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PyChess is a very advanced feature-rich chess game program with support for multiple computer game engine opponents which includes it's own custom chess engine. It supports online play for challenging games against friends and strangers. Pychess supports board themes, game analysis, loading and saving of games and a helpful "hint" mode which proposes moves it's built-in game engine thinks you should do.

Features and usability

PyChess really does have absolutely everything you can ask for in a chess program. It is absolutely feature-complete. Pychess-0.12.4.png

  • Supports playing playing multiple games at once in tabs
  • Supports playing on online chess servers such as FreeChess
  • Supports playing against all the common computer chess engines.
    • Allows you to choose difficulty when starting a game against a computer opponent. This is actually a minor detail of major importance which other chess games like Knights do not support.
    • PyChess has it's own built-in game engine. It's not that clever but it does pose a challenge. You may or may not be able to outsmart it's built-in chess engine.
  • Many board themes are supported and it supports both themes based on image files and - in theory - TTF font files. TTF font themes appear to be broken in v0.12.4. Your build will vary.
  • Can load and save a number of chessgame file formats including PGN, EPD and FEN.
  • Has board move animations.
  • Sound effects. These can be turned off.

There are some nice features both beginners and advanced players will enjoy like

  • Hints and spyarrows
  • Openingbook in the sidepanel
  • Scoreplot sidepanel
  • Legal move highlighting

Verdict and Recommendation

PyChess has a user-interface which simply feels "laggy" and sluggish and this is the case on top-notch modern computers. There is simply a very noticeable and apparent lag between doing something in the interface and it responding. It's just not very .. responsive. You will notice this if you try it. Perhaps it will bother you. Perhaps not. Almost a second between clicking a menu and that menu appearing is very annoying and should not be a thing but it is absolutely not something which makes this program impossible to use. You may like it, it does have everything you want from such a program. But you may find that it's laggy behavior makes it too painful to use.


PyChess has a long history. Here's screenshot from LinuxReview's first review of this game in 2009: Pychess-philidor-0.8.2.jpg


Chess games ordered by recommendation:
Lichess | Knights | Pychess

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