Anyone ever tried to make a chess-playing engine?

I'm comtemplating creating one myself and I've been reading up on the topic for a while. So far it seems like I'll want to get myself familiarized with bitboards and move searching methods like Negamax and alpha-beta.

I'm also trying to decide which language to make it in. I am experienced in Visual Basic and I'm *familiar* with C++ (that means I haven't used it nearly as much as VB). I think I'm confident enough in both languages to create an engine. But speed is the big thing here. Are C++ applications way faster, or is there only a small difference?

Well anyways if any of you have made one before feel free to post your experiences; what you found useful and what to avoid.

If I finish (I've been known to abandon projects like this in the middle but I'll try to persevere on this one) I will post the source code in the Code Review section of AO for all to see.

Talk to you later