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Arena 3.5

Play chess online or against 250+ engines

by Mike Williams

Our Rating:
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Based on 1 ratings
License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8, Windows Server, Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:
Languages: English, German, Russian
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 03 July 2014
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 1416
Developer: Martin Blume
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Back up your data with Acronis True Image 2016 with a 1-PC LIFETIME license, only $29.99, saving 40%, from store.downloadcrew.com
Arena Chess 3.5
Play chess online or against 250+ engines

Arena is a powerful tool for playing chess and analyzing games.

The program interface is better than many similar tools. The 2D board looks good and is very configurable, key options are relatively easy to find, and you can learn a lot about Arena's features just by browsing the menus. There's detailed local help, too (and a real Windows Help file, not a PDF or a website with no search feature).

Arena is able to use more than 250 chess engines, many of which have adjustable strength, so you're unlikely to run out of opponents. Although if you do, it's also possible to play online games against people worldwide.

The program has strong support for analysing games, helping you understand the thinking processes of individual engines.

A host of extras includes support for variant games, including Shuffle Chess and Fischer Chess/ Chess 960. There's a stack of configuration options to ensure everything works as you'd expect. And if you find yourself getting too engrossed when you should really be doing other things, don't worry - a built-in Boss Key (Ctrl+0) can dismiss Arena to the system tray whenever someone gets too close.

Verdict:

A powerful chess playing and analysis tool. Arena's well-designed interface and detailed help file mean it's easier to use than many similar programs, too.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Spektrel Art 1.0.0

Free Full Commercial Software

Spektrel Art is a stand-alone program and Photoshop plugin which transforms digital photos into "magical art that glimmers and gleams with intersecting lines of tapered light".

What does that mean? Essentially it applies a configurable mix of effects, enhancing edges, smoothing backgrounds and emphasizing colours. Take a look at the thumbnail for one example, and the official product page has more.

Spektral Art works much like any similar tool. Open an image, click one of the thumbnails to apply a particular preset, or click a few buttons and drag some sliders to fine-tune the results.

There's surprising scope for variation, too. For example, just switching from the "Light" to "Dark" theme can transform a bright and friendly image into something dark and sinister, at least in some cases (results vary depending on the source image).

Please note, the demo version doesn't allow images to be saved.

SPECIAL OFFER: as we write, the developer is offering Spektral Art for free. The offer expires August 29th. Please note that you must provide your name, address and phone number to receive your free license.

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