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WinBoard Adapter for Zillions of Games

Page history last edited by Andreas Kaufmann 2 years, 4 months ago


The WinBoard adapter for Zillions allows to play against chess, crazyhouse and loop chess engines  using very nice Zillions-of-Games GUI. Crazyhouse is a chess variant, described here.  Loop chess is a variation of crazyhouse, where promoted pieces don't turn back into pawns when captured. To be used with Zillions and the adapter, a chess engine should support so-called "WinBoard protocol". There are more then 100 such chess engines and 2 crazyhouse engines freely available. Some of these engines play significantly better then Zillion's universal AI. I modified one crazyhouse engine (Sjeng) to make it play loop chess.


Below you can download the package, which includes adapter itself (EngineInterface.dll), preconfigured chess, crazyhouse and loop chess ZRF files, two strong chess engines (GNU Chess 5.06, Faile) and two crazyhouse engines (Sjeng, Sunsetter). Alternatively, you can download only the adapter itself, if you want to use other chess engines and want to configure everything yourself. I developed and tested the adapter with version 2.0 of Zillions. However it should work also with the older versions of Zillions.



  • The complete package: Package.zip (2.1 Mb) [recommended].
  • Only adapter (already included in the package above): EngineInterface.zip (61 Kb).
  • Source code for modified Sjeng (with support for loop chess): Sjeng.zip (184 Kb).



Here you see playing a game (crazyhouse) against Sunsetter. 




The package above contains free/GPL software created by other people. The ZRF file for crazyhouse is written by Fergus Duniho. GNU Chess 5 was created by Chua Kong Sian and Stuart Cracraft. The Faile chess engine by Adrien Regimbald. Sjeng is written by Gian-Carlo Pascutto. Sunsetter created by Georg v. Zimmermann based on work by Ben Dean-Kawamura.


How to configure other chess engines

Copy "Chess.zrf" to the directory, where the chess engine is installed. Ensure, that  ZRF file contains correct path to the WinBoard adapter, look at the line: (engine "..\Release\EngineInterface.dll"). Create the file "start.bat" in the same directory as ZRF file, the content of this file should be command line to invoke chess engine, e.g. for GNU Chess: gnuches5.exe xboard. If something doesn't work as expected or you get error messages, look at the file "interface.log", which located in the same directory as ZRF file. It contains the communication protocol between a chess engine and Zillions/WinBoard adapter.


Known limitations and problems

  • Strength and variety settings, made in Zillions GUI are ignored.
  • Playing from user-setup position is not supported. However if you create the desired position from the initial position by making correct moves, you can start playing from this position against the engine.
  • Some engines (e.g. GNU Chess) don't support "Move Now" functionality. Because of this, "Move Now" menu command in Zillions GUI will not work for these engines.




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