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update: stockfish 2.1.1+git20111006-1 in debian unstable

Of cause I had to update the package from the new sources. The difference to the older version is:

33 files changed, 2519 insertions(+), 2994 deletions(-)

This does not make a big ELO improvement, but speed matters and the binary is definitely faster than the old one. You can test the speed of stockfish with the internal command:

“stockfish bench”

Posted in chess, chess engines, computer chess.

stockfish: Team in hope for a developer community

The stockfish team tries to attract some new developers to contribute to the strongest open source chess engine. The sourcecode is moved to github:

They promise to consider and accept patches with the following rules:


- If a patch is a “non functional change”, for instance a clean up or a code simplification (we care a lot about code cleanups) will be applied without testing, just after a quick scrutiny to verify that actually does not change functionality and is really a code improvement.

- If a patch is advertised as an ELO increase stuff, then should be backed up with serious testing data and anyhow will be tested again by us before to be applied.

- Patches that add big chunks of code will not be accepted, in particular I am not willing to add tablebase support Wink thank you.

- As common with git, patches will be applied with the author name of the submitter, that is the author of the patch.”

If you are interested you can read the news at the talkchess forum.

Posted in chess, chess engines, computer chess.

Update: polyglot package for debian in version 1.4.66b

So, after a long time I will take on my old project to make any “open” opening book. But first I had to update polyglot, because this resolves a bug in the opening-book creation, that I need to be fixed: The changelog says: – Bugfix: dump-book with -color black generated the file book_white.txt.

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Update: new stockfish 2.1.1 in debian (maintenance release)

I updated the debian package of stockfish to the new version 2.1.1. It is a maintenance release and unlikely to have any better ELO rating than its prior version. The stockfish team claimed a lot of code cleanup.

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How To: Watch your favourite engine play chess on FICS, with icsdrone and eBoard

Didn’t you want to let your favourite engine play chess automagically, with some real opponents? Are you bored to be beaten by it? Do you want to see it beat someone else? Do you want to test your own opening book?

The last question was my initial reason to try something out.

First I thought I should register a “computer” account at FICS the free internet chess server. This is my favourite site to play chess at.

But they don’t want many computers at this site, because it might bother human players. And they have strict rules for registered computers. As far as I could find out this applies not to unregistered users aka “guests”. With a guest account you can’t get a ranking number, but this is no problem. And I decided to let the engine play real fast games at the speed of 0 minutes and 4 seconds time increment or 1 Minute and 1 second increment. This speed is fun to watch and there are NO computers available at this speed, but a lot of humans want to play that fast. So we have a “win – win” situation. And it should be OK with the FICS-Team.

You will need icsdroneng for connecting the engine to FICS. icsdrone was originally written by: Henrik Gram and then further improved by Michel Van den Bergh. Thanks a lot.

As I didn’t want to call icsdrone with the many options on the commandline often, I used to put everything in a script:


icsdrone \
        -handle YourComputerPal\
        -owner okoli \
        -program "polyglot /home/oliver/chess/polyglot/stockfish.ini"  \
        -timeseal ./timeseal \
        -book /home/oliver/chess/bookmaking/2010-09-18_gambit_rep/2010-09-18_Gambit_repertoire.bin \
        -feedback on \
        -easyMode off \
        -pgnFile fics_matches_gambit.pgn \
        -loginScript login.script

What does it do? So first it logs into the chess server with the (guest) handle: YourComputerPal. We want to tell everybody that it is a computer don’t we? And next I specify the owner. This will make it nicer to view the games later on. We load the (linux) timeseal, that will prevent loosing on time. And then we load our own book. That was essential for me. Also we can log the games to a .pgn file.

The login script has some special commands, that we want our icsdrone to execute on the server:

set 0 lala
set 1 This is a stockfish 2.0.1, with limited search depth
set 2 It has an opening book for playing gambit lines
set 3 For comments or complaints message the owner okoli
set sendgameend say Thanks for the game!\nseek 1 1 m\n seek 0 4 m
seek 1 1 m

This will set some information to the finger dialog of YourComputerPal on the server and tell icsdrone to be polite and say “Thanks for the game!” after every game. Also there is specified to seek games of “1 1″ and “0 4″ time control. Of couse you have to adjust this to your needs, but you should now know how to set things up for icsdoneng. If you need more help, there is an excellent manpage.

