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Tarrasch GUI V3 Preview on YouTube

December 31, 2014

I’ve been putting in quite a lot of effort into my Tarrasch Chess GUI project recently. In fact although I haven’t posted here for quite a while, my progress has been (technically speaking) publicly visible on the programmer’s site Github, where I have been publishing the project source code as work in progress.

It’s easy to get depressed at slow progress on a big, difficult project like Tarrasch, especially when you are labouring entirely by oneself. I remember the same feelings of inadequacy as the months dragged by on Tarrasch V2. At least this time I can take strength by remembering that I did deliver T2 eventually, and no doubt T3 will follow in due course.

Recently I have motivated myself by setting an intermediate goal – get T3 to the point where it is useful to me personally. Today I am happy to announce that I have at least met that goal! With the New Zealand Chess Champs starting tomorrow I am a little bit too late perhaps, but still there is a sense of satisfaction. I have a tool that is flawed but useful. Now all I have to do is remove the flaws!

To celebrate, I decided to make a YouTube video to show off what I have so far. You can see it at http://youtu.be/mxAFlrXGIGI

I’m sorry about the technical quality of the video – it’s the first time I’ve tried to create a “screencast” video and it’s a lot harder than it looks! I can’t believe I said “dig more delvely” or somesuch instead of “delve more deeply”. But fixing that would mean hours of effort at my current level of competence. I actually recorded my voice on my mobile phone as part of the process of patching things together – it’s bad but not as bad as the lamentable microphone on my laptop.

I am afraid that T3 is ready for me, but not ready for any other early adopters yet. There are just too many known minefields to step around. I will be sure to let this audience know when T3 reaches a point where it is ready to be tested by a wider audience.

One difficulty I will face is the requirement to source games to populate the database. For my personal needs I am using games from my copy of Chessbase’s Megabase 2007 supplemented by TWIC for subsequent years (as I mention in the video). But I certainly won’t be distributing proprietary or even semi-proprietary collections like this. I could leave it to the user to source games, but that would not really be consistent with Tarrasch’s ultra easy download and install philosophy. I might be forced to somehow curate my own games collection. Hopefully a nice solution of one kind or another will emerge in due course.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. larrydee permalink
    December 31, 2014 6:16 pm

    It is amazing that you have accomplished this, on your own, without a full team of programmers and master chess players. I still use your program regularly and am certainly looking forward to V3. Thank you for a great program.

    Larry Dayton

    • December 31, 2014 6:45 pm

      Thank you Larry, comments like this always make my day. Happy new year to you and yours (I am in 2015 already as I type this).

  2. David Beagan permalink
    December 31, 2014 8:02 pm

    This is great news. I am looking forward to your V3 release. We very much appreciate all of your struggles to gives such a great chess tool.

    • January 2, 2015 7:45 pm

      Thanks David, your very ongoing and very tangible support is much appreciated.

  3. Jose Luis Castello permalink
    January 1, 2015 10:38 pm

    My suggestion as a source of games: PGN games databases of N. Pollock
    http://www.hoflink.com/~npollock/chess.html

    Happy New Year from Spain

    • January 2, 2015 7:58 pm

      Thank you, I’ve had a look at this and it might be a partial solution. One problem is that I hope to offer millions of games, and these collections amount to 200,000 or so games.

  4. Venkat permalink
    January 18, 2015 2:27 pm

    Kudos on the development. Looking forward to the release.

    Here’s a 1.5 million game database. I’m sure you can redistribute, particularly if you strip any annotations.

    http://www.kingbase-chess.net/

  5. Peter permalink
    April 2, 2015 8:28 pm

    how do you realize that technically? I guess you do not directly search on the pgn file, or do you? Is there some database backend, like sqlite? Or do you use the scid database file-format? The games seems to have been indexed in some tree structure? Would be interesting to hear…

    • April 3, 2015 12:45 am

      You speculate well, I use sqlite and a custom, indexed database format.

  6. John permalink
    April 15, 2015 7:06 pm

    Very nice effort. I m using it regularly. I find most chess GUIs are too ”oversized” and full of non-sense staff. Less is more, although some customizations of the chessboard could help (the size of the board or different chess pieces). Anyway thanks for the program. (Btw houdini engine works just fine with your GUI)

  7. orkneylad permalink
    April 24, 2015 10:02 am

    Looking forward to v3, feels like I’ve been using Tarrasch since forever . . . . . simply the best thing since turned wood pieces. 😀 Thank you sir!

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