Crafty Chess Interface
An attractive chess interface coupled to the powerful Crafty engine
Pros & Cons:
To play against a computer you'll generally need at least one chess engine to handle the all important computing side, hooked up to a convenient graphical user interface (GUI) to provide the visual chessboard display. A good package to start with is the Crafty Chess Interface, which provides an attractive GUI coupled to the powerful Crafty engine, an open-source software developed by Dr. Robert M. Hyatt.
Weighing in at just 1.34 MB, the Crafty Chess Interface makes an excellent lightweight portable option which may itself completely satisfy the needs of many casual chess players.
The intuitive interface provides ready access to useful features, including a slider (in the Control Panel) to adjust Crafty's engine strength, which many may find particularly convenient. Although there's only the one engine, you can easily instruct Crafty to play either or both colors whenever you want.
If you're feeling lazy, you can just sit back and watch a couple of engines battle it out - in this case, Crafty vs Crafty).
Like most standalone programs, Crafty Chess supports both PGN and FEN (two commonly used formats—the Portable Game Notation allows you to load, play through and analyze recorded games while the Forsyth-Edwards Notation records board positions).
If you want Crafty to use established opening lines, you can download opening books from the Crafty Chess page to preload into the program.
Being used in Crafty Chess Interface, the Crafty engine is also available as a separate download here for use with other chess interfaces such as Winboard on Windows or XBoard on Linux.
Crafty Chess Interface was reviewed by Gizmos Freeware on