Chess needs a "very easy" mode

Bug #138570 reported by Scott Ritchie
This bug affects 5 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Fix Released
gnome-chess (Ubuntu)
Fix Released

Bug Description

Binary package hint: gnome-chess

Our easiest chess mode is too difficult. I can beat it some times, but it requires a lot of difficulty.

This is too hard - we need a "very easy" chess mode that a complete chess beginner, or even a 10 year old, could conceivably beat.

Revision history for this message
Pedro Villavicencio (pedro) wrote :

I really seconded this, it's so hard for me to win also, thanks you so much for this report ;-)

Changed in gnome-chess:
assignee: nobody → desktop-bugs
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
status: New → Triaged
Revision history for this message
Pedro Villavicencio (pedro) wrote :

Thanks for your bug report. This bug has been reported to the developers of the software. You can track it and make comments here:

Changed in gnome-games:
status: Unknown → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Fred (eldmannen+launchpad) wrote :

Yes, I played Chess, and I lost even though I had the setting on "Easy".
There should be a "Very easy" or "Retard" mode too.

Not everyone is Kasparov!
There are beginners too!

Revision history for this message
Valdisvi (valdis-vitolins) wrote :

Workaround to this is using xboard ( with phalanx ( engine.
sudo apt-get install xboard phalanx
mkdir ~/.games
then run
xboard -fcp "phalanx -e 1" -fd ~/.games

where "phalanx -e 1" means passed engine with easiest level (1 from 100).
See also

Revision history for this message
Robert Ancell (robert-ancell) wrote :

Valdisvi, how does playing with Phalanx in glChess on easy compare with the command you suggest? (glChess support Phalanx if it is installed)

Revision history for this message
Valdisvi (valdis-vitolins) wrote :

Sorry, right parameters for phalanx are -e 100, not -e 1, or "phalanx -e100 -l- -b-" to be more precise.
Then it makes few stupid errors, which helps a lot. See more for workaround at:

Revision history for this message
Robert Ancell (robert-ancell) wrote :


Thanks! The settings for the AI difficulties are in /usr/share/glchess/ai.xml, you can copy this file to ~/.gnome2/glchess/ and modify it to try new settings.

Note that you can't set different command line flags for different difficulty levels - I have fixed this upstream so the next version will be able to do this.

Revision history for this message
Valdisvi (valdis-vitolins) wrote :

Notes about difficulty comparison between current GNUChess "Easy" and "phalanx -e100 -l- -b-" or "stupid mode".
If you can win GNUChess easy 1 time from 20, then you win phalanx "stupid mode" always (gnuchess is especially smart for openings).
If you sometimes trick to lose phalanx "stupid mode", you can newer win gnuchess. So I'd rate phalanx "stupid mode" somewhere for beginners/smart kids.

Changed in gnome-games:
importance: Unknown → Low
Changed in gnome-games:
importance: Low → Wishlist
status: Confirmed → In Progress
Jeremy Bicha (jbicha)
affects: gnome-games (Ubuntu) → gnome-chess (Ubuntu)
Changed in gnome-chess (Ubuntu):
assignee: Ubuntu Desktop Bugs (desktop-bugs) → nobody
Revision history for this message
Michael Catanzaro (mike-catanzaro) wrote :

I'd recommend switching the default engine in Ubuntu from GNUChess to HoiChess (which, unlike other distros, you already have a package for). I've been able to tune its difficulty level far lower than I managed with other engines.

I'm not really sure whether I want to change our GNUChess settings or not. I can make it easier, but this will (1) break compatibility with older versions of GNUChess, and (2) cause it to run your CPU constantly during the game. So I'm leaning towards just not touching it... see the upstream bug for details.

Revision history for this message
Michael Catanzaro (mike-catanzaro) wrote :

I forgot to add: I didn't find Phalanx's "stupid mode" to be nearly easy enough, i.e. I couldn't win despite trying a few times :p.

Changed in gnome-games:
status: In Progress → Fix Released
Revision history for this message
Scott Ritchie (scottritchie) wrote :

This will be available in gnome 3.10, so not Trusty but U

Revision history for this message
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package gnome-chess - 1:3.12.3-1

gnome-chess (1:3.12.3-1) unstable; urgency=low

  * Team upload.

  [ Jeremy Bicha ]
  * debian/
    - Depend on hoichess and demote other chess engines to Suggests
      per upstream recommendation (LP: #138570)
    - Bump minimum intoltool and vala
    - Drop sqlite dependency
  * debian/gnome-chess.install:
    - AI configuration file moved to /etc/chess-engines.conf

  [ Jackson Doak ]
  * New upstream release (3.12.3)

  [ Luca Falavigna ]
  * debian/
    - Bump Standards-Version to 3.9.5.
    - Refresh build-dependencies required minimum versions.

 -- Luca Falavigna <email address hidden> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 21:50:20 +0200

Changed in gnome-chess (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → Fix Released
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