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Derek Nalls wrote on 2007-07-21 UTC
'I hope the posting I made did not, in any way, show disrespect towards
your opinion, research, nor criteria for choosing the opening setup you
did.'

No.  Definitely not.  My stoic, argumentative, hardened, informational
writing style has unintentionally and unnecessarily created some
cyber-enemies for me over the years that I never wanted at all and never
personally disliked.

Actually, I am somewhat relieved that you were not personally offended and
publicly hostile over the implication within my work (select CRC analysis
tool) that Schoolbook Chess is not fault-free due to its exclusion from
the select 48 games I analyzed in detail (along with all other king &
archbishop centered positions).

It is very significant that I did not see my way clear to devising
anything like the select CRC analysis tool until you first devised a
couple of simple rules for paring-down candidate CRC positions to a
manageable number.
__________________

''Colorbound', for me, has a very specific meaning. I use Betza's
meaning for colorbound: A piece that, for the entire game, always has to
be on the same color. A bishop. for example, that starts on the white
squares will always be on the white squares for the entire game, since it
can not make a move going from the white squares to the black squares.
Neither the queen nor archbishop are colorbound; both pieces can reach any
square on a blank board in two or three moves.'

Yes, my usage of color-bound in association with the queen and archbishop
was too vague and deserves clarification.  To be sure, I agree that the
queen and archbishop are NOT color-bound pieces.  Still, they will
contribute to the 'color-bound pieces imbalance' if both of them start
the game upon the same dark or light spaces.  This is due to the fact that
both composite pieces contain, in part, color-bound bishops.  That nuance
was absent in my explanation.  It is difficult to be concise without
losing vital completeness and accuracy.
_______________________________________

It is debatable that the rating system used with the select CRC analysis
tool is too strict.  Admittedly, it was designed to detect faults of
various importance within the vast majority of CRC positions presented to
it thereby eliminating all except one to a few.

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2007-07-21 UTC
First of all, Derek, I hope the posting I made did not, in any way, show disrespect towards your opinion, research, nor criteria for choosing the opening setup you did. The length and tone of your post indicates that you may have been personally offended by my posting. I did not mean any offense towards you; I was merely pointing out that I have different ideas about what makes an ideal opening setup.

I think I need to clarify some tthings so you can understand me better. Anything in italics like this is something you wrote. So, let me make some minor clarifications:

The color-bound pieces imbalance (e.g., queen and archbishop both on dark or light spaces)

'Colorbound', for me, has a very specific meaning. I use Betza's meaning for colorbound: A piece that, for the entire game, always has to be on the same color. A bishop. for example, that starts on the white squares will always be on the white squares for the entire game, since it can not make a move going from the white squares to the black squares. Netither the queen nor archbishop are colorbound; both pieces can reach any square on a blank board in two or three moves.

As an aside, I like your using 'what squares can the power pieces go were they the only pieces on the board' as an evaluation criteria for evaluating an opening setup.

you have a vast number of positions to choose from (12,000+ according to Reinhard Scharnagl)

Actually, we only have 72 positions to choose from (see the beginning of this thread again).

Edit: It looks like the beginning of this thread got eaten, so, again: I observed that all of the various Capablanca opening setups proposed over the centuries have the following three features:

  • Symmetrical with the rooks, knights, and bishops.
  • The rooks are either in the corners or one file away from the corners
  • The king is always in a center file
There are only 72 possible opening setups that meet all three criteria.(End edit)

An undefended pawn can, with perfect play by white (the player with the first-move-of-the-game advantage) over a number of moves irrefutably result in a stolen pawn despite perfect play by black

As I recall, the evidence for that assertion was very questionable. An undefended flank pawn will not result in a proven win for white. It might make the opening a little more tactical; for example, in Narcotic Chess (RQNBKMBNAR), black might be forced to develop his marshall side knight in order to defend his archbishop pawn.

Again, please do not take my postings personally, and thank you for your insights.

- Sam


Derek Nalls wrote on 2007-07-21 UTC

'I only think color balance for pieces matter if the pieces are colorbound. It doesn't matter to me what colors non-colorbound pieces end up on since those pieces can change color at will.'

