# Comments by Thomas McElmurry

`quality=100`

in the URL, but I couldn't find a way to make this work with my userid specified (e.g. when entering a move).I always like to have a link to all the games in the tournament.

Is the bonus time working properly? My opponents and I have exchanged several moves within the 12-hour grace period, and I don't think any of us have received the six-hour bonus.

Oh, and Happy Palindrome Day to one and all!

I have a couple of quibbles, though, about probability. In my view, a good randomizing algorithm must ensure that all positions occur with equal probability (unless there's a good reason to do otherwise).

1st quibble: When same-color bishops are allowed, it's best to treat the bishops the same as any other piece, and simply not think about square colors when placing the bishops. If you use procedure 3.2, you'll skew the probabilities. For example, let's check the numbers for Modern Random Chess. [I'll use the notation * _{n}C_{r}* to denote the binomial coefficient '

*n*choose

*r*'.] Suppose we place the bishops first, before any other pieces. We have 9 squares on which to place 2 bishops, so there are

_{9}

*C*

_{2}= 36 possible placements for the pair. Let's see how these stack up in terms of color configuration, noting that the first rank has 5 dark and 4 light squares. There are

_{5}

*C*

_{2}= 10 placements with both bishops on dark squares,

_{4}

*C*

_{2}= 6 placements with both on light squares, and (

_{5}

*C*

_{1}) (

_{4}

*C*

_{1}) = 20 placements with one bishop on each color. But procedure 3.2 generates dark-dark placements with probability 1/4, light-light placements with probability 1/4, and light-dark placements with probability 1/2. This means that light-light placements will occur 50% more often than they should, and the others will occur less often than they should.

2nd quibble: With the constraint that the king must be placed between the two rooks, it's dangerous to place one type of piece before the other as in procedure 4.2–4.3. In Fischer Random Chess, for example, there are 108 positions with the white king on b1, 168 with the king on c1, 204 on d1, 204 on e1, 168 on f1, and 108 on g1. But if the king is placed first, it goes to any of these six squares with equal probability. (Note also that the Game Courier preset uses this method; thus FRC as implemented in Game Courier is biased toward positions with the kings on the flanks.) It's safer to leave the kings and rooks until the end as in 4.1.

**Fischer Random Chess**.

**Play Bobby Fischer's randomized Chess variant on Game Courier.**(Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]

`first`and

`last`instead of

`left`and

`right`. With this modification it seems to work.

Of course this match alone can tell us only about Svidler and Aronian, but this match is not taking place out of the blue. Lékó became the first Chess960 champion by defeating Adams in 2001. Svidler won the title from Lékó in 2003, and has defended it against Aronian in 2004 and against Almasi in 2005. I've read that the challenger must qualify by winning an open tournament, but it's harder than it should be to find such information from official sources.

It seems to me that Svidler's status as Chess960 champion is more legitimate than that of either Kramnik or Topalov as Chess champion.

**Rococo**.

**A clear, aggressive Ultima variant on a 10x10 ring board. (10x10, Cells: 100)**(Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]

1-2: The rules on this page state quite clearly, 'Swaps with Swappers may be combined with other captures.' Also, the animated illustration unambiguously shows a Chameleon swapping with a Swapper and capturing a Withdrawer, a Long Leaper, and an Advancer in the same move.

3: The only requirement for promotion is that the Cannon Pawn's move end on the 9th or 10th rank. There is no restriction on where the move must begin. Therefore a Cannon Pawn may promote after moving along the 9th rank.

4: A move *to* an edge square is permitted only when necessary for a capture. Moves *from* edge squares are unrestricted. Suicide by an immobilized piece on an edge square is surely not a move *to* an edge square, and is therefore permitted.

I have one question, which for some reason I didn't think about until now. The starting position on the FIDE board has the familiar mirror symmetry, while the Dimension X board has rotational symmetry. Thus the full starting position is asymmetric. Is there a reason for this? I would expect this asymmetry to introduce an imbalance (probably only a small one, since the trans-dimensional pieces need several moves to cross the board). It looks as though the white trans-dimensionals may find it easier to attack on the kingside, and the black ones on the queenside.

