HIARCS Chess Software for PC Windows, Apple Mac and iPhone/iPad Palm Manual
World Championship winning computer chess software program & downloads for chess database, analysis & play on PC, Mac and iPhone


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The page is the online manual for HIARCS Palm Chess Pro 13.1. The manual is under development and will evolve over the next few weeks.

The manual has the following sections:

bulletPalm Menu System
bulletLoad Database screen
bulletLoad Game screen
bulletSave Game screen
bulletEdit Position screen
bulletGame Details screen
bulletBoard Styles screen
bulletPreferences screen
bulletPlaying Levels screen
bulletTime Control screen
bulletPlay Role options
bulletEngine Room screen
bulletGame Branches


Palm Menu System

The following menus are available in Palm HIARCS. Click the menu icon, button or key to access the menu.

Game menu

This menu is used for Game based operations as follows:

  1. New Game        This enables you to start a new game, you will be prompted to save the current game first if necessary.
  2. Offer Draw...    This enable you to offer a draw to Hiarcs. Hiarcs will either accept or decline the draw.
  3. Resign Game...  This enables you to offer your resignation of the game. Hiarcs will also resign for itself in hopeless positions. Hiarcs does not resign on instant levels (except Challenger) or at Set Elo levels below 1400 Elo because players at these weaker levels should practice delivering checkmate. On the stronger abilities Hiarcs will resign if it considers the position hopeless. When Hiarcs resigns the game result is set, however, if you wish to play on you may and Hiarcs will not offer its resignation again in that game enabling you to practice finishing the opponent off to checkmate.
  4. Adjudicate...    This enables you to adjudicate the game result as a White win, Black win or Draw.
  5. Load Database    This enables you to select a database to load games from. Click for details on Load Database.
  6. Load Next Game This command will load the next game in the currently selected database. A very useful feature for stepping through the games.
  7. Load Game...    This allows you to select a game to load from the current selected database. Click for details on Load Game.
  8. Save Game...    This command will save the game in the current selected database. You will first be offered the game details to set, these details will be saved with the game helping you identify the game in future. Click for details of Save Game.
  9. Import PGN...    This command will open the memo pad and identify any games and list them. You can then select a PGN game to load.
  10. Export PGN...    This allows you to save the current game in the memo pad database. You will first be offered the game details to set, these details will be saved with the game helping you identify the game in future. Games exported to the memo pad can be retrieved from the Palm Desktop memo application and used on your desktop computer chess software.
  11. Edit Position...    This command allows you to edit the current position to set up your own position. Click for details on Edit Position.


Move menu

This menu is used for Move based operation and navigation as follows:

  1. Give Hint        Asks Hiarcs to show you what move it thinks you should make. This is shown graphically on the board.
  2. Takeback All    Goes to the beginning of the game by taking back all the moves. This can also be accessed by the VCR button.
  3. Takeback        Takes back a single move. This can also be accessed via the VCR button and the hardware up button.
  4. Forward          Makes the next move in the game. This can also be accessed via the VCR button and the hardware down button.
  5. Forward All      Goes to the last move played in the current game. This can also be accessed by the VCR button.
  6. Prev Branch    This commands Hiarcs to try to locate a previously saved game branch in the current game. If it finds a corresponding game branch, Hiarcs will save the current game as a game branch if it is unsaved and then load the previous game branch.
  7. Next Branch    This commands Hiarcs to try to locate the next saved game branch for the current game and then load it.
  8. Prev Mistake    Hiarcs checks back in the game for any mistakes it can spot instantly. This only works if you have played a game against Hiarcs on a non instant level. Mistakes are categorised as mistakes, blunders and gross blunders.
  9. Next Mistake    Hiarcs check forward in the game for any mistakes it can spot instantly. This only works if you have played a game against Hiarcs on a non instant level. Mistakes are categorised as mistakes, blunders and gross blunders.


View Menu

This menu is used for View based information as follows:

  1. Flip Board    This will rotate the board 180 degrees so you can play White or Black up the board.
  2. Game Details...  This enables you to see the details of the current game. Click for explanation of Game Details screen.
  3. Board Styles...    This brings up a dialog form where you can configure the board colours, board size and piece set. Click for details on Board Styles.
  4. Preferences...    This brings up a dialog screen form where you can set many of the general options. Click for details of Preferences.

