Resting on my Laurels
As has happened a few times before in Tarrasch’s development history, I have been taking an unscheduled break. I won’t beat myself up too badly for this. I’ve been using Tarrasch V2 a lot, and basically I’ve found it to be “fit for purpose”. There are some rough edges, but it basically works very effectively as a simple computerised chess workbench, just as I intended it to.
An example of the kind of thing Tarrasch excels at; I help out in the production of the New Zealand Chess Magazine. For a long time the editor sent me all the material that went in the magazine, largely because he relied on me to make diagrams in our house style (An aside: we use the excellent Good Companions chess font, the same font as Tarrasch’s graphics). Consequently, it was easy for me to put all the games in the magazine on our website. But things changed when I wrote a little program for the editor that let him produce the diagrams easily himself. I no longer got to routinely see all the chess material, and slowly I allowed the website to fall behind. Volunteers do this sort of thing I’m afraid. Anyway, recently I made a bit of an effort, and I caught up, and Tarrasch was instrumental. Although I didn’t have all the source chess material, I did have print ready .pdf files for the missing issues. Tarrasch made it easy to copy and paste from .pdf to .pgn. Now admittedly, a bit of manual intervention is necessary. Tarrasch gets confused by comment text. When it gets confused it abandons translation to .pgn form (i.e. moves) and appends everything from the point of failure as one big comment. Typically the start of this big comment really is a comment, but then moves resume. So position the cursor where the moves resume, and go Edit > Promote rest of comment to variation. Then repeat at the next breakdown. Easy peasy.
In my recent “What now?” post, I sought feedback on where to take Tarrasch from here. I got some very good ideas and constructive criticism, particularly on how to promote Tarrasch to improve its visibility. Two of the many comments stick in my mind. One user “airborne82p” pointed out that googling “Free chess program” doesn’t find Tarrasch. And Ester Adler complained that going to triplehappy.com is confusing for someone who knows nothing about Tarrasch. Fixing these two issues is my priority now I’ve finally got around to open-sourcing Tarrasch V2.
Incidentally, don’t imagine I am happy about the “rough edges” I mentioned in the first paragraph. My next blog post will be about those rough edges and how I propose to eliminate them in Tarrasch V2.1, in the not too distant future!
Finally I’ll mention that there has been some Tarrasch news in recent months, despite the absence of blog posts or triplehappy.com updates. The authors of the excellent Komodo chess engine asked me to make a Komodo edition of Tarrasch V2. This version (V2.00b) is a tiny advance on the version hosted on triplehappy.com (V2.00a), and has been available for a couple of months now on the Komodo website. My apologies for not informing my audience about this before. I’ll add a little more detail in the next blog post.