Kombilo manual



The following instructions cover the installation of Kombilo under Ubuntu Linux. If you use another flavor of Linux and are somewhat familiar with it, you will easily adapt them.

With the following commands you can install Kombilo on a Ubuntu system. Lines starting with a # are comments - no need to type them.

There are two main steps to the installation: installing Python and the Python packages, and then installing Kombilo as a Python package. See below for more details on the different steps.

# Install the packages that Kombilo depends on:
sudo apt install python-pip python-tk libsqlite3-dev libboost-dev

# Install kombilo (you could also do that inside a virtualenv environment; if
# you do not know what that is, you can ignore this)
pip install kombilo

This will install kombilo (the executable will sit in ~/.local/bin which should be in your PATH environment variable, so that you can just

# start the program

If it is not found, try invoking Kombilo by .local/bin/kombilo (in your home directory).

Now continue with the Getting started section of the tutorial.

Uninstall: To uninstall, do pip uninstall kombilo. (To also remove the database files created by Kombilo, you should remove the databases from within Kombilo before uninstalling.)

Upgrading: Upgrading from one 0.8.* version to another can be done via pip (pip install -U kombilo). If you still have an old Kombilo instance (version 0.7.*) around, it does not interact with Kombilo 0.8.*. You have to newly process the SGF databases when upgrading from 0.7.* to 0.8.*.

Mac OS X

In principle, installing packages using pip also works on Mac OS X. Currently Kombilo is distributed only in the format of a source distribution, so you would need to make sure that in addition to Python (with Tkinter) and pip you have a C++ compiler and the SQlite and Boost libraries required for compiling Kombilo. Then, you can pip install kombilo.

Step-by-step instructions: Install on a Mac using MacPorts

From a post by user pleiade76 to the LifeIn19x19 forum:

# The steps in some details (using MacPorts):

# Install the following packages:

sudo port install boost             # —> Collection of portable C++ source libraries
sudo port install python27          # —> An interpreted, object-oriented programming language
sudo port install sqlite3           # —> an embedded SQL database engine
sudo port install py27-tkinter      # —> Python bindings to the Tk widget set
sudo port install py27-pip          # —> A tool for installing and managing Python packages
sudo port select --set pip pip27

# Build kombilo with pip:
pip install kombilo

# the binary kombilo is located in:
# /opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/bin/

Step-by-step instructions: Install on a Mac using homebrew

Adapted from a post by Marcel Grünauer to the LifeIn19x19 forum.

This assumes that you already have installed homebrew. Update homebrew and the packages already installed:

$ brew update
$ brew outdated -q | brew upgrade

Install packages required for the build (you may have to brew tap homebrew/dupes before):

$ brew install boost
$ brew install homebrew/dupes/tcl-tk

In case you already had homebrew’s python 2.7 installed:

$ brew uninstall python


$ brew install python --with-tcl-tk

You can test the Tk installation with:

$ python
>>> import Tkinter
>>> Tkinter._test()

If you have previously already installed Pillow for macOS’s own python in /Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/ you may have to remove that first with sudo pip uninstall Pillow. The problem is that this is linked against macOS’s Tcl and Tk frameworks, whereas homebrew’s python is linked against homebrew’s Tcl. This caused the message “Class TKApplication is implemented in both /usr/local/opt/tcl-tk/lib/libtk8.6.dylib and /System/Library/Frameworks/Tk.framework/Versions/8.5/Tk” and a “Segmentation fault: 11”.

Now you can:

$ pip install Pillow
$ pip install kombilo
$ kombilo

Further remarks

As pleiade76 points out, another option is using the Windows installer inside wine.

Also see these notes on Tcl/Tk on macs.

See also the Only one mouse button option.


There is an installer provided for Kombilo which should just work and which is the easiest option. Alternatively (and that would be the cleaner way, even if a little more cumbersome) you can also install Python 2.7 from python.org and then install Kombilo as a Python package via c:\python27\scripts\pip.exe install kombilo.

Uninstall: The installer automatically installs a program to uninstall Kombilo. To also remove the database files created by Kombilo, you should remove the databases from within Kombilo before uninstalling.

Upgrading from version 0.7: There is no automatic upgrading. Just deinstall the old Kombilo version and install the new one. Versions 0.7.* and 0.8.* can also coexist, so you could leave the old version until you are convinced that the new version works. You will have to newly process your databases for 0.8.* when coming from 0.7.*. Befor deinstalling 0.7.* you should remove the databases (in the Edit DB list window) because the database files will not be removed by the uninstaller.

Upgrading from one 0.8.* version to another one: There is no automatic upgrading. It is probably safest (but should not be required) to deinstall the old version, and then install the new one. Your configuration file and the databases you hav inserted will be kept. There is no need to reprocess the databases.

