Re: Proposal to add standardized variation sequences for chess notation

From: Michael Everson <>
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2017 20:32:44 +0100

It’s wonderful that Mr Verdy opposes my proposal. I must be doing something right.

On 5 Apr 2017, at 20:13, Philippe Verdy <> wrote:

> 2017-04-05 18:28 GMT+02:00 William_J_G Overington <>:
> For example, where WOMAN ZWJ ROCKET produces a glyph for a LADY ASTRONAUT, thus a change of meaning and I think that it went to UTC as there was a change of meaning but I am not congruently sure of that..
> You're right here. The absence of ZWJ clearly means separate symbols side by side

Wrong. ZWJ has no particular directional semantics.

> (wether they will align vertically or match their metrics is not relevant here but we already see that this is a problem for displaying actual boards with the "method" proposed by Micheal Everson for use in plain text,

I have no trouble whatsoever making use of the three prototype fonts which make use of variation selectors to set chessboards of various sizes and with pieces anywhere I need them to be. The proposal document clearly shows examples of the boards, set with the fonts using the substitutions I specify.

What, then, is the problem for display?

> which just looks for me as only a hack (not a serious encoding proposal),

It is quite serious. It solves a long-standing problem which everyone has ignored.

> just as if we were replacing all German sharp s letters by Greek beta letters, only because they more or less "look the same”.

Lovely! A completely random analogy that has nothing whatsoever to do with this proposal.

> You can perfectly have a board displayed beside normal text which may contain some chess pieces, not intended to combine with the surrounding board, even if both symbols may also appear side by side (with independant metrics) in text paragraphs.

Yes, Mr Verdy. That’s just exactly what my proposal says. You can use one font, with some extra glyphs attained by use of VS, to set chesspieces in text and to set chessboards alongside them. All using Unicode characters, not competing ASCII encodings which prevent harmonization of chessboard data now.

There’s even an example of this in my proposal. Perhaps you didn’t read it. Can you find the Figure I refer to?

> Given what has been encoded for other Emojis, ZWJ should be usd between symbols that are supposed to combine visually (such as MAN+WOMAN).

Chess characters aren’t emojis.

> The encoding should still respect the logic,

The logic of the use of VS in this proposal is no different from the logic used with them in maths, or in Myanmar, or even in some emoji.

> just like we do in normal scripts (independantly of the fact they may have different visual ordering/layout, or could have similar glyphs properly disunified because of their needed distinct semantic properties).

A pawn is a pawn is a pawn. Sometimes I need the glyph for a pawn to appear in a certain way in order to do something nice like set a chessboard.

> Note als othat these "chess pieces" are not just intended to be used only with chesses,

If there are other uses which can be made of chess pieces, then those uses can be investigated in due course by someone interested in that.

> and various board types may be used (not only with square cells, for example there are rectangular ones or triangular for Shogi pieces in Japan,

Shogi is not chess. Shogi notation is not like chess notation, either. Try to focus on the actual proposal.

> the cell colors also have their own meanings, and special boards may have their own cells changing colors to add other rules).

Red herring. This has nothing to do with the PRIMARY USE of chess characters, which is inline in text to describe chess problems in various notations, and also to set chessboard diagrams.

> Note that Shogi has other pieces with distinct semantics.

Shogi isn’t chess.

> The pieces are generally flat and can be tuned to the other side to show their promotion. Traditional pieces use cursive Kanjis, but there are modernised **variants** using linear glyph shapes, or westernized shapes with Latin letters or geometric symbols, or even reusing the chess pieces (including the Queen for the Gold General; or the King for the Jewel/Jade General/Master and for its "White" Challenger), but making distinctions between horses (horses-dragoons) and cavalry. When promoting using chess pieces, the promotion may be shown by placing the chess piece.on top of a draught piece or coin/token. Coins/tokens are used to promote pawns (just stack two pieces like in draught game).

Shogi isn’t chess.

I thank Mr Verdy for his defence of my proposal.

Michael Everson
Received on Wed Apr 05 2017 - 14:33:07 CDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Wed Apr 05 2017 - 14:33:07 CDT