Posts

Fast Queen Promotion

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Many users of Chess for Android use the combination of an electronic chessboard (Certabo, DGT, or Millennium) and online play, where making moves quickly can make the difference between winning or losing. In the past, I have made improvements that enabled quicker castling and taking en-passant. However, one request for quicker promotions was still pending.
When using the electronic chessboard, there were two ways to promote a pawn. One way is to make the move with the pawn first, then use the popup window in the GUI to select the promotion piece, and finally replace the pawn with the piece on the electronic board. The second way is to remove the promoting pawn from the electronic board first, and then place the promotion piece on the board thereafter. Either way registers the promotion correctly, both for regular or minor promotion.
However, during rapid games, even this simple procedure may be a bit cumbersome. Therefore I added an extra option to Chess for Android. While setting up…

Certabo Limited Edition Model

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Certabo launched a limited edition tournament model electronic chess board that celebrates the 10th anniversary of Chess for Android. The graphics were beautifully designed by Bryan Whitby.

You can read more about the background in this interview with Pietro Mandurino, the CEO of Certabo (in Italian).

Opening Top and Bottom Borders on the Commodore 64

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Opening up the top and bottom border is of course a trick any seasoned C64 demo writer knows. But anyone who started with BASIC before switching to 6510 probably remembers how much fun it was to get that extra space for sprites and even some simple graphics. So this posting is not telling anything new to most of you. I am just reminiscing my own youthful awe when I made the switch.
The program below shows how to do this. Set up a raster interrupt right before the bottom border start. Then toggle between 24 and 25 lines of text. This tricks the VIC into forgetting to turn on the border. The opened border can be used to display sprites. By manipulating the last address of the VIC page ($3fff by default), you can even get some interesting graphics. For example, Pasi Ojala posted an article Opening the Borders with some truly amazing effects! 
Of course, opening up the side borders is the next challenge!



; little demo to open up the border ; for win2c64 by Aart Bik ; https://www.aartbik.…

Dronies

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What do you do when you suddenly have two functional, flying drones again (a Phantom 2 vision+ and a Mavic Pro)? You fly one, of course, and ask your daughter to fly the other one. Then you take "dronies"!


How Much Land Does a Man Need?

While updating links on my website to content that I also maintain, I had to think of a variant on the title of Tolstoy's brilliant short story: How much Internet Presence does a man need? Donald Knuth writes that he has been a happy man since 1990, when he no longer had an email address. Would the same apply to webpages? I am not ready to find out yet!
https://www.aartbik.com/ https://aartbik.blogspot.com/ https://twitter.com/AartBik https://facebook.com/ajcbik https://www.youtube.com/user/AartBik https://www.linkedin.com/in/aartbik https://amazon.com/author/aartbik https://github.com/aartbik https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Aart+Bik

50th Anniversary!

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Since the Eagle landed on the moon shortly after I entered this world, it seemed only fitting to celebrate both these anniversaries with LEGO's Nasa Apollo 11 Lunar Lander building set. Can't wait to start building this weekend!


The quote on the box is a bit surprising. Everybody knows this should read "That's one small step for [a] man, a giant leap for mankind" (make sure the pronounce the square brackets properly)!


Chess for Android: UCI Engine Options

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The UCI engine setup dialog in Chess for Android was developed a long time ago when there were not many chess engines available for Android. As a result, I opted for a simple dialog that featured a few, commonly used UCI engine options only (such as hash table size, number of threads, endgame tablebases). However, the options that I picked almost ten years ago no longer serve the wide variety in options of the many chess engines available for Android.
Therefore, I decided to re-implement the UCI engine setup and do what the UCI protocol specification actually intended: the GUI should parse all options and build a dialog that allows the user to change them. For engines with only a few options, this yields a concise dialog, as illustrated below with BikJump v1.8. For engines with many options, this yields a more elaborate, scrollable dialog, as illustrated below for Leela Chess Zero. In any case, however, the new implementation gives the user full access to all options!
Expect this new…

Karpov 2294

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And another blast from the past. The Karpov 2294, the strongest dedicated chess computer that I own. It is rich in features, such as time control, infinite analysis, and many levels. It also features a very elegant magnetic chess piece set.

Autobridge Device

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My grandfather handed this autobridge device down to me in the early eighties, a few years before I got my first chess and home computers. Autobridge was invented in the 1930s for self-teaching bridge, both the bidding and the playing. I date mine around 1959, since that year appears in the manual and on all the inlay cards. The device has no date, but a serial number (so perhaps one could find out).
Does anyone else remember these?
I could play for hours with this. Amazing how times have changed....


Chess for Android: version 6.1.1

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I am gradually rolling out version 6.1.1 of Chess for Android to Google Play. Besides some internal cleanup and refactoring, the major new features are:
simple FICS client (see details at Connecting Chess for Android with FICS)improved electronic chessboard support (DGT/Certabo/Millennium)rudimentary DGT chess clock support (shows moves) The FICS interface is simple, in line with the design philosophy I have always followed so far.  Despite the simplicity, the client is fully functional, and I have started to enjoy playing online over an actual chessboard myself. Hopefully others will find the combination of an electronic chessboard and online play just as enjoyable!
A big thank you to my testers! Writing a client from scratch was a non-trivial task, and took a long time. Having awesome testers was extremely helpful during the initial development. Any remaining bugs are mine, of course. Please send me the details if you find one.