Terra Help and Information



bullet2GUIs for Terra

  GUI = Graphical User Interface

You probably want to use a graphical chess board and not just a text interface.

There are several GUI's that can be used.

In order ot connect to a GUI a chess engine needs a protocol that specifies how the communication between the GUI and the engine should be.

Most GUI's support either the Winboard or the Uci protocol  or both. Terra will work with both the WinBoard and Uci protocol.

Terra is mainly tested with Arena which supports both protocols.

Recommended GUI for Terra: Arena  but should work with Winboard  and other GUI's using the Uci or Winboard protocol.

bullet3This is goodInteresting  Arena

This is a free GUI for both the WinBoard and UCI protocols. Try it!   Get Arena here .

Arena is loaded with most features you can think of, comparable with commercial softwares.

It should be no problem to set up Terra for Arena as a WinBoard or UCI engine in Arena.

In the next release: Download a Terra+Arena package  ready to run!

bullet3WinBoard (XBoard)

  • This is goodInteresting  What is WinBoard (XBoard)
    WinBoard for windows (or the same program XBoard for UNIX) is a free great product from Tim Mann.

Terra is working fine with this product. Download the latest version ! Here you can also read the Winboard

protocol specication if desired.

WinBoard screen shot:

With this product you have a graphical user interface that can be used for:

    • Playing against chess programs
    • Playing chess programs against each other automatically.
    • Start the analyzing functions when viewing games or positions.
    • Playing on one of the chess servers, i.e. ICS (Internet Chess Server)
    • Let your chess programs play on one of the chess servers
    • View, load and save games in the PGN format
    • Loading and saving positions in the EPD-format
    • and more...

WinBoard has become so popular by chess programmers that the protocol used by WinBoard/XBoard to communicate with the chess program has been established as the de facto standard that almost every chess program is able to use. This protocol has been developed and is now protocol version 2. Terra is using the protocol version 2 as well.

Interested in the protocol? Read this!



  • How to set up Terra for WinBoard
    In order to play Terra with the WinBoard interface, you only have to open the winboard.ini file in the WinBoard directory and place two lines on the right places. In the end of the file you will find the sections starting with /firstChessProgram and /secondChessProgram. It look like this:



"Gerbil.exe " /fd=C:\programs\games\chess\Gerbil\

"arasanx -H4000 -t"   /fd=C:\programs\games\chess\arasan\




"Gerbil.exe " /fd=C:\programs\games\chess\Gerbil\

"arasanx -H4000 -t"   /sd=C:\programs\games\chess\arasan\


         put in the lines for terra:

Terra /fd=C:\terra path\


Terra /sd=C:\terra path\

but change the /fd and /sd directory to the path where Terra.exe is found. .

         You will now get:


Terra /fd=C:\terra path\


"Gerbil.exe " /fd=C:\programs\games\chess\Gerbil\

"arasanx -H4000 -t"   /fd=C:\programs\games\chess\arasan\



Terra /sd=C:\terra path\


"Gerbil.exe " /fd=C:\programs\games\chess\Gerbil\

"arasanx -H4000 -t"   /sd=C:\programs\games\chess\arasan\


save winboard.ini and when you start WinBoard, you will see the following pop up:


Now you should be able to select Terra as the first or second engine in either of the two first fields.

Some explanations that you don't have to read:

         WinBoard, when playing two programs against each other, will refer to one of the programs as the First Program and the other as the Second Program. That is why each program is mentioned two times and /fd means first (program) directory and /sd means second (program) directory.

  • WinBoard functions for Terra
    All of Terra's functions are not supported by WinBoard. The following is Terra capable of doing under WinBoard:
    • Playing games, both locally and on ICS or other chess servers
    • Setup positions
    • Load games
    • Analyzing positions and games
    • Handling all the WinBoard time levels.

All Terra commands are in fact possible to perform from WinBoard. Press Alt-1, and in the pop up that follows, enter the command as on the consol. If Terra is selected as Second Program it is Alt-2 instead. This is not a very practical way of delivering commands but it's possible when needed. It's generally better to run Terra directly on the consol when delivering commands that is not supported by WinBoard.


bullet3What other WB GUI's are there

  • Expensive!  ChessMaster 8000
    (There is a CM9000 out there now but I haven't looked at it myself. For Terra it is probably the same installation procedure as described here with CM8000.)

CMxxxx is the most sold chess program around. It is possible to load WinBoard compatible programs in order to run under the ChessMaster interface.

You can start games and even tournaments with chess engines.

Terra is working well under CM8000.

The ChessMaster Site

How to set up Terra and ChessMaster 8000

Go to the Game Room and select the menu item "Import XBoard Engine" under Game.

You will now have a pop up window. Fill in it like this.

Use the browse button to find terra.exe.

Finally, if you have some commands to run after Terra is loaded for play in ChessMaster, fill in the commands in a file (here cm8k.run) and give  /run as a Command line parameter . This is not necessary however.

You can also tick Pondering  and/or Use ChessMaster Opening Book. Whatever you prefer.

Press OK and now it should be possible to run Terra under ChessMaster 8000.


  • Expensive!  Rebel 12
    Commercial product.

Rebel is one of the strongest playing engines there is.

Probably this is the last Rebel version to be sold. How sad that is...

Ed sold his comapany to Lokasoft where we also can find programs such Chess Tiger and Deep Sjeng among other products.

It shouldn't be any problem to set up Terra for play under Rebel or other LokaSoft products.

