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This item is a play-by-email page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2015-12-13
 Author: Carlos  Cetina. Inventor: Kevin  Pacey. Sac Chess. Play classical chess along with classical compound pieces: amazons, chancellors, archbishops...[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2015-12-15 UTC
Thanks for putting together a Game Courier version of Sac Chess, Carlos. I didn't guess a variant of mine would be on Game Courier so soon (if ever).

I'm still new to the Chess Variants Page, and I've been shy about trying out the Game Courier. I tried email chess games years ago and found it a bit taxing (computer engine assistance and use of books were allowed, too, not such a problem for a lot of chess variants I suppose). I also tried reading some of the lengthy documentation for Game Courier a while ago, and though it looks daunting I can probably get a handle on the most essential parts to know as far as playing any game by email, when I feel like trying it out (by the New Year, if not sooner). I'll keep you in mind as an opponent at Sac Chess or any Hexagonal variant(s) if you still wish.

Earlier today I saw a diagram for the Sac Chess starting position on Game Courier invitations (I happened to check for any Sac Chess games being played there), and it looked much nicer than my attempt at a diagram in my submission for Sac Chess on the Chess Variants Page. Thanks again.

Kevin

Carlos Cetina wrote on 2015-12-15 UTC
You are welcome, Kevin. A little contribution of mine to your idea. I like it. Introducing into the classical chess gameplay the 6 primary, basic compound pieces.

Unfortunately, there is a bug in the preset: if you click in the menu Related --> Rules for Sac Chess, it appears this message: "The Chess Variant Pages: 404 Error - Page not found." Hopefully Fergus or Ben can fix it.

I encourage you to playtest Sac Chess with me as soon as posssible... I'm anxious to see how its game plot would evolve!

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2015-12-15 UTC
You entered the URL to the rules as a full URL without the http:// prefix. Without that prefix, it treats it as a path name to a page on the Chess Variant Pages, and that's what happened here. So, you should either add the prefix or remove the domain name. I recommend the latter.

Carlos Cetina wrote on 2015-12-15 UTC
Ready! Problem fixed. Thanks, Fergus.

Carlos Cetina wrote on 2015-12-15 UTC
I'm close to enforce the rules for this preset but something is wrong. Fergus: could you please have a look at and test it here? Apparently the code doesnot recognize neither dragon king nor dragon horse nor knight/guard as pieces. Thanks in advance.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2015-12-15 UTC
It looks like your Post-Move code was copied from one of my presets without adapting it to this particular game.

Carlos Cetina wrote on 2015-12-15 UTC
Just adding the labels of the new pieces in the corresponding lines of Post Move boxes

elseif match moved Q R B N A M O .RF .BW .NGU:
elseif match moved q r b n a m o .rf .bw .ngu:

the problem remains.

Do you think the following definitions are right?

def O checkride #0 #1 1 0 or checkride #0 #1 1 1 or checkleap #0 #1 1 2;
def .RF checkride #0 #1 1 0 or checkleap #0 #1 1 1 or checkleap #0 #1 1 0;
def .BW checkride #0 #1 1 1 or checkleap #0 #1 1 1 or checkleap #0 #1 1 0;
def .NGU checkleap #0 #1 1 2 or checkleap #0 #1 1 1 or checkleap #0 #1 1 0;
def OL merge rays #0 1 0 rays #0 1 1 leaps #0 1 2;
def .RFL merge rays #0 1 0 leaps #0 1 1;
def .BWL merge rays #0 1 1 leaps #0 1 0;
def .NGUL merge leaps #0 1 2 leaps #0 1 0 leaps #0 1 1;

def o checkride #0 #1 1 0 or checkride #0 #1 1 1 or checkleap #0 #1 1 2;
def .rf checkride #0 #1 1 0 or checkleap #0 #1 1 1 or checkleap #0 #1 1 0;
def .bw checkride #0 #1 1 1 or checkleap #0 #1 1 1 or checkleap #0 #1 1 0;
def .ngu checkleap #0 #1 1 2 or checkleap #0 #1 1 1 or checkleap #0 #1 1 0;
def oL merge rays #0 1 0 rays #0 1 1 leaps #0 1 2;
def .rfL merge rays #0 1 0 leaps #0 1 1;
def .bwL merge rays #0 1 1 leaps #0 1 0;
def .nguL merge leaps #0 1 2 leaps #0 1 0 leaps #0 1 1;


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2015-12-15 UTC
Your code is gone, and I don't know what each of those pieces are supposed to be.

