelties, perhaps the strongest commercial chess opening book.
bulletEfficiency on multi-core systems improved leading to a 60% speed up on 8 core systems including the Mac Pro.
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How do I install Sigma Chess HIARCS on my Macintosh?

First download the Sigma Chess HIARCS product from our Macintosh download page.

Once you have downloaded the Sigma616-HIARCS12.dmg disk image, please double click it to open the disk image.

Once the disk image is opened as a volume it will look something like this:

Please read the How to Install.pdf for detailed instructions. In a nutshell you simply move (drag) the "Sigma 6.1.6 HIARCS 12" folder from the volume to the recommended location - the "Applications" folder. Once this is done eject the Sigma 6.1.6 HIARCS 12 Installer volume. under no circumstance should you run the application from the installer volume itself. You must first move/drag/drop it into the Applications folder on your Macintosh Hard Disk.

For further details please read the How to Install document.

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How do I install the HIARCS 12 chess engine in Sigma Chess?

When Sigma Chess HIARCS is first run after installation you will be given the following dialog:

To install the HIARCS 12.1 SP chess engine simply click the "Install" button. This enables Sigma Chess to form an association with the HIARCS chess engine.

Sigma Chess GUI will now launch (start) the HIARCS chess engine and you will see the following About HIARCS dialog:

You will notice the HIARCS chess engine is currently unregistered and hence it is running as HIARCS 12.1 SP Lite with limited strength and features. Click the OK button and you will be given an opportunity to register the HIARCS engine with the license key you received shortly after purchase.

Enter your License name and code to activate the HIARCS chess engine. If you have not yet purchased the product or don't have your license details to hand, please click "Later" to continue. You will be able to enter the license details later when you have them.

You will now see the following dialog:

This confirms the HIARCS engine is installed. To now use the HIARCS chess engine as the default chess engine click the "HIARCS" button. Use the "Sigma" button only if you do not want to use the HIARCS chess engine.

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How do I register and activate the full capabilities of HIARCS?

Shortly after purchase you will receive by email your license name and code/key information.

Even if you wish to use the HIARCS chess engines in a different chess GUI we strongly recommend you use Sigma Chess to register the HIARCS chess engine first.

When you start Sigma Chess if HIARCS is the default chess engine you will be offered the following registration dialog:

Please enter your personal license name and code into the above dialog and select the "Register" button. You can copy and paste the license information from the license email to make it easier. Provided you have entered the license information correctly to will see the following dialog:

This explains that HIARCS 12.1 SP is registered, but you must restart it in order for the activation process to complete. You can restart the HIARCS engine either by quitting and restarting the Sigma Chess GUI or by following the instruction on restarting the HIARCS chess engine below.

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How do I restart the HIARCS chess engine?

After registering the HIARCS chess engine it has to be restarted so that the activation process can complete. This is how to restart the HIARCS chess engine (or any other UCI engine) in the Sigma Chess GUI.

First Open the Engine Manager dialog accessed via the Analyze->Engine->Engine Manager menu item. You will then see the following Engine Manager dialog. If HIARCS is the default engine it will be shown by default here.

If you have another engine listed (e.g. Sigma Chess), you can select HIARCS 12.1 SP from the Engine selector at the top of the dialog. If HIARCS 12.1 is not listed there that is because you did not select to install when originally asked. Please see our FAQ question on adding a new UCI chess engine here.

Click the "Stop" button to stop the HIARCS chess engine. The Engine Manager dialog will then look like this:

Not much has changed, only the engine is now "Not loaded". Now click the "Start" button to restart the HIARCS chess engine. If you are doing this to complete the activation process you will now see the following dialog:

This confirms the HIARCS chess engine is now fully activated. Select the OK button. The Engine Manager dialog will now look something like this and you will be able to configure the many engine setting options.

A full list and description of the configurable options of the HIARCS chess engine can be found on our HIARCS UCI Options page.

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How do I add a new UCI chess engine like HIARCS 12 MP?

This section explains how to add a new chess engine into the Sigma Chess GUI so that you can use it within Sigma Chess. We will use the example of the HIARCS 12.1 MP chess engine although this approach is used to add any UCI chess engine into Sigma Chess.

First open the Engine Manager dialog accessed via the Analyze->Engine->Engine Manager menu item. You will then see the following Engine Manager dialog:

Now click on the "Add..." button to select to add a new UCI chess engine. You will now see a browse dialog something like this:

To add the HIARCS 12.1 MP UCI chess engine browse to the folder it is in (the default location is /Applications/Sigma Chess 6.1.6 HIARCS 12/HIARCS). There you will see it named "Hiarcs12.1MPUCI". Select it and click "Open".

The HIARCS 12.1 MP engine will then load and is now added as a new UCI chess engine. Please remember to activate it you need to purchase the engine and enter your license information.

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Does the HIARCS 12 MP license key work with the SP version too?

Yes the HIARCS 12 MP license key will work with BOTH the HIARCS 12.1 SP and HIARCS 12.1 MP engines. So you can enjoy all the benefits of both engine versions.

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Will you give free updates to Sigma Chess HIARCS 12 customers?

