Chess clients for Linux

A roundup of the chess clients I’ve looked at for our local public library.

Applications for playing chess are generally separated into clients (the interface the user sees) and engines (the smarts that determine the computer player’s moves). My interest is in hooking children on chess: children accustomed to visually impressive depictions of auto theft and zombie invasions in their games. To that end my focus is on good-looking, easy to play clients that help beginners with features such as a visual indication of valid moves, integrated tutorials, etc. I consciously overlook features aimed at experienced players, and don’t consider the chess engines behind the scenes.

There are also chess databases (to store your games and to facilitate study) and tournament management software, which I do not consider here.

Brutal Chess
Attractive. Engine included. The GUI allows for no configuration, requiring one to launch the application using with command line switches. No guidance for beginners.

Cross platform (Linux, Mac, Windows). Attractive 3D graphics and multiple themes. Little guidance for beginners.

Multiple themes available. Uses external engine. No guidance for beginners.

Part of the gnome-games-common package. My installation choked with “This process is currently running setuid or setgid”, and I didn’t bother to troubleshoot.

GNU Chess
Text-based interface. Its included engine is used to power many clients that do not come with their own engine.


TODO: Finish checking my distro’s repository. If no joy, try a web search.

10 of the Best Free Linux Chess Apps
Projects tagged chess at Ohloh
Projects tagged chess and Linux at Freecode


About Warren Post

So far: Customer support guy, jungle guide, IT consultant, beach bum, entrepreneur, teacher, diplomat, over-enthusiastic cyclist. Tomorrow: who knows?
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