Proposal to add standardized variation sequences for chess notation

Garth Wallace gwalla at
Wed Apr 5 09:52:16 CDT 2017

On Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 7:14 AM Michael Everson <everson at> wrote:

> Argh, Garth… please don’t shoot down our own proposal…

I'm not, I'm just saying that if having symbols without VS not match either
of the VSes is a sticking point, it's not hard to work around.

> > On 5 Apr 2017, at 03:41, Garth Wallace <gwalla at> wrote:
> >
> > I haven't worked on font fallback but maybe I can add something to this.
> >
> > Honestly, I'm not sure we need to make a distinction between
> piece-on-light-square and piece-in-notation at the SVS level.
> Yes, we do, if we want the data to be well formed.
> > Currently, chess fonts can be (roughly) divided into "diagram fonts" and
> "notation fonts”.
> That’s not true. There are some which do all three.

There are, sure. I said roughly: many don't do both & rely on

> > A diagram font:
> > - Is fixed-width (at least for the chess figurines themselves)
> > - Centers each figurine in the character cell
> > - Has a means of producing dark squares and on-dark-square equivalents
> of the figurines, either through separate allocation or a "combining dark
> square background" mechanism (usually a negative kerning hack)
> > - Usually has board border elements, and may have decimal digits and a
> subset of the lowercase Basic Latin alphabet for labeling ranks and  files
> Gods, no. I was hoping to avoid the digits and letters for now. We mustn’t
> scare them.

Well, they're just letters and digits. They aren't treated specially.

> > None of the features required for a diagram font are unacceptable in
> figurine notation:
> The white ones may be too wide for use in text.

Not visually ideal, but legible.

> > In addition, when figurines for notation and for diagrams are
> distinguished, they are distinguished above the character level, in runs of
> like type: rows of a diagram, or lines of figurine notation.
> No, that’s spelling.
> Michael
> Sigh.
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