Studying Chess on Ubuntu Linux - Part 1 Setup

The first thing that you need to do is to setup your programs that are needed for studying. Generally players use a chess engine and a chess database program. Luckily for us someone created SCID an open source database program that works fairly well and is available on all platforms. I use Ubuntu Linux so my guide will be specific for Ubuntu but it should be easy to set this up on any system, including OS X, Windows and Linux.

Another benefit that Chess Players have received from open source is the chess engine Stockfish.
Stockfish is an open-source UCI chess engine based on Glaurung. Stockfish is an alpha-beta searcher and uses a bitboard representation.
Install SCID
  1. sudo apt-get install build-essential - This installs a Linux C++ compiler so that SCID can be built.
  2. sudo apt-get install tcl8.5-dev tk8.5-dev - This installs a runtime in Linux which enables the UI for SCID.
  3. Download SCID and extract to a temp directory.
  4. ./configure
  5. ./make
  6. ./make install

Install Stockfish
  1. Download Stockfish
  2. Download Stockfish Opening Book
  3. Extract Stockfish and run make profile-build ARCH=x86-32 for 32 bit Linux systems. 64 bit Linux systems can use make profile-build ARCH=x86-64
  4. Installation of this is a bit different than SCID.  I copied my executable (the file named stockfish) to ~/bin so I can have a place to save my opening book.
  5. Extract opening book to ~/bin.
Setup Stockfish in SCID
  1. Click on Tools and then Analysis Engine...in the menu
  2. Create a new chess engine by clicking on the New... button.
  3. Type in Stockfish in the name
  4. The command field should contain the executable for Stockfish.  Mine was ~/bin/stockfish
  5. Directory should be set to . to indicate that the directory to use should be the same as the directory that the executable is located in.
  6. Click on Configure UCI Engine.
  7. There are lots of options here - I mainly only change the book file to book.bin and set the Multiple variations to 4.
I will discuss how to use these programs next time I post about studying chess on Linux.


Attacking Chess Puzzle of the Week - 2011-03-17

It has been a while since I posted a puzzle of the week.  I will provide the diagram and a FEN string this week and then provide the answer next week.  Feel free to discuss the problem and talk through it with everyone.  The next week I will provide the answer to the puzzle and then another puzzle to solve.

Studying chess tactics and puzzles is a very important step in learning chess and it will help all levels of players increase their skills and abilities.
White to move
FEN : 3r2k1/pR3p2/2n3pQ/2Bp4/P2P3K/5R1P/4r1q1/8


Chess News of the Week - French Cheating in Chess

Cheating in chess has become a very real problem. Online it has been around for years. People start up their chess computer and make the moves it says just to "win" and get rating points online. What these people don't understand is that it is not really their rating if they are cheating this way. What fun is it to just use a computer to try and win? I do not know what kind of satisfaction someone cheating like this gets from a game of chess. The following article talks about the specific case.

Text Messaging not admitted as evidence in cheating case

The judge ruled:

- Firstly, that “although he is not himself the subscriber to the telephone line [in question], Mr Marzolo enjoys the right to the confidentiality of the correspondence exchanged via this line, since its permanent use had been granted to him by the owner of the line, Ms. Pomian.”
- Secondly, that “no legal provision gave him the authority to waive this confidentiality”, unless the infringement involved “criminal or security matters.”
- Finally, the magistrate judged that “it would be unfair for Mr. Marzolo, Feller and Hauchard (…) to bear the full cost of the proceedings,” and he ruled that the FFE should reimburse part of the fees.

As it announced in a press release on January 27th, the FFE reserves the right to turn to the criminal courts, which could lift the confidentiality of correspondence.

It is a lot easier to cheat in chess tournaments now. Everyone has access to computers, many of the computers are so small they are sitting in our pockets. That is why being on a phone while you have a game going on is against tournament rules. It is easy to call someone else and ask them what move to make. Also, they could enter the moves themselves into a phone and see what move to make next. It is very sad that problems like these have to be brought to light. Hopefully if those players were cheating they are found guilty and the cheating is stopped.


Live Chess Analysis from Reykjavik

Nice interesting feature by Chess Bomb. It should be fun to watch some games.


Chess News of the Week - Programmers write open letter about Rybka-Fruit issue

Programmers write open letter about Rybka-Fruit issue

This is very interesting to me as a chess player who has used Fruit and as a Software Developer interested in open source.  This is very poor judgement by these guys if they did just steal the code.

Recently the author of Fruit, Fabien Letouzey, wrote an open letter to the computer chess community where he raised the concern that Rybka 1.0 beta may be a derivative of Fruit 2.1 in this public post.
Since then it has emerged from highly respected sources like Zach Wegner, Bob Hyatt and others that there is a lot of evidence that has been accumulated over the last few years that Rybka 1.0 beta is a derivative of Fruit 2.1.
Zach Wegner has presented evidence of alleged significant copied/derived Fruit evaluations in Rybka 1.0 beta here.

The large problem with these guys who stole the code was that Fruit was released under the GPL - part of the license states that any and all code contributed to a project after it uses GPL code is also now considered GPL.  That is a part of the deal when you use the code that people are making open.  Also you are required to publish any added or changed code.  If Rybka is guilty they are stealing from the public and selling what they stole instead of building on a project that was established as an open project.  It will be interesting to see how this procedes and if they are required to open their code and pay a fine.



Places to Play Chess online, Part 6

Chesscube is another newer site to online chess. I have found it to be a very good place to play. The flash interface is great - makes it easy to be available across all platforms without any need to download an interface. You get cubits from logging in and winning games that will allow you to get chess videos. The tournaments are available all the time and you get a game fairly quickly. The only thing I would want is an Adobe Air application of the interface so I could avoid having to open my browser.
Here is a description from their website:
Play chess online for free on ChessCube, the global community of chess players. Get chess videos and chess lectures, chat with friends, play live chess and ...

If you want an easy place to get to play, don't mind using flash in a browser to connect to the server and want an interface that is standardized ChessCube is a very good option for playing chess. I have found it very good - especially when I only have access to a browser on a computer it becomes very nice.

Related Posts
Places to Play Chess online
Places to Play Chess online, part 2
Places to Play Chess online, part 3
Places to Play Chess online, part 4
Places to Play Chess online, part 5


Upcoming Chess Tournament in Salt Lake City

Farewell Bobby Fischer Tournament
Tournament Flyer

There are 2 schedules - a 2 day and a 3 day schedule. There are 2 byes available as well. The time controls are fairly short - G/31 for the 2 day schedule and G/72 or G/64 for the 3 day schedule. Round 5 and 6 merge together and have longer time controls.

I have not been to one of these tournaments yet but this one sounds like fun. I might stop by and see how it is.

How to prepare for a Chess Tournament

What do you do to prepare for a tournament?  I am getting ready to get back into tournament play and I am looking for ideas on how to best prepare for it.  I have not played in a tournament for a good number of years - only played online recently.

I feel that I need more tactics study - but my gut is saying some endgame and opening would be useful too?

I did some Google searching and found an interesting link.

Roman Chess - How to prepare for a chess Tournament

This gives me some more ideas on how to prepare for a chess tournament.

1.  Play some slower games - if you only practice with speed chess it will be harder to player slower when you are in the tournament.

2.  Practice Tactics - this is very important and will help sharpen your game and help avoid simple blunders.

3. Decide on openings to play - don't go in and guess on which openings to play - you will not be able to prepare a lot of different openings and be strong in all of them.

4.  Study basic endgame ideas so you will be able to win or draw games in close situations.

5. Have fun and relax - it is all about enjoying the game anyways.