Re: Please help a Chess program developer

Fred Mellender <fredm73@...>

A new beta version of ChessSpeak is available at my website:
Download Version 4.0 at the bottom of the page by clicking on the arrow to the far right of the file name.
Be sure you do not get the earlier version.
Unzip the downloaded file to a folder of your choice.
Click on PlayChess.exe in the folder to start the program.
Your virus checker might not want you to click on it. Run it anyway.
When ChessSpeak starts up, click CTL-s. This starts a new game and sets up the new interface.
Please consult the User's Guide for further instructions. It is found at:
The Appendix, on page 13, explains the changes I made to make chessSpeak more useful for blind people.
Here is the text of that Appendix:
The goals were:
1. Reduce the number of pop-ups.
2. Use speech output and input where possible.
3. Reduce the use of the mouse.
4. Have keyboard shortcuts for most functions.
5. Put most of the useful output on one tab-page so the user does not have to move off of it.
It is assumed that a “screen reader” such as 
NVDA (, 
will be available. I don't know how NVDA works with ChessSpeak so I need someone to tell me if I can make things better.
Note that there are chess sets available for the blind that distinguishes the dark/white squares/pieces by touch. Of course the user can play truly blindfolded (without use of a board/pieces).
When the program starts up, the user should immediately press CTL-s for the interface setup. Normally this would not be done again during the session unless the user gets hopelessly lost. 
The setup will start a game with the user as white.
At any time (such as the first move), the user can speak “move”, or press CTL-m and the computer will make the next move. This is a way for the user to play black, or just get the best 
move from the computer. The user can specify a move when it is her turn (the first move, or after any computer move).
Instead of using the voice interface for input, the user can specify the moves via the keyboard. The move format is “long form”, giving the source square and then the destination square (no spaces or other marks in the format). Once the move has been entered, click “enter” and the move will be checked and then made on the board.  Here is an example of long form:
Note that captures and e.p. is specified in the same way.
Most other functions can be done from the keyboard via short cuts (as given by the legend above).
If the voice output is not understood, click CTL-r (or say “repeat”) and it will be respoken. If it is still not understood, perhaps the screen reader can make sense of the engine output text.
The current position will be spoken via CTL-p (you can stop the output via CTL-x). The current position is also given in the “current fen” field.
Note that the other interface tabs are still supported (to change opponents, for example).

Please note: I do not follow this news list.  I probably will not make further posts to it either. Please check my website now and again for further updates to ChessSpeak.
Suggestions for improving the interface for the blind are welcome.  If you have questions/suggestions email me directly at fredm73@....

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