My friend Steve is not only an image processing wizard with a book title under his belt, he’s also a chess player. He is modest about his mad chess skillz, but he has done something unquestionably useful for the chess community in creating a nifty chess diagram widget. Written in PHP, it lets you use a standard chess notation to draw images of games easily. For instance, if you write
you get a picture like this:
Venturing farther afield, Steve’s little chess board also lets you indulge in fanciful tactical positions. For instance, can Black be expected to win this game?
Or how about this one: a cautious Black has just castled on his king side, and White has retorted with some ugly, aggressive posturing of his pawns. Now, Black to mate in 4. Do you see it?
Believe it or not, this example is from a real match, the famous Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld vs. Kerry match (2004). Also known as the Guantanamo opening (or, less frequently, the “Hanging Chad”), Black narrowly escapes disaster by buying assorted hardware from the Supreme Court. The debt thereby incurred was simply levied on the audience. Brilliant!
Finally, if you are a fan of M.C. Escher, you’ll enjoy reading about Steve’s chess problem epiphany:
Unexpected chess problem at my office.
Don’t forget to vote!