For regular chess, I use SCID and it works well. It has database searches, position searches, player stats, and a nice compact file format (i.e. not PGN, which is inefficient and big).

Is there any similar software like the SCID software mentioned above, but for chess variants? I've tried Winboard/XBoard (it reads from PGN, so is slow and bulky, plus it has a slightly stunted search).

An example use case: I would like to organise/search/use a database of only antichess or only atomic games. I should be able to do all (or at least some) of the following:

  • Save/load the database to and from PGN
  • Save/load the database to and from a more compact format than raw text PGN (compare SCID .s*4 or ChessBase .cb* formats for regular chess)
  • Search for games by date/player/rating (or more generally by tag)
  • Play through the games in a GUI (or at least give me a PGN of individual game(s) I view)

Engine support is not a must.

  • 1
    Could you give us an example of what you consider to be a "nice compact file format"? Thanks!
    – Brandon_J
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 22:29
  • 1
    The SCID .si4/.sg4/.sn4 formats or the ChessBase .cbv (.cb*) formats are both much more compact than PGN, due to things like better compression of moves and normalisation of data. Even the homebrew compression I tried to write is a factor of 3 better than raw text PGN.
    – Remellion
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 1:51
  • Very nice; thank you! It might be a good idea to edit that information into the question.
    – Brandon_J
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 1:52
  • 2
    I am amazed by how many of the questions on every forum are actually about computers rather than the actual subject
    – David
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 13:40

1 Answer 1


I leave a partial answer for interested parties:

Scidb (Scidb is a Chess Information DataBase) is a chess information database. (Great sentence.)

It supports some variants (3-check, King of the Hill, Anti/Suicide/Giveaway/Losers, and Crazyhouse), as well as 960 starting. It is currently still in development, and is available only for Linux systems at the moment, requiring a build from source. (It might work on Windows with an appropriate environment configured.)

Unfortunately, it doesn't support the variant I'm interested the most in (Atomic) and is limited to Linux (I do run Linux, but would prefer not to grapple with it as mine runs from an external HDD).

Further answers would be appreciated.

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