Hiarcs Menu

This menu is used for Hiarcs based information as follows:

  1. Move Now    With Hiarcs thinking this command makes Hiarcs move immediately. If Hiarcs is not thinking (its the players move), this command will make Hiarcs change sides and start thinking. For example, this command can be used to make Hiarcs play White at the beginning of a game so you can play with the black pieces.
  2. Next Best    This command used after Hiarcs has just moved instructs Hiarcs to takeback its last move and compute the next best move in the position.
  3. Level...        This enables you to open the Level dialog screen where you can configure the playing levels. Click for details on the Level Screen.
  4. Time Controls...    This enables you to open the Time Control dialog screen where you can configure time controls. Click for details on the Time Control screen.
  5. Play Role...    This enables you to select the role Hiarcs will take: Analysis, Watch or Play. Click for details on the Play Role options.
  6. Auto Self Play...    This command instructs Hiarcs to beginning playing against itself from the current position.
  7. EngineRoom...    This enables you to open the Engine Room dialog screen where you can configure the Hiarcs engine settings. Click for details of the Engine Room.
  8. About HIARCS...    This opens a screen to give some information about Hiarcs.


Load Database screen

This dialog lists the available databases and allows you to select a database to open using the Load button. A database can be deleted from this screen using the Delete button. The cancel button cancels the selection. The default HiarcsGamesDB cannot be deleted.


Load Game screen

This dialog screen lists the games in the database. It displays each game in the format Round, White, Black, Result,  Event. The game can loaded by selecting it from the list and tapping the Load button. In the case of the HiarcsGamesDB there is also the option to Delete a game using the delete button.


Save Game screen

The Save Game option leads you to the Game Details dialog so you can update the fields you wish before saving.

Edit Position screen

This screen allows you to edit the position. The Clear button can be used to clear the board of pieces. The Abort button cancels the edit of the position and returns to the position held before the edit session.

To edit the position, select/tap a piece of the required colour from the palette on the right. Tap the square on which you wish to place the piece. If the square already contains the piece selected it will be removed, otherwise the selected piece will be placed on the square.

You can also set the position rights for the new position. You can select if castling kingside or queenside is possible for white and black. You can select the side to move/play and the file of any en-passant capture were it possible. Finally the move number of the new position can be set. Hiarcs will not allow you to set impossible rights, for example if the king is not on its origin square castling is impossible.

The OK button should be used to accept the new edited position.

Game Details screen

The game details screen presents information about the game. You can set any of the fields of the game details except the opening name and number of moves.


Board Styles screen

The Board Styles screen allows you to configure many aspects of the User Interface. You can adjust colours of the Light and Dark Squares, together with the highlights for squares and the background colour. You can adjust the board size using the selector to set Medium, Large and Full screen board sizes. The piece set to use can be selected from the Classic, Challenger and new Elite pieces. Tap the OK button to accept the new settings. Tap the default button to revert to the factory defaults. Tap the cancel button to cancel your changes.


Preferences screen

The Preferences screen allows you to configure the more general preferences and various other options.

The rating is maintained from the games you play against Hiarcs. It is an estimate but its accuracy improves the more games you play.

You can select the players in the game and this effects the role played by Hiarcs. You can set:

bulletYou vs HIARCS - this is normal play mode where you play the computer
bulletTwo Player - this is watch mode where you can enter moves and Hiarcs just watches for legal moves but does NOT analyse
bulletTwo Player Analysis - this is analysis mode where Hiarcs will analyse while you enter the moves
bulletHIARCS vs HIARCS - this is auto play mode where Hiarcs will play against itself from the current position

You can also select the auto off period as default (that set by Palm preferences - normally 2 mins), 5, 10, 15 mins and Always ON. The always ON setting is never saved in case you forget it is set and accidentally drain your battery. If a low battery warning occurs Palm Hiarcs will automatically switch to default.

