Re: Proposal to add standardized variation sequences for chess notation

From: Christoph Päper <>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2017 01:21:04 +0200 (CEST)

Michael Everson <>:
> On 1 Apr 2017, at 21:57, Christoph Päper <> wrote:
> > □ U+25A1 and, especially, ▨ U+25A8 for empty fields on a board make no
> > sense.
> Not so. Think about the data.

I do, but I'm thinking about the character, too.

> Please distinguish characters from glyphs.

I do. To draw board diagrams, you need a character for "field with no game piece
on it". You *do not* need two characters, "white field" and "black field"!

It's just a (very strong) convention to draw every other field in a different
color; they are also distinguished by coordinates A1 through H8. That is why I
agree with your proposal to use variation sequences for chess and checkers
pieces. The background color poses no semantic difference, except for the
bishops perhaps. I'm only suggesting you apply the same logic to empty fields. I
evidently don't know which existing character serves that role best, but I
strongly believe it should be a single one, not a pair chosen for their glyphs.

    <char> FE00; White chessboard square; #
    <char> FE01; Black chessboard square; #

instead of

    <white char> FE00; White chessboard square; #
    <black char> FE00; Black chessboard square; #

> The white square on a chessbord is not a separating nothingness. It’s a white
> square.

Unless there are Fairy Chess boards that have adjacent squares of the same color
or three different colors with arbitrary distribution, white and black are just
optional visual cues for alternating fields.

You might argue that using separate whitish and blackish square characters for
empty fields provides for better fallback rendering, but the pieces will have no
background and possibly render proportionally, too.

> The point is to have the underlying board data as plain text, and that means
> just using the chess pieces and conventional white and black squares.

No, this approach would properly require alternate code points for all chess
pieces, just with a different background, like legacy fonts provide.

> > 20DE FE00; Combining white chessboard square; # COMBINING ENCLOSING SQUARE
> > 20DE FE01; Combining black chessboard square; # COMBINING ENCLOSING SQUARE
> That’s not remotely tempting. It would offer no advantage and would needlessly
> complicate the system.

I meant the proposal should explain why this approach would be worse.

> > this would require only two new entries in StandardizedVariants.txt and be
> > more flexible regarding alternate (Fairy Chess) game pieces

See? I provided two advantages.

> > – including emojis.
> This proposal has nothing to do with emojis.

Maybe I should have included a winking smiley here.

> Should fairy chess characters be added to the standard, some additional
> entries would be added to StandardizedVariants.txt, yes.
> This is a finite set, however, and this should not be problematic to anybody.

With a Combining character, fellow Fairy Chess inventors would not be limited to
the characters added specifically for this purpose. If they wanted to introduce
a Dragon piece, for instance, they could use U+1F432-FE0E-20DE-FE00/1 to
represent it.
Received on Sun Apr 02 2017 - 18:22:49 CDT

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