The latest news can be found at:



  • This is goodExpensive!  ChessVision
    A Commercial product but there is also a ChessVision Free version.. Try it! ChessVision home page

CV Free is a complete chess database with several functions.

It uses the WinBoard protocol to include other programs and easily play tournaments with them.

Terra is working well under CV Free and I would be surprised if it isn't the same for the full CV product.

When you set up Terra for CV you can use this special ini file  that CV requires.


  • This is goodExpensive!  Chess Assistant
    Commercial product but there is also a Chess Assistant Light version that is free.

Chess Assistant home page  Try the Light version!

CA Light is a complete chess database with several functions.

It uses the WinBoard protocol to include other programs and even play tournaments with them. Terra is working well under CA light. I would be surprised if it isn't the same for the full CA product.

When you set up Terra for CA the hash setting within CA has no effect at all if you don't prepare it in engines6.ini. You will need some help that I couldn't find in the light version. Rely on your own settings in Terra.ini instead.

With this in mind, it should be rather straightforward to set up Terra for CA.


  • This is goodExpensive!  Chessbase family
    Commercial products but there is a light version of Chessbase for free.

ChessBase home page

CB is a database program that uses different programs for analysis.

Some of the strongest programs available, like Fritz, Nimzo and Junior are all in the CB family . We all remember the matches Fritz - Anand and Junior - Kasparov arranged by Chessbase et al.

When buying a CB engine you will get the Fritz GUI with a lot of graphical functions.

The later releases are supporting the UCI protocol for external programs. You can use the UCI interface with Terra.

Don't use the Winboard adapter that still is around. Terra and most other winboard programs are severly crippled by this adapter.



  • Expensive!  ChessAcademy
    Commercial product but there is a demo version that you can try for free during 90 days.

Chess Academy home page  

This is a complete chess database with several functions and I haven't explored more than a fraction of them.

I'm told that there is a coming version,   Chess Academy 7 OfficeDeluxe. Hopefully it will give some competition to ChessBase and others! Maybe you will find Terra included as a free engine within the package. At least that was the plan.

Version 6.0 uses the WinBoard protocol or the "Millennium Chess System" protocol to include other programs. Terra is working under Chess Academy but I haven't done much time in trying to figure out the settings in the Terra.c2w file that Chess Academy is requiring. I've used the settings below but got an error message. Terra seems to work anyway. Maybe someone can find better settings?


EnginePath=path to Terra.exe














  • This is goodInteresting  EPD2diag
    This is a free program that is a must for chess program enthusiasts . Get it here!

It can store and load positions in EPD-format. It is possible to load programs that analyses the current position. Terra is working OK under EPD2diag.

Here is screen shot where Terra is analyzing one of the positions in the Nolot test suite.

In order to set up Terra for EPD2diag you have to, under Options fill in this:

    1. Select Generic to the left.
    2. Fill in the location to the Terra program. Tick the "Change to generic location"
    3. Fill in exactly /run=epd2diag.cmd $F in the second text field.
    4. Tick "Use EPD file"

and now hope for best....

epd2diag.cmd is a command file  included in the distributed Terra package.


  • This is goodInteresting  Scid
    A free program.

This is a great database for games and positions with a lot of functions.  You must get it! Get Scid here.

Why not use it to build your own book for Terra.

It uses the WinBoard protocol to load programs that analyses the game or position.

Earlier versions of Terra did not work well under Scid but after changes in both Terra and Scid it looks like most of the problems are solved.



  • This is good  Others
    Some more examples:
    1. There is a free tournament manager for chess engines:   WB Tournament Manager  (WBTM). I have tested it and Terra works fine.
    2. Another tournament manager with a GUI. Not as many functions as in WBTM but very easy to use. Galis Winboard Tournament Manager .
    3. Bruce Moreland created a free test suite manager for WinBoard programs: EPD2WB. Terra doesn't need this and can run these test suites by itself. Terra will however work within EPD2WB. Find the program under the Gerbil-link in Bruce's Computer Chess site  . His site has some very instructive pages about chess programming.
    4. GradualTest is another free test suite manager. Terra works well with this. GradualTest has an extra option that makes it possible to give scores to the positions depending on how hard they are. In the end GradualTest computes this sum of scores. The point is to get a way for testing a programs positional ability. Download it from   http://home.online.no/~malin/sjakk . The file to download is http://home.sol.no/~malin/sjakk/download/GradualTest.zip  


There are others, I'm sure, but I don't know them all... :-)



  • The consol
    It is possible to start Terra directly from the consol without any GUI, only with the ASCII interface. This is the most practical way of running for some of the functions. Many commands make no sense to run from other interfaces. Creating and maintaining books is one example. Running the test commands like swapoff and others are best performed from the consol. There are other commands as well.


bullet3The UCI protocol

UCI (Universal Chess Interface) is a protocol different from WinBoard's and is used by Chessbase and others.

Back in April 2004 the second version of the UCI specification came. Here is the latest UCI specification (up to this date).
Here is the original older
UCI specification.

Find a description of Terra and how to use UCI from Alex Schmidt's excellent site about UCI .

Terra from version 2.9 and later supports both the winboard and the uci protocol. But see the problem list about UCI.

Some examples of GUI's that uses UCI are Chessbase , Shredder  and Arena .  

It should be quite simple to install Terra as an uci engine but I have only tested Terra with Arena. When it
comes to ChessBase and Shredder they seem not to behave exactly the same.

Please give your comments in WinBoard Forum or email me. This document was updated 2004-08-02.