XBoard is a graphical chessboard that can serve as a
user interface to chess engines (such as GNU Chess), the
Internet Chess Servers,
electronic mail correspondence chess, or your own collection of saved games.
This manual documents version 4.7.0 of XBoard.
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
- 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
2 Basic operation
To move a piece, you can drag it with the left mouse button, or you
can click the left mouse button once on the piece, then once more on
the destination square. In crazyhouse, bughouse or shogi you can
drag and drop pieces to the board from the holdings squares
displayed next to the board.
Old behavior, where right-clicking a square brings up a menu
where you can select what piece to drop on it can still be
selected through the ‘Drop Menu’ option.
Only in Edit Position mode right and middle clicking a square is still used to
put a piece on it, and the piece to drop is selected by sweeping
the mouse vertically with the button held down.
The default function of the right mouse button in other modes is
to display the position the chess program thinks it will end up in.
While moving the mouse vertically with this button pressed
XBoard will step through the principal variation to show how
this position will be reached.
Lines of play displayed in the engine-output window,
or PGN variations in the comment window can similarly
be played out on the board, by right-clicking on them.
Only in Analysis mode, when you walk along a PV,
releasing the mouse button will forward the game upto that point,
like you entered all previous PV moves.
As the display of the PV in that case starts after the first move
a simple right-click will play the move the engine indicates.
In Analysis mode you can also make a move by grabbing the piece
with a double-click of the left mouse button
(or while keeping the Ctrl key pressed).
In this case the move you enter will not be played,
but will be excluded from the analysis of the current position.
(Or included if it was already excluded; it is a toggle.)
This only works for engines that support this feature.
When connected to an ICS, it is possible to call up a graphical
representation of players seeking a game in stead of the chess board,
when the latter is not in use
(i.e. when you are not playing or observing).
Left-clicking the display area will switch between this 'seek graph'
and the chess board.
Hovering the mouse pointer over a dot will show the details of the
seek ad in the message field above the board.
Left-clicking the dot will challenge that player.
Right-clicking a dot will 'push it to the back',
to reveal any dots that were hidden behind it.
Right-clicking off dots will refresh the graph.
Most other XBoard commands are available from the menu bar. The most
frequently used commands also have shortcut keys or on-screen buttons.
These shortcut keystrokes are mostly non-printable characters.
Typing a letter or digit while the board window has focus
will bring up a type-in box with the typed letter already in it.
You can use that to type a move in siuations where it is your
turn to enter a move,
type a move number to call up the position after that move
in the display,
or, in Edit Position mode, type a FEN.
Some rarely used parameters can only be set through options on the
command line used to invoke XBoard.
XBoard uses a settings file, in which it can remember any changes to
the settings that are made through menus or command-line options,
so they will still apply when you restart XBoard for another session.
The settings can be saved into this file automatically when XBoard exits,
or on explicit request of the user.
The default name for the settings file is /etc/xboard/xboard.conf,
but in a standard install this file is only used as a master settings
file that determines the system-wide default settings,
and defers reading and writing of user settings to a user-specific
file like ~/.xboardrc in the user's home directory.
When XBoard is iconized, its graphical icon is a white knight if
it is White's turn to move, a black knight if it is Black's turn.
3 Menus, buttons, and keys
3.1 File Menu
- New Game
- Resets XBoard and the chess engine to the beginning of a new chess
game. The Ctrl-N key is a keyboard equivalent. In Internet Chess
Server mode, clears the current state of XBoard, then
resynchronizes with the ICS by sending a refresh command. If you want to
stop playing, observing, or examining an ICS game, use an
appropriate command from the Action menu, not ‘New Game’.
See Action Menu.
- New Shuffle Game
- Similar to ‘New Game’, but allows you to specify a particular initial position
(according to a standardized numbering system)
in chess variants which use randomized opening positions (e.g. Chess960).
You can also press the ‘Pick Fixed’ button to let XBoard generate
a random number for you.
The thus selected opening position will then persistently be chosen on any following
New Game command until you use this menu to select another.
Selecting position number -1 (or pushing the ‘Randomize’ button)
will produce a newly randomized position on any new game.
Using this menu item in variants that normally do not shuffle their opening position
does cause these variants to become shuffle variants until you use the
‘New Shuffle Game’ menu to explicitly switch the randomization off,
or select a new variant.
- New Variant
- Allows you to select a new chess variant in non-ICS mode.
(In ICS play, the ICS is responsible for deciding which variant will be played,
and XBoard adapts automatically.) The shifted Alt+V key is a
keyboard equivalent. If you play with an engine, the engine must
be able to play the selected variant, or the command will be ignored.
XBoard supports all major variants, such as xiangqi, shogi, chess, chess960,
Capablanca Chess, shatranj, crazyhouse, bughouse.
But not every board size has built-in bitmaps for un-orthodox pieces!
Only sizes bulky (72) and middling (49) have all pieces,
while size petite (33) has most.
These sizes would have to be set at startup through the
command-line option when you start up XBoard for such variants to be playable.
You can overrule the default board format of the selected variant,
(e.g. to play suicide chess on a 6 x 6 board),
in this dialog, but normally you would not do that,
and leave them at '-1', which means 'default'.
- Load Game
- Plays a game from a record file. The Ctrl-O key is a keyboard equivalent.
A pop-up dialog prompts you for the file name. If the file contains more
than one game, a second pop-up dialog
displays a list of games (with information drawn from their PGN tags, if
any), and you can select the one you want. Alternatively, you can load the
Nth game in the file directly, by typing the number N after the
file name, separated by a space.
The game file parser will accept PGN (portable game notation),
or in fact almost any file that contains moves in algebraic
Notation of the form ‘P@f7’
is accepted for piece-drops in bughouse games;
this is a nonstandard extension to PGN.
If the file includes a PGN position (FEN tag), or an old-style
XBoard position diagram bracketed by ‘[--’ and ‘--]’
before the first move, the game starts from that position. Text
enclosed in parentheses, square brackets, or curly braces is assumed to
be commentary and is displayed in a pop-up window. Any other
text in the file is ignored. PGN variations (enclosed in
parentheses) also are treated as comments;
however, if you rights-click them in the comment window,
XBoard will shelve the current line, and load the the selected variation,
so you can step through it.
You can later revert to the previous line with the ‘Revert’ command.
This way you can walk quite complex varation trees with XBoard.
The nonstandard PGN tag [Variant "varname"] functions similarly to
the -variant command-line option (see below), allowing games in certain chess
variants to be loaded.
Note that it must appear before any FEN tag for XBoard to recognize
variant FENs appropriately.
There is also a heuristic to
recognize chess variants from the Event tag, by looking for the strings
that the Internet Chess Servers put there when saving variant ("wild") games.
- Load Position
- Sets up a position from a position file. A pop-up dialog prompts
you for the file name. The shifted Ctrl-O key is a keyboard
equivalent. If the file contains more than one saved
position, and you want to load the Nth one, type the number N
after the file name, separated by a space. Position files must
be in FEN (Forsythe-Edwards notation), or in the format that the
Save Position command writes when oldSaveStyle is turned on.
- Load Next Position
- Loads the next position from the last position file you loaded.
The shifted PgDn key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Load Previous Position
- Loads the previous position from the last position file you
loaded. The shifted PgUp key is a keyboard equivalent.
Not available if the last position was loaded from a pipe.
- Save Game
- Appends a record of the current game to a file.
The Ctrl-S key is a keyboard equivalent.
A pop-up dialog
prompts you for the file name. If the game did not begin with
the standard starting position, the game file includes the
starting position used. Games are saved in the PGN (portable
game notation) format, unless the oldSaveStyle option is true,
in which case they are saved in an older format that is specific
to XBoard. Both formats are human-readable, and both can be
read back by the ‘Load Game’ command.
Notation of the form ‘P@f7’
is accepted for piece-drops in bughouse games;
this is a nonstandard extension to PGN.
- Save Position
- Appends a diagram of the current position to a file.
The shifted Ctrl+S key is a keyboard equivalent.
A pop-up dialog prompts you for the file name. Positions are saved in
FEN (Forsythe-Edwards notation) format unless the
option is true, in which case they are saved in an older,
human-readable format that is specific to XBoard. Both formats
can be read back by the ‘Load Position’ command.
- Save Games as Book
- Creates an opening book from the currently loaded game file.
The book will be saved on the file specified in the ‘Common Engine’
The value of ‘Book Depth’ specified in that same dialog will
be used to determine how many moves of each game will be added to
the internal book buffer.
This command can take a long time to process,
and the size of the buffer is currently limited.
At the end the buffer will be saved as a Polyglot book,
but the buffer will ot be cleared,
so that you can continue adding games from other game files.
- Mail Move
- Reload CMail Message
- See CMail.
- Exits from XBoard. The Ctrl-Q key is a keyboard equivalent.
3.2 Edit Menu
- Copy Game
- Copies a record of the current game to an internal clipboard in PGN
format and sets the X selection to the game text. The Ctrl-C
key is a keyboard equivalent. The game can be
pasted to another application (such as a text editor or another copy
of XBoard) using that application's paste command. In many X
applications, such as xterm and emacs, the middle mouse button can be
used for pasting; in XBoard, you must use the Paste Game command.
- Copy Position
- Copies the current position to an internal clipboard in FEN format and
sets the X selection to the position text. The shifted Ctrl-C key
is a keyboard equivalent. The position can be pasted
to another application (such as a text editor or another copy of
XBoard) using that application's paste command. In many X
applications, such as xterm and emacs, the middle mouse button can be
used for pasting; in XBoard, you must use the Paste Position command.
- Copy Game List
- Copies the current game list to the clipboard,
and sets the X selection to this text.
A format of comma-separated double-quoted strings is used,
including all tags,
so it can be easily imported into spread-sheet programs.
- Paste Game
- Interprets the current X selection as a game record and loads it, as
with Load Game. The Ctrl-V key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Paste Position
- Interprets the current X selection as a FEN position and loads it, as
with Load Position. The shifted Ctrl-V key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Edit Game
- Allows you to make moves for both Black and White, and to change
moves after backing up with the ‘Backward’ command. The clocks do
not run. The Ctrl-E key is a keyboard equivalent.
In chess engine mode, the chess engine continues to check moves for legality
but does not participate in the game. You can bring the chess engine
into the game by selecting ‘Machine White’, ‘Machine Black’,
or ‘Two Machines’.
In ICS mode, the moves are not sent to the ICS: ‘Edit Game’ takes
XBoard out of ICS Client mode and lets you edit games locally.
If you want to edit games on ICS in a way that other ICS users
can see, use the ICS examine command or start an ICS match
- Edit Position
- Lets you set up an arbitrary board position.
The shifted Ctrl-E key is a keyboard equivalent.
Use mouse button 1 to drag pieces to new squares, or to delete a piece
by dragging it off the board or dragging an empty square on top of it.
To drop a new piece on a square, press mouse button 2 or 3 over the
This puts a white or black pawn in the square, respectively,
but you can change that to any other piece type by dragging the
mouse down before you release the button.
You will then see the piece on the originally clicked square
cycle through the available pieces
(including those of opposite color),
and can release the button when you see the piece you want.
To alter the side to move, you can click the clock
(the words White and Black above the board)
of the side you want to give the move to.
To clear the board you can click the clock of the side that
alread has the move (which is highlighted in black).
The old behavior with a piece menu can still be configured
with the aid of the
Selecting ‘Edit Position’ causes XBoard to discard
all remembered moves in the current game.
In ICS mode, changes made to the position by ‘Edit Position’ are
not sent to the ICS: ‘Edit Position’ takes XBoard out of
‘ICS Client’ mode and lets you edit positions locally. If you want to
edit positions on ICS in a way that other ICS users can see, use
the ICS examine command, or start an ICS match against yourself.
(See also the ICS Client topic above.)
- Edit Tags
- Lets you edit the PGN (portable game notation)
tags for the current game. After editing, the tags must still conform to
the PGN tag syntax:
<tag-section> ::= <tag-pair> <tag-section>
<tag-pair> ::= [ <tag-name> <tag-value> ]
<tag-name> ::= <identifier>
<tag-value> ::= <string>
See the PGN Standard for full details. Here is an example:
[Event "Portoroz Interzonal"]
[Site "Portoroz, Yugoslavia"]
[White "Robert J. Fischer"]
[Black "Bent Larsen"]
Any characters that do not match this syntax are silently ignored. Note that
the PGN standard requires all games to have at least the seven tags shown
above. Any that you omit will be filled in by XBoard
with ‘?’ (unknown value), or ‘-’ (inapplicable value).
- Edit Comment
- Adds or modifies a comment on the current position. Comments are
saved by ‘Save Game’ and are displayed by ‘Load Game’,
PGN variations will also be printed in this window,
and can be promoted to main line by right-clicking them.
‘Forward’, and ‘Backward’.
- Edit Book
- Pops up a window listing the moves available in the GUI book
(specified in the ‘Common Engine Settings’ dialog)
from the currently displayed position,
together with their weights and (optionally in braces) learn info.
You can then edit this list, and the new list will be stored
back into the book when you press OK.
Note that the listed percentages are neither used, nor updated when
you change the weights; they are just there as an optical aid.
- If you are examining an ICS game and Pause mode is off,
Revert issues the ICS command ‘revert’.
In local mode, when you were editing or analyzing a game,
-variations command-line option is switched on,
you can start a new variation by holding the Shift key down while
entering a move not at the end of the game.
Variations can also become the currently displayed line by
clicking a PGN variation displayed in the Comment window.
This can be applied recursively,
so that you can analyze variations on variations;
each time you create a new variation by entering an alternative move
with Shift pressed, or select a new one from the Comment window,
the current variation will be shelved.
‘Revert’ allows you to return to the most recently shelved variation.
The difference between ‘Revert’ and ‘Annotate’
is that with the latter,
the variation you are now abandoning will be added as a comment
(in PGN variation syntax, i.e. between parentheses)
to the original move where you deviated, for later recalling.
The Home key is a keyboard equivalent to ‘Revert’.
- Truncate Game
- Discards all remembered moves of the game beyond the current
position. Puts XBoard into ‘Edit Game’ mode if it was not there
The End key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Steps backward through a series of remembered moves.
The ‘[<]’ button and the Alt+LeftArrow key are equivalents,
as is turning the mouse wheel towards you.
In addition, pressing the Control key steps back one move, and releasing
it steps forward again.
In most modes, ‘Backward’ only lets you look back at old positions;
it does not retract moves. This is the case if you are playing against
a chess engine, playing or observing a game on an ICS, or loading a game.
If you select ‘Backward’ in any of these situations, you will not
be allowed to make a different move. Use ‘Retract Move’ or
‘Edit Game’ if you want to change past moves.
If you are examining an ICS game, the behavior of ‘Backward’
depends on whether XBoard is in Pause mode. If Pause mode is
off, ‘Backward’ issues the ICS backward command, which backs up
everyone's view of the game and allows you to make a different
move. If Pause mode is on, ‘Backward’ only backs up your local
- Steps forward through a series of remembered moves (undoing the
effect of ‘Backward’) or forward through a game file. The
‘[>]’ button and the Alt+RightArrow key are equivalents,
as is turning the mouse wheel away from you.
If you are examining an ICS game, the behavior of Forward
depends on whether XBoard is in Pause mode. If Pause mode is
off, ‘Forward’ issues the ICS forward command, which moves
everyone's view of the game forward along the current line. If
Pause mode is on, ‘Forward’ only moves your local view forward,
and it will not go past the position that the game was in when
- Back to Start
- Jumps backward to the first remembered position in the game.
The ‘[<<]’ button and the Alt+Home key are equivalents.
In most modes, Back to Start only lets you look back at old
positions; it does not retract moves. This is the case if you
are playing against a local chess engine, playing or observing a game on
a chess server, or loading a game. If you select ‘Back to Start’ in any
of these situations, you will not be allowed to make different
moves. Use ‘Retract Move’ or ‘Edit Game’ if you want to change past
moves; or use Reset to start a new game.
If you are examining an ICS game, the behavior of ‘Back to
Start’ depends on whether XBoard is in Pause mode. If Pause mode
is off, ‘Back to Start’ issues the ICS ‘backward 999999’
command, which backs up everyone's view of the game to the start and
allows you to make different moves. If Pause mode is on, ‘Back
to Start’ only backs up your local view.
- Forward to End
- Jumps forward to the last remembered position in the game. The
‘[>>]’ button and the Alt+End key are equivalents.
If you are examining an ICS game, the behavior of ‘Forward to
End’ depends on whether XBoard is in Pause mode. If Pause mode
is off, ‘Forward to End’ issues the ICS ‘forward 999999’
command, which moves everyone's view of the game forward to the end of
the current line. If Pause mode is on, ‘Forward to End’ only moves
your local view forward, and it will not go past the position
that the game was in when you paused.
3.3 View Menu
- Flip View
- Inverts your view of the chess board for the duration of the
current game. Starting a new game returns the board to normal.
The F2 key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Show Engine Output
- Shows or hides a window in which the thinking output of any loaded engines
is displayed. The shifted Alt+O key is a keyboard equivalent.
XBoard will display lines of thinking output of the same depth ordered by score,
(highest score on top), rather than in the order the engine produced them.
Usually this amounts to the same, as a normal engine search will only find new PV
(and emit it as thinking output)
when it searches a move with a higher score than the previous variation.
But when the engine is in multi-variation mode this needs not always be true,
and it is more convenient for someone analyzing games to see the moves sorted by score.
The order in which the engine found them is only of interest to the engine author,
and can still be deduced from the time or node count printed with the line.
Right-clicking a line in this window, and then moving the mouse vertically with the
right button kept down, will make XBoard play through the PV listed there.
The use of the board window as 'variation board' will normally end when
you release the right button,
or when the opponent plays a move.
But beware: in Analysis mode, moves thus played out will be added to the game.
The Engine-Output pane for each engine will contain a header displaying the
multi-PV status and a list of excluded moves in Analysis mode,
which are also responsive to right-clicking.
- Show Move History
- Shows or hides a list of moves of the current game.
The shifted Alt+H key is a keyboard equivalent.
This list allows you to move the display to any earlier position in the game
by clicking on the corresponding move.
- Show Evaluation Graph
- Shows or hides a window which displays a graph of how the engine score(s)
evolved as a function of the move number.
The shifted Alt+E key is a keyboard equivalent.
Clicking on the graph will bring
the corresponding position in the board display.
- Show Game List
- Shows or hides the list of games generated by the last ‘Load Game’
command. The shifted Alt+G key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Pops up a window which shows the PGN (portable game notation)
tags for the current game.
For now this is a duplicate of the ‘Edit Tags’ item in the ‘Edit’ menu.
- Pops up a window which shows any comments to or variations on the current move.
For now this is a duplicate of the ‘Edit Comment’ item in the ‘Edit’ menu.
- ICS Input Box
- If this option is set in ICS mode,
creates an extra window that you can use for typing in ICS commands.
The input box is especially useful if you want to type in something long or do
some editing on your input, because output from ICS doesn't get mixed
in with your typing as it would in the main terminal window.
- Open Chat Window
- This menu item opens a window in which you can conduct upto 5 chats
with other ICS users (or channels).
To use the window, write the name of your chat partner, the channel number,
or the words 'shouts', 'whispers', 'cshouts' in the upper field
(closing with <Enter>).
