Tom's Live Chess Viewer

Tom's Live Chess Viewer is a utility for watching live computer vs computer chess tourneys being broadcast on the internet. The utility provides information on who is playing, time left on clocks, time control, scores, thinking output, nodes per second, and more, all in real time. The viewer also has a chat feature that will enable you to talk with other users who are watching the same match. Games you are watching are recorded in PGN format in real time so that you have a record of the game. Users can also get up to date results table information that will show who is winning the tournament and the results of the last round of games played. The Viewer can be opened multiple times to watch different games being broadcast from separate sites.

People who want to broadcast games on the internet will need to use the Tom's Live Chess Server utility. More information on the server utility can be found further down this page.

Main Window

Chat Window

The chat feature enables you to chat with other users who are also watching the same game. The chat window shows a list of users who is also watching the game. Users who wish to remain anonymous can do so by leaving the Alias field blank. The chat feature has an option that automatically 'pops up' the chat window when a message is received. This can be turned off from the main window by unchecking the 'Auto chat pop up' feature.

Results Table

The results window displays a table of chess engines participating in a tournament with their Rank, points, games played and the results of games they have played so far. The results table is calculated by the server each time a user requests this option. A second table is shown at the end containing a list of the most recent round of games played and the results of those games.

PGN Viewer

The viewer records the chess game in PGN format in real time while you are watching. Games from this window can be copied easily using the copy and paste method to your favourite chess utility. If you have connected to the server half way through a game then the PGN output will have a FEN string to indicate the starting position for the game.

Email Game

The e-mail feature allows you to choose completed games that have so far played in the tournament to be sent to your e-mail account. Games are listed with the most recent games first. When using the e-mail feature for the first time you must enter your e-mail address in the appropriate field, your e-mail address will be remembered the next time you use the e-mail feature. Place a tick beside each game you want sent to your e-mail account. When you have finished choosing all the games you want, you then click on the 'Send Email' button to send the request to the server. The server will acknowledge your request and the email will be sent to your e-mail account shortly afterwards. All games that you have selected are put into a single e-mail in PGN format.


Tom's Live Chess Viewer v2.1c - 1.02MB (Updated 25 February 2006)

msvbvm60.dll - Microsofts Visual BASIC library file, Only download this file if the viewer does not run at all.

Tom's Live Chess Server

Tom's Live Chess Server is a utility that enables you to broadcast computer chess games from Winboard or Arena on the Internet. Users with TLCV can connect to your server and watch the computer chess game in real time. The server works by reading debug file created by Winboard or Arena, and interpreting the Winboard protocol from the file. The server does not interfere with Winboard or Arena in any way, CPU usage is low and memory usage is low. The server monitors the debug file for new information and when new information is found the server interprets the data and transmits the new information to all connected viewers. The server can be run multiple times on the same machine with each server process broadcasting a different game. The server can also broadcast games which are running on a different machine, this can be achieved by using a local area network and file sharing.

Server Configuration

The server can be set up by editing the server.ini file. By editing the server.ini file you can specify which port the server will communicate on, the location of your winboard.debug file, your site information, the tournaments PGN file and customise speed and responsiveness of the server. The server communicates using the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), this maybe important information for those who need to configure their firewall, proxy server or router.


The 'path' parameter tells the server where the winboard.debug file is located. If the winboard.debug file is located on your local hard drive then you can specify the path as drive:\directory\winboard.debug. Alternatively if the winboard.debug file is located on a different computer you can specify a UNC path instead, \\Computer\share\directory\winboard.debug.

Here is an example of a path setting for a winboard.debug file that is located on a local drive...


Here is an example of a path setting for a winboard.debug file which is located on a separate computer on the local network...



Specify the port which UDP data will be sent and received. If you want to run more than one server on the same machine to broadcast more than one game then you must specify a different port number for each instance of the server you want to run. The best way to achieve this is to create a directory for each server you want to run and copy the server software in each of the directories you have created, then configure each server with a different port number. When choosing a port number please try to make it different to anybody else who is also broadcasting on the internet. This will enable people with the viewer to watch both games at the same time. There is a restriction where you cannot open the same port number on the same machine at the same time. This includes running the server and the viewer at the same time if they are using the same port. If the server and the viewer are using different port numbers then they can be run at the same time without any conflict.


This parameter provides information about your site. You can type anything you want here but typically the location of the server and hardware being used for the tournament is considered helpful by many users. The site information is displayed on the main window of the viewer when a user connects to the server. The site information is also used for the PGN output of the viewer.


This tells the server which PGN file to read to calculate the results table. The server will read the entire PGN file to calculate the results table, so you need to make sure that the PGN file does not contain thousands of games that you have stored. You should keep a separate file for each tournament that you run and point the server to the current tournament PGN file. You can change the TOURNEYPGN parameter at any time without having to stop and restart the server. The PGN file will be opened and calculations made each time a person using the viewer accesses the Results Table option. This maybe an issue if you have lots of users connected and the PGN file is large, this may impact on the amount of CPU used for the calculations which in turn may impact the performance of the chess engines running on the same machine. Usually this is not a issue but it is a good idea to be aware of this if you are concerned about chess engine performance. If the chess engines are not running on the same machine as the server then this should not be an issue. You can stop users from access the Results Table by leaving the TOURNEYPGN parameter blank, this will stop all calculations from taking place.

If you have enabled the e-mail feature of the server (see below), then games requested by users will be extracted from this PGN file.


This parameter affects the responsiveness of the server. The time is measured in milliseconds and this tells the server how long to wait between monitoring the winboard.debug file for change. The smaller the number the faster the server will respond but the more CPU it will consume.


This parameter tells the server how long to wait after making a move before making the next move. This affects the update speed people using the viewer see when moves are being made.


This parameter tells the server how long to pause after the game has ended. For those people who are using the Joris Winboard Tourney Manager, this delay is important because the server will close access to the winboard.debug file during the delay period which will enable the Joris WBTM to copy the debug file. If you are using the Joris WBTM, then I recomend you set the 'DELAYAFTERGAME' parameter to 10000 (10seconds), this will give enough time for the Joris WBTM to copy the debug file.


This is the mail server the Live Chess Server will use to send e-mails. The "MAILSERVER' parameter is typically your ISP's e-mail server, the same one you use for your standard e-mail software (eg. Outlook Express). The Live Chess Server uses an external program called 'gbmail.exe' to send e-mails. The server will keep a log of e-mails sent in the 'email.log' file so that you can track down any problems. E-mails are sent using the standard Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). If you do not want the server to send e-mails, then simply leave this parameter blank and the server will notify users when they request a game to be e-mailed to them.


This is simply the 'from' e-mail address that will be part of each e-mail sent by the server. Make sure you use a valid address otherwise e-mails sent by the server may never reach the intended recipient because spam filters may block e-mails with an invalid e-mail addresses.


Tom's Live Chess Server v1.72b - 60Kb (Updated 30th November 2008)

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