To Your Own Personal Taste


1) I'd like to customize the default menu box. How do I do this?

1) With any text editor, open up your winboard.ini file.

2) Locate the line which begins /icsMenu="-. The default options should look like this:

|&Tell (name),tell,1,0
M&essage (name),message,1,0
&Finger (name),finger,1,1
&Vars (name),vars,1,1
&Observe (name),observe,1,1
&Match (name),match,1,1
Pl&ay (name),play,1,1


3) Simply edit this area to create a list of your own often-used commands.

Each line (command) has four fields, each separated by a comma.

The 1st field is the word that you'll see in the menu.

The 2nd field is the command which will be sent to the server.

The 3rd field is a flag (a 1 or a 0) on whether to insert a space and then an argument after this command.

The 4th field is another flag indicating where this text should be immediately sent to the server or left in the input pane for further editing.

If the line contains an "&", the character after the ampersand is underlined in the menu and acts as a keyboard shortcut for the item when the menu is displayed. (Do not assign the same shortcut key to two different menu items.)

Finally, a "|" begins a whole new column.

4) Save the file and the launch the program again for your changes to take effect.

As requested by several people, here's a copy of my current winboard.ini file which shows my current menu box.


(Further information can be found in the WinBoard help file under "ICSMenu.")



2) I'd like to be able to login to my favorite server automatically, without having to type my handle and password each time. Is this possible?

Of course.

WinBoard, by default, will always look for a ics.ini file and will execute the commands in that file as soon as you telnet into the chess servers.

1) With any text editor, simply create an ics.ini file.

2) Enter on a separate line, each command that you would normally send to the servers as soon as you log on. The first line should contain your handle and the second line should contain your password. Put anything else that you want after this. The first few lines of my ics.ini file for FICS looks like this:


(This logs me in and immediately executes a "sought" command.)

3) Save the file, launch the program, and connect to the server as usual.

(Further information can be found in the WinBoard help file under "Initialization files.")



3) I enjoy playing on more than one server. I'd like to be able to log in with my name and password for each of these servers automatically. How can I do this?

To set up a different login script for another server...

1) With any text editor, open up your winboard.ini file.

2) Near the bottom of the file, locate the line which contains the name of the server. For example, the line to connect to ICC looks like this: /icsport=5000 /icshelper=timestamp

3) Edit this line by adding "/icslogon=icc.ini" to the end of it. The full line will then look like this: /icsport=5000 /icshelper=timestamp /icslogon=icc.ini

4) Create a text file, called icc.ini which contains the commands that you would normally send to this particular server, as soon as you telnet in. (See question #2 above.) Again, put each command on a different line, the first line being your handle and the second your password.

5) Save the file, launch the program, and connect to the server as usual.

Now, when connecting to ICC, WinBoard will use the commands in the icc.ini file and not the default ics.ini file.

Additional "ini" files can be created for the other servers in the same way.

(Further information can be found in the WinBoard help file under "Initialization files.")



4) Is it possible to use WinBoard with Accuclock on


1) Download the accuclck.exe file from and place it in your WinBoard directory (folder).

2) With any text editor, open up your winboard.ini file.

3) Change your settings to /icshost=localhost /icsport=1000

4) Next, open a DOS prompt, go to your WinBoard directory, and type accuclck -p 1000. You should then see a message "Listening on port 1000." (Note: You may wish to set this command up in a batch file, so that you don't have to type this manually every time.)

5) Toggle back to Windows (or simply minimize this new DOS window if you set it up to appear as such) and start Winboard and then login to as you normally would. That's it. "Finger" yourself to confirm that Accuclock is indeed on.

6) Upon exiting the program, shut down your open DOS window. (You should see the word "Finished" in the window.)

Note: You may see an error message "Error reading from ICS: Connection reset by peer." when you exit from the server. This is fine. Simply click on OK and WinBoard will exit.



5) I hear a sound when my opponent makes a move, but not when I do. What's up with this?

For the first couple of days that I was using WinBoard, the sound that I had configured would only be heard when my opponent had made a move and not when I had, so it's possible that someone else will experience this "problem" too. This is how to "fix" that, assuming you want to hear a MOVE sound when you move to:

1) Under Options - Sounds - Events (Move) select "No sound."

2) Under Options - Sounds - Events (Bell) select the desired sound that you wish to hear when a piece is moves.

3) If you "bell" variable is set to zero, set it to 1. (Type SET BELL 1.)

That's it. Note: After implementing this, I realized I actually did not wish to hear a sound when I move. Shoot, I know when I moved!



6) What's the easiest way to save and use different color combinations?

Well, I'm not sure what the easiest way is, but here's what I do:

1) Make a copy of your winboard.ini file and call it mood-1.ini (or something similar).

2) Load the program, change the colors, options, etc., to something else that you like, save these settings and exit. Make a copy of this new winboard.ini file and name this one, for example, mood-2.ini. Make as many different mood files as you care to. Each one is just a duplicate winboard.ini file with the color values and/or options changed.

3) When starting the program, type /ini mood-1.ini on the "Additional options" field at the very bottom of the WinBoard Startup window.

There ya go! The options in this mood file will be loaded instead of the ones in the winboard.ini file!

Note that you don't even have to give your mood files an "ini" extension. If you wish, you can simply name your mood files mood-1, mood-2, etc., and then, of course, just type /ini mood-1 in the "Additional options" field.

(Further information can be found in the WinBoard help file under "Initialization files" and "Other Options.")

Below are several screen shots and the corresponding color codes for a few of my favorite color configurations for both the pieces and the board.

Normally, you're always going to edit or change your existing board colors right in the program. (Under Options - Board Colors.) However, if you'd like to use one of these color choices simply...

1) With any text editor, open up your winboard.ini file.

2) Near the top of the file, locate the color value for each of the four items and replace it with the value that you see here.

3) Save the file and the launch the program again for your changes to take effect.


For awhile, this one was my favorite: ...although I liked this one too: This one was sent to
me by Melvin Schwartz:



Many players will be happy with
this color configuration:
I used this simple black & white
one for quite some time too:
This was another favorite 
I used for a long time:



Come up with what you think is a nice looking color combination yourself? 
Send it to me and I'll be glad to put it up here with these others.


This one was sent to
me by Melvin Schwartz:
Here is a pseudo "wood"
effect that Tim sent me,
modified very slightly by myself:
This color configuration was 
sent in by Jeff Wise:





This one was sent in by Andy Harris: This one was sent in by Michael Thomas: This one is by LazyFIDERook of FICS:







7) When I connect to FICS with Timeseal, I see a new "FICS%", (my prompt) in the text box after my opponent makes each move. After awhile it fills the screen and this serves no purpose to me. Can I suppress this?

Apparently not. It seems to be a problem related to Timeseal. Note that on ICC, you can suppress the prompt with the command set prompt 0 (as WinBoard will now function without a prompt) but this feature is currently not available on FICS or US Chess Live.

If someone has a workaround to this, please let me know.



8) What's the easiest way to play bughouse with WinBoard?

Hmmmmnnnnn... since I have yet to play bughouse at all on the Internet, I'm probably not the one to ask. But I would probably do this:

1) With any text editor, open up your winboard.ini file.

2) Add a new line, underneath the server that you normally play bughouse on, to connect you to that server as a guest. For example, if you're a member of FICS, your FICS line should look like this: /icsport=5000 /icshelper=timeseal

Add another line underneath that looks like this: /icsport=5000 /icshelper=timeseal /icslogon=guest.ini

3) Save this file. Then create a guest.ini script file as described in question #2 above.

4) Log onto your server twice -- the first time as yourself, like you normally would -- the second time as a guest using the guest script that you just created.

That's it. Use the ICS follow or pfollow command to observe your partner's games using this guest account, preferably using a slightly smaller chess board than the one that you yourself play on.

As Tim recently pointed out to me, as easy as this is, it can be made even easier -- simply by using the supplied bughouse.bat file! This batch file starts up two copies of WinBoard with separate ini files.  For example, Tim set up his first ics.ini file (bh1ics.ini) to log him in as "mann," and the second ics.ini file (bh2ics.ini) to log him in as a guest, set open 0, pfollow mann, etc.

And if you play bughouse on both FICS and ICC, you may really wish to get fancy and set up two shortcuts, one that runs

bughouse.bat /icshost /icshelper timeseal

for FICS and one that runs

bughouse.bat /icshost /icshelper timestamp

for ICC !!

Note that while playing a bughouse game using WinBoard, a list of the offboard pieces that each player holds is shown in the window title bar. To drop an offboard piece, press the right or middle mouse button over an empty square to bring up a context menu.



9) Is it possible to run WinBoard with timeseal through a SOCKS firewall?

"Socksifying" WinBoard itself doesn't let you use it "with" timeseal. For some reason that Tim doesn't understand (something strange that SocksCap32 does) this gets WinBoard running but doing nothing, and timeseal running by itself in its own window.  It looks like SocksCap32 is somehow intercepting the program startup sequence (when WinBoard tries to start timestamp) and messing things up. The timestamp program is supposed to start up with its input and output connected to two pipes that tie back to WinBoard, but instead it is getting started in a new console window.

Here is a workaround, straight from Tim. Follow these instructions EXACTLY; don't try to skip steps or simplify things.

1) Make SocksCap32 application profiles for timestamp and timeseal.  Use the following command lines in the SocksCap32 profiles. Name the first profile "timestamp"

  "c:\program files\winboard\timestamp.exe" 5000 -p 5000

and the second one"timeseal".

  "c:\program files\winboard\timeseal.exe" 5000 -p 5000

2) Run timestamp or timeseal by itself, socksified, using its profile.  This will open an unneeded, black window that will not respond to typing.  Minimize it to the task bar and ignore it. It will go away when you exit from WinBoard.

3) Run WinBoard using the following command line: 

"c:\program files\winboard.exe" /ics /icshost=localhost /icsport=5000

(Make a shortcut or type this command into an MS-DOS Prompt box.  Don't run WinBoard itself socksified, just run it directly.)

After you get this working, you can try getting the timestamp window to auto-minimize by starting it from a shortcut instead of from the SocksCap32 control window. As it says in the SocksCap32 help file, put the following in the target field of the shortcut's properties page:

  "c:\program files\sockscap32\sc32.exe" timestamp

Then select "Run: Minimized" on the same page. 

Do the same for timeseal. 

Another method that can work is to use a .bat file to start both timestamp and WinBoard.  It would look something like this:

REM --
REM -- icc.bat
REM -- Start timestamp under SocksCap32 and use WinBoard to connect to it.
REM -- The string "timestamp" refers to a SocksCap32 profile for timestamp.
REM --  Do not change it to the filename of the timestamp program!
REM --
start /minimized "c:\program files\sockscap32\sc32.exe" timestamp
cd "c:\program files\winboard"
winboard /ics /icshost=localhost /icsport=5000

This workaround has a problem if you want to run two copies of WinBoard at once, talking to the same chess server twice (for bughouse) or to two different chess servers. If you need to do that, you will need to run a separate copy of timestamp with "a different port number" for each connection.  You'll need to make a second set of profile entries with a different value after the -p flag (say, 5001) and you'll need to change the WinBoard command line /icsport=5000 for the second WinBoard to match.



10) Do you have any more tips or tricks?

Just a few for now. Check back later -- I may have added a few more.

  • Tim recommends turning off the "Animate Moving" option (this can be found under Options - General) when playing Lightning, Bullet, or very fast blitz games.
  • One of the new features added for version 4.0.0 was "click & click" for moving the pieces which is always available and not a menu option to toggle. If you click on a square that square will highlight and a further click on another square will move it; or, if you click on a piece and then start to drag, you can drag it to a new square. Very convenient to have both at the same time!
  • Position your cursor in the post area and hit the up arrow key to retrieve previously sent commands.
  • If you're the type that enjoys the separate windows that some other interfaces have, (which I suppose exist to help "organize" the incoming text) if you wish you can do this with WinBoard too. Simply sign on to the server of your choice again, as a guest. Minimize this guest chessboard window... you won't be using that at all. With your playing account, set your shouts to 0 and remove yourself from all channels. Then, with your guest account, set your OPEN to 0, your SEEK to 0, and your SHOUT to 1. Now position and size both windows on the screen to suit your taste. There ya go! Your playing account window will have seeks ads coming in that you can respond to, but nothing else. Your guest account window will not have seeks ads but shout messages, announcements, etc.
  • Don't forget... since not all of the commands used at FICS, US Chess Live, ICC, and are identical, you may wish to setup a slightly different customized ICS menu box (the first graphic on this page) for each server. Edit your winboard.ini file to force the program to automatcially load this different ini file when you log on to that server. (Or use the /ini command-line option to load this particular ini file when you log on to each server.) For example, no longer has a SOUGHT command so my FICS and ICC menu box has a sought command but there is no need for this when I play at
  • When playing the "crazyhouse" wild variant on FICS or US Chess Live, right-clicking anywhere in the board window brings up a context menu, just like when you're playing bughouse. Right-click over the square that you wish to drop a piece to, and then simply choose the piece from the ones that you have available.