**Fischer Random Chess**.

**Play Bobby Fischer's randomized Chess variant on Game Courier.**(Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]

Suppose we place the bishops first. There are 4 squares available to each bishop, and therefore 4*4 = 16 ways to place the pair. Next we place the queen on one of the 6 remaining squares. Then the knights; there are 5*4/2 = 10 ways to place the two knights on the five remaining squares. Finally three squares are left for the king and rooks, and there is only 1 way to place them, since the king must be between the two rooks. Thus there are 16*6*10*1 = 960 possible positions.

The important point is that, in the above counting, the number of placements available to any given piece type is independent of where the preceding pieces were placed. For example, once the two bishops are placed, there are 6*10 = 60 ways to place the remaining pieces, and this is true whether the bishops were placed on a1 and f1, or on d1 and e1, or wherever. Thus, by placing the bishops first, we select one of 16 classes of positions, with the same number of positions in each class. It is therefore 'safe' to place the bishops first.

By contrast, if we place the king first, then the number of possibilities for the remaining pieces depends on where the king is placed. If the king is on b1, then one rook must be on a1, and the other can be anywhere from c1 to h1. Thus with the king on b1 there are 1*6 = 6 ways to place the rooks. But if the king is on c1, there are 2*5 = 10 ways to place the rooks, and if the king is on d1, there are 3*4 = 12 ways to place the rooks. (Also the number of possibilities for the bishops depends on how the preceding pieces are distributed between the two colors of squares.) By placing the king first we select one of 6 classes of positions, but the various classes contain different numbers of positions, and therefore this method skews the probabilities.

**Missing description**[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]

If it's the choice of words that bothers you, I readily concede that 'Neutral' is not the best possible word for this new rating. 'Average' is significantly better, but still not perfect.

On another topic, I'm not sure I like the proposed popularity ranking. I'm guessing that under this system, the most 'popular' items on these pages would be the Rules of Chess FAQ, an old flame war regarding the Gothic Chess patent, and Navia Dratp.

i think the rating system in place is just fine, what is the point of 'neutral', what is that, it isn't even a rating, and isn't 'none' pretty much the same.I will address the second, fourth, and fifth independent clauses of this sentence.

2. The point of a 'neutral' or 'average' rating is to allow users to express ambivalence.

4. Correct. As the system now stands, anyone can skim the rules of a game, think about it for thirty seconds, and proclaim that it's the best thing ever. But someone who has played a game numerous times, or analyzed in detail, and comes to the conclusion that it's nothing special (neither very good nor very bad) has no way to express that opinion and have it taken into account in the computation of the game's average rating. The fact that 'Neutral' or 'Average' is not a rating in the current system is the primary reason why change is desirable.

5. Correct. 'None' is not at all the same as 'Neutral' or 'Average'. 'None' is not a rating, communicates nothing about the user's opinion of a game, and has no effect on the average/overall rating. But a neutral rating would communicate something (i.e. that the user considers the game to be neither very good nor very bad) and does affect the overall rating.

In my opinion, in order for a rating system to be useful, it must include one rating which corresponds to neutrality, and at least two ratings on each side, so that both positive and negative opinions can be expressed with various degrees of intensity. The current system satisfies neither of these criteria and is therefore not useful. The proposed system satisfies both, and I think it could be useful if used properly (a big 'if'). It's interesting to note that the labels (ranging from 'Poor' to 'Excellent') are still biased toward boosting people's egos, but this is relatively unimportant: the meaning of the ratings is carried by their underlying numerical values, as long as it is clear which is the neutral rating.

I had thought it was only the colors in shogi-simple.png that bothered me, but I think you're right about the thick borders. I'm currently using shogi-blue.png in one of my games; it's equally simple, but the more sedate colors and the thin borders are a vast improvement in my opinion.

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