2011-03-18

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.