MacChess Belofte

Dedicated to chess on Mac

Information for Chess players, Chess programmers and Apple users

Updated on : 20/02/2021
Version 1.51
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This page explains how to run the different applications. Obviously, most applications can be run by double-clicking their application icon.

Mac OS X chess

Script: from terminal open /Applications/


Script: from terminal open /Applications/Utilities/
PS: It can take a few seconds to launch. Combining this script with the following scripts can cause trouble because the X11 display is not available yet causing Xboard to fail.


I have Xboard 4.2.6 running on my systems. As chess engines I have crafty, gnuchess and my own chess program running with it. As a first example, please find how to launch Xboard with crafty. For the other programs, you only have to replace the line with crafty with the indicated line.

  1. Start X11. Open xterm. Change to the xboard directory. Launch it with the correct parameters.
  2. Start X11. Open terminal. Set the display variable. Export it. Change to the xboard directory. Launch it with the correct parameters.

Script 1: from xterm

cd Documents/chess/xboard-4.2.6
./xboard -fd ../crafty-19.13 -fcp "./crafty xboard"

Script 2: from terminal assuming you have the bash shell installed.

export DISLPAY
cd Documents/chess/xboard-4.2.6
./xboard -fd ../crafty-19.13 -fcp "./crafty xboard"

Script 3: from terminal assuming you have the tcsh-shell installed.

setenv DISPLAY=:0.0
cd Documents/chess/xboard-4.2.6
./xboard -fd ../crafty-19.13 -fcp "./crafty xboard"

Alternative 4: double click on a script-file

Make sure the script file has been converted into a double-click application as indicated below.

Special remark about XBoard: Upon launch, Xboard tries to launch GNUChess unless command line parameters are being specified. If you fail to launch XBoard because it complains about GNUChess not found, you probably have given the wrong parameters.


EBoard is reported to be working with Sjeng and Crafty.

Next to be included: detailed installation scripts for EBoard with its different engines.

Gothmog with Xboard

cd Documents/chess/xboard-4.2.6
./xboard -fd ../gotmog -fcp "./gothmog"

GNUChess with Xboard

cd Documents/chess/xboard-4.2.6
./xboard -fd ../gnuchess-5.07/src -fcp "./gnuchess xboard"

Pepito with Xboard

cd Documents/chess/xboard-4.2.6
./xboard -fd ../pepisrc -fcp "./pepitox xboard"

Console applications

All Xboard compatible engines run also on the command line. Next to these, most UNIX programs also compile without any problems.

Running programs from the command line means opening the terminal, going to the correct folder and typing ./programx where programx is your application you want to launch.

e.g.. ./crafty or ./gnuchess or ...

Convert a script to a Double-click application

If you create a script, make it executable with chmod a+x scriptname, and save it with a .command extension, you can double-click on the file and it will be launched.

An alternative way is to link a script to the terminal with the cmd-i finder combination.

Beware, scripts launched this way are more error-prone because the environment parameters are not retained.

Some example scripts are made available in the download section.