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The site’s replayer is a unique and useful tool, but there are some features of it the seem to a few little known that should be more widely known.

While there are questions about how to implement it, annotate the games, add annotation symbols and flip the board, I have found a couple of features that have been brushed off to the side. I want to make a list of such features here for others to use as a reference.


  1. [startply ""]

A useful but seemingly untalked about (other than a single answer on the question about adding a replayer in a post) that allows the replayer to begin playing the moves anywhere in the middle of a game or the move sequence.

Simply put [startply ""] in the bottom line, and add the half-move number, or ply, of where you wish to start in between the quotation mark-like symbols like below. Add four spaces in front of the entire thing.

[startply "67"]

An odd number means that White will move when the play arrow is clicked/tapped/pressed on, and an even number will mean that Black will move.

For instance:

  • [startply "1"] will start with White's first move
  • [startply "2"] will start with Black's first move
  • [startply "3"] will start with White's second move, etc
  1. null

This feature has been used only a few times, with this question being one of the earliest known uses of it. This seems to be a completely obscure feature of the replayer.

It is useful for skipping either side turns. While reasons for doing so are uncommon (such as to demonstrate a seriesmover problem or show a series of uninterrupted moves by one side), it still serves a purpose.

To use it, simply put the word null where a move would usually go.

Here’s an example.

[FEN ""]

1. e3 null 2. Qf3 null 3. Bc4 null 4. Qxf7#

Does anyone know of any other examples? Feel free expand this list and/or improve it.

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  • StartPly is a standard PGN feature, and it's already mentioned here. – Glorfindel Nov 15 '19 at 13:33
  • Excellent post, IMHO. – Brian Towers Nov 15 '19 at 13:55
  • A feature I would like: Show the move with move number. When Sleepy mentioned 11.Qxb7 in my latest post, I first had to search what the position after the 11. move was. (Counting moves from the start is possible but unpractical.) I know you can even popup-annotate diagrams but if Sleepy lacks the right to edit my post, it can't be edited in either. – Hauke Reddmann May 5 at 15:07
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By default, the replayer orients the board from the point of view of the player who makes the first notated move. This means that if the notation begins with a Black move, the board is from Black's point of view.

To get it to display the board from White's point of view, insert the following line (with four spaces before it) in the PGN, before the notation.

[StartFlipped "1"]

Here's an example showing the position after 1 e4 and thus continuing with a Black move.

[Title ""]
[StartFlipped "1"]
[fen "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/4P3/8/PPPP1PPP/RNBQKBNR b - - 0 0"]

1... c5
1

Here's another feature that I just found today in this question.

Apparently, there exists a way to avoid using [fen ""] to show a diagram. I call it the “Space Method.”

Simply indent your FEN string with 4 spaces (select it and press Ctrl + K):

8/8/8/6rk/8/5qPK/7P/8 w - - 0 1

And you will have your diagram!

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Apparently, it is possible to also add arrows to the board in a given position. I found this out from this answer on the main site.

[FEN ""]

1. e4 {[%draw arrow,e2,e4, blue]} e5 {[%draw arrow,e7,e5, blue]} 2. Qh5 {[%draw arrow,d1,h5, red]} Ke7 {[%draw arrow,e8,e7, red]} 3. Qxe5# {[%draw arrow,h5,e5, red]}

The trick is the put a space after a move, and then write {[%draw arrow,d1,h5, red]}. The squares can be replaced to direct the arrow anywhere. The "{" and "}" are required at the front and back.

Multiple arrows can be put into one position by stringing "[%draw arrow,d1,h5, red][%draw arrow,d1,h5, red]" together between the "{" and "}".

[FEN "8/8/8/8/8/8/7R/k3K2R w K - 0 1"]

1. O-O# {[%draw arrow,e1,g1, blue][%draw arrow,h1,f1, red]}

I am not sure if red and blue are the only usable colors. It also takes a split milisecond for the arrows to appear after playing a move.

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