A portable, simple, desktop workbench for chess players and analysts



A Tarrasch Linux release is very close, although it has been close for a long time (sorry). See Building Tarrasch on Linux and Mac below.

At the moment I am just doing a little bit or reorganisation, because the Linux changes disrupted my branch strategy.

Old branch strategy: 'master' is releases only, 'development' is main work branch, between releases.

New branch strategy: 'releases' is releases only, 'master' is main work branch, between releases, 'development' will be deleted in due course.

Why? Because the Linux changes started in 'master' wrongly, and also because Github.com web visitors see 'master' first and foremost - so make that the place where work happens.

I've put some notes on new issues and problems that are holding up a nice new release in file notes.txt

By the way I made 'releases' with git checkout tags/tarrasch-v3.03a -b releases

Unfortunately github.com thinks this brand new branch is stale - but that will resolve when we (finally) put out a new release.


The Tarrasch Chess GUI is a simple desktop chess workbench. Once installed on your computer it allows you to create and edit .pgn files (i.e standard chess documents) and easily use separate UCI (i.e. standard) chess engines. You can either play against a chess engine or use it to analyse positions and games.

The Tarrasch Chess GUI Github binary releases are relatively compact "portable" (.zip, not setup .exe) versions of Tarrasch without large databases. You can find out more about Tarrasch and download differently configured packages at the project's home website.

Version information: This repository contains Tarrasch V3, From 2016-11-25 Tarrasch V3 has replaced the retired Tarrasch V2. Tarrasch V2 uses the peer old-tarrasch-chess-gui repository on github. My git skills are slowly getting up to speed and for future Tarrasch development I will avoid this unnecessary proliferation of repositories - i.e. I will prefer further developing this repository in to starting a new one. One reflection of my improving git skills is that I have used tagged releases sensibly in this repository (in the peer old-tarrasch-chess-gui repository I used more unwieldy branches). I now typically stick to two just branches, master and development. I do all work in development, and then merge development into master at each release.

To complete this version discussion; For the record, Tarrasch V1 was primitive but useful in some contexts. It predates any attempt on my part to develop in the open with a hosted repository.

Building Tarrasch

It is now easy to grab the Tarrasch source code, rebuild it and hack on it (at least on Windows). This is a new development, as for the first 6 or more years of its life I accepted that using wxWidgets inevitably resulted in a difficult barrier for new developers. I recently (July-August 2016) took a fresh look at this as part of a long delayed upgrade to wxWidgets V3 and it turns out it's not so hard.


  1. Download and install a recent version of Visual Studio, with C++ support. I've tried VS2010 and VS2015

  2. Put this repository into a convenient working directory, eg git clone https://github.com/billforsternz/tarrasch-chess-gui workdir

  3. Just the one project file is required, it's called Tarrasch.vcxproj. It works on VS2010 and VS2015. The project structure is now super lean, mean and easy. There are a bunch of C++ source files (obviously) plus a simple resource file and icon (actually two icon files now) in the src directory. The project does assume the existance of a wxWidgets directory using standard wxWidgets conventions. The directory should be named wxWidgets-3.1.0 and it only needs to contain the include and lib directories. Still this is a problem as these files collectively are really too big to store in the repository, but....

  4. I have prepared a .zip (well actually a .7z for extra space savings) that you can download from my website. Just download, unzip into the right place with 7zip and you are ready to go. Download instructions a bit further down.

Note that if you get nothing but compile errors like this;

Cannot open include file: 'wx/wx.h': No such file or directory

That is a strong indication that you either ommitted step 4) or didn't unzip into the right place in the directory hierarchy. It is really important to have a directory wxWidgets-3.1.0 in your working directory and to have valid lib and include directories within that.

Building Tarrasch on Linux and Mac

Note: Recently (late October 2017) as the result of some great work by John Cheetham, Tarrasch on Linux has moved forward significantly. To try this out on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (say), perform the following steps then simply make in the top level directory;

  • sudo apt install libwxgtk3.0-dev
  • sudo apt install libwxgtk-media3.0-dev
  • sudo apt install libwxgtk-webview3.0-dev
  • wx-config --version

(should return 3.0.2)

Look for John's merged pull request for further discussion.

The following comments are still relevant, but predate this recent development.

For the moment these are second class citizens unfortunately. In due course I hope this changes. However you can certainly have a play if you are keen. I can't/won't outline the steps required in detail, but basically;

  1. Grab repository as above

  2. Install wxWidgets and build one or more samples, in particular samples/richtext and samples/aui

  3. Once you have samples/richtext working, just replace richtext.cpp with all the source files in the repository src directory. Pay attention to file src/Portability.h and make sure that THC_MAC or THC_LINUX are defined. (thc is a convenient prefix it stands for triple happy chess - Triplehappy.com is the Tarrasch's home website)

wxWidgets Dependency

To obtain a populated wxWidgets-3.1.0 directory on Windows. Either;

A) Download an already prepared installation in the form of a single compressed .7z (7zip) archive from the project website, and uncompress it with 7zip. Two versions are available; VS2010 version and VS2015 version These are the same except the completed libraries have been compiled with VS2010 in the first and VS2015 in the second. Use the one corresponding to the version of Visual Studio you intend to use.

B) Install wxWidgets from wxwidgets.org and follow the MSW (Microsoft Windows) instructions in build/msw to build your own installation from scratch. Important: For each wxWidgets subproject you must go to properties > configuration properties > C/C++ > code generation and change /MD to /MT (release) and /MDd to /MTd (debug). This enables a fully static final executable. Once you've successfully rebuilt wxWidgets (both debug and release) copy the include and lib directory trees into place in the wxWidgets-3.1.0 directory.

The .7z archives only include the 25 wxWidgets libraries required by Tarrasch. These libraries are all in the wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib subdirectory as follows;

  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxbase31u.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxbase31ud.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxbase31ud_xml.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxbase31u_xml.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxexpat.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxexpatd.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxjpeg.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxjpegd.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxmsw31ud_adv.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxmsw31ud_core.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxmsw31ud_html.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxmsw31ud_richtext.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxmsw31u_adv.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxmsw31u_core.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxmsw31u_html.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxmsw31u_richtext.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxmsw31u_aui.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxpng.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxpngd.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxregexu.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxregexud.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxtiff.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxtiffd.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxzlib.lib
  • .\wxWidgets-3.1.0\lib\vc_lib\wxzlibd.lib

New in Tarrasch V3

Tarrasch V3 seeks to add the following features to the existing Tarrasch V2

  • Improved portability, including a working Mac version.
  • Database features. Browse existing games that have reached a position of interest and explore move and transposition statistics.
  • A tabbed workspace. An essential complement to the database features.
  • Publish to .html (and possibly .rtf).
  • Work with huge files, easily preview games before loading.

Bill Forster billforsternz@gmail.com