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The Chess Variant Pages

This page is written by the game's inventor, Hans Aberg.

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Hans Aberg wrote on 2008-05-02 UTC
| If piece values cannot be used to predict outcomes of games, they
| would be useless in the first place.

If one is materially behind, one knows one should better win the middle game, or win material back before coming into the end-game, unless the latter is a special case.

| Why would you want to be an exchange or a piece ahead, if it might
| as frequently mean you are losing as that you are winning?

This is indeed what happens if with programs focusing too much on material, or weak players starting with a piece ahead.

| Precisely knowing the limitations of your opponent allows
| you to play a theoretically losing strategy (e.g. doing bad trades) in
| order to set a trap.

Sure, this seems to be essentially to be the effect of a brute force search on a very fast computer.

| In general, this is a losing strategy, as in practice
| one cannot be sufficiently sure about where the opponent's horizon will
| be.

In human tournament playing, a top player either plays against opponents of lower horizon, or against well known opponents whose playing style has been well analyzed. In the first case, there is not much need to adapt playing as one can see deeper, but in the latter case, one certainly does choose strategies adapted against the opponent. Now, with computer programs, at least in the past, the GMs were pitted against program which they did not know that well, the latter which ran in special versions and on very fast computers when tried on humans. So humans do not get much of  chance to develop better strategies. But this may not matter if the strategy does not allow them to handle the theoretical faulty combinations used by computer by relying on a somewhat deeper search.

| Fact is that I OBSERVE that the piece values I have given below
| do statistically predict the outcome of games with good precision.

You only observe past events, not the future, and a statistical prediction is only valid for for a true stochastic variable, or in situations that continue behave as such. But don't worry about this:

If you find methods to duplicate the analysis by Larry Kaufman, and use that to compute values for various pieces on boards like perhaps 8x8, 10x8, 12x8, then it seems simple enough to modify engines to play with different chess variants (if protocols like UCI are extended to cope with it).

I think though the real test will be when humans play against those programs.

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Comment on the page Aberg variation of Capablanca's Chess

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