Setting an engine with the Winboard - please help

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Setting an engine with the Winboard - please help

Postby Valen007 » 27 Feb 2016, 16:37

Hi all,

I am new with the Winboard. I was trying to follow FAQs how to install an engine with the WinBoard, by using winboard.ini file. I was trying to add several lines

Code: Select all
GNUChess
"GNUChes5 xboard"
"fire4" /fd="c:\fire4"


into the section firstChessProgramNames, so the overall section looks like

Code: Select all
/firstChessProgramNames={
GNUChess
"GNUChes5 xboard"
"fire4" /fd="c:\fire4"
"Fairy-Max 4.8" -fcp fmax -fd "..\Fairy-Max" /firstXBook
"Fruit 2.1" -fcp fruit_21 -fd "../Fruit" /fUCI
"Fruit 2.1" -fcp "polyglot _PG/fruit.ini"
"Pulsar2009-9b 2" -fd "..\Pulsar" /variant=atomic
"ShaMax" -fd "..\Fairy-Max" /variant=shatranj
"MaxQi 22" -fd "..\Fairy-Max" /variant=xiangqi
"HaQiKi D" -fcp haqikid -fd "..\HaQi" /firstXBook /variant=xiangqi
"Elephant Eye" -fcp "eleeye.exe" -fd "..\EleEye" /fUCCI /variant=xiangqi
"Cyclone 2009" -fcp "UCI2WB cyclone.exe ..\Cyclone" /variant=xiangqi
"Shokdoki" -fcp "sdk09s" /fd="..\Shokidoki" /variant=shogi
"Laramie V3" -fcp "UCI2WB -s LaramieV3.exe ..\LaramieV3" /variant=shogi
}


I got c://fire4/fire4.exe file with Fire engine. However I get an error message when I try to select the line inside the dialog, that says "Startup failure on fmax.The system cannot find the file specified". What should I be doing?

Thanks in advance,
Valen
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Re: Setting an engine with the Winboard - please help

Postby H.G.Muller » 27 Feb 2016, 20:13

I am not completely sure what you are doing. You start winboard.exe, and then select fire4 in the combobox for the first engine, and press 'OK'? And you then immediately get this error message? This should not really be possible, you should only get an error message about fmax.exe when you selected Fairy-Max as first engine, and Fairy-Max would not be installed. The second engine would not be needed unless you select 'Two Machines' from the Mode menu, so it would not produce an immediate error message when you select something there that is not present on your computer.

The standard install of WinBoard would also contain Fairy-Max, which makes it double strange that the system would not be able to find the specified file.

Note that the recommended way to install engines is through the 'Load first/second engine' dialog, not by editing any winboard.ini file. Although I have never seen this before it is a theoretical possibility that the linefeed after the 'fire4' line in /firstChessProgramNames is somehow not recognized as a proper linefeed, so that the line joins with the line just behind it, which happens to be the Fairy-Max line.
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Re: Setting an engine with the Winboard - please help

Postby Valen007 » 28 Feb 2016, 15:30

H.G.Muller wrote:I am not completely sure what you are doing. You start winboard.exe, and then select fire4 in the combobox for the first engine, and press 'OK'? And you then immediately get this error message? This should not really be possible, you should only get an error message about fmax.exe when you selected Fairy-Max as first engine, and Fairy-Max would not be installed. The second engine would not be needed unless you select 'Two Machines' from the Mode menu, so it would not produce an immediate error message when you select something there that is not present on your computer.

The standard install of WinBoard would also contain Fairy-Max, which makes it double strange that the system would not be able to find the specified file.

Note that the recommended way to install engines is through the 'Load first/second engine' dialog, not by editing any winboard.ini file. Although I have never seen this before it is a theoretical possibility that the linefeed after the 'fire4' line in /firstChessProgramNames is somehow not recognized as a proper linefeed, so that the line joins with the line just behind it, which happens to be the Fairy-Max line.


I select the first line with Fire that appeared in the dialog and click OK. Then there appears a board and an error message pops up.
In the start dialog window there is no Browse option , so I cannot locate an engine manually. I use Windows 7.
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Re: Setting an engine with the Winboard - please help

Postby H.G.Muller » 28 Feb 2016, 15:42

What happens if you select "Just view or edit game files" from the startup dialog, and then browse to fire4 in the "Load first engine" menu dialog?
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Re: Setting an engine with the Winboard - please help

Postby Valen007 » 28 Feb 2016, 16:48

H.G.Muller wrote:What happens if you select "Just view or edit game files" from the startup dialog, and then browse to fire4 in the "Load first engine" menu dialog?


I tried it this way, with fire_4_32, fire_4_64, and Rybka (outside engines). In all cases it didn't really work out, in analysis mode there was just an empty window, with no engine output. However fruit that is pre-packaged works fine.


Added: I missed checking "UCI" box, with the UCI box checked the analysis mode works out fine.
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Re: Setting an engine with the Winboard - please help

Postby H.G.Muller » 29 Feb 2016, 09:38

Indeed, it is essential that WinBoard is told the engineis UCI. In the fire4 line you added to the ini file this should have been done by addin the option /fUCI at the end of the line, like in the Fruit line.

But that doesn't explain why it tried to start fmax.exe, and complained that it was not possible. There was no "fmax" at all on the line you selected in the Startup dialog. While fmax.exe must have been present on your computer in the folder ../Fairy-Max, so even if it would have tried to start the wrong engine it should not have resulted in an error popup, but just in the wrong engine being started.

I hope that installing the engines through the Load Engine dialog solves your problem, now that you found the UCI checkbox. The engines you load this way will be added to the engine list in the ini file. When you select those through the combobox in the Startup Dialog, does this now work without problems?

Note that you can edit the engine list through the Edit Engine List menu item in WinBoard's Engine menu. You could use this to delete engines that do not work (e.g. because you forgot to tick th UCI checkbox when you installed them).
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Re: Setting an engine with the Winboard - please help

Postby Valen007 » 29 Feb 2016, 13:13

H.G.Muller wrote:Indeed, it is essential that WinBoard is told the engineis UCI. In the fire4 line you added to the ini file this should have been done by addin the option /fUCI at the end of the line, like in the Fruit line.

But that doesn't explain why it tried to start fmax.exe, and complained that it was not possible. There was no "fmax" at all on the line you selected in the Startup dialog. While fmax.exe must have been present on your computer in the folder ../Fairy-Max, so even if it would have tried to start the wrong engine it should not have resulted in an error popup, but just in the wrong engine being started.

I hope that installing the engines through the Load Engine dialog solves your problem, now that you found the UCI checkbox. The engines you load this way will be added to the engine list in the ini file. When you select those through the combobox in the Startup Dialog, does this now work without problems?

Note that you can edit the engine list through the Edit Engine List menu item in WinBoard's Engine menu. You could use this to delete engines that do not work (e.g. because you forgot to tick th UCI checkbox when you installed them).


The first line in the dialog in Specify the first engine is ""Fire_4_x64.exe" -fcp fmax -fd "..\fire4" /firstXBook", which includes fmax.
When I edited winboard.ini for the first times, I believe I inserted this line. Strangely enough, now when the winboard.ini is different with different contents, its real first line is not displayed in the dialog. Instead, the old line with fmax is still displayed.

And on different note, selecting "Just view and edit game files" and running an engine with Analysis mode works out a bit strange: the position is analysed with engine output displayed, but I cannot enter the moves. If I enter the moves, the analysis stops.

When I select different engines through combobox with startup dialog it works well, with the exception that I cannot figure out how some things work, like the analysis mode .
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Re: Setting an engine with the Winboard - please help

Postby H.G.Muller » 29 Feb 2016, 16:47

Valen007 wrote:The first line in the dialog in Specify the first engine is ""Fire_4_x64.exe" -fcp fmax -fd "..\fire4" /firstXBook", which includes fmax.

Yes, that of course trivially explains everything. With -fcp (first Chess program) you ask WinBoard here to run a file fmax(.exe) in the folder ../fire4, and of course there was not such a file in that place, and WinBoard will tell you that. But this line was not in the lines you posted.

When I edited winboard.ini for the first times, I believe I inserted this line. Strangely enough, now when the winboard.ini is different with different contents, its real first line is not displayed in the dialog. Instead, the old line with fmax is still displayed.

Then you are probably looking in the wrong winboard.ini file. What do the first few lines of this file say?

The lesson is that unless you are a super-expert/hacker, NEVER TOUCH INI FILES. It is asking for trouble.

And on different note, selecting "Just view and edit game files" and running an engine with Analysis mode works out a bit strange: the position is analysed with engine output displayed, but I cannot enter the moves. If I enter the moves, the analysis stops.

With "Just view and edit games" there would be no engine at all, and Analysis in the Mode menu is greyed out so that you could never select it. Do you select an engine through the Load First/Second Engine dialog? If so, which one? And how do you enter the moves?

When I select different engines through combobox with startup dialog it works well, with the exception that I cannot figure out how some things work, like the analysis mode .

There should not be any difference between selecting engines through the Startup Dialog and through the Load Engine dialog, if the engine was already in the firstChessProgramNames list. The only difference is that with the latter dialog you can append it to the list if it was not already there, something the Startup Dialog won't do. But once the engine gets loaded everything should work exactly the same. You start Analyse mode though the Mode -> Analysis menu item (accelerator key Ctrl-A), and you sould then be able to move the pieces, and the engine output should respond. With the '<' button above the board you can take back moves.
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Re: Setting an engine with the Winboard - please help

Postby Valen007 » 02 Mar 2016, 19:08

H.G.Muller wrote:
Valen007 wrote:The first line in the dialog in Specify the first engine is ""Fire_4_x64.exe" -fcp fmax -fd "..\fire4" /firstXBook", which includes fmax.

Yes, that of course trivially explains everything. With -fcp (first Chess program) you ask WinBoard here to run a file fmax(.exe) in the folder ../fire4, and of course there was not such a file in that place, and WinBoard will tell you that. But this line was not in the lines you posted.

When I edited winboard.ini for the first times, I believe I inserted this line. Strangely enough, now when the winboard.ini is different with different contents, its real first line is not displayed in the dialog. Instead, the old line with fmax is still displayed.

Then you are probably looking in the wrong winboard.ini file. What do the first few lines of this file say?

The lesson is that unless you are a super-expert/hacker, NEVER TOUCH INI FILES. It is asking for trouble.

And on different note, selecting "Just view and edit game files" and running an engine with Analysis mode works out a bit strange: the position is analysed with engine output displayed, but I cannot enter the moves. If I enter the moves, the analysis stops.

With "Just view and edit games" there would be no engine at all, and Analysis in the Mode menu is greyed out so that you could never select it. Do you select an engine through the Load First/Second Engine dialog? If so, which one? And how do you enter the moves?

When I select different engines through combobox with startup dialog it works well, with the exception that I cannot figure out how some things work, like the analysis mode .

There should not be any difference between selecting engines through the Startup Dialog and through the Load Engine dialog, if the engine was already in the firstChessProgramNames list. The only difference is that with the latter dialog you can append it to the list if it was not already there, something the Startup Dialog won't do. But once the engine gets loaded everything should work exactly the same. You start Analyse mode though the Mode -> Analysis menu item (accelerator key Ctrl-A), and you sould then be able to move the pieces, and the engine output should respond. With the '<' button above the board you can take back moves.


I edit the file in the directory \WinBoard-4.8.0\WinBoard .
Yes in the Just edit and review mode I loaded through "Load the first engine". Then Analysis mode stopped being grayed out.Now it seems to work out though.
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Re: Setting an engine with the Winboard - please help

Postby H.G.Muller » 03 Mar 2016, 09:32

The 'Analysis mode' menu item gets grayed out when you start WinBoard without engine ('Just view or edit games'), or when loading an engine with the aid of the Load Engine dialog is not succesful (because WinBoard then switches to game viewer mode). So I suspect there must have been something wrong with the specification of the engine in the engine list, that prevented it to load properly after you selected it.

Note that the Load Engine dialog is not terribly clever, and if you have two engines with the same nickname in the listbox, it will use the first and ignore any later occurrence, even if you click on the second. (It just searches through the list until it finds an engine with that name. This because the line number in the listbox does not need to correspond to the line number in the engine list, because engine groups (delimited by "# GROUPNAME" and "# end" lines) might have been collapsed in the listbox to a single line with the group name.) So if you accidentally installed an engine wrong (e.g. forgetting to tick the UCI checkbox) using the Load Engine dialog to install it again (without explicitly defining a different nickname for it) correctly would not help, as newly installed engines are added at the end of the list. So it would continue to use the defective one, unless you would delete the faulty line (by using the Edit Engine List menu item).
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Re: Setting an engine with the Winboard - please help

Postby Valen007 » 03 Mar 2016, 10:35

H.G.Muller wrote:The 'Analysis mode' menu item gets grayed out when you start WinBoard without engine ('Just view or edit games'), or when loading an engine with the aid of the Load Engine dialog is not succesful (because WinBoard then switches to game viewer mode). So I suspect there must have been something wrong with the specification of the engine in the engine list, that prevented it to load properly after you selected it.

Note that the Load Engine dialog is not terribly clever, and if you have two engines with the same nickname in the listbox, it will use the first and ignore any later occurrence, even if you click on the second. (It just searches through the list until it finds an engine with that name. This because the line number in the listbox does not need to correspond to the line number in the engine list, because engine groups (delimited by "# GROUPNAME" and "# end" lines) might have been collapsed in the listbox to a single line with the group name.) So if you accidentally installed an engine wrong (e.g. forgetting to tick the UCI checkbox) using the Load Engine dialog to install it again (without explicitly defining a different nickname for it) correctly would not help, as newly installed engines are added at the end of the list. So it would continue to use the defective one, unless you would delete the faulty line (by using the Edit Engine List menu item).


Thank you for the tips,
Valentin
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