If you want to make changes to the program, you will need to build the program yourself. For this, you will need Python 2.7 and a C++ compiler (Microsoft Visual Studio C++ 2008; or MinGW32 seem to be the best choices). You will also need to install the boost libraries and SQLite3. Then pip install kombilo should do the job.

Alternatively, clone the git repository and proceed from there. See the v0.8win branch for the build setup that is used to create the Windows installer, in particular the file appveyor.yml.

If you want to change only the Python part, you could also start from the git repository and add the libkomilo.pyd file (and the microsoft .dll files) from a Kombilo instance created by the installer.


If you want to work on Kombilo or Libkombilo yourself, you can clone the git repository:

git clone https://github.com/ugoertz/kombilo.git

Make sure (before ...) that you have git installed, and also install SWIG:

sudo apt-get git swig

Before you can compile the libkombilo extension, you need to run swig:

cd kombilo/kombilo/libkombilo
swig -c++ -python libkombilo.i
mv libkombilo.py ..
cd ../..

Compile the translation files:

cd ../lang/en/LC_MESSAGES
msgfmt -o kombilo.mo kombilo.po
cd ../../de/LC_MESSAGES
msgfmt -o kombilo.mo kombilo.po
cd ../../../..

You are now again in the directory containing the file setup.py. Now you can install Kombilo as a Python package from the development directory (so changes you make in the source code will be reflected immediately). You probably want to do this inside a virtualenv environment:

pip install -e .

You can then invoke Kombilo with kombilo and the SGF viewer with v.

Build the documentation

The documentation is available on the Kombilo website. If you want to build it from the sources, proceed as follows:

If you installed Kombilo from a tar.gz archive, then you can skip this step. If you installed directly from its Git repository, and want to use the documentation offline (either directly or from the Kombilo Help menu), then you need to build the documentation yourself. If you install it from a tar.gz file, then you can skip this step.

Kombilo documentation

Install Sphinx and other required packages (pip install -r requirements-doc.txt in a virtualenv would be the preferred way), or globally by

sudo apt-get install python-sphinx

and in the doc/ directory, run

make html
to build the HTML documentation (to be found in doc/_build/html/), or
make latexpdf

to build a pdf file. (For the latter, you need to have LaTeX installed on your computer).

Libkombilo documentation

Install Doxygen by

sudo apt-get install doxygen

and in the lk/doc/ directory, run


Besides a lot of warnings, this will generate HTML and LaTeX files of the documentation in lk/doc/build/.

Updating the translation files

To update the template file with all messages that should be translated (the pot file), do:

xgettext -d kombilo -s *.py lang/en/LC_MESSAGES/kombilo.po

(This does not fetch the text from default.cfg that should be translated, so if things changed there, they have to be added manually.)

Then, for all (non-English) languages, do:

msgmerge -N lang/LANGUAGE/LC_MESSAGES/kombilo.po kombilo.po > new.po
mv new.po lang/LANGUAGE/LC_MESSAGES/kombilo.po

You can then translate strings using a tool like poedit. Finally, you have to compile the po files to mo files, for instance using poedit or the standard command line tool msgfmt.

Setting up the SGF databases

Before you can start working with Kombilo, you need to add your SGF files. For Kombilo, a database is just a directory with SGF files in it. Select Edit DB list in the Database menu. A new window will open.


Add databases

In the lower section Processing options you can select which kind of files you want to add, whether to recursively add all subdirectories, whether to accept duplicates, and whether to store variations in the database for pattern search. You can also select whether all games (or none) of the database should be considered as pro games, or whether this should be decided by the rank specified in the files.

Strict duplicate check This option affects how Kombilo decides whether two games are a duplicate of each other. Usually, two games are compared using the Dyer signature. If Strict duplicate check is selected, Kombilo in addition compares the final positions of the two games. In the very rare (but existent) case that two different games have the same Dyer signature, this is a more precise check. It has the disadvantages of being slower, and of marking games as different where there is just a small variation in the recording of the end game moves (which also is a rare, but existent phenomenon in the SGF collections around).

Create one DB per folder. The default behavior of Kombilo is to create one database per folder (so descending recursively into some folder many databases might be created). Whether this is suitable or not depends on the number of folders, and the number of files in each folder. Unless you have special needs (and a computer with very little or very much RAM), it is recommended to aim at databases of between 10000 and 50000 games.

If you prefer, you can specify a folder where the Kombilo files should be stored. If you do not name a folder here, the files will be stored in the folder containing your SGF files.

Finally, you can choose which algorithms you want to use with your databases. (You can also disable the hashing algorithms for each pattern search, but you can only use then if you selected the corresponding option before processing the games.)

The hashing algorithms speed up searches for full board and corner positions respectively, on the other hand the procesing takes slightly longer, more disk space is consumed, and Kombilo uses more memory when running, and especially when processing new games.

