Commentary by Wes

Ramblings about programming, chess, languages, etc.

Analyzing chess games with Scid and Stockfish in Linux

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Much of these instructions probably apply to Windows as well, but I’m writing this from a Linux perspective for now. I may do another guide for Windows.

First, let me explain why I chose Stockfish over other engines. I have been using Crafty for analysis, but I recently decided to look at the market a bit to see if there were better options. In particular, I noticed on some game analyses that there were several “top move” options proposed (I’ve since learned this is a feature of the UCI standard), which is not something Crafty does. I wasn’t quite ready to jump into buying Rybka, so I held a tournament between Crafty and Stockfish. Stockfish won by several games, in both long and short games, but especially long games. I was surprised, honestly. Anyway, Stockfish seems like a strong choice for analysis, so here I am.

  • Download Stockfish and unzip it
  • Set the linux executables to be runnable:
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chmod 700 stockfish-211-ja/Linux/*
  • Download Scid
  • In Fedora 15, I needed to install tk, tk-devel, and tcl-devel (as well as gcc and gcc-c++) to compile Scid
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yum install tk tk-devel tcl-devel gcc gcc-c++
  • After that run ./configure and make for Scid
  • Run Scid (or add it to a menu): ./scid &
  • Go to Tools->Analysis Engine and click New
  • Fill out Stockfish for Name, the path to the linux stockfish executable for Command, and hit OK.
  • Select Tools->Analysis Engine again and select Stockfish.
  • An analysis window should appear on the right. You can select the number of top moves you want to see with the number spinner below that probably has 1 as default. I usually like to look at the top 5 moves. This setup is perfect for my little $300 Dell Mini 10v, which runs on battery for several hours. It’s not a strong chess computer (being 32 bit doesn’t help), but it’s definitely strong enough for quick after-game analysis at tournaments.

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