brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell

1Apr/070

Things like this make my head hurt…

I have thought about dusting off my never-finished (or even really started) checkers program that I aborted work on about three years ago. I basically know very little about checkers, but the rules are a little more straightforward, which makes creation of a checkers program of average quality probably slightly easier than writing a chess program of average quality.

One of the minor details you have to get right is how the notation works (how squares are numbered etc). So, I surfed over to Jim Loy's page on the subject. It includes the following statement:

Note that even though the game of checkers is played on the dark squares of the board, in checkers diagrams the pieces are on the light squares, to enhance readability. Note also that the official colors for the pieces are red and white. In older publications, they are called black and white. If you have a checker set with black and red pieces, the black pieces are called red, and the red pieces are called white. Sorry, that's the way it is.

So even though you are supposed to play with the dark square on the players left, his diagrams show light squares on the players left. Even though checkers is played on dark squares, his diagrams show you playing on light squares. All those $.99 checkers sets you get have red and black checkers, but real checkers is played with red and white markers, so if you want to play it with your cheap set, black is red and red is white. Oh, and red moves. I mean black.

Ouch.

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Addendum: A couple of years ago I was working on a PostScript font for typesetting checkers games. I can't find the work I did, so I decided to try to dust off those braincells and work on it again. All this blather about colors above made me want them to work in color. This is ugly, but at least shows the basic idea:

White to move, and win

Red is seated at the bottom, White at the top. White to move and win.

Addendum2: In many ways, i like the old font that I did better (it has that classic look). I'll probably try to resurrect it, but I did learn some things about PostScript fonts this time, so it will probably work better.

Old Font, alas, Lost

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