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.
The advanatages of using Winboard engines in commercial GUI are as follows
Curious about Winboard Chess engines? See What Winboard can do and my home page Winboard and Chess engines FAQ
Unfortunately, in many cases, Winboard engines may have problem running in these "foreign GUI". This would result in either a reduction in strength of the Chess engine or perhaps a failure to support additional features introduced by the new GUI or even worse, the Winboard engine fails to run at all.
In response to feedback from users, some authors of Winboard engines have began to release Winboard packages with special tweaks to enable their engine to run better in some of the more popular GUIs [Chessbase GUI ,Chessmaster,Chess Assistant,Chess partner and the Shredder GUI ]. In particular, authors have began to include the necessary .init file needed for working in Chessbase to get their program running as well as to get around some of the quirks of the Chessbase GUI.
users of other Winboard engines are not as lucky and must try to
configure, them as best as they can based on the scanty instructions
given the webpages.
You can now use The King engine from Chessmaster8000 in Winboard. You can also run Chessmaster in Chessbase,Chess Partner and Chess assistant. See Section [E.9]
Chessmaster 8000 is the first version of the famous Chessmaster series to support Winboard engines. I'm personally very surprised that the Chessmaster Team has decided to implement this feature given the nature of Chessmaster which is usually geared towards the mass market audience who are usually not Computer Chess savy enough to desire or demand the use of Winboard engines.
I'm glad that they did so though. Since they managed to come up with a simple and user-friendly interface for importing Winboard engines into Chessmaster that anyone can handle. There is none of that silly init setup files needed for Chessbase gui.
However like most new features , this new feature was not initally without problems.Also unlike the real Winboard, or commercial packages like Chesspartner or Chess assistant, you can't use the Winboard engines to hook up to online servers.
The orginal version of Chessmaster 8000 only supported pure co-ordinate notation [eg e2-e4] and not standard algebraic notation (SAN) eg e4 ,and as such some engines such as Crafty18.x which used only SAN failed to work in Chessmaster 8000. This was fixed in the 1.01 patch.
The second problem, is that Pre patch 1.0.3, you are unable to turn pondering on or off for imported Winboard engines unlike for custom personalities. If the winboard engine allows you to turn Pondering on or off manually [for example by altering the configurations files], then this wouldn't be a problem. But some engines like Anmon have a default non-pondering mode, while others default to a pondering mode and for both the modes cannot be altered by altering the programs configuration, unless they are "instructed" to change by Winboard when you check the ponder on box .But you can't do this in Chessmaster 8000 for imported engines. This is fixed in patch 1.0.2, which allows you to right click on Xboard engine output window, which allows you to send either a "hard" command , which will instruct the engine to ponder , or a "easy" command, which does the reverse.The 1.0.3 patch allows you to turn pondering on or off as if the Xboard engine is a normal personality.
In General though, Xboard/Winboard engines work pretty well in the Chessmaster8000 GUI as compared to other GUIs [eg Chessbase GUI ] .However, I'm not an expert of the Winboard protocol , for that Thomas Mayer has began an analysis of the differences between how Chessmaster implements the Xboard/Winboard protcol compared to the normal one .
You can download the latest and probably last patch 1.0.4 from www.Chessmaster.com
Chessmaster 9000's support of the Winboard protocol is virtually
unchanged from 8000.
CHESSBASE GUI [eg Fritz]
The simplest way to use Winboard engines such as Crafty to run in Chess base GUI [Fritz for example] is to download "Native versions" of Winboard engines from Chessbase.com's Download page and to copy the resulting eng file to the Engine folders. You can get Native versions of Crafty,Comet,Inmichess,Exchess,Faile etc
For a full guide on how to use Chess engines in Chessbase 8, you
should definitely refer to Steve Lopez's electronic
notes on installing engines with Chessbase 8.
Unfortunately, only a small selection of Winboard engines are
available as Native versions. If you wish to use other Winboard engines
you need to use the Winboard adapter.See my FAQ for more information.
A nice guide with detailed instructions [using Yace as an example] is available at Mogens Larsen Website (under related topics)
this is probably one of the most popular GUIs [It supports most of the
top Chess engines including Fritz,Junior,Nimzo,Hirac recently added
Rebel Tiger and Shredder to it's stable of native engines] ,I
personally find that it's very troublesome to set up Winboard engines
to run in Winboard.
