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Table of Contents

Winboard and Chess engines FAQ

Section E - Winboard engines in other GUIs

Section E

[E] Winboard Engines in Other Graphical Interfaces

  • [E.1] How do I get a Winboard engine to work in Chessbase environment [Fritz, Junior, Nimzo, etc.]?
  • [E.2] What is the difference between using a native version and using the Winboard adapter?
  • [E.3] Which engines work with Chessbase?
  • [E.4] How do I get a Winboard engine to work in Chessmaster®8000?
  • [E.5] Which engines work with Chessmaster?
  • [E.6] How do I get a Winboard engine to work in Chess Genius, Chess Assistant, Chess Academy, Chess Partner, Chess Vision, etc.?
  • [E.7] How do I get a UCI engine to work in Winboard? How do I get a Winboard engine to run in a UCI graphical interface?
  • [E.8] How do I get Chessmaster [The King] to work in Winboard or Arena? How do I get Chessmaster to run on Chess servers?
  • [E.9] How do I get Chessmaster [The King] to work in Chessbase GUI, Chess Partner 5, or Chess Assistant 6?
  • [E.10] What is Universal Chess interface [UCI]? How is it different from Winboard?
  • [E.11] What are the graphical user interfaces that support UCI?
  • [E.12] What are the chess engines that support UCI?]

[E] Winboard Engines in other Graphical Interfaces

[E.1] How do I get a Winboard Engine to work in Chessbase environment? e.g. Fritz6, Junior, Nimzo, etc.

Please note that when I write “Chessbase environment” I'm referring to 32 bit engines like Fritz 5.32, Nimzo 99, Chessbase 7, Fritz 6, Junior 6 and up etc…

There are many ways to do so,but your options are limited according to whether you own a newer Chessbase gui (eg: Fritz 7, Shredder 6 , Hiarcs 8, etc. and newer) or a older GUI (Fritz 6, Junior 6, as well as Chessbase 7 and 8, etc.) Here are the methods.

  1. Use a Chessbase native version of a Winboard engine. (eg Crafty, Comet, etc) - Works For all Chessbase GUIs
  2. Use the UCI version (if it exists) of a Winboard engine (eg: Yace, Aristarch, Pharaon, Sjeng, Ruffian) - Works only for newer Chessbase GUIs
  3. Use Odd Malin's Winboard to UCI adaptor to convert the Winboard engine to UCI and then use it in UCI mode. (eg: The King/Chessmaster) - Works only for newer Chessbase GUIs
  4. Use the old Chessbase Winboard adaptor. - This is not recommended because of flaws in the adaptor that lower playing ability FIXME(bad link). This is your only choice if the above options are not available and you own an older Chessbase GUI

1. Using Chessbase native

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's Download page and to copy the resulting eng file to the Engine folders. You can get all of the older Native versions of Crafty,Comet,Inmichess and bambam (a weaker version of Inmichess), Exchess, Faile, List, and Goliath here etc

(For some reason as of 14 Dec 2002, Goliath Light 1.5 is no longer available as a link on the page.)

For a full guide on how to use Chess engines in Chessbase7 or 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.

2. Use the UCI version of a Winboard engine

Currently, many (but not all) Winboard engines are starting to support UCI as well FIXME(bad link). Examples include Ruffian,Yace,Little Goliath and Aristarch (but not The King,crafty) The newer Chessbase interfaces support UCI directly (and Winboard indirectly as well but we will go on more about that later), so if the Winboard engine you want to use as this mode all you have to do is to go to engines—>create uci engine and select the exe file to create a uci engine.

Remember this method works only for the newer Chessbase GUI - those released after Fritz 7 and Shredder 6. and only for engines that have a UCI mode. Those before it, do not support UCI.Note: Chessbase 7,8 both count as “old GUI” with no UCI support.

3. Use Odd Malin's winboard to uci adaptor to convert the Winboard engine to UCI and then use it in UCI mode.

This is a pretty complicated method, but you have no choice if the above options are not available to you.