Everything you type in the lowest field will then automatically be sent to
the mentioned party, while everything that party sends to you will
appear in the central text box, rather than appear in the ICS console.
The row of buttons allow you to choose between chat;
to start a new chat, just select an empty button,
and complete the ‘Chat partner’ field.
- Summons a dialog where you can customize the look of the chess board.
Here you can specify the directory from which piece images should be taken,
when you don't want to use the built-in piece images
external images to be used for the board squares
and square and piece colors for the default pieces.
- Game List Tags
- a duplicate of the Game List dialog in the Options menu.
3.4 Mode Menu
- Machine White
- Tells the chess engine to play White.
The Ctrl-W key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Machine Black
- Tells the chess engine to play Black.
The Ctrl-B key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Two Machines
- Plays a game between two chess engines.
The Ctrl-T key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Analysis Mode
- XBoard tells the chess engine to start analyzing the current game/position
and shows you the analysis as you move pieces around.
The Ctrl-A key is a keyboard equivalent.
Note: Some chess engines do not support Analysis mode.
To set up a position to analyze, you do the following:
1. Select Edit Position from the Mode Menu
2. Set up the position. Use the middle and right buttons to
bring up the white and black piece menus.
3. When you are finished, click on either the Black or White
clock to tell XBoard which side moves first.
4. Select Analysis Mode from the Mode Menu to start the analysis.
You can now play legal moves to create follow-up positions for the
engine to analyze, while the moves will be remembered as a stored game,
and then step backward through this game to take the moves back.
Note that you can also click on the clocks to set the opposite
side to move (adding a so-called ‘null move’ to the game).
You can also tell the engine to exclude some moves from analysis.
(Engines that do not support the exclude-moves feature will
ignore this, however.)
The general way to do this is to play the move you want to exclude
starting with a double click on the piece.
When you use drag-drop moving, the piece you grab with a double click
will also remain on its square, to show you that you are not really
making the move, but just forbid it from the current position.
Playing a thus excluded move a second time will include it again.
Excluded moves will be listed as text in a header line in the
Engine Output window, and you can also re-include them by
right-clicking them there.
This header line will also contain the words 'best' and 'tail';
right-clicking those will exclude the currently best move,
or all moves not explicitly listed in the header line.
Once you leave the current position all memory of excluded
moves will be lost when you return there.
Selecting this menu item while already in ‘Analysis Mode’ will
toggle the participation of the second engine in the analysis.
The output of this engine will then be shown in the lower pane
of the Engine Output window.
The analysis function can also be used when observing games on an ICS
with an engine loaded (zippy mode); the engine then will analyse
the positions as they occur in the observed game.
- Analyze Game
- This option subjects the currently loaded game to automatic
analysis by the loaded engine.
The Ctrl-G key is a keyboard equivalent.
XBoard will start auto-playing the game from the currently displayed position,
while the engine is analyzing the current position.
The game will be annotated with the results of these analyses.
In particlar, the score and depth will be added as a comment,
and the PV will be added as a variation.
Normally the analysis would stop after reaching the end of the game.
But when a game is loaded from a multi-game file
while ‘Analyze Game’ was already switched on,
the analysis will continue with the next game in the file
until the end of the file is reached (or you switch to another mode).
The time the engine spends on analyzing each move can be controlled
through the command-line option ‘-timeDelay’,
which can also be set from the ‘Load Game Options’ menu dialog.
Note: Some chess engines do not support Analysis mode.
- Edit Game
- Duplicate of the item in the Edit menu.
Note that ‘Edit Game’ is the idle mode of XBoard, and can be used
to get you out of other modes. E.g. to stop analyzing, stop a game
between two engines or stop editing a position.
- Edit Position
- Duplicate of the item in the Edit menu.
- Training mode lets you interactively guess the moves of a game for one
of the players. You guess the next move of the game by playing the
move on the board. If the move played matches the next move of the
game, the move is accepted and the opponent's response is auto-played.
If the move played is incorrect, an error message is displayed. You
can select this mode only while loading a game (that is, after
selecting ‘Load Game’ from the File menu). While XBoard is in
‘Training’ mode, the navigation buttons are disabled.
- ICS Client
- This is the normal mode when XBoard
is connected to a chess server. If you have moved into
Edit Game or Edit Position mode, you can select this option to get out.
To use xboard in ICS mode, run it in the foreground with the -ics
option, and use the terminal you started it from to type commands and
receive text responses from the chess server. See
Chess Servers below for more information.
XBoard activates some special position/game editing features when you
use the examine or bsetup commands on ICS and you have
‘ICS Client’ selected on the Mode menu. First, you can issue the
ICS position-editing commands with the mouse. Move pieces by dragging
with mouse button 1. To drop a new piece on a square, press mouse
button 2 or 3 over the square. This brings up a menu of white pieces
(button 2) or black pieces (button 3). Additional menu choices let
you empty the square or clear the board. Click on the White or Black
clock to set the side to play. You cannot set the side to play or
drag pieces to arbitrary squares while examining on ICC, but you can
do so in bsetup mode on FICS. In addition, the menu commands
‘Forward’, ‘Backward’, ‘Pause’, and ‘Stop Examining’
have special functions in this mode; see below.
- Machine Match
- Starts a match between two chess programs,
with a number of games and other parameters set through
the ‘Match Options’ menu dialog.
When a match is already running, selecting this item will make
XBoard drop out of match mode after the current game finishes.
- Pauses updates to the board, and if you are playing against a chess engine,
also pauses your clock. To continue, select ‘Pause’ again, and the
display will automatically update to the latest position.
The ‘P’ button and keyboard Pause key are equivalents.
If you select Pause when you are playing against a chess engine and
it is not your move, the chess engine's clock
will continue to run and it will eventually make a move, at which point
both clocks will stop. Since board updates are paused, however,
you will not see the move until you exit from Pause mode (or select Forward).
This behavior is meant to simulate adjournment with a sealed move.
If you select Pause while you are observing or examining a game on a
chess server, you can step backward and forward in the current history
of the examined game without affecting the other observers and
examiners, and without having your display jump forward to the latest
position each time a move is made. Select Pause again to reconnect
yourself to the current state of the game on ICS.
If you select ‘Pause’ while you are loading a game, the game stops
loading. You can load more moves manually by selecting ‘Forward’, or
resume automatic loading by selecting ‘Pause’ again.
3.5 Action Menu
- Accepts a pending match offer.
The F3 key is a keyboard equivalent.
If there is more than one offer
pending, you will have to type in a more specific command
instead of using this menu choice.
- Declines a pending offer (match, draw, adjourn, etc.).
The F4 key is a keyboard equivalent. If there
is more than one offer pending, you will have to type in a more
specific command instead of using this menu choice.
- Call Flag
- Calls your opponent's flag, claiming a win on time, or claiming
a draw if you are both out of time.
The F5 key is a keyboard equivalent.
You can also call your
opponent's flag by clicking on his clock.
- Offers a draw to your opponent, accepts a pending draw offer
from your opponent, or claims a draw by repetition or the 50-move
rule, as appropriate. The F6 key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Asks your opponent to agree to adjourning the current game, or
agrees to a pending adjournment offer from your opponent.
The F7 key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Asks your opponent to agree to aborting the current game, or
agrees to a pending abort offer from your opponent.
The F8 key is a keyboard equivalent. An aborted
game ends immediately without affecting either player's rating.
- Resigns the game to your opponent. The F9 key is a
- Stop Observing
- Ends your participation in observing a game, by issuing the ICS
observe command with no arguments. ICS mode only.
The F10 key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Stop Examining
- Ends your participation in examining a game, by issuing the ICS
unexamine command. ICS mode only.
The F11 key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Upload to Examine
- Create an examined game of the proper variant on the ICS,
and send the game there that is currenty loaded in XBoard
(e.g. through pasting or loading from file).
You must be connected to an ICS for this to work.
- Adjudicate to White
- Adjudicate to Black
- Adjudicate Draw
- Terminate an ongoing game in Two-Machines mode (including match mode),
with as result a win for white, for black, or a draw, respectively.
The PGN file of the game will accompany the result string
by the comment "user adjudication".
3.6 Engine Menu
- Load Engine
- Pops up a dialog where you can select or specify an engine to be loaded.
You will always have to indicate whether you want to load the engine
as first or second engine, through the ‘Load menitioned engine as’
drop-down list at the bottom of the dialog.
You can even replace engines during a game, without disturbing that game.
(Beware that after loading an engine, XBoard will always be in Edit Game mode,
so you will have to tell the new engine what to do before it does anything!)
When you select an already installed engine from the ‘Select Engine from List’
all other fields of the dialog will be ignored.
In other cases, you have to specify the engine executable,
possible arguments on the engine command line
(if the engine docs say the engine needs any),
and the directory where the engine should look for its files
(if this cannot be deduced automatically from the specification of the engine executable).
You will also have to specify (with the aid of checkboxes) if the engine is UCI.
If ‘Add this engine to the list’ is ticked (which it is by default),
the engine will be added to the list of installed engines in your settings file,
(provided you save the settings!),
so that next time you can select it from the drop-down list.
You can also specify a ‘nickname’,
under which the engine will then appear in that drop-down list,
and even choose to use that nickname for it in PGN files for engine-engine games.
The info you supply with the checkboxes whether the engine should use GUI book,
or (for variant engines) automatically switch to the current variant when loaded,
will also be included in the list.
For obsolete XBoard engines, which would normally take a long delay to load
because XBoard is waiting for a response they will not give,
you can tick ‘WB protocol v1’ to speed up the loading process.
- Engine #N Settings
- Pop up a menu dialog to alter the settings specific to the applicable engine.
(The second engine is only accessible once it has been used in Two-Machines mode.)
For each parameter the engine allows to be set,
a control element will appear in this dialog that can be used to alter the value.
Depending on the type of parameter (text string, number, multiple choice,
on/off switch, instantaneous signal) the appropriate control will appear,
with a description next to it.
XBoard has no idea what these values mean; it just passes them on to the engine.
How this dialog looks is completely determined by the engine,
and XBoard just passes it on to the user.
Many engines do not have any parameters that can be set by the user,
and in that case the dialog will be empty (except for the OK and cancel buttons).
UCI engines usually have many parameters. (But these are only visible with
a sufficiently modern version of the Polyglot adapter needed to run UCI engines,
e.g. Polyglot 1.4.55b.) For native XBoard engines this is less common.
- Displays a move hint from the chess engine.
- Displays a list of possible moves from the chess engine's opening
book. The exact format depends on what chess engine you are using.
With GNU Chess 4, the first column gives moves, the second column
gives one possible response for each move, and the third column shows
the number of lines in the book that include the move from the first
column. If you select this option and nothing happens, the chess
engine is out of its book or does not support this feature.
- Move Now
- Forces the chess engine to move immediately. Chess engine mode only.
The Ctrl-M key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Retract Move
- Retracts your last move. In chess engine mode, you can do this only
after the chess engine has replied to your move; if the chess engine is still
thinking, use ‘Move Now’ first. In ICS mode, ‘Retract Move’
issues the command ‘takeback 1’ or ‘takeback 2’
depending on whether it is your opponent's move or yours.
The Ctrl-X key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Recently Used Engines
- At the bottom of the engine menu there can be a list of names
of engines that you recently loaded through the Load Engine menu dialog
in previous sessions.
Clicking on such a name will load that engine as first engine,
so you won't have to search for it in your list of installed engines,
if that is very long.
The maximum number of displayed engine names is set by the
3.7 Options Menu
- General Options
- The following items to set option values appear in the dialog
summoned by the general Options menu item.
- Absolute Analysis Scores
- Controls if scores on the Engine Output window during analysis
will be printed from the white or the side-to-move point-of-view.
- Almost Always Queen
- If this option is on, 7th-rank pawns automatically change into
Queens when you pick them up,
and when you drag them to the promotion square and release them there,
they will promote to that.
But when you drag such a pawn backwards first,
its identity will start to cycle through the other available pieces.
This will continue until you start to move it forward;
at which point the identity of the piece will be fixed,
so that you can safely put it down on the promotion square.
If this option is off, what happens depends on the
which would force promotion to Queen when true.
Otherwise XBoard would bring up a dialog
box whenever you move a pawn to the last rank, asking what piece
you want to promote to.
- Animate Dragging
- If Animate Dragging is on, while you are dragging a piece with the
mouse, an image of the piece follows the mouse cursor.
If Animate Dragging is off, there is no visual feedback while you are
dragging a piece, but if Animate Moving is on, the move will be
animated when it is complete.
- Animate Moving
- If Animate Moving is on, all piece moves are animated. An image of the
piece is shown moving from the old square to the new square when the
move is completed (unless the move was already animated by Animate Dragging).
If Animate Moving is off, a moved piece instantly disappears from its
old square and reappears on its new square when the move is complete.
The shifted Ctrl-A key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Auto Flag
- If this option is on and one player runs out of time
before the other,
will automatically call his flag, claiming a win on time.
The shifted Ctrl-F key is a keyboard equivalent.
In ICS mode, Auto Flag will only call your opponent's flag, not yours,
and the ICS may award you a draw instead of a win if you have
insufficient mating material. In local chess engine mode,
may call either player's flag and will not take material into account (?).
- Auto Flip View
- If the Auto Flip View option is on when you start a game, the board
will be automatically oriented so that your pawns move from the bottom
of the window towards the top.
If you are playing a game on an ICS, the board is always
oriented at the start of the game so that your pawns move from
the bottom of the window towards the top. Otherwise, the starting
orientation is determined by the
flipView command line option;
if it is false (the default), White's pawns move from bottom to top
at the start of each game; if it is true, Black's pawns move from
bottom to top. See User interface options.
- If this option is on, XBoard displays the board as usual but does
not display pieces or move highlights. You can still move in the
usual way (with the mouse or by typing moves in ICS mode), even though
the pieces are invisible.
- Drop Menu
- Controls if right-clicking the board in crazyhouse / bughouse
will pop up a menu to drop a piece on the clicked square
(old, deprecated behavior)
or allow you to step through an engine PV
(new, recommended behavior).
- Enable Variation Trees
- If this option is on, playing a move in Edit Game or Analyze mode
while keeping the Shift key pressed will start a new variation.
You can then recall the previous line through the ‘Revert’ menu item.
When off, playing a move will truncate the game and append the move
- Hide Thinking
- If this option is off, the chess engine's notion of the score and best
line of play from the current position is displayed as it is
thinking. The score indicates how many pawns ahead (or if negative,
behind) the chess engine thinks it is. In matches between two
machines, the score is prefixed by ‘W’ or ‘B’ to indicate
whether it is showing White's thinking or Black's, and only the thinking
of the engine that is on move is shown.
The shifted Ctrl-H key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Highlight Last Move
- If Highlight Last Move is on, after a move is made, the starting and
ending squares remain highlighted. In addition, after you use Backward
or Back to Start, the starting and ending squares of the last move to
be unmade are highlighted.
- Highlight with Arrow
- Causes the highlighting described in Highlight Last Move to be done
by drawing an arrow between the highlighted squares,
so that it is visible even when the width of the grid lines is set to zero.
- Move Sound
- Enables the sounding of an audible signal when the computer performs a move.
For the selection of the sound, see ‘Sound Options’.
If you turn on this option when using XBoard with the Internet
Chess Server, you will probably want to give the
set bell 0
command to the ICS, since otherwise the ICS will ring the terminal bell
after every move (not just yours). (The .icsrc file
is a good place for this; see ICS options.)
- One-Click Moving
- If this option is on, XBoard does not wait for you to click both the
from- and the to-square, or drag the piece, but performs a move as soon
as it is uniqely specified.
This applies to clicking an own piece that only has a single legal move,
clicking an empty square or opponent piece where only one of your pieces
can move (or capture) to.
Furthermore, a double-click on a piece that can only make a single capture
will cause that capture to be made.
Promoting a Pawn by clicking its to-square will suppress the promotion
popup or other methods for selecting an under-promotion,
and make it promote to Queen.
- Periodic Updates
- If this option is off (or if
you are using a chess engine that does not support periodic updates),
the analysis window
will only be updated when the analysis changes. If this option is
on, the Analysis Window will be updated every two seconds.
- Play Move(s) of Clicked PV
- If this option is on, right-clicking a PV in the Engine Output window
during Analyze mode will cause the first move of that PV to be played.
You could also play more than one (or no) PV move by moving the mouse
to engage in the PV walk such a right-click will start,
to seek out another position along the PV where you want to continue
the analysis, before releasing the mouse button.
- Ponder Next Move
- If this option is off, the chess engine will think only when it is on
move. If the option is on, the engine will also think while waiting
for you to make your move.
The shifted Ctrl-P key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Popup Exit Message
- If this option is on, when XBoard wants to display a message just
before exiting, it brings up a modal dialog box and waits for you to
click OK before exiting. If the option is off, XBoard prints the
message to standard error (the terminal) and exits immediately.
- Popup Move Errors
- If this option is off, when you make an error in moving (such as
attempting an illegal move or moving the wrong color piece), the
error message is displayed in the message area. If the option is
on, move errors are displayed in small pop-up windows like other errors.
You can dismiss an error pop-up either by clicking its OK button or by
clicking anywhere on the board, including down-clicking to start a move.
- Scores in Move List
- If this option is on, XBoard will display the depth and score
of engine moves in the Move List, in the format of a PGN comment.
- Show Coords
- If this option is on, XBoard displays algebraic coordinates
along the board's left and bottom edges.
- Show Target Squares
- If this option is on, all squares a piece that is 'picked up' with the mouse
can legally move to are highighted with a fat colored dot in the
highlightColor (non-captures) or premoveHighlightColor (captures).
Legality testing must be on for XBoard to know how the piece moves.
- Test Legality
- If this option is on, XBoard tests whether the moves you try to make
with the mouse are legal and refuses to let you make an illegal move.
The shifted Ctrl-L key is a keyboard equivalent.
Moves loaded from a file with ‘Load Game’ are also checked. If
the option is off, all moves are accepted, but if a local chess engine
or the ICS is active, they will still reject illegal moves. Turning
off this option is useful if you are playing a chess variant with
rules that XBoard does not understand. (Bughouse, suicide, and wild
variants where the king may castle after starting on the d file are
generally supported with Test Legality on.)
- Flash Moves
- Flash Rate
- If this option is non-zero, whenever a move is completed,
the moved piece flashes the specified number of times.
The flash-rate setting determines how rapidly this flashing occurs.
- Animation Speed
- Determines the duration (in msec) of an animation step,
when ‘Animate Moving’ is swiched on.
- Zoom factor in Evaluation Graph
- Sets the valueof the
indicating the factor by which the score interval (-1,1) should be
blown up on the vertical axis of the Evaluation Graph.
- Time Control
- Pops up a sub-menu where you can set the time-control parameters interactively.
Allows you to select classical or incremental time controls,
set the moves per session, session duration, and time increment.
Also allows specification of time-odds factors for one or both engines.
If an engine is given a time-odds factor N, all time quota it gets,
be it at the beginning of a session or through the time increment or
fixed time per move, will be divided by N.
The shifted Alt+T key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Common Engine
- Pops up a sub-menu where you can set some engine parameters common to most engines,
such as hash-table size, tablebase cache size, maximum number of processors
that SMP engines can use, and where to find the Polyglot adapter needed
to run UCI engines under XBoard. The feature that allows setting of these parameters on
engines is new since XBoard 4.3.15, so not many XBoard/WinBoard engines respond
to it yet, but UCI engines should.