The color-bound pieces imbalance (e.g., queen and archbishop both on dark or light spaces) is measurably a much more efficacious fault than the color-changing pieces imbalance (e.g., chancellor and archbishop both of dark or light spaces) although I classified both as 'minor faults' in the overall scheme consisting of only 4 distinct faults.

As measured by the movement capabilities for each power piece taken one-at-a-time on an otherwise empty board at its opening position [an ideal, potential maximum evaluation to reveal space-based imbalances rather than an actual, obstructed condition existing upon the very first move of the game by white], a color-bound pieces imbalance often results in a number for one color that is appr. twice as high as the other color in CRC. For example, 39 dark spaces can be occupied while only 20 light spaces can be occupied on the first move. So, it is NOT merely a trivial fault (instead of a minor fault).

A color-changing pieces imbalance typically only throws the numbers (from a total of appr. 55-59) out of balance by 2-4 more than they would otherwise be since a perfect balance never exists anyway with any CRC positions. Still, when you have a vast number of positions to choose from (12,000+ according to Reinhard Scharnagl), why tolerate this imbalance, either. Logically, I cannot tolerate the former fault. So, I will not tolerate the latter fault of a similar nature, either. Thereby, I maintain consistent standards for the model.

_______________________________________________________

'... I no longer think it's essential that each and every pawn in the opening setup is defended. I think it's a good idea for white to be unable to threaten mate on his first move, since otherwise Black can be prevented from making natural developing moves in the opening; having all pawns defended stops these kinds of threats.'

Yes but ...

An undefended pawn can, with perfect play by white (the player with the first-move-of-the-game advantage) over a number of moves irrefutably result in a stolen pawn despite perfect play by black. [{proven to us by someone}* using a powerful, multi-CPU computer with one proposed CRC opening setup.] Ultimately, this material disadvantage is probable to lead to the eventual defeat of black. This is too unfair to black. The potential amplification of the pre-existing and marginally, unacceptably-high advantage for white is the reason that an undefended pawn is unconditionally classified as a fatal fault for any CRC position under my system.

__________

'I am not sure every pawn around the king has to be defended two times or more. FIDE chess has had, for over 500 years, the King Bishop's pawn defended by only the king, and this has not stopped FIDE chess from becoming the most popular Chess variant that we will ever have.'

Yes but ...

Standard Chess is the most stable FRC position available.

[You can quickly verify this fact by creating a select FRC scheme in a likewise manner as you created a select CRC scheme.]

______________________________________________________

'However, I can see why one may not want these weakly defended pawns in a Capa setup, since there is 18 pawns more power (2 more pawns, the archbishop, and the marshall/chancellor) on the board than in FIDE Chess.'

Exactly.

My analysis of fault-free and faulty positions exists entirely within the relative context of what resources are available with a given piece set and class of games. Consequently, I demand higher standards of the CRC piece set on the 10x8 board defensively than of the FRC piece set on the 8x8 board.

Since I have only developed one tool to date, the select CRC analysis tool, I realize this fact was unexplained and undemonstrated.

_____________________________________________________________

Whatever piece set and gameboard with 100's-1000's of possible opening setups is presented, my goal is to customize a method to it by:

1. Focusing upon a highly-selective set of positions based upon your well-defined, easily-used criteria as potentially most favorable, interesting, least asymmetrical and worthwhile to investigate in detail- existing in a number manageable for one person in terms of the time and work required.

2. Applying an extremely-selective filter so that only one to a maximum of a few of the very strongest positions available survive with a rating of fault-free.

The very best possible game(s) out of the vast number within a class should exist there. This is due to the fact that the number of pawn backups (in chess variants related to standard Chess) impose mathematical limitations upon what is possible, despite the vast number of tactical, offensive multi-move options available, to effectively imbalance the game to the further advantage of white (the player with the first move of the game).

*Edited - JG


Sam Trenholme wrote on 2007-07-20 UTC
Thanks for looking in to this. I think the two of us will come up with different ideas about what makes an ideal starting position, since we have different criteria about what a good starting position entails.

For example, I only think color balance for pieces matter if the pieces are colorbound. It doesn't matter to me what colors non-colorbound pieces end up on, since those pieces can change color at will.

