MateMonster is a computer program which helps you learn to checkmate efficiently, a vital skill for the 'endgame' in chess. The program makes optimal mate-forcing moves (forcing mate as quickly as possible), and can also put up a best defence (staying out of checkmate for as long as possible). Test yourself by seeing if you can checkmate MateMonster, or learn how to force mate by watching how MateMonster does it.
The program should work on all versions of Microsoft Windows (as far back as Windows 95). For now, the program can only consider endgames with a maximum of two pieces (and the kings of course). In the future, I may do a new version of the program (maybe as a Java Applet) and extend it to cope with endgames with more pieces and also pawns.
MateMonster.exe (version 1.2), and other files you may want, are in the MateMonster Folder. Just click the link (at the top of this page) and you will see a list of files. Click on the icon for MateMonster.exe and then on 'Download'. Save the file to a sensible location on your hard drive. You could just plonk it on your Desktop, but I recommend creating a MateMonster directory somewhere to keep any files associated with the program together, you could then place a shortcut to the program on your Desktop if you want.
Once you have MateMonster.exe you can double-click it to run the application. (If you get an error message about a missing DLL, then you can download the appropriate file from the MateMonster Folder, saving it to the same location as matemonster.exe on your hard drive.)
In order for MateMonster to play it needs a 'MateMonster Book', containing all the information about a particular endgame.
To create a MateMonster Book, select 'Create New' from the Book menu. The 'Book Creator' will appear, asking you what checkmate you want to study. Once you have made your choice and clicked 'Create', MateMonster will begin creating the Book it needs. This may take a few minutes. Whilst the program is calculating, you will see a progress bar indicating how far through the calculation it is. Once the calculation is complete, you may save the Book to your hard drive as a MateMonster Book (.mmb) file by selecting 'Save As' from the Book menu.
If you have a fast Internet connection, you may prefer to download one of the sample MateMonster Books from the MateMonster Folder. Just download one of these, then open it in MateMonster by selecting 'Open' from the Book menu.
Once the program has a MateMonster Book to work with, it will immediately give you a worst case scenario for checkmating with the available pieces with White to play.
To make MateMonster do a move, click the ! button on the toolbar, select 'Do good move' from the Position menu, or simply press the space-bar. To make a move yourself use the mouse, clicking first on the piece you want to move, and then on the square you want to move it to.
Regardless of which colour it is to play, you are always able to play a move yourself, or get MateMonster to play a move. So you may attempt to do a checkmate yourself, play the defence, or you can let MateMonster play all the moves itself.
Once a position has been played out, you can get a new position by selecting 'Worst case with 2 pieces' or 'Worst case with 1 piece' from the Position menu (or use the toolbar buttons marked with Roman numerals). You can set up other positions by moving the pieces to wherever you like.
I hope you enjoy playing with MateMonster!
MateMonster programmer Nick Jameson
If you would like to donate money towards the further development of MateMonster you may do so by clicking here: