The recent-engine menu change was announced on this forum, on http://rybkaforum.net/cgi-bin/rybkaforum/topic_show.pl?tid=24206 , including a screenshot of the feature. I am sorry if you missed it, but I don't know how I could make it more explicit than that...
> I am very curious. I am sure there are users out there that have both Winboard and another GUI. Aside from the obvious price difference, what are the advantages of Winboard over your other favorite GUI?
I do not have any other favorite GUI.
Xboard/Winboard run in both OS I have access to, it is lightweight and powerful, and it has the most active maintenance of them all. When it comes to engine-engine matches, only cutechess-cli could replace xboard (when I want things run in batch in the background). Short lag, ICS access... best support of the planet (a whole forum is dedicated to it).
> And what do you use Winboard for? I guess this is the question that the OP wants answered.
Engine-engine matches, anything related to FICS, ICC et al., go through pgn games. It is the electronic board in my desktop.
> Thanks. Yeah, for engine matches Shredder Classic suffices (even Ray, a CCRL tester uses it, I think)
For UCI engines, yes I use it for engine matches. Clean simple, fast, easy to use. Nothing better in my opinion for this purpose. I use ChessGUI as well as it has much finer control over adjudication, a weak point on Shredder.
If I want to use Winboard engines, or Winboard+ UCI, then I use ChessGUI. I don't believe in using adaptors, so that rules out Shredder+wb2UCI and also rules out Winboard+polyglot.
For chess960 I use ChessGUI. It is the only GUI that supports both chess960 FEN standards as well as WB and UCI natively
For online play, I use Winboard, and polyglot if necessary. I don't believe in adaptors but no other choice here for online play. I don't know how to use it for anything else like engine matches, but could only do so for WB engines anyway which is too restrictive. Most engines I use are UCI.
> I don't believe in using adaptors, so that rules out Shredder+wb2UCI and also rules out Winboard+polyglot.
Is this for subjective or objective reasons? Have you tested an engine without adapter against itself with one to see if there's a measurable difference in their performances?
> Is this for subjective or objective reasons? Have you tested an engine without adapter against itself with one to see if there's a measurable difference in their performances?
No, in principle I just don't like the idea.
> Have you tested an engine without adapter against itself with one to see if there's a measurable difference in their performances?
Actually I did, after developing special tools for testing this (engines that report timing with sub-msec precision) and made them available to the general public. (See http://rybkaforum.net/cgi-bin/rybkaforum/topic_show.pl?tid=24367 , also for more test results.)
cutechess-cli + WB (Windows): 0.95ms / 3.1ms (delay / additional CPU time used)
cutechess-cli + UCI (Windows): 1.45ms / 3.1ms
WinBoard + WB: 1.5ms / 4ms
WinBoard + UCI2WB + UCI: 2.1ms / 4.1ms
The conclusion was that running UCI engines with WB + UCI2WB is a tiny bit slower than running WB engines natively, for sure. But that tools like cutechess-cli, which supports both protocols natively, show a very similar slowdown of UCI compared to WB engines. So it seems that it is mostly the intrinsic inefficiency of UCI (verbosity, statelessness) which causes most of the slowdown, and not the use of an adapter.
Considering the many advantages the current design has, and the virtual absence of any detrimental effects on timing, I don't have any plans to change the current design. Supporting just one (efficient) protocol, and all other protocols (UCI, UCCI, USI, TCMI) through adapters avoids bloating the GUI, allows the user to pick his adapter independently of the GUI (e.g. for UCI he could use UCI2WB or Polyglot). And in applications where communication delays really count, such as playing an engine over a network, the advantage of using the efficient protocol can become really important. With the current setup you can run Polyglot + UCI engine on another machine (which does not need any graphics support), and let the GUI communicate with it in the more compact WB protocol. When supporting UCI natively, you would not have that option.
So I guess Ray is out of luck: I would always go for the technically superior solution rather than for an unfounded user preference, even if it is the preference of an important user.
> So I guess Ray is out of luck: I would always go for the technically superior solution rather than for an unfounded user preference, even if it is the preference of an important user.
I wasn't suggesting that you implement native UCI support, that is of course entirely up to your own preferences. If you did I probably would still not use it for engine matches, because I don't know how and I have lots of other options for GUIs where I do know how, and am too lazy to learn another. So Winboard and XBoard are just ICS for me, and infrequently at that.
But to take the opportunity for some shameless self-plugging: I think WinBoard does have a few features that are not found in many other GUIs, such as:
*) Concurrency, where several games of a single tourney are played simultaneously, on the same or on different computers.
*) Changing of the number of games played concurrently during a tourney to free CPU power when you need it.
*) Substitution of tourney participants without the need to even pause the tourney.
Are CPU resources equally distributed to each engine in the tourney?
Moreover, I create one shortcut to Winboard for each enginee and it allows me to load it up and start playing in seconds.
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