UFTE – Ultra Fast Tournament Environment

To let Onno play against other engines, I wrote my own command line tool, starting in 2008. I named it UFTE – Ultra Fast Tournament Environment.


  • To play faster than 1 second per move
  • To play based on node count. This allows
    • to be independent of the system load
    • to check if changes in the code that you suppose not to change the algorithm at all really leave the algorithm untouched
    • to reduce noise a little
    • to assess changes that affect only very few positions without first having to create a test-set of such positions. Note however that almost any change in the engine will result in entirely different games.

I did not write the program with the intention to release it publically. But when I stopped to develop my engine I saw that some people are interested in such a tool, so I changed my mind. However I am not planning to develop UFTE any further.


  • supports Winboard and UCI engines
  • reads list of engines from a file
  • reads list of openings from a file (not PGN for simplicity of implementation, format is “e2e4 e7e5 g1f3”, one opening per line)
  • plays the first engine against all other engines with all openings and both colors
  • fixed nodes per move, so results are independent of system load
  • individual number of nodes for each engine, so you can let weaker opponents think longer and/or adapt for different NPS
  • writes results in a CSV file, one result per line
  • writes games in a file, one game per line in the same format like the openings
  • when restarted after an interrupt, reads above files to start with the game that was interrupted
  • checks moves for legality, is based on Fruit for this feature
  • no parallelization (was always on my to-do list, but I never actually implemented it)


UFTE is licensed under the terms of the GNU Public License .

ufte-1-0.zip .

The download includes the sources and an x64 Linux binary. For other platforms, you have to compile the sources.

Similar other programs

Note that there is at least one other program that can be used for a similar purpose as UFTE: CuteChess

If you are looking for a fully featured GUI, UFTE or (currently) CuteChess are not for you. You might want to look at the following free programs:

  • Arena , if you basically want to play against the computer or let different engines play against each other. Arena is available only for Windows. Some people were successful in running it under Linux with Wine (but I wasn’t).
  • SCID , if you want to work seriously with chess databases. It is available for both Windows and Linux.

A longer list of Chess GUIs can be found here . In addition, there are also great commercial GUIs.