My areas of related chess expertise (selection):

1. Fair play.
2. Scheduling.
3. Goal setting.
4. Confidence building.
5. Character building.
6. Organization.
7. Focusing.
8. Prioritizing.
9. Persisting at tasks.
10. Computer chess.

Chess Laptops Guide (edited/updated 18 Jan 2013):

Laptops are still the preferred portable device over iPads or Tablet computers as the latter devices are suited generally for entertainment and web-surfing only.

The choices of laptops are divided as :

  1. Apple's MacBooks
  2. Windows-based laptops

Windows-based computers offer greater variety and lower prices, while Mac models have better software, are less prone to viruses and are generally more reliable and elegant. Many prefer the user-friendly layout and controls of Apple's Macs. However, Windows has a larger free software library.


There are only two choices among the MacBooks - MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.

MacBook Air is more light-weight while MacBook Pro comes in 2 screen sizes.

Windows-based Laptops:

Choices for Windows-based machines are based on the following factors:
  1. Weight/size
  2. CPU power
  3. Battery life
  4. Memory and Data storage capacities
  5. Connectivity options

  1. Mobility:

    Typical ultra-portables have 11-, 12- or 13-inches display screens. Due to their light-weight, they may be less susceptible to rough handling.

    At the other end, portables with 17-inch display screens may be too heavy and are more suitable as desktop replacements.

  2. CPU:

    There are mainly 2 processor-makers - Intel and AMD. For Intel core processors, go for a dual Core i5 or the more powerful Core i7. While quad cores are more powerful, only few software actually tap on the multi-core powers.

  3. Battery:

    Battery life should last for at least 4 hours for smooth usage. A Lithium-ion battery is preferred over the traditional NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) ones as the latter must be fully drained out before recharging and could be damaged easily by over-charging.

  4. Memory & Data Storage:

    Typically, a 500 Gb hard-disk will suffice unless the laptop is intended to store or handle videos.

    The RAM size is a more crucial factor to the laptop's performance in speed. For general use, a 4-Gb RAM will suffice, but an 8-Gb upgrade is recommended.

  5. Connectivity:

    Data ports:

    • 2 USB ports are a minimum. Most laptops now include at least two USB 3.0 ports, which are up to 10x faster than the older USB 2.0 version.
    • An SD card slot should be non-negotiable for new laptops.
    • The MacBooks also have the faster Thunderbolt ports to connect to compatible external hard-drives.

    Network ports:

    Display ports:

    • The old-style VGA port should be present (useful to connect to a projector).
    • Most new laptops will also have a HDMI port to connect to newer display equipment e.g. LED TVs.

Laptop-tablet hybrid: Convertibles

Some laptops have detachable or swivel keyboards which converts the laptops into tablets. These laptops run on Windows 8, with a sporting interface resembling smartphones and tablets. However, the detachable components make the machine more susceptible to wear and tear and might not be cost-effective.


The following list of software should be installed: