A description, screenshots, and more


Note: This page contains many screen captures and will probably take a few moments to fully load. Sorry about that. I could easily have created a separate page for each image... but then you'd be doing a lot more clicking back and forth to see them all, too. The benefit of just one page is that there is much less work for you.



When the program is first loaded, the user is presented with three choices, as shown to the right:

As you can see, WinBoard is more than just an interface to the Internet chess servers. It can also serve as a user interface for GNU Chess or Crafty, etc. It can also be used to view or edit game files.

(This tribute will concentrate on its use an Internet Chess Server interface.)



Click each of these images for a larger and more detailed view.



Of course, your screens will look different! It almost goes without saying that the color of the squares, pieces, text, board size, position, etc., can be configured to your own liking! Here are a few color combinations for the board that you may enjoy. I still haven't made up my mind which color configuration is my favorite!

The board you play on can be one of 18 different sizes! The larger ones will fill your entire screen!



Right-clicking anywhere in the text area brings up a completely configurable context menu box.

Such a box makes it very convenient to execute often-used commands.

Below is a very old screenshot of such a box. I periodically update and alter mine to serve me as my needs change. (It currently has about twice as many items!)

  With such a box try putting your mouse cursor over a player's name and then executing a right-click. Upon doing so, once this box comes up, select "Finger (player)" to finger this player, "History (player)" to check his history, "Vars (player)" to check his variables, etc. No typing at all!

You can read news items, match individual players, initiate seeks and rematches, all with no typing at all.

If someone sends out a SEEK that you wish to accept, one way to accept it is to put your mouse over the game number, right-click to bring up this box, and then select "Play (game number)." (Of course, you can always manually type "PLAY" and then the game number too!)

Here are the steps required to configure this box to your own liking.

(As requested by several people, here's a copy of my current winboard.ini file.)



Here's a few screenshots of just some of the many pull-down menus. These graphics should help to give you an idea of some of the many options you have available.





One of the wonderful features of the program is the ability to create your own "login script." A login script will automatically send commands to the server as soon as you log on. When I connect to the ICC server as a guest, I have my login script set up to send these commands, automatically, to the server:



set shout 0
set sshout 0
set tell 1
set bell 1
set autoflag 1
set prompt 0
set time 5
set inc 0

set style 12
set height 180

set sfilter -C-B-r-w
+chan 2
+chan 43
+chan 44
+chan 45
+chan 64
+chan 107
+chan 116
+chan 126
+chan 166
+notify leeloo
seek 5 0



This logs me in as a guest, sets several preferred variables, and then throws out a 5 0 seek! (My login scripts for FICS and Chess.net are both different than this, of course.)

(Notice that there is a blank line after the "g." This is the equivalent to hitting the ENTER key.)

Here are the steps required to set this up.



Customizing different sounds for different events is possible too... and fun! Whenever I'm "challenged," I currently hear what sounds like a phone ringing. Whenever someone "tells" me something I hear a little "beep-beep" noise, etc. If you don't like the built-in sound choices you can use your own. (Here's a little "trick" I learned concerning hearing a sound after making a move.)

The program offers you the option of saving to disk, automatically, in either a PGN or an OLDMOVES format, all of the games that you play or observe!

Without any special configuring at all, WinBoard connects to FICS and US Chess Live with Timeseal and to ICC with Timestamp. And with just a few simple steps, you can configure WinBoard to connect to Chess.net with Accuclock.



As I write this, there is currently a discussion in the chess newsgroups on the various interfaces that exist. A few people have expressed their preference to CHESSBD (also known as Slics) by Don Fong. Just the other day, I took the time to download and evaluate the latest version of this program again. Wow. To say that I was disappointed is putting it mildly. Upon looking at the program, the first word that came to my mind was cluttered, unattractive, and unpleasing to the eye. (Okay, so that's more than one word.) Here's a screenshot of CHESSBD, from Don's homepage, to see if you don't agree. I think WinBoard is a MUCH more attractive program to use.

In the newsgroups, Andy Serpa wrote:

I don't understand the popularity of WinBoard as an on-line interface, except for the fact that it is free. I love it for a Crafty front-end and for looking at games, but Slics clearly has more and better features. And BlitzIn I hated! I couldn't even tell who was on-line! As far as I can tell, CClient and Slics are the only ones that allow you to easily see what players are currently on-line, who's playing who, reading finger notes, etc. Plus, Slics automatically records every game you play, lets you program 20 different buttons for any feature you want, logs you in automatically, etc., etc. I mean, it only costs $12, and the unregistered version does everything except let you use bit-mapped pieces! The author even created a version for blind people! Does WinBoard have features that I'm just not finding? I find it a pain in the butt to have to type in every command manually, and juggle where the different windows should go....

Yes Andy, WinBoard does indeed have features that apparently you're "just not finding." WinBoard too...

  • ... allows you the option of saving your games to disk.

  • ... allows you to "program" for often used commands.

  • ... logs you in automatically.

  • ... can execute commands with very little or no typing, if you so choose.

  • ... has not three but just two windows, the board and the text area. CHESSBD (Slics) has three. How can you juggle three windows and not two?

Also, I've looked at screen shots of these registered bit-mapped pieces. Ugg!! I prefer WinBoard's default pieces by far!

I just think that the entire Slics program is simply not an attractive interface to play with or use.


Syed Yusu wrote:

But the best thing about Slics is customizable capture sounds!

This is true, there is no option with WinBoard to hear a special sound when a piece is captured. However, as I mentioned above, WinBoard does have sounds that you can customize for incoming events. What's the second best thing that you like about it, Syed?