Gnome chess

Gnome chess is part of the GNOME project and is a graphical interface that interfaces to chess servers, GNU Chess and crafty.

  • Version: 0.3.2
  • License: GNU General Public License
  • Author(s): Robert Wilhelm and JP Rosevear
  • Formats: RPM (binary and source) and tar.gz
  • Size: 115k (binary RPM), 278k (source RPM), 276k (tar.gz)
  • Homepage: Gnome chess website

Gnome Chess is, unsurprisingly considering its name, a client that uses the GTk+ library. This gives the interface a consistent look and feel.

Although it has been developed since 1998 the client is still in its early stages of development.
Out of the reviewed chess interfaces, Gnome Chess has the smallest set of features. On start up you are presented with a small board and a blank move list. The default colors leave a little to be desired but they are easily changed using the Settings menu.

Unfortunately the bitmap pieces are fixed in size, and on a large 19″ monitor this was a distinct disadvantage. Setting up the server entries, for automatic login, was simple although having passwords stored unencrypted is not exactly secure. The interface uses timeseal, like the other chess clients, to compensate for ‘lag’.

On logging into the chess server a console box appears under the chess board. All communication goes to this console. Unlike the other chess clients there is no support for colorized text. At least there is a separate prompt to type in text which has buffer support.

In play the interface is simple to use. Moves can be made by the click-and click and click-and drag methods. Although the program has an option to hear a bell when a move is made, this didn’t work.

Fortunately the server bell “set bell 1″ compensates for this omission. I liked the move list that sits next to the board, clicking on any move and the board is updated to that position. The program seemed to send lots of spurious information to the console window in play.

If you want to play bughouse or crazyhouse then this client is not for you. Dropping pieces has to be done manually and you then have to refresh the board to see the dropped piece. The program often crashed when playing suicide if you used the move list.

Gnome Chess can read and write PGN. It coped fine with loading standard PGN files although it didn’t handle eboard’s PGN output because of the comment lines that are banned.

Hopefully this escape mechanism for PGN data will be handled in future releases of Gnome Chess. The program doesn’t have any other features to speak of although the authors have plans to add lots of features.

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