Knights is my personal favourite. Unless installation issues (see what I write about Xboard below) or explicit user requests prevent it, this is the first Linux chess client I suggest these days.
It has a pleasant look that is customizable by downloading new themes straight from the configuration panel. If you feel the need for it, you may also have animated moves. Selecting “Computer engine” for both players, you may even study chess by watching the computer play against itself.
Knights comes with lots of functions, but the default user interface is very simple. The top bar only displays, in full view, the really important buttons: Offer Draw, Adjourn (that is save the game to resume it later), Pause, New game and Undo/Redo. The final reason why I like Knights is that, even if most users won’t need it at all, pressing F1 opens a complete user manual.
The latest stable version, along with packages for most popular linux distributions, can be downloaded from KDE-Apps.
The current stable version features:
- Local play between two players on the same computer
- Play against any computer program that supports the XBoard protocol
- Play on the Free Internet Chess Server (FICS)
- Wathing two computer engines play against each other
- Legal move checking
- Markers for possible moves, opponent's last move and sources of check
- Board borders and site notations
- Complete time control, with Plasma-styled clocks
- Several themes, with the possibility of downloading new ones from within the program
- Animated moves (configurable)
- Convenience views for playing on a chess server, including a seek graph, and text console, and a chat widget.
- Option to undo and redo moves
- Graphic interface for making and receiving offers from remote players
- Complete user documentation
The latest release announce is available here.