Include full SGF Usually Kombilo puts the root node of each SGF file into the database. This contains all the game information (such as player names, event, etc.), but not the moves themselves. From inside Kombilo this information can be accessed using the Anywhere field in the game info search. If there you also want to access the moves of the game (or if you want to use a database from your own scripts and need that information there), select this option. Then the full SGF will be copied to the database. Correspondingly, the database files will be much larger. (This is not required for the pattern search, nor for opening and playing through games from the game list.)

Messages during processing

In the lower text area, Kombilo will output messages about the processed games.

  • Duplicates: Games which are duplicates to games already in the database are named. Being a duplicate is tested with the method chosen in the options. In every case, the Dyer signature (position of moves 20, 31, 40, 51, 60, 71) is compared. With strict duplicate checking, in addition the final position is compared. Games in disabled databases will not be considered for duplicate checks. Also see Find duplicates.
  • SGF Error: If there was an SGF error, Kombilo issues a warning. It tries to do its best to recover, and will insert as much of the game as it understands into the database anyway.
  • Unacceptable board size: Currently, Kombilo processes only 19x19 games.
  • not inserted: For games which are not inserted into the database, this message is appended to the error message. Otherwise, the game is inserted.

You can switch off the messages about duplicates and names of the processed folders by disabling the Detailed log option.

Kombilo will create several database files: kombilo.db, kombilo.da, and if you use the hashing algorithms, also kombilo.db1 and kombilo.db2.

If you select the option to add all subfolders of the given folder recursively and note that processing takes too long since you have too many folders, you can use the Stop button to interrupt it. This will not stop immediately, but will finish the currently processed folder (but not any subfolders) and write the database. The resulting database of course will not have all the SGF files, but other than that is fully functional. If you want to discard it, you can of course just delete it.

Since after clicking the Stop button, the currently processed folder is completely finished, in non-recursive mode this has no actual effect.

Toggle normal/disabled

If you want to temporarily exclude a database from some searches, select it and use this button to set its status to ‘disabled’. It will then be marked as ‘DISABLED’ in the database list. Its games will not show up anymore in the game list, and will not be found by any search. Nevertheless, Kombilo’s database files written during the processing are still available, and if you toggle the status back to ‘normal’, you can use that database again without processing it again.

Remove a database

If you want to remove a database from Kombilo’s list completely, select it and press this button. The database files Kombilo has written will then be deleted. Of yourse, the SGF files themselves will not be deleted (Kombilo will actually never change them.) If you want to add this database again later, it will have to be processed again.

Reprocess a database

If you made any changes to the SGF files in one of the database directories (or added/deleted SGF files in there), you should reprocess the database, so that the pattern search really uses the information corresponding to the current version of the SGF files.

Reprocessing keeps all the tags on your database. This is usually the desired behavior. If you prefer to have all tags deleted, instead of reprocessing, remove the databases and then add them again.

Save messages

If there are errors in the SGF files, or if Kombilo finds duplicates, a message is issued. The ‘save messages’ button allows you to save these messages into a file, such that you can look at them later again in order to correct the errors. (After correcting any errors, you should reprocess the corresponding databases.)

Further notes

With Ctrl-click and Shift-click you can select several databases in the list simultaneously. The “Toggle normal/disabled”, “Remove” and “Reprocess” buttons will then apply to all the selected databases.

Currently it is not possible to add single games to a database, or to delete single games.


There are two main ways to search in your database: by patterns occurring in the games (Pattern search), and by properties written out in the SGF file (such as the players, the result, the date, the event where the game was played etc.). We call the latter type of search a Game info search.

Furthermore, you can search for tags - either games that were automatically tagged by Kombilo (e.g. handicap games), or for games that you tagged yourself - (Tag search), and for the Dyer signature of a game (Signature search). This is typically used less often, but may be useful to quickly find a game whose Kifu you have in printed form.

SGF tree

Kombilo can compute a whole tree of pattern search results by recursively searching for all continuations arising in a pattern, then for the continuations in the new patterns, and so on. In this way, you can easily compile joseki or fuseki dictionaries. This function is available starting from an arbitrary search pattern.

The end result will be a (possibly quite large) SGF file. In each node, some information about the pattern represented in that node and about the continuations will be printed.

The searches will use the game list which is active when you start the SGF tree search. So if you (after a suitable game info search) have just all the games by a specific player in your game list, then you can create a fuseki/joseki dictionary for this player.

