Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Holidays & Palm Hiarcs

Happy Holidays!

I bought a Palm Z22 and loaded Palm Hiarcs (ELO 2506), Morphy's 472 known games, and 24 issues of Endgame Corner. It's a great chess combo that lets me study while on the go.

Battery Life (playing)16 hours
Battery Life (analyzing)8 hours
Weight3.4 ounces

Its strength can be adjusted from 750 to 2500 FIDE in increments of 50. I tried the 750, 950, 1150, 1250, 1350, 1450, and 1550 levels and generally the mistakes looked intelligent from 950 upwards. Its opening book has 377,379 positions, although it lacks endgame tablebases.

How is its analysis? Palm Hiarcs solved 2/3 complex rook endgame positions in 2-3 seconds each. Fritz solved them all in about 20-30 seconds each.

And it can handle a large PGN database of master games.   :)


Excalbur makes an $80 handheld chess computer, but it can't load PGN or PDF files or take notes and its analysis capabilities are only 2000 ELO. Fine for playing, though.

Monroi ($359) makes a device with even fewer features for more money. It only allows recording games, but it's allowed in official tournaments and instantly relays your games on its website. BDK says Monrois are evil. But Polly used one, and she doesn't seem evil to me.

Example Game

In this game I tell Hiarcs I will take 10sec/move (Casual Move Time Preset=10) and ask it to play at 1550 USCF strength (Elo Level=1450 Elo), taking into account my speed. Hiarcs plays a crisp middlegame with a few intelligent mistakes, but its endgame is noticeably weaker.



Glenn Wilson said...


I never thought I'd want one of those little gadgety things. But I am starting to rethink that...

drunknknite said...

Nice game, The Endgame Tactician strikes again!

That seems like a pretty good deal, do you know what other engines are available for this?

Sciurus said...

I got myself a refurbished Palm a while ago, also planning to use it for chess on the road. These things are so out of fashion that they get pretty cheap nowadays :-)

I got Chess Tiger (review). It is fun but I noticed that I have even more trouble avoiding blunders than on larger screens.

Anyway, happy holidays!

happyhippo said...

wow. that's a pretty handy gadget you have there! very nice.

likesforests said...

Thanks, drunknknite.

For a new Palm your best choices are Palm Hiarcs ($45) or Chess Genius ($25) because they have versions written for the ARM processor on newer Palms. They move quicker and use less battery power than non-ARM software.

For refurbished (pre-ARM) Palms Chess Tiger ($15) is a contender.

Some like Pocket Chess Deluxe ($20) but it's only 1706 USCF.

likesforests said...

I tried a pocket chess board, but it required carrying a book of games, anytime I didn't quite get a line I had to run to a computer, and worst of all my daughter kept taking the "horsies". ;)

likesforests said...

"Palm Hiarcs does not currently support annotations or variations in a game"

That's correct. You can use the "Notes" application to take notes, but you can't associate them with specific moves. And you can investigate variations, but afterwards you have to select "Load" to restore the original moves.

If you don't need >1600 ELO computer analysis or opponents, Pocket Chess Deluxe is worth investigating! I look forward to reading your review. :)

likesforests said...

I will be offline until the new year. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season! :)

transformation said...

i could sneak this into the toilet of my retail store between customers?

Polly said...

The Mon Roi is a very expensive recorder, and nothing more. However it's being nothing more is what makes it legal for tournamnet play.

The time saved by being able to dump my games onto an SD card, and open directly into Chessbase makes it worth the money I spent on it. In the past I did not have the iclination to put my games into Chessbase and use Fritz to help with my analysis, so this has definitely helped in that regard. Has it made me a better player? The jury is still out. However it certainly makes it easier to post games to my blog.

Can anyone spell lazy? :-)

BlunderProne said...

I just got a Palm TE2 for my B-day and I loaded Hiarcs and just got the license key.

Do you have any recommended websites for downloads like you mention in your post?

likesforests said...

Sweet! Click on the "Archive" link. This is where I found the PDF files.

"HED" is the tool that allows you to load PGN databases onto your Palm. A couple sources for games:

A very historically accurate PGN of Morphy's games is here:

I've also used ChessBase's Big Database 2008 ($50)

Good luck! :)

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IT Manager said...

Quote: "I bought a Palm Z22 and loaded Palm Hiarcs (ELO 2506), Morphy's 472 known games, and 24 issues of Endgame Corner."

I know where to get a Palm and Hiarcs, but where did you get Morphy's games and Endgame Corner? Are these Hiarcs-specialized databases? Did you "roll" these yourself with HED?