As another point, I no longer think it's essential that each and every pawn in the opening setup is defended. I think it's a good idea for white to be unable to threaten mate on his first move, since otherwise Black can be prevented from making natural developing moves in the opening; having all pawns defended stops these kinds of threats. One of my proposals posted in this thread, 'Narcotic chess' (RQNBKMBNAR), for example, has an undefended flank pawn, but appears to be a perfectly playable variant. The original Carerra setups (RANBQKBNMR and RMNBQKBNAR) have the same undefended flank pawn 'problem', but again appear perfectly playable.

I am not sure every pawn around the king has to be defended two times or more. FIDE chess has had, for over 500 years, the King Bishop's pawn defended by only the king, and this has not stopped FIDE chess from becoming the most popular Chess variant that we will ever have. However, I can see why one may not want these weakly defended pawns in a Capa setup, since there is 18 pawns more power (2 more pawns, the archbishop, and the matshall/chancellor) on the board than in FIDE Chess.

One thing I like to see in an opening setup is a Chess-like arrangement of the minor pieces. One problem with, say, RNBQKAMBNR, is that moving the center pawns forward two squares blocks the diagonals of the bishops, and it is difficult to make the knights active players in the game. The nice thing about, say, RQNBKABNMR, is that the knights, bishops, and center pawns are naturally developed without getting in each other's way.

So, in conclusion, since I have my own ideals about the initial position of the pieces, I will come up with a different opening setup than other chess variant inventors may decide upon,

- Sam


Derek Nalls wrote on 2007-07-20 UTC
Select CRC Analysis Tool
http://www.symmetryperfect.com/shots/crc

The documentation has been expanded and revised so that the Zillions Of
Games program is no longer needed to view all of this information in
detail.

Description
http://www.symmetryperfect.com/shots/crc/descript.pdf

Faults
http://www.symmetryperfect.com/shots/crc/faults.pdf

Ratings
http://www.symmetryperfect.com/shots/crc/ratings.pdf

Report
http://www.symmetryperfect.com/shots/crc/report.pdf

Summary- 48 Games
http://www.symmetryperfect.com/shots/crc/summary.pdf

Presentation- 48 Games
http://www.symmetryperfect.com/shots/crc/48-games.pdf

Derek Nalls wrote on 2007-07-06 UTC
When I searched-out Opti Chess, I expediently focused-in upon a select set
of only 24 CRC variants where the king & queen occupied the center files.

1.  Indisputably, the queen is the most valuable piece in the game (after
the king).

2.  I consider the queen the most capable piece at protecting the king
since the chancellor and archbishop can be threatened without reciprocity
from a large distance by sliders that move differently.  Specifically, the
chancellor can be threatened by the bishop and the archbishop can be
threatened by the rook.

Nonetheless, I was intrigued by your assertion that the 2 other composite
pieces (chancellor and archbishop) are worthy escorts for the king.  So, I
have been examining your select set of 72 CRC variants for a few days now.

Using more stringent criteria, I determined all 24 CRC variants centered
by the king & archbishop to have a minor fault due to the impossibility of
placing BOTH the queen and the chancellor on opposite-colored spaces than
the archbishop for balance.  So, I felt no need to examine them in further
detail.

The reasons?

1.  Composite pieces containing color-bound bishops (i.e., the queen &
archbishop) should be on opposite (light-dark) spaces for balance.

2.  Composite pieces containing color-changing knights (i.e., the
chancellor & archbishop) should be on opposite (light-dark) spaces for
balance.

This left me with a select set of only 48 CRC variants (24 king & queen
centered and 24 king & chancellor centered) that needed to be explored in
detail- half of which I had examined long ago.  Accordingly, I created a
*.zrf to chart my results visually and when finished, conveniently share
with others:

Select CRC Analysis Tool
http://www.symmetryperfect.com/shots/crc

I hope you find it interesting.

George Duke wrote on 2007-06-23 UTC

In Falcon Chess we call '1 Ni1-h3; 2 -i5; 3 -h7' Fool's Mate because Queen or Bishop cannot checkmate in three like that with full help of Black. 'Helpmates' are Chess problems, started it says in 1854 by Max Lange in Deutscheschachzeitung, and of course perfected by Sam Loyd 1860 on. Both sides cooperate to checkmate Black. That's what a trivial Foolsmate entails from the opening, called a Helpmate if pieces already developed, but any win in fewer than 6 moves is surely a blunder. CVariantists are already admonished to avoid channeling openings to just few lines, on account of there being no net disadvantage to making mating threat from Move 1, by one (or maybe two)specific moves, in some of the ridiculous or overused initial set-ups and piece mixes ever under consideration.


Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on 2007-06-23 UTC
There's a bug difference between a checkmate THREAT, and a Fool's Mate.
By definition, a Threat is : 'if you don't react accordingly, you're
lost'.

In RNBAQKMBNR , after 1.Mh3, which threatens mate, black is FORCED to
react. There are many ways, like moving a pawn around the King, which is
absurd; or advancing the King's bishop's pawn, which hardly a developing
move; or by 1.. Nh6 which gives white a very early pin, or 1..Mh6 which
leads to a very early exchange of Marshalls.

In Falcon Chess and Omega Chess, the threatened mate is a mate in 3, which
is less forcing than a mate in 2. It's easily refutable by very natural
developing moves that don't offend the sense of a chess player.

In chess, there's the famous Scholar's mate, which actually, with white
playing it, probably gives a weak position for white. While white moves
his queen around, black is developing, leading to a (=+) position.
Responding to 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 doesn't offend the sense of the chess player
the way the above-mentioned Capa variant does.

A Fool's mate is hardly worth discussion at all.

Jeremy Good wrote on 2007-06-23 UTC
Bishop-camel is a lovely, colorbound piece.

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2007-06-23 UTC
I don't want to get in to an extended discussion about whether a first move mating threat really makes a given variant worse. I feel it often times does, and, should I point out, Capa seems to have agreed since he changed the initial array of Capa chess from RNBAQKMBNR (1st move mating threat) to RNABQKBMNR (no 1st move mating threat). Speaking of first move mating threats, it seems the Sage (Camel + Bishop) is a little too powerful for an 8x10 board. All 12 sage 8x10 opening setups that I proposed suffer from white being able to threaten mate as his first move. It's a little more difficult to come up with an opening setup where both sides have a pair of sages, but white can not threaten mate on the first move. Here is one such setup:
SRNSQKBNRB
However, I think Sage chess works better on a 10x10 board. One possible 10x10 opening setup is:
PPPPPPPPPP
.RNBQKBNR.
S........S
Where '.' is an empty square, and 'S' is Camel (colorbound 1,3 leaper) + Bishop.

And yes, Sage chess also works very nicely if we replace the queen by the Marshall (Rook + Knight).

Again, these are just proposed ideas. I'm not formalizing a variant yet. I'm waiting to see if Greg can add the Sage to ChessV. I also need to study the opening in Schoolbook more. :)


George Duke wrote on 2007-06-23 UTC
When Carrera's was invented, Shakespeare was still writing plays and
Newton was not yet born(1642). M. Winther writes, 'It is advantageous to
the opponent should White threaten mate in the opening,' in Teutonic
Chess, a new array of Carrera's Chess.  There's hardly a large Chess without
conceivable Fool's Mate in three, call it a threat or not. For example,
Falcon Chess 8x10. There, if White moves Ni1-h3, then -i5, it threatens
checkmate on the third move with the third move of that self-same Knight.
However, Black's simple reply Ni8-j6 stops the attack and faces White  with fork-mate threat in reverse, worsened by the i1-Knight's not being in place any more to thwart. So, exactly the same words of Winther apply, 'It is advantageous to the opponent...'