To use the SGF tree search, set up a search pattern, and then select SGF tree from the Database menu. You can configure the SGF tree search by specifying the following options:

Minimum number of hits
The search is continued only for continuations with at least as many hits as specified by this number. Black/white continuations are considered separately.
Maximum number of branches
If there are more continuations, only as many as specified here are considered. Continuations are ordered with respect to the given sort criterion (see below).
The depth of the search, i.e. the highest distance (number of moves) between the starting position and the search position.
Comment head
A line that will be prepended to every comment. The default, @@monospace will make Kombilo print the comment in a fixed-width font, which is better suited for tabular data then the default font.
Sort continuations by
The sort criterion for continuations.
Put results into new SGF file
If checked, then a new SGF file is created for the results. Otherwise, the results are appended to the current SGF file. In the latter case, the node with the search pattern must not have children.
Reset game list
If checked, the game list is reset to its state when the SGF tree search was started before each pattern search. Otherwise (the default), it is reset to its state after the pattern search for the parent node. In the first case, the numbers given in the SGF file (number of games, number of continuations) will include games where the relevant position arises with a different order of moves. With the default setting, only games where the position arises by the same order of moves as given by the SGF file are counted.

The node of the SGF file where you start the search must not have any children before the search.

Depending on the parameters and the size of your database, the computation might require thousands of pattern searches and thus could take quite some time. So it is recommended to try with smaller values first to get some feeling for the choice of parameters. You can always interrupt building the SGF tree using the red button in the top toolbar. This will not react immediately, but will stop the computation fairly quickly. The resulting SGF file will be incomplete, but all the data given there is correct.

Export search results

If you want to save some information on a pattern search, you can use the ‘Export search results’ function in the Database menu. This will open a new window with a very simple text editor. It will contain the search pattern, the search pattern with the continuations, some statistical information on the search, and the number of hits in each database.

You can edit the information and in the end save the text to a file. I would be interested in hearing your opinion if other or additional information should be given, or if the information should be presented in another format.

Before the text editor opens, you will be asked if you want “ASCII” or “Wiki” style output. Usually you will choose ‘ASCII’, which produces plain text. If you want to use the output for Sensei’s Library, choose ‘Wiki’ instead. You can also choose if all continuations, or if only ten of them should be displayed.

The text editor has a button which lets you include the complete current game list (names of players, etc.).

The game list

The game list shows the current list of games. Depending on your configuration, it shows the white player, the black player, the result, the date. In the options menu, you can choose to include (or exclude) the file name as the first item, and the date as the last item.

After a pattern search, the game list shows a list of hits for each game: the move number when the pattern occurred; the continuation (if any); a minus sign if the pattern occurred with black/white exchanged.

Entries with different color (or background color) reflect tags set on games. This behavior can be configured in kombilo.cfg.


The statistics tab shows information about the continuations in the most recent pattern search. For each of the 12 most common continuation, a bar indicates the frequency. The black/white parts of the bar indicate the number of times that black/white played in the pattern region immediately after the pattern was completed. The dark gray/light gray parts indicate the number of times that black/white played in the pattern region after a tenuki.

You can switch to date profile statistics by clicking the calendar icon (the right-most icon above the statistics tabs). This will display, for the most popular continuations, detailed information about the first/last hit (within the period of time chosen in the Options), and, if there were noticeably changes in popularity, the point in time when the move became popular (yellow marker), the average date (green marker), the point where it became less popular (red marker). Of course, this kind of information is pretty subjective; in other words, it is not so clear whether the formulas used for computing the marker positions yield relevant results. (Feedback appreciated!)

Date profile

The bar diagram shows the distribution of games in the current list in comparison to all games in the database, by date. The height of the bars indicate the proportion of games in current list versus games in complete database. The height of the bars does not contain absolute information, i.e. even if there are only very few games in the current list, the highest bar will have full height.


You can tag games in order to find them more easily and to carry through more complicated searches. The Tags tab lists all existing tags. The following ones are built into Kombilo and are set (semi-)automatically:

  • Handicap game; set automatically for all handicap games.
  • Professional (a game where at least one professional player plays). You can choose during processing whether and in which way Kombilo should set this tag.
  • Reference to commentary available; set automatically for all games for which a reference to a game comment in the literature is available. You can configure which books/journals should be considered here by editing the file kombilo.cfg accordingly.
  • Seen: set automatically for all games which you opened in the SGF viewer.

If you select a game in the game list, the tags which it carries are highlighted in the tag list. On the other hand, you can specify how tagged games should be marked in the game list (text color/background color).

Creating new tags/deleting tags

To create a new tag, add its abbreviation (which must not yet be taken) followed by a space and the description of the tag, like this:

N My new tag

and click the button showing a plus sign.

To delete a tag from the tag list (and hence to remove it from all games), enter its abbreviation and click the button showing a minus sign.

Setting/removing tags on games


To specify the tags of a single game, select the game in the game list. The tags which it currently carries are highlighted. You can now select/deselect tags in the tag list by clicking them (use Control-click to select multiple entries). To set the chosen combination of tags on the selected games, click the second button from the left in the tags toolbar.

