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Chess Assistant 7 Analysis Troubleshooting
keywords: chess assistant 7, troubleshooting, slow operation, patch
Robert Pawlak
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Some of the issues discussed in this article have been resolved in later builds of CA (at least on my machine). Therefore, I would suggest that you make sure you are using the latest version of the program before you do anything else.

Slow engine startup

One problem that people have experienced is slow starting of various internal engines. This particular issue is not machine dependent, and can be easily fixed. As it turns out, there are a couple of reasons why some engines start slowly. In the case of Tiger, it does two things when it first starts. One is to check the tablebase files (if you've specified that the engine use them). So you can imagine what happens if you have several gigabytes of tablebase data on your hard drive. It take a serous amount of time to check them.

One way around this is to set up two different engine configuration, one that uses tablebases, and one that does not. Let's look at how this would be done in Tiger. The first thing you need to do is go to the "Tools" menu, and select "Engines setup", then hit the "Add" button. What you want to do is set up another Tiger configuration that does not use tablebases. When setting up the engine, make sure you name it something besides Tiger 15, since that engine name already exists. Use whatever values you want for the opening book and hash table sizes (setting hash size will be discussed in a subsequent article).[Tiger 15 personalities]

After you've set up the new engine, double check and make sure that you are not using tablebases. To do this, you need to highlight the engine you just created in the engines setup dialog box. Then click on personalities button. Make sure that the "Use endgame TB" checkbox is left unchecked.

Ok, as I mentioned before, there are other causes for slow engine operation in CA. As is turns out, Tiger 15 does some benchmarking of your system when it first starts. Unfortunately, you cannot disable this behavior. However, there is a work around. If you know you are going to be working with a particular engine frequently, and you don't want to wait for it to reinitialize, you can use a little trick to make the engine stay resident while you work with CA.

To do this, simply go back to the engines setup dialog, single-click on the engine you want to make resident to select it. Then click the "Load" button. After a short delay, the engine will be placed in memory for future use.

Analysis by level or time doesn't work

This is something else that I have some experience with. What happens is that you get a dialog box titled alternatively "Main Analysis" or "Quick Analysis" that is devoid of any computer analysis, and the program seems not to be doing anything. Usually, the processor utilization is stuck at some low number when this happens. What has happened is that CA has stopped talking to the engine, and nothing is happening (incidentally, before you come to this conclusion, give the program a couple of minutes to start the engine, enable hash, and check tablebases).

As it turns out, there are several factors that can contribute to this problem. The first thing you should do is make sure there are no unnecessary delays when loading the engine you want to use for analysis. You can address this issue using some of the tips discussed in the first half of this article. If, for some reason, you don't want to take any of the steps I talked about, you may be able to fix the problem using an undocumented engine feature.

If you want to try this trick, go back to the engines setup dialog box, and click on the "Personalities" button, after you've selected the engine you will be using for analysis (see first half of this article for more details). If you look at the bottom of the setup dialog, you sill see a slider labeled "Latency" (see figure above). Set this number to the end of the scale (far right). Go back, and try the analysis again. It should work.

You can experiment by trying different numbers for the latency value, until you get the number that provides the best mix of performance and stability.

CA operates very S L O W L Y when an engine is running [Sensitivity]

There are a few possible causes for this. One is that you simply don't have enough computing power (be it CPU or memory) to run CA. But let's assume that you're using a computer with plenty of power. If you are using a P4 processor with hyperthreading, then you need to read this article. In either case, you can adjust the responsiveness of the CA interface by selecting "Engines setup" from the "Tools" menu. The setting you need to adjust on this dialog box is called "Sensitivity", make sure it is set to "Excellent".

Full analysis is gone

Users of CA 6 may lament the loss of the "Full analysis" function in CA 7. Well, the truth is that it was never really gone, but the menu entry under "Advanced" was removed. If you install the latest patch, you will find that it has been put back in.

For additional help

You also might want to check the technical FAQ for this site, as well as Convekta's troubleshooting pages.

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