Ruby Quiz <james / grayproductions.net> writes:

> Output could be as follows.
>
> 	Starting Position 432:
> 	
> 	White
> 	
> 	a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1
> 	N  B  B   R  K  R  Q  N
> 	
> 	Black
> 	
> 	a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8
> 	N  B  B   R  K  R  Q  N
>
> Or some better output.

Let me suggest that another potential output format is an html page
that when viewed in a browser looks like the opening format.  I happen
to think that the chess boards shown on
  http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/ChessMarkup
look particularly nice, and shouldn't be too hard to duplicate.
(they're done as 8x8 tables, with the colors of the squares done by
CSS and the pieces being .png images with transparency)  Presumably
some enterprising person could then churn out a Rails page that showed
a given starting position.

There's also this basic ascii art method: (black is the lowercase
letters)

nbbrkrqn
pppppppp
........
........
........
........
PPPPPPPP
NBBRKRQN

(It's traditional to show the place where white starts at the bottom,
and to number the rows upwards - that is, row "8" is at the top of the
diagram)

Then there's a FEN string inside PGN notation:

[Event "Starting Position 432"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "nbbrkrqn/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/NBBRKRQN w KQkq - 0 1" ]

The advantage of that format is that you can feed it right into
X-Board, WinBoard, or any other chess program that accepts PGN
notation, and it'll start play from that setup.  (More on what that
FEN string means at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forsyth-Edwards_Notation )

-- 
s=%q(  Daniel Martin -- martin / snowplow.org
       puts "s=%q(#{s})",s.map{|i|i}[1]       )
       puts "s=%q(#{s})",s.map{|i|i}[1]