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1 Major modes

XBoard always runs in one of four major modes. You select the major mode from the command line when you start up XBoard.

xboard [options]
As an interface to GNU Chess or another chess engine running on your machine, XBoard lets you play a game against the machine, set up arbitrary positions, force variations, watch a game between two chess engines, interactively analyze your stored games or set up and analyze arbitrary positions. (Note: Not all chess engines support analysis.)
xboard -ics -icshost hostname [options]
As Internet Chess Server (ICS) interface, XBoard lets you play against other ICS users, observe games they are playing, or review games that have recently finished. Most of the ICS "wild" chess variants are supported, including bughouse.
xboard -ncp [options]
XBoard can also be used simply as an electronic chessboard to play through games. It will read and write game files and allow you to play through variations manually. You can use it to browse games off the net or review games you have saved. These features are also available in the other modes.
If you want to pipe games into XBoard, use the supplied shell script pxboard. For example, from the news reader xrn, find a message with one or more games in it, click the Save button, and type ‘|pxboard’ as the file name.
cmail [options]
As an interface to electronic mail correspondence chess, XBoard works with the cmail program. See CMail below for instructions.