Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Re: PGN (inc. FEN, EPD) being revised?

Author: Dave Gomboc

Date: 00:28:07 02/29/00

Go up one level in this thread

On February 28, 2000 at 22:33:18, Dann Corbit wrote:

>On February 28, 2000 at 22:04:05, Robert Hyatt wrote:
>>This is what I do.  I have even seen "EPD" records with an en passant target
>>set simply because the last move was a double-move for a pawn.  Even though
>>no possible EP capture was possible (this used to break my code, in fact, but
>>now I screen this out as I set up the position).
>As strange as this may sound, that is the correct way to encode the record.
>From the PGN standard:
>" En passant target square
>The fourth field is the en passant target square.  If there is no en passant
>target square then the single character symbol "-" appears.  If there is an en
>passant target square then is represented by a lowercase file character
>immediately followed by a rank digit.  Obviously, the rank digit will be "3"
>following a white pawn double advance (Black is the active color) or else be
>the digit "6" after a black pawn double advance (White being the active color).
>An en passant target square is given if and only if the last move was a pawn
>advance of two squares.  Therefore, an en passant target square field may have
>a square name even if there is no pawn of the opposing side that may
>immediately execute the en passant capture."
>Notice the contents of the second paragraph.  Even if the e.p. flag has no
>effect, it must be set.  I think this might possibly make sense for move
>generation (i.e. you generate the positions without having to check if there is
>a pawn in a position to take the pawn which advanced two squares).  On the other
>hand, if we visit the board position a large number of times, we may be "money
>ahead" to calculate whether there is an effect or not just once.  I think this
>issue is being addressed in an update to the PGN standard.  I have suggested an
>EPD "storage format" where the flag is present if and only if the pawn can be
>captured or it somehow has an effect on play.  It would reduce my work in CAP
>quite a bit, since having spurious flags can potentially multiply the number of
>board positions and removing the flags would have no effect.

I think when SJE asked for input on a new revision of the standard, several
people mentioned that this is one rule that would be good to change, e.g. to
only specify an en passant square if there is at least one pawn that can
actually make an en passant capture.  If that did change, backward compatibility
would still force people to handle it being specified anyway, though.

No, I haven't heard any news lately about a revision to the PGN standard.  Maybe
it's not happening anymore?


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