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This item is a contest or tournament
It belongs to categories: Two dimensional, Large board
It was last modified on: 2003-07-26
 Author: Fergus  Duniho and Hans L. Bodlaender. 84 Spaces Contest. Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2003-08-02 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Thanks to all the organizers and judges! What a wonderful contest and great games!

Jared McComb wrote on 2003-07-27 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Well, admittedly, it wasn't a very good game -- I designed the whole thing in less than ten hours. (Although I'm still honored that someone liked it that much!) If I could redo it, I'd remove the extra move and demotion rules, and make the board wider. Maybe I'll do that later.

Glenn Overby II wrote on 2003-07-27 UTC
<p>The contest is over at last. The winners are: <ul> <li><b>1st: Outback Chess</b> <li>2nd: Heroes Hexagonal Chess <li>3rd: TamerSpiel <li>4th/5th tie: Cross-Eyed Chess <li>4th/5th tie: Ultra-Slanted Escalator Chess </ul> <p>This was a bear to judge, as the top three separated themselves relatively quickly from the other nine but it took weeks to decide between them. And we never could pick between 4 and 5, except to say that they surpassed the other seven finalists. <p>Thanks again to all the people who stepped in at crucial times to keep this from imploding. I'll make an announcement about prizes ASAP after consulting with the chief editors.

Glenn Overby II wrote on 2003-07-16 UTC
The finals judges are playing a bunch of games, concentrating especially on
those each judge did not judge in round one.  I wouldn't be surprised to
see a final decision in a few weeks.

Anonymous wrote on 2003-07-15 UTC
What is now going on with this contest. it is too silent at the moment.

Jared McComb wrote on 2003-05-24 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
So now the twelve finalists are going to be judged as a single group?  Is
that it?  Maybe someone oughta make a 'Round 2' page.


Michael Nelson wrote on 2003-05-22 UTC
I would like to make clear that my comments about games in the 84 Spaces
Contest are absolutely in no way intended as crticism of the judges.
Having judged Group A with Glenn Overby and Michael Howe, I am well aware
of how difficult the judging task is and how diligently the judges do
their work.  No doubt some will disagree with our decisions as well. Given
the overall high quality of the entries, not all of the worthy games can
make the finals. I am also quite sure that many of the decisions were very
close ones.  

It's been a pleasure to be part of this contest, both as an entrant and a

Glenn Overby II wrote on 2003-05-22 UTC
The finals jury will be Glenn Overby, John Lawson, and Peter Aronson.  This
provides one judge from each preliminