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Old September 7th 05, 01:45 AM
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Default Chess - what is syntax and what is semantics?


I wonder what syntax and semantics is in the game of chess?

Perhaps a stupid question but I just saw an explanation of the syntax
and semantics of chess, it was as follows:

"In chess, syntax is knowing the legal moves, semantics knowing how to

Is this true in the _exact_ sense of the words syntax and semantics?

IMHO, there is a formal language governing the game of chess. In formal
languages the syntax is unambigous. For instance: a rook being taken by
a bishop cannot duck or lie to save itself. It is taken. In
programming, by typing something with proper syntax semantic is
created, eg in C:

printf("hello world\n");

The semantic is that hello world is printed followed by a newline. But
semantics has nothing to do with knowledge. I could well be an idiot
who thought that printf means 'print to file', but what I believe does
not change the semantic.

Any suggestions?

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