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Home * User Interface * GUI * WinBoard

WinBoard is a graphical user interface for the Chess Engine Communication Protocol under the Windows operating system, also called the WinBoard protocol, initially designed and developed by Tim Mann based on XBoard. In 2009, Harm Geert Muller became the main developer and proposed a protocol definition [1], also covering Chess Variants with different board sizes.


Tim Mann's quote from an Interview by Frank Quisinsky, April 2000 [2]:

Originally, xboard and WinBoard were simply graphical user interfaces for GNU Chess, then for GNU Chess and Internet chess servers. Because the GUI and the chess engine are separate programs, several people thought of the idea of connecting their own chess programs in place of GNU Chess, and they began to email me asking how to do it. I think the first person to ask was Shay Bushinsky, in November 1994. Over the years I received so many requests for this information that I was more or less forced into documenting and extending the ad-hoc engine protocol to support them. The document that exists now (chess-engines.html) evolved directly from the original email reply I sent to Shay. Unfortunately, because the protocol was never really designed, but just grew out of documenting the existing communication with GNU Chess, there are still several bugs and deficiencies in it today. It would be nice to make some major revisions, but then of course it would (at best) take a long time for the existing engines to convert over to the new protocol, so both would have to be supported, probably forever. 

Chess protocols

Winboard supports only Chess Engine Communication Protocol. However, UCI's chess engines can run with Winboard via some adapters such as PolyGlot, UCI2WB ones.

Pros and Cons

Winboard was the first-ever and unique for a while chess graphical user interface with good and very fast graphics, various functions, almost enough for general users. However, some users criticize it since it does not support directly UCI's chess engines as well as it has old-style, complicated and hard to use interface. Not supporting directly UCI engines is a huge disadvantage since almost all new and/or strong chess engines nowadays are UCI ones. It is also the main reason why nowadays there are so few computer chess tournaments using Winboard as the Tournament Manager even it has enough functions to do that task.

See also

Forum Posts

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2015 ...




External Links

Free Software Foundation

Tim Mann & H.G. Muller

WiBoard Misc


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