To add a tag to all games currently in game list, enter its abbreviation into the text entry field, and click the third button from the left. To remove a tag from all games currently in the game list, enter its abbreviation into the text entry field and click the fourth button from the left (depicting a broom).

For instance, you could create a tag A Large Avalanche Joseki, do a pattern search for the large avalanche joseki, and tag all games in the resulting game list with the tag A. The you can easily search for all these games, also in combination with other tags, and you can search for all games where the large avalanche does not occur, by searching for not A - and again, this can be combined with searching for other tags.

Importing/exporting tabs

You can export the tags in your current database, and import them later to a (different) database. (Use the corresponding menu items in the Database menu.) The games are identified by the Dyer signature and some additional hash code, so the imported tags will be set precisely on the games with the same moves as the games that carried the tags when exporting.

GoTo field

Use this field (in the game info search tab) to jump to a game in the game list quickly by entering a few letters of the current sort criterion (see the options/game list menu). E.g., if you sort the games by date, entering 1990 will bring you to the games from 1999; if you sort the games by white player, entering Cho will bring you to the games with white player Cho.

Search history

A right-click on one of the board brings up a small menu, which lets you delete that entry, put the entry on hold resp. release it. In the options you can configure the maximum number of search patterns which should be remembered. If this number is reached, the oldest patterns are deleted, unless they are on hold.

You can also use the back button in the toolbar in the right hand column to return to the previous search pattern. The patterns are organized in a tree; this makes the back button work in the most sensible way. Depending on the depth inside this search history tree, the small boards are placed with a vertical offset. (This offset is assigned when the small board is created and not changed afterwards; if patterns in the tree are deleted, the depth of other patterns changes, but their vertical offset will not reflect this.)

Optionally, you can have the search history as the bottom pane of the left hand column.


In this tab, Kombilo prints out some information about its actions (timing of searches etc.).

Find duplicates

Use Find duplicates in the Database menu to produce a list of duplicates in the database (or rather, in all the databases that are currently active). The list will be presented in a new window and can be saved as a text file. The duplicate check will be strict (i.e., the Dyer signature and the final position will be compared) or non-strict (only the Dyer signatures will be compared) depending on the setting of the corresponding processing option. This option can be changed in the Edit DB list window or in the Options-Advanced menu.

The SGF editor

Most of the SGF editor handling should be self-explanatory, so this section is rather brief.


By default, Kombilo does not ask for a confirmation before discarding unsaved changes, or before deleting a game. You can change this in the options menu, or in the kombilo.cfg configuration file.

Guess mode

Activating the guess next move button (depicting a question mark) in the SGF edit toolbar in the data window starts Kombilo’s guess mode. That means that clicks on the board will be interpreted as guesses - if it coincides with the next move in the current SGF file, that move is played; otherwise no stone is placed on the board. For obvious reasons, the show next move option will be disabled as long as the guess mode is active..

When you switch to the ‘guess next move’ mode, a small frame appears next to the game tree, which gives you some feedback on your guesses. If your guess is right, it displays a green square (and the move is played on the board).

If the guess is wrong, it displays a red rectangle; the rectangle is roughly centered at the position of the next move, and the closer your guess was, the smaller is that rectangle. Furthermore the number of correct guesses and the number of all guesses, as well as the success percentage are given.

If you just can’t find the next move, you can always use the ‘Next move’ button above the board to move forward in the game.

Export current position/SGF

Similarly to the Export search results function, you can “Export current position” (in the database menu): this will open a text editor with the current position. Again, you can choose “ASCII” or “Wiki” type. In addition, Kombilo can put the next moves (up to 9 moves) on the board, marked by the numbers 1 to 9.

Finally, you can also export the SGF source of the current game (see the File menu), in a text editor.

Miscellaneous remarks

With the rotate/flip SGF file menu items (in the Edit menu), you can rotate and flip the game; the SGF file is changed so as to describe the game with the new orientation. This is useful if you want to change a game record to obey the usual convention that the first move is in the upper right corner.

With the split collection button (depicting scissors) right to the list of files, you can split one SGF file containing several games into a collection of files, one for each game.

With Copy current SGF files to folder in the Database menu you can copy the SGF files corresponding to the games currently in the game list to some folder (e.g. in order to use them with a different program).

@@monospace in SGF comments. If you put the string @@monospace as the first line of a comment of an SGF node, Kombilo will display the comment in a fixed width font. This is useful whenever you want to output tabular data in a node (see the sgftree script).

In the Game info edit window, in the Other SGF tags entry field you must enter correct SGF code, i.e. special signs such as ] and \ must be escaped by a preceding \.

