Version 3.1

Release Date


What's new

The main purpose of version 3.1 was the addition of i-Books, but as usual a number of other smaller features were added, mostly based on user requests. The change log can be found below, but we start by looking at the new features.

Description of new features


This is another major feature that current owners of Aquarium get for free. i-Books allow users to enjoy interactive chess books in Aquarium. i-Books allow much more flexibility than traditional game annotations. As the name indicates they can also be used to write books that are structured in a similar way as traditional chess books. The image below shows a typical, short i-Book consisting of some text, analysis, images and diagrams. It was created by converting the original tenth round report from the recent Corus tournament to an i-Book.

An example of a small i-Book

The report itself runs down the right-hand side of the image. The difference from the original is that the moves mentioned in the report are clickable in the i-Book. When you click a move, the corresponding position is displayed on the chessboard in the upper left corner so you can easily follow the variations discussed in the report. The game notation – with the analysis – is displayed below the board. Other information, such as a table of contents and a tree configuration can also be displayed in an i-Book if the author chooses.

For further information see the article Interactive Chess Books in Rybka Aquarium(external link) on ChessCafe.

Besides viewing i-Books in Aquarium they can also be published on the web or exported to a word processor, such as MS-Word.

An i-Book page converted to HTML.

Game Analysis in the Sandbox

Now all of Aquarium's analysis methods are available in the Sandbox, including Game Analysis. This enhancement has been requested by many users.

The full range of Aquarium's analysis methods is available in the Sandbox

Improved graphic annotations

The usability of graphic annotations is greatly enhanced in Aquarium 3.1.0. The new graphic annotation palette stays open while you are annotating a game, so adding graphic annotations to a game is much faster than before. Just pick the shape and color from the palette and apply it as many times as you like to any position in the game.

The graphic annotation palette is (of course) located on the Comments tab. Click the Color Marks button to open the palette.


Show threats when starting infinite analysis

A new option allow you to display the opponent's main threat graphically on the chessboard when starting infinite analysis. This unique, little feature will can be quite helpful, even for strong players, although it will probably be most appreciated by weaker players.

You can activate this feature in the analysis options as shown in the image below.


Select 'Limited depth' and set the depth to the desired value. Normally you would choose some low depth value (depending on the speed of your computer) as you don't want this step to take too much time before the actual analysis of the position starts. The threat found by the analysis is displayed on the chessboard with a curved red arrow.

The example below shows that White's main threat is not to capture the bishop on f5, but rather the deadly g4-g5+, which would be followed by a knight fork on c6 or f7 depending on where the black king moves.


Smart input - even smarter!

User 'Bunt' on the Aquarium forum(external link) thought that the 'Smart input' option wasn't smart enough and asked for enhancements. The developers have now implemented his suggestions. If you have selected the 'Smart input' option try to click on a piece (that can move) or a square that more than one piece can move to. While holding down the left mouse button press the right button. This allows you to cycle through the possible destination squares for a piece or which piece should move to the selected square.


Here the user has clicked on the d7-square and is holding down the left mouse button. Both the knight on b6 and e5 can move to that square. The knight on b6 is currently highlighted, so it will be moved to d7 if the mouse button is released now. The other knight can be selected instead by pressing the right mouse button.

Manually adjust play percentages

Play percentages in Aquarium opening books can now be manually adjusted. Right-click on a cell in the 'Play %' column and select 'Edit percents...'.


You can also use the keyboard shortcut shown at the end of the 'Edit percents...' line in the menu. The "Edit Percents" dialog box is displayed.


In this case I am going to change the percentage from 23 to 15. When I click OK the book will be modified.

If you want to restore the automatically calculated percentage, open the "Edit Percents" dialog box again, remove the check mark in front of "Set playing probability and click OK.

Tree window: Select configuration

Now it is even easier to switch between different tree configurations in Aquarium. There is a new button, a downward pointing triangle in the title bar of the tree window (see the button circled in the image below). Clicking that button displays an alphabetically ordered list of all available tree configurations. Select the one you want from the list.


Only show main tree moves in a tree configuration

Normally a tree configuration will populate the 'Move' column in the tree window with all the moves present in any of the trees that comprise the configuration. Now you have the option to show only the moves from the main tree.

While viewing a game, select the Tree tab and click Options. The 'Tree Configurations' dialog box will be displayed. Click the Advanced button to see the additional options.


Enable the new option by selecting 'Show main tree moves only'.

Auto232 support

Auto232 is an old protocol, designed for allowing engines on different computers play against each other. Aquarium supports Auto232, although it is not recommended unless other methods are not available. It is a bit tricky to connect two GUIs via Auto232 and you need to perform the required steps in the order given below. Auto232 support will be improved in upcoming versions and we encourage feedback from Aquarium users.

As an example of how to use this feature, the steps required to set up a match between Rybka running in Aquarium and Fritz are described below.

