This is an embarrassing question to have to ask, but here goes. Recently I've gotten a new Mac laptop which has a chess program on it. I'm not a chess expert by any means: I can beat casual players most of the time, but I suspect I wouldn't stand a chance against anyone who was actually good at the game. But it's becoming humiliating being utterly crushed by my computer every time! I'm meant to be the boss of this relationship, but in our battle of wits I am utterly outclassed.
Obviously powerful modern computers have certain advantages over human beings when it comes to a game of pure analysis like chess; but I feel as though there must be some way I can up my game. Are there any strategies I could adopt that would give me a chance of escaping defeat, or at least securing a draw? Even if I can't win against my computer, I suspect that even attempting to get better at doing so will make me better aware of the weaknesses of my approach and thus a much less awful chess player. Any ideas?
Different computers play chess at different levels. How can I find out how well my computer plays, and then beat that level?