06 July 2010

Diagram Testing, Testing, 1-2-3

Continuing with How I Spent My Summer Vacation, any aspiring chess player and/or chess writer needs chess software. I rely on two programs: (1) to manage chess games and (2) to manage chess engines. Until my old laptop started coughing and wheezing, I was happy with (1) the first version of Chessbase Light (CB4?, 1998) and (2) Arena (see Adventures with Arena & Rybka for more about the engines). On my new laptop I quickly discovered that the old version of CBLight no longer worked under Windows 7, while Arena worked without problems. What to do about CBLight?

The most important functions I need to manage chess games are entering moves & variations, entering comments, and creating diagrams. I also have some need to manage databases of games, but as I become increasingly enchanted by chess960, this requirement is becoming less important. After trying a handful of packages, I settled on Scid. It handles chess moves, variations, and comments well enough (although with several annoying quirks), but what about diagrams?

I worked out an appropriate board size, piece style, and color, but what does it looks like in practice? Here is the first diagram I used on this blog, from a post titled C.J.S. Purdy's Correspondence Skullduggery:

Old Version

And here is the same position created using Scid:

New Version

It looks good on my draft HTML page, but how will it look on Blogspot.com?


Later: The new image size is smaller by 10 pixels on each side, but the border for the notation coordinates is a bit too wide. The most important factor is whether the diagram interferes with grasping the position. In this respect, I think it's satisfactory. • One important difference: the old version is a GIF, while the new version is a JPG. GIFs usually look better with line art, but I couldn't get the image software to work correctly. More work needed...


Even later: Here are JPG and GIF versions...



...The JPG version shows distortions around the pieces, the Black Bishop in particular, and the file size is about 60% larger than the GIF. In the future I'll use the GIF version.

1 comment:

David said...


Nice advice! You might also want to try out to use the PNG format and save the image as a 8bit PNG. I tried with your last GIF and was able to reduce the size from 5598 bytes to 2445 bytes. I used Photoshop CS3 "Save for Web and Devices" feature!