For demonstration purposes I use the same game (Annotated Game #1, a simul against GM Walter Browne) in several different publishing formats for comparison. While this isn't a comprehensive list of publishing resources, it includes several different options that I think are worth considering. For my own purposes, I want the following features from any publishing program:
- View full annotations (symbols and text)
- See variations in annotations displayed on the board
- Board and annotations must be visible together (i.e. not having the board scroll off the page)
- Board should be flippable (White or Black can be displayed at the bottom)
- Can use mouse or arrow keys to go through the moves
- Can publish a full game as part of a self-contained blog post (no separate files or web hosting required)
1. ChessFlash PGN Viewer Quick Publisher / Knight Vision PGN Publisher (its new name) - this was what I ended up with as my primary publishing tool. It had all of the features I wanted and is very easy to use. It is not the most aesthetically pleasing, but the functionality is more important for me.
- Copy & paste of PGN all on one webpage
- Variety of options for pre-publication display, including color and width/height adjustment
- All annotations are visible in the scrolling textbox and variations are displayed on the board
- Requires Shockwave Flash
2. Aquarium 2012 - I seriously considered using Aquarium for my publishing purposes and did the work to track down how to use it with Blogger (as you can see in my tutorial for Aquarium 2011, which aside from the patch update is still valid). I think it looks good aesthetically and has the desired functionality for the display. I originally rejected it in 2011 for use with this blog, since there was a bug in its code that made all of the subsequent posts on the main Blogger page disappear. With the 2012 version, this is no longer the case every time, but it still appears to cause problems with the main page. Publishing this post caused all other posts on the main page to disappear below it for me, while publishing the Aquarium game in a post by itself resulted in the last post on the main page being cut off, so this is not a Blogger bug. If the software publisher made Aquarium easier to use for publishing, got rid of its bug for use with Blogger, and did things like include full instructions in the manual/help file, I think they could create a lot more visibility for it via user-published content. (EDIT: see this new example of Aquarium 2014 publishing on the Chess Expert Challenge blog.)
- Commercial product (not free to use)
- Need outside instructions for use (instructions not included)
- Not all parameters adjustable
- Pleasing design aesthetic, including presentation of the annotation text and variations
- Does not automatically scroll text when advancing through the game with arrow keys
|Browne, Walter - ChessAdmin|
[My personal opening book is 12...a5 13.a4 Nxe5 14.dxe5 Qb6 15.O-O-O O-O-O as the a5/a4 moves give the Nd5 an outpost on b4 if needed. In general, the idea is to exchange the e5 knight and castle queenside, with the queen deployed to either b6 or occasionally c7, depending on white's play. In the actual game, this is the point where I did not remember the book continuation, although I did remember the idea behind it.]13.O-O Nxe5 14.dxe5 O-O-O 15.h5 Bc5 16.Rad1 Rd7 17.Rfe1 Rhd8 18.Bc1 Qb6 This illustrates why the normal move earlier is Qb6 rather than Qc7, that would have saved a tempo on the position. 19.c3 Ne7 20.Rxd7 Rxd7 21.Bc4 Nd5 This rook exchange sequence gains Black the d-file and reduces the number of heavy pieces available for White to attack with. 22.Qf3 Qd8 Both Fritz and Houdini at this point prefer Qc7, which in words means the queen pressures e5 and also helps cover the 7th rank on defense. While doubling up on the d-file looks good, the points of potential rook invasion are at this point well covered by White. 23.Ne4 Bxe4 24.Qxe4 Be7 Not the best. Houdini recommends f5 first, which would prevent a future queen invasion on h7. 25.g3 Prevents any funny business from Black on h4 25...Bc5 26.Kg2 Ne7 It would be better to anticipate the queenside pawn advance with Bb6 27.b4 Bb6 28.a4 Rd1 29.a5 Qe2 is necessary to prevent the tactical shot on f2, which however... 29...Rxe1
[I also miss. 29...Bxf2!? 30.Kxf2 Rxc1 31.Rxc1 Qd2+ employs a queen fork and highlights the value of the queen on the open file.]30.Qxe1⩲ Bc7 31.Qe4 This allows the black queen to penetrate, thereby fully offsetting white's space advantage and two bishops. 31...Qd1 32.Be3 Qxh5 33.f4 Nd5 Houdini says a6 would have been slightly better, although I thought getting the knight into play was more important at the time. 34.Bxa7 Nxc3
[Here both Fritz and Houdini originally thought that 34...Qg4 was better, as the queen stays active near white's king with the possibility of advancing the h-pawn to attack. However, Houdini eventually came around to my way of thinking. Both moves are essentially equal.]35.Qd3
[35.Qh7!?± was Fritz's evaluation, although I wasn't afraid of it at the time, believing my piece activity would compensate. Houdini agrees with me.]35...Nd5 36.b5 Qg4 Fritz agrees taking the pawn too early is bad.
[Not 36...Bxa5 37.bxc6 bxc6 38.Bxd5 exd5 39.Qa6+ Kd7 40.Qxa5 Qe2+ 41.Bf2 Qe4+ 42.Kh2+− ]37.Bxd5 exd5 38.bxc6 Bxa5??
[Unfortunately I didn't remember this and admittedly was a bit flustered by White's apparent attack. Better is 38...Qe6 39.cxb7+ Kxb7 40.Bd4⩲ Bxa5 ]39.cxb7+??
[Both Browne and I missed 39.Qxd5 and White wins 39...Qe2+ 40.Bf2+− ]39...Kxb7± 40.Be3 Qd7 At this point we have reached a dead-even endgame where neither side can hope to make progress with good play. 41.Qd4 Kc8 42.Qc5+ Qc7 43.Qxd5 Bb4
[This allows white too much space. Better was 43...Qb7 44.Qxb7+ Kxb7 ]44.f5 After this move, either Qc2 or Qb7 allows Black to comfortably hold. Something like Kh2 could have been tried to keep the queens on and white's space advantage. [1/2-1/2]
- Copy & paste of PGN data method requires opening multiple windows
- Moves with annotations are highlighted in the game score in italics, with the annotations listed in a box below the board
- Does not display variations on the board
- Cannot use arrow keys to advance through game, must use mouse
- Has different options for board style, but published version does not look like what you see on the webpage (different colors/piece design)
- Does not require any plugins (Flash, Java) to be installed
Play chess online
4. Chess.com's Game Editor (now with much better functionality, as highlighted by the FIXED issues below. However, it still does not display pasted PGN evaluation signs in the final product.)
- Aesthetically pleasing design (although without any customization options for color, etc.)
- FIXED: Displays variations on the board and annotations in the textbox below, but you cannot tell by looking at the game score where the annotations are
- FIXED: Cannot use arrow keys to advance through game
- Game itself is hosted at Chess.com, which may be a positive or negative, depending on your preference
- FIXED: The editor apparently has trouble with annotation text placed before a move (as shown by the non-appearing intro text on the move 12 variation). Of course you can get around that by selecting only "text after move" annotations, but it's still annoying.
Other related resources/comments:
- The pgn4web board generator is useful but has a 2000 character limit; the test game above has double that. This means that the application isn't suited for annotated games.
- ChessBase 11 allows HTML output of a game with a replayable board, but you have to host it yourself and cannot simply paste it into a blog post.
- The HTML output from Chess King is not contained in a scroll box, so the text and variations of a typical annotated game will eventually drive the board off the viewable area (as in this example).
- ChessTempo offers a PGN viewer/publisher but it requires editing HTML source, so involves more than just a copy/paste of a game.