M Winther wrote on 2007-06-23 UTC
Sam, I still don't understand what you're on about. Anyway, I'm glad that you've stopped judging variants as inferior on the grounds that there is an initial mating threat. I removed my 'Teutonic Chess' from the Capa Wiki page, and from my homepage, because I think that this all is rather silly. Like I say on my homepage: 'It might seem superfluous to give it a new proper name when it is only a rearrangement of the initial position, but this is what people do.' Please don't insert the variant again. Even in a chess variants community there must be some limits to silliness.
/Mats

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2007-06-22 UTC
Exactly, Mats. You are now our Official labeler of Capa setups with initial mating threats. I, in accordance with the editorial policies of Chessvariants.org, hereby give you an official seal that you can use to label any Capa 8x10 setup where white can threaten mate on the first move. You, and no one else, can label these particular Capa setups.

I have talked with my legal department, and they inform me that I must make a prominent notice in 6-point text that this entire posting is a joke. Failure to see that this is a joke immediately causes the person reading this to forefit their entire lifetime savings to me. Please make you PayPal donation here

And, oh, I have updated the Capa wiki page to list Teutonic and Energizer.


M Winther wrote on 2007-06-22 UTC
Sam, what are you talking about? Am only I allowed to label variants with
initial mating threat? I don't get it!
/Mats

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2007-06-22 UTC
Well, I have discovered one more Mats Winther Capa chess variants last night. These are Capa opening setups where white can threaten mate on the first move. As per the official rules of ChessVariants.org, only Mats Winther is allowed to Christen (give names to) any Capa setup with a first-move mating threat.

Here it is:

QRBNKANBRM 1. Ag3 mating threat
So, this is good news for Mats and bad news for the rest of us. The good news is that Mats now has 11, count them, 11 opening setups he can make Capa variants out of:
RQNBMKBNAR Md3
QRNBMKBNRA Md3
RBNQKMANBR Mg3
BRNQKMANRB Mg3
QRNBKMBNRA Mg3
BRNAQKMNRB Mh3 (Capa 1)
RNBQAKMBNR Mh3 (Teutonic)
BRNQAKMNRB Mh3
RABNQKNBMR Mh3
RQBNAKNBMR Mh3
QRBNKANBRM Ag3
The bad news is that only 40 Capa setups are left for the rest of us.

Sibahi: I did not get your reply. Did you get Jeremy's message?


Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on 2007-06-22 UTC
I partially agree with M Winther. I have two points to say in this regard:

1. White forcing black to react from move 1 can give White a HUGE
advantage in the game. An example of this, since White's advantage in
Atomic Chess (which is played quite regularly in FICS,) is very well
established that you are not required to give a rematch if you win with
black!!

2. However, this factor didn't prevent Atomic Chess from being one of the
most fun playable chess variants.

M Winther wrote on 2007-06-22 UTC
Sam. the fact that a variant 'suffers from a 1st move mating threat' is
of no consequence. In Teutonic Chess this is no problem at all. It is
advantageous to the opponent should white threaten mate in the opening.
This form of analysis is too simplistic. It makes an amateurish impression
to list which variants suffer from a 1st move mating threat. 
/Mats

David Paulowich wrote on 2007-06-21 UTC

Greg, the zorkmid is also the official currency of Variantstown . See csipgs Chess, Introducing Economy in CVs and The Hitchhiker's Guide to Chess.


Greg Strong wrote on 2007-06-21 UTC
GUE $49.95 Zm?  Is that a Zork reference?

Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on 2007-06-21 UTC
I have already invented my Capablanca variant: Energizer Chess, which actually adds the two pieces to the 8x8 board. I found it better in the game I am playing to NOT develop the Knights, but to develop the other pieces from around them, since developing the Knights blocked the Bishop's squares. Btw, Sam, I sent a reply to your letter. But since I have a terribly stupid computer I will never know if it was actually sent. Please let me know.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-06-21 UTC
Hey, Sam! I can hardly wait! Do they come with a Certificate of
Authenticity?

For those unable to get in on Sam's generous offer, I propose Great
Shatranj, which is actually a Capa variant. This fine and highly-luminous
game, made with only the finest and most carefully-crafted synthetic
pieces, has ALL the starting setups available [except for the single
posted version - V#1, which I am keeping]. In fact, this is so new and
these synthetic pieces are so different, that even the rare Gothic variant
is available. That variant alone will go to the highest bidder. The others
are all currently available at the low, low price of GUE $49.95 Zm.

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2007-06-21 UTC
Thanks everyone for the corrections.

