Chess utilities and programs for playing - freeware or shareware. Chess publishing resources have pages of their own: Chess Fonts and Chess Diagrams where you also find utilities for showing games interactively on webpages using Java Script or Java applets.
Updated 16. October 2011
|Chess Programs||Tournament Man. & ELO||Readers & Viewers||Database & Conversion|
ELO calculation (Danish)
PGN Web Editor
Pgn Reader 1.52
Yahoo to pgn
Pgn Notation Converter
Conversion of files to/from different databases.
Chess Playing Programs
With the hardware of today commercial chess programs are very very strong, but you can get licked for free! At Chessopolis you'll find links to many more free chess playing programs. Some are strong, some are weak. Today there are quite a few programs with no interface of their own - they rely on the use of an interface like WinBoard. The programs below just serve as an appetizer.
Freeware by Frank Schneider. Windows
A strong program (former Gromit)! Anaconda can use endgame tablebases, and you can edit the evaluation functions if you want to experiment. It is possible to play Fischer-chess (random initial position).
Download from: http://hobblefrank.homepage.t-online.de/AnacondaChess/index.htm
Freeware by Jon Dart. Arasan is a Windows-program available in two versions: 16 and 32 bit. Size of the zip-file is about 1 MB. For those interested in programming, the sourcecode is available (C++). Minimum hardware: 386 processor and 4 MB RAM.
Freeware for Windows/Linux by Don Cross.
Cannot compete with the stronger programs, but nowadays who can? Besides beeing free it requires little diskspace. You can also download the source code in C++.
Freeware by Robert Hyatt, who made Cray Blitz (World Champ 1983-89). Some claim Crafty to be the strongest freeware program of today, and new versions seem to come in a steady flow. There's a version for DOS and a version for LINUX, and the DOS-version should run nicely under Windows 3.* and 95 (where an addition makes it possible to run in 32 bit). The playing strength improves significantly by the use of opening books and tablebases for endgame.
Program and extras can be downloaded from: ftp://ftp.cis.uab.edu/pub/hyatt
It is strongly recommended to start by downloading the readme-file, because all the different possible additions take up several MB space. At http://au.geocities.com/cafelattegames/chess/ you can get help on how ro set up Winboard as an interface for Crafty.
Freeware. Windows 3.*/95.
"Gnu" is a scientific project, a programming language, a cult, a... Search the www (e.g. newsgroups) for info.
Pitt Chess Archives
A weaker version (appetizer) of the commercial program, but not bad at all.
http://www.rebel.nl/edsoft.htm (676 KB)
Graphical interfaces for chess engines (programs with no interface of their own) and/or for playing on the web.
Freeware by Tim Mann. WinBoard (or XBoard for Unix) is a graphical user interface for chess. You can use it as a PGN-viewer or to play chess on the Internet (e.g. at Internet Chess Club). Many freeware chess programs use WinBoard as their graphical interface.
Download WinBoard from Tim Mann's Chess Pages (2.1 mb).
Freeware by Eric de Mund
Eric has made some pretty pixmaps for WinBoard/XBoard. Eric's page.
Freeware by Martin Blume. Windows.
Arena is a graphical user interface for chess programs (engines) and has become quite popular. Arena is compatible to various protocols and has an extensive homepage with support, forums and more. The Arena Homepage.
Freeware by Stefan Immich. A simple Java interface for playing on a chess server. You need the (free) Java runtime environment 1.2 or newer from SUN Microsystems. Download Schachmatt from http://www.3d-engine.de/schachmatt.zip (521 kb). Select "Use folder names" when you unzip.
Live Games Broadcast
Freeware by Eric Bentzen. Windows.
Broadcast games live on the Internet. Just update a pgn file when new moves are made and Palive will create and upload webpages automatically. In principle it doesn't matter whether you update the pgn file with a text editor like NotePad or advanced software that monitors electronic chess boards. See The Palview Pages for more information.
Some have asked for links to Macintosh programs. Being a PC-user it is difficult to describe Mac programs, but a good Mac-link is: Google Web Directory with freeware to download, such as:
Chess Playing Programs
Sigma Chess 6.1.3, Glaurung and more.
pChess is a basic chess programme for Macintosh OSX, with graphics and a built-in FEN Viewer. It supports Fischer games, copy/paste of FEN positions, and SAN Notation. Audio and Visual Brain features let you listen and see as it evaluates moves. pChess homepage.
jose 1.4.4, SCID and more.
