Chess in Linux

There are many (not all are very good) chess games in Linux. There is the one installed by default with the small game packages that come with Ubuntu and most versions of Linux that use Gnome, but I do not like this one very much. It is ok for basic play, but it is really not that good.

Another chess game that is slightly better is Dreamchess. This one looks fine and plays decently, but I do not really care for the pictures that represent those playing. There are also far better chess games in Linux. For an some reason though, I cannot get Dreamchess to load on the system I am currently using. Maybe it is because I am using the ATI Rage 128 Pro and the fact that this card has no driver in Linux. I should still be able to play a game of chess though.

PyChess is another chess game in Linux. I do not like either of the chess engines that PyChess can use (GNUChess and PyChess), but maybe it was just the way that PyChess used them. The computer made  decisions to quickly and did not play very well. I also believe that the artists for this program could have made the pieces look nicer and appear more physically attractive.

Brutal Chess is actually pretty good. The board and pieces look nice, the AI is good, it actually take time to make a move. Alas, this game will also not load correctly. I imagine that I am having the same problem that Dreamchess is giving me, which is to bad.

3D Chess is an odd, yet interesting game. You have three boards upon which to play, a few new pieces, and no manual to tell me how the new pieces work!!! But this game looks quite cool though, a bit like chess in Star Trek. All it needs is a manual or a link to a website containing documentation. Also, there is no AI to handle this game, so you must have another person to play with. I also like the board names which are x, y, and z.

My favorite chess game in Linux though is pouet Chess. The computer fights quite effectively in this. Depending on the setting of difficulty, the system can take anywhere from two to ninety seconds to make a decision on a move. Playing against pouet Chess is harder than other game or person that I have ever played. I personally recommend this game for anyone really interested in chess. The board and pieces are also beautifully designed, more so than in any of the other chess games, including the two that refuse to run on my current system. I will probably add more to this review later, but for now I will just add a few pictures.  Look here for more screenshots of various chess programs in Linux. Have fun everyone.

Playing Pychess        How do I play 3D Chess again?     My favorite, pouet Chess(now only if I cold beat it)

Chess in Linux Screenshots


12 Responses to “Chess in Linux”

  1. chess » Blog Archive » Chess in Linux Says:

    […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  2. NN Says:

    I think wine+arena gui+[some UCI engine, like prodeo] is best option for serious chess in Linux world.

  3. Thomas Says:

    PyChess can run with all CECP and UCI engines, as long as you’ve installed them.
    If you fell the engines move to fast, you should try setting a higher difficulty.
    I agree about the look of the pieces.

  4. oldcpu Says:

    Thanks for the review of the various chess programs. In fact, there are many chess programs for linux, and some of them are quite strong. Here is a link to a web pages that lists various Linux chess applications, including links to a number of strong chess engines:

  5. Chris Says:

    Thank you for posting this article.

    Gentoo has recently removed glchess from it’s repositories in favor of gnome-games. Rather than installing most of gnome to run a chess program (I run KDE), I started hunting for a replacement. Thanks to your article, I found pouetChess. It’s an excellent replacement for glchess.

    I have found it’s behavior a bit buggy, though it may be that I have something set wrong. In two-player mode, it sometimes ends the game before a checkmate exists. All-in-all it is a good replacement for glchess. Graphicly, it’s very nice. I do wish I could find a 3D chess game that used column and row alphanumerics. Network play would be nice too.

  6. JohnT Says:

    I agree with the comment that wine+arena+chess engines is the best quick solution for strong chess competition under Linux. Arena is a chess interface program that allows one to install many engines and have engine-to-engine tournaments that establish relative ratings. I had more than a dozen installed, both UCI and the older protocol that Xboard/Winboard uses. Rybka seems to be the best. BUT—Arena is a Windows program and needs Windows engines. Installing under Windows might be better—haven’t ever installed a Windows program using wine. It would be nice if the Arena programmer would port it to Linux at least as source. I liked an older Arena beta better than the latest beta, btw.

  7. Steven Says:

    Check out Scid Vs PC, my fork of Scid. Play against computer in “Play->Tactical game”, play on internet in the “Play->Internet” menu. It’s still not straight forward though , but cool once you have the knack… Scid is super powerful and supports many engines.

  8. JohnT Says:

    Thanks, Steven. Will check it out. Been tinkering with gnuchess version 3.1+ for maybe a year. It’s an ancient console program that could work with Xchess, an ancient gui that I can’t compile because it needs an ancient Xwindow library almost impossible to find.

  9. Prakriteesh Says:

    If u want tuf chess in ubuntu, try ‘stockfish’ chess engine on Xboard or scid . stockfish is the 2nd strongest computer chess engine in the world (according to CCRL list).. Otherwise try Toga2 or glaurang on Pychess interface.

  10. Chess With Friends Says:

    Chess With Friends…

    […]Chess in Linux « The Wheatland Linux User’s Group Weblog[…]…

  11. Mcnittsn Says:

    Hey, thanks for the blog article. Keep writing.

  12. computeruser6 Says:


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