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ANNOUNCE: GNU Chess 5.05 released

From: Simon Waters
Subject: ANNOUNCE: GNU Chess 5.05 released
Date: Wed, 06 Nov 2002 13:28:36 +0000

What is GNU Chess?

GNU Chess is a free chess-playing program developed as part of
the GNU project of the Free Software Foundation (FSF). 

GNU Chess is a communal chess program. Contributors donate their
time and effort in order to make it a stronger, better, sleeker
program. Contributions take many forms: interfaces to
high-resolution displays, opening book treatises, speedups of
the underlying algorithms, additions of extra heuristics. These
contributions are then distributed to the large user-base so
that all may enjoy the fruits of our labor. 

GNU Chess is written in C and should be portable to most general
purpose computers. 

What is new in GNU Chess 5.05?

This release is primarily a bug fix release, however it corrects
important security problems with the code and it is recommended
all users upgrade to 5.05 as soon as possible.

Changes in 5.05 include:

 Security fix to handling of PGN files.

 Security fix to handling of EPD files.

 Support for NOVAG universal board removed.

 Pin and hung piece detection is reintroduced.

 Move sorting is improved.

 Errors handling unusually long EPD format positions have been

 Command line input is more robust.

 Program will now look for book.dat in a selection of places.

 Errors identified by the VMS C compiler corrected.

 Default book building behaviour produces smaller opening book.

Where can I get GNU Chess 5.05?

The source code is available at ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/chess/ in
file gnuchess-5.05.tar.gz

Where can I learn more ?

More about GNU Chess, it's opening book, and graphical user
interfaces may be found on the GNU project website.


How serious are the security problems in GNU Chess 5.04 and

Buffer overflow problems existed in the handling of PGN and EPD
files (these are common chess related file formats). This means
it might be possible to persuade these versions to run arbitary

In many cases the graphical user interfaces used with GNU Chess
use their own parsers for these file types and this makes
exploitation of these weaknesses harder, however it may be
possible to persuade someone to run such a file from the command
prompt, or find an exploit that passes through the parser of the
graphical user interfaces.

No specific exploits are known to exist at this time.

Users are advised to exercise care when handling data files from
untrusted sources.

Where next with GNU Chess?

GNU Chess 5 is still actively being developed. 

One of the original authors is hoping to contribute some
improvements to the search algorithmns which are expected to add
substantially to the strength of the program.

We are also currently working on a version of the code that
implements pondering, this will allow us to implement an
analysis mode. Initial testing is looking promising.

A number of performance enhancements have also been suggested.

Thanks to the many people who have contributed improvements and
suggestions for this release.

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