Key and mouse bindings

Global key bindings

  • Control-r reset game list
  • Control-a clear board and reset game list
  • Control-s select statistics tab
  • Control-o select options tab
  • Control-g select game info search tab
  • Control-d select date profile tab
  • Control-t select tags tab
  • Control-p start pattern search
  • Control-b go back to previous search
  • Control-e print information about previous search pattern to log tab
  • Control-j toggle 1-click mode

If the search-history-as-tab option is 1, then there is also

  • Control-h select search history tab

Board key bindings

  • Left/right: back/forward 1 move
  • Up/down: back/forward 10 moves
  • Home/end: to start/end of game
  • PgUp/PgDown: navigate variations
  • Control-i: open game info

Game list key bindings

  • Up/down/PgUp/PgDown: move in game list
  • Home/End: scroll to left/right
  • Return: open selected game in viewer
  • Control-v: print Dyer signature of selected game to log tab

Mouse bindings

  • Use Left-click to put stones on the board.
  • With Right-click and drag, you select the search-relevant region.
  • Use Shift + Left-click you can put (change/remove) Wildcards on the board.
  • With Shift + Right-clicking on a stone, you can go to the point in the SGF file, where this stone was played.
  • The mouse wheel lets you scroll the game list, or scroll through the current game, depending on where the mouse pointer is located.
  • The next button triggers a pattern search, the back button goes back to the previous search. (This does not work on Windows.)

Configuring Kombilo

The most common options can be changed in the Options menu. (Choose Edit advanced options for some more obscure things like font sizes etc.) In special cases, you could edit the file kombilo.cfg directly (when Kombilo is not running). Finally, the appearance can be modified by creating/changing the file kombilo.app accordingly.

Window layout

You can change the width of the three columns of the main window, as well as the height of the entried in the left and right hand columns by dragging the “sashed” between them to the left/right (or up/down, resp.). Move your mouse pointer slowly over the region between the columns; it should change its look when you are over the sash.

See also the maximize window option.

Custom menus

The custom menus can be used to add your own menu entries. Upon selecting a menu entry, Kombilo can do a pattern search for some pre-defined pattern and/or a game info search and/or open a html file in your web browser. For example, you could create entries for fuseki or joseki patterns, for players, or for titles.

To edit the custom menus, select the corresponding entry in the Options menu. You see a list of the currently existing menus, submenus and entries. The first line with a * represents the Kombilo main menu. You can add submenus or entries to the menus, or delete them.

When an entry is selected, you can

  • Add pattern information by pressing the corresponding button. The pattern (and search-relevant region, and the search options) will then be associated with this menu entry.
  • Add game info information by clicking the corresponding button. The current entries in the game info search window will then be associated with the current menu entry.
  • Add a HTML file by entering the file name in the corresponding field, or by browsing for a file.

Options in the Options menu

Fuzzy stone placement Place the stones on the main board slightly off the exact point, in a random direction, to make the position look more natural. (Well, some people might think that it is just ugly, so you can switch it off here).

Show next move In case a SGF file has been loaded, show the position of the next move with a circle.

Show last move This marks the most recent move with a small circle. Thanks to Bernd Schmidt who provideda a patch for this. (The SGF file is not changed.)

Show Coordinates Show coordinates around the board.

Ask before discarding unsaved changes If this option is enabled, Kombilo will ask for confirmation before discarding unsaved changes in an SGF file (i.e. before deleting the game from the game list, and before exiting Kombilo).

Jump to match This controls the behaviour of the SGF viewer when you open a game from the game lis tafter a pattern search. If this option is checked, the viewer will jump directly to the position where the pattern you searched for was found in that game.

Smart fixed color If this option is enabled, the ‘fixed color’ option will be automatically enabled when you select the whole board as search-relevant region, and disabled when you select a smaller region. (You can nevertheless change that after selecting the region and before starting the search.) This is useful because if ‘fixed color’ is not used, Kombilo regards a position and the same position with swapped colors as equivalent; in the case of whole board searches that can lead to counter-intuitive results when you look at the continuations (e.g. place a black resp. white stone on the upper left resp. upper right hoshi, do a whole board search without ‘fixed color’, and look at the continuations).


Kombilo offers you to change its look according to one of a number of themes. Which themes are available depends on your operating system. Just try them out. The effects will be visible immediately (but the difference might not be all that large). The choice of themes depends on the operating system.


Kombilo tries to determine the language it should use from your operating system. If you want to change the language that Kombilo uses, you can do so using this menu. All languages for which a translation is available are shown, specified by their language code. Note that after changing the language, you must restart the program to make the change become effective.

The ‘Game list’ submenu

Sorting the game list First of all, in the ‘Game list’ submenu of the Options menu, you can choose how to sort the game list: by name of white or black player, date or filename.

