There's a statement on http://www.w3schools.com/tags/att_td_char.asp, a w3cschools page with a 2012 copyright (though that may be a mere boiler-plate footer) that "The char attribute is not supported by any of the major browsers."
in reply to Re^4: CSV or HTML? (now OT)
in thread CSV or HTML?
My guess is that has more to do with reproducing their results than your doctype setting. When I have a bit more free time, I should probably grab a current version of Amaya and see how it fares (or, perhaps, some other 'masochist'-- see Tux's above -- would like to report some findings).