Carlos Cetina wrote on 2015-12-15 UTC
The code is not gone, the link to the "enforced" preset is this.

O is amazon
.RF is dragon horse = rook or ferz
.BW is dragon king = bishop or wazir
.NGU is knight or guard

Testing the preset by the "MOVE pieces by yourself" resource, looks like the code doesnot recognize such pieces as own for any determined army.


Carlos Cetina wrote on 2015-12-15 UTC
Sorry, .RF is dragon king and .BW is dragon horse (from shogi).

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2015-12-15 UTC
For the Dragon Horse and Dragon King, where you have a checkride, you don't also need a checkleap. But this is just redundancy, not anything that would break these functions. The *L functions don't have this redundancy and seem alright.

When you say the code does not recognize these pieces, please be specific about what you're doing, what you expect to happen, and what happens. The pieces are not objects that are either fully recognized or fully not recognized. I could move these pieces, but I could not see legal moves displayed for them. Also, other pieces on the same side could capture them.

I think both problems are due to the piece labels not being purely alphabetical. With piece labels that have non-alpha characters in them, you cannot rely on islower and isupper to tell the sides apart, and you cannot rely on onlylower and onlyupper to provide a list of all pieces belonging to one side. You will have to rewrite any code relying on the assumption that piece labels are purely alphabetical. Alternately, you can use a smaller set that does use purely alphabetical labels for pieces. I never use the Alfaerie: Many set and do not encourage its use.

Carlos Cetina wrote on 2015-12-16 UTC
OK, following your advising I changed the Piece Set. The starting setup looks thus: <p> <img src="../membergraphics/MPsacchess/sac_chess.png"> <p> The preset is now working fine except by 2 things: <p> 1. It's not possible to promote pawns because appear a message noting: "This webpage is not available. DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN." <p> 2. When you click on the Amazon or on the Centaur (placed on a2/a9, j2/j9) its legal moves are not displayed, and when you click on the destination square it appears a JavaScript window saying: "This move is not marked as legal. Do you still want to try it?", followed by the "Cancell - Accept" alternative links. After clicking "Accept", the move is completed normally. <p> Remember the link for the encoded preset is <a href="/play/pbm/play.php?game=Sac+Chess&settings=default">this</a>.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2015-12-16 UTC
> 1. It's not possible to promote pawns because appear a message noting: "This webpage is not available. DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN." 

That's an unexpected message. It is not programmed into Game Courier, and I don't know what could be responsible for it.

> 2. When you click on the Amazon or on the Centaur (placed on a2/a9, j2/j9) its legal moves are not displayed, and when you click on the destination square it appears a JavaScript window saying: "This move is not marked as legal. Do you still want to try it?", followed by the "Cancell - Accept" alternative links. After clicking "Accept", the move is completed normally. 

The *L functions for these two are trying to merge three arrays with only one instance of merge. Merge takes two arguments, not three. To merge three arrays, you should first merge two, then merge the merged array with a third array. You would have to use merge twice to do this.

Carlos Cetina wrote on 2015-12-16 UTC
>That's an unexpected message. It is not programmed into Game Courier,<br> >and I don't know what could be responsible for it. <p> I think it is related with the change of domain from .org to .com because the same happens with the chess preset; so unless you fix this, it won't be possible to promote pawns in games that have enforced theirs rules. <p> >The *L functions for these two are trying to merge three arrays with<br> >only one instance of merge. Merge takes two arguments, not three. To<br> >merge three arrays, you should first merge two, then merge the merged<br> >array with a third array. You would have to use merge twice to do<br> >this. <p> Ready! I made it. Problem solved. Thanks.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2015-12-16 UTC
>> That's an unexpected message. It is not programmed into Game Courier,
>> and I don't know what could be responsible for it.

> I think it is related with the change of domain from .org to .com because the same happens with the chess preset; so unless you fix this, it won't be possible to promote pawns in games that have enforced theirs rules.

Yes, Pawn promotion uses the askpromote command, which includes a form, and the URL for the form's action was given in full at chessvariants.org. I shortened it to just play.php. Currently, chessvariants.org is out of commission until I can figure out how to successfully redirect it to chessvariants.com.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2015-12-24 UTC
Hi Carlos

What happened in your first game of Sac Chess with Fergus, at least in terms of the result? How many moves did the game last? I haven't yet learned how to access a database of games of a particular variant that have been played on Game Courier, if there is such a database (there are logs of many games that started long ago, at least).

I saw that that game had gone past move 30 (with yourself as White), with a wide open position (in terms of pawn structure), where you were ahead by one pawn. After that, I checked later on and you two had started another game of Sac Chess, and I couldn't find the first game's log.

Carlos Cetina wrote on 2015-12-24 UTC
Hi Kevin. <p> Please select "Only Finished Games" in the "Status" menu of the <a href="/play/pbmlogs/index.php">Game Courier Logs Game</a> page; then click "Submit". With the "Age" menu you can choose how far back in time you want to search in the database.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2015-12-24 UTC
Hi, Kevin. To get the game logs, click on the site logo in the upper lefthand corner of the page. That takes you to the home page. Scroll down until you see the "What's New" section. The top line under What's New is the last game move made. Click on that kink and it will bring you to the game logs. Type "Sac Chess" in the game box, set the Age box to however far you want to go back and look - say 4 weeks. Then set the status to "Any Games", and click the "submit" button. This will bring up all the games of Sac Chess that were played in the last 4 weeks. You will get the current game between Carlos and Fergus and you will get their finished game. Note the game box is case sensitive. If you type "sac chess" or Sac chess", you will not see any games. Putting your user ID in will bring up just the games you've played in the last 4 weeks. You can use wild cards: putting "Sac *" or Sac*" will also get you those games, as will "Sa*". Typing just "S*" will bring up Seirawan, Shogi... also.
*******EDIT:
I see Carlos already gave you the short course.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2015-12-24 UTC
Thanks guys. I got to see the game by following Carlos' instructions. I had tried some searching of the logs before, but not the way Joe describes.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2016-01-02 UTC
I greatly enjoyed the second ever game of Sac Chess, between Fergus & Carlos, both because it was full-blooded, in terms of having many pieces and pawns traded before the end (unlike happened in the first ever game of Sac Chess), and because all these trades (of about 20 units per each side) happened at a fast pace (namely about 1 pair of units for every 6 ply), i.e. faster than is the average pace for chess (which is 1 pair of units traded for every 10 ply, I read somewhere).

I was a little concerned that an average game of Sac Chess might take around 220 ply (if 1 pair of units are traded for every 10 ply on average in a game, as for standard chess). That is since an average game of chess takes about 80 ply, therefore leaving about 8 units per side on the board. That is presumably if an average game of chess is not further played out, until checkmate, or else until a draw by the rules of chess.

One thing I noticed was that in this second ever game of Sac Chess, Black seemed to pass up more than one available checkmate in 1 move (that was around move 69, I recall), but this did not take away from my enjoyment, because now I have more reason to hope that Sac Chess may be a fully viable chess variant, for people to play and enjoy.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2016-01-03 UTC
If you want to test your theory about the computer resitance of this variant: <p> You can download a version of Sjaak II + WinBoard configured to play Sac Chess from <a href="http://hgm.nubati.net/SacChess.zip">http://hgm.nubati.net/SacChess.zip</a>. Just download and unzip it, and double-click the WinBoard icon (the black Knight) in the folder, and it should start up a Sac Chess game as black (so you can start playing white). If you want the computer to play white, click the Mode -> Machine White menu. You might want to give yourself more time through the Options -> Time Control menu. You can also watch Sjaak II play Sac Chess games against itself by clicking the Mode -> Two Machines menu. <p> Have fun!