It is also possible to specify a GUI opening book here, i.e. an opening
book that XBoard consults for any position a playing engine gets in.
It then forces the engine to play the book move, rather than to think up its own,
if that position is found in the book.
The book can switched on and off independently for either engine.
The way book moves are chosen can be influenced through the settings of
book depth and variety.
After both sides have played more moves than the specified depth,
the book will no longer be consulted.
When the variety is set to 50, moves will be played with the probability
specified in the book.
When set to 0, only the move(s) with the highest probability will be played.
When set to 100, all listed moves will be played with equal pobability.
Other settings interpolate between that.
The shifted Alt+U key is a keyboard equivalent.
- Pops up a sub-menu where you can enable or disable various adjudications
that XBoard can perform in engine-engine games.
The shifted Alt+J key is a keyboard equivalent.
You can instruct XBoard to detect and terminate the game on checkmate
or stalemate, even if the engines would not do so, to verify engine
result claims (forfeiting engines that make false claims), rather than
naively following the engine, to declare draw on positions
which can never be won for lack of mating material, (e.g. KBK),
or which are impossible to win unless the opponent seeks its own demise
For these adjudications to work, ‘Test Legality’ should be switched on.
It is also possible to instruct XBoard to enforce a 50-move or 3-fold-repeat
rule and automatically declare draw (after a user-adjustable number of moves
or repeats) even if the engines are prepared to go on.
It is also possible to have XBoard declare draw on games that seem to drag on
forever, or adjudicate a loss if both engines agree (for 3 consecutive moves) that one
of them is behind more than a user-adjustable score threshold.
For the latter adjudication to work, XBoard should be able to properly understand
the engine's scores. To facilitate the latter, you can inform xboard here if
the engines report scores from the viewpoint of white, or from that of their own color.
- ICS Options
- The following options occur in a dialog summoned by the
ICS Options menu item.
- Auto Kibitz
- Setting this option when playing with or aginst a chess program on an ICS
will cause the last line of thinking output of the engine before its move
to be sent to the ICS in a kibitz command.
In addition, any kibitz message received through the ICS from
an opponent chess program will be diverted to the engine-output window,
(and suppressed in the console),
where you can play through its PV by right-clicking it.
- Auto Comment
- If this option is on, any remarks made on ICS while you are observing or
playing a game are recorded as a comment on the current move. This includes
remarks made with the ICS commands say, tell, whisper,
Limitation: remarks that you type yourself are not recognized;
XBoard scans only the output from ICS, not the input you type to it.
- Auto Observe
- If this option is on and you add a player to your
list on ICS, XBoard will automatically observe all of that
player's games, unless you are doing something else (such as
observing or playing a game of your own) when one starts.
The games are displayed
from the point of view of the player on your gnotify list; that is, his
pawns move from the bottom of the window towards the top.
Exceptions: If both players in a game are on your gnotify list, if
variable is set to 0, or if the ICS you are using does not
properly support observing from Black's point of view,
you will see the game from White's point of view.
- Auto Raise Board
- If this option is on, whenever a new game begins, the chessboard window
is deiconized (if necessary) and raised to the top of the stack of windows.
- Auto Save
- If this option is true, at the end of every game XBoard prompts
you for a file name and appends a record of the game to the file
Disabled if the
option is set, as in that case all games are saved to the specified file.
See Load and Save options.
- Background Observe
- Setting this option will make XBoard suppress display of any boards
from observed games while you are playing.
In stead the last such board will be remembered,
and shown to you when you right-click the board.
This allows you to peek at your bughouse partner's game when you want,
without disturbing your own game too much.
- Dual Board
- Setting this option in combination with ‘Background Observe’
will display boards of observed games while you are playing
on a second board next to that of your own game.
- Get Move List
- If this option is on, whenever XBoard
receives the first board of a new ICS game (or a different game from
the one it is currently displaying), it
retrieves the list of past moves from the ICS.
You can then review the moves with the ‘Forward’ and ‘Backward’
or save them with ‘Save Game’. You might want to
turn off this option if you are observing several blitz games at once,
to keep from wasting time and network bandwidth fetching the move lists over
When you turn this option on from the menu, XBoard
immediately fetches the move list of the current game (if any).
- Quiet Play
- If this option is on, XBoard will automatically issue an ICS
set shout 0
command whenever you start a game and a
set shout 1
command whenever you finish one. Thus, you will not be distracted
by shouts from other ICS users while playing.
- Seek Graph
- Setting this option will cause XBoard to display an graph of
currently active seek ads when you left-click the board
while idle and logged on to an ICS.
- Auto-Refresh Seek Graph
- In combination with the ‘Seek Graph’ option this
will cause automatic update of the seek graph while it is up.
This only works on FICS and ICC,
and requires a lot of bandwidth on a busy server.
- Premove White
- Premove Black
- First White Move
- First Black Move
- If this option is on while playing a game on an ICS, you can register
your next planned move before it is your turn. Move the piece with
the mouse in the ordinary way, and the starting and ending squares
will be highlighted with a special color (red by default). When it is
your turn, if your registered move is legal, XBoard will send it to
ICS immediately; if not, it will be ignored and you can make a
different move. If you change your mind about your premove, either
make a different move, or double-click on any piece to cancel the move
You can also enter premoves for the first white and black moves
of the game.
- ICS Alarm
- ICS Alarm Time
- When this option is on, an alarm sound is played when your clock
counts down to the icsAlarmTime in an ICS game.
(By default, the time is 5 seconds, but you can pecify other values
with the Alarm Time spin control.)
For games with time controls that include an increment, the
alarm will sound each time the clock counts down to the icsAlarmTime.
By default, the alarm sound is the terminal bell, but on some systems
you can change it to a sound file using the soundIcsAlarm option; see
- Colorize Messages
- Ticking this options causes various types of ICS messages do be
displayed with different foreground or background colors in the console.
The colors can be individually selected for each type,
through the accompanying text edits.
- Match Options
- Summons a dialog where you can set options important for playing automatic
matches between two chess programs
(e.g. by using the ‘Machine Match’ menu item in the ‘Mode’ menu).
- Tournament file
- To run a tournament, XBoard needs a file to record its progress,
so it can resume the tourney when it is interrupted.
When you want to conduct anything more complex than a simple
two-player match with the currently loaded engines,
(i.e. when you select a list of participants),
you must not leave this field blank.
When you enter the name of an existing tournament file,
XBoard will ignore all other input specified in the dialog,
and will take them from that tournament file.
This resumes an interrupted tournament, or adds another XBoard
agent playing games for it to those that are already doing so.
Specifying a not-yet-existing file will cause XBoard to create it,
according to the tournament parameters specified in the rest of the dialog,
before it starts the tournament on ‘OK’.
Provided that you specify participants;
without participants no tournament file will be made, but other entered values
(e.g. for the file with opening positions) will take effect.
Default: configured by the
- Sync after round
- Sync after cycle
- The sync options, when on, will cause WinBoard to refrain from starting games
of the next round or cycle before all games of the previous round or cycle are finished.
This guarantees correct ordering in the games file,
even when multiple XBoard instances are concurrently playing games for the same tourney.
Default: sync after cycle, but not after round.
- Select Engine
- Tourney participants
- With the Select Engine drop-down list you can pick an engine from your list
of installed engines in the settings file, to be added to the tournament.
The engines selected so far will be listed in the ‘Tourney participants’ memo.
The latter is a normal text edit, so you can use normal text-editing functions
to delete engines you selected by accident, or change their order.
Do not type names yourself there, because names that do not exactly match
one of the names from the drop-down list will lead to undefined behavior.
- Tourney type
- Here you can specify the type of tournament you want.
XBoard’s intrinsic tournament manager support round-robins (type = 0),
where each participant plays every other participant, and (multi-)gauntlets,
where one (or a few) so-called ‘gauntlet engines’ play an independent set of opponents.
In the latter case, you specify the number of gauntlet engines.
E.g. if you specified 10 engines, and tourney type = 2,
the first 2 engines each play the remaining 8.
A value of -1 instructs XBoard to play Swiss; for this to work an external
pairing engine must be specified through the
Each Swiss round will be considered a tourney cycle in that case.
- Number of tourney cycles
- Default number of Games
- You can specify tourneys where every two opponents play each other multiple times.
Such multiple games can be played in a row,
as specified by the ‘number of games per pairing’,
or by repeating the entire tournament schedule a number of times
(specified by the ‘number of tourney cycles’).
The total number of times two engine meet will be the product of these two.
Default is 1 cycle;
the number of games per pairing is the same as the default number of match games,
stored in your settings file through the
- Save Tourney Games
- File where the tournament games are saved
(duplicate of the item in the ‘Save Game Options’).
- Game File with Opening Lines
- File with Start Positions
- Game Number
- Position Number
- Rewind Index after
- These items optionally specify the file with move sequences or board positions the tourney
games should start from.
The corresponding numbers specify the number of the game or position in the file.
Here a value -1 means automatic stepping through all games on the file,
-2 automatic stepping every two games.
The Rewind-Index parameter causes a stepping index to reset to one after reaching
a specified value.
A setting of -2 for the game number will also be effective in a tournament without
specifying a game file, but playing from the GUI book instead.
In this case the first (odd) games will randomly select from the book,
but the second (even) games will select the same moves from the book as the previous game.
(Note this leads to the same opening only if both engines use the GUI book!)
Default: No game or position file will be used. The default index if such a file is used is 1.
- Disable own engine bools be default
- Setting this option reverses the default situation for use of the GUI opening book
in tournaments from what it normally is, namely not using it.
So unless the engine is installed with an option to explicitly specify it should
not use the GUI book (i.e.
it will be made to use the GUI book.
- Replace Engine
- Upgrade Engine
- With these two buttons you can alter the participants of an already running tournament.
After opening the Match Options dialog on an XBoard that is playing for the tourney,
you will see all the tourney parameters in the dialog fields.
You can then replace the name of one engine by that of another
by editing the ‘participants’ field.
(But preserve the order of the others!)
Pressing the button after that will cause the substitution.
With the ‘Upgrade Engine’ button the substitution will only affect future games.
With ‘Replace Engine’ all games the substituted engine has already played will
be invalidated, and they will be replayed with the substitute engine.
In this latter case the engine must not be playing when you do this,
but otherwise there is no need to pause the tournament play
for making a substitution.
- Clone Tourney
- Pressing this button after you have specified an existing tournament file
will copy the contents of the latter to the dialog,
and then puts the originally proposed name for the tourney file back.
You can then run a tourney with the same parameters
(possibly after changing the proposed name of the tourney file for the new tourney)
by pressing 'OK'.
- Load Game Options
- Summons a dialog where you can set the
autoDisplayTags options, (which control popups when viewing loaded games),
and specify the rate at which loaded games are auto-played,
in seconds per move (which can be a fractional number, like 1.6).
You can also set search criteria for determining which games
will be displayed in the Game List for a multi-game file,
and thus be eligible for loading:
- Elo of strongest player
- Elo of weakest player
- These numeric fields set thresholds (lower limits) on the Elo rating of the mentioned player,
or the date the game was played.
- Search mode
- This setting determines which positions in a game will be considered a match
to the position currently displayed in the board window
when you press the ‘find position’ button in the Game List.
You can search for an exact match,
a position that has all shown material in the same place,
but might contain additional material,
a position that has all Pawns in the same place,
but can have the shown material anywhere,
a position that can have all shown material anywhere,
or a position that has material between certain limits anywhere.
For the latter you have to place the material that must be present
in the four lowest ranks of the board,
and optional additional material in the four highest ranks of the board.
You can request the optional material to be balanced.
The ‘narrow’ button is similar in fuction to the ‘find position’ button,
but only searches in the already selected games,
rather than the complete game file,
and can thus be used to refine a search based on multiple criteria.
- number of consecutive positions
- When you are searching by material, rather than for an exact match,
this parameter indicates forhowmany consecutive game positions
the same amount of material must be on the board before it is
considered a match.
- Also match reversed colors
- Also match left-right flipped position
- When looking for matching positions rather than by material,
these settings determine whether mirror images
(in case of a vertical flip in combination with color reversal)
will be also considered a match.
The left-right flipping is only useful after all castling rights
have expired (or in Xiangqi).
- Save Game Options
- Summons a dialog where you can specify the files on which XBoard should
automatically save any played or entered games,
or the final position of such games (the
You can also select 'auto-save' without a file name,
in which case XBoard will prompt the user for a file name after each game.
In ICS mode you can limit the auto-saving to your own games
(i.e. suppress saving of observed games).
You can also set the default value for the PGN Event tag that will
be used for each new game you start.
Various options for the format of the game can be specified as well,
such as whether scores and depths of engine games should be saved as comments,
and if a tag with info about the score with which the engine came out of book
should be included.
For Chess, always set the format to PGN, rather than "old save stye"!
- Game List
- Pops up a dialog where you can select the PGN tags that should appear
on the lines in the game list, and their order.
- Sound Options
- Summons a dialog where you can specify the sounds that should accompany
various events that can occur XBoard.
Most events are only relevant to ICS play,
but the move sound is an important exception.
For each event listed in the dialog,
you can select a standard sound from a menu.
You can also select a user-supplied sound file,
by typing its name into the designated text-edit field first,
and then selecting "Above WAV File" from the menu for the event.
A dummy event has been provided for trying out the sounds with the
"play" button next to it.
The directory with standard sounds, and the external program for playing
the sounds can be specified too, but normally you would not touch these
once XBoard is properly installed.
When a move sound other than 'None' is selected,
XBoard alerts you by playing that sound
after each of your opponent's moves (or after every
move if you are observing a game on the Internet Chess Server).
The sound is not played after moves you make or moves read from a
saved game file.
- Save Settings Now
- Selecting this menu item causes the current XBoard settings to be
written to the settings file, so they will also apply in future sessions.
Note that some settings are 'volatile', and are not saved,
because XBoard considers it too unlikely that you want those to apply
In particular this applies to the Chess program names, and all options
giving information on those Chess programs (such as their directory,
if they have their own opening book, if they are UCI or native XBoard),
or the variant you are playing.
Such options would still be understood when they appear in the settings
file in case they were put there with the aid of a text editor, but they
would disappear from the file as soon as you save the settings.
Note that XBoard no longer pays attention to options values specified
in the .Xresources file.
(Specifying key bindings there will still work, though.)
To alter the default of volatile options, you can use the following method:
Rename your ~/.xboardrc settings file (to ~/.yboardrc, say), and create
a new file ~/.xboardrc, which only contains the options
This will cause your settings to be saved on ~/.yboardrc in the future,
so that ~/.xboardrc is no longer overwritten.
You can then safely specify volatile options in ~/.xboardrc, either
before or after the settingsFile options.
Note that when you specify persistent options after the settingsFile options
in ~/.xboardrc, you will essentially turn them into volatile options
with the specified value as default, because that value will overrule
the value loaded from the settings file (being read later).
- Save Settings on Exit
- Setting this option has no immediate effect, but causes the settings
to be saved when you quit XBoard. What happens then is otherwise
identical to what happens when you use select "Save Settings Now",
3.8 Help Menu
- Info XBoard
- Displays the XBoard documentation in info format. For this feature to
work, you must have the GNU info program installed on your system, and
the file xboard.info must either be present in the current
working directory, or have been installed by the ‘make install’
command when you built XBoard.
- Man XBoard
- Displays the XBoard documentation in man page format.
The F1 key is a keyboard equivalent. For this
feature to work, the file xboard.6 must have been installed by
the ‘make install’ command when you built XBoard, and the
directory it was placed in must be on the search path for your
system's ‘man’ command.
- About XBoard
- Shows the current XBoard version number.
3.9 Other Shortcut Keys
- Show Last Move
- By hitting Enter the last move will be re-animated.
- Load Next Game
- Loads the next game from the last game record file you loaded.
The Alt+PgDn key triggers this action.
- Load Previous Game
- Loads the previous game from the last game record file you
loaded. The Alt+PgUp key triggers this action.
Not available if the last game was loaded from a pipe.
- Reload Same Game
- Reloads the last game you loaded.
Not available if the last game was loaded from a pipe.
Currently no keystroke is assigned to this ReloadGameProc.
- Reload Same Position
- Reloads the last position you loaded.
Not available if the last position was loaded from a pipe.
Currently no keystroke is assigned to this ReloadPositionProc.
You can add or remove shortcut keys using the X resources
form.translations. Here is an example of what would go in your
Shift<Key>?: AboutGameProc() \n\
<Key>y: AcceptProc() \n\
<Key>n: DeclineProc() \n\
Binding a key to
NothingProc makes it do nothing, thus removing
it as a shortcut key. The XBoard commands that can be bound to keys
AbortProc, AboutGameProc, AboutProc, AcceptProc, AdjournProc,
AlwaysQueenProc, AnalysisModeProc, AnalyzeFileProc,
AnimateDraggingProc, AnimateMovingProc, AutobsProc, AutoflagProc,
AutoflipProc, AutoraiseProc, AutosaveProc, BackwardProc,
BlindfoldProc, BookProc, CallFlagProc, CopyGameProc, CopyPositionProc,
DebugProc, DeclineProc, DrawProc, EditCommentProc, EditGameProc,
EditPositionProc, EditTagsProc, EnterKeyProc, FlashMovesProc,
FlipViewProc, ForwardProc, GetMoveListProc, HighlightLastMoveProc,
HintProc, IcsAlarmProc, IcsClientProc, IcsInputBoxProc,
InfoProc, LoadGameProc, LoadNextGameProc, LoadNextPositionProc,
LoadPositionProc, LoadPrevGameProc, LoadPrevPositionProc,
LoadSelectedProc, MachineBlackProc, MachineWhiteProc, MailMoveProc,
ManProc, MoveNowProc, MoveSoundProc, NothingProc, OldSaveStyleProc,
PasteGameProc, PastePositionProc, PauseProc, PeriodicUpdatesProc,
PonderNextMoveProc, PopupExitMessageProc, PopupMoveErrorsProc,
PremoveProc, QuietPlayProc, QuitProc, ReloadCmailMsgProc,
ReloadGameProc, ReloadPositionProc, RematchProc, ResetProc,
ResignProc, RetractMoveProc, RevertProc, SaveGameProc,
SavePositionProc, ShowCoordsProc, ShowGameListProc, ShowThinkingProc,
StopExaminingProc, StopObservingProc, TestLegalityProc, ToEndProc,
ToStartProc, TrainingProc, TruncateGameProc, and TwoMachinesProc.
This section documents the command-line options to XBoard. You can
set these options in two ways: by typing them on the shell command
line you use to start XBoard, or by editing the settings file
(usually ~/.xboardrc) to alter the value of the setting that was
saved there. Some of the options
cannot be changed while XBoard is running; others set the initial
state of items that can be changed with the Options menu.
Most of the options have both a long name and a short name. To turn a
boolean option on or off from the command line, either give its long
name followed by the value true or false
(‘-longOptionName true’), or give just the short name to turn the
option on (‘-opt’), or the short name preceded by ‘x’ to
turn the option off (‘-xopt’). For options that take strings or
numbers as values, you can use the long or short option names
4.1 Chess Engine Options
- -tc or -timeControl minutes[:seconds]
- Each player begins with his clock set to the
Default: 5 minutes.
