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For reasons I'd rather not get into, what chess programs work well on the console (ie. does not require X Windows)? Something with an ASCII visualization of the board would be incredibly helpful (I'm still a chess newbie).

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2 Answers 2

After installing GNU Chess run the command gnuchess from the terminal, it would look something like this:

~$ gnuchess
GNU Chess 5.07
Adjusting HashSize to 1024 slots
Transposition table:  Entries=1K Size=48K
Pawn hash table: Entries=0K Size=32K
White (1) : e4
1. e4

black  KQkq  e3
r n b q k b n r 
p p p p p p p p 
. . . . . . . . 
. . . . . . . . 
. . . . P . . . 
. . . . . . . . 
P P P P . P P P 
R N B Q K B N R 

Thinking...
Looking for opening book in book.dat...
Looking for opening book in /usr/share/games/gnuchess/book.dat...
Read opening book (/usr/share/games/gnuchess/book.dat)...
Loading book from /usr/share/games/gnuchess/book.dat.
40304 hash collisions...  Opening database: 265053 book positions. 
In this position, there are 11 book moves:
 Nc6(71/77/22/32)  Nf6(54/113/88/113)  a6(75/3/1/0)  b6(67/11/3/9) 
 c6(52/451/376/743)  d6(52/178/153/229)  e6(52/651/582/970)        g6(59/155/88/117) 
 c5(56/2535/1691/2912)  d5(54/47/38/35)  e5(54/2518/1938/3369)  

 c5(1322)  e5(1312)  e6(376)  c6(277)  d6(141)  g6(136)  Nf6(109)  Nc6(108) 
 a6(76)  d5(76)  b6(70)  


white  KQkq  c6
r n b q k b n r 
p p . p p p p p 
. . . . . . . . 
. . p . . . . . 
. . . . P . . . 
. . . . . . . . 
P P P P . P P P 
R N B Q K B N R 


My move is : c5
White (2) : 
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I guess you could output the moves over the board for better visualization, having lower case and upper case to keep track of might be difficult. –  Helio Dec 5 '12 at 20:25

What about GNU Chess? It has a plain terminal interface but supports visual interfaces such as XBoard.

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