Re: Proposal to add standardized variation sequences for chess notation

From: Kent Karlsson <>
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2017 23:13:44 +0200

Den 2017-04-05 16:48, skrev "Michael Everson" <>:

        Kent, I canıt read this in a plain-text e-mail.

Well, it was SUPPOSED to be explicit HTML code in the email. It was NOT the
intent that the given example was to be
rendered directly in the email (even if you have HTML emails enabled).
Further, I would write the code a bit differently,
in order to easily be able to map your proposed encoding for (parts of)
chessboards to HTML. But at this point I did not
want to change the referenced example (written by someone posting to in any significant way.

So yes, if you want to see the result of the HTML code, paste the HTML code
to a plan text editor, name the file
you save it to "chess.html", and view that file in a browser. That display
in turn may be cut and pasted to another
document, depending on the capabilities of the app used to edit that other
document. The paste may, admittedly
result in an awful and uneditable result.

I agree that the HTML code is a bit of a mouthful (and I would also do it a
bit differently), and also has the problem
mentioned in the previous paragraph). Which is why I support your proposal,
but with these modifications:

 - with the extra requirement to have VSs also for the boarder line drawing
characters (to make them fit for
   drawing chess board boarders, in a general purpose font), and

 - some bidi fix [preferably making the box/border drawing characters bidi
"L", if possible; otherwise a caveat that
   if there is an expectation to paste in such a board into an RTL document,
bidi controls need be used to LTR the board]).

Nit: You sometimes seem to have made the line spacing slightly larger (like
2 points) larger than the character width.
Should they not be exactly the same, to get the best (square) display of the
chess boards? (Not that it is very visible,
but a bit.)

/Kent K

I think the "ligatures" approach is a dead end.
 - As you mention, the fallback will have very different line lengths for
the lines of a board display,
   and thus basically unreadable.
 - If ZWJ is not needed, one will need two *new* characters that (in some
fonts) ligate with chess pieces.
   No existing character should ever ligate with chess pieces.
 - If ZWJ is needed, then one can use some existing characters as board
 - In either case, it is not clear (or obvious) which should come first, a
chess piece or a board square.
   There will surely be mistakes, giving them in the wrong order (not a
problem in your proposal).
 - My personal guesstimate is that there will be much fewer fonts that would
implement the ligation
   (if that approach was to be chosen), than would implement the VS approach
you are suggesting.

Thus I support your proposal, since that gives:
  - Good fallback (readable, though ugly).
  - Fairly good display when the VS sequences are interpreted (and the font
is otherwise reasonable),
    and "good" context (line height setting, not too short lines so that
auto line breaking is avoided, ...).
  - Easier to machine parse than the ligatures approach; and MUCH easier to
parse than an HTML version.
  - Easy to convert to (say) HTML for even better display in (say) HTML
pages (CAN look much better,
    and NO dependence on line height setting or line width setting (or bidi
direction derivations), but
    just that the table (for the board) is reasonably done.

Den 2017-04-05 16:48, skrev "Michael Everson" <>:

> Kent, I canıt read this in a plain-text e-mail. I canıt paste it into an
> ordinary word-processor like Word as in my previous response to Markus, or in
> Pages (left) or LibreOffice (right) as shown here. (I simply pasted in the
> text from Word to each of those. Itıs odd to see that there is some variation
> in display the text without selecting it and applying the correctly-configured
> font to it, but when thatıs done, the correct display is given (modulo some
> leading issues which I didnıt focus on in either).
> The workaround you give is just that. It works. Itıs not usefully portable or
> user-friendly, and as higher-letter protocols go, it hasnıt swept away all
> competition for presenting chessboards. People use ASCII or MS Symbol-based
> fonts not even with any Unicode characters in them.
Received on Wed Apr 05 2017 - 16:14:10 CDT

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