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A word to the wise

By articles, I refer to personal pieces on computer chess that I write. Unlike the FAQ pages where accuracy is hopefully higher, many of the articles here are based only on my personal opinion, and chances are I have gotten many things wrong. The only exception is the FAQ on endgame tablebases ,which I list here because there is no other place to do so.

The "articles" here cover a range of topics in computer chess. There are articles beginner articles for people new to chess engines , discussion of UCI versus Winboard , articles on the development of chess engine and other bits and pieces that I find interesting and was inspired to write.

Because many of the articles cover current events that change quickly they can be quickly outdated, so please keep that in mind. The articles are listed in order in which they were written.

Coming soon

"Chess Engines Cutting through the confusion II" - Part II of this series of articles will cover the use of adaptors and the problems associated with them. Status : Editing stage

"Computer Chess Tournament and rating lists" - A survey of the existing tournaments and rating lists on the web.This article will attempt to keep track of the various rating lists available and their relative quality. Status : Idea stage

New Articles

A beginner's guide to endgame tablebases - [Constantly updated]
A simple FAQ on how to setup and use endgame tablebases with Chess programs.
Read more here....

Auto232 and Winboard new[3 Jan 2003]
Auto232 is a protocol designed by Christian Donninger to allow 2 computers that are linked together from one COM port to another (via null modem cable) to play against each other.It can also be also used on one computer by linking 2 different auto232 interfaces on the same computer (more on that later). Auto232 driver was the first original method (circa 1994) to allow chess programs to play against each other.......
Read more here....

History of Chess engine protocols new[19 Dec 2002]

Today we take for granted the idea of engine communication protocols, and the ability to switch engines from GUI to GUI whether it is through the use of the open Xboard/Winboard protocol ,the newer Universal Chess Interface protocol, or the proprietary Chessbase protocol.

At the same time,we are faced with an explosion in Winboard and UCI chess engines. Not a day goes by without a dozen new versions of an existing engines being announced and we are blessed with the release of an average of 4-5 brand new chess engines per month. But how and why did this development come about? The Bible tells the tale of the Tower of Babel, where God cursed man with different tongues.This is roughly similar to the situation before the rise of Xboard/Winboard communication protocol......
Read more here....

Winboard or UCI - A comparison and review new[17 July 2002]
A interesting standards war is brewing in the Computer Chess World. For a long time, Tim Mann's Xboard/Winboard protocol has reigned as the only free and open Chess Communication Protocol for Chess engines. From relatively humble beginnings ...... support over 100 Winboard engines .... position as the sole and undisputed Chess engine protocol of choice appears to be unchallenged. All this changed in Jan 2002, when Chessbase began to throw their support behind Rudolf Huber and Stefan Meyer-Kahlen's relatively newer open protocol "Universal Chess Interface" ......
Read more here....
Can Endgame tablebases weaken play?new[3 June 2002]
It seems counter-intuitive to think that endgame tablebases can hurt the performance of a chess engine. There may be arguments about how much a full set of 3-4-5 men tablebases help ,50 elo according to some, as low as 20 elo or even nothing according to others ...[Written first on 3 June 2002, updated Aug 2002]
Read more here....
A first look at Arenanew[1 March 2002]
For a long while, Winboard was the only free interface to support the use of Crafty and other free Winboard engines1.One of the most common complaints however is that doing so using Winboard was not easy,requiring the user to wade through lots of technical documentation to setup to set up shortcuts and read about command lines; all of which is alien, to the typical Windows user ...... [Written first on 1 March 2002, updated July 2002]
Read more here....
Privateware Chess engines new[30 August 2002]
Private Chess engines are a interesting breed. These are the Chess engines which authors (for various reasons) have not yet or do not intend to release either for free or as a commercial engine.As such these are Chess engines that money literally cannot buy....
Read more here....

Chess Engines Cutting through the Confusion - Part 1new[26 March 2002]
In the past, buying Chess playing software was simple, you bought it, and it came with a Chess playing program and that was it. But nowadays, Chess programs (or should I say engines) are highly "portable". With a increasing number of Chess programs conforming to protocols such as the Winboard and Universal Chess Interface (UCI) protocols, they are no longer confined to only one software or interface. Users can now "export" one Chess program (engine) from one software/interface they have bought to another. If you have no idea what Winboard or UCI are, this series of articles will be just right for you. Very soon, you will be mixing and matching Chess Engines with the best of them....... [Written first on 26 March 2002, updated July 2002]
Read more here....

Timeline of Winboard/Xboard and Chess Engines - A timeline of significant milestones in Winboard/Xboard
I think most people active in the computer chess area would agree that currently the Winboard/Xboard protocol is perhaps the most important protocol to support.This timeline is an attempt to chart some of the most significant milestones in the development of Xboard/Winboard and the rise in popularity of it's accompanying protocol. I must warn readers that this, is a purely subjective selection of the events that I think are most significant in the on-going story about Xboard/Winboard and Chess engines....... [Written first on 24 May 2001, updated March 2002]
Read more here....

Why use Winboard? - Are you new to Winboard and confused about what Winboard can do? This article is just right for you.
When I first began my FAQ on Winboard and Chess engines, my aim was to systematically catalogue information regarding the use of Chess engines in Winboard that was floating around in various Web pages and put them together onto one site. Unfortunately, I focused overly on the "Hows" and to a lesser extent the "What is" questions regarding the use of Winboard.By doing so, I tacitly assumed that my readers knew WHY they wanted to use it.... [Written first on 16 May 2001, updated Oct 2002]
Read more here....

Survey of FICS interfaces - Are you new to Winboard and confused about what Winboard can do? This article is just right for you.
Choosing a interface is like choosing a religion, the one you like is always the best! Kidding aside, deciding which interface is best for you, is a difficult task, if you haven't tried many of them. Rather then giving you my subjective opinion about which interfaces are the best, I have decided to compare these interfaces by listing some of the most commonly asked for features. ....[Written first on 24 May 2002, updated Dec 2002]
Read more here....

A beginner's guide to running Computer Chess tournament -Want to learn how to run a computer Chess tournament on your PC?This article is just for you.
Running a computer Chess tournament is no easy task. You will have to be prepared to tie up your computer for days . Many people feel that such tournaments [often referred to as "Basement tournaments"] are merely a waste of time and computational resources. Despite this, many computer Chess enthusiasts still eagerly spend much of their free time running such tournaments and the reasons why they do so vary.... [Written first on 14 Feb 2002, updated April 2002]
Read more here....

Using batch files to run automated tournaments in Winboard - Peter Berger writes on how to use batch files run automated tournaments in Winboard.
Many people seem to feel unfamiliar with batchfiles , so this explanation tries to be very simple and explain things in a non-technical way....
Read more here....

A beginner's guide to building opening books - Article covers the steps needed to build a opening book.
Most Winboard engines come with a default opening book that can be used with the program. Many, however also allow you to either edit the opening book or build a completely new Opening book. There could be several reasons why you might like to build a new opening book....[Written first on 18 March 2001, updated Aug 2002]
Read more here....

Winboard engines in commercial GUI [Chessbase,Chessmaster etc] - A little discussion about the use of Winboard engines outside Winboard. Also includes table listing Winboard engines that work well in various GUI.

With the rise in popularity of Winboard engines , many commercial Chess database packages and Computer Chess playing graphical interfaces [GUI] have began to allow users to import third party Winboard engines into their programs. A short list of such programs include Chessvision , Chessbase , Chess Partner , ChessAcademy , Chessmaster8000® and Shredder 5.0....[Written first on 1 April 2001, updated July 2002]
Read more here....


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