There are also links to shareware and commercial programs.
Readers And Viewers
A mixed collection of programs to read, edit, record and view chess games (usually pgn files).
Freeware by Roger Musson. The program is just a chess set: board and pieces. You can use it for playing through games (or whatever), and when you want to go astray in some variation, simply tell the program to remember the position and you'll not have the usual trouble finding your way back.
Download from: Pitt Archives (33 KB).
Shareware. ASCII and PGN reader/editor. With Filemate you can read, play through, record, edit and save games. Handles several file formats. The unregistrated version has some limitations.
Download from Pitt Chess Archives: Filemate (281 KB)
Freeware by Karl-Heinz Milaster.
PGN-viewer with a large board. Program and installation in German, but everything is pretty straight forward. Download from GM Schach (1.04 mb).
PGN Web Editor
Freeware by Andrew & Paul Lapides. A new idea: an online (Java) pgn editor! If you go to Lapides' website, http://members.shaw.ca/lapides/pgnedit/pgnedit.html, you can record, edit or view pgn-files. Once the page is loaded, you can disconnect.
The analysis board is a great idea: when you want to record/edit a variation, you just copy the game position and play through the variation on the second board. The pgn is saved by copying the generated text to the clip board and pasting it into your own editor or word processor.
Freeware by Gary J. Allard. Win 9*. A handy program for playing through games in PGN-format (1.840 KB).The author's homepage has vanished into thin air, but you can download the program from http://www.filegate.net/chess/chs-util/minipgn2.zip.
Pgn Reader 1.52
Freeware by Keith Fuller. Windows.
Chess game reader (games in PGN-format).Can be used with your www browser.
Download from Pitt Chess Archives: Pgnrd152 (72 KB).
Freeware by Alex Ignácio da Silva. Windows/Linux.
An open source chess game reader (games in PGN-format). Several piece sets to choose from. One-click move input. Move history view with standard algebraic notation and figurine symbols. Import from/export to PGN file format
Download from Haundrix Chess.
Correspondence & Email Chess
Utilities for the correspondence and email chess player.
Freeware (Win 3.1 version) and shareware (Win 9x) by David B. Sugden.
DBS Chess is a Windows program that records both the game moves and all the analysis of your correspondence chess. It allows you to prepare emails using the clipboard to send text to your email program. It can handle a very wide range of formats and international notations. The Win 3.1 version is now freeware, the Win 9x is shareware costing US$20 for registered (registration good for all future versions). Downloads are 450/510 kbytes respectively.
The program can be downloaded from the authors homepage: David B. Sugden's homepage or from ftp://ftp.pitt.edu/group/chess/UTIL/
Shareware for the correspondence or email chess player by Andres Valverde Toresano. Win 3.*/95. There is also a freeware lite-version.
The program keeps track of your games. Games can be analysed on screen, and positions can be saved in BMP or GIF format. Reads and saves PGN. Sends and receives email. The unregistrated version has some limitations.
Link: ECTool Homepage.
Freeware by Uwe Auerswald. A program for correspondence chess by email. Lots of useful features for handling games, mail, tournaments etc.
Homepage & download: MailChess (1036 kb).
Database & Conversion
Freeware from ChessBase. Windows.
ChessBase Light is a free version of the database program ChessBase 6 however limited to a maximum of 8000 games in one file. Reads and saves PGN and CBH (ChessBase' own format).
You can find CB Light (2.62 mb) on http://www.chessbase.com by chosing "Support" and "Downloads".
Freeware by Peter Klausler. Windows 9*.
CDB builds databases of chess games and positions and keeps track of all known moves in a position as well as game statistics. Games are added from the user interface or by importing PGN, text, NIC, ChessBase or Chess Assistant. Positions can be analysed with Crafty.
CDB also works fine as a PGN-browser and is a useful tool for conversion from different database formats to PGN.
Download from ftp://ftp.pitt.edu/group/student-activities/chess/UTIL/ or directly from http://www.chessopolis.com/cdb-1_5.exe (398 KB).
Freeware by Mark van der Leek. Win 9*/NT.
A handy and easy-to-use database. There's no limit to the number of games, but with more than 250.000 it gets a bit slow. ChessPad has its own file format, but reads and writes PGN. There are several search options, but you cannot search for a certain position.
