One of the oldest skill games and a lesson in history, chess is famously played all over the world. It is a war fought over the board and every war requires strategy, the main playing component of chess. A game of intelligence and intellect, chess is played for no prize other than one’s honor. A defeat in chess, or becoming subject to a checkmate, is such a harrowing and mighty defeat. But even in defeat, there is irreplaceable excitement and learning!
Introduction to Chess
Chess is a two-player game played on a chessboard with six types of playing pieces; king, queen, rook, bishop, knight, and pawn. It is no wonder that the playing pieces of a chess game represent the different human roles in medieval kingdoms.
Every piece has its own set of moves. Generally played using white pieces for one player and black for the other, the main objective of chess is to capture the enemy’s king. If a piece can capture the enemy king in the next move, then the enemy is said to be in check. If the enemy has no way to move out of check, then it is certain that the enemy will be defeated in the next move – and this is called being in checkmate.
“Chess is the gymnasium of the mind.” – Blaise Pascal
Chess is beautifully complicated and understanding it requires skill. Skill is achieved through practice. And practicing chess has been known to sharpen one’s mind and increase intelligence.
Nowadays, you do not need to have a board game to play chess. Like most games, chess is also digitally available. There are many versions of chess that you can download for Ubuntu. Some are mentioned below.
Best Chess Games on Linux
Learning a game now is as easy as installing a program of only a few Mbs and directly getting started with it! Let us look at a few of the best chess games available for download on Linux systems.
Let’s start the list off with the chess client for Ubuntu which does everything! PyChess is free, open-source, and full-featured. We recommend this chess client to players who have experience with online chess servers and databases.
Visit the download page and use the following command to run PyChess:
PyChess, a full-fledged chess program which does everything that you can want in chess, is the pioneer chess application for Ubuntu. Let’s look at some of the features which PyChess offers:
- You can play online and offline
- You can play multiple games in different tabs simultaneously
- You can study the commonly played moves by chess players on the “Opening Book” tab
- You can chat with players in-game
- A “Comments” tab describes each move as it is played. There is also a score-keeper and a record of moves history
- Many online chess servers like FreeChess are supported
- Several chess engines are supported and you can play against them after choosing a difficulty level. You can also play against PyChess’s own chess engine, although it hasn’t matured as much yet
- The “hint” and “spy” features help you throughout the game by either suggesting a move or predicting the enemy’s move
- Many types of chess files can be saved and loaded
If you are a developer and would like to add something to this list of features then you’d be pleased to know that PyChess is open-source and written in Python.
Stockfish is another advanced chess engine which is critically acclaimed in the online chess world. Like PyChess, Stockfish is also open-source – another good news for the developers reading this! It started out as being one of the twenty best chess engines but in 2018 Stockfish successfully climbed that list to become the strongest chess engine in the world.
Stockfish rose in popularity after it competed with AlphaZero, an artificial intelligence program that taught itself to play chess. Although AlphaZero beat Stockfish in 2019, you can imagine the magnanimity of Stockfish by the fact that its chess engine searches for 70 million positions in chess.
Almost every modern chess GUI program supports playing against Stockfish. And choosing Stockfish as an opponent will no doubt be challenging but how does one further their knowledge without a good challenge? If you want to train in chess, the chess gurus recommend that you play against strong chess engines like Stockfish.
Download the Stockfish engine for Linux here:
Simply Chess is the go-to chess game if you are a beginner to online chess. It is simple to download. You can find it on Steam, the video game distributor available on Ubuntu as well as Mac and Windows. Simply Chess is free with a 4.99 USD premium upgrade.
As suggested by its name, it has straightforward features and is very easy to get the hang of. Here’s a list of what Simply Chess offers:
- You can play online and offline
- You can play against Stockfish, the world-renowned AI for chess! Simply Chess allows you to play 100 AI levels
- You can play on multiplayer mode using a turns mechanism on the same computer
- Simply Chess supports asynchronous mode meaning you can make your move when the enemy is offline
- There are two graphics modes – 2D and 3D
- It supports meaningful Achievements and Steam Stats
A game that anyone can play, beginner or expert, Simply Chess delivers on its core value of simplicity. Download the game on Steam to discover more features.
Remember the words of Simon Williams: “The beauty of chess is it can be whatever you want it to be. It transcends language, age, race, religion, politics, gender, and socioeconomic background. Whatever your circumstances, anyone can enjoy a good fight to the death over the chess board.”
If you are an avid chess player and you just started using Linux, there is no need for you to stop practicing the game. There are many multi-purpose chess apps available for download on Ubuntu. Never stop honing your skills!
And if you haven’t played chess before, then make good use of these Linux resources and programs and get started. Build your decision-making skills!