What is this database about?

This database's purpose is to help you writing chess composers' names. The question is especially interesting if the original writing uses a less common alphabet. Nowadays Unicode is supported by many text processing systems and data bases, allowing us to write and display all characters ever needed.

The database contains writings of chess composers' names

  • in their own alphabet ("native")
  • using certain standard transliterations and transcriptions
  • alternative forms (sometimes objectively wrong)

In addition, you'll find

  • country as an ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 code
  • date of birth (if known) and date of death (with the obvious restrictions)

You can look up the writings of the name of a composer to paste them into your documents.

Several chess collections use the tables, too. You can select Original Language or Unicode as language for names on the PDB search page for displaying authors and sources in a defined standard language or the original language, respectively. Yet another chess problem database + wiki regularly tranforms new information about authors from the tables into its own system.

The more complete these tables become, the better will be your chances to write all foreign alphabet names in the same transliteration or transcription, which will give your document a desirable unity.

__We are not there yet!__ This database is not only meant to serve you; it also relies on your collaboration. Below, you'll find the Terms of Usage and information on how to contribute.

How do I work with it?

This database has two basic usages:

  • looking up a name to use it in a text or in a different database
  • contributing to the composers' database, i.e. adding a name or a writing of a name, or correcting a mistake

How do I look up information?

The easiest way to look up a composer is by using the Find form. For a simple search just fill in the appropriate fields; consult the Search instructions on that form for more elaborate searches.

Alternatively, you can page through the composers' list.

In the composers' list, click on any information element to display the details about the respective composer.

How can I contribute?

Contributing to this database typically means adding or modifiying informations about composers. To be able to do that, you have to be logged in as an editor.

To become an editor, please register. Your registration will be automatically signaled to an administrator who will grant you editor rights as soon as possible. From then on, controls for editing content will be at your disposal after you have logged in.

Structure of the database

The central table of the database is called Composers; each of its entries represents one composer. The Composers table has the following fields:

  • Country: ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 code of the country/countries where the composer lives or lived
  • Brth: Date of birth
  • Death: Date of death

Each Composers entry has a relation to one or more Writings and to zero or more Pseudonyms entries. In addition to the specific fields (family name, given name and pseudonym respectively), both these tables have these common fields:

  • alphabet: what alphabet is the writing of the names or pseudonym in
  • method: how did the writing approximatively come about (native, transcription, transliteration)

Some basic linguistics

The previous paragraph used two linguistic terms without defining them:

  • transcription
  • scientific transliteration

Both transcriptions and transliterations transform a group of one or more characters of a source alphabet into a group of one or more characters in a destination alphabet based on a set of criteria.

A transcription will apply transformations that make it easy for a person reading the text in the destination language to pronounce the transformed characters. The Cyrillic character Ч sounds like the character sequence tsch in German (as in the name of the river "Etsch"); Ч is therfore transcripted into tsch in German. The same character sounds like the character sequence ch in English (as in "chess"); Ч is therfore transcripted into ch in English.

The governing criterion in scientific transliteration is that it be "lossless"; a name written in the Cyrillic alphabet can be transliterated into the Latin alphabet and back into the Cyrillic alphabet without ambiguity. The Cyrillic character Ч is transliterated into the (extended) Latin č.

More Information

How did the database start?

This database was started in July 2005 based on the authors' tables of the PDB. These tables were originally created by Norbert Geissler.

What does Unicode mean?

The Unicode project aims at mapping every character known to be used on earth to a distinct number, its so-called "code point". Documents whose so-called "encoding" is based on Unicode can thus contain characters from various alphabets, including these very important characters.

Nowadays, the leading office tools suites such as Microsoft Office or OpenOffice support Unicode very well. An appropriate font (such as Arial Unicode MS) may have to be selected to allow all characters in a document to be displayed, though. See also Fonts and software resources for the Unicode Character Set if you have problems displaying Unicode characters.

Terms of Usage

This database is meant to be used freely and without hassle. Databases such as this one will only "fly" if many people collaborate, though.

The database may therefore be used under the following terms:

  1. You are invited to freely (as in free beer) use as much content from this database as many times as you like.
  2. When, while using this database, you spot an error that you are able to correct, or a hole that you are able to fill, you are required to do so.
  3. If you have a suggestion that might help us make this database better, you are urged to inform us
  4. If you are (or intend to become) a nice person, you are suggested to browse through the list of composers to correct and fill in whatever errors and holes that you are able to
  5. If this database provides you a valuable service, you are allowed to express your appreciation (as in free beer or similar currency) to the editors wherever you meet them

These terms are solely enforced by your conscience.

Oh, and in case you wonder

The logo shows Willie Dixon, one of the leading composers of the legendary Chicago Blues label Chess Records.

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