Yes, if any progress and improvements are made to the HIARCS 12 series of chess engines it is my intention to release those updates for free to Sigma Chess HIARCS owners. However for obvious reasons I would not release a new HIARCS 13 engine for free as that is a separate development involving a lot of investment and new work, although it is my intention to provide discounted upgrade pricing for the eventual HIARCS 13.

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Is Hiarcs the strongest Macintosh chess program ?

Yes, it is the strongest chess software ever sold for Apple Macintosh computers.

HIARCS 12.1 scores about 65% against HIARCS 11.2 which itself outscored other Mac chess programs when it was released.

It is the strongest chess program on both Power PC (G3/G4/G5) and the new Intel based Macintosh computers. This is all achieved from one single universal binary application!

Independent engine-engine matches on Macintosh G4s by Richard Fowell indicate that

HIARCS 11.1 SP Mac is stronger than its rivals by:

149 Elo  vs HIARCS 10 Mac 140 - 60    (70% for +149 Elo)

156 Elo  vs Toga II 1.2 Beta 2a Mac 283 - 117   (70.75%   for +156 Elo)

164 Elo  vs Shredder 9.11 Mac 215 - 85   (71.66% for +164 Elo)

167 Elo  vs Fruit 2.21 Mac 288.5 - 111.5 (72.125% for +167 Elo)

218 Elo  vs Gambit Fruit Mac 311 - 89 (77.75% for +218 Elo)

233 Elo  vs HIARCS 9.6 Mac 159.5 - 40.5   (79.75% for +233 Elo)

243 Elo  vs Glaurung Mac 241 - 59      (80.3% for +243 Elo)

These results comprehensively show HIARCS 11.1 SP was stronger than all other Apple Macintosh computers when it was released. HIARCS 12.1 takes that to a new level.

The results are even more impressive on Intel based Macs especially where the opposition is not a universal binary or Intel enabled. In fact they are so overwhelming that the PowerPC programs have trouble scoring.

Furthermore the multiprocessor version of HIARCS 12.1 is even stronger offering the strongest chess playing entity ever on the wonderful Mac OS X platform.

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What levels are there for the beginner and average club player?

In conjunction with Sigma Chess Pro, HIARCS can provide you with customised opponents from beginner at 1250 Elo to Super Grandmaster at 3000 Elo. In addition Sigma Chess can provide Elo rating statistics so you can have your progress measured and even graphically presented.

With Sigma Chess Pro GUI and an activated HIARCS chess engine you can select any set Elo you wish from 1250 Elo up to the top strength supported by your computer hardware (about 2800-3000 Elo).

Please remember the SP version on maximum strength can play stronger than all Elo settings and the MP version can play even stronger than that!

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What does the free Sigma Chess HIARCS Lite offer?

Sigma Chess HIARCS Lite is our free demonstration offering. It provides a Sigma Chess 6.1.6 Lite GUI together with a HIARCS 12.1 Lite chess engine package to provide the following features:

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HIARCS 12.1 Lite chess engine with chess strength limitations:
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Over 400 Elo weaker than the activated/registered engine

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Chess Engine search is 10-40 times slower

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Search depth is limited to 13 plies (one ply is a move for one side)

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Some important evaluation components are disabled

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Only one CPU core is used

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No Nalimov endgame tablebase support

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Achieves about 2500 Elo, strong enough to defeat more than 99.9% of chess players

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Even this heavily weakened version is one of the strongest Mac chess engines

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Playing styles and all other configuration options are fixed.

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Only the first 10 moves of the opening books will be playable

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Hash tables are limited to 16Mb.

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Sigma Chess 6.1.6 Graphical User Interface - Lite product features

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Monitors your play, measures your progress with Elo history graph and statistics (limited to 10 games).

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Sigma Chess GUI database game collections (PGN & EPD) limited to 1000 games

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Printing and exporting  HTML web page features (diagrams not included).

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High resolution, colour graphics with 2D/3D boards and multiple piece styles.

You will find the HIARCS 12.1 Lite engine is already about 2500 Elo and comfortable stronger than the integrated native Sigma Chess engine. The registered/activated HIARCS 12.1 chess engine is massively stronger than the Lite version and would score about 95% in a head to head match. Imagine what all that chess strength could do for your chess play and analysis!

If you like the product please purchase it so that you have access to the full strength and features of the Sigma Chess HIARCS product. Purchasing the product enables us to provide you with an activation key to unlock the features of the product chosen.

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I like Sigma Chess HIARCS 12 Lite, why should I purchase the full version?

Sigma Chess HIARCS Lite is our free demonstration offering. It is limited in features and chess strength ability. If you like the demo Sigma Chess HIARCS Lite product you will love the fully activated version.

Benefits of purchasing the full HIARCS chess engine:
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Choice of HIARCS 12.1 Single or Multiprocessor engine versions

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HIARCS is a Universal binary to maximise performance on both Intel and PowerPC (G3/G4/G5) based Macs

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Chess strength up to 3000+ Elo depending on your hardware performance and version.

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Full chess brain enabled giving much more attacking chess quality - exciting chess!

