Dedicated to chess on Mac

Information for Chess players, Chess programmers and Apple users

Updated on : 04/01/2022
Version 1.58
En français

Mac OS X (universal) (intel/PPC)

Since Mac OS X for Intel, a new universal environment was introduced. The classic environment is no longer supported. This page lists the programs that are running on the computers running on these systems. Users of older Apple computers can also use the Aqua programs. This should not be required because if your system runs universal, there is an almost 100% compatibility with aqua programs. Users of newer Apple computers or with the newest version of the system can use the macOS programs in which the support for PowerPC was dropped.

The system is called universal because a single application can be bundled with 4 different architectures. Power PC 32 bit, PPC 64 bit, intel x86-32 and intel x86-64, all in one program.

  • Chessmaster 9000. A commercial application. Very well designed and adapted to Mac OS X. Very strong and very rich featureset. If you are addicted to chess, definitely a must have program.

  • Sigma chess pro. A commercial (15€) chess application. Integrated games collections. Master strength. Very nice application. Supports changing engines. Integrates with the top notch Hiarcs engine, with Fruit, with Gothmog and Glaurung.

  • Sigma chess lite. Amateur strength. Supports replacable engines. Very nice application. See the review for more information.

  • ExaChess Lite. A free chess application with demo database functions. Allows support for external chess engines. Amateur strength but upgradable through the use of additional free engines.

  • ExaChess Pro. A commercial (€ 100) application with integrated database functions. Same as the lite version but with bigger database and opening books.

  • Kasparov Chessmate. A commercial (€ 45) but only 800x600 based application with the Ruffian 2.0 chess engine. Believed to be among the strongest available at the moment. Poor graphics and disturbing music.

  • Apple chess Included in Mac OS X. The included Sjeng engine has a GNU License. The OpenGL based front end is covered by the much less restrictive Apple Sample Code License. Source code can be downloaded.

  • Big Bang Chess. Freeware and visually the nicest chess application. Does not play chess very well but is a very good game for people that want to learn and enjoy chess.

  • Vector 3. Commercial (€ 20) chess application.

  • Jose chess database. Has an interface towards MySQL. Also supports XBoard and UCI protocol compatible engines. Packaged with Crafty, other engines can be added manually.

  • Jin 2.12. Allows to play a game over the internet using a FICS server.

  • FixationC 2.12. Allows to play a game over the internet using a FICS server.

  • Chess Deluxe 2.0.2. Chess game. Allows to play over a dedicated chess server.

PS: Developers might be interested to visit the Mac OS X - X11 section. This section contains additional software that can be installed on Mac OS X but still requires some advanced configuration.

Please refer to the downloads page for more information where to find the programs listed above.