Re: Proposal to add standardized variation sequences for chess notation

From: Michael Everson <>
Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2017 18:47:06 +0100

On 4 Apr 2017, at 17:58, Mark Davis ☕️ <> wrote:

> Amusing at this is, hard to believe that people are spending this much time on an April Fool's posting.

I wondered how long it would take for someone to be taken in. The joke, of course, was hidden not inside the proposal, but inside the date.

> I'm looking forward to similar postings on checkers

You haven’t bothered to read the proposal, have you?

> and go pieces.

Gō notation is rather different and this kind of solution might not be appropriate for it. That, however, is a different problem unrelated to this proposal.

> As a matter of fact, one that proposes adding new characters for every possible configuration of a go board would be imaginative.

You really haven’t bothered to read the proposal, have you?

> And I'm looking also forward to the ♖+ZWJ+⬛️ (etc) proposal.

I recommend that you read the proposal before attempting to dismiss it.

Michael Everson

PS. Interested readers may wish to review some other proposals by myself and others.

N4014 2011-04-01 was successful
N4012 2011-04-01 was successful
N4011 2011-04-01 was not successful*
N3412 2008-04-01 was not successful
N3066 2006-04-01 was successful
N2935 2005-04-01 was successful
N258A 2003-04-01 was not successful
N2338 2001-04-01 was successful
N2326 2001-04-01 was not successful

*Though given recent symbol work by some it might be prudent to revive some part of this one.

PSS: While games like chess, draughts, gō, and xiàngqí are pastimes, they are also complex intellectual pursuits which have amassed a sizeable literature over many centuries. Chess notation and chess diagrams is a good example. Kifu notation for gō is another.

The UCS encodes characters which represent the pieces of many games. It is reasonable to expect that people may wish to use these characters to represent game data.

Asmus’ idea that the 12 chess characters be duplicated or triplicated in order to set chess diagrams is wasteful of encoding space and not extensible either. We have seen that some 84 additional chess characters have been proposed; it would be a very bad idea to expand that to 168 or 252 characters. The appropriate way to respond to the great many differences in the ASCII-encoded existing chess fonts is to simply make use of existing characters in the standard to alter, in a systematic and standardized way, the glyph representation of the 12 already-encoded characters with 2 other already-encoded characters, as described in the proposal.

Years ago a proposal similar to Asmus’ was made, in discussion if not in a formal document. The answer was “a higher level protocol would be best for chessboard notation”. Well, the simplest higher-level protocol for this is to use variation selectors to alter the font display, just as we use them for DIGIT ZERO, 16 Myanmar letters, INTERSECTION, UNION, SUBSET OF WITH NOT EQUAL TO, a bunch of other mathematical characters and more than 300 pictographs.

Michael Everson
Received on Tue Apr 04 2017 - 12:47:46 CDT

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