Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Chess Data in Tableau

Tableau has a public visual on The Best Chess Openings - a great viz by Ben Jones.

This made me curious as to what it might take to generate chess data for plotting in Tableau. It's non-trivial. I am still working on that script. In the meantime, here's a short game from the 1600's. Enjoy!

And here is Joe Mako's improved version, from his comment below:


Joe Mako said...

I always find it amazing that there are so many routes to produce similar results in Tableau, it is a testament of Tableau's versatility.

You mentioned in your workbook that you felt the data creation was non-trivial, a kind of snapshot of all pieces on the board for each move. This route creates a lot of redundant data, and is not easy to maintain.

Another route that I feel works with Tableau's strengths, uses aggregation to get the arrangement of pieces for each move. Each additional row of data is the shift in position. The data source is much easier to maintain (potentially could accept move notation as input).

published at:

I added a list of captured pieces that are off the board, and used a single polygon to make the background, along with transparent png shape images.

83 Records in Data Source:
31 for polygon path for background
32 for initial piece locations
15 for moves
5 for captured pieces

This route still leaves room for improvement.

northwestcoder said...

LOVE THIS! Thanks Joe! Even though you're a big shot director now, you still take the time to help out the little guy. I'm off to go play with this some more ...

Ben Jones said...

Brilliant, brilliant, I love it! An entire chess match built in Tableau, including pieces captured. A great improvement over my original. Bravo guys!

Mike Mixon said...

This is so cool, but unfortunately a little over my head (in terms of how you structured the data to begin with). Beyond patient reverse engineering (and perhaps a few drinks to help with clarity...), are there some resources that would help me understand why you needed to (or chose to) structure the data they way you did? I'd love to add this kind of thing to my tool chest.

Thanks in advance.


naisan said...

Kings Indian? Why are we talking about vizzes: let's discuss the chess match?

mehak kashish said...
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