Chess tournaments Chess strategy Computer chess Chess players FIDE Chess variants Chess rules and history


GNU Chess 5.0.7 on XBoard 4.2.7
Developer(s) GNU project
Stable release 4.7.3 / January 6, 2014
Operating system GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Microsoft Windows
Type Computer chess
License GPL

XBoard is a graphical chessboard for the X Window System. It is developed and maintained as free software by the GNU project. WinBoard is a port of XBoard to run natively on Microsoft Windows.


Originally developed by Tim Mann, these programs are compatible with various chess engines that support the Chess Engine Communication Protocol such as GNU Chess. It also supports Internet Chess Servers, e-mail chess, and the playing of saved games.

It has been recently enhanced a great deal, and the Chess Engine Communication Protocol was extended to meet the needs of modern engines (which have features such as hash tables, multi-processing and end-game tables, which could not be controlled through the old protocol).

XBoard has always been supportive of Chess variants, such as Suicide Chess or Crazyhouse, acting as a client for Internet Chess Servers that offered such variants. This support has now been extended to all of the World's major Chess variants: xiangqi (Chinese Chess), shogi (Japanese Chess), makruk (Thai Chess) and many Western variants on boards of deviating sizes (e.g. Capablanca Chess). It offers a Westernized representation for these games, but the almost limitless configurability of WinBoard does allow a high-quality traditional oriental representation of these games.

Another computer chess protocol is the Universal Chess Interface (UCI). XBoard/WinBoard supports this protocol (and its dialects USI and UCCI, which are in common use for Shogi and Chinese Chess) through adapter programs such as Polyglot and UCI2WB.

Since 2014 there exists a special version of XBoard that better integrates with Apple's OS X. It is distributed from WinBoard forum as an OS X App, including several engines (for Chess and many Chess variants), and adapters for running engines in non-natively supported protocols. It also contains supporting software for connecting with the popular Internet Chess Servers FICS and ICC for on-line play. XBoard OS X Apps that specifically configure XBoard for oriental-style Shogi or Xiangqi are also available. WinBoard, the version of XBoard adapted to MS Windows, is available in a similar package.

Read more: