There's no problem with native Linux engines or with JAVA engines, only with Windows engines started using wine.

All Windows engines behave the same, both win32 and x64, both UCI and XB.

Windows engines seem to work fine in a terminal window.

> wine uci_engine.exe   
> go

info depth 2
info depth 2 score cp 12 time 8 nodes 96 nps 12288 pv b1c3  

They even work in a Windows GUI started using wine (e.g. wine Arena.exe).

But they don't work in any Linux GUI (CuteChess, Arena for Linux, XBoard).
Engines initialize OK (e.g. UCI options can be set etc.) but the main thread doesn't start calculating.

If this is a single thread UCI engine, the process starts sleeping instead of calculating after the go command.
If this is a multi thread engine, the main thread starts sleeping and the remaining threads start calculating.

Example output from the CuteChess engine debug window:

<rybka1(1): id name Rybka 1.2n 32-bit
<rybka1(1): id author Vasik Rajlich
<rybka1(1): option name Hash type spin min 2 max 4096 default 32
<rybka1(1): option name NalimovPath type string default <empty>
<rybka1(1): option name NalimovCache type spin min 1 max 256 default 1
<rybka1(1): option name NalimovUsage type combo default Normally var Frequently var Normally var Rarely
<rybka1(1): option name Preserve Analysis type check default false
<rybka1(1): option name Clear Hash type button
<rybka1(1): option name Ponder type check default true
<rybka1(1): option name MultiPV type spin default 1 min 1 max 100
<rybka1(1): option name UCI_ShowCurrLine type check default false
<rybka1(1): option name UCI_ShowRefutations type check default false
<rybka1(1): option name UCI_LimitStrength type check default false
<rybka1(1): option name UCI_Elo type spin default 1200 min 1200 max 2400 
<rybka1(1): option name Server Buffer type check default false
<rybka1(1): option name UCI_AnalyseMode type check default false
<rybka1(1): option name UCI_Opponent type string default <empty>
<rybka1(1): option name UCI_EngineAbout type string default www.rybkachess.com
<rybka1(1): option name Contempt type spin default 0 min -100 max 100
<rybka1(1): option name Outlook type combo default Neutral var Very Pessimistic var Slightly Pessimistic var Neutral var Slightly Optimistic var Very Optimistic var Ultra Optimistic
<rybka1(1): option name Rate Of Play type combo default Normal var Ultraslow var Slow var Normal var Fast var Ultrafast
<rybka1(1): option name Time Usage type combo default Varied var Constant var Varied
<rybka1(1): option name Emergency Time Buffer type combo default Medium var Small var Medium var Large
<rybka1(1): uciok
>rybka1(1): setoption name Contempt value 0
>rybka1(1): setoption name Emergency Time Buffer value Medium
>rybka1(1): setoption name Hash value 32
>rybka1(1): setoption name MultiPV value 1
>rybka1(1): setoption name NalimovCache value 1
>rybka1(1): setoption name NalimovPath value <empty>
>rybka1(1): setoption name NalimovUsage value Normally
>rybka1(1): setoption name Outlook value Neutral
>rybka1(1): setoption name Preserve Analysis value false
>rybka1(1): setoption name Rate Of Play value Normal
>rybka1(1): setoption name Server Buffer value false
>rybka1(1): setoption name Time Usage value Varied
>rybka1(1): setoption name UCI_Elo value 1200
>rybka1(1): setoption name UCI_LimitStrength value false
>rybka1(1): isready
<rybka1(1): info contempt set to 0 centipawns
<rybka1(1): info setting emergency time buffer to medium
<rybka1(1): info displaying 1 variations
<rybka1(1): info setting nalimov usage to normally
<rybka1(1): info setting outlook to neutral
<rybka1(1): info setting preserve analysis to false
<rybka1(1): info setting rate of play to normal
<rybka1(1): info Server Buffer set to false
<rybka1(1): info setting time usage style to varied
<rybka1(1): info UCI_Elo set to 1200
<rybka1(1): info UCI_LimitStrength set to false
<rybka1(1): readyok
>rybka1(1): ucinewgame
>rybka1(1): setoption name Ponder value false
>rybka1(1): setoption name UCI_Opponent value none none human adam
>rybka1(1): position startpos
>rybka1(1): isready
<rybka1(1): info UCI_Opponent set to none none human adam
<rybka1(1): readyok
>rybka1(1): go wtime 300000 btime 300000 movestogo 40

After the last command this single thread engine starts sleeping. It doesn't terminate but it does nothing.

I believe there is a bug somewhere but maybe somebody knows a workaround?
Tried wine 6 (stable) and 7 (devel).

The system in question is Linux Mint 21 (x64, Cinnamon) on i7-6700/32GB RAM.

  • The UCI protocol is all text so could it be something silly like different newlines? This is mentioned in the UCI protocol.
    – qwr
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 20:10
  • I've been thinking about that. But all the previous UCI (or XB) commands are accepted by the engine. Moreover, with a multi-thread engine, the last 'go ...' starts calculating on the remaining threads, only the main thread handling the communication starts sleeping instead of calculating. Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 20:17
  • Better ask this on StackOverflow. This question requires more computer skills than chess skills :)
    – Déjà vu
    Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 3:04
  • @Déjàvu but a significantly higher proportion of people here are familiar with using a chess engine.
    – qwr
    Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 3:57
  • 1
    @qwr To me it looks like a recurrent problem of wine / Linux / Windows program running problem, would it be a chess engine or a washing machine, which is better addressed in SO or superuser...
    – Déjà vu
    Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 5:02

1 Answer 1


After a week-long struggle I found a stupid albeit usable workaround that could be helpful for someone else.

Windows engines run on a Windows computer (in my case a Windows 10 virtual machine in VirtualBox on the same computer) and Linux GUI runs them remotely using ssh.

To setup that:

Install OpenSSH Server.
Set OpenSSH service to start automatically.
Copy desired Windows chess engines to that Windows computer, ideally to the home folder C:\Users\myUser.

Install sshpass using your package manager.
Connect (at least once) using normal interactive ssh (ssh -l myUser ...) to the Windows computer to accept ssh fingerprint (important!).
Create a shell script (e.g. myFavoriteEngine.sh) with content like this:

sshpass -p 'myWindowPassword' ssh [email protected] myFavoriteEngine.exe %1

Don't forget to flag the script as executable.
In a Linux GUI, add the engine using the script: sh myFavoriteChessEngine.sh and that's all.

It's not great setup for engine to engine tournaments (Virtual Box doesn't allow using hyper threading) but it allows having both Linux and Windows engines in the same Linux GUI.

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