Learn or Improve Your Chess Using This Great Program

If you use Windows and play chess, you may be aware of a program named LucasChess. If you use Linux and play chess, you are in for a pleasant surprise with LucasChess as it will run in Linux using Wine!

LucasChess is a very nice chess program for those of us that are not out to conquer the chess world. It has an amazing number of engines geared from beginner level, to as high as you want to go. The beginning levels are mostly geared towards children as the program opponents are different animals.

For those of use who have no chess pride, the beginning levels are a perfect companion to learn our way around the chess board and practice moving the pieces. For those a little more comfortable with chess, there are options to play against any of the remaining chess engines.

The first level at least has a second chess engine that acts like a tutor or chess coach. The chess tutor is unique to me at least in three ways. When you make a move, the chess tutor evaluates your move. If your move is not optimal, a screen comes up showing you the best move, your move, and the move the opponent thought you may make.

There is still some fog, for myself at least as to why some moves are so good, but a few of the recommended moves make sense as I compare my move to a more optimal move. This function alone make LucasChess one very good chess program for most casual players.

Using LucasChess with Windows or Linux, it is best, imo,to download and use the portable version and not the install version. The portable version can be ran from a usb stick, maybe cd rom, or the hard drive. When a new version of LucasChess is released, it is a small matter to download and overwrite the old version.

One catch with LucasChess with Linux is you need to install Wine. Wine if you are not familiar with it, is sort of Windows emulator. Many programs that run in Windows may be able to run in wine.

Installing Wine is a simple enough matter. Wine should be in most repositories. I am not familiar with wine other than it exists, and I am able to run both Wine and LucasChess.

I made a directory in my home directory (myhome) named LucasChess. Inside the directory LucasChess I extracted the downloaded files to.

There may be an easier way to run Wine, as I am a Wine neophyte, but I start Wine and LucasChess from the terminal with the command:

wine /home/myhome/LucasChess/Lucas.exe

If you are not familiar with the command line, I am telling the computer to run Wine and LucasChess from the home/myhome/LucasChess/ directory with the command Lucas.exe in the directory LucasChess.

If you use Windows or Linux, and want to use one of the best chess programs out there for casual player, give LucasChess a try. Lucas Chess hangs and crashes occasionally for me using Linux and Wine, but it is a simple matter to start the program again.

As I am not on the road to Master Chess play, so it doesn’t matter if I lose a game partially played or not when LucasChess locks up. What I receive from LucasChess more than makes up for an occasional crash.

Here is the url for LucasChess: http://www-lucaschess.rhcloud.com

Hello Fellow Aliens, Anyone For Coffee?

What if the Aliens are not coming? What if we are the oldest species in this galaxy? What if we are the oldest species still alive anywhere? I think it is an interesting thought.

Some day we are going to have manned explorations going to other solar systems. It will not be in the near future, but we are gearing up for that time in our future. We’ve been the to the moon, and we are fairly sure we can keep ourselves alive for some time on another planet.

We have been sending out radio wave and other signals for around a century now. Most of them unintentional, but what goes through the air, leaves our planet, and goes until the signal fizzles out. That may be a relatively short distance depending on how many asteroids, meteors, and planets, and all around space dust and debris are stopping the signal.

What happens when we are able to go far enough that we are going to enter the atmosphere of a planet that we have know holds life? What position will we take when we arrive? Will we sit out there on the edges of space, taking a few months to years to determine whether we will land or not?

If and when we do land, how will we act? Will we be the same as the explorers that sailed around the earth in days gone past? Be nice to the natives until you discover something precious and then start exploitive measures to make it yours?

Perhaps we will ask for a little land and promise we won’t want more. Acting like we are settling the old west. Be neighborly for a few years and then start breaking treaties, expanding our holdings.

Different but the same, what if we discover creatures we can control, which have not developed or lack technology to hold their own against us. If they have valuable resources we want, will we enslave them? Will we make them work for us, while giving them nothing in return?

Perhaps the biggest question will be, do we want to find what we think is intelligent  life on another planet? What if we discover a planet that has intelligent life on it? What if that life form is more advanced than us, and just as aggressive? If we show up there, they might want to show up here?

For now, we are likely safe. It is doubtful that our signal noise into space is going to get anywhere where anything that cares will hear and decode it. That leaves us with planets that we may be able to live on. With or without high tech support.

After some generations, we will be asking these same questions about any planets we manage to inhabit. The later generations of those planets will be asking the same questions about Earth, that we are now contemplating as we reach out into space.

That is if we have not gone so far that insects will be taking over as the most intelligent species on Earth in a century or so. It is fun to contemplate, what our relationship with far away planets will be. It is not so much fun to wonder if we have reached the tipping point of our own existence. Earth will still be around after we are gone.

Would we be better off trying not to exterminate ourselves before we have a real chance of going somewhere else? It is unfortunate, but currently we are not good world neighbors, and good caretakers of our own planet. How can we expect to correctly answer questions about inhabiting another planet, with or without a life form near our own level of intelligence.