Worse, unless the author of the engine has made specific adjustments, Winboard engines will play much weaker in Chessbase GUI against other native engines than in Winboard . Ulrich Türke ,author of the Winboard engine Comet explains why.
"The ChessBase Interface for wb-engines (as well as the Shredder-5 one) exhibits a very serious violation of the standard winboard protocol. Instead of sending the opponent's move, these GUIs send the winboard "new" command (normally used by winboard to indicate that a new game has started) and subsequently the whole list of moves again until the current board position is reached.
Consequently, a winboard engine will after each opponent's move perform all its kind of initialization actions for a new game. These are things like clearing the hash table, deleting killer moves, ... . These actions have the effect of 1. consuming some time, and 2. loosing valuable informations. "
As such, unless you use Winboard engines merely to analyse positions, they will be at a big disadvanatage when playing a full game.
Ulrich Türke continues,
"However, some winboard engine programmers have been so smart enough to adapt their engines to these modified protocols too. You can for instance implement some simple logic: ignore the "New Game" command generally and try to find out yourself when a new game has started (compare move history, ...). The other engines however loose some performance under these GUIs."It's difficult to estimate the loss in strength, but probably Winboard engines that do not ponder and/or do not use hashtables are less affected.For a more technical explaination of this and other flaws of the Winboard to Chessbase adaptor, see Thomas Mayer's compatability review
[24-02-2002] Fritz 7 (and newer interfaces like Hiarcs 8, Junior 7) now
supports the use of UCI engines as well, and while it's still early
days , it seems that UCI engines seem to run at full strength in Fritz
7 (but see below).Unfortunately, as of Feb 2002, there are still very
few Winboard engines that support UCI as well. What is commonly
done is to use Winboard to UCI
adaptor (by Odd Gunnar Malin)
that can be used to convert Winboard engines to work
in UCI mode and then import it into Fritz 7 in UCI mode.This is
somewhat complicated but seems to work better than using the old
Shredder 5 supports both the UCI [Universal Chess protcol] interface as well as Winboard engines.[16-12-01] Chessbase has released Shredder 6.
In terms of Winboard support it also requires the use of a wb2uci adaptor. Unfortunately it seems to have the same problems as the chessbase adaptor.See above
While this GUI supports Winboard engines, it's main purpose is to support engines which support the Universal Chess Interface [UCI].For more about UCI, see Section [E.10]
CHESS ASSISTANTChess assistant is in my view one of the most popular Chess databases, second only to Chessbase.Chess Assistant supports many popular engine protcols including UCI,MCS and of course Winboard. As the full version also includes Rebel tiger and Chess Tiger Chess engines and support for older Dos engines like older HIARCS,Mchess and Genius, it means that you can use most of the top Chess programs (except Chessbase ones) in Chess Assistant.
You can now download the new Chess Assistant light , which has Winboard but not UCI support.Chess Assistant seems to support Winboard engines with no problems in most cases.
I don't own this one, but it seems to be discontinued. For more details on setting up Chessvision see Chessvision setup page by Oscar.
This webpage is a combined effort by the internet community of
Winboard engine users to help indentify, list and exchange information
on getting Winboard engines to work outside Winboard. The current
information is a result of hours of hard work put in by the following
Download compatability table of Winboard engine in Chessmaster,Chess Academy, Chess Assistant, Chessbase, Chessvision, Chess partner , Shredder 5 and MCS in excel format here
As you can see below there is still much work to be done, and if you want to help cover some of the other GUIs such as Chess Partner or Chess Assistant please do give us a email. Any other help is welcome.
For a more frequently updated table refer to Thomas's Mayer's compatability overview. and http://sdchess.narod.ru/.
|Engine||Chess Academy||Chess Assistant||Chessbase||Chessmaster||Chess Partner/ERT||ChessVision||MCS||Shredder|
|Green Light Chess||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||?||Yes||?||Yes|
|Kings of Kings||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||?||?||?||Yes|
|La Dame Blanche||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Lord King 2000||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||?||?||?||Yes|
|The Crazy Bishop||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||?||Yes||?||Yes|
© Copyright by Aaron Tay and other members of the Winboard