ChessPad can export games and diagrams as HTML or in RTF-format, that can be imported by most wordprocessors. For diagrams and (if you like) figurine notation you can choose between different true type chess fonts. Games and diagrams can also be exported for use on webpages. Compared to commercial products this excellent program has a few limitations that are unimportant for most players - and it's free!
Download from ChessPad Homepage (902 kb).
Freeware by Peter Schäfer. Windows, Linux and more.
A complete chess database program with a nice looking interface and many possibilities. For instance you can have a program like Crafty analyse the game. Jose is written in Java, which slows it down just a bit, but at the same time this means that the program isn't confined to one platform only (e.g. Windows).
Which file to download depends on your operating system, but Windows users should download "jose-10-windows-jre.exe" (almost 28 mb) that has all you need (including Crafty!). If you have Java version 1.4 installed already, you can save band-width and go for jose-10-windows.exe.
Read about Jose and download from the author's homepage.
Freeware by Shane Hudson. Windows, Unix, Linux.
A nifty database program that reads PGN and EPD. You can search using filters, export games etc. Crafty can be used as analysis module. The user interface seems a bit simple, but works and is easy to use. To use the program with Linux/Unix you need Tck/Tk (8.0 or higher) and a C++ compiler. The Windows version is ready to run once you have installed the interface Tcl/Tk (2,5 mb). Explanation and download (722 kb) on Scid Homepage.
Freeware by Dr. David Kirkby. Windows, Unix, Linux.
A project based on Scid (see above) and with several enhancements. For instance ChessDB supports more languages, and you can download pgn files directly from The Week In Chess (TWIC) and ICC. See the program's homepage for further information and download.
Link: ChessDB homepage.
Yahoo to pgn
Free service by Ben Marini and Douglass Davis.
Online conversion of Yahoo Chess Game Notation to PGN, so games played at "Yahoo" can be read by most chess programs.
Freeware by 'Black Eagle'.
Converts Yahoo Chess Game Notation to PGN, so games played at "Yahoo" can be read by most chess programs.
Download from http://www.baydsoft.com/yahoochess/default.asp?p=chess (248 kb).
Freeware by David Barnes. DOS/Unix/Linux.
This utility extracts and manipulates games from PGN-files. You can use many criteria and search/extract doubles, positions, players, move sequence, ECO-codes etc.
Download from http://www.cs.ukc.ac.uk/people/staff/djb/pgn-extract/ (313 kb).
Chess Game Notation File Converter
Freeware by Dimitris Siskopoulos. Windows.
Pgn files are written with the English letters for king, queen etc. (KQRBN). With this program you can convert the letters to other languages. You can also manipulate fields (the header lines with information).
Download from http://www.code.gr/chess-converter/ (73 kb).
Freeware by Eduardo Suastegui. DOS.
An excellent - and fast - utility for handling PGN files. Join, split and filter files.
Download pm.zip (98 kb) from our site.
Freeware by Tom McCormick. DOS.
A suite of useful PGN utilities. New version October 2006.
Download PGNUTILS (962 KB) from this site.
Several excellent programs for handling pgn files: automatically clean up syntax errors, remove comments, remove unnecessary tags, remove games by players who have < 2500 ELO, fix Linux/Unix pgn files for use in Windows and much more.
Actually you don't need a multiple stars program to merge (append) pgn-files. The following DOS tip will do the trick fast and easy (thanks to Lars Venø Jakobsen). Make a text file with two lines:for %%f IN (*.PGN) DO type %%f>>collect.out ren collect.out collect.pgnand save it as "somename.bat" in the pgn file folder. Be sure your editor doesn't append "txt" to the file name (like "somename.bat.txt"). The extension must be "bat". When you double-click on the icon, all pgn files in the folder will be collected in one file, "collect.out" which is then renamed to pgn. You can even filter the files; if for instance you write (a*.pgn) only files with "a" as first char will be merged. It also works from the command line in DOS, but then you must remember to rename the file. Just replace the double "%%" with a single "%", like in:for %f IN (*.PGN) DO type %f>>collect.out
Useful programs for conversion of different file formats (chess databases)
You can find more conversion utilities (to/from more "exotic" formats) on
ca2pgn3.zip Chess Assistant to PGN. cb2pgn.zip ChessBase to PGN. cba16.zip CBASCII v. 1.6 (16-bit version). ChessBase to PGN & back. Unzip with pkunzip -d switch. cba3216.zip CBASCII v. 1.6 32-bit version for Win 95/NT. ChessBase to PGN & back. Unzip with pkunzip -d switch. cb2nic.zip ChessBase to NicBase. gam2cb.zip ChessGenius 4/5 GAM files to ChessBase. nic2cb.zip NicBase to ChessBase. nic2ca.zip NicBase 2 or 3 to Chess Assistant. nic2pgn.zip NicBase3 to PGN. NicBase2-files must first be converted to NicBase3 with NicTools3. pgn2ca.zip PGN to Chess Assistant. pgn2cb.zip PGN to ChessBase. pgn2nic.zip PGN to NicBase 3.
