Zarkon Fischer's Free Chess Programs
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Chessbase Light 2009

Chessbase's flagship database software with a few limitations. This is pretty much an essential download for anyone serious about their chess!

Read more in Pick of the Best...Chessbase Light

Chess Informant Expert Lite

A functionally limited, but very attractive PGN reader and editor, this software has one of the clearest displays for replaying annotated games. It doesn't have a search function for PGN files, so finding games in large files will be difficult. UCI support also seems a bit hit and miss. However, I particularly like using the right arrow key to replay games, and the way it returns to the move before a variation when it reaches the end of the variation. Other features are a good selection of cheery colour schemes and piece sets, and a desktop showing previously opened files. Try it with Jan van Reek's highly interesting annotated games.

Compochess 2.5

This is a very likeable pgn reader that looks a little bit like Chess Informant Expert lite for an earlier version of windows. So, while it doesn't look quite so snazzy, it has a clear, uncluttered display, especially good for annotated games. There are also some bonuses over CIE, such as the quick header search, and searches by material and position. In the games list there's also a neat hovering graphical board showing the game's final position! It doesn't support UCI engines, but you can use Crafty and some other winboard engines for analysis, with keyboard shortcuts (ctrl 1, ctrl 2 etc) to very quickly activate an engine. Note that the cql search doesn't seem to work. Also you may need to reinstall the compochess font to get it working.

Kvetka 3.7

A tiny PGN reader with UCI support for analysis, and some plugins for extra functions, such as analysis hints on the board. It aims to allow the copying of notation taken directly from a web page, but with mixed results. Frequently updated.

ChessX 0.7

An attractive chess database program under development that currently acts as a pgn reader, with tree statistics, and some UCI engine support.

Penguin v5

A functionally simple pgn reader with scoresheet notation and a board that looks like the diagrams you find in books.