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Activated version is 10-40 times faster than Lite version

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Maximum depth extended from 13 moves to 62 moves lookahead

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Hiarcs 12.1 scores about 98% v Hiarcs 12.1 Lite!

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Unlimited levels and time controls: Casual, Blitz, Active, Fischer and Tournament.

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Configurable multiple playing styles, Solid, Normal and Aggressive; together with hypermodern play.

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Configurable Smart Search, Selectivity, Threats and Combination settings.

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Positional and book learning capabilities so HIARCS improves as it plays.

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Full Tournament book with the latest opening theory for study and preparation

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Hash tables up to 64Mb. Larger hash tables up to 2Gb are available with the Sigma Chess Pro version.

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Explore new Sigma Chess 6.1.6 GUI with new features like MultiPV

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If you have the Sigma Chess Pro GUI you also get the following additional features for free!
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Settable Elo chess strength opponents in the range (1250 Elo - 3000+ Elo depending on your hardware performance)
- Endgame database support of Nalimov tablebases up to 6 pieces for perfect play in the endgame
- Support for hash tables over 64Mb up to 2Gb depending on RAM availability
- Sigma Chess engine-engine match play so you can watch these machine giants fight it out!
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Continuous monitor analysis by HIARCS giving world class analysis for your games
- Full Elo history graph and statistics.
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Game collections of up to a million games including PGN & EPD with search capabilities
- HTML web page export including "Rules of Chess" collection and diagrams

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Free updates of the HIARCS 12 series engine as they become available.

All these features and chess strength range and configurability will significantly enhance you chess play and enjoyment.

If you like the product please purchase it so that you have access to the full strength and features of the Sigma Chess HIARCS product. Purchasing the product enables us to provide you with an activation key to unlock the features of the product chosen. We have invested significant resources in developing Sigma Chess HIARCS 12 and so we now need your support so we can continue to develop the best chess software for Macintosh computers.

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I own HIARCS 10 or 11 for Mac, what does HIARCS 12 offer me?

Sigma Chess HIARCS 12 is a major update on the previous Sigma Chess HIARCS version in many ways. Its over three years since the release of HIARCS 9.6, over two years since HIARCS 10 and over a year since HIARCS 11. We have been very busy evolving the HIARCS chess engine and finally we can offer you the best Apple Macintosh chess software ever.

Sigma Chess HIARCS 12 offers these great features beyond the HIARCS 10/11 chess engine:

bulletMassively increased chess strength.
- On PowerPC G3/G4/G5 you will see a chess strength increase of 80 Elo (over H11) and 200 Elo (over H10).
- On Intel based Macs you will see a massive increase of 300+ Elo over HIARCS 10 and 100 Elo over HIARCS 11.
- You can expect HIARCS 12.1 to score 65% against HIARCS 11.2.
bulletSearch is much faster with the use of the latest Intel compiler technology.
bulletUniversal binary now means you can run HIARCS 12.1 natively on BOTH Intel and PowerPC Macintosh computers.
bulletSingle and multiprocessor versions available so you can choose the ultimate HIARCS to maximize your hardware!
bulletOpening book is now the full tournament book and MUCH stronger than ever before
bulletSupport for new MultiPV capability bringing a new dimension to chess analysis with Sigma Chess on the Mac
bulletNew book and position learning capabilities means that HIARCS 12.1 improves as it plays!
bulletFlexible, friendly licensing makes installation and usage very easy
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Free updates of the HIARCS 12 series engine as they become available

bulletSpecial discounted upgrade pricing for existing customers!

You may remember that we actually gave HIARCS 10 for Mac as a free update to all existing HIARCS 9.6 for Mac owners. We have invested significant resources in developing Sigma Chess HIARCS 12 and so we now need your support so we can continue to develop the best chess software for Macintosh computers.

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Why is there a HIARCS 12.1 but no version 12.0?

HIARCS 12 was first released on the PC Windows platform first and it evolved to version 12.1. We wanted customers on the Macintosh to have the latest and best HIARCS version so that is why we have released Sigma Chess HIARCS 12.1.

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Is there a HIARCS chess product for the older Mac Classic OS 7, 8 or 9?

Yes, HIARCS was the first world class chess program to support the Macintosh. We began supporting the Macintosh as far back as 1995. You will find details our last product Hiarcs 7 for Macintosh here which is still available from some retailers. We now support Mac OS X and no longer support the older Mac OS Classic 7, 8 or 9.

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"generally I use HIARCS." - Five time World Chess Champion Vishy Anand, in a recent interview when asked what chess program he uses to analyse with
 
"HIARCS is much better positionally than Deep Blue." - Garry Kasparov 1997 (after game 5 of the rematch)

World Chess Champion, Vishy Anand, used "Powerful" HIARCS machine in preparations for his 2010 & 2012 world title matches

"This level of service is one other big reason to buy HIARCS." - John Jackson

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HIARCS Computer Chess Engines are designed and developed by Mark Uniacke in England.
HIARCS is a trademark of Applied Computer Concepts Ltd. All other product trademarks acknowledged.
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