Programs for handling and solving chess problems.
Shareware by Jan Nowakowski. DOS or Windows.
Solves problems with mate, selfmate or helpmate. More than 3 moves requires a lot of patience.
Link: Explorer Homepage.
Freeware by Frank Schindler. Windows.
MateMaster solves conventional mate problems. The board position can be copied/saved as a bitmap.
Link: MateMaster Homepage (1.6 mb).
Natch & iNatch
Freeware by Pascal Wassong. DOS/Linux.
Natch solves retrograd analysis problems by constructing "proof games" - the shortest possible game leading to a certain position. Natch is a command line utility, but there is a Java based graphical interface, iNatch (110 kb). To run iNatch you must have SUN's Java Runtime Environment 1.3 (or higher) installed.
Link: The Natch homepage (119 kb).
Shareware by Matthieu Leschamelle. Windows.
Used to be be freeware, but that's history. An all-round program for the problem enthusiast. Problemist solves directmates, helpmates, selfmates and reflexmates. You can rotate positions, print diagrams and much more. With Problemist come 2 true type chess fonts.
Link: Problemist (306 KB) and you can download more than 100.000 problems.
Freeware by Chad Whipkey and Theodore Hwa. Win 95/NT.
Program for solving and composing retrograde chess problems. In retrograde analysis the task is to deduce which moves lead to a given position - in a sense you play backwards. Sample problems (a lot!) can be found at The Retrograde Analysis Corner.
Download from http://xenon.stanford.edu/~hwatheod/Retractor/ (157 KB).
Freeware by Harald Lögdahl. Windows.
Makes pairing with Swiss, Nordic Swiss and Monrad. An older Swedish version has been tested thoroughly - seems like a great program. Download from http://home.swipnet.se/rullchef/chessp/ (2.19 MB).
Freeware by J.P. Hendriks. Windows. A tournament management program for chess and other sports. Supports Swiss, Keizer, Round Robin and more. Download from JBF Software (1.26 MB).
Shareware (49$) for Windows. The well known swiss pairing program. There is an older DOS-version (freeware) which doesn't comply with all the new FIDE rules, but is OK for local tournaments. An evaluation copy (30 days) can be found at:
http://www.swissperfect.com (ca. 540 KB).
From the same page you can download the FIDE swiss rules.
Freeware by Jonathan Paxman.
A program for tournament coverage on the web. The program takes a SwissPerfect database file, and generates a static HTML website containing pairings, standings and crosstables in a fairly nice format for web publication. To use the program you obviously need to use SwissPerfect for pairings.
Download from http://sp2html.paxmans.net/ (1,1 mb).
Freeware by Luigi Forlano. Windows/Linux/DOS.
A program for swiss pairing and ournament management. Nice intuitive interface makes the job easy. Options for printing crosstables, board cards etc.
Download from Luigi's VEGA homepage (598 KB).
Freeware by James Garner. Windows.
ELO Rater is a Club Rating Utility Program, designed to automate implementing a USCF style, or Harkness style Rating system for small chess clubs or groups.
Download from ELO Rater homepage (920 KB).
Freeware by Finn Larsen. DOS. Danish program for ELO calculation. In Danish, but most of the action is self-explanatory. On the other hand you could learn Danish and enjoy Hamlet, Søren Kierkegaard, H.C. Andersen, Karen Blixen, Niels Bohr and others in their native lingo...
Download ELO-rating (20 KB).
Excel 2000 spreadsheet by Christopher Hinman.
For personal ELO calculation. Insert opponents' ELO, results etc. and your new ELO is calculated.
Download: ELO2000 (8 KB).
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