HIARCS Chess Software for PC Windows, Apple Mac and iPhone/iPad Mac Chess FAQ
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Mac Chess13.1  FAQ

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 6.2 and latest version of the HIARCS chess engine is 13.1b. 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 13 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 13.1 MP?
  8. Does the HIARCS 13.1 MP license key work with the SP version too?
  9. What levels are there for the beginner and average club player?
  10. What does the free Sigma Chess HIARCS 13 Lite offer?
  11. I like Sigma Chess HIARCS 13 Lite, why should I purchase the full version?
  12. I own HIARCS 11 for Mac, what does HIARCS 13 offer me?
  13. Why is there a HIARCS 13.1 but no 13.0?
  14. 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 10.4 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 / Quads or better or multiprocessor PowerPC Macintosh computers you should choose the Multiprocessor version of Sigma Chess HIARCS 13 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 (10/11) would be better selecting the Single processor version of Sigma Chess HIARCS 13.

Both the Single and Multiprocessor versions of HIARCS 13 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 13.1 now supports up to 16 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 6.2 and is now bundled in Pro form with the new HIARCS 13.1 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 13.1 and contains the following enhancements over v12.1:

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 search tree efficiencies on multi-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 Sigma6.2-HIARCS13.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 6.2 HIARCS 13" folder from the volume to the recommended location - the "Applications" folder. Once this is done eject the Sigma 6.2 HIARCS 13 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.

Once you have drag/dropped the Sigma 6.2 HIARCS 13 folder into your /Applications folder you can locate the Sigma Chess 6.2 GUI in the /Applications/Sigma 6.2 HIARCS 13/Sigma Chess 6.2 folder.

 

To start the Sigma Chess application please either double click the Sigma Chess 6.2 entry as seen above, or first drag it to the dock bar at the bottom of the screen so that it is easy to access in future:

Once in the dock bar as shown above you can easily start Sigma Chess HIARCS from the dock bar simply by double clicking the Sigma Knight icon.

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How do I install the HIARCS 13 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 13.1 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 13.1 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 13.1 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 13.1 SP from the Engine selector at the top of the dialog. If HIARCS 13.1 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 13 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 13.1 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 13.1 MP UCI chess engine browse to the folder it is in (the default location is /Applications/Sigma Chess 6.2 HIARCS 13/HIARCS). There you will see it named "Hiarcs13.1MP". Select it and click "Open".

The HIARCS 13.1 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 13 MP license key work with the SP version too?

Yes the HIARCS 13 MP license key will work with BOTH the HIARCS 13.1 SP and HIARCS 13.1 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 13 customers?

Yes, if any progress and improvements are made to the HIARCS 13 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 14 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 14.

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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 6.2 Pro GUI together with a HIARCS 13.1 Lite chess engine package and has the following limitations:

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HIARCS 13.1 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.

You will find the HIARCS 13.1 Lite engine is already about 2500 Elo and comfortable stronger than the integrated native Sigma Chess engine. The registered/activated HIARCS 13.1 chess engine is massively stronger than the Lite version and would score about 98% 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 13 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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The new premier HIARCS 13.1 single and multi-core/processor chess engine in UCI form

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Strongest HIARCS chess program ever for Intel and G3/G4/G5 Macintosh computers (universal binary)

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Can play at any chess standard you set in Elo rating points from beginner to World Champion

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

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Tournament book with the latest opening theory for study and preparation with new Book Monitor

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Nalimov tablebase support of up to 6 pieces for perfect play in the endgame*

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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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Dramatic improvements over the Lite version, 40 times faster, 600 Elo stronger, 62 moves deep

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Free updates of the HIARCS 13 series engine as they become available.
 

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New Sigma Chess 6.2 Graphical User Interface with Pro features and improved MultiPV

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UCI engine support so you can run other UCI Mac OS X engines in addition to Sigma Chess & HIARCS

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Sigma Chess now supports engine-engine matches - see those engines do battle!

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Monitors your play, measures your progress with Elo history graph and statistics

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Sigma Chess Pro now supports engine-engine matches and multiPV display!

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Sigma Chess GUI game collections (PGN & EPD) and HTML web page export including "Rules of Chess" collection

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

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 13 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, 11, 12 for Mac, what does HIARCS 13 offer me?

Sigma Chess HIARCS 13 is a major update on the previous Sigma Chess HIARCS version in many ways. Its over five years since the release of HIARCS 9.6, over four years since HIARCS 10, over three years since HIARCS 11 and two years since HIARCS 12. We have been very busy evolving the HIARCS chess engine so we can offer you the best Apple Macintosh chess software .

Sigma Chess HIARCS 13 offers these great features beyond the HIARCS 10/11/12 chess engine:

bulletMassively increased chess strength.
- On PowerPC G3/G4/G5 you will see a chess strength increase of 80 Elo over H12, +160 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 180 Elo over HIARCS 11 and 80 Elo over HIARCS 12.
- You can expect HIARCS 13.1 to score 65% against HIARCS 12.1.
bulletSearch is much deeper with better positional understanding with a more aggressive playing style
bulletUniversal binary now means you can run HIARCS 13.1 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 and has a new book monitor feature
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 13.1 improves as it plays!
bulletFlexible, friendly licensing makes installation and usage very easy
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Free updates of the HIARCS 13 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 13 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 13.1 but no version 13.0?

HIARCS 13 was first released on the Pocket PC platform first and its further development resulted in version 13.1. We wanted customers on the Macintosh to have the latest and best HIARCS version so that is why we have released Sigma Chess HIARCS 13.1.

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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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How do I install the Hiarcs 13.1a update?

HIARCS 13.1a is an update issued on 26th April 2010 which replaces the original HIARCS 13.1 engines and contains the following enhancements:

bulletCorrection of a serious error accessing Nalimov endgame tablebases
bulletImproved evaluations in middlegame and endgame
bulletSlightly improved analysis rate (positions/nodes per second -nps)
bulletRegular updates of nps and hash usage info
bulletFaster reacting book learning

This update is only needed for customers who downloaded the main Sigma 6.2 HIARCS 13 dmg before 26th April 2010. The new engines will automatically use the same license key you already entered so you will not need to enter the license again.

To install the update download it from here.

Double click the zip archive to uncompress it:

Now enter the Hiarcs13.1aUpdate folder by clicking on it:

Now either copy & paste or drag these engines to the HIARCS folder which is in the /Applications/Sigma 6.2 HIARCS 13 folder

You can then replace the old Hiarcs 13.1 engines with the new engines:

   

While the new HIARCS 13.1 has the same filename as the previous engines, the engine name displayed within Sigma Chess and on the Author info will be HIARCS 13.1a. That way you will know the update has been applied correctly.

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How do I install the Hiarcs 13.1b update?

HIARCS 13.1b is an update issued on 12th May 2010 which replaces the HIARCS 13.1 engines and contains the following enhancements:

bulletSpeed up of the engine by up to 10%
bulletMulti-core efficiency improvement

This update is only needed for customers who downloaded the main Sigma 6.2 HIARCS 13 dmg before 13th May 2010. The new engines will automatically use the same license key you already entered so you will not need to enter the license again.

To install the update download it from here.

Double click the zip archive to uncompress it:

Now enter the Hiarcs13.1bUpdate folder by clicking on it:

Now either copy & paste or drag these engines to the HIARCS folder which is in the /Applications/Sigma 6.2 HIARCS 13 folder

You can then replace the old Hiarcs 13.1 engines with the new engines:

   

While the new HIARCS 13.1 has the same filename as the previous engines, the engine name displayed within Sigma Chess and on the Author info will be HIARCS 13.1b. That way you will know the update has been applied correctly.

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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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Purchases in other currencies will be subject to conversion rates from Pounds Sterling (GBP).

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HIARCS Computer Chess Engines are designed and developed by Mark Uniacke in England.
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