Like method 2 this works only for the newer Chessbase GUI - Fritz 7 (patched) and later.

The idea is to use Winboard to UCI adaptor (a third party utility 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.Besides the sample setups you can find in engine.txt (which comes with wb2uci) you can also go to Alex Schimdt's site for some default setups ready for download.The official document that comes with the adaptor is probably a little too technical, if so I highly recommend you look at this New Chessbase T note on how to use Odd Malin's adaptor

You might think that Chessmaster/The King being a Winboard engine can be used inside Fritz 7 using this method. You are right, but it takes one additional step. You need to feed the OPK numbers. See here FIXME(bad link)

The method above was thought to be superior to using the old winboard adaptor due to flaws in the adaptor FIXME(bad link), but it was found that the UCI support is not flawless either. Gian-Carlo Pascutto author of Deep Sjeng as well as a few others have verified that in chessbase GUI UCI engines will sometimes allocates only 1 MB Hash for UCI engines regardless of the hash setting. It doesn't happen in every game, but occurs only randomly, there is no known fix, or even known reason why this happens.

This is not the fault of the wbtouci adaptor but affects all UCI engines used in Fritz,Shredder etc.

4. Using the old Chessbase Winboard adaptor

This is probably only of historical interest as time passes. Older Chessbase interfaces like Fritz 5.32,6 , Junior 6,7 etc implemented a crippled form of support for Winboard engines using a winboard chessbase adaptor and did not support UCI. It was well known to cause Winboard engines to play extremely weak when this method was used.

On 16-01-02, Chessbase dropped the hosting of the Winboard to chess engine adaptor, and by Feb it was announced Fritz 7 and newer interfaces would now support UCI. While the support of UCI is not flawless it appears a lot better than the older Winboard adaptor. So if you are using one of the newer interfaces, you should have no reason to use this method.

If you really have no choice (i.e you own Fritz 6 etc), you can still find the Winboard adaptor (original name Winboard.eng) in many Winboard engine packages.This is done mainly as a service to make it easier for the user to use their engines in Chessbase gui.For example Quark 1.5 has a file Quark.eng distributed with it. That's basically a renamed adaptor file, and you can use it has such by renaming it.

Instructions on how to use the Chessbase Winboard adaptor are available at Mogens Larsen's Website FIXME(bad link).

Here is also the archived Winboard adaptor page from Chessbase and technical details for more advanced users (read authors of Chess engines)

Matching Winboard or UCI chess engines versus Chessbase engines.

If you want to play a match between 2 chess engines and Chessbase engines, besides the above methods, you can do the following. The methods below require that you run them in separate interfaces though and not directly in chessbase.

[E.2] What is the difference between using a Native version and using the Winboard adapter?

Native versions of Winboard Engines are Winboard engines that have being specially tweaked and complied to work in Chessbase environments. However, not all programmers have chosen to submit their programs to become Native versions.

Winboard engines that use the Winboard adapter to run, may not work as well as native versions since the Winboard protocol is badly implemented in Chessbase.

If you still wish to do so , see above FIXME(bad link) for instructions on how to do so and where to download the Winboard adaptor, espically now that's it's not on the Chessbase site.

The newer Chessbase interfaces like Fritz 7, Shredder 6 (chessbase version) and Hiracs 8 etc also support UCI. While such engines run better than Winboard engines they are not native Chessbase engines either.

[E.3] Which chess engines work in the Chessbase environment?

There are over 100+ Winboard Engines and it will take a lot of work to find out which programs work using the Winboard adapter.

If you own a newer interface like Fritz 7, you should check if there is a UCI version of the engine and use that instead. Most should work okay. If there is only a Winboard version, it's much better to try Odd Malin's wbtouci adaptor together with Fritz 7.

Winboard Engines can fail to work totally, or might work poorly. I started a new webpage FIXME(bad link) with a table listing Winboard engines that work in Chessbase, Chess Academy 6.0 ,Shredder 5.0,Chessmaster8000. Contributed by various people (badly outdated).