The additional options
are mutually exclusive.
- -mps or -movesPerSession moves
- When both players have made
movesPerSession moves, a
timeControl period is added to both clocks. Default: 40 moves.
- -inc or -timeIncrement seconds
- If this option is specified,
movesPerSession is ignored.
Instead, after each player's move,
timeIncrement seconds are
added to his clock.
Use ‘-inc 0’ if you want to require the entire
game to be played in one
timeControl period, with no increment.
Default: -1, which specifies
- -clock/-xclock or -clockMode true/false
- Determines whether or not to display the chess clocks. If clockMode is
false, the clocks are not shown, but the side that is to play next
is still highlighted. Also, unless
is set, the chess engine still keeps track of the clock time and uses it to
determine how fast to make its moves.
- -st or -searchTime minutes[:seconds]
- Tells the chess engine to spend at most the given amount of time
searching for each of its moves. Without this option, the chess engine
chooses its search time based on the number of moves and amount
of time remaining until the next time control.
Setting this option also sets clockMode to false.
- -depth or -searchDepth number
- Tells the chess engine to look ahead at most the given number of moves
when searching for a move to make. Without this option, the chess
engine chooses its search depth based on the number of moves and
amount of time remaining until the next time control. With the option,
the engine will cut off its search early if it reaches the specified depth.
- -firstNPS number
- -secondNPS number
- Tells the chess engine to use an internal time standard based on its node count,
rather then wall-clock time, to make its timing decisions.
The time in virtual seconds should be obtained by dividing the node count
through the given number, like the number was a rate in nodes per second.
Xboard will manage the clocks in accordance with this, relying on the number
of nodes reported by the engine in its thinking output. If the given number equals zero,
it can obviously not be used to convert nodes to seconds, and the time reported
by the engine is used to decrement the XBoard clock in stead. The engine is supposed to
report in CPU time it uses, rather than wall-clock time, in this mode. This option
can provide fairer conditions for engine-engine matches on heavily loaded machines,
or with very fast games (where the wall clock is too inaccurate).
showThinking must be on for this option to work. Default: -1 (off).
Not many engines might support this yet!
- -firstTimeOdds factor
- -secondTimeOdds factor
- Reduces the time given to the mentioned engine by the given factor.
If pondering is off, the effect is indistinguishable from what would happen
if the engine was running on an n-times slower machine. Default: 1.
- -timeOddsMode mode
- This option determines how the case is handled where both engines have a time-odds handicap.
If mode=1, the engine that gets the most time will always get the nominal time,
as specified by the time-control options, and its opponent's time is renormalized accordingly.
If mode=0, both play with reduced time. Default: 0.
- -hideThinkingFromHuman true/false
- Controls the Hide Thinking option. See Options Menu. Default: true.
(Replaces the Show-Thinking option of older xboard versions.)
- -thinking/-xthinking or -showThinking true/false
- Forces the engine to send thinking output to xboard.
Used to be the only way to control if thinking output was displayed
in older xboard versions,
but as the thinking output in xboard 4.3 is also used for several other
purposes (adjudication, storing in PGN file) the display of it is now controlled
by the new option Hide Thinking. See Options Menu. Default: false.
(But if xboard needs the thinking output for some purpose,
it makes the engine send it despite the setting of this option.)
- -ponder/-xponder or -ponderNextMove true/false
- Sets the Ponder Next Move menu option. See Options Menu. Default: true.
- -smpCores number
- Specifies the maximum number of CPUs an SMP engine is allowed to use.
Only works for engines that support the XBoard/WinBoard-protocol cores feature.
- -mg or -matchGames n
- Automatically runs an n-game match between two chess engines,
with alternating colors.
loadPositionFile option is set,
starts each game with the given opening moves or the given position;
otherwise, the games start with the standard initial chess position.
saveGameFile option is set, a move record for the
match is appended to the specified file. If the
option is set, the final position reached in each game of the match is appended
to the specified file. When the match is over, XBoard
displays the match score and exits. Default: 0 (do not run a match).
- -mm/-xmm or -matchMode true/false
matchMode to true is equivalent to setting
matchGames to 1.
- -sameColorGames n
- Automatically runs an n-game match between two chess engines,
without alternating colors.
Otherwise the same applies as for the ‘-matchGames’ option,
over which it takes precedence if both are specified. (See there.)
Default: 0 (do not run a match).
- -fcp or -firstChessProgram program
- Name of first chess engine.
- -scp or -secondChessProgram program
- Name of second chess engine, if needed.
A second chess engine is started only in Two Machines (match) mode.
- -fe or -firstEngine nickname
- This is an alternative to the
fcp option for specifying the first engine,
for engines that were already configured (using the ‘Load Engine’ dialog)
in XBoard's settings file.
It will not only retrieve the real name of the engine,
but also all options configured with it.
(E.g. if it is UCI, whether it should use book.)
- -se or -secondEngine nickname
fe, but for the second engine.
- -fb/-xfb or -firstPlaysBlack true/false
- In games between two chess engines, firstChessProgram normally plays
white. If this option is true, firstChessProgram plays black. In a
multi-game match, this option affects the colors only for the first
game; they still alternate in subsequent games.
- -fh or -firstHost host
- -sh or -secondHost host
- Hosts on which the chess engines are to run. The default for
each is localhost. If you specify another host, XBoard
uses rsh to run the chess engine there. (You can substitute a
different remote shell program for rsh using the
option described below.)
- -fd or -firstDirectory dir
- -sd or -secondDirectory dir
- Working directories in which the chess engines are to be run.
The default is "", which means to run the chess engine
in the same working directory as XBoard
itself. (See the CHESSDIR environment variable.)
This option is effective only when the chess engine is being run
on the local host; it does not work if the engine is run remotely
using the -fh or -sh option.
- -initString string or -firstInitString
- -secondInitString string
- The string that is sent to initialize each chess engine for a new game.
Setting this option from the command line is tricky, because you must
type in real newline characters, including one at the very end.
In most shells you can do this by
entering a ‘\’ character followed by a newline.
Using the character sequence ‘\n’ in the string should work too, though.
If you change this option, don't remove the ‘new’
command; it is required by all chess engines to
start a new game.
You can remove the ‘random’ command if you like; including it
causes GNU Chess 4 to randomize its move selection slightly so that it
doesn't play the same moves in every game. Even without
‘random’, GNU Chess 4 randomizes its choice of moves from its
opening book. Many other chess engines ignore this command entirely
and always (or never) randomize.
You can also try adding other commands to the initString; see the
documentation of the chess engine you are using for details.
- -firstComputerString string
- -secondComputerString string
- The string that is sent to the chess engine if its opponent is another
computer chess engine. The default is ‘computer\n’. Probably the
only useful alternative is the empty string (‘’), which keeps the
engine from knowing that it is playing another computer.
- -reuse/-xreuse or -reuseFirst true/false
- -reuse2/-xreuse2 or -reuseSecond true/false
- If the option is false,
XBoard kills off the chess engine after every game and starts
it again for the next game.
If the option is true (the default),
XBoard starts the chess engine only once
and uses it repeatedly to play multiple games.
Some old chess engines may not work properly when
reuse is turned on, but otherwise games will start faster if it is left on.
- -firstProtocolVersion version-number
- -secondProtocolVersion version-number
- This option specifies which version of the chess engine communication
protocol to use. By default, version-number is 2. In version 1, the
"protover" command is not sent to the engine; since version 1 is a
subset of version 2, nothing else changes. Other values for
version-number are not supported.
- -firstScoreAbs true/false
- -secondScoreAbs true/false
- If this option is set, the score reported by the engine is taken to be
that in favor of white, even when the engine plays black.
Important when XBoard uses the score for adjudications, or in PGN reporting.
- -niceEngines priority
- This option allows you to lower the priority of the engine processes,
so that the generally insatiable hunger for CPU time of chess engines does not interfere so much
with smooth operation of XBoard (or the rest of your system).
Negative values could increase the engine priority, which is not recommended.
- -firstOptions string
- -secondOptions string
- The given string is a comma-separated list of (option name=option value) pairs,
like the following example: "style=Karpov,blunder rate=0".
If an option announced by the engine at startup through the feature commands of the XBoard/WinBoard protocol
matches one of the option names (i.e. "style" or "blunder rate"),
it would be set to the given value (i.e. "Karpov" or 0)
through a corresponding option command to the engine.
This provided that the type of the value (text or numeric) matches as well.
- -firstNeedsNoncompliantFEN string
- -secondNeedsNoncompliantFEN string
- The castling rights and e.p. fields of the FEN sent to the mentioned engine
with the setboard command will be replaced by the given string. This can for
instance be used to run engines that do not understand Chess960 FENs in
variant fischerandom, to make them at least understand the opening position,
through setting the string to "KQkq -". (Note you also have to give the e.p. field!)
Other possible applications are to provide work-arounds for engines that want to see
castling and e.p. fields in variants that do not have castling or e.p.
(shatranj, courier, xiangqi, shogi) so that XBoard would normally omit them
(string = "- -"), or to add variant-specific fields that are not yet supported by XBoard
(e.g. to indicate the number of checks in 3check).
- Forces shuffling of the opening setup in variants that normally have a fixed initial position.
Shufflings are symmetric for black and white, and exempt King and Rooks in variants
with normal castling.
Remains in force until a new variant is selected.
4.2 UCI + WB Engine Settings
- -fUCI or -firstIsUCI true/false
- -sUCI or -secondIsUCI true/false
- Indicates if the mentioned engine executable file is an UCI engine,
and should be run with the aid of the Polyglot adapter rather than directly.
Xboard will then pass the other UCI options and engine name to Polyglot
on its command line, according to the option
- Options similar to
sUCI, except that they
use the indicated engine with the protocol adapter specified in
the ‘uxiAdapter’ option.
This can then be configured for running an UCCI or USI adapter,
as the need arises.
- -adapterCommand string
- The string conatins the command that should be issued by XBoard
to start an engine that is accompanied by the
Any identifier following a percent sign in the command (e.g. %fcp)
will be considered the name of an XBoard option, and be replaced
by the value of that option at the time the engine is started.
For starting the second engine, any leading "f" or "first" in
the option name will first be replaced by "s" or "second",
before finding its value.
Default: 'polyglot -noini -ec "%fcp" -ed "%fd"'
- -uxiAdapter string
- Similar to
adapterCommand, but used for engines accompanied
fUSI option, so you can configure
XBoard to be ready to handle more than one flavor of non-native protocols.
- -polyglotDir filename
- Gives the name of the directory in which the Polyglot adapter for UCI engines resides.
- -usePolyglotBook true/false
- Specifies if the Polyglot book should be used as GUI book.
- -polyglotBook filename
- Gives the filename of the opening book.
The book is only used when the
usePolyglotBook option is set to true,
and the option
applying to the engine is set to false.
The engine will be kept in force mode as long as the current position is in book,
and XBoard will select the book moves for it. Default: "".
- -fNoOwnBookUCI or -firstXBook or -firstHasOwnBookUCI true/false
- -sNoOwnBookUCI or -secondXBook or -secondHasOwnBookUCI true/false
- Indicates if the mentioned engine has its own opening book it should play from,
rather than using the external book through XBoard.
Default: depends on setting of the option
- -discourageOwnBooks true/false
- When set, newly loaded engines will be assumed to use the GUI book,
unless they explicitly specify differently.
Otherwise they will be assumed to not use the GUI book,
unless the specify differently (e.g. with
- -bookDepth n
- Limits the use of the GUI book to the first n moves of each side.
- -bookVariation n
- A value n from 0 to 100 tunes the choice of moves from the GUI books
from totally random to best-only. Default: 50
- When this volatile option is specified, the probing algorithm of the
GUI book is altered to always select the move that is most under-represented
based on its performance.
When all moves are played in approximately the right proportion,
a book miss will be reported, to give the engine opportunity to
explore a new move.
In addition score of the moves will be kept track of during the session
in a book buffer.
By playing an match in this mode, a book will be built from scratch.
The only output are the saved games, which can be converted to an
actual book later, with the ‘Save Games as Book’ command.
This command can also be used to pre-fill the book buffer
before adding new games based on the probing algorithm.
- -fn string or -firstPgnName string
- -sn string or -secondPgnName string
- Indicates the name that should be used for the engine in PGN tags of
Intended to allow you to install verions of the same engine with different settings,
and still distinguish them.
- -defaultHashSize n
- Sets the size of the hash table to n MegaBytes. Together with the EGTB cache size
this number is also used to calculate the memory setting of XBoard/WinBoard engines,
for those that support the memory feature of the XBoard/WinBoard protocol. Default: 64.
- -defaultCacheSizeEGTB n
- Sets the size of the EGTB cache to n MegaBytes. Together with the hash-table size
this number is also used to calculate the memory setting of XBoard/WinBoard engines,
for those that support the memory feature of the XBoard/WinBoard protocol. Default: 4.
- -defaultPathEGTB filename
- Gives the name of the directory where the end-game tablebases are installed, for UCI engines.
- -egtFormats string
- Specifies which end-game tables are installed on the computer, and where.
The argument is a comma-separated list of format specifications,
each specification consisting of a format name, a colon, and a directory path name,
If the name part matches that of a format that the engine requests through a feature command,
xboard will relay the path name for this format to the engine through an egtpath command.
One egtpath command for each matching format will be sent.
Popular formats are "nalimov" DTM tablebases and "scorpio" bitbases.
- This option lets you customize the drop-down list of chess engine names
that appears in the ‘Load Engine’ and ‘Match Options’ dialog.
It consists of a list of strings, one per line.
When an engine is loaded, the corresponding line is prefixed with "-fcp ",
and processed like it appeared on the command line.
That means that apart from the engine command,
it can contain any list of XBoard options you want to use with this engine.
(Commonly used options here are -fd, -firstXBook, -fUCI, -variant.)
The value of this option is gradually built as you load new engines
through the ‘Load Engine’ menu dialog, with ‘Add to list’ ticked.
To change it, edit your settings file with a plain text editor.
4.3 Tournament options
- -defaultMatchGames n
- Sets the number of games that will be used for a match between two engines
started from the menu to n. Also used as games per pairing in other tournament
formats. Default: 10.
- -matchPause n
- Specifies the duration of the pause between two games of a match or tournament
between engines as n milliseconds.
Especially engines that do not support ping need this option,
to prevent that the move they are thinking on when an opponent unexpectedly
resigns will be counted for the next game, (leading to illegal moves there).
- -tf filename or -tourneyFile filename
- Specifies the name of the tournament file used in match mode
to conduct a multi-player tournament.
This file is a special settings file,
which stores the description of the tournament (including progress info),
through normal options (e.g. for time control, load and save files),
and through some special-purpose options listed below.
- -tt number or -tourneyType number
- Specifies the type of tourney: 0 = round-robin,
N>0 = (multi-)gauntlet with N gauntlet engines,
-1 = Swiss through external pairing engine.
Volatile option, but stored in tourney file.
- -cy number or -tourneyCycles number
- Specifies the number of cycles in a tourney.
Volatile option, but stored in tourney file.
- -participants list
- The list is a multi-line text string that specifies engines
occurring in the
in the settings file by their (implied or explicitly given) nicknames,
one engine per line.
The mentioned engines will play in the tourney.
Volatile option, but stored in tourney file.
- -results string
- The string of +=- characters lists the result of all played games in a toruney.
Games currently playing are listed as *,
while a space indicates a game that is not yet played or playing .
Volatile option, but stored in tourney file.
- -defaultTourneyName string
- Specifies the name of the tournament file XBoard should propose
when the ‘Match Options’ dialog is opened.
Any %y, %M, %d, %h, %m, %s in the string are replaced by the current
year, month, day of the month, hours, minutes, seconds of the current time,
respectively, as two-digit number.
A %Y would be replaced by the year as 4-digit number. Default: empty string.
- -pairingEngine filename
- Specifies the external program to be used to pair the participants in Swiss tourneys.
XBoard communicates with this engine in the same way as it communicates with Chess engines.
The only commands sent to the pairing engine are “results N string”,
(where N is the number of participants,
and string the results so far in the format of the results option),
and “pairing N”, (where N is the number of the tourney game).
To the latter the pairing engine should answer with “A-B”,
where A and B are participant numbers (in the range 1-N).
(There should be no reply to the results command.) Default: empty string.
- -afterGame string
- -afterTourney string
- When non-empty, the given string will be executed as a system command
after each tournament game, orafterthe tourney completes, respectively.
This can be used, for example, to autmatically run a cross-table generator
on the PGN file where games are saved, to update the tourney standings.
- -syncAfterRound true/false
- -syncAfterCycle true/false
- Controls whether different instances of XBoard concurrently running the
same tournament will wait for each other.
Defaults: sync after cycle, but not after round.
- -seedBase number
- Used to store the seed of the pseudo-random-number generator in the
tourneyFile, so that separate instances of XBoard working on the same
tourney can take coherent 'random' decisions, such as picking an
opening for a given game number.
4.4 ICS options
- -ics/-xics or -internetChessServerMode true/false
- Connect with an Internet Chess Server to play chess against its
other users, observe games they are playing, or review games
that have recently finished. Default: false.
- -icshost or -internetChessServerHost host
- The Internet host name or address of the chess server to connect
to when in ICS mode. Default:
Another popular chess server to try is
If your site doesn't have a working Internet name server, try
specifying the host address in numeric form.
You may also need
to specify the numeric address when using the icshelper option
with timestamp or timeseal (see below).
- -icsport or -internetChessServerPort port-number
- The port number to use when connecting to a chess server in ICS
mode. Default: 5000.
- -icshelper or -internetChessServerHelper prog-name
- An external helper program used to communicate with the chess server.
You would set it to "timestamp" for ICC (chessclub.com) or
"timeseal" for FICS (freechess.org), after
obtaining the correct version of timestamp or timeseal for your
computer. See "help timestamp" on ICC and "help timeseal" on FICS.
This option is shorthand for
-useTelnet -telnetProgram program.
- -telnet/-xtelnet or -useTelnet true/false
- This option is poorly named; it should be called useHelper.
If set to true, it instructs XBoard to run an external
program to communicate with the Internet Chess Server.
The program to use is given by the telnetProgram option.
If the option is
false (the default), XBoard opens a TCP socket and uses its own
internal implementation of the telnet protocol to communicate with the
ICS. See Firewalls.
- -telnetProgram prog-name
- This option is poorly named; it should be called helperProgram.
It gives the name of the telnet program to be used with
useTelnet options. The default is
telnet. The telnet program is invoked with the value of
internetChessServerHost as its first argument and the value
internetChessServerPort as its second argument.
- -gateway host-name
- If this option is set to a host name, XBoard communicates with the
Internet Chess Server by using rsh to run
telnetProgram on the given host,
instead of using its own internal implementation
of the telnet protocol. You can substitute a different remote shell
program for rsh using the
remoteShell option described below.
- -internetChessServerCommPort or -icscomm dev-name
- If this option is set, XBoard communicates with the ICS through
the given character I/O device instead of opening a TCP connection.
Use this option if your system does not have any kind of
Internet connection itself (not even a SLIP or PPP connection),
but you do have dial-up access (or a hardwired terminal line) to
an Internet service provider from which you can telnet to the ICS.
