Linux for Chess Part 3 - Installing chess software in Debian 11


Welcome to the next and final part of the course on Debian and computer chess.

In the previous two parts, we learned how to obtain and install the Debian system from scratch, and we learned methods for customizing and preparing this system for use with chess software.


This the third part is related to the article: Tools in a chess player's workshop - Linux - there I present the best free software for various chess purposes.


Now, I will show you how to install these interesting programs designed to run on Linux.

Additionally, we will acquire and prepare for use a chess database of over 5 million games !


Like the first two parts of this course, this part is designed more for beginners. All information will be presented in enough detail that anyone who has acquired knowledge from the previous parts of this course will be able to install the programs presented.



Without further ado, let's get started !



1. Lucas Chess - Training /Practice


Go to the Lucas chess program download page: https://lucaschess.pythonanywhere.com/downloads


Download the installer marked with a red border.


You will be taken to the SOURCEFORGE page and after a few seconds the download will start.


Select Save File and click OK.


Good. The Lucas Chess program installer has been downloaded.


Open the Terminal program.


Let's go to the Downloads directory.

Type in Terminal:

cd

For your reminder, press the Enter key at the end of each command.


Now type:

cd Downloads

(Enter)


And type:

ls

You should see the downloaded installer.


Let's run the installer.

Type:

sh LucasChessR2_01c_LINUX.sh


The installer will start working.


Then a window will appear where we can choose whether to install Lucas Chess or run it without installation.

Our goal is to install, so click on Install.


After a while, the program will be installed and a window with a message will be shown.


When you click Close, the Lucas Chess program will automatically start.


Excellent :)

Now you can use Lucas Chess !



1.1 Lucas Chess - Launch & Shortcut to the program.


Lucas Chess can be started as standard, via Show Applications.

After typing the first letters of the name, the program icon should show up.


Clicking the left mouse button will launch Lucas Chess.


Instead, if you right-click on the Lucas Chess program icon, then an additional menu will appear where you can, for example, add a shortcut to this program to the Activities bar.




When you click on the Activities bar, a shortcut to the Lucas Chess program will appear.

Of course, you can change the position of the shortcut to your preference by left-clicking and dragging it to the desired location on the Activities bar.

In this way, you can add and remove from the Activities menu other shortcuts to programs that, for example, you don't use very often.



2. PyChess - PlayChess Offline & Online


Open the Software program.


Type PyChess in the search engine.

PyChess should appear in the search result.

Click on it; you will be taken to a window containing a description of the PyChess program.


From this window, you can install PyChes by clicking on the Install button.


Confirm the installation by entering your account password. When finished, press the Enter key or click Authenticate.


Installation will take a while.


After the installation is complete, you will be able to start the program immediately from within Software by clicking on the Launch button.


Congratulations!

You have installed one of the most interesting chess programs for Linux :)


At the time of creating this part of the course, PyChess available through Software is in the stable version number 1.0.0. And this stable version I recommend to use.


However, if you are interested in using even newer versions, keep a close eye on the PyChess program messages right after you start it.


To install the latest version of PyChess, go to: https://github.com/pychess/pychess/releases


And download the latest installer with the .deb extension

In this case, the latest one is: python3-pychess_1.0.3-1_all.deb


Before installing the latest PyChess, I suggest you remove the currently installed version of this program.

To install PyChess downloaded in .deb format, we will use the GDebi program that we previously installed in Debian 11 (for details, see Part 2 of this course called: Linux for Chess Part 2 - Debian 11 customization).


When it starts, click File - Open...


Point to the downloaded installer, which should be in the Download directory. Then click Open.


Now, when you click on the Install Package button.

PyChess will be installed.


If a window appears asking you to authenticate this installation, then enter your account password and press Enter.


We can watch the installation progress of the latest version of PyChess.


Installation completed.


You have installed the latest version of PyChess.


In the same way as with Lucas Chess, we can add a PyChess shortcut icon to the Activities bar.

After removing unnecessary shortcuts and installing the two chess programs described above, my Activities bar looks like this:



3. Scid s. PC - Chess Games Annotations / Database / Analyzes


As in the case of PyChess, just with a few clicks we can install Scid vs. PC via Software.

Also in this case we do not have the newest version of this program, but a high version number: 4.21.


On the day I created this part of the course, the latest Scid vs. PC is version 4.23. To install it, you have to download the source code of this program and compile it. I invite you to check out my article detailing how to do this.

If you are interested in Scid vs. PC version 4.22, you can download this version as an installer with .DEB extension here. Install using the GDebi program.


In my opinion, the difference between version 4.21 and 4.23 is not big. If you want to avoid compiling this program, it is a good idea to install it through Software.


Open the Software program and in the search area type: scid


Install in the same way as the previously mentioned PyChess program - click Install and continue the process.


This is what Scid vs. PC 4.21 looks like after its first run.


How to use Scid vs. PC effectively, I described in free courses I published on my website. First part of the course about Scid vs. PC is available here: Scid vs. PC - Efficient work with a chess database

Although the appearance of Scid vs. PC is not modern, don't let it confuse you.


Scid vs. PC is the most powerful free program in the class of chess programs supporting chess databases.


In many applications it is not inferior to its commercial counterparts such as Chess Assistant and ChessBase.



3.1. Scid - Chess Games Annotations / Database / Analyzes


When writing about Scid vs. PC, one cannot forget about the Scid program.

The similar name of both programs is not accidental. Scid is a program - the "older brother" of Scid vs. PC.


More or less since 2009 Scid vs. PC has gone its own way introducing new features.

Scid is also develop and mainly focused on working with large chess databases and using chess engines.


Undoubtedly, Scid is a very good program, if you don't care about additional features and you value stability, give Scid a chance and install it.


If you would like to use the latest version of Scid, please go to this page. From there, you can download the source code or the installer in DEB format (ready to install with GDebi).


If you are more interested in working with the most stable version of Scid, then you can download it via Synaptic Package Manager.


a)

Open Synaptic Package Manager

If a window appears requiring authentication, type the password for your account and press Enter.


b)

Type Scid in the search engine.


c)

Now click on the square next to the scid name to mark this program for installation.

A window will appear asking whether to install the add-ons and required packages. Confirm by clicking on the Mark button.


d)

You can mark other components for installation that you will use while working with Scid. I additionally chose data useful for working with databases and Stockfish chess engine.


e)

When you have selected everything you need, click Apply.


f)

Before you start installing Scid and components, you can browse the list of packages after expanding To be installed or click Apply.


g)

The files will be downloaded...


...And installed.


h)

When finished, the installed Scid and the added packages will be highlighted with green squares in the Synaptic Package Manager window.