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2016-01-05 UTC
H.G. wrote:

"If you want to test your theory about the computer resitance of this variant: 
You can download a version of Sjaak II + WinBoard configured to play Sac Chess from http://hgm.nubati.net/SacChess.zip. Just download and unzip it, and double-click the WinBoard icon (the black Knight) in the folder, and it should start up a Sac Chess game as black (so you can start playing white). If you want the computer to play white, click the Mode -> Machine White menu. You might want to give yourself more time through the Options -> Time Control menu. You can also watch Sjaak II play Sac Chess games against itself by clicking the Mode -> Two Machines menu.
 
Have fun!"


Thanks for your effort, H.G. I've been busy lately, with two 4D variant ideas of mine, and planning my activities (& recording appointments) ahead for 2016. This coming weekend, for example, I plan to play in a weekend tournament in Ottawa that starts Friday evening. A regular participant in Ottawa events is an immigrant GM from Montreal (Bator Sambuev), who is a mutual friend of the organizer/director of these events. I try to prepare something for him usually, since we'll usually play in such a small event, even though he almost invariably wins by a 5-0 score. 

After the weekend I was thinking of reading up more about Game Courier, to see how convenient it might be for me to understand & participate in that. Doing the downloading (and, e.g., trying machine vs. machine play) that you suggested will hence be on my backburner for a little while at least. To show how tech-challenged I am these days, I can't seem to recall ever doing the sort of 'unzip' you refered to, though I'm pretty sure it will be very simple to figure out how. Fwiw, my brother & his wife visit almost every weekend, and if able she helps me with software/hardware issues now & then if I am stumped.

Take care, Kevin

H. G. Muller wrote on 2016-01-05 UTC
> <i>To show how tech-challenged I am these days, I can't seem to recall ever doing the sort of 'unzip' you refered to, though I'm pretty sure it will be very simple to figure out how. </i> <p> That should go largely automatic. When you click the link to a .zip file (which is a compressed collection of files) Windows would throw up a dialog that asks you what to do with it, and proposes to open it with the "Windows Explorer". You just confirm that by clicking "OK". You will then get to see the contents of the zip file, which in this case is a single folder 'SacChess'. Somewhere along the top of the window will be a button "Extract all files", which you click. That 'unzips' it, after asking where you want to put the files it extracts from the .zip amongst your own (also making a proposal for that, usually amongst your 'Documents'). You will then find the 'SacChess' folder amongst your own files, (it will automatically open a window where you see it), and can look inside it by double-clicking it, and will find the black Knight icon there that you can double-click to start the game. <p> So 5 or 6 mouse clicks should be enough to set you playing.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2016-01-12 UTC
To Carlos:

Now that I've read Game Courier user documentation, I am thinking of trying to play my first Game Courier online game, such as a game of Sac Chess against you, if you wish to play (say at this point in time). I've got a handful of questions though:

1) I can't yet figure out how the players agree to the time contol to be used within their chosen game that is to be played on Game Courier (unless that comes somehow after an invitation is accepted). A large pool of time to play a whole game, for example, would probably suit me best, if that is the sort of default used nowadays.

2) I can't tell (e.g. by your ongoing 3rd Sac Chess game vs. Fergus) what you used as the preset for online Sac Chess (i.e. playing with, or without, rule enforcement) - that's besides not being able to tell what time control is being used in your game. I know I have some issues viewing webpages on The Variant Pages because of my older browser (which I may switch later on), but I don't think that's a problem as far as my viewing Game Courier, generally speaking. In any case, I don't know which preset for Sac Chess has been tested so far, or which you think best to use in a game.

3) I'm not sure if I need (or want) to be put on the Gamesroom(?) player list for regular Game Courier players to be told of existing open invitations. For invitations issued to a single person, I suppose they would show up on the publicly viewable list including open invitations, or the person to whom the invitation is issued to would receive an email. I'm not sure who gets White, i.e. to move first, when any sort of invitation is issued as well, but I don't mind playing against either colour my opponent may want in my first few games. If you wish, you could send me an invitation to play Sac Chess when ready to play (you could also send an invitation for a game of Glinski's Hexagonal Chess to me if you wish, too).

Sincerely, Kevin

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2016-01-12 UTC
The player who issues an invitation decides on the time controls, and the player who accepts an invitation decides which side to play. Carlos and I have been playing with a preset that enforces the rules and displays legal moves. That is the sort of preset I recommend for playing most any game.

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