[E.4] How do I get a Winboard program to work in Chessmaster8000®?

Refer to the FAQ about Xboard/Winboard engines on

BTW, a patch 1.04 has just being released. The pre-patched CM8000 does not work with Crafty18.1 and up because it could only support co-ordinate notation [E.g. e2-e4], but Crafty 18.x and above only supports SAN [e.g. e4]

[E.5] Which chess engines work in Chessmaster8000®?

I started a new webpage FIXME(bad link) with a table listing Winboard engines that work in Chessbase, Chess Academy 6.0 ,Shredder 5.0,Chessmaster8000,Chess Partner/ERT, MCS,Chess Assistant. Contributed by various people.

[E.6] How do I get a Winboard engine to work in Chess Genius, Chess Assistant. Chess Academy, Chess Partner, Chess Vision, etc.?

I do not own any of the products above, but you can refer to Frank Quisinsky's Phase X files FIXME(bad link) page to download some of the configurations files needed. (very outdated)

Chess genius 7 or classic (and 6.5 I think) requires the use of the You can find more help in the following 2 pages. and [On the left frame,scroll to the bottom and click download, instructions on how to use Winboard engines and UCI engines via uci2wb adaptor are included]

You can find instructions on setting up Winboard engines with Chess Partner at their site . Also refer to Winboard compatibility table FIXME(bad link) for more details.

You can find instructions on setting up Winboard engines with Chess genius here

[E.7] How do I get a UCI engine to work in Winboard? How do I get a Winboard engine to run in a UCI interface.

Using UCI engines in Winboard interfaces

Currently, several UCI to Winboard adapters exist. The older one is by Roland Pfister: it is called uci2wb. The newer one is named PolyGlot by Fabien Letouzey and is graciously hosted by Leo Dijksman. It's generally more compatible with various UCI engines and solves some problems that existed in older adapters. Polyglot provides opening book support as well, which makes it a superior option, as such it is highly recommended. Jaap Weidemann and Fonzy Bluemers have released modified versions of Polyglot with subtle improvements.

The Basic Setup Guide for UCI engines in Winboard has detailed step-by-step instructions.

How to get Shredder to work in Winboard

How to get the uci version of Shredder to work in Winboard is similar, but there is one additional complication, you may want to use bookthinker (see this for more FIXME(bad link) if you don't know what it is.) to provide a opening book.Volker Pittlik describes here now to use Shredder as a Winboard engine with bookthinker. However, there are some timing problems, see here. The alternative adaptor Polyglot FIXME(bad link) might work better though. In particular version 1.3 provides opening book support, so bookthinker is not required.

Using Winboard engines in UCI interfaces

On the other hand if you want to run a Winboard engine (without UCI support) in a UCI graphical interface FIXME(bad link), you will need a Winboard to UCI adaptor.

Winboard to UCI adaptor (by Odd Gunnar Malin) can be used to convert Winboard engines to work in UCI interfaces. Besides the sample setups you can find in engine.txt (which comes with wb2uci) you can also see Alex Schimdt's site has some default setups ready for download as well as the file found here

Here's a brief guide to using Odd Malin's Wb2UCI.

1) Download the Wbtouci adapter

2) Unzip the file into a directory say c:\ucitowb.

3) Edit the file wb2uci.eng.You should see this

[ENGINE]\\ Name=Name of engine\\ Author=Name of engine author\\ Filename=//Wb2Uci.exe//
; See Wb2Uci.html for more option

4) Change the line “program=engine.exe ” to the name and path of where the Winboard engine is. For example if the engine you are trying to convert is at C:\chessengine\Crafty.exe change the line to say “program=c:\chessengine\crafty.exe ”. You don't need to change the line that says “Filename=Wb2Uci.exe ” Unless you rename that file.