The various checkbox preferences are as follows:

bulletVCR controls - this option when on presents VCR like controls for game navigation in medium and large board sizes.
bulletExtended PGN - this option instructions Hiarcs to save move time and evaluation information in exported games. This information can be used by desktop software such as Chessbase to present extra information about the game.
bulletShuffle - this option sets Hiarcs to set up a random chess960/fischer random chess position each time you start a new game. Only normal castling rules are observed.
bulletCoaching - this option when on tells Hiarcs to using its coach to spot bad moves played and warn you, giving you the chance to takeback the move or ignore the coach!
bulletFlip Board - this when ON option flips/rotates the board.
bulletSound - this option can be used to which sound on or off.
bullet5 Way Move Entry - this option when on allows you to enter moves using the 5 way keys on some palms. Not recommended unless you have a Palm with these keys and prefer this mode of move entry
bulletSmart Move Entry - this option when ON sets Hiarcs to allow one single tap on the destination square for only moves.
bulletShow Legal Moves - this option when ON instructs Hiarcs to show you the legal moves of any piece you select so you can see which moves are legal.
bulletShow Book Moves - this option when ON instructs Hiarcs to show book moves available in the current position. These are displayed on medium and large board sizes.
bulletShort Notation - this option when ON tells Hiarcs to show shortened Algebraic notation.


Playing Levels screen



The Playing Levels screen allows you to set many aspects of the playing level. Click any of the following to read more.

bulletYou can set time controls and timed levels
bulletMove Entry Bonus can give you extra time to enter your moves without using the chess clock!
bulletHandicap playing levels can be set to compliment the time control/timed level


Level options

There are many levels to select from as follows:

  1. Instant Sparring - these are beginner sparring levels which are instant, they are in Elo steps of 50 Elo from 750 Elo to 1200 Elo
  2. Casual Move Time Presets - this is a settable time for which Hiarcs will aim to think, sometimes more, sometimes less
  3. Game In Preset - this is a set time for which each side must play all their moves
  4. Move Bonus Preset - this is a set of time controls including time bonuses for each move (ie. fischer increments)
  5. Time Control Preset - these are predefined traditional time controls
  6. User Time Controls - this allows you to fine tune any time control within a framework of three time controls and increments
  7. Infinite - this setting tells Hiarcs to think forever or until it exhausts it's search

You can view the presets in their categories below.

Beginner Instant Sparring                        Casual Move Time Presets


Game In Preset                                            Time Control Preset


Move Entry Bonus

For any level you can set the Move Entry Bonus - this is a bonus time between 1 and 5 seconds which is allowed for you to enter a move. Your clock cannot gain time if you use less than the bonus time for a move, but when using time to enter you move your clock will gain up to the bonus time. This gives you a little extra time to enter your moves and avoid losing on time.

Handicap Limit HIARCS chess strength


           Handicap/Limit HIARCS Elo                                    Class of Elo                                         Handicap warning

To handicap/limit HIARCS to a specific Elo strength you should check the Handicap/Limit checkbox. Once selected, you can then either select the exact Elo you entering it into the numeric Actual Set Elo field or use the arrow buttons to decrement/increment the Elo count. The alternative is to use the Class selector to choose an Elo range. If you select a range at or above the maximum strength on your device Hiarcs will automatically switch off the handicap.

The minimum Elo is set to 750 Elo for all Palm devices. The maximum Elo is computed based on the performance of your device and hence this figure varies widely between devices depending on the performance of the underlying hardware, especially the CPU.

Time Control screen

The time control screen enables you to set the number of moves to play in a time period and an increment for each of up to 3 time controls. Additionally you can define the number of times each time control is used. A zero for the moves indicates that ALL moves should be played. A star will appear in the "x times" field where the time control should repeat, the last time control

Play Role options

The Hiarcs Role message box gives you the choice to set what Hiarcs' role in the current game should be. Choose Analyse to get Hiarcs to begin analysing the current position while it awaits you moves which it will continuously analyse. To have Hiarcs just watch as you enter move select/tap the Watch button. To simply play a game against Hiarcs select/tap Play Game.


Engine Room screen

The Engine Room screen allows you to configure the HIARCS chess engine in detail. Select/tap the OK button to apply any changes to the Engine Room settings. Select/tap the Optimise button to set the parameters to their optimum settings. To cancel any changes tap the Cancel button.