1. Aquarium. Create a new engine as shown in the image below. It will be used to connect to Fritz.


Type: Auto232 Slave

Engine path: \\. (\\ followed by a dot)

Name: Any name you want. In this example I call it 'Fritz Remote'.

2. Aquarium. Select the engine you want to play in Aquarium and set the engine priority.


In this case I have selected Rybka 3 w32 and I change its priority to 'Normal' (Essential for playing on a single computer, but also advisable for network play). You can of course choose any other installed engine.

3. Aquarium. Create an engine match, between Rybka 3 w32 and Fritz.


White: Fritz Remote
Black: Rybka 3 w32
Switch sides: yes
Time control: Set the correct time control. You must make sure that you chose the same time control in Aquarium and Fritz.


The critical parameters are highlighted in the screenshot, but of course you may also want to set other parameters. Note that the opening book and hash size settings have no effect on Fritz Remote. All its parameters must be set in the Fritz GUI.

When you click OK, the match will be started on the Aquarium side, but the clocks won't start running until we have finished the setup on the Fritz side, so we can take our time for that.

4. Fritz. After setting the Fritz parameters as you like, you should specify the same time controls as you did in Aquarium. In our example we chose 3 minutes/game plus 2 second increment, so you should do the same here. After that, go to File -> New -> Two Computer Match.


Select Auto232 1.0

Select Server name and then enter the server name where Aquarium is running (skip the initial \\)). Example: 'zruty'. If you are running Aquarium and Fritz on the same computer a '.' (dot) also works.

Click OK and Fritz should connect to Aquarium after that.

5. Fritz. There's a next dialog. Input engine names, click OK.


Voila! The games are now started.

To end the match, you can stop the GUIs in any order: Stop Game in Aquarium, red cross in Fritz.

Checked with Fritz version 9 and 10.

Change log

Major features
  • New, more convenient, 'Paint-like' way of editing color markers in the game and in the tree.
  • You can read Aquarium i-Books. Editing possibilities are limited, they'll be enhanced in futher update. However, if you are not afraid of writing a Wiki-formatted text, you can edit/create new i-Books.
  • You can run Game Analysis from the Sandbox.

Major bugfixes
  • Fixed occasional header fields loss when pasting a game into the database game.
  • 'Remove before' no longer cripples games that started from non-initial positions.
  • Randomizer match dialog is now displayed correctly.
  • Engine evaluations are now printed correctly.

Minor features
  • Added a popup menu for changing tree configuration in the Tree window header.
  • Added possibility to view only main tree moves in a tree configuration.
  • Smart Input is now 'even smarter': you can right-click (with left button pressed) to cycle through available moves.
  • You can manually edit opening book play probability for each move in the tree configuration.
  • You can set clocks during the game in Play mode (double-click the clocks).
  • Allowed playing against Fritz via Auto232 network protocol (works OK on all our computers, but not tested much).
  • Using Ctrl+move to exclude moves from infinite analysis now changes the analysis pane display.
  • There is a clearer indication of which window has focus. Helps to determine whether we are browsing tree or notation.
  • New feature: opponent move to limited depth. After reaching this depth the engine switches to normal analysis.
  • Ribbon double-click minimization is more convenient now.
  • Board sounds now active in the Sandbox and database game view.
  • Export options dialog changed slightly to be more logical.
  • Newly created database is added to the Recent list.
  • When loading a EPD string, the leading and trailing spaces are now ignored.

Minor bugfixes
  • Fixed memory leak issue in analysis chart.
  • Display options dialog: checkbox for 'Show board navigation' is consistent with 'Material imbalance'.
  • Fixed occasional clearance of game header by Game Analysis.
  • Improved hit detection when clicking on the game flag in the games list.
  • Fixed tree window reappearing after it was hidden by the user.
  • Selected cell in Games list is no longer made gray.
  • Ctrl+move in Two clicks input mode now works as well. If it's done during IA it excludes the move from the search, otherwise it adds a variation.
  • Using Ctrl+move to exclude moves from infinite analysis works with Smart move too.
  • Fixed occasional incorrect conversion of PGN NAGs to 'Long after' comments.
  • Tree options dialog: advanced controls no longer peek out of the bottom of the window.
  • Notation position change after switching to another application and back is partially fixed.
  • 'Insert deleted moves to clipboard' option works now.
  • Fixed smart move inability to drag the pointer from destination to the source square.
  • Cursor is position correctly after 'Delete variation'.
  • Fixed occasional mouse pointer disappearance when editing the game header.
  • Analysis pane is no longer cleared when the mate score is achieved.
  • Engine match view now respects board cursor settings.
  • IDEA display now respects board orientation.
  • Game Analysis now respects 'Show coordinates' and 'Show board navigation' settings.
  • Fixed diagram display in HTML export.
  • Fixed absence of sampled search display after switching to Rybka 3 from another engine.
  • Fixed small bugs in tree custom coloring.
  • Finished Engine Competition date is no more reported as 30/12/1899.
  • Fixed some issues in CTG book handling.