Chess Diagrams in LaTeX

I’ll bet someone out there can help me with a technical question. I need to embed a chess diagram into a LaTeX document. It’s for the evolution/creation book (don’t ask). I know there are a variety of packages available for doing that, but I’m having trouble finding anything very helpful on the web.

For example, I came across this document that describes a package for making diagrams. It looks perfect, attractive diagrams with clear instructions for how to code them. But I can’t figure out where to go to download it. It looks like the source code is included in the document, but I don’t know what to do with that.

I know the “skak” package is supposed to be pretty good. I even found its page at CTAN, but I have no idea what to do next. What am I actually supposed to download? Where do I put it after I download it? Is there documentation somewhere that tells me how to use it?

I have Fritz 11 on my computer, and it allows me to save diagrams in BMP format, which I could then import into TeX. But I don’t think that would look right in the document.

So any help anyone can give would be appreciated. Keep in mind that I’m pretty hopeless about these things, so speak slowly and no big words!

Comments

  1. #1 Stephen Lucas
    February 9, 2011

    Jason,
    skak does look to be what you need. Go to the documentation page of the ctan page and download and read the skak manual to tell you what to do to build a chess board. To actually use it, put \usepackage{skak at the top of your tex file.

    Now for the fun part. You might already have skak on your machine, depending on how big a download you did when you first loaded LaTeX on your machine. If not, what is supposed to happen is that when you try and compile, your LaTeX package is supposed to go to the web, download and install the package, then continue. I know Texshop on the Mac and MikTex on the PC will both automatically do so.

    If it won’t automatically download, you are in for a world of pain :-) At that point I’d download a version of LaTeX that does download packages automatically!

  2. #2 blf
    February 9, 2011

    If not, what is supposed to happen is that when you try and compile, your LaTeX package is supposed to go to the web, download and install the package, then continue. I know Texshop on the Mac and MikTex on the PC will both automatically do so.

    I’ve never seen that happen (on Linux). In any case, I can confirm skak is(? was?) available from CTAN, since it is on my (Linux) system, albeit I’ve never used it. (I downloaded an essentially a full LaTeX system (c.2y ago), as I hate being without packages….)

  3. #3 Jason Rosenhouse
    February 9, 2011

    I tried putting \usepackage{skak} at the top of my document, and eventually it decided it knew what that was, but when I compile I get this:

    Bad or missing TFM file skak20 (substituting with cmr10)
    No font mapping entry for font: skak20.

    This is after it tells me that typesetting was successful. On the output page I get a fragment of a chess diagram that has the algebraic notation written properly and three sides of the board are OK, but the fourth side is not place right and there are no actual squares on my chessboard.

  4. #4 Josh Rosenau
    February 9, 2011

    Be sure that the files from your package are in the LaTeX search path (this is dependent on the detail of your LaTeX setup). Sounds like there’s a new font that has to be installed with skak to make the chessboard. Documentation here: http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/fonts/chess/skak/doc/skakdoc.pdf and http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/fonts/chess/skaknew/SkakNew.pdf

  5. #5 Jason Rosenhouse
    February 9, 2011

    I couldn’t seem to get things to work in PCTeX, which is what I had been using. So I just laboriously downloaded MikTeX and … success! Looks like I’m good to go. For now…

  6. #6 Anthony
    February 10, 2011

    The PDF you posted to has code available at http://www.ctan.org/pub/tex-archive/macros/latex/contrib/chess-problem-diagrams/ … conveniently found by editing the URL to remove the pdf file :-)

    As to how to install it, well, I could tell you on Linux, but sounds like that won’t help.

  7. #7 H. R. Karlsson
    November 22, 2011

    Jason,

    Did you get “skak ” to work in LaTex? I found a some programs (packages) in CTAN (using TexShop with an Intel Mac) including “skak”. It worked but the others did not it it work. There were other programs there also including Texmate (which seemed very promising) but I could not get that to work. Another program called “diagram” would not work either. Both seemed to have problems with the Metafont. Not sure what is going on since I am new to Latex. Any ideas??

    Sincerely,

    Hal Karlsson

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!