Software for chess problems is a category of software intended for handling chess problems, usually distinct from chess playing and analyzing programs. Chess problems are based on the rules of chess, but problemists may have little use for ordinary chess playing programs. Many chess playing programs also have an option for solving directmates, i.e. mates in two, three, four, and more moves, and some of them also have support for helpmates and selfmates.
Software for chess problems can be used for creating and solving problems, including checking the soundness of a concept and position, storing it in a database, printing and publishing, and saving and exporting the problem. They can solve direct mates, helpmates and selfmates and even problems with fairy pieces and other fairy chess problems. There have also been some attempts to have computers "compose" problems.
First developed in 1980 by Ilkka Blom, Alybadix is a suite of chess problem solving programs for DOS and Commodore 64. Alybadix supports solving classical problems: selfmates, reflex mates, series mates, Circe, maximummers, and many Fairy types. It comes with a large problem collection and supports quality printing. In 1993, Schach und Spiele magazine considered Alybadix to be six times faster than other playing machines including the RISC 2500.
LaTeX Diagram Style
Diagram is a style file for LaTeX for typesetting chess diagrams. The style was originally created by Thomas Brand and further developed by Stefan Hoening, both based on ideas of a TeX package from Elmar Bartel. The style is used to produce the German problem chess magazine Die Schwalbe.
Popeye is chess problem-solving software. Popeye runs from a command-line interface, but it can be used with several operating systems and can be connected to several existing graphical interfaces since it comes with freely available source code in the C programming language. Popeye is one of the most exhaustive solving programs. It can solve problems with many fairy pieces and conditions, and can output to LaTeX. The original author of Popeye was Philippe Schnoebelen who wrote it in Pascal under MS-DOS around 1983-84. The code was later donated in the spirit of the free software movement. Elmar Bartel, Norbert Geissler, Thomas Maeder, Torsten Linss, Stefan Hoening, Stefan Brunzen, Harald Denker, Thomas Bark and Stephen Emmerson, converted Popeye to C, and now maintain the program.
A good graphic interface "AP WIN" a freeware, for using with Windows XP or Windows 7 has since been developed by Paul H. Wiereyn . Using this one can create diagrams and use Popeye for solving problems directly from the diagram.
Chloe and Winchloe
Chloe (DOS) and Winchloe (proprietary software) are solving programs written by Christian Poisson. Winchloe not only supports classical problems direct mates, helpmates and selfmates but also many fairy pieces and conditions with different sized chessboards (up to 250 by 250 squares). It comes with a collection of more than 300,000 problems that can be updated via the Internet. Christian Poisson also maintains the Web site Problemesis.
Natch and iNatch
Natch and iNatch are freeware programs written by Pascal Wassong for DOS and Linux. Natch solves retrograde analysis problems by constructing a "proof game" - the shortest possible game leading to a certain position. Natch is a command line utility, but there is a Java based graphical interface. iNatch also provides moves with fairy conditions: monochrome chess, Einstein chess, vertical cylinder.
Problemist is a shareware program written by Matthieu Leschamelle for Windows and Windows Mobile. Problemist solves direct mates, helpmates, selfmates and reflexmates. It can rotate positions, print diagrams and much more. With Problemist come two TrueType chess fonts, and from its web page you can download more than 100,000 problems. Problemist is the first chess problems exchange format.