Chess Publishing (headline)

Chess Magnetic This page is an introduction to chess publishing - or rather some tools of the trade.
Read about:

  • Chess diagrams for printing - like in newsletters and books
  • Chess diagrams for webpages
  • Java applets for showing chess games online
  • Chess fonts for diagrams and figurine notation
  • Chess graphics
  • If you can't wait to see what we have got - programs, fonts and graphics - follow the links directly to the relevant pages:

    Chess Diagrams Diagram utilities. Java applets for showing games online. HTML generators.
    Palview Palview converts PGN files with chess games to HTML/javascript for online viewing on a webpage.
    Chess Fonts A wealth of chess fonts for diagrams and figurine notation.
    Chess Fonts FAQ Advice about the use of chess fonts. Common problems.
    Chess Graphics Chess graphics (B/W) for download.

    Chess Diagrams

    There are various ways to make chess diagrams for print or webpages. On the page Chess Diagrams we describe and offer links to several programs and utilities (freeware and shareware). Below is an introduction to the subject.

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    Diagrams for print

    There are two ways to make diagrams for print (like in e.g. newsletters): you either make it as a graphics file or as "text" with chess fonts.

    The oldest method is to make the diagram with a program that saves it as a graphics file (bmp, gif, pcx or the like). Afterwards you insert the diagram as a picture in your document.

    A newer and more flexible way is to use chess fonts (true type, postscript or tex). How it works is described in more detail under Chess Fonts, but the utilities that make it child's play are described on the page Chess Diagrams.

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    For Webpages

    Diagrams for webpages are always graphics, and the best formats are gif or jpg because they use less space and load faster. Some programs save the diagram as bmp (bitmap) and it could be worth your while to convert it to gif or jpg. Gif-pictures can be animated and used to show (maybe repeatedly) a few moves.

    There are two basic ways to make web-diagrams: either as one picture or pieced together from several smaller pictures - like a jigsaw puzzle. The latter can be an advantage if you have several diagrams on one page; many of the smaller pieces may be used many times, but need to be loaded only once, and thus the page as a whole will load faster.

    This kind of diagrams ("jigsaw puzzles") are also used by the so-called HTML generators (like e.g. Czech) that create HTML files with diagrams from a pgn file. You can play through the game and read gamescore and comments at the same time.

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    Java Applets

    If you want to show games on your website you must realise that very few surfers actually have chessboard and pieces next to their monitor and keyboard. Surfing the net you see a lot of chess pages with games in text and with a few diagrams - just as like a printed newsletter or the like. How many of these games, do you think, are actually played through by the visitor? How often do you print a webpage? Do you have a chessboard close by when you surf the net?

    Java applets can be a nice alternative to text and diagrams, because the surfer can view the game(s) on the screen. All he needs to do is wait for the applet to load, and usually he can then disconnect, if he wants to. With HTML generators you must keep the connection to load the next move.

    Most surfers use Explorer or Netscape, but if you want to use Java on your site you must be aware that some other browsers don't understand the Java stuff, and older versions of Explorer/Netscape can't read newer Java versions.

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    Chess fonts are used for diagrams or figurine notation. Some fonts also have symbols for comments (like +- etc.) and others have symbols that can be used for illustrations or chess clipart.

    The advantage of chess fonts is primarily that it is easy to make diagrams if you have a pgn file - and there are many font designs available. Also the diagram takes up very little space, because it is text and not graphics.

    On the page Chess Fonts FAQ is advice on how to use chess fonts and solve known problems - problems often made by so-called "intelligent" word processors.

    A chess font is a font just like Arial, Helvetica, Times etc., but instead of ordinary letters like A, B, C (or besides) the letters are replaces by chess figurines or symbols. If you have selected a chess font in your word processor and press a key (e.g. K), you get a figurine on a square and not a letter. In that way you can build a diagram or write games with figurine notation.

    In principle a diagram is exactly like:

    But instead of stars and letters you get squares with or without chess figurines. The chess figurines are squares (same height and width) so when pieced together you get a diagram. Very simple.

    To get going you need to install a chess font, and on the page Chess Fonts are several free fonts. A new font is easily installed from the control panel, and the procedure is described in Window's help file.

    Making diagrams manually with chess fonts requires time and patience, but fortunately there are programs, which make things easy. In commercial programs like ChessBase you can play through a game and pick the position of which you want a diagram. There are freeware programs that can do the same thing - and they offer a wider choice of fonts than e.g. ChessBase. You can find these programs on the page Chess Diagrams.

    These programs typically save or copy the "text" - the diagram - as RTF (Rich Text Format) which almost any word processor can read. That allows you to paste or insert the textfile into your document, and you've got your diagram. Other programs embed the diagram as an object (OLE), and there are Word macros that can create a document with diagrams from a pgn file.

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    Chess Graphics

    Reading a publication without pictures or illustrations is like walking in a desert with no oases be it a printed newsletter or a webpage. A picture breaks the monotony of the typeface, offers rest to the eye and often delivers a message with more punch than many a word.
    Kings (14 kb)

    On our page
    Chess Graphics are humble B/W pictures (like the one above) especially suited for printing in e.g. club newsletters. The Mecca of chess graphics is Alan Cowderoy's site Chess Graphics.

    If you use photos on your web page the resolution should be no higher than 72 DPI/PPI (dots per inch). A higher resolution will not improve the quality on screen and only slow down your page. For colour photos the best format is jpg, which compresses the file. However quality suffers from too high a compression rate. The best compression rate - compromise between quality and speed - depends on the picture, and the best advice is: experiment!

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