The support for this option in XBoard is minimal. You need to
set all communication parameters and tty modes before you enter
Use a script something like this:
stty raw -echo 9600 > /dev/tty00
xboard -ics -icscomm /dev/tty00
Here replace ‘/dev/tty00’ with the name of the device that your
modem is connected to. You might have to add several more
options to these stty commands. See the man pages for stty
tty if you run into problems. Also, on many systems stty
works on its standard input instead of standard output, so you
have to use ‘<’ instead of ‘>’.
If you are using linux, try starting with the script below.
Change it as necessary for your installation.
# configure modem and fire up XBoard
# configure modem
stty 2400 ; stty raw ; stty hupcl ; stty -clocal
stty ignbrk ; stty ignpar ; stty ixon ; stty ixoff
stty -iexten ; stty -echo
) < /dev/modem
xboard -ics -icscomm /dev/modem
After you start XBoard in this way, type whatever commands are
necessary to dial out to your Internet provider and log in.
Then telnet to ICS, using a command like
telnet chessclub.com 5000.
Important: See the paragraph below about extra echoes,
- -icslogon or -internetChessServerLogonScript file-name
- Whenever XBoard connects to the Internet Chess Server,
if it finds a file with the name given in this option, it feeds the
file's contents to the ICS as commands. The default file name
Usually the first two lines of the file should be
your ICS user name and password.
The file can be either in $CHESSDIR, in XBoard's working
directory if CHESSDIR is not set, or in your home directory.
- -msLoginDelay delay
- If you experience trouble logging on to an ICS when using the
-icslogon option, inserting some delay between characters
of the logon script may help. This option adds
milliseconds of delay between characters. Good values to try
are 100 and 250.
- -icsinput/-xicsinput or -internetChessServerInputBox true/false
- Sets the ICS Input Box menu option. See Mode Menu. Default: false.
- -autocomm/-xautocomm or -autoComment true/false
- Sets the Auto Comment menu option. See Options Menu. Default: false.
- -autoflag/-xautoflag or -autoCallFlag true/false
- Sets the Auto Flag menu option. See Options Menu. Default: false.
- -autobs/-xautobs or -autoObserve true/false
- Sets the Auto Observe menu option. See Options Menu. Default: false.
- Enables kibitzing of the engines last thinking output (depth, score, time, speed, PV)
before it moved
to the ICS, in zippy mode. The option
showThinking must be switched on for
this option to work.
Also diverts similar kibitz information of an opponent engine that is playing you
through the ICS to the engine-output window, as if the engine was playing locally.
- -seekGraph true/false or -sg
- Enables displaying of the seek graph by left-clicking the board when
you are logged on to an ICS and currently idle.
The seek graph show all players currently seeking games on the ICS,
plotted according to their rating and the time control of the game they seek,
in three different colors (for rated, unrated and wild games).
Computer ads are displayed as squares, human ads are dots.
- -autoRefresh true/false
- Enables automatic updating of the seek graph,
by having the ICS send a running update of all newly placed
and removed seek ads.
This consumes a substantial amount of communication bandwidth,
and is only supported for FICS and ICC.
- -backgroundObserve true/false
- When true, boards sent to you by the ICS from other games while you are playing
(e.g. because you are observing them)
will not be automatically displayed.
Only a summary of time left and material of both players will appear
in the message field above the board.
XBoard will remember the last board it has received this way,
and will display it in stead of the position in your own game
when you press the right mouse button.
No other information is stored on such games observed in the background;
you cannot save such a game later, or step through its moves.
This feature is provided solely for the benefit of bughouse players,
to enable them to peek at their partner's game without the need
to logon twice.
- -dualBoard true/false
- In combination with -backgroundObserve true, this option will display
the board of the background game side by side with that of your own game,
so you can have it in view permanently.
Any board or holdings info coming in will be displayed on the secondary
This feature is still experimental and largely unfinished.
There is no animation or highlighting of moves on the secondary board.
- -disguisePromotedPieces true/false
- When set promoted Pawns in crazyhouse/bughouse are displayed identical
to primordial pieces of the same type, rather than distinguishable.
- -moves/-xmoves or -getMoveList true/false
- Sets the Get Move List menu option. See Options Menu. Default: true.
- -alarm/-xalarm or -icsAlarm true/false
- Sets the ICS Alarm menu option. See Options Menu. Default: true.
- -icsAlarmTime ms
- Sets the time in milliseconds for the ICS Alarm menu option.
See Options Menu. Default: 5000.
- lowTimeWarning true/false
- Controls a color change of the board as a warning your time is running out.
See Options Menu. Default: false.
- -pre/-xpre \fRor\fB -premove true/false
- Sets the Premove menu option. See Options Menu. Default: true.
- -prewhite/-xprewhite or -premoveWhite
- -preblack/-xpreblack or -premoveBlack
- -premoveWhiteText string
- -premoveBlackText string
- Set the menu options for specifying the first move for either color.
See Options Menu. Defaults: false and empty strings, so no pre-moves.
- -quiet/-xquiet or -quietPlay true/false
- Sets the Quiet Play menu option. See Options Menu. Default: false.
- -colorizeMessages or -colorize/-xcolorize
- Setting colorizeMessages
to true tells XBoard to colorize the messages received from
the ICS. Colorization works only if your xterm
supports ISO 6429 escape sequences for changing text colors.
- -colorShout foreground,background,bold
- -colorSShout foreground,background,bold
- -colorCShout foreground,background,bold
- -colorChannel1 foreground,background,bold
- -colorChannel foreground,background,bold
- -colorKibitz foreground,background,bold
- -colorTell foreground,background,bold
- -colorChallege foreground,background,bold
- -colorRequest foreground,background,bold
- -colorSeek foreground,background,bold
- -colorNormal foreground,background,bold
- These options set the colors used when colorizing ICS messages.
All ICS messages are grouped into one of these categories:
shout, sshout, channel 1, other channel, kibitz, tell, challenge,
request (including abort, adjourn, draw, pause, and takeback), or
normal (all other messages).
Each foreground or background argument can be one of the following:
black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, white, or default.
Here “default” means the default foreground or background color of
your xterm. Bold can be 1 or 0. If background is omitted, “default”
is assumed; if bold is omitted, 0 is assumed.
- -soundProgram progname
- If this option is set to a sound-playing program that is installed and
working on your system, XBoard can play sound files when certain
events occur, listed below. The default program name is "play". If
any of the sound options is set to "$", the event rings the terminal
bell by sending a ^G character to standard output, instead of playing
a sound file. If an option is set to the empty string "", no sound is
played for that event.
- -soundDirectory directoryname
- This option specifies where XBoard will look for sound files,
when these are not given as an absolute path name.
- -soundShout filename
- -soundSShout filename
- -soundCShout filename
- -soundChannel filename
- -soundChannel1 filename
- -soundKibitz filename
- -soundTell filename
- -soundChallenge filename
- -soundRequest filename
- -soundSeek filename
- These sounds are triggered in the same way as the colorization events
described above. They all default to "", no sound. They are played
only if the colorizeMessages is on.
CShout is synonymous with SShout.
- -soundMove filename
- This sound is used by the Move Sound menu option. Default: "$".
- -soundIcsAlarm filename
- This sound is used by the ICS Alarm menu option. Default: "$".
- -soundIcsWin filename
- This sound is played when you win an ICS game. Default: "" (no sound).
- -soundIcsLoss filename
- This sound is played when you lose an ICS game. Default: "" (no sound).
- -soundIcsDraw filename
- This sound is played when you draw an ICS game. Default: "" (no sound).
- -soundIcsUnfinished filename
- This sound is played when an ICS game that you are participating in is
aborted, adjourned, or otherwise ends inconclusively. Default: "" (no
4.5 Load and Save options
- -lgf or -loadGameFile file
- -lgi or -loadGameIndex index
- If the
loadGameFile option is set, XBoard loads the specified
game file at startup. The file name - specifies the standard
input. If there is more than one game in the file, XBoard
pops up a menu of the available games, with entries based on their PGN
(Portable Game Notation) tags.
loadGameIndex option is set to ‘N’, the menu is suppressed
and the N th game found in the file is loaded immediately.
The menu is also suppressed if
matchMode is enabled or if the game file
is a pipe; in these cases the first game in the file is loaded immediately.
Use the pxboard shell script provided with XBoard if you
want to pipe in files containing multiple games and still see the menu.
If the loadGameIndex specifies an index -1, this triggers auto-increment
of the index in
matchMode, which means that after every game the
index is incremented by one, causing each game of the match to be played
from the next game in the file. Similarly, specifying an index value of -2
causes the index to be incremented every two games, so that each game
in the file is used twice (with reversed colors).
rewindIndex option causes the index to be reset to the
first game of the file when it has reached a specified value.
- -rewindIndex n
- Causes a position file or game file to be rewound to its beginning after n
positions or games in auto-increment
default: 0 (no rewind).
- -td or -timeDelay seconds
- Time delay between moves during ‘Load Game’ or ‘Analyze File’.
Fractional seconds are allowed; try ‘-td 0.4’.
A time delay value of -1 tells
XBoard not to step through game files automatically. Default: 1 second.
- -sgf or -saveGameFile file
- If this option is set, XBoard appends a record of every game
played to the specified file. The file name - specifies the
- -autosave/-xautosave or -autoSaveGames true/false
- Sets the Auto Save menu option. See Options Menu. Default: false.
saveGameFile is set.
- -onlyOwnGames true/false
- Suppresses auto-saving of ICS observed games. Default: false.
- -lpf or -loadPositionFile file
- -lpi or -loadPositionIndex index
- If the
loadPositionFile option is set, XBoard loads the
specified position file at startup. The file name - specifies the
standard input. If the
loadPositionIndex option is set to N,
the Nth position found in the file is loaded; otherwise the
first position is loaded.
If the loadPositionIndex specifies an index -1, this triggers auto-increment
of the index in
matchMode, which means that after every game the
index is incremented by one, causing each game of the match to be played
from the next position in the file. Similarly, specifying an index value of -2
causes the index to be incremented every two games, so that each position
in the file is used twice (with the engines playing opposite colors).
rewindIndex option causes the index to be reset to the
first position of the file when it has reached a specified value.
- -spf or -savePositionFile file
- If this option is set, XBoard appends the final position reached
in every game played to the specified file. The file name -
specifies the standard output.
- -pgnExtendedInfo true/false
- If this option is set, XBoard saves depth, score and time used for each
move that the engine found as a comment in the PGN file.
- -pgnEventHeader string
- Sets the name used in the PGN event tag to string.
Default: "Computer Chess Game".
- -pgnNumberTag true/false
- Include the (unique) sequence number of a tournament game into the saved
PGN file as a 'number' tag.
- -saveOutOfBookInfo true/false
- Include the information on how the engine(s) game out of its opening book
in a special 'annotator' tag with the PGN file.
- -oldsave/-xoldsave or -oldSaveStyle true/false
- Sets the Old Save Style menu option. See Options Menu. Default: false.
- -gameListTags string
- The character string lists the PGN tags that should be printed in the
Game List, and their order. The meaning of the codes is e=event,
s=site, d=date, o=round, p=players, r=result, w=white Elo, b=black Elo,
t=time control, v=variant, a=out-of-book info, c=result comment.
- -ini or -settingsFile filename
- -saveSettingsFile filename
- When XBoard encounters an option -settingsFile (or -ini for short),
or @filename, it tries to read the mentioned file,
and substitutes the contents of it (presumaby more command-line options)
in place of the option.
In the case of -ini or -settingsFile, the name of a successfully read
settings file is also remembered as the file to use for saving settings
(automatically on exit, or on user command).
An option of the form @filename does not affect saving.
The option -saveSettingsFile does specify a name of the file to use
for saving, without reading any options from it, and is thus also effective
when the file did not exist yet.
So the settings will be saved to the file specified in the last
-saveSettingsFile or succesfull -settingsFile / -ini command,
if any, and in /etc/xboard/xboard.conf otherwise.
Usualy the latter is only accessible for the system administrator, though,
and will be used to contain system-wide default setings, amongst which
a -saveSettingsFile and -settingsFile options to specify a settings file
accessible to the individual user, such as ~/.xboardrc in the user's
- -saveSettingsOnExit true/false
- Controls saving of options on the settings file. See Options Menu.
4.6 User interface options
- These and most other standard Xt options are accepted.
- Suppresses all GUI functions of XBoard
(to speed up automated ultra-fast engine-engine games, which you don't want to watch).
There will be no board or clock updates, no printing of moves,
and no update of the icon on the task bar in this mode.
- -logoSize N
- This option controls the drawing of player logos next to the clocks.
The integer N specifies the width of the logo in pixels;
the logo height will always be half the width.
When N = 0, no logos will be diplayed.
- -firstLogo imagefile
- -secondLogo imagefile
- Specify the images to be used as player logos when
is non-zero, next to the white and black clocks, respectively.
- -autoLogo true/false
- -logoDir filename
autoLogo is set, XBoard will search for a PNG image file
with the name of the engine or ICS in the directory specified
- -recentEngines number
- -recentEngineList list
- When the number is larger than zero, it determines how many recently
used engines will be appended at the bottom of the ‘Engines’ menu.
The engines will be saved in your settings file as the option
recentEngineList, by their nicknames,
and the most recently used one will always be sorted to the top.
If the list after that is longer than the specified number,
the last one is discarded.
Changes in the list will only become visible the next session,
provided you saved the settings.
- -oneClickMove true/false
- When set, this option allows you to enter moves by only clicking the to-
or from-square, when only a single legal move to or from that square
Double-clicking a piece (or clicking an already selected piece)
will instruct that piece to make the only capture it can legally do.
- -movesound/-xmovesound or -ringBellAfterMoves true/false
- Sets the Move Sound menu option. See Options Menu. Default: false.
For compatibility with old XBoard versions, -bell/-xbell are also
accepted as abbreviations for this option.
- -exit/-xexit or -popupExitMessage true/false
- Sets the Popup Exit Message menu option. See Options Menu. Default: true.
- -popup/-xpopup or -popupMoveErrors true/false
- Sets the Popup Move Errors menu option. See Options Menu. Default: false.
- -queen/-xqueen or -alwaysPromoteToQueen true/false
- Sets the Always Queen menu option. See Options Menu. Default: false.
- -sweepPromotions true/false
- Sets the ‘Almost Always Promote to Queen’ menu option.
See Options Menu. Default: false.
- -legal/-xlegal or -testLegality true/false
- Sets the Test Legality menu option. See Options Menu. Default: true.
- -size or -boardSize (sizeName | n1,n2,n3,n4,n5,n6,n7)
- Determines how large the board will be, by selecting the pixel size
of the pieces and setting a few related parameters.
The sizeName can be one of: Titanic, giving 129x129 pixel pieces,
Colossal 116x116, Giant 108x108, Huge 95x95, Big 87x87, Large 80x80, Bulky 72x72,
Medium 64x64, Moderate 58x58, Average 54x54, Middling 49x49, Mediocre
45x45, Small 40x40, Slim 37x37, Petite 33x33, Dinky 29x29, Teeny 25x25,
or Tiny 21x21.
Xboard installs with a set of scalable (svg) piece images,
which it scales to any of the requested sizes.
The square size can further be continuously scaled by sizing the board window,
but this only adapts the size of the pieces,
and has no effect on the width of the grid lines or the font choice
(both of which would depend on he selected boardSize).
The default depends on the size of your screen; it is approximately the
largest size that will fit without clipping.
You can select other sizes or vary other layout parameters by providing
a list of comma-separated values (with no spaces) as the argument.
You do not need to provide all the values; for any you omit from the
end of the list, defaults are taken from the nearest built-in size.
n1 gives the piece size,
n2 the width of the
n3 the desired size for the
n4 the desired size for the coordFont,
n5 the desired size for the messageFont,
n6 the smallLayout flag (0 or 1),
n7 the tinyLayout flag (0 or 1).
All dimensions are in pixels.
If the border between squares is eliminated (0 width), the various
highlight options will not work, as there is nowhere to draw the highlight.
If smallLayout is 1 and
titleInWindow is true,
the window layout is rearranged to make more room for the title.
If tinyLayout is 1, the labels on the menu bar are abbreviated
to one character each and the buttons in the button bar are made narrower.
- -overrideLineGap n
- When n >= 0, this forces the width of the black border between squares
to n pixels for any board size. Mostly used to suppress the grid
entirely by setting n = 0, e.g. in xiangqi or just getting a prettier
picture. When n < 0 this the size-dependent width of the grid lines
is used. Default: -1.
- -coords/-xcoords or -showCoords true/false
- Sets the Show Coords menu option. See Options Menu. Default: false.
coordFont option specifies what font to use.
- -autoraise/-xautoraise or -autoRaiseBoard true/false
- Sets the Auto Raise Board menu option. See Options Menu. Default: true.
- -autoflip/-xautoflip or -autoFlipView true/false
- Sets the Auto Flip View menu option. See Options Menu. Default: true.
- -flip/-xflip or -flipView true/false
- If Auto Flip View is not set, or if you are observing but not participating
in a game, then the positioning of the board at the start of each game
depends on the flipView option. If flipView is false (the default),
the board is positioned so that the white pawns move from the bottom to the
top; if true, the black pawns move from the bottom to the top.
In any case, the Flip menu option (see Options Menu)
can be used to flip the board after
the game starts.
- -title/-xtitle or -titleInWindow true/false
- If this option is true, XBoard displays player names (for ICS
games) and game file names (for ‘Load Game’) inside its main
window. If the option is false (the default), this information is
displayed only in the window banner. You probably won't want to
set this option unless the information is not showing up in the
banner, as happens with a few X window managers.
- -buttons/-xbuttons or -showButtonBar True/False
- If this option is False, xboard omits the [<<] [<] [P] [>] [>>] button
bar from the window, allowing the message line to be wider. You can
still get the functions of these buttons using the menus or their keyboard
shortcuts. Default: true.
- -evalZoom factor
- The score interval (-1,1) is blown up on the vertical axis of
the Evaluation Graph by the given factor.
- -evalThreshold n
- Score below n (centiPawn) are plotted as 0 in the Evaluation Graph.
- -mono/-xmono or -monoMode true/false
- Determines whether XBoard displays its pieces and squares with
two colors (true) or four (false). You shouldn't have to
monoMode; XBoard will determine if it is necessary.
- -showTargetSquares true/false
- Determines whether XBoard can highlight the squares a piece has
legal moves to, when you grab that piece with the mouse.
- -flashCount count
- -flashRate rate
- These options enable flashing of pieces when they
land on their destination square.
tells XBoard how many times to flash a piece after it
lands on its destination square.
controls the rate of flashing (flashes/sec).
sets flashCount to 3.
sets flashCount to 0.
Defaults: flashCount=0 (no flashing), flashRate=5.
- -highlight/-xhighlight or -highlightLastMove true/false
- Sets the Highlight Last Move menu option. See Options Menu. Default: false.
- -highlightMoveWithArrow true/false
- Sets the Highlight with Arrow menu option. See Options Menu. Default: false.
- -blind/-xblind or -blindfold true/false
- Sets the Blindfold menu option. See Options Menu. Default: false.
- -periodic/-xperiodic or -periodicUpdates true/false
- Controls updating of current move andnode counts in analysis mode. Default: true.
- Causes the PV in thinking output of the mentioned engine to be converted
to SAN before it is further processed.
