In Ubuntu, if you’re going to play chess game on the internet or against computer, Gnuchess with Eboard is a good choice.

Gnuchess is an updated version of the GNU chess playing program is has simple alpha-numeric board display, and is also compatible with frontends like Xboard and Eboard.

To install the chess game program, open Ubuntu Software Center, search and install Gnuchess. Then, choose to install a frontend under add-ons.

After installation, launch Eboard (I chose eboard while installing gnuchess). An getting start window shows how to play with it.

Playing against the computer
eboard does not “play chess” itself, but rather is works as interface to programs that do,
called “engines”, which don’t have a graphical interface themselves. You need an engine to
play against the computer. GNU Chess, Crafty and Sjeng are chess engines that are available at
no cost.
Once you have one of them installed, open the Peer menu, then the Play against
engine submenu, and select the appropriate option depending on which engine you have
installed.

Playing Chess on the Internet
Eboard supports the FICS protocol. FICS runs at freechess.org, but other servers, such as
US Chess Live, use FICS’s software and should work with eboard too. ICC is not supported.
To connect to FICS, open the Peer menu, click Connect to FICS. To connect to
other servers, open the Peer menu, click Connect to Other Server….
While you can login as guest on FICS, you’ll enjoy it better as a registered user. Registration
is done through FICS’s site at http://www.freechess.org, and it’s free.

Browsing PGN Games
PGN is the most common file format to store chess games. It can store moves and comments
(annotations). To open this kind of file within eboard, open the Windows menu, click
Games on Client. In the Local Game List dialog, click Load PGN…. To browse a
game, select it and click Display. A new tab will be created in the main window
with the game.