The following options can be checked on or off:

bulletLearn Positions - when on, Hiarcs will try to learn from the positions it plays or analyses to improve its future performance. Default is ON.
bulletSmart Search - when on, Hiarcs will use a smart search approach which is normally more effective. Default is ON.
bulletPerm. Brain - when on, Hiarcs will use the time when it is your move to continue thinking about its future moves in response to the move it expects you to make next. Please be aware permanent brain can drain the battery more because Hiarcs spends more time thinking and therefore you will be warned about this if Perm Brain is ON when you click OK. For tournament games or for optimum performance this setting should be ON.
bulletAvoid Draws - when on, Hiarcs will try to avoid draws where it can without risky defeat too much. Default is OFF.
bulletCombinations - when on, Hiarcs explores tactical combinations in more depth which should improve tactical strength but at the cost of some positional strength. Default is OFF.
bulletDeep Search - when on, Hiarcs performs a deeper search analysis which normally proves to be very effective. Default is ON.

The following options can be selected from the pop up selectors:


                Show Thinking                                            Hash Table                                                    Playing Style

You can set Hiarcs to Show its Thinking in the following ways:

bulletOff - no thinking shown
bulletFirst Move - shows just the next move Hiarcs is considering
bulletFull Variation - shows the full variation Hiarcs is currently intending
bulletFull Analysis - show the full variation but also during thinking on the opponents time

You can also set the Hash Table size for the engine. The available hash tables depend on the available dynamic ram on your device.

Three playing styles are available, Normal, Aggressive and Solid with Normal being the default.


                        Threat Depth                                                Search                                                        Book

You can configure the depth to which threats are computed ahead with the Threat Depth setting. The default of 5 is the best since it spots impeding threats better for both sides.

The search can be configured for its degree of selectivity. The most effective setting is the Extremely Selective option which allows Hiarcs to reach greater search depths at little risk.

You can download many opening books from www.hiarcs.com including the small, medium, large and full books. The book choice can be selected between a number of settings:

bulletOff - Book is not consulted.
bulletWild - Hiarcs will try to play a very wide variety of book moves often leading to wild risky lines of play
bulletSurprise - Hiarcs will play surprising lines which are generally a stronger choice than the Wild book moves
bulletPlayable - Hiarcs will select from a set of generally playable lines
bulletTournament - Hiarcs will select from the best moves available. This is the book setting that should be used for all important games or tournaments since the level of play achieved is higher.

Game Branches

When analysing or trying out different game continuations you can use the unique game branch feature of Hiarcs Chess Pro.

Let us look at an example to see how this new feature works.

Here we are analysing game variations. We reach this position at the start of the modern Sicilian defence. Here we start analysing the Najdorf continutation 5...a6 and follow a line reaching this position:

Now I decide to go back to the first position diagram and try a Sicilian Dragon with 5...g6. 


At this point Hiarcs detects a possible game branch and asks if how you wish to treat the current game. Your can choose one of the following options:

bulletOverwrite - this means the existing game continuation (Sicilian Najdorf) will be overwritten with the new move and subsequent moves
bulletBranch - this means Hiarcs will save the current game continuation to the Hiarcs Game Database and will start a new continuation with the move 5...g6
bulletCancel - this means Hiarcs will cancel the move 5...g6 and return to the original game

I choose to the Branch option and I then continue to enter moves in this new game variation reaching the following position:

Now I wish to go back to the previous game branch to re-look at it so I select the Prev Branch menu option:

Hiarcs now saves the current branch (which was the Sicilian Dragon) and returns to the previous game branch which was the Sicilian Najdorf variation.

You can press the forward button to move through the Sicilian Najdorf line. At anytime you can go back to the Sicilian Dragon line by selecting the Next Branch menu item.

In the event no more branches are found in the direction requested you will see the following error:

Hiarcs will store how the game branches are related in the event header using a special symbol. As a result if you later load a game with game branches you can navigate forward and/or backwards through the game branches using the Next Branch and Prev Branch menu items.

In addition when deleting a game from the Hiarcs Game Database, if Hiarcs notices it is part of a set of related game branches you will be offer the option of deleting all the game branches at the same time. In this way to can manage the Hiarcs Games Database better.

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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

Highest performance reached depends on computer used. Computer Chess Software with world class chess engine playing strength.
HIARCS is designed and developed by Mark Uniacke in England.

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HIARCS is a trademark of Applied Computer Concepts Ltd. All other product trademarks acknowledged.
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