Getting started

Choosing the language

To change your languages preferences, go to Options > Choose language.

Selecting a working folder

Set the folder that will be used to save the tablebases by clicking Options > Set default folder.

Enter the working folder and click OK.

Setting up a position on the chessboard

Choose a piece type and put one or more of that piece on the board by clicking on squares.

A second click deletes the entry. You can also drag a piece from one square to another, holding down the mouse key in the process.

Tell the program which side has the move.

In a few cases it may be important to know that the side to move can take en passant. Type in the file or square on which the capture can be made.

You can also clear the board completely.

The button Paste FEN allows you to enter a diagram in the FEN description form.
Use the Copy FEN button to copy the position from the chessboard to the Windows clipboard.

However, you cannot give the castling status.

Remark: Tablebases assume that castling is not possible for two reasons:
First, in practical endgames, this assumption is almost always correct. However, castling is allowed by convention in composed problems and studies.

Second, if the king and rook are on their original squares, castling may or may not be allowed. Because of this ambiguity, it would be necessary to make separate evaluations for states in which castling is or is not possible.

The same ambiguity exists for the en passant capture, since the possibility of en passant depends on the opponent's previous move. However, practical applications of en passant occur frequently in pawn endgames, so tablebases account for the possibility of en passant for positions where both sides have at least one pawn.

Starting the tablebases generation process

Click the Start/Resume button to start generating the tablebases for the current position.

Click OK to ignore the following information message.

When the process is finished, another message appears informing that the tablebases were generated correctly. Click OK.

Now, the area located to the left of the chessboard contains the result of the current position and the legal moves sorted by their scores, best move(s) are displayed first.

Double-clicking a move in the list sets up its corresponding position on the board. The result of the position and the list of possible moves are updated.

Getting help

To display this tutorial, go to Help > Tutorial.

Information regarding tablebases

FinalGen saves the tablebases in a working folder. To know or change the pathname of the current folder, click Options > Set default folder.

Compressing your working folder is strongly recommended. This can help you save a lot of time and disk space.

To compress the working folder, right-click the folder you want to compress, and then click Properties. On the General tab, click Advanced. Select the Compress contents to save disk space check box, and then click OK.

This folder tends to grow rapidly. If you decide you do not need the tablebases any more you can easily delete it and use another folder.

When clicking the Start/Resume button to start generating the tablebases, the following message appears:

This message informs you that the new tablebases will be added to the existing ones, so the folder will grow accordingly.

You cannot partially delete a working folder. The whole content must be removed.

How to pause and resume the process

You can temporarily suspend program execution by clicking the Pause button.

After you suspend execution of the generator, you can turn off your computer and resume the process later by clicking Start/Resume. When doing this, the following message appears:

Answer Yes to continue the suspended tablebase generation. You can resume program execution even if you changed the position on the board or the working folder.

Answer No to discard the suspended tablebase generation and to start a new one from the current position on the board.

Obviously, an error message will be displayed if the user deleted the content of the working directory before resuming the process.

When clicking Initial position, the last position generated (or being generated) is retrieved and set up on the board.

Normal mode and Search for draw

Before generating the tablebases for a position, you can choose either the Normal mode or Search for draw option.

The Normal mode is designed to calculate the maximum amount of information possible, but it is slower than the Search for draw mode.
In case of a win or a loss, FinalGen usually gives the number of moves to win or lose. This number of moves might not be exact with perfect play. In other words, FinalGen gives a way to win, but not necessarily the shortest one. For example, Finalgen might predict Win in 12 moves in a case where Nalimov tablebases indicate Win in 10 moves.

There is no notion of perfect play for a game which ends in a tie. Such a game is merely considered equivalent to a game which goes on forever because neither player can force a victory.

In Normal mode, the result of a position can be one of the following values: "White wins. Mate", "White mates in n moves", "White wins in n moves", "White wins", "White wins or Draw", "Draw", "Black wins or Draw", "Black wins", "Black wins in n moves", "Black mates in n moves", "Black wins. Mate", "Unsolved" and "Not available".

The Search for draw is designed to determine whether a position is a draw or not with perfect play. It can be 2 to 10 times faster than the normal mode, depending on the characteristics of the position.

When using this option, the result of a position can be one of the following values: "White wins or Draw", "Draw", "Black wins or Draw", "Unsolved" and "Not available".

Both modes will produce a correct result, but the Search for draw option gets less information than the Normal mode option. For instance, when the normal mode predicts White wins in 12 moves, the Search for draw mode indicates only White wins or Draw.

In pawn endings, the Search for draw mode usually runs only two times faster, so the Normal mode is more interesting for this kind of ending. In all other cases, a good solution is typically to run the program with the Search for draw option activated and if the result is not satisfactory, then run the program in Normal mode.

Statistics

- Progress bar. Shows an approximate percentage of completion.
- Final positions. Number of final positions processed / total number of final positions. Final positions occur after a pawn gets promoted.
- Non-final positions. Number of non-final positions processed / total number of non-final positions. Non-final positions occur before a pawn gets promoted.
- Elapsed time.
Remark: When a generation process is suspended, the paused time is not recorded.
- Estimated time remaining.
- Required hard disk space.

The analysis area

The text area at the bottom of the window allows you to display variations. You must generate the tablebases for your position before using the analysis area.

To illustrate this feature, we will use the position shown below.

If you click Append analysis, a line will appear in the analysis area. This line contains the 5 first moves of the main variation, that is to say, the best first 5 moves for White and Black.

If you click Append analysis again, 5 new moves will be appended to the main line.

FinalGen will display variations only if the evaluation is one of the following values: White mates in n moves, White wins in n moves, Draw, Black wins in n moves, Black mates in n moves. In all other cases, the best moves cannot be determined and the following message will be displayed:

If you click a move in the analysis area, then its corresponding position will be set up on the board. The result of the position and the list of possible moves will be updated as well.

Once the main variation is in the analysis area, you can display a sub-variation. First click a move of the main line. Then select an item from the list of possible moves. Finally click Add variation. The sub-variation will be displayed below the main line.

You can display a sub-sub-variation of a sub-variation, and so on.

Remark: If you select the first item in the list of possible moves, and then click Add variation, then the variation will not be added to the analysis area. The reason is that the first move corresponds to the main line, which is already displayed.

Clicking the Delete variation button when a move is selected in the analysis area eliminates the remaining moves of the variation.

Pressing the Clear all button will remove all variations from the analysis area.

Click the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys to move back and forward in the analysis area.

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