Grenke (2017) and the GameSite tag

[Tournament z-PGN download:]

GRENKE Chess Classic (2017):

It’s unfortunate that, despite my efforts, <CG> has basically squandered taking a leadership role in handling PGN properly. For the past couple of years I have tried to do my best to explain what needed to be done, and why. For naught.

That being the case, let the forking begin. On this site, we do it right!

Grenke Chess Classic (2017) was a great tournament – with a wonderful site on the web. It’s great to see all the games freely available for download for anyone interested: (general tournament site) and (PGN download).

However, their PGN is unnormalized. The Event tag is missing from some games, the Site tag is non-uniform, the EventDate tag is botched, etc. Basic stuff, easy enough to fix with the right tools.

There is one other important caveat – the tournament was held at two different locations – Karlsruhe (R1-3) and Baden-Baden (R4-7). Anyone who truly knows how the PGN works, especially inside standard tools like SCID or ChessBase (or Fritz, etc), knows that the Site tag must be the same for all the tournament games.

(A properly normalized PGN tournament will insist on Event / Site / EventDate all being properly normalized).

I’ve argued about such matters on <CG> until I was blue in the face. Perhaps it’s a failure on my part, but quite frankly, more likely it’s a failure on theirs – the importance of such matters still escapes them. C’est la vie. I’m basically done trying to educate them. I’ll still complain, but convincing them with simple arguments has failed. Let’s, it was an uphill battle from the start, as evidenced from the need to have to even argue about it at all.

For instance, people still insist that the player names should be the uncollated name – i.e. “Robert J. Fischer”, vs. the database standard “Fischer, Robert J.”. Of course, a few select long-time users have written lots of <CG>-specific software dependent on this “broken” standard. But, for those of us who want simple interoperability – it’s a giant, and never-ending, pain-in-the-neck!

Similarly for the Site tag. A few influential users insist that the specific location of a game goes into the Site tag. This will break SCID, or ChessBase, grouping of games – i.e. the automatic recognition of a tournament. For those of us who depend on such recognition to select a tournament’s handful of games from a collection of 1.6 million games – it’s essential. Labeling all games with a common Site tag is also part of the standard.

Of course, <CG> is really primarily an individual game server. It can’t even search on Event / Site tags (though I’ve requested such a simple ability many, many times). So, it’s small wonder that many of these important features are unrecognized by the “game-centric” crowd on <CG>, vs. a “tournament-centric” historian/savvy-user (such as myself!).

Well, for this specific tournament the proper Site tag should just be “Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden GER”.

It’s informative, and properly normalized. Now, what about those who want local information in the PGN specifying the actual location? That’s a very reasonable request, after all.

And one which is easily accommodated – via a new tag – GameSite.

This tag should become a standard in a future extension to the PGN standard. It allows software to search on a specific location, e.g. if the GameSite tag is missing, then the Site tag is used, otherwise, the GameSite tag is primary.

Of course, one could / should also put a comment at the beginning of the game as a convenience to the user. But that’s too subject to lossage and other user manipulations to be the standard – thus the need for the GameSite tag.

Again, the GameSite tag allows the Site tag to be properly normalized, while preserving the location information.

One of the reasons I’ve been so persistent and patient on <CG>, is because they have a great potential to properly expand update the PGN standard (which is lacking in several departments – this is just one of them). But such an opportunity looks to be squandered, sadly. So be it – I’ll just continue on my track. I still welcome constructive input and critiques, which was another reason I had hoped to find more collaboration at <CG>.

Again, here’s the PGN download I’ve prepared of the tournament:


2 thoughts on “Grenke (2017) and the GameSite tag

    • Hi Alan,

      Nice challenge, which I actually spent some time on and failed. I couldn’t find a photo on Google images that matched, nor could I use SCID’s Material Search feature to find a matching game in MillBase.

      So I give up.

      What game is it from actually?

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