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About Gnuchess


Gnuchess is a Sugar front end to the gnuchess program [1], a computer program for playing chess.


Where to get Gnuchess

The Gnuchess activity is not yet available for download from the Sugar Activity Library: Gnuchess

The source code is available on on the Sugar Labs Gitorious server.

Using Gnuchess

The Toolbars


from left to right
Activity-toolbar Button
(toolbar described below)
Edit-toolbar Button
(toolbar described below)
View-toolbar Button
(toolbar described below)
Configure-toolbar Button
(toolbar described below)
Custom-toolbar Button
(toolbar described below)
New game
Start a new game.
Revert last move (When playing against the robot, the last two moves are reverted.) Note that undo is disabled when playing remotely over the network.
Used to offer a hint to the current player
Message area
Current status, e.g., Hint, Check, Checkmate, et al.
Stop Button
Exit the activity

Activity Toolbar

Activity name field
used to change the name of the activity
Reflection Button
used to write descriptions for the Journal entry of this instance of Portfolio
Share Button
Gnuchess supports sharing with another Sugar user


Copy current game to clipboard (in algebraic chess notation)
Paste a game from the clipboard (in algebraic chess notation)


Used to show board at full screen with no toolbars showing. (Type ESC to return from Fullscreen mode.)
Playback the current game as an animation.
Game history
See a transcript of the game history in algebraic chess notation [2].
Display of White's most recent move
Display of Black's most recent move
Use default pieces
Use Sugar colors on pieces
Use custom pieces


Play White
You play White, your opponent plays Black
Play Black
You play Black, your opponent plays White
This is the minimal setting for gnuchess: "book off" and "depth 1"
This is default setting for gnuchess, which includes "book on"
Play against the computer
The computer will move automatically
Play against a person
Take turns on the same computer or an opponent on the network (button will change colors when playing over the network)


Used to load custom artwork for each piece from the Sugar Journal.

Additional notes

  • In order to castle on the King's side (O-O), move the King to the g file.
  • In order to castle on the Queen's side (O-O-O), move the King to c file.
  • When the King is put in check, its square will flash
  • When given a hint, the squares of the piece to move and its destination are flashed. Also, the hint is displayed in algebraic notation.
  • The file saved to the Journal is in portable game format (PGN).

Additional notes re sharing

  • The Sugar colors of ones opponent appear on the 'human' button.
  • Only the sharing can start a new game.
  • Resuming is somewhat broken in Version 1.

Learning with Gnuchess

There is a rich history and long tradition of chess. It is arguably a fun way to engage in strategic thinking. It it is fun.

Extending Gnuchess

The basic rules of chess are involute in Gnuchess. However, you can have some fun with the graphics. When you share, your custom artwork is shared with your opponent, so each side can design their own look and feel.

Where to report problems

You can soon report bugs and make feature requests on our bug-tracking system (You need to create an account first). To list all open tickets of Gnuchess you can use query component=Gnuchess. You are also welcome to leave comments/suggestions on the Talk:Activities/Gnuchess page.


The Sugar wrapper for GNU Chess was written and is maintained by User:Walter.