Now you can enjoy your engines victories and defeats, if you log into FICS wit a frontend like eBoard, Jin, or Scid.

If you have a registered account and the “-owner” option set, your icsdrone will welcome you, if you login. If you type “follow Icsdrones-handle”, you will watch all games your computer plays on FICS.

Posted in chess, chess engines, playing chess, this page.

Update: Stockfish 2.0.1 chess engine in debian unstable

The famous Stockfish chess engine enters debian unstable. After some trouble building on all available hardware-architectures, there are now packages for all supported archs available:   alpha, amd64, armel, hppa, hurd-i386, i386, ia64, kfreebsd-amd64, kfreebsd-i386, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390 and sparc.

Posted in chess, chess engines, computer chess, debian GNU/linux.

Update: polyglot 1.4.64b with gaviota table basepath support

As debian “squeeze” is released, we can now work with the repository as usual again. So updates of all packages will be possible. First package is polyglot from Fabien Letouzey and Michel Van den Bergh.

  • Reduce movetime in the implementation of the fixed time per move command, to taccount for differences in the wording of the protocols.
  • Give ponder move as hint.
  • Support for egtpath gaviota
  • StringSize was not everywhere the same in Polyglot. This could lead to a buffer overflow in case of very long PV’s.

Some news for the packaging. I use the new Quilt 3.0 source-format because it works wit the already present debian directory.

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debian 6.0 “Squeeze” released

After 24 months of constant development, the Debian Project is proud to present its new stable version 6.0 (code name “Squeeze”). Debian 6.0 is a free operating system, coming for the first time in two flavours. Alongside Debian GNU/Linux, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is introduced with this version as a “technology preview”.


Debian 6.0 includes the KDE Plasma Desktop and Applications, the GNOME, Xfce, and LXDE desktop environments as well as all kinds of server applications. It also features compatibility with the FHS v2.3 and software developed for version 3.2 of the LSB.

This release includes numerous updated software packages, such as:

* KDE Plasma Workspaces and KDE Applications 4.4.5
* an updated version of the GNOME desktop environment 2.30
* the Xfce 4.6 desktop environment
* LXDE 0.5.0
* X.Org 7.5
* 3.2.1
* GIMP 2.6.11
* Iceweasel 3.5.16 (an unbranded version of Mozilla Firefox)
* Icedove 3.0.11 (an unbranded version of Mozilla Thunderbird)
* PostgreSQL 8.4.6
* MySQL 5.1.49
* GNU Compiler Collection 4.4.5
* Linux 2.6.32
* Apache 2.2.16
* Samba 3.5.6
* Python 2.6.6, 2.5.5 and 3.1.3
* Perl 5.10.1
* PHP 5.3.3
* Asterisk
* Nagios 3.2.3
* Xen Hypervisor 4.0.1 (dom0 as well as domU support)
* OpenJDK 6b18
* Tomcat 6.0.18
* more than 29,000 other ready-to-use software packages, built from nearly 15,000 source packages.

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Update: Stockfish 2.0.1 is out and available as debian package

As I saw the new version: First thing to do was update the package. Due to my trouble compiling the binary architecture dependent I have uploaded to debian “experimental” first. It makes no sense to upload to debian “unstable”, because of the deep freeze phase of debian.

Here is a quote from the stockfish team:

“So almost 700 lines of code removed for this release.

Actually we didn’t plan to release now, but it happens that our test framework will be down for a couple of weeks due to new year holidays and so, instead of just waiting two weeks, we thought it could be more useful to release.

The release number 2.0 is to be intended as the new year release not as a much improved version from 1.9.1: we expect some ELO gain but nothing earth shattering.”

The debian packages do build in 12 architectures and I will have to push the buildd maintainer to enable building on all 14. AMD64 and i386 builds are with profiling and optimization.

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New year new force

I am sorry: Because I was involved in so much professional trouble, that my linuxchess blogging stopped since October. I will do better now. I promise. The first I did, was to update my debian packages and to provide the software. The next thing is to start talking about the things i got to know again…

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