Chess replay utilities synopsis

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Introduction

When I began to design my web page I was on the lookout for a pgn viewer. It should

  • display variations, textual annotations and NAGs (informant symbols),
  • support UTF 8
  • provide a well drawn board.

I have installed all viewers that I could find around the whole Internet and compared the features.

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Results

Synoptic table

Project nameView exampleInput formatsLinesInformant symbolsText annotationsTraining exercisesAutoreplayLive broadcastManufactererThird party serviceLast updateLicenseLanguage
Canvas Chess 0.1.0view demoPGNyespartiallyyesnononoRyan Cook, Yury Markushin, Patrick HorgannofreeJavaScript
Chess Game Viewerview demoPGNnonoyesnononoCaissa's Webyes?freeJavaScript
Chess Assistant 10view demoPGN, CBH, CAyespartiallyyesnoyesnoConvektano?fee required (part of Chess Assistant)JavaScript
ChessBase readerview demoPGN, FENyesyesyesyesyesyesChessbase GmbHyesfreeJavaScript (jQuery)
ChessBase 12 viewerview demoPGN, CBH, CBF, CBONE, FENyesyesyesnononoChessbase GmbHyesfee required (part of ChessBase >= 12 and CB Reader )JavaScript (jQuery)
ChessBase HTML Publisher 2.0view demoPGN, CBH, CBF, CBONE, FENyesyes, but poorly displayedyesnoyesnoChessBase GmbHno?fee required (part of ChessBase 8 – ChessBase 11 and several Fritz releases)JavaScript
Chess Tempo PGN viewer view demoPGN, position editoryesincompletelyyesnoyesnoChess Tempoyes?free (CC BY-NC-ND)JavaScript
ChessTutor™ 2.7.1m1view demoPGN, PGZno$1–$6 onlynonononoEduardo SuasteguinofreeJava
Chess Viewer Deluxe 3.5view demoPGNyesas textyesyesnonoNikolai PilafovnofreeJava
DGT Chesstheatre 1.22view demoPGNyesyes, partially as textyesnononoDGT B.V.nofreeFlash video
DHTML Chess 3.0view demoPGNyesnoyesyesyesyesAlf Magne Kallelandnofree (non-commercial), fee required (commercial)JavaScript, PHP, MySQL
DHTML Chess 2.0view demoPGNyesyesnot parsed correctlyyesyesyesAlf Magne Kallelandnofree (LGPL, non-commercial), fee required (commercial)JavaScript, PHP, MySQL
Eitschess Live Broadcasting Chess Viewer 1.0jview demoPGNas textnoyesnonoyesFelix Fürnhammernofree (GNU Free Documentation License)JavaScript
HTML Chess 1.0 rev. 8view demoPGNno (parser error)no (ignored)no (parser error)noyesnoStefano GioffrénofreeJavaScript
ICC viewer 2.1view demoPGNas textnoyesnononoAndrew GoveyesfreeJava
iChess v. 1.2view demoPGNyesnoyesnononoGameknotyesfreeJavaScript
jsPgnViewer 0.7.1view demoPGNprinted as textpartiallyyesyesnonoToomas Römernofree (Apache license)JavaScript
KnightVision Chess PGN Viewerview demoPGNyespartiallyyesnononoGlenn WilsonyesfreeFlash Video
LT-PGN-VIEWER 3.4view demoPGNyesnoyesnoyesyesLutz Tautenhahnnofree (Apache license)JavaScript
Misty Beach PGN Viewer V2.12view demoPGNnonononononoMisty Beach Software Organizationnofree (non-commercial), fee required (commercial)Java
Montreux Chessgame Viewer 4.37 view demoPGN, MDFyesyesyesnononoJBF Software (J. P. Hendriks)nofree (non-commercial)Java
MyChessViewer 2.2view demoPGNyesas textyesyesnonoMichael KeatingnofreeJava
Palview 4view demoPGNyesyes, but poorly displayedyesyesyesyesAndrew Templeton, Eric BentzennofreeJavaScript
PGN Readerview demoPGNyesno (parsing error)yesyesnonoKevin Coulombeno?Java
pgn2html 2.0view demoPGNyesincompletelyyesyesnonoWerner Müllernofree (non-commercial)JavaScript
pgn4web 3.00view demoPGNyesyesyesyesyesyesPaolo Casaschinofree (GPL)JavaScript
PGNtoJS V.3.31view demoPGNyesyesyesnononoUwe Auerswald ()nofreeJavaScript
SCID 4.6.4view demoPGNyespartiallyyesnononoSCIDnofree (GPL)JavaScript
Scid vs. PC 4.16view demoPGNyespartiallyyesnononoSteven Atkinsonnofree (GPL)JavaScript
Sjkbase 1.1view demoPGN, EPD, FENprinted as textmostly printed as textyesnononoOdd Gunnar MalinnofreeJava

The following solutions cannot be shown here for licensing reasons or lack of a download link:

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And the winner is ...

In older versions of this document I recommended pgn4web due to its high flexibility. The main drawback nowadays is that it is not optimized for display on mobile devices which has become very important. The only viewer that is capable of this is the ChessBase reader. So you should use it definitely. There is simply no reasonable alternative at present.

Another very ambitious project is DHTML-Chess that aims to provide a full database interface where you can input games, but at the time being it seems not fully production ready to me.

Please avoid viewers written in Java. They were necessary in the days when JavaScript was slow and little standardised. Today Java is often disabled in browsers due to security flaws and all the referring projects are abandoned for years. The same holds for Flash video based software now. Pure JavaScript viewers only are state of the art today.

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