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I noticed that there are already a few questions about typesetting chess but I have two very basic ones:

  1. What are currently the "best" packages to typeset chess diagrams and game scores with comments?

  2. Are any of these already included in TeXShop?

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TeXShop is an editor, and therefore includes no packages at all. TeXShop is distributed with MacTeX, which is a TeX Live distribution (that includes many packages.) –  Alan Munn Sep 26 '11 at 23:15
@Alan Munn : thanks for precising the matter. I guess that the question becomes: is there any chess typesetting package already included in MacTeX ? –  Andrea Mori Sep 27 '11 at 12:02
I can confirm now that the package skak is included in the MacTeX distribution: I tried to write a chess text after including \usepackage{skak} in the preamble and it worked! –  Andrea Mori Sep 27 '11 at 13:29
Unless you install the BasicTeX version of MacTeX, there is very little that the full MacTeX distribution doesn't contain. –  Alan Munn Sep 27 '11 at 13:35
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2 Answers

up vote 21 down vote accepted
  1. In my opinion, the best place to start with typesetting chess diagrams would be the skak package. The package provides a means for typesetting a board, saving and restoring it and also print moves. It relies on the chessfss package that provides the board pieces.

    The easiest way to setup a board is using the \fenboard command. It allows for specifying a regular 8x8 chess board using the well-established Forsyth-Edwards Notation. For example,

    \fenboard{r5k1/1b1p1ppp/p7/1p1Q4/2p1r3/PP4Pq/BBP2b1P/R4R1K w - - 0 20}


    Chess board setup using FEN

    There is also texmate, although I am unfamiliar with its interface.

  2. TeXShop is a LaTeX IDE and is therefore actually independent from any of TeX/LaTeX's packages. You should check your distribution for this. Easiest would be to include a package and see whether your .tex source compiles. If not, install the package using the available package manager (TeX Live or MiKTeX on Windows, say).

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This is a good answer. I would only add that if you're adding comments a la Chess Informant (languageless; i.e. symbolic) then texmate and skak seem about even to me. But if your comments are in words then skak seems a little bit better because of the \wmove and \bmove commands. I also add the package chessboard to mark squares. Depending on your how you intend to comment on the games, this package is worth looking into. –  DJP Sep 27 '11 at 0:15
Thanks for the answers! –  Andrea Mori Sep 27 '11 at 12:04
That <code>fenboard</code> command that you use there does not produce that output. It would be <code>\fenboard{r5k1/1b1p1ppp/p7/1p1Q4/4P3/PP4Pq/BBP2b1P/R4R1K w - - 0 20}</code> Just thought I would clear that up. –  user12957 Mar 25 '12 at 17:33
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@Werner gave a rather comprehensive answer and I agree that skak is a prime choice. I'd just like to add that several extensions built to work with skak exist: skaknew (adds new chess fonts) or the extension xskak:

The main point of the package xskak is to save informations about a chess game for later use.

It's also worth mentioning the chessboard package, which makes it easier to produce animated chessboards, but requires also the animate package.

Pick your weapon. :)

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skaknew is not an extension of skak, it is only a font package (an extended type1 version of the original skak fonts). skak will use this fonts anyway as chessfss sets them up as default. –  Ulrike Fischer Sep 27 '11 at 7:39
Also chessboard doesn't produce animated boards. The animation is done with the animate package and could also be done e.g. only with skak. The combination of xskak/chessboard only makes it easier to loop through the board positions. The main purpose of chessboard is more flexibility regarding the look of the board (partial boards, decoration, boarder etc) and the filling with pieces. –  Ulrike Fischer Sep 27 '11 at 8:13
@Ulrike: Thanks for the clarifications. I edited my answer to make it more accurate. These are your packages after all. :) –  Count Zero Sep 27 '11 at 8:35
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