Warning: this might lose engine output not understood by the parser,
and uses a lot of CPU power.
Default: the PV is displayed exactly as the engine produced it.
- -showEvalInMoveHistory true/false
- Controls whether the evaluation scores and search depth of engine moves
are displayed with the move in the move-history window.
- -clockFont font
- The font used for the clocks. If the option value is a pattern
that does not specify the font size, XBoard tries to choose an
appropriate font for the board size being used.
- -coordFont font
- The font used for rank and file coordinate labels if
is true. If the option value is a pattern that does not specify
the font size, XBoard tries to choose an appropriate font for
the board size being used.
- -messageFont font
- The font used for popup dialogs, menus, comments, etc.
If the option value is a pattern that does not specify
the font size, XBoard tries to choose an appropriate font for
the board size being used.
- -fontSizeTolerance tol
- In the font selection algorithm, a nonscalable font will be preferred
over a scalable font if the nonscalable font's size differs
or less from the desired size. A value of -1 will force
a scalable font to always be used if available; a value of 0 will
use a nonscalable font only if it is exactly the right size;
a large value (say 1000) will force a nonscalable font to always be
used if available. Default: 4.
- -pid or -pieceImageDirectory dir
- This options control what piece images xboard uses.
XBoard will look in the specified directory for an image in png
or svg format for every piece type, with names like BlackQueen.svg,
When neither of these is found (or no valid directory is specified)
XBoard will use the svg piece that was installed with it
(from the source-tree directory ‘svg’).
Both svg and png images will be scaled by XBoard to the required size,
but the png pieces lose much in quality when scaled too much.
- -whitePieceColor color
- -blackPieceColor color
- -lightSquareColor color
- -darkSquareColor color
- -highlightSquareColor color
- -preoveHighlightColor color
- -lowTimeWarningColor color
- Colors to use for the pieces, squares, and square highlights.
On a grayscale monitor you might prefer:
The PieceColor options only work properly if the image files
defining the pieces were pure black & white
(possibly anti-aliased to produce gray scales
like the pieces images that come with the install.
Their effect on colored pieces is undefined.
The SquareColor option only have an effect
when no board textures are used.
- -trueColors true/false
- When set, this option suppresses the effect of the
PieceColor options mentioned above.
This is recommended for images that are already colored.
- -useBoardTexture true/false
- -liteBackTextureFile filename
- -darkBackTextureFile filename
- Indicate the png image files to be used for drawing the board squares,
and if they should be used rather than using simple colors.
The algorithm for cutting squares out of a given bitmap is such that
the picture is perfectly reproduced when a bitmap the size of
the complete board is given.
Default: false and ""
- -drag/-xdrag or -animateDragging true/false
- Sets the Animate Dragging menu option. See Options Menu. Default: true.
- -animate/-xanimate or -animateMoving true/false
- Sets the Animate Moving menu option. See Options Menu. Default: true.
- -animateSpeed n
- Number of milliseconds delay between each animation frame when Animate
Moves is on.
- -autoDisplayComment true/false
- -autoDisplayTags true/false
- If set to true, these options cause the window with the move comments,
and the window with PGN tags, respectively, to pop up automatically when
such tags or comments are encountered during the replaying a stored or
loaded game. Default: true.
- -pasteSelection true/false
- If this option is set to true, the Paste Position and Paste Game
options paste from the currently selected text. If false, they paste
from the clipboard. Default: false.
- -autoCopyPV true|false
- When this option is set, the position displayed on the board when
you terminate a PV walk
(initiated by a right-click on board or engine-output window)
will be automatically put on the clipboard as FEN.
- -dropMenu true|false
- This option allows you to emulate old behavior,
where the right mouse button brings up the (now deprecated) drop menu
rather than displaying the position at the end of the principal variation.
- -pieceMenu true|false
- This option allows you to emulate old behavior,
where the right mouse button brings up the (now deprecated) piece menu
in Edit Position mode.
From this menu you can select the piece to put on the square you
clicked to bring up the menu,
or select items such as clear board.
You can also promote or demote a clicked piece to convert
it into an unorthodox piece that is not directly in the menu,
or give the move to black or white.
- -variations true|false
- When this option is on, you can start new variations in Edit Game or
Analyze mode by holding the Shift key down while entering a move.
When it is off, the Shift key will be ignored.
- -appendPV true|false
- When this option is on, right-clicking a PV in the Engine Output window
will play the first move of that PV in Analyze mode,
or as many moves as you walk through by moving the mouse.
- -absoluteAnalysisScores true|false
- When true, scores on the Engine Output window during analysis
will be printed from the white point-of-view, rather than the
- -scoreWhite true|false
- When true, scores will always be printed from the white point-of-view,
rather than the side-to-move point-of-view.
4.7 Adjudication Options
- -adjudicateLossThreshold n
- If the given value is non-zero, XBoard adjudicates the game as a loss
if both engines agree for a duration of 6 consecutive ply that the score
is below the given score threshold for that engine. Make sure the score
is interpreted properly by XBoard,
-secondScoreAbs if needed.
Default: 0 (no adjudication)
- -adjudicateDrawMoves n
- If the given value is non-zero, XBoard adjudicates the game as a draw
if after the given number of moves it was not yet decided. Default: 0 (no adjudication)
- -checkMates true/false
- If this option is set, XBoard detects all checkmates and stalemates,
and ends the game as soon as they occur.
Legality-testing must be switched on for this option to work.
- -testClaims true/false
- If this option is set, XBoard verifies all result claims made by engines,
and those who send false claims will forfeit the game because of it.
Legality-testing must be switched on for this option to work. Default: true
- -materialDraws true/false
- If this option is set, XBoard adjudicates games as draws when there is
no sufficient material left to inflict a checkmate.
This applies to KBKB with like bishops (any number, actually), and to KBK, KNK and KK.
Legality-testing must be switched on for this option to work. Default: true
- -trivialDraws true/false
- If this option is set, XBoard adjudicates games as draws that cannot be
usually won without opponent cooperation. This applies to KBKB with unlike bishops,
and to KBKN, KNKN, KNNK, KRKR and KQKQ. The draw is called after 6 ply into these end-games,
to allow quick mates that can occur in some exceptional positions to be found by the engines.
KQKQ does not really belong in this category, and might be taken out in the future.
(When bitbase-based adjudications are implemented.)
Legality-testing must be on for this option to work. Default: false
- -ruleMoves n
- If the given value is non-zero, XBoard adjudicates the game as a draw after the given
number of consecutive reversible moves. Engine draw claims are always accepted after 50 moves,
irrespective of the given value of n.
- -repeatsToDraw n
- If the given value is non-zero, xboard adjudicates the game as a draw if a position
is repeated the given number of times. Engines draw claims are always accepted after 3 repeats,
(on the 3rd occurrence, actually), irrespective of the value of n.
Beware that positions that have different castling or en-passant rights do not count
as repeats, XBoard is fully e.p. and castling aware!
4.8 Other options
- -ncp/-xncp or -noChessProgram true/false
- If this option is true, XBoard acts as a passive chessboard; it
does not start a chess engine at all. Turning on this option
also turns off clockMode. Default: false.
- -viewerOptions string
- Presence of the volatile option
viewer on the command line
will cause the value of the persistent option
as stored in the settings file to be appended to the command line.
view option will be used by desktop associations with
game or position file types, so that
viewerOptions can be
used to configure the exact mode XBoard will start in when it
should act on such a file (e.g. in -ncp mode, or analyzing
with your favorite engine). The options are also automatically
appended when Board is invoked with a single argument not being
an option name, which is then assumed to be the name of a
loadGameFile or (when the name ends in .fen) a
Default: "-ncp -engineOutputUp false -saveSettingsOnExit false".
- -tourneyOptions string
- When XBoard is invoked with a single argument that is a file
with .trn extension, it will assume this argument to be the value
and apped the value of the persistent option
as stored in the settings file to the command line.
Thus the value of
tourneyOptions can be
used to configure XBoard to automatically start running a
tournament when it should act on such a file.
Default: "-ncp -mm -saveSettingsOnExit false".
- -mode or -initialMode modename
- If this option is given, XBoard selects the given modename
from the Mode menu after starting and (if applicable) processing the
loadGameFile or loadPositionFile option. Default: "" (no selection).
Other supported values are
MachineWhite, MachineBlack, TwoMachines, Analysis,
AnalyzeFile, EditGame, EditPosition, and Training.
- -variant varname
- Activates preliminary, partial support for playing chess variants
against a local engine or editing variant games. This flag is not
needed in ICS mode. Recognized variant names are:
normal Normal chess
wildcastle Shuffle chess, king can castle from d file
nocastle Shuffle chess, no castling allowed
fischerandom Fischer Random shuffle chess
bughouse Bughouse, ICC/FICS rules
crazyhouse Crazyhouse, ICC/FICS rules
losers Lose all pieces or get mated (ICC wild 17)
suicide Lose all pieces including king (FICS)
giveaway Try to have no legal moves (ICC wild 26)
twokings Weird ICC wild 9
kriegspiel Opponent's pieces are invisible
atomic Capturing piece explodes (ICC wild 27)
3check Win by giving check 3 times (ICC wild 25)
shatranj An ancient precursor of chess (ICC wild 28)
xiangqi Chinese Chess (on a 9x10 board)
shogi Japanese Chess (on a 9x9 board & piece drops)
capablanca Capablanca Chess (10x8 board, with Archbishop
and Chancellor pieces)
gothic similar, with a better initial position
caparandom An FRC-like version of Capablanca Chess (10x8)
janus A game with two Archbishops (10x8 board)
courier Medieval intermediate between shatranj and
modern Chess (on 12x8 board)
falcon Patented 10x8 variant with two Falcon pieces
berolina Pawns capture straight ahead, and move diagonal
cylinder Pieces wrap around the board edge
knightmate King moves as Knight, and vice versa
super Superchess (shuffle variant with 4 exo-pieces)
makruk Thai Chess (shatranj-like, P promotes on 6th rank)
spartan Spartan Chess (black has unorthodox pieces)
fairy A catchall variant in which all piece types
known to XBoard can participate (8x8)
unknown Catchall for other unknown variants
NOT ALL BOARDSIZES PROVIDE A COMPLETE SET OF BUILT-IN BITMAPS FOR ALL
UN-ORTHODOX PIECES, though. Only in
boardSize middling and bulky
all 22 piece types are provided, while -boardSize petite has most
of them. Archbishop, Chancellor and Amazon are supported in every
size from petite to bulky. Kings or Amazons are substituted for
missing bitmaps. You can still play variants needing un-orthodox
pieces in other board sizes providing your own bitmaps through the
In the shuffle variants, XBoard now does shuffle the pieces, although
you can still do it by hand using Edit Position. Some variants are
supported only in ICS mode, including bughouse, and
kriegspiel. The winning/drawing conditions in crazyhouse (off-board
interposition on mate) are not fully understood, but losers, suicide,
giveaway, atomic, and 3check should be OK.
Berolina and cylinder chess can only be played with legality testing off.
In crazyhouse, XBoard now does keep
track of off-board pieces. In shatranj it does implement the baring
rule when mate detection is switched on.
- -boardHeight N
- Allows you to set a non-standard number of board ranks in any variant.
If the height is given as -1, the default height for the variant is used.
- -boardWidth N
- Allows you to set a non-standard number of board files in any variant.
If the width is given as -1, the default width for the variant is used.
With a non-standard width, the initial position will always be an empty board,
as the usual opening array will not fit.
- -holdingsSize N
- Allows you to set a non-standard size for the holdings in any variant.
If the size is given as -1, the default holdings size for the variant is used.
The first N piece types will go into the holdings on capture, and you will be
able to drop them on the board in stead of making a normal move. If size equals 0,
there will be no holdings.
- -defaultFrcPosition N
- Specifies the number of the opening position in shuffle games like Chess960.
A value of -1 means the position is randomly generated by XBoard
at the beginning of every game.
- -pieceToCharTable string
- The characters that are used to represent the piece types XBoard knows in FEN
diagrams and SAN moves. The string argument has to have an even length
(or it will be ignored), as white and black pieces have to be given separately
(in that order). The last letter for each color will be the King.
The letters before that will be PNBRQ and then a whole host of fairy pieces
in an order that has not fully crystallized yet (currently FEACWMOHIJGDVSLU,
F=Ferz, Elephant, A=Archbishop, C=Chancellor, W=Wazir, M=Commoner, O=Cannon,
H=Nightrider). You should list at least all pieces that occur in the variant
you are playing. If you have less than 44 characters in the string, the pieces
not mentioned will get assigned a period, and you will not be able to distinguish
them in FENs. You can also explicitly assign pieces a period, in which case they
will not be counted in deciding which captured pieces can go into the holdings.
A tilde '~' as a piece name does mean this piece is used to represent a promoted
Pawn in crazyhouse-like games, i.e. on capture it turns back onto a Pawn.
A '+' similarly indicates the piece is a shogi-style promoted piece, that should
revert to its non-promoted version on capture (rather than to a Pawn).
Note that promoted pieces are represented by pieces 11 further in the list.
You should not have to use this option often: each variant has its own default
setting for the piece representation in FEN, which should be sufficient in normal use.
- -pieceNickNames string
- The characters in the string are interpreted the same way as in the
pieceToCharTable option. But on input, piece-ID letters are
first looked up in the nicknames, and only if not defined there,
in the normal pieceToCharTable. This allows you to have two letters
designate the same piece, (e.g. N as an alternative to H for Horse
in Xiangqi), to make reading of non-compliant notations easier.
- -colorNickNames string
- The side-to-move field in a FEN will be first matched against the letters
in the string (first character for white, second for black),
before it is matched to the regular 'w' and 'b'.
This makes it easier to read non-compliant FENs,
which, say, use 'r' for white.
- -debug/-xdebug or -debugMode true/false
- Turns on debugging printout.
- -debugFile filename or -nameOfDebugFile filename
- Sets the name of the file to which XBoard saves debug information
(including all communication to and from the engines).
A %d in the given file name (e.g. game%d.debug) will be replaced
by the unique sequence number of a tournament game,
so that the debug output of each game will be written on a separate file.
- -engineDebugOutput number
- Specifies how XBoard should handle unsolicited output from the engine,
with respect to saving it in the debug file.
The output is further (hopefully) ignored.
If number=0, XBoard refrains from writing such spurious output to the debug file.
If number=1, all engine output is written faithfully to the debug file.
If number=2, any protocol-violating line is prefixed with a '#' character,
as the engine itself should have done if it wanted to submit info for inclusion in the debug file.
This option is provided for the benefit of applications that use the debug file
as a source of information, such as the broadcaster of live games TLCV / TLCS.
Such applications can be protected from spurious engine output that might otherwise confuse them.
- -rsh or -remoteShell shell-name
- Name of the command used to run programs remotely. The default
is rsh or remsh, determined when XBoard is
configured and compiled.
- -ruser or -remoteUser user-name
- User name on the remote system when running programs with the
remoteShell. The default is your local user name.
- -userName username
- Name under which the Human player will be listed in the PGN file.
Default is the login name on your local computer.
- -delayBeforeQuit number
- -delayAfterQuit number
- These options specify how long XBoard has to wait before sending a termination signal to rogue engine processes, that do not want to react to the 'quit' command. The second one determines the pause after killing the engine, to make sure it dies.
- -searchMode n
- The integer n encodes the mode for the ‘find position’ function.
Default: 1 (= Exact position match)
- -eloThresholdBoth elo
- -eloThresholdAny elo
- Defines a lower limit for the Elo rating, which has to be surpassed
before a game will be considered when searching for a board position.
- -dateThreshold year
- Only games not played before the given year will be considered when
searching for a board position
5 Chess Servers
An Internet Chess Server, or ICS, is a place on the
Internet where people can get together to play chess, watch other
people's games, or just chat. You can use either
telnet or a
client program like XBoard to connect to the server. There are
thousands of registered users on the different ICS hosts, and it is
not unusual to meet 200 on both chessclub.com and freechess.org.
Most people can just type xboard -ics to start XBoard as an ICS
client. Invoking XBoard in this way connects you to the Internet
Chess Club (ICC), a commercial ICS. You can log in there as a guest
even if you do not have a paid account. To connect to the largest
Free ICS (FICS), use the command xboard -ics -icshost freechess.org
instead, or substitute a different host name to connect to your
For a full description of command-line options that control
the connection to ICS and change the default values of ICS options, see
While you are running XBoard as an ICS client,
you use the terminal window that you started XBoard from
as a place to type in commands and read information that is
not available on the chessboard.
The first time you need to use the terminal is to enter your login name
and password, if you are a registered player. (You don't need to do
this manually; the
icsLogon option can do it for you.
see ICS options.) If you are not registered,
enter g as your name, and the server will pick a
unique guest name for you.
Some useful ICS commands
- help <topic>
- to get help on the given <topic>. To get a list of possible topics type
help without topic. Try the help command before you ask other
people on the server for help.
For example help register tells you how to become a registered
- who <flags>
- to see a list of people who are logged on. Administrators
(people you should talk to if you have a problem) are marked
with the character ‘*’, an asterisk. The <flags> allow you to
display only selected players: For example, who of shows a
list of players who are interested in playing but do not have
- to see what games are being played
- match <player> [<mins>] [<inc>]
- to challenge another player to a game. Both opponents get <mins> minutes
for the game, and <inc> seconds will be added after each move.
If another player challenges you, the server asks if you want to
accept the challenge; use the accept or decline commands
- to accept or decline another player's offer.
The offer may be to start a new game, or to agree to a
draw, adjourn or abort the current game. See Action Menu.
If you have more than one pending offer (for example, if more than one player
is challenging you, or if your opponent offers both a draw and to adjourn the
game), you have to supply additional information, by typing something
like accept <player>, accept draw, or draw.
- asks your opponent to terminate a game by mutual agreement. Adjourned
games can be continued later.
Your opponent can either decline your offer or accept it (by typing the
same command or typing accept). In some cases these commands work
immediately, without asking your opponent to agree. For example, you can
abort the game unilaterally if your opponent is out of time, and you can claim
a draw by repetition or the 50-move rule if available simply by typing
- finger <player>
- to get information about the given <player>. (Default: yourself.)
- to get a list of personal settings
- set <var> <value>
- to modify these settings
- observe <player>
- to observe an ongoing game of the given <player>.
- to review a recently completed game
Some special XBoard features are activated when you are
in examine mode on ICS. See the descriptions of the menu commands
‘Forward’, ‘Backward’, ‘Pause’, ‘ICS Client’,
and ‘Stop Examining’ on the Edit Menu, Mode Menu, and
By default, XBoard communicates with an Internet Chess Server
by opening a TCP socket directly from the machine it is running on
to the ICS. If there is a firewall between your machine and the ICS,
this won't work. Here are some recipes for getting around common
kinds of firewalls using special options to XBoard.
Important: See the paragraph in the below about extra echoes, in
Suppose that you can't telnet directly to ICS, but you can telnet
to a firewall host, log in, and then telnet from there to ICS.
Let's say the firewall is called ‘firewall.example.com’. Set
command-line options as follows:
xboard -ics -icshost firewall.example.com -icsport 23
Then when you run XBoard in ICS mode, you will be prompted
to log in to the firewall host. This works because port 23 is the
standard telnet login service. Do so, then telnet to ICS, using a
command like ‘telnet chessclub.com 5000’, or whatever command
the firewall provides for telnetting to port 5000.
