Configuring Winboard engines - A graphical guide Part 2
Now that you have setup Yace , you are ready to import Yace into
any one of the two dozen interfaces that support Winboard
engines. The instructions below work only if you have followed
the steps in the last page . Basically, you should have
downloaded and unzipped Yace, into c:\engines\Yace\
This page will take a while to load due to the large number of images. For now I cover the following
Winboard interaces. More will be added, if time permits or on requests.
- Chessmaster 8000/9000
where it all began. While other newer interfaces , are more user-friendly, Winboard still remains
the interface of choice for many people to run engine matches, due to the fact that it is rock
solid. Because almost all winboard engine authors use Winboard to test their engines for bugs,
it's the only interface that is most certain to run properly.
Step 1: Run Winboard.exe once, you will see 2 options Gnuchess and GNUChes5 Xboard for the first engine
and a similar choice for the second engine. See Figure 1.1 (left) . To add more options to the dialog box
follow the rest of the steps below.
Step 2 : Exit Winboard. Browse to your Winboard directory and then open the file Winboard.ini
with notepad (or any other text editor) by doubleclicking on it. See Figure 1.2 (right)
Step 3 : In notepad, scroll down until you see the portion relating to chess engines.
See Figure 1.3 (Left).
Step 4 Edit the winboard.ini files until it read the same as in figure 1.4 (right). The first part,
"Yace" (highlighted in the figure), refers to the exe file of the engine. In this case, it's Yace.exe. You don't need
to add the extension (.exe) unless the engine name has more than one period in it
(for example, QChess1.5.exe).
The line after /fd=" refers to the directory where Yace.exe resides. The quotation marks
are not strictly needed but won't hurt. They are necessary if the path or the exe file has a space in them (E.g c:\program files\Yace). Similarly, to add
Yace to the list of options for the second engine, you do exactly the same, except that instead
of fd/= you add /sd=" as shown in Figure 1.4. Save the file and restart Winboard.
Step 6 You can now select Yace in the dialog box now. See Figure 1.5 (below)
Arena is a free interface by Martin
Blume that supports Winboard and UCI engines. Arena supports a
whole host of features including support for ICS, auto232player
and automated tourneys. Arena is constantly being updated, so some of the screenshots below might be slightly
different if you are using a different version (this guide is based on 1.0).
Step 1: Select New engine in the
Engines pull down menu
See figure 2.1 (left).
Step 2: This will open the UCI or Winboard?
engines dialog box window. This will give you a choice to choose between setting up a Winboard or UCI
engine. See figure 2.2 (below). Yace works in both modes,
but since this article is about setting up Winboard engines, select
The windows explorer will then be automatically
opened and you should browse and select Yace.exe which lies in
the directory c:\engines\Yace. Click open. See figure
Step 4 : If you followed the instructions properly, Yace will automatically be set up and
loaded up in Arena. But let's take a closer look at the Yace settings in Arena.
Go to Engines and click Manage (or press F11).
will be seeing something like figure 2.4 (below).
Everything that is needed will be filled The fields for name,
author , ini-file (see Step 5) have being filled in for you
automatically, because the Yace package that you downloaded
includes Yace.init which Arena uses to extract information. In additon , Arena also comes
with a list of common engines for automatic setups.
If the engine you are using does not have any such file, you can
fill in the information you need manually.Altough the only
compulsory field is the command line field where you type
in the path to the exe file.
country field is a non-mandatory field, but Arena can use
this value to play national anthesums of the country if you
download the song pack! Similarly the logo file is not necessary but nice to have.
Step 5 Options continued : Click on the Special tab for more options, see
Figure 2.5 (below)
The ini-file field actually
refers to the name of the configuration file of the chess engine,
As explained before this file need not neccessarily have a
ini.extension. In this case though it does. Change the value in
the Ini-file to c:\engines\Yace\Yace.ini (if it isn't already); This isn't strictly
necessary, but can be very useful as we shall see.The
init string field can be left blank unless you need to add
some additonal parimeter like -xboard or send the OPL number for Chessmaster. You can also change other options
like adding a GUI book, in the Books tab. Consult the Arena FAQ for more details.
Click the Ok button and we are done.
Step 6 : Click on the select tab, highlight
Paderborn in the available engines window, click on the
arrow to tranfer it into the Active engines (max 2)
window. If you have more than 1 engine setup, you can add another
active engine.Now click on Okay. See figure 2.6 (below)
Step 7 : Wait for the engine to load up.Then click on the
analysis button for Yace to start the analysis. The VCR controls
below the board, allow you to move forward or backwards in any
game. If you wish to make moves not in the game, click on the
edit button. See figure 2.7 ( below).
Arena has quite a lot of options that you can play around with.
But I will mention only 2. Click the analyze button again, so
that Yace is no longer analyzing.