5) Treat Wb2uci.exe as any UCI engine. For example when importing UCI engines into Fritz , select the file Wb2uci.exe. You might want to see this article by Steve Lopez of Chessbase on the same topic.

That's the basic idea of course. There might be other complications that are covered in the documentation.
There is also a old Winboard to UCI adaptor available in Shredder 5/6/7 (classic) however it appears to cripple Winboard engines and hence is not recommended.

[E.8] How do I get Chessmaster [The King] to work in Winboard or Arena? How do I get Chessmaster to run on Chess servers?

Note: This section, [E.8], has been deleted . For a whole new updated section on Chessmaster look in the Winboard FAQ, Part D.

[E.9] How do I get Chessmaster [The King] to work in Chessbase GUI, Chess Partner 5, or Chess Assistant 6?

Note: This section, [E.9], has been deleted . For a whole new updated section on Chessmaster look in the Winboard FAQ, Part D.

[E.10] What is Universal Chess Interface [UCI]? How is it different from Winboard?

Universal Chess interface or UCI is a new Chess engine communication protocol designed by Rudolf Huber [author of SOS, from the Young Talents CD] and Stefan Meyer-Kahlen[author of the commercial Chess program Shredder] and is somewhat similar to Tim Mann's Winboard.This was introduced in the commercial interface Shredder 5. in Nov 2000.

The UCI protocol has being revised as at April 2004. FIXME(bad link) This small change adds new commands “ucinewgame” and “Ponder” which addresses some of the problems of the original UCI.This was further revised in July 2005. The new UCI protocol FIXME(bad link) gives provisions for supporting Chess960.

Just as Winboard engines are chess engines that have implemented the Winboard protocol and can be used in Winboard; UCI engines are Chess engines that have implemented the UCI communication protocol and can be used in the UCI graphical user interface.

Like the Winboard protocol, the UCI protocol is a open standard and is free for use by anyone without the need for any licenses. However it must be noted that while the graphical interface for Winboard [Winboard itself] is free, there is no UCI graphical interface provided for free , although there is nothing stopping someone from implementing a user interface that can handle UCI engines. Martin Blume has done exactly this for his Interface see Arena FIXME(bad link) and it is free. Note, it's only for Windows and unlike Winboard/Xboard, as yet, it is unlikely to be ported to other Operating systems.

For a list of UCI graphical interfaces both current and expected, see Section [E.11] FIXME(bad link)

What are the advantages of UCI compared to Winboard?

  • All engine options can be modified within the graphical user interface so there is no need to deal with ini files. you
  • Much better capabilities to display search information of the engine,
  • Definition of a principal variation is included,
  • It's more robust, the GUI always knows exactly what the engine is doing.
  • It supporting multi variation mode,
  • Support for endgame tablebases
  • Flexible time controls,
  • The engine can identify itself
  • UCI is supporting a copy protection mechanism (for the professionals)

[Taken from UCI technical Specification FIXME(bad link)]. Interestingly enough the amended april 2004 technical specification FIXME(bad link) leaves this part out.

The list above looks impressive , to be fair though it's possible that future versions of the Winboard protocol will include the above features. [E.g. flexible time controls is a possible feature in version 3 of the Winboard protocol,the name feature allows Chess engines to identify itself in Winboard protocol II etc ].

Also because of various technical reasons, many authors of engines who convert Winboard to uci engines, have problems with implementing book learning due to the “Stateless” design of UCI. (Perhaps addressed by the new ucinewgame command in the April 2004 change in the protocol?)

On the other hand , UCI has the advantage of being built on a completely new foundation, while Winboard itself grew out from an ad-hoc interface that was never meant intentionally to support Chess engines other than GNUChess. As such, it may be difficult if not impossible to extend Winboard's protocol without doing lots of major work and/or maintaining backwards compatibility with older engines.

On the other hand, UCI is a fairly new concept, and currently only a few Chess engines support it. Shredder and SOS 11/00 by Rudolf Huber and Stefan Meyer-Kahlen [who are incidentally the authors of UCI as well] are two chess engines available in UCI. You used to be able get both in the WM Paket .

