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Shogi Notation

PostPosted: 02 Oct 2018, 00:47
by Gabriel_Ruan
Hello again. In many respects, Winboard is a lot more versatile than all the shogi software I've seen. I've just been having trouble with the notation. Each rank has a letter, and the files are numbered, and it accepts this system of shogi notation when inputting moves, but the move list is chess-like. For instance, P7F returns c4. How non-trivial would it be to implement shogi notation in the move list? Just curious. Thanks.

Re: Shogi Notation

PostPosted: 02 Oct 2018, 08:51
by H.G.Muller
From a programming point of view it would probably be nearly trivial to generate Shogi notation while printing moves. At first glance it only seems to require converting any square coordinates (by subtracting them from 'a' + '9'), and not treating Pawns special (so their piece ID 'P' will be printed with the move). This could be made subject to a persistent command-line option. To get it consistenty right the coordinates printed on the boards would also have to be changed. WinBoard already understands PSN or even Japanese Kifu on input.

It is more a matter of design philosophy. There are many chess variants, and if you would implement a special notation for Shogi, then why not for Xiangqi? Or Chu Shogi? Or Kyoto Shogi? Or who knows what else is out there? So I decided to stick in WinBoard to one standard for everything. Which for the game notation is PGN.

In the particular case of Shogi there is the extra consideration that 99.9% of all Shogi players live in Japan, and they would be just as unhappy with PSN as with PGN. This kind of subverts the argument that Shogi deserves an exception because it is a major chess variant: measured by the size of the PSN-using Shogi community it is only a very minor chess variant. And it would be a bad idea to bloat WinBoard with all kind of not-generally useful functions that almost no one would ever use or need. You are the first one to raise this point, in the 10 years that WinBoard supports Shogi.

Re: Shogi Notation

PostPosted: 07 Oct 2018, 22:24
by Gabriel_Ruan
You raise some valid points, especially with regards to the many chess variants in existence. I'm not familiar with xiangqi, but there's no reason why all shogi variants shouldn't use the same system of notation, and if it's worth packaging them in a separate fork, then perhaps it's worth reconsidering this particular feature.

Don't get me wrong, I would absolutely prefer it if the shogi world could settle on a single style of notation, especially one that isn't needlessly different from what I'm used to as a chess player. We are talking about ranks and files here, after all. That being said, they haven't, which is why most GUI's, including an app on my phone, offer 3-4 options and as many as 18 (!!!). For better or worse, not a single one of them alphabetizes files like in chess.

Just something to think about. Truth be told, all I'm looking to do is play blindfold shogi without looking at the board. Thanks anyway.

PS: As an aside, can Mighty Lion chess be played against an engine? I couldn't quite figure it out. Thanks again!