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I frequently use chess.com to self-analyze and annotate my games. Although it has a useful feature to save my annotated game as a url (which I then save as a bookmark), I'd rather switch to local software so that I may organize and backup my collection.

I have tried a couple of engine-oriented programs like Shredder and Stockfish for mac, but they don't really fit my needs.

I generally just need software where I can import a pgn (or setup a position), make moves on both sides of the board, add annotations, and add move variations. And that's pretty much it. It would also be nice to be able to categorize my games for easier access.

I don't need a chess engine or any computer-assisted analysis, although I understand that those would probably be bundled with most chess software.

Can anyone provide any suggestions that might fit all or some of this criteria? Any help would be appreciated!

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Chessbase meets all your criteria and more. For example, it also allows you to look up any position in a reference database, see the main moves other people have analyzed, etc. The downside is the price, so if want a cheaper option you could look into Fritz - it should also meet your criteria, although the price is still relatively high.

Even if you don't want all these features now, they could be useful down the road. Almost all serious players use Chessbase because of its wide range of useful functions.

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  • Thanks for the insight! I unfortunately am on a Mac, so I'll have to figure out if I want to spend the extra effort/money to get it up and running on my machine :( – jwBurnside Apr 30 at 14:17
  • @jwBurnside I suppose you could set up a virtual machine for Windows (which might be useful for other things too), although like you said it depends on whether it's worth the extra effort. – Inertial Ignorance May 3 at 22:34
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I agree with @InertialIgnorance Chessbase is very useful and good. I have also used chess database software which have the advantage of being free:

  • Scid ("Shane's Chess Information Database") is a free and open source UNIX, Windows, Linux, and Mac application for viewing and maintaining huge databases of chess games
  • Scidb, is a free chess database application for Linux/Unix and Windows. Scidb is inspired by Scid but it is a completely new development.
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