Then right click on the engine analysis window (the portion below
the chessboard). This should bring up a menu similar to figure
If you click on configure engine, Arena will automatically open
the file you configured in the Ini-file field earlier with
your text editor. In our example, it will open Yace.ini. This
allows you to easily edit and change the configuration of Yace
(hash tables,learning etc), without leaving Arena.
BTW Arena only allows this option when Yace is not active, to
prevent conflicts. This is the reason why I told you to turn off
analysis first. Similarly when Yace is analysing you cannot
access the install and configure window.
Another useful option is variation board. The variation
board opens another secondary chessboard, which shows the best
line that the engine has found so far. Click on the buttons
before to move through the analysis. See figure 2.8(left)
Scid is a excellent free database by Shane Hudson.
Scid also has excellent support for Winboard engines. SCID 3.4
comes packaged with Scidlet, a winboard engine by Shane Hudson,
however you might still wish to import stronger Winboard engines
like Yace into SCID to aid analysis of games. You can download
Scid here. I would advise that if you have a version older than
Scid 3.4 to download a newer version, because winboard engine compatiability has improved
for newer versions.
Scid like most interfaces allows you to setup and run up to 2
winboard engines at the same time. For this example, we will be
setting up the first analysis engine
Step 1 : Select Tools , analysis engine.
This pulls up the Analysis Engine List. (See figure 3.1) .
Scid can use up to 2 engines at a time so you select
analysis engine #2 for the other engine.
Step 2 : You now have access to the Analysis Engine list
which shows all the engines you have set up for Scid.(See
figure 3.2) . If you are using a Scid version 3.4 or
greater, Scid comes with a default chess engine Scidlet. Scidlet
is pretty good but you can do better. Click on the new button to
import a new engine.
Step 3 : In theName field, enter the name of the
engine, in this case ; Yace. Next, in the command field,
enter the name of the executable, in this case
Yace.exe.(You can browse your computer looking for the exe
file by clicking on "..." ). The next field named
Parimeters is optional and can be left blank. Next enter
the path to Yace.exe in the directory field. All the other
fields, including the URL and ELO fields can be
left blank. I have chosen however to enter the the url of the
Yace download site in the url field (so I can remember where I
got it), and a elo value (a purely arbitary value). You should
have something like (figure 3.3) Click the OK button and
you are done.
Step 4: Now access the engines analysis list, by repeating
step 1 above. The engines analysis list window should be similar
to in figure 3.2 except that now Yace appears as an
option.Highlight it, then click the OK button.This should call up
the Analysis Window. (Figure 3.4). The image below shows
Yace analysing the starting position of a game. As you go
forward, Yace will continue to analyse the position on the board.
For some engines, analysis does not appear immediately, and you
may need to go forward one move or click the update button. If
you wish to play a training game from the given position against
the engine, click on Training then select time per move
for the engine.
Chessmaster 8000 and 9000 support the use of
Winboard engines. Chessmaster itself is actually powered by the
Winboard engine "The King" by Johan De Koning. Chessmaster
support of Winboard engines is stable and servicable, it allows
you to play against the imported engine, or run a match between
Chessmaster and imported engines. The screenshots below are taken
from Chessmaster 9000, but Chessmaster 8000 users should see
Step 1 : Select Game and then Import Winboard
engine in the pull down menu. See figure 4.1 (left).
Step 2 : Fill in the full path to Yace.exe. In our
example, Yace.exe is in c:\engines\Yace\Yace.exe, hence we fill
this in in the Winboard Engine Filename field. You can
push the Browse button to search your computer for the
Fill in the Name field with the name of the engine. You
can choose to allow Yace to use a standard Chessmaster opening
book by checking the box, but in this case, we choose not. Hence
Yace will automatically use it's own opening book.
You can leave the Command Lines Parameters field blank, because
Yace doesn't need any. Check the tickboxes for Pondering if you
want Yace to be pondering.
The checkbox for Use Endgame Databases refers to the use
of Chessmaster's own special databases, this does not affect
Yace's own use of Nalimov tablebases (which you can change in
Yace.ini has mentioned before). Click OK, to complete the
See figure 4.2 (left).
Step 3: Now that you have installed Yace it's turn to play
a game with Yace. Start a game as normal, and select a computer
opponent, Yace should be now available for selection. If you have
problems finding Yace, uncheck all the tickboxes except for
Winboard engines. Now Select Yace then click OK. See figure
Step 4 : You can then turn on the Thinking lines
windows to see what Yace is analysing.
1. As of March 2003, other strong freeware engines include List
(Chessbase only), Rebel 12 demo (properity) ,Anacondan (CB
2. A few rare Winboard engines like Mad,lampchop or Phalanx,
actually do not have configuration files. The latter 2 allows you
to configure the engine by sending command line options.