Arasan Free

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Video tutorial & screenshots

  • Main window
  • Main window
  • The
  • Main Window
  • Other Preferences
  • Board Colors Settings
  • Appearance Options
  • Search Limits
  • Appearance Window

Editorial review


Margie Smeer Senior editor

The following review written by one of the Software Informer contributors applies to version 15.2
There are plenty of chess simulators on the market, but only few of them are truly challenging. Arasan is one of these few chess simulators.

Though its main characteristic is the fact that it can pose a real challenge even to experienced players, it is also easy-to-use and suitable for beginners as well.
The difficulty level is set by default to its highest value, but you can change this setting by going to the “Options” menu, then to “Preferences” and set the “Playing Strength” to a lower value. This makes the difficulty level of Arasan easier.

I also like its simplistic yet handy customization options. It allows you to change the board colors, the shape of the pieces or even the board size. Arasan also helps practice and improve one’s skills, being suitable for the use as a teaching tool, especially since it includes an opening "book" with over 250,000 moves.

Last but not least, this really nice tool is provided for free. As you can see, there’s no reason not to give it a try, regardless if you are an avid chess player or just a beginner.


  • Can be really challenging.
  • Comes with board customization options.
  • It is free.


  • Sometimes it fails to launch the offline help file (on Windows 7).

What's new in version 14.2 beta

Changes in Arasan14.2b (June 2012):
- Another fix for "ping" handing in engine to cure hang problems in Arasan
- Strength reduction operates during pondering.
- The chess engine handled input from the the UI in several places
and had duplicate code for scanning input and breaking it into lines.
This is now centralized and simplifed.
- Some other code cleanup, especially conversion from C-style string
handling to C++.
- Simplified code for lazy eval. Partial (lazy) scores are no longer
cached in the scoring module (such scores were seldom used anyway).
- Outpost scores reduced.
- Tweaked threshold values for history pruning and late move pruning (due
to a bug, 14.1 actually did only late move pruning above depth = 1 ply).
- Reduced thresholds for static null pruning.
- Some changes to LMR and root move reduction logic.
- Bug fix: ensure final stage of ply 0 search window widening sets a
correct upper/lower bound.
- Improvement to logic for searching checks in q-search.
- Fix material eval adjustment for Q vs 2R.
- Support is added for varying the engine strength via UCI or Winboard
options (Arasan GUI supports this too).
- GUI bug fix: search could hang when a "Go" command is issued when it
is the user's turn to move, and the user then makes a manual move before
the search completes.
- Winboard driver fixes: pings could be processed out of order in some
cases. Also, an extra move could be sent after Winboard has send a
"resign" or "result" command.

What's new in version 13.3

Changes in Arasan 13.3:
1) In Winboard mode, Arasan still accepts but does not rely on the
deprected "white" and "black" commands to keep track of the
computer's side of the game.
2) Winboard "level" command accepts time of form mm:ss and allows decimal
3) More general code for trapped bishop.
4) Static null pruning is implemented.
5) Dynamic null reduction based on score (aka "smooth scaling").
6) Changes to razor & futility margins and related code.
7) Fixes to history pruning. History table is global now, not per-thread.

Publisher's description

This official description applies to version 17.3

Arasan is a simple chess game for Windows, Linux, and MAC. It comes with an opening "book" with almost 500,000 moves. Arasan can also be used to make the program play on an Internet chess server (it isn't designed to allow humans to play on a server).

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