Still this might be changing with more UCI graphical interfaces FIXME(bad link) coming and especially Arena FIXME(bad link) - a free gui for Winboard and UCI as well as support from Chessbase since it appears that from Fritz 7 onwards they will support UCI as well. See Section [E.12] for more UCI engines FIXME(bad link).

[E.11] What are the graphical user interfaces that support UCI?

The list of UCI graphical user interfaces are

  • Shredder 5 and Shredder 6 - The former is from Millennium 2000 but the company seems to have withdrawn from the Computer Chess field. Shredder 6 on the other hand is now released by Chessbase, and when you buy Shredder 6 you get both Shredder 6 has a Chessbase engine and the Chessbase GUI, as well as Shredder as a UCI engine and a UCI interface.
  • Chess Assistant 6 - Chess Assistant 6 has both good support for UCI and Winboard engines, as well as support for MCS engines and Tiger. Note the Chess Assistant 6 demo does not have UCI support.
  • Fritz 7 and newer interfaces (not Chessbase 7 or 8 though) - [19-01-02] The latest patch will allow Fritz 7 to support UCI engines.
  • Arena Perhaps the most exciting news in recent months, Frank Quisinsky has announced the soon to be released Arena interface by Martin Blume. It seems to be a very promising interface supporting both Winboard and UCI protocols hence allowing you to match UCI engines versus Winboard engines. Another nice feature is a much longer thinking window allowing you to see the whole thinking line.To join in the beta testing go to Frank Quisinsky's Chess Forum.
  • Chess Partner Supported by Chess Partner's adaptor and up.
  • ChessVU - Shareware database.
  • Knights - First and only Linux interface for UCI so far.
  • Bookup - Commercial opening book database.

Although all these interfaces support UCI, each has it's own quirks,see Alex Schmidt's comments on the UCI protocol and interfaces. Also see my interface listing FIXME(bad link) for a more complete list of guis.

[E.12] What are the chess engines that support UCI?

The number of UCI Chess engines especially the free ones are still very small (though increasing), compared to the Winboard engines (180+).Many of the first UCI engines are commercial engines, which is understandable because up recently (where a beta version of the free Arena FIXME(bad link)was released), there were no free GUIs that supported UCI.

The commercial ones are [Correct as at 21-05-03]

  • Shredder 5
  • SOS 03/2000
  • Gandalf 4.32 (from Winboard Edition II) but not Gandalf 5
  • Patzer 3.51 (from Winboard Edition II)
  • Capture R1 (from Winboard Edition II)

There are about 70 UCI available for free , see the list of UCI engines here FIXME(bad link).

If you observe the list of UCI engines FIXME(bad link), you will find that most UCI engines about 80%) support Winboard too. This is no surprise because the bulk of UCI engines are originally Winboard engines.The UCI only engines are mostly new projects that are starting out.

For more information about UCI engines see Alex schmidt's UCI site.

One of the greatest supporters of UCI is Frank Quisinsky who together with Gambitsoft , have tried to popularise UCI with the “Winboard edition series” which actually comprises of UCI engines. The Winboard edition II comprises of Gandalf,Patzer,Capture and Lambchop . A third edition with more UCI engines was planned. Although it was abandoned. Some of the authors of the third edition package list have decided to release the UCI modes of their Chess engine for free. Eg Anmon,Pharaon and now Leila

The UCI mode is supposed to be designed to be easy to convert from engines with Winboard support, and given the recent increased number of UCI interfaces [especially the free Arena FIXME(bad link) ], many other Chess engine authors have expressed interest in converting their engines to support UCI as well as Winboard protocols

Having said this, it does not mean that a Chess engine that works in UCI automatically works in Winboard and vice-versa. Adaptors for working UCI engines in Winboard and vice-versa are available. See Section E.7 FIXME(bad link)

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