30 May 2009

A Simple Chess960 Database for Tracking SPs

As outlined in Blog Posts Cross Referenced to Start Positions, I initialized a database of chess960 start positions (SPs) by creating an anchor for the first SP of each month. The posts are accessible from the 'Blog Archive' in the sidebar. The image shows what the database currently looks like for the last three months of 2001, where 1 December 2001 corresponds to SP699, etc.

Not much to write home about, is it? Here's the same table from the previous post pegged to specific dates. It lists SPs about which I've already written plus a mention of why I used it.

One issue is how to treat posts that discuss twin SPs: link them once or twice? Another is how much material to reference for SP518 (the traditional start position), which comes up frequently for the purpose of comparison.

Note that this structure offers two ways to use posts tied to a specific day. A single day can have an unlimited number of posts (although there might be a practical limit that I'm not aware of) -or- a day can have one running post with separators for different topics related to that day. Also possible is a mix of the two structures.

23 May 2009

Blog Posts Cross Referenced to Start Positions

One of the reasons to create a blog specifically for chess960 (see First Post, New Blog) is to cross reference blog posts with discussions on specific start positions (SPs). For example, here are posts where I've already discussed a specific SP. There are two posts that discuss SP534, but they are not linked together.

Using a blog as a database to manage content isn't obvious, but I hit on the idea of assigning specific historical dates to specific SPs. For example, 1 January in the year 1 AD (or any day in that year) could be SP001, a day in the year 2 AD could be SP002, and so on through 1 January 960 for SP960. (In fact, chess960 SPs are numbered 0 to 959, but that's a detail that doesn't change the concept.)

A key question to use this scheme is how far back I can pre-date blog posts. I tested the possibilities in Find Earliest Possible Post, and discovered that Blogger.com -- the software service domain for blogs published at Blogspot.com -- allows only the dates 1 January 2000 or later. This is a limitation for blogs that treat historical subjects. I can easily imagine that it would be useful for a WWII blog to pin posts against specific dates in the 1930s and 1940s, or for an American Civil War blog to tie posts to dates in the 1860s. Since Blogspot doesn't work that way, I had to find another method.

Another idea would be to use the category concept to tie posts together. For example, a category called 'SP518' would pull together all posts referencing the traditional start position (RNBQKBNR), while category 'SP534' would do the same for its twin (RNBKQBNR). This might in fact be the best method to keep track of SPs. One drawback is that with 960 categories, the length of the category sidebar would become a nuisance to scroll.

Next I hit on the idea of assigning SPs to specific dates starting 1 January 2000. That date would be used for SP000, 2 January would be SP001, and so on. It's a little clumsy to keep track of which date corresponds to which SP, but it's easy to invent navigational tools that locate SPs quickly. The category system isn't excluded for important positions like SP518.

The start of each month maps to specific SPs according to the following table. Using this scheme the post 'SP787 - Chess960? I'm Hooked!' would be referenced under 27 February 2002.

2000-01-01 (31 days) : SP000 BBQNNRKR
2000-02-01 (29 days) : SP031 NQNRKRBB
2000-03-01 (31 days) : SP059 NNRQBKRB
2000-04-01 (30 days) : SP090 NNRKBBRQ
2000-05-01 (31 days) : SP120 NBQRBNKR
2000-06-01 (30 days) : SP151 NRBNQKRB
2000-07-01 (31 days) : SP181 NRBBNKRQ
2000-08-01 (31 days) : SP212 NBBQRKNR
2000-09-01 (30 days) : SP243 BNRKQNRB
2000-10-01 (31 days) : SP273 BNRBKNRQ
2000-11-01 (30 days) : SP304 BBNQRKRN
2000-12-01 (31 days) : SP334 NRQKRBBN
2001-01-01 (31 days) : SP365 NRKBRQBN
2001-02-01 (28 days) : SP396 QBRNNKBR
2001-03-01 (31 days) : SP424 RBNQBNKR
2001-04-01 (30 days) : SP455 RNBNKQRB
2001-05-01 (31 days) : SP485 QRBBNKNR
2001-06-01 (30 days) : SP516 RBBNQKNR
2001-07-01 (31 days) : SP546 BRNKNBQR
2001-08-01 (31 days) : SP577 BQRBNKRN
2001-09-01 (30 days) : SP608 BBRNQKRN
2001-10-01 (31 days) : SP638 RNKQRBBN
2001-11-01 (30 days) : SP669 RNKBRNBQ
2001-12-01 (31 days) : SP699 RQKNBNRB
2002-01-01 (31 days) : SP730 RKNQBBNR
2002-02-01 (28 days) : SP761 RKNBBNRQ
2002-03-01 (31 days) : SP789 RQBBKNRN
2002-04-01 (30 days) : SP820 RBBKNQRN
2002-05-01 (31 days) : SP850 BRKNRBNQ
2002-06-01 (30 days) : SP881 BRQBKRNN
2002-07-01 (31 days) : SP911 RKQRNNBB
2002-08-01 (31 days) : SP942 RKRNQBBN

Note that I've excluded 29 February 2000 from the table. This keeps the numbering consistent across Februaries in different years. I'll introduce this scheme over the next few days to see how it works in practice.

16 May 2009

First Post, New Blog

This blog is an evolution of the posts that I've been running since August 2008 on my Chess for All Ages blog: Showing posts with label Chess960. For now, I'll continue writing about chess960 at the rhythm of one post per week.