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Xboard is a standard "front end" application for many chess engines under linux. It needs a bit of configuration to work as it should in Leap 15.1

Tested on openSUSE

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Setting up in Leap 15.1

Default as packaged

Unhappily gnuchess 6.2.5, the default engine, although it loads slowly will jam after the first move in Xboard 4.9.1. Historically this type of failure to write to pipe jam has resulted from issues in gnuchess versions and was addressed by downgrading the version. A work around is to load over the top of gnuchess another engine such as crafty or fairymax as your 1st Engine in the default configuration (its just a click on the engine menu if you have installed these). This still results in slow loading of the engine at Xboard start so consider the quicker to load workaround below.

More permanent workaround

For some reason editing the users .xboardrc configuration file does not seem to work but it might. Whatever if you edit the etc/xboard.conf file as root so the entry -firstChessProgram gnuchess reads as an alternative that you have installed such as -firstChessProgram usr/bin/fairymax all will work well enough.

Loading an engine such as Stockfish20

The program will be found in the usr/bin directory after installation. This is the default directory which can also be entered as a "." in the configuration file. Point to the executable shell script stockfish20 and tick the UCI option in a Engine load menu option and as long as you had installed polyglot all will be well. Please note that stockfish20 (Stockfish version 2) is very old now with ELO about 3100 - it will lose to version 10 of Stockfish that is available also from repository. You might want to compile Stockfish version 11 for the program that on 8 64 bit cores should beat any Grandmaster with an ELO of 3646 as of October 2019 and as of date is strongest chess engine)

Set up OpenSuse 9.3 to OpenSuse 42.3

Worked out of the box usually. Xboard has remained stable since

Other chess front ends


  • Knights
  • Gnome-Chess

SCID may be more useful for analysis.

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