I just downloaded Stockfish, input a couple games, and saved them. They look like generic documents when I save and try to open. I just used the default Save function in Stockfish. Finder tells me they are .pgn documents. The problem is when I try to open I get this message:

The document “example” could not be opened. Stockfish cannot open files of this type.

So what are the steps to save a game so that it can be opened later? (This question is so basic that I couldn't find any forum help on it so I guess I'm the only one dumb enough.)

  • Is there a particular GUI you're using with Stockfish?
    – ETD
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 21:22
  • David, I'm using the latest Stockfish version from the Mac App Store (@ETD this comes with its own UI) and save/open works exactly as I'd expect it to: Menu 'Save' saves a PGN and Menu 'Open' successfully opens one. I'm on OS X Yosemite btw. Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 23:30
  • I have OS X 10.9.5. I downloaded from here: stockfishchess.org/download But maybe I only got the "engine binary" and need to download the whole app. I'll try again. Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 2:56
  • I double checked and made sure it's the normal app... I also downloaded a random .pgn file and cannot open it with Stockfish. Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 3:03
  • I have the exact same issue. HELP
    – user7267
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 15:57

3 Answers 3


I don't own a Mac, so I can't test these myself (and the solutions' efficacy might vary with software/firmware), but here are some solutions that have worked for others:

Per ref. 1:

  • Note: Invalid moves in the PGN file seem to prevent the file's opening.

  • At the end of every line in the PGN file, add a space. Then they should open with the current version of Stockfish for Mac.

  • Open the PGN files with a text editor and convert the line endings to CRLF (Windows line endings). Then they should open with the current version of Stockfish for Mac.
  • Compile and run the latest Stockfish for Mac development version from GitHub. This has the fix.

Per ref. 2:

  • If you're playing a chess variant, then add a FEN tag to the PGN file (if there isn't one there already).

FEN tag example:

OTHER TAGS GO HERE [FEN "brkbqnrn/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/BRKBQNRN w KQkq"] [SetUp "1"]



  1. http://support.stockfishchess.org/discussions/problems/3362-pgn-files-not-opening-stockfish-for-mac
  2. https://www.reddit.com/r/chess/comments/2w9zgf/how_do_i_use_stockfish_with_chess960/

I am on El Capitan. I was previously using the following app on Yosemite and it also worked their.

Assuming that your chess files aren't corrupted in some way, go to the App store on Mac and search Stockfish. Download that application and try using it.

This is a gui version so you don't have to worry about any binary files or using the command line.

If there is any question as to whether or not the site download is working, this app will answer that question.

EDIT August 25, 2016: I just tried opening a lichess game in stockfish and it was giving me a

"Stockfish could not parse the move text. Edit your PGN file and try again."

error. I think this issue is coming from lichess pgn generation (if you are using lichess). I tried opening a game from chessgames and it worked properly.


I'm having the same issue and I know why it happens. When I have a game with comments/annotations after any of the moves that are within the annotation tags (as viewed in a text editor) like "1.e4 {this is normal} e5, then if I add a variation in the app such as "1. e4 this is normal 1...e5 (1... d5!?)" and then hit save, then stockfish app has saved the file in a way that removes the {} from my comment, so that it is no longer readable as a pgn file.

I've been using a text editor to correct this by adding my {}'s back in when necessary, but I agree this situation is not ideal.

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