You can reverse the whole game list by selecting the Reverse order option. So if you would like to sort the whole list by date, with the most current games at the top, you could disable ‘Sort per database’, choose ‘Sort by date’, and select ‘Reverse order’.

Show date/show filename Depending on where your SGF files come from, it might be interesting to include the filename in the game list (as was done automatically in previous Kombilo versions), or to omit it. Similarly, it might be interesting to include the date (if it cannot be read off from the file name, say, or to omit it). These two options allow you to control this. Changing either of these options will reset the game list.

Advanced Options

Almost all configurable options can be changed in the options menu, either directly or in the Edit advanced options window.

Description of most of the options:

Shaded stone mouse pointer (Don’t) Show the current position of the mouse pointer on the board and the color of the next stone to be played by a shaded stone.

Open game in external SGF viewer By default, by double-clicking on a game in a game list, the game is opened in Kombilo’s main window. (You can open the game in an external viewer, by shift-clicking, though). If this option is active, double-clicking opens the game in an external viewer (v.py or an alternative SGF viewer). In that case, shift-clicking opens the game in the Kombilo main window.

Alternative SGF viewer If you want to use your customary SGF viewer/editor instead of the viewer coming with Kombilo, enter the command to start it and the command line options that tell it to open a certain sgf file here (put an %f where the filename should be). (If your viewer supports it, you can also put an %n where the move number the viewer should jump to directly should be put.)

If your viewer supports jumping directly to a certain move in a game, you can use %n as a placeholder for the move number of the first hit. Similarly, if your viewer supports SGF collection, you can use %g as a placeholder for the number of the concerning game in the given SGF file.

Under Windows, the file name is put in quotes. This is necessary if the path contains spaces. If you don’t want the quotes (or want to set them yourself), you can use %F instead.

Maximize window (Windows only) If this is active, Kombilo will try to maximize its main window on startup. This option will become effective when you start Kombilo the next time (not immediately).

If you choose to open games in Kombilo’s external viewer, you can use the ‘Maximize external viewer’ option to have the viewer’s windows maximized.

search_history_as_tab (new in 0.7.1) Set this to 1 in order to put the search history frame as a tab in the right hand column. If the option is 0, then the search history will be displayed as the bottom pane of the left hand column. The default for this option is 1.

Uppercase labels If you want to use the ‘Export search results’ function to produce output for Sensei’s Library, it is useful to use lowercase labels for the continuations, since only lowercase letters are automatically understood by Sensei’s Library. If you do not want to do that, and find that uppercase labels look better, you can use this option.

Only one mouse button Some Mac OS X users have a mouse with only one button. Using this option, they can mark the search-relevant region with (left) mouse button click + drag. (On Macs, this is the default; on other operating systems, selecting the search region by right-click and drag is the default.)

Number of previous searches remembered As explained above, with the ‘back’ button you can jump back to the previous search. This option controls the number of previous searches that are remembered. The default is 30, and if your machine has only a small amount of memory, you probably should not set it much higher, or Kombilo might run out of memory and crash. On the other hand, if you have lots of memory, it might be convenient to set it to a higher number, or even to 0, which means ‘no limit’: all searches are remembered, as long as there is enough memory.

Some further internals such as the location of the database files could be accessed by editing the file kombilo.cfg directly. This file is a plain text file which you can edit yourself. You should not edit this file while Kombilo is running. It is created when Kombilo is started for the first time.


Location of the kombilo.cfg file

Depending on your platform, the kombilo.cfg file will be stored in the following place:

Linux/Mac OS: ~/.kombilo/08/, where ~ is your home directory; on Linux, this is typically /home/yourusername/.

Windows: In the folder kombilo\08\ inside the APPDATA folder; typically APPDATA is something like \Users\yourusername\AppData\Roaming\.

Lines starting with a # are comments. Most options are explained by comments in this file.

In addition to the options, you can also define how tagged games should be displayed (background/foreground color) in the game list, and which references to commentaries in the literature should be displayed in the game list.


You can change some ‘global properties’ like background color, type and size of the font used in the game list and in the text windows etc. by creating a file ‘kombilo.app’ in the same directory as kombilo.cfg. This is a plain text file; if you change it, please make sure to save the new version as plain text (ASCII), too.

Here is an example which shows the format of the file:

*font:                  Helvetica 10
*background:            grey88
*foreground:            black
*activeBackground:      grey77
*activeForeground:      black
*selectBackground:      grey77
*selectForeground:      black
*Listbox.background:    white
*Text.background:       white
*Entry.background:      white
*Canvas.background:     grey88
*Label.background:      grey88


The files containing the board image and the black and white stones are icons/board.png, icons/black.png and icons/whiteN.png, where N is a number between 0 and 15.


In case of errors, Kombilo writes some information to the file kombilo.err which is in the same directory as your kombilo.cfg file.

