1.1. Overview of Chess

Chess is a two-player strategy board game. GNOME Chess is a 2D/3D chess game, where games can be played between a combination of human and computer players. GNOME Chess detects known third party chess engines for computer players. The game was originally developed by Robert Ancell, now the game is included in gnome-games.

GNOME Chess is written in Python and uses GTK+ and Cairo to render the chess board. 3D support is optionally available using OpenGl, using the Python OpenGL and GtkGLExt libraries. As with most modern 3D programs hardware acceleration is recommended but it should run OK in software. GNOME Chess is bundled with GNU Chess as the default chess AI. GNOME Chess can be played in network mode against other players on the Internet.

Chess is played on a square chessboard, consisting of 64 squares of alternating colour. Each player begins the game with sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. One player controls the white pieces and the other player controls the black pieces; the player that controls white is the first to move. The players take turns moving pieces; certain moves involve a "capturing" of an opponent's piece, removing it from the chessboard. The object of the game is to checkmate the opponent's king. This occurs when the king is under immediate attack (in check) and there is no way to remove it from attack on the next move. Theoreticians have developed extensive chess strategies and tactics since the game's inception.

The current form of the game emerged in South Europe in the second half of the 15th century after evolving from similar, much older games of Asian origin. Chess is one of the world's most popular board games. The tradition of competitive chess began in the 16th century. The first official World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, claimed his title in 1886; his modern equivalent, Vladimir Kramnik, is the 14th Champion in the lineage. There are also biennial world team events called Chess Olympiads. Since the 20th century, two international organisations, the World Chess Federation and the International Correspondence Chess Federation have organised and overseen the top chess competitions and international titles.

One of the goals of early computer scientists was to create a chess-playing machine, and today's chess is deeply influenced by the overwhelming abilities of current chess programs. In 1997, a match between Garry Kasparov, then World Champion, and IBM's Deep Blue chess program proved that computers are able to beat even the strongest human players.

To run GNOME Chess, select Chess from the Games submenu of the Main Menu, or type gnome-chess on the command line.