The initial board setup:
The character mapping I used was culled from the most popular mappings
which I found at the very helpful Web site of the Nørresundby
|W on light||k||q||r||b||n||p||space|
|W on dark||K||Q||R||B||N||P||/|
|B on light||l||w||t||v||m||o||space|
|B on dark||L||W||T||V||M||O||/|
With the above mapping, the initial board setup, with borders, in text is:
4 / / / /5
4/ / / / 5
4 / / / /5
4/ / / / 5
I've done limited testing, but have seen good results on Windows 3.11,
Windows 95, and Windows NT.
For some reason it there is a display bug on my NT station, but it prints properly.
The second type uses ordinary checkers with chess figurines embossed, stamped, printed or otherwise displayed on them. These can provide better distinction between pieces, but they are generally of poor quality, the symbols are far from standard, and every piece must be oriented toward the viewer.
I asked myself why it was that these sets, whose boards are typically five inches square, were deemed too small to use, when if fact most chess players comfortably read book diagrams only two inches square! The answer was in the clarity of detail: when the symbol has good contrast and a strong outline, it is usable to a very small size.
The orientation problem was something else. Sometimes I would have liked to study from printed material and see the board from Black's perspective. This takes some getting used to. I remember seeing the game of shogi being played. This Japanese game uses identical tiles with symbols engraved on them, and each player orients his own tiles toward himself, and sees his opponent's tiles upside-down. Why, I wondered, didn't they just use different shapes for the pieces instead of symbols? My second inspiration came from ordinary playing cards. Each card looks basically the same for opposing players.
I wanted to design chess symbols which were clear, easily recognizable, and symmetric. After many weeks of doodling and drawing, I came up with a set of symbols, with heavy inspiration from Staunton design sets and the Linares typeface, which I thought were usable and aesthetically pleasing. I used a paint program to draw the symbols and print them. I had these large drawings photo-reduced, copied to adhesive paper, then cut them out and pasted them on top of an existing set of checkers. This was done around 1992. I still have this prototype and find it very convenient and pleasurable to use.
Years later and I found myself with the means to buy a font-making program.
Several hours of learning the tools and playing has resulted in what I
think is a very novel and pleasing font. I named it Montreal, for the city
in which I live, because other well-known fonts were named after cities,
Linares, Hasting, and Zurich.