If your firewall lets you telnet (or rlogin) to remote hosts but
doesn't let you telnet to port 5000, you may be able to connect to the
chess server on port 23 instead, which is the port the telnet program
uses by default. Some chess servers support this (including
chessclub.com and freechess.org), while some do not.
If your chess server does not allow connections on port 23 and your
firewall does not allow you to connect to other ports, you may be able
to connect by hopping through another host outside the firewall that
you have an account on. For instance, suppose you have a shell
account at ‘foo.edu’. Follow the recipe above, but instead of
typing ‘telnet chessclub.com 5000’ to the firewall, type
‘telnet foo.edu’ (or ‘rlogin foo.edu’), log in there, and
then type ‘telnet chessclub.com 5000’.
Suppose that you can't telnet directly to ICS, but you can use rsh
to run programs on a firewall host, and that host can telnet to ICS.
Let's say the firewall is called ‘rsh.example.com’. Set
command-line options as follows:
xboard -ics -gateway rsh.example.com -icshost chessclub.com
Then when you run XBoard in ICS mode, it will connect to
the ICS by using rsh to run the command
‘telnet chessclub.com 5000’ on host ‘rsh.example.com’.
Suppose that you can telnet anywhere you want, but you have to
run a special program called ptelnet to do so.
First, we'll consider the easy case, in which
‘ptelnet chessclub.com 5000’ gets you to the chess server.
In this case set command line options as follows:
xboard -ics -telnet -telnetProgram ptelnet
Then when you run XBoard in ICS mode, it will issue the
command ‘ptelnet chessclub.com 5000’ to connect to the ICS.
Next, suppose that ‘ptelnet chessclub.com 5000’ doesn't work;
that is, your ptelnet program doesn't let you connect to
alternative ports. As noted above, your chess server may allow you to
connect on port 23 instead. In that case, just add the option
‘-icsport ""’ to the above command.
But if your chess server doesn't let you connect on port 23, you will have
to find some other host outside the firewall and hop through it. For
instance, suppose you have a shell account at ‘foo.edu’. Set
command line options as follows:
xboard -ics -telnet -telnetProgram ptelnet -icshost foo.edu -icsport ""
Then when you run XBoard in ICS mode, it will issue the
command ‘ptelnet foo.edu’ to connect to your account at
‘foo.edu’. Log in there, then type ‘telnet chessclub.com 5000’.
ICC timestamp and FICS timeseal do not work through some
firewalls. You can use them only if your firewall gives a clean TCP
connection with a full 8-bit wide path. If your firewall allows you
to get out only by running a special telnet program, you can't use
timestamp or timeseal across it. But if you have access to a
computer just outside your firewall, and you have much lower netlag
when talking to that computer than to the ICS, it might be worthwhile
running timestamp there. Follow the instructions above for hopping
through a host outside the firewall (foo.edu in the example),
but run timestamp or timeseal on that host instead of telnet.
Suppose that you have a SOCKS firewall that will give you a clean
8-bit wide TCP connection to the chess server, but only after you
authenticate yourself via the SOCKS protocol. In that case, you could
make a socksified version of XBoard and run that. If you are using
timestamp or timeseal, you will to socksify it, not XBoard; this may
be difficult seeing that ICC and FICS do not provide source code for
these programs. Socksification is beyond the scope of this document,
but see the SOCKS Web site at http://www.socks.permeo.com/.
If you are missing SOCKS, try http://www.funbureau.com/.
7 Environment variables
Game and position files are found in a directory named by the
CHESSDIR environment variable. If this variable is not set, the
current working directory is used. If
CHESSDIR is set,
XBoard actually changes its working directory to
$CHESSDIR, so any files written by the chess engine
will be placed there too.
8 Limitations and known bugs
There is no way for two people running copies of XBoard to play
each other without going through an Internet Chess Server.
Under some circumstances, your ICS password may be echoed when you log on.
If you are connecting to the ICS by running telnet on an Internet
provider or firewall host, you may find that each line you type is
echoed back an extra time after you hit <Enter>. If your Internet
provider is a Unix system, you can probably turn its echo off by
typing stty -echo after you log in, and/or typing
<^E><Enter> (Ctrl+E followed by the Enter key) to the telnet
program after you have logged into ICS. It is a good idea to do this
if you can, because the extra echo can occasionally confuse XBoard's
The game parser recognizes only algebraic notation.
Many of the following points used to be limitations in XBoard 4.2.7 and earlier,
but are now fixed:
The internal move legality tester in XBoard 4.3.xx does look at the game history,
and is fully aware of castling or en-passant-capture rights. It permits castling with
the king on the d file because this is possible in some "wild 1" games on ICS.
The piece-drop menu does not check piece drops in bughouse to see if you actually hold
the piece you are trying to drop. But this way of dropping pieces should be considered
an obsolete feature, now that pieces can be dropped by dragging them from the holdings
to the board. Anyway, if you would attempt an illegal move when using a chess engine or the ICS,
XBoard will accept the error message that comes back, undo the move, and let you try another.
FEN positions saved by XBoard do include correct information about whether castling or
en passant are legal, and also handle the 50-move counter.
The mate detector does not understand that non-contact mate is not really mate in bughouse.
The only problem this causes while playing is minor: a "#" (mate indicator) character will
show up after a non-contact mating move in the move list. XBoard will not assume the game
is over at that point, not even when the option Detect Mates is on.
Edit Game mode always uses the rules of the selected variant,
which can be a variant that uses piece drops.
You can load and edit games that contain piece drops.
The (obsolete) piece menus are not active,
but you can perform piece drops by dragging pieces from the holdings.
Fischer Random castling is fully understood.
You can enter castlings by dragging the King on top of your Rook.
You can probably also play Fischer Random successfully on ICS by typing
castling moves into the ICS Interaction window.
The menus may not work if your keyboard is in Caps Lock or Num Lock mode.
This seems to be a problem with the Athena menu widget,
not an XBoard bug.
Also see the ToDo file included with the distribution for many other
possible bugs, limitations, and ideas for improvement that have been
9 Reporting problems
You can report bugs and problems with XBoard using
the bug tracker at
or by sending mail to
<email@example.com>. It can also
be useful to report or discuss bugs in the WinBoard Forum at
WinBoard development section.
Please use the script program to start a typescript, run
XBoard with the ‘-debug’ option, and include the typescript
output in your message.
Also tell us what kind of machine and what operating system version
you are using. The command ‘uname -a’ will often tell you this.
If you improve XBoard, please send a message about your changes,
and we will get in touch with you about merging them in
to the main line of development.
10 Authors and contributors
Chris Sears and Dan Sears wrote the original XBoard. They were
responsible for versions 1.0 through 1.2. The color scheme was taken
from Wayne Christopher's
Tim Mann was primarily responsible for XBoard versions 1.3 through
4.2.7, and for WinBoard (a port of XBoard to Microsoft Win32) from its
inception through version 4.2.7.
John Chanak contributed the initial implementation of ICS mode. Evan
CMail, and Patrick Surry helped in designing,
testing, and documenting it. Elmar Bartel contributed the new piece
bitmaps introduced in version 3.2. Jochen Wiedmann converted the
documentation to texinfo. Frank McIngvale added click/click moving,
the Analysis modes, piece flashing, ZIICS import, and ICS text
colorization to XBoard. Hugh Fisher added animated piece movement to
XBoard, and Henrik Gram added it to WinBoard. Mark Williams
contributed the initial (WinBoard-only) implementation of many new
features added to both XBoard and WinBoard in version 4.1.0, including
copy/paste, premove, icsAlarm, autoFlipView, training mode, auto
raise, and blindfold. Ben Nye contributed X copy/paste code for
In a fork from version 4.2.7, Alessandro Scotti added many elements to
the user interface of WinBoard, including the board textures and
font-based rendering, the evaluation-graph, move-history and
engine-output window. He was also responsible for adding the UCI
H. G. Muller continued this fork of the project, producing version
4.3. He made WinBoard castling- and e.p.-aware, added variant support
with adjustable board sizes, the crazyhouse holdings, and the fairy
pieces. In addition he added most of the adjudication options, made
WinBoard more robust in dealing with buggy and crashing engines, and
extended time control with a time-odds and node-count-based modes.
Most of the options that initially were WinBoard only have now been
back-ported to XBoard.
Michel van den Bergh provided the code for reading Polyglot opening books.
Meanwhile, some work continued on the GNU XBoard project maintained at
savannah.gnu.org, but version 4.2.8 was never released. Daniel
Mehrmann was responsible for much of this work.
Most recently, Arun Persaud worked with H. G. Muller to merge all
the features of the never-released XBoard/WinBoard 4.2.8 of the GNU
XBoard project and the never-released 4.3.16 from H. G.'s fork into a
unified XBoard/WinBoard 4.4, which is now available both from the
savannah.gnu.org web site and the WinBoard forum.
The cmail program can help you play chess by email with opponents of
your choice using XBoard as an interface.
You will usually run cmail without giving any options.
11.1 CMail options
- Displays cmail usage information.
- Shows the conditions of the GNU General Public License.
- Shows the warranty notice of the GNU General Public License.
- Provides or inhibits verbose output from cmail and XBoard,
useful for debugging. The
form also inhibits the cmail introduction message.
- Invokes or inhibits the sending of a mail message containing the move.
- Invokes or inhibits the running of XBoard on the game file.
- Invokes or inhibits the reuse of an existing XBoard to display the
- Resends the last mail message for that game. This inhibits running
- -game <name>
- The name of the game to be processed.
- -wgames <number>
- -bgames <number>
- -games <number>
- Number of games to start as White, as Black or in total. Default is 1 as
white and none as black. If only one color is specified then none of the
other color is assumed. If no color is specified then equal numbers of
White and Black games are started, with the extra game being as White if an
odd number of total games is specified.
- -me <short name>
- -opp <short name>
- A one-word alias for yourself or your opponent.
- -wname <full name>
- -bname <full name>
- -myname <full name>
- -oppname <full name>
- The full name of White, Black, yourself or your opponent.
- -wna <net address>
- -bna <net address>
- -na <net address>
- -oppna <net address>
- The email address of White, Black, yourself or your opponent.
- -dir <directory>
- The directory in which cmail keeps its files. This defaults to the
$CMAIL_DIR or failing that,
$HOME/Chess or ~/Chess. It will be created if it does not exist.
- -arcdir <directory>
- The directory in which cmail archives completed games. Defaults to
the environment variable
$CMAIL_ARCDIR or, in its absence, the same
directory as cmail keeps its working files (above).
- -mailprog <mail program>
- The program used by cmail to send email messages. This defaults to the
$CMAIL_MAILPROG or failing that
/usr/ucb/Mail, /usr/ucb/mail or Mail. You will need
to set this variable if none of the above paths fit your system.
- -logFile <file>
- A file in which to dump verbose debugging messages that are invoked with
- -event <event>
- The PGN Event tag (default ‘Email correspondence game’).
- -site <site>
- The PGN Site tag (default ‘NET’).
- -round <round>
- The PGN Round tag (default ‘-’, not applicable).
- -mode <mode>
- The PGN Mode tag (default ‘EM’, Electronic Mail).
- Other options
- Any option flags not listed above are passed through to XBoard.
Invoking XBoard through CMail changes the default values of two XBoard
options: The default value for ‘-noChessProgram’ is changed to
true; that is, by default no chess engine is started. The default
value for ‘-timeDelay’ is changed to 0; that is, by default
XBoard immediately goes to the end of the game as played so far,
rather than stepping through the moves one by one. You can still set
these options to whatever values you prefer by supplying them on
CMail's command line. See Options.
11.2 Starting a CMail Game
Type cmail from a shell to start a game as white. After an opening
message, you will be prompted for a game name, which is optional—if you
simply press <Enter>, the game name will take the form
‘you-VS-opponent’. You will next be prompted for the short name
of your opponent. If you haven't played this person before, you will also
be prompted for his/her email address. cmail will then invoke
XBoard in the background. Make your first move and select
‘Mail Move’ from the ‘File’ menu. See File Menu. If all is well,
cmail will mail a copy of the move to your opponent. If you select
‘Exit’ without having selected ‘Mail Move’ then no move will be
11.3 Answering a Move
When you receive a message from an opponent containing a move in one of
your games, simply pipe the message through cmail. In some mailers
this is as simple as typing | cmail when viewing the message, while in
others you may have to save the message to a file and do cmail < file
at the command line. In either case cmail will display the game using
XBoard. If you didn't exit XBoard when you made your first move
then cmail will do its best to use the existing XBoard instead
of starting a new one. As before, simply make a move and select
‘Mail Move’ from the ‘File’ menu. See File Menu. cmail
will try to use the
XBoard that was most recently used to display the current game. This
means that many games can be in progress simultaneously, each with its own
If you want to look at the history or explore a variation, go ahead, but
you must return to the current position before XBoard will allow you
to mail a move. If you edit the game's history you must select
‘Reload Same Game’ from the ‘File’ menu to get back to the original
position, then make the move you want and select ‘Mail Move’.
As before, if you decide you aren't ready to make a move just yet you can
either select ‘Exit’ without sending a move or just leave
XBoard running until you are ready.
11.4 Multi-Game Messages
It is possible to have a cmail message carry more than one game.
This feature was implemented to handle IECG (International Email Chess
Group) matches, where a match consists of one game as white and one as black,
with moves transmitted simultaneously. In case there are more general uses,
cmail itself places no limit on the number of black/white games
contained in a message; however, XBoard does.
11.5 Completing a Game
Because XBoard can detect checkmate and stalemate, cmail
handles game termination sensibly. As well as resignation, the
‘Action’ menu allows draws to be offered and accepted for
For multi-game messages, only unfinished and just-finished games will be
included in email messages. When all the games are finished, they are
archived in the user's archive directory, and similarly in the opponent's
when he or she pipes the final message through cmail. The archive
file name includes the date the game was started.
11.6 Known CMail Problems
It's possible that a strange conjunction of conditions may occasionally
mean that cmail has trouble reactivating an existing
XBoard. If this should happen, simply trying it again should work.
If not, remove the file that stores the XBoard's PID
(game.pid) or use the ‘-xreuse’ option to force
cmail to start a new XBoard.
Versions of cmail after 2.16 no longer understand the old file format
that XBoard used to use and so cannot be used to correspond with
anyone using an older version.
Versions of cmail older than 2.11 do not handle multi-game messages,
so multi-game correspondence is not possible with opponents using an older
12 Other programs you can use with XBoard
Here are some other programs you can use with XBoard
12.1 GNU Chess
The GNU Chess engine is available from:
You can use XBoard to play a game against GNU Chess, or to
interface GNU Chess to an ICS.
Fairy-Max is a derivative from the once World's smallest Chess program micro-Max,
which measures only about 100 lines of source code.
The main difference with micro-Max is that Fairy-Max loads its move-generator
tables from a file, so that the rules for piece movement can be easily configured
to implement unorthodox pieces.
Fairy-Max can therefore play a large number of variants, normal Chess being one of those.
In addition it plays Knightmate, Capablanca and Gothic Chess, Shatranj, Courier Chess,
Cylinder chess, Berolina Chess, while the user can easily define new variants.
It can be obtained from:
HoiChess is a not-so-very-strong Chess engine, which comes with a derivative HoiXiangqi,
able to play Chinese Chess. It can be obtained from the standard Linux repositories
sudo apt-get install hoichess
Crafty is a chess engine written by Bob Hyatt.
You can use XBoard to play a game against Crafty, hook Crafty up
to an ICS, or use Crafty to interactively analyze games and positions
Crafty is a strong, rapidly evolving chess program. This rapid
pace of development is good, because it means Crafty is always
getting better. This can sometimes cause problems with
backwards compatibility, but usually the latest version of Crafty
will work well with the latest version of XBoard.
Crafty can be obtained from its author's FTP site:
To use Crafty with XBoard, give the -fcp and -fd options as follows, where
<crafty's directory> is the directory in which you installed Crafty
and placed its book and other support files.
The “zic2xpm” program is used to import chess sets from the ZIICS(*)
program into XBoard. “zic2xpm” is part of the XBoard distribution.
ZIICS is available from:
To import ZIICS pieces, do this:
- 1. Unzip ziics131.exe into a directory:
unzip -L ziics131.exe -d ~/ziics
- 2. Use zic2xpm to convert a set of pieces to XBoard format.
For example, let's say you want to use the
FRITZ4 set. These files are named “fritz4.*” in the ZIICS distribution.
- 3. Give XBoard the “-pixmap” option when starting up, e.g.:
xboard -pixmap ~/fritz4
(*) ZIICS is a separate copyrighted work of Andy McFarland.
The “ZIICS pieces” are copyrighted works of their respective
creators. Files produced by “zic2xpm” are for PERSONAL USE ONLY
and may NOT be redistributed without explicit permission from
the original creator(s) of the pieces.
Copyright © 1991 Digital Equipment Corporation, Maynard, Massachusetts.
All Rights Reserved.
Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its
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provided that the above copyright notice appear in all copies and that
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Digital be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or
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- -animateSpeed, option: User interface options
- -autoDisplayComment, option: User interface options
- -autoDisplayTags, option: User interface options
- -pasteSelection, option: User interface options
- .icsrc: ICS options
- <, Button: Edit Menu
- <<, Button: Edit Menu
- >, Button: Edit Menu
- >>, Button: Edit Menu
- abort, ICS command: Chess Servers
- Abort, Menu Item: Action Menu
- About XBoard, Menu Item: Help Menu
- Absolute Analysis Scores, Menu Item: Options Menu
- absoluteAnalysisScores, option: User interface options
- accept, ICS command: Chess Servers
- Accept, Menu Item: Action Menu
- Action, Menu: Action Menu
- adapterCommand, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- adjourn, ICS command: Chess Servers
- Adjourn, Menu Item: Action Menu
- Adjudicate Draw, Menu Item: Action Menu
- Adjudicate to Black, Menu Item: Action Menu
- Adjudicate to White, Menu Item: Action Menu
- adjudicateDrawMoves, option: Adjudication Options
- adjudicateLossThreshold, option: Adjudication Options
- Adjudications, Menu Item: Options Menu
- afterGame, option: Tournament options
- afterTourney, option: Tournament options
- alarm, option: ICS options
- Almost Always Queen, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Also match left-right flipped position, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Also match reversed colors, Menu Item: Options Menu
- alwaysPromoteToQueen, option: User interface options
- Analysis Mode, Menu Item: Mode Menu
- Analyze Game, Menu Item: Mode Menu
- Animate Dragging, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Animate Moving, Menu Item: Options Menu
- animate, option: User interface options
- animateDragging, option: User interface options
- animateMoving, option: User interface options
- Animation Speed, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Annotate, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- appendPV, option: User interface options
- at sign, option: Load and Save options
- Authors: Contributors
- Auto Comment, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Auto Flag, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Auto Flip View, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Auto Kibitz, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Auto Observe, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Auto Raise Board, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Auto Save, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Auto-Refresh Seek Graph, Menu Item: Options Menu
- autobs, option: ICS options
- autoCallFlag, option: ICS options
- autocomm, option: ICS options
- autoComment, option: ICS options
- autoCopyPV, option: User interface options
- autoflag, option: ICS options
- autoflip, option: User interface options
- autoFlipView, option: User interface options
- autoKibitz, option: ICS options
- autoLogo, option: User interface options
- autoObserve, option: ICS options
- autoraise, option: User interface options
- autoRaiseBoard, option: User interface options
- autoRefresh, option: ICS options
- autosave, option: Load and Save options
- autoSaveGames, option: Load and Save options
- Back to Start, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- Background Observe, Menu Item: Options Menu
- backgroundObserve, option: ICS options
- Backward, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- Basic operation: Basic operation
- bell, option: User interface options
- blackPieceColor, option: User interface options
- blind, option: User interface options
- Blindfold, Menu Item: Options Menu
- blindfold, option: User interface options
- board size: User interface options
- Board, Menu Item: View Menu
- boardHeight, option: Other options
- boardSize, option: User interface options
- boardWidth, option: Other options
- Book, Menu Item: Engine Menu
- bookDepth, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- bookVariation, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- Bug reports: Problems
- Bugs: Problems
- Bugs: Limitations
- buttons, option: User interface options
- Call Flag, Menu Item: Action Menu
- checkMates, option: Adjudication Options
- Chess engine options: Chess engine options
- CHESSDIR: Environment
- clock, option: Chess engine options
- clockFont, option: User interface options
- clockMode, option: Chess engine options
- CloneTourney, Menu Item: Options Menu
- cmail: CMail
- colorChallenge, option: ICS options
- colorChannel, option: ICS options
- colorChannel1, option: ICS options
- colorCShout, option: ICS options
- Colorize Messages, Menu Item: Options Menu
- colorize, option: ICS options
- colorizeMessages, option: ICS options
- colorKibitz, option: ICS options
- colorNickNames, option: Other options
- colorNormal, option: ICS options
- colorRequest, option: ICS options
- Colors: User interface options
- Colors: ICS options
- colorSeek, option: ICS options
- colorShout, option: ICS options
- colorSShout, option: ICS options
- colorTell, option: ICS options
- Comments, Menu Item: View Menu
- Common Engine, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Contributors: Contributors
- coordFont, option: User interface options
- coords, option: User interface options
- Copy Game List, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- Copy Game, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- Copy Position, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- cy, option: Tournament options
- darkBackTextureFile, option: User interface options
- darkSquareColor, option: User interface options
- dateThreshold, option: Other options
- debug, option: Other options
- debugFile, option: Other options
- debugMode, option: Other options
- decline, ICS command: Chess Servers
- Decline, Menu Item: Action Menu
- Default number of Games, Menu Item: Options Menu
- defaultCacheSizeEGTB, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- defaultFrcPosition, option: Other options
- defaultHashSize, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- defaultMatchGames, option: Tournament options
- defaultPathEGTB, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- defaultTourneyName, option: Tournament options
- delayAfterQuit, option: Other options
- delayBeforeQuit, option: Other options
- Disable own engine bools be default, Menu Item: Options Menu
- discourageOwnBooks, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- disguisePromotedPieces, option: ICS options
- display, option: User interface options
- drag, option: User interface options
- draw, ICS command: Chess Servers
- Draw, Menu Item: Action Menu
- Drop Menu, Menu Item: Options Menu
- dropMenu, option: User interface options
- Dual Board, Menu Item: Options Menu
- dualBoard, option: ICS options
- Edit Book, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- Edit Comment, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- Edit Game, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- Edit Menu: Edit Menu
- Edit Position, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- Edit Tags, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- egtFormats, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- Elo of strongest player, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Elo of weakest player, Menu Item: Options Menu
- eloThresholdAny, option: Other options
- eloThresholdBoth, option: Other options
- Enable Variation Trees, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Engine #1 Settings, Menu Item: Engine Menu
- Engine #2 Settings, Menu Item: Engine Menu
- Engine Menu: Engine Menu
- Engine Settings: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- Engine Settings, Menu Item: Engine Menu
- engineDebugOutput, option: Other options
- Environment variables: Environment
- evalThreshold, option: User interface options
- evalZoom, option: User interface options
- examine, ICS command: Chess Servers
- Exit, Menu Item: File Menu
- exit, option: User interface options
- fb, option: Chess engine options
- fcp, option: Chess engine options
- fd, option: Chess engine options
- fe, option: Chess engine options
- fh, option: Chess engine options
- File Menu: File Menu
- File with Start Positions, Menu Item: Options Menu
- find position, Menu Item: Options Menu
- finger, ICS command: Chess Servers
- First Black Move, Menu Item: Options Menu
- First White Move, Menu Item: Options Menu
- firstChessProgram, option: Chess engine options
- firstComputerString, option: Chess engine options
- firstDirectory, option: Chess engine options
- firstEngine, option: Chess engine options
- firstHasOwnBookUCI, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- firstHost, option: Chess engine options
- firstInitString, option: Chess engine options
- firstIsUCI, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- firstLogo, option: User interface options
- firstNeedsNoncompliantFEN, option: Chess engine options
- firstNPS, option: Chess engine options
- firstOptions, option: Chess engine options
- firstPgnName, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- firstPlaysBlack, option: Chess engine options
- firstProtocolVersion, option: Chess engine options
- firstScoreAbs, option: Chess engine options
- firstTimeOdds, option: Chess engine options
- firstXBook, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- Flash Moves, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Flash Rate, Menu Item: Options Menu
- flash, option: User interface options
- flashCount, option: User interface options
- flashRate, option: User interface options
- Flip View, Menu Item: View Menu
- flip, option: User interface options
- flipView, option: User interface options
- fn, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- fNoOwnBookUCI, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- Font, clock: User interface options
- Font, coordinates: User interface options
- Font, message: User interface options
- fontSizeTolerance, option: User interface options
- Forward to End, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- Forward, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- fSAN, option: User interface options
- fUCCI, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- fUCI, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- fUSI, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- Game File with Opening Lines, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Game List Tags, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Game List Tags, Menu Item: View Menu
- Game Number, Menu Item: Options Menu
- gameListTags, option: Load and Save options
- games, ICS command: Chess Servers
- gateway, option: ICS options
- General Options, Menu Item: Options Menu
- geometry, option: User interface options
- Get Move List, Menu Item: Options Menu
- getMoveList, option: ICS options
- Help Menu: Help Menu
- help, ICS command: Chess Servers
- Hide Thinking, Menu Item: Options Menu
- highlight Arrow, option: User interface options
- Highlight Last Move, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Highlight with Arrow, Menu Item: Options Menu
- highlight, option: User interface options
- highlightLastMove, option: User interface options
- highlightMoveWithArrow, option: User interface options
- highlightSquareColor, option: User interface options
- Hint, Menu Item: Engine Menu
- holdingsSize, option: Other options
- iconic, option: User interface options
- ICS: Chess Servers
- ICS Alarm Time, Menu Item: Options Menu
- ICS Alarm, Menu Item: Options Menu
- ICS Client, Menu Item: Mode Menu
- ICS Input Box, Menu Item: View Menu
- ICS options: ICS options
- ICS Options, Menu Item: Options Menu
- ICS, addresses: Chess Servers
- ics, option: ICS options
- icsAlarm, option: ICS options
- icsAlarmTime, option: ICS options
- icscomm, option: ICS options
- icshelper, option: ICS options
- icshost, option: ICS options
- icsinput, option: ICS options
- icslogon, option: ICS options
- icsport, option: ICS options
- inc, option: Chess engine options
- Info XBoard, Menu Item: Help Menu
- init, option: Load and Save options
- initalMode, option: Other options
- initString, option: Chess engine options
- Internet Chess Server: Chess Servers
- internetChessServerCommPort, option: ICS options
- internetChessServerHelper, option: ICS options
- internetChessServerHost, option: ICS options
- internetChessServerInputBox, option: ICS options
- internetChessServerLogonScript, option: ICS options
- internetChessServerMode, option: ICS options
- internetChessServerPort, option: ICS options
- introduction: Top
- Keys: Keys
- legal, option: User interface options
- lgf, option: Load and Save options
- lgi, option: Load and Save options
- lightSquareColor, option: User interface options
- Limitations: Limitations
- liteBackTextureFile, option: User interface options
- Load and Save options: Load and Save options
- Load Engine, Menu Item: Engine Menu
- Load Game Options, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Load Game, Menu Item: File Menu
- Load Next Game, Menu Item: Keys
- Load Next Position, Menu Item: File Menu
- Load Position, Menu Item: File Menu
- Load Previous Game, Menu Item: Keys
- Load Previous Position, Menu Item: File Menu
- loadGameFile, option: Load and Save options
- loadGameIndex, option: Load and Save options
- loadPositionFile, option: Load and Save options
- loadPositionIndex, option: Load and Save options
- logoDir, option: User interface options
- logoSize, option: User interface options
- lowTimeWarning, option: ICS options
- lowTimeWarningColor, option: User interface options
- lpf, option: Load and Save options
- lpi, option: Load and Save options
- Machine Black, Menu Item: Mode Menu
- Machine match, Menu Item: Mode Menu
- Machine White, Menu Item: Mode Menu
- Mail Move, Menu Item: File Menu
- Major modes: Major modes
- Man XBoard, Menu Item: Help Menu
- Match Options, Menu Item: Options Menu
- matchGames, option: Chess engine options
- matchMode, option: Chess engine options
- matchPause, option: Tournament options
- materialDraws, option: Adjudication Options
- mcBookMode, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- Menu, Action: Action Menu
- Menu, Edit: Edit Menu
- Menu, Engine: Engine Menu
- Menu, File: File Menu
- Menu, Help: Help Menu
- Menu, Mode: Mode Menu
- Menu, Options: Options Menu
- Menu, View: View Menu
- Menus: Menus
- messageFont, option: User interface options
- mg, option: Chess engine options
- mm, option: Chess engine options
- Mode Menu: Mode Menu
- mode, option: Other options
- mono, option: User interface options
- monoMode, option: User interface options
- Move Now, Menu Item: Engine Menu
- Move Sound, Menu Item: Options Menu
- moves, option: ICS options
- movesound, option: User interface options
- movesPerSession, option: Chess engine options
- mps, option: Chess engine options
- msLoginDelay, option: ICS options
- nameOfDebugFile, option: Other options
- narrow, Menu Item: Options Menu
- ncp, option: Other options
- New Game, Menu Item: File Menu
- New Shuffle Game, Menu Item: File Menu
- New variant, Menu Item: File Menu
- niceEngines, option: Chess engine options
- noChessProgram, option: Other options
- noGUI, option: User interface options
- null move: Mode Menu
- number of consecutive positions, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Number of tourney cycles, Menu Item: Options Menu
- observe, ICS command: Chess Servers
- oldmoves, ICS command: Chess Servers
- oldsave, option: Load and Save options
- oldSaveStyle, option: Load and Save options
- One-Click Moving, Menu Item: Options Menu
- oneClickMove, option: User interface options
- onlyOwnGames, option: Load and Save options
- Open Chat Window, Menu Item: View Menu
- Options: Options
- Options Menu: Options Menu
- Options, adjudication: Adjudication Options
- options, Chess engine: Chess engine options
- Options, ICS: ICS options
- Options, Load and Save: Load and Save options
- Options, miscellaneous: Other options
- Options, Tournament: Tournament options
- Options, User interface: User interface options
- Other programs: Other programs
- overrideLineGap, option: User interface options
- pairingEngine, option: Tournament options
- participants, option: Tournament options
- Paste Game, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- Paste Position, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- Pause, Menu Item: Mode Menu
- Periodic Updates, Menu Item: Options Menu
- periodic, option: User interface options
- periodicUpdates, option: User interface options
- pgnEventHeader, option: Load and Save options
- pgnExtendedInfo, option: Load and Save options
- pgnNumberTag, option: Load and Save options
- pid, option: User interface options
- pieceImageDirectory, option: User interface options
- pieceMenu, option: User interface options
- pieceNickNames, option: Other options
- pieceToCharTable, option: Other options
- Play Move(s) of Clicked PV, Menu Item: Options Menu
- polyglotBook, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- polyglotDir, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- Ponder Next Move, Menu Item: Options Menu
- ponder, option: Chess engine options
- ponderNextMove, option: Chess engine options
- Popup Exit Message, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Popup Move Errors, Menu Item: Options Menu
- popup, option: User interface options
- popupExitMessage, option: User interface options
- popupMoveErrors, option: User interface options
- Position Number, Menu Item: Options Menu
- pre, option: ICS options
- preblack, option: ICS options
- Premove Black, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Premove White, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Premove, Menu Item: Options Menu
- premove, option: ICS options
- premoveBlack, option: ICS options
- premoveBlackText, option: ICS options
- premoveHighlightColor, option: User interface options
- premoveWhite, option: ICS options
- premoveWhiteText, option: ICS options
- prewhite, option: ICS options
- Problems: Problems
- queen, option: User interface options
- Quiet Play, Menu Item: Options Menu
- quiet, option: ICS options
- quietPlay, option: ICS options
- recentEngineList, option: User interface options
- recentEngines, option: User interface options
- Recently Used Engines, In Menu: Engine Menu
- Reload CMail Message, Menu Item: File Menu
- Reload Same Game, Menu Item: Keys
- Reload Same Position, Menu Item: Keys
- remoteShell, option: Other options
- remoteUser, option: Other options
- Replace Engine, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Reporting bugs: Problems
- Reporting problems: Problems
- Resign, Menu Item: Action Menu
- resource name, option: User interface options
- results, option: Tournament options
- Retract Move, Menu Item: Engine Menu
- reuse, option: Chess engine options
- reuse2, option: Chess engine options
- reuseFirst, option: Chess engine options
- reuseSecond, option: Chess engine options
- Revert, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- Rewind Index after, Menu Item: Options Menu
- ringBellAfterMoves, option: User interface options
- rsh, option: Other options
- ruleMoves, option: Adjudication Options
- ruser, option: Other options
- sameColorGames, option: Chess engine options
- Save Game Options, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Save Game, Menu Item: File Menu
- Save Games as Book, Menu Item: File Menu
- Save Position, Menu Item: File Menu
- Save Settings Now, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Save Settings on Exit, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Save Tourney Games, Menu Item: Options Menu
- saveGameFile, option: Load and Save options
- saveOutOfBookInfo, option: Load and Save options
- savePositionFile, option: Load and Save options
- saveSettingsFile, option: Load and Save options
- saveSettingsOnExit, option: Load and Save options
- Scores in Move List, Menu Item: Options Menu
- scoreWhite, option: User interface options
- scp, option: Chess engine options
- sd, option: Chess engine options
- se, option: Chess engine options
- Search mode, Menu Item: Options Menu
- searchDepth, option: Chess engine options
- searchMode, option: Other options
- searchTime, option: Chess engine options
- secondChessProgram, option: Chess engine options
- secondComputerString, option: Chess engine options
- secondDirectory, option: Chess engine options
- secondEngine, option: Chess engine options
- secondHasOwnBookUCI, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- secondHost, option: Chess engine options
- secondInitString, option: Chess engine options
- secondIsUCI, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- secondLogo, option: User interface options
- secondNeedsNoncompliantFEN, option: Chess engine options
- secondNPS, option: Chess engine options
- secondOptions, option: Chess engine options
- secondPgnName, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- secondProtocolVersion, option: Chess engine options
- secondScoreAbs, option: Chess engine options
- secondTimeOdds, option: Chess engine options
- secondXBook, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- seedBase, option: Tournament options
- Seek Graph, Menu Item: Options Menu
- seekGraph, option: ICS options
- Select Engine, Menu Item: Options Menu
- set, ICS command: Chess Servers
- Settings, Engine: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- SettingsFile, option: Load and Save options
- sg, option: ICS options
- sgf, option: Load and Save options
- sh, option: Chess engine options
- Shortcut keys: Keys
- Show Coords, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Show Engine Output, Menu Item: View Menu
- Show Evaluation Graph, Menu Item: View Menu
- Show Game List, Menu Item: View Menu
- Show Last Move, Shortcut Key: Keys
- Show Move History, Menu Item: View Menu
- Show Target Squares, Menu Item: Options Menu
- showButtonBar, option: User interface options
- showCoords, option: User interface options
- showEvalInMoveHistory, option: User interface options
- showTargetSquares, option: User interface options
- showThinking, option: Chess engine options
- shuffleOpenings, option: Chess engine options
- size, option: User interface options
- sn, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- sNoOwnBookUCI, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- Sound Options, Menu Item: Options Menu
- soundChallenge, option: ICS options
- soundChannel, option: ICS options
- soundChannel1, option: ICS options
- soundCShout, option: ICS options
- soundDirectory, option: ICS options
- soundIcsAlarm, option: ICS options
- soundIcsDraw, option: ICS options
- soundIcsLoss, option: ICS options
- soundIcsUnfinished, option: ICS options
- soundIcsWin, option: ICS options
- soundKibitz, option: ICS options
- soundMove, option: ICS options
- soundProgram, option: ICS options
- soundRequest, option: ICS options
- Sounds: ICS options
- soundSeek, option: ICS options
- soundShout, option: ICS options
- soundSShout, option: ICS options
- soundTell, option: ICS options
- spf, option: Load and Save options
- sSAN, option: User interface options
- st, option: Chess engine options
- Stop Examining, Menu Item: Action Menu
- Stop Observing, Menu Item: Action Menu
- sUCCI, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- sUCI, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- sUSI, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- sweepPromotion, option: User interface options
- Sync after cycle, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Sync after round, Menu Item: Options Menu
- syncAfterCycle, option: Tournament options
- syncAfterRound, option: Tournament options
- Tags, Menu Item: View Menu
- tc, option: Chess engine options
- td, option: Load and Save options
- telnet, option: ICS options
- telnetProgram, option: ICS options
- Test Legality, Menu Item: Options Menu
- testClaims, option: Adjudication Options
- testLegality, option: User interface options
- tf, option: Tournament options
- thinking, option: Chess engine options
- Time Control, Menu Item: Options Menu
- timeControl, option: Chess engine options
- timeDelay, option: Load and Save options
- timeIncrement, option: Chess engine options
- timeOddsMode, option: Chess engine options
- title, option: User interface options
- titleInWindow, option: User interface options
- Tournament file, Menu item: Options Menu
- Tournament Options: Tournament options
- Tourney participants, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Tourney type, Menu Item: Options Menu
- tourneyCycles, option: Tournament options
- tourneyFile, option: Tournament options
- tourneyOptions, option: Other options
- tourneyType, option: Tournament options
- Training, Menu Item: Mode Menu
- trivialDraws, option: Adjudication Options
- trueColors, option: User interface options
- Truncate Game, Menu Item: Edit Menu
- tt, option: Tournament options
- Two Machines, Menu Item: Mode Menu
- Upgrade Engine, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Upload to Examine, Menu Item: Action Menu
- useBoardTexture, option: User interface options
- usePolyglotBook, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- User interface options: User interface options
- userName, option: Other options
- useTelnet, option: ICS options
- uxiAdapter, option: UCI + WB Engine Settings
- variant, option: Other options
- variations, option: User interface options
- vars, ICS command: Chess Servers
- View Menu: View Menu
- viewer, option: Other options
- viewerOptions, option: Other options
- whitePieceColor, option: User interface options
- who, ICS command: Chess Servers
- xflash, option: User interface options
- year, Menu Item: Options Menu
- Zoom factor in Evaluation Graph, Menu Item: Options Menu