Short Notation for Recording Arimaa Games
The short notation is provided as a convenience for humans to easily read and write Arimaa moves. This form of notation is more difficult for computers to process since it is very context sensitive. The long Arimaa notation is suggested for exchange between computers while the short notation is suggested for Arimaa literature or display intended for humans.
- The first player to move has the gold colored pieces. The second player to move has the silver colored pieces.
- The pieces are indicated using letters. The case of the letter does not matter. The types of pieces are: Elephant, Camel, Horse, Dog, Cat and Rabbit. The first letter of each name is used in the notation, except in the case of a camel the letter M or m is used.
- To make the notation easier to read for humans the pieces of the player to move can be lower case and opponents pieces may be indicated with capital letters or visa versa. However it is not required and both players pieces can be the same case letters.
- Usually each line contains one move. But a sequence of moves can be combined on one line using a comma to separate one move from the next.
- The side which the board is being viewed from can be specified before the move or by itself on a single line. The value may be: g, s or n to indicate gold, silver or neutral. In case of neutral the gold player is on the left and the silver player is on the right. If the side to view from is not specified at the start of the move then any previously specified view remains in effect. If no view has previously been specified then the gold side is assumed.
- The move number and side to move can be specified after the view and before the move. The move number and side to move of the first move of a game is 1g and is followed by 1s, 2g, 2s and so on. The move number, the side to move or both may be omitted if they can be determined from previous context. If the move number can't be determined then it is assumed to be 1. If the side to move can't be determined then it is assumed to be g.
- If only a letter such as g or s is given before a move it should be interpreted as the side to move and not the side to view.
- A setup move is indicated by listing only the eight major pieces. Rabbits are automatically assumed to fill the empty spaces. The location of the pieces is specified from left to right starting with the closest row and continuing with further rows. Only spaces where pieces can be placed during setup need to be considered. Numbers are used to indicate a sequence of empty spaces and letters are used to indicate the pieces. For example:
g 1g 3cc4hdemdh
specifies the board is being viewed from the gold side and the gold pieces are setup with the two cats in the center of the first row and other major pieces centered in the second row. This same setup can also be specified from different views as follows:
s 1g 1hdmedh4cc
n 1g 3h1dcmce1d1h
note that only the squares where pieces can be placed during the setup move are considered.
- Movements are specified using upper case letters to indicate the piece to move and one or more arrow like characters to indicate direction of sequential steps. The direction characters are ^, v, <, > for up, down, left and right. Alternatively the characters +, - can be used for up, and down. Alternatively the characters (, ) can be used for left and right. The alternative characters are provided for situations where the perfered characters may be a problem to use. An author may also use symbols which look like arrows such as: ↑ ↓ ← → if they are available.
g 5g e^>>v
specifies that the board is viewed from the gold side, that this is move number 5 for gold and the gold elephant takes four steps moving north, east, east and then south. The side to move specifies which color pieces the letters represent.
- Movement of multiple pieces can be specified together without spaces. For example:
g 9g h^^e<<
specifies that the horse moves two steps north and the elephant moves two steps west. However an author may choose to add a space between the movement of different pieces for easier reading. Note that commas are used to seperate multiple moves so spaces maybe used within a move.
g 9g h^^ e<<
- In case of multiple similar pieces the column (aka file) number of the square containing the piece can be used after the letter to uniquely specify the piece. Column 1 is at the left of the specified view. For example:
g 6g r4<^
means the gold rabbit on the 4th column moves west and then north.
- If the column number is not sufficient to specify the piece then the row (aka rank) number of the square containing the piece can also be specified. Row 1 is at the bottom of the specified view. For example:
g 6g r12^
means the rabbit on column 1, row 2 moves north.
- A second way of specifying the exact piece is to use the scan number of the piece. Scan the board one row at a time starting with the bottom left square and scanning each row from left to right and count the occurances of this type of piece. The scan number is specified as a superscript.
g 6g r5<^
means the 5th gold rabbit in the scan moves left then up.
- The disambiguation is not required if it is obvious from context which piece is being specified. For example if there is only one cat left then just a c can be used.
- Uniquely identifing the piece can also be omitted if it can be determined from the direction of the steps. For example if only one horse can move east then h> is sufficient.
- If a piece is not uniquely identified, then the last piece of that type which was previously identified in this move is assumed. For example:
g 8g h2^r3>hv
means the 2nd horse in the scan goes north, the rabbit on column 3 goes east and the same horse goes south to return to where it started.
Pushing and Pulling
- A push is indicated by specifying the piece doing the push followed by the pushed piece and finally the direction of the pushed piece. For example:
g 15g eM^>
specifies that the gold elephant pushes the silver camel first north and then east. If the gold elephant only moved east after pushing the camel north it would be specified as: eM^e>.
- A pull is indicated by specifying the piece that is pulled followed by the piece doing the pulling and finally the direction of the pulling piece. For example:
g 15g Me^>
specifies that the gold elephant pulls the silver camel by moving north and then moving east. If the gold elephant only moved east after pulling the camel north it would be specified as: Me^e>.
- The square label can be omitted if there is only one such piece adjacent to the piece doing the pushing or pulling. For example:
g 23g eR>
is sufficient if there is only one silver rabbit adjacent to the gold elephant.
g 24g r3^^Re>
Note that second rabbit specifed could be different then the first depending on which rabbit the elephant is adjecent to. The case of the opponents letters could be the same as the moving players letters.
- In a push or pull move the square label used to uniquely identify the weaker piece can also be omitted if it can be determined from the direction of the step. For example if there is a silver rabbit to the north and another to the west of the gold elephant then eR> is sufficient to specify that the rabbit to the north is being pushed and does not have to be specified as eR5> (assuming the pushed rabbit is on row 5).
- A piece which is trapped and is removed from the board is indicated by using a x or * character. For example:
g 33g d2^*
specifies that the gold dog on column 2 goes north and is removed.
- A piece which is on the trap can also be trapped if the supporting piece moves away. For example:
g 33g d^c*
specifies that the dog goes north and the cat is removed.
- A * after a push or pull move implies that the weaker piece that was pushed or pulled is removed. For example:
g 33g dC^*
specifies that dog pushes the silver cat north and the cat is removed.
- If the stronger piece or some other piece is to be removed after the push or pull then it must be specified seperately. For example:
g 33g dC^d*
specifies that dog pushes the silver cat north and the dog is removed.
Time for Move
- After the move a decimal number or a whole number can be given to indicate the number of seconds that were used to make the move. A space must be used to seperate this number from the move. For example:
g 33g dC^d* 40.2
means that the gold player thought for 40.2 second before making move 33g.
Here is an example of short notation for game 1627 viewed from the silver side:
s 1 dcdemchh, 8hdcmecdh 2 evmvh8vh7v, e^^^r^ 3 dvdvdvr5v, r^^m^> 4 evveMv, r5<^eM> 5 eMveC^*, r8^^Re< 6 eD^<*, r4>e^r^The s on the first line sets the view to silver. Note that for gold the side to move is not speified since it can be determined from context. Also for silvers moves both the move number and side to move is not specified and can be determined from context.
Short Notation for Recording Arimaa Positions
- The recording of an arbitrary position is done similar to recording setup moves (1g and 1s) except that the location of all rabbits must be specified and placement of pieces is not limited to the first two rows of the side to move and covers the entire board.
- Two consecutive moves are used to record the position with each move specifiying the placement of one set of pieces indicated by the side to move.
- The first move in recording the position can start with silver as the side to move.
- For recording initial positions the convention will be to use move 0g or 0s as the first move unless otherwise stated. However move number 1g or 1s should not be used for initial positions that define a arbitrary or fictitious position and should only be used for setup moves. The 0 indicates that the position covers all squares on the board where as the 1 indicates that it only covers the first two rows of the player to move.
Here is an example of recording the position before move 45s from game 16655.g 0s 6h6e17rc10d2h2r1rmd2r4rr, r2r3r2c4r1r22h7r1e
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