Winboard Network Adaptor

Winboard Network Adaptor is a small utility that enables communication accross a network between two Winboard processes. This means you can play chess engine vs chess engine or chess engine vs human or human vs human on seperate computers. It works by emulating a chess engine and relaying moves from Winboard via a network to the remote Winboard Network Adaptor process.

Diagram: Example of Crafty playing Ruffian.



How does it work?

Using the above diagram as an example. Crafty makes the first move by sending the command "move e4" to Winboard. Winboard then sends the command "e2e4" to Adaptor #1. Adaptor #1 recognises this is a move and relays the move via the network to Adaptor #2 by sending "move e2e4". Adaptor #2 receives the command and sends the command "move e2e4" to Winboard. Winboard in turn sends the command "e2e4" to Ruffian. Ruffian then responds to the move and the whole process is reversed.


How does it talk to the remote Winboard Network Adaptor?

It uses TCP/IP. First thing you will need to know before you start playing is the IP address of the computer you wish to communicate with. To help make things easier, the Network Adaptor can be run without Winboard simply by double clicking on it. This will put it into test mode and it will then attempt to establish communication with Network Adaptor running on the remote computer. The Winboard Network Adaptor will list all IP addresses assigned to your computer so you can pass this information to the remote user and/or vice versa. If you have more than one IP address then the Network Adaptor will display all of them. In the example diagram below you can see there are two IP addresses. The first one is for the local area network (LAN) and the second one is for the internet. Note: This could be different on your machine and it is up to you to know the difference.



Once you have found out what the IP address is for the remote computer, you then need to edit the 'winboard_adaptor.ini' file and edit the "remoteip" parameter and change it to the remote computers IP address. Once you have completed this step you can then run winboard_adaptor.exe in stand alone mode by double clicking on it. It will then attempt to establish connection to the remote computer. If connection is successful a message will be displayed informing you that it was successful and it will then display the time and date of the remote computer updated every second. Note: Only one user needs to have the correct IP address. Network Adaptor will automatically respond using the IP address of the remote computer that initiated contact. If this test works then Network Adaptor should not have any connection problems running as a Winboard chess engine.


How do I start a game between two chess engines?

I will assume you know what Winboard is and how to configure it, if not then please visit web site http://www.tim-mann.org/xboard.html

This example shows how to configure Winboard to play Crafty as white against Ruffian as black.

Step 1. Start winboard. (Local computer on left - Remote computer on the right)
Local computer: Crafty plays white, Network Adaptor plays black. Remote computer: Ruffian plays black, Network Adaptor plays white.


Step 2. Put first Winboard into "two machine" mode. The user who has the Network Adaptor playing white should put Winboard into "Two Machine" mode before the other user who has Network Adaptor playing black. We do it this way to aviod the problem where the chess engine playing white makes a move before the Network Adaptor on the other machine has been started. Click on menu "Mode" and select "Two Machines".

Step 3. Put second Winboard into "two machine" mode. The user who has Network Adaptor playing black should put Winboard into "Two Machine" mode. Once this has been done the chess engine playing white should immediately make a move and if everything has been configured correctly Network Adaptor should relay the move to the remote computer.

Note: Network adaptor will sound a chime when connection has been established with the remote machine.

Hint: Make sure local and remote Winabord programs are configured with the same time control. If they are different, Network Adaptor will notify you in a pop up window.

Download Winboard Network Adaptor - 20KB




Any questions, bugs to report or suggestions?
You can contact me on the following email address - Thomas McBurney