Here is an updated list of known proposed Capa chess setups:

RANBQKBNMR      Aberg                                                           
RMNBQKBNAR      Carrera                                                         
RNBMQKABNR      Bird                                                            
RNBAQKMBNR      Capa 1 (Suffers from 1.Mh3 mating threat)
RNABQKBMNR      Capa 2                                                          
RBQNKMNABR      Grotesque
RBNMQKANBR      Univers                                                         
RBQNKANMBR      Landorean                                                       
RNBQKMABNR      Embassy                              
RQNBAKBNMR      Schoolbook                                                      
NRMBQKBARN      Optimized                                                       
MRNBQKBNRA      Paulowich 1 link
ARNBQKBNRM      Paulowich 2 link
QRNBKABNRM      Paulowich 
RNMBQKBANR      Nalls link
RNBQAKMBNR      Teutonic link (1. Mh3 mating threat)
Any without a link here are listed on on the Capablanca Chess Wiki page (I think I will add Teutonic to this page--sorry about the omission, Mats). And some more proposed opening setups, since not nearly enough Capa opening setups have been proposed :)
RNBQKAMBNR      Consulate  
RNQBKMBANR      Finesse
RQNBKABNMR      Notebook
QRNBAKBNRM      Closebook
RNQBMKBANR      Blackbook
NRABQKBMRN      Nightwink
RQNBKMBNAR      Narcotic
Setups which suffer from white being able to threaten mate on the first move:
RQNBMKBNAR Md3
QRNBMKBNRA Md3
RBNQKMANBR Mg3
BRNQKMANRB Mg3
QRNBKMBNRA Mg3
BRNAQKMNRB Mh3 (Capa 1)
RNBQAKMBNR Mh3 (Teutonic)
BRNQAKMNRB Mh3
RABNQKNBMR Mh3
RQBNAKNBMR Mh3
So, for aspiring Chess variant inventors, that leaves us with the following possible Capa opening setups:

QRBNAKNBRM RQBNMKNBAR NRBQAKMBRN RBNQAKMNBR NRBMQKABRN BRNMQKANRB RBNMQKANBR QRBNMKNBRA NRBQKMABRN RMBNQKNBAR ARBNQKNBRM RQBNKMNBAR BRQNMKNARB RBQNMKNABR NRQBMKBARN NRQBKABMRN RNQBKABMNR NRBAQKMBRN BRQNKANMRB BRANQKNMRB RBANQKNMBR BRNAQKMNRB RBNAQKMNBR MRBNQKNBRA QRBNKMNBRA RQBNKANBMR BRMNQKNARB RBMNQKNABR QRBNKANBRM NRBQKAMBRN NRQBAKBMRN BRNQKAMNRB RBNQKAMNBR RNQBAKBMNR BRQNAKNMRB RBQNAKNMBR NRBQMKABRN NRQBKMBARN BRQNKMNARB BRNQMKANRB RBNQMKANBR

So, aspiring inventors, don't miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime claim to be a Capa chess variant inventor. There are only 41 Capa setups left for you to claim! Get yours before it is too late!


David Paulowich wrote on 2007-06-21 UTC

QRNBKABNRM      Paulovich 3
mirrors my [2004-09-21] comment in Carrera's Chess, a game published in 1617 by D. Pietro Carrera (not related to Capablanca).

David Paulowich

(not related to Paulovich or Paulovits)


M Winther wrote on 2007-06-21 UTC
Sam, you didn't include my variant, Teutonic Chess, RNBQAKMBNR.
http://hem.passagen.se/melki9/capablanca.htm
I think that Capa 1 (which suffers from 1.Mh3 mating threat) is playable. 1.Mh3 is, arguably, a weak move that achieves nothing, except putting the Minister on the same diagonal as the enemy bishop. Although there may be better alternatives than Capa 1, it's not certain that a position suffering from an initial weakness is inferior. A mutual weakness in the opening position may create possibilities of seizing the initiative, something which enlivens the game (but I haven't analysed this position).
/Mats

Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on 2007-06-20 UTC
I like setup 4 best.

Thought : Wouldn't the Queen better be replaced by a Marshall ?

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