If you encounter problems, feel free to contact me.


Kombilo intentionally is an open-source project. It has profited much from the contributions of its users in the past, and all your feedback and contributions are very much appreciated.

Development is concentrated on the Kombilo project page on GitHub.

Tell me how you like Kombilo

Any kind of feedback is appreciated. Tell me which parts of Kombilo you like, and which ones need improvement. Did you use the Kombilo engine in your own scripts? I would be glad to learn about your results.

Ask questions, report bugs

If you have any problems, feel free to ask! Either by email at ug@geometry.de, or via the issue tracker.


I have lots of ideas of new features I would like to implement, and I also would like to learn your ideas and priorities!


If you have time to delve into Kombilo development, check out the git repository:

git clone https://github.com/ugoertz/kombilo.git

Feel free to fork the project and do send me pull requests for improvements or fixes you made.


I try to maintain a reasonably complete documentation, but there surely are gaps and probably some inaccuracies. Please notify me, if you think that something is not explained well.

Miscellaneous notes

References to commentaries

Kombilo has built in a list of references to game commentaries in the english go literature. The games are referenced by the Dyer signature (a signature assigned to the game which encodes the positions of move 20, 40, 60, 31, 51, 71, and which in practice characterizes a game uniquely); in particular Kombilo does not contain the game records. If Kombilo recognizes a game for which it has a reference, the corresponding line in the game list is highlighted by a light green background (by default - you can change this by editing the kombilo.cfg file), and a line which gives the actual reference is appended to the game info which is shown when that line in the game list is selected. (This is printed in blue, to show that it is not part of the game info proper, but was added by Kombilo.)


Currently, the list contains around 2000 references; in particular all issues of Go World, and many English books with game commentaries.

The references are stored in the file references in the data folder inside the main Kombilo directory. This is just a text file which you could edit yourself. The format should be self-explanatory. You can also download the current version of this file from the Kombilo source code repository and save it as the references file.

If you want only references to sources which you own to be shown, you can define exclude or include rules in the file kombilo.cfg.

Of course, additions to the list of references are very welcome. I think it would make sense to add references to other journals, like the American Go Journal, the British Go Journal, the Deutsche Go-Zeitung, the Revue Francaise de Go, etc.

Command line arguments


You can give file names of SGF files as command line arguments, and Kombilo will open these files upon startup. The file names should be given with the complete path. If blanks occur in the path or in the file name, it has to be put inside quotation marks.


The v.py SGF viewer accepts one SGF file name as the first argument, and optionally a move number as the second argument. The file will be opened at the specified move number.


Kombilo can use SGF files with non-ASCII characters such as umlauts (äöü), accents (éèê), asian language characters, etc, but currently it can only handle UTF-8-encoded files. Of course, in addition the appropriate fonts to display these characters must be installed on your computer.

Requirements on SGF files

There are a few requirements on the SGF files that are used in the databases. They will be satisfied by ordinary game records, but might not be satisfied by “strange” SGF files.

First of all, the filename of an SGF file always has to end in ‘.sgf’.

In addition, at the very beginning an initial position can be set up. This is what happens in handicap games, for example. So handicap stones are treated correctly. It is also possible to set up an initial position consisting of black and white stones, like a go problem. On the other hand, “during the game”, i.e. after the first black or white move has been played, no stones may be added or removed except for the ordinary alternating black/white moves (and except for captures, of course). In particular, all stones in the initial position have to be set up in the same node of the SGF file. Unfortunately, in a few handicap games of the Go Teaching Ladder, this is not the case; you will have to edit these files manually if you want to use them with Kombilo.

SGF collections: Kombilo’s SGF editor can handle SGF files with several games in them, and so can the search engine. Nevertheless it is not a good idea to use games in that form, for performance reasons. It is better to split the collections, and then feed them into Kombilo. The problem with collections is that whenever the SGF file has to be read (for game info searches or to display the game info), the whole collection has to be read from disk, and has to be parsed.

The viewer does accept most SGF features. It displays labels, but it does not properly display text labels with more than one letter/digit. It ignores some of the new SGF tags like “good for black”, “bad for white”, ... .

Kombilo ignores everything before the first ‘(;’. In particular, it will accept files with an email header and an SGF file after that. Be aware, though, that the header will be lost when you change the game info of that game: whenever Kombilo writes an SGF file, it will only write the game (resp. the game collection) itself.

Kombilo by default creates a separate database for each folder of SGF files (not including the files in subfolders - each subfolder will get its own database). This causes problems if you have your files in very many folders (hundreds, or more), because at certain points Kombilo will try to open all database files at the same time (e.g., when checking for duplicates). In that case, please uncheck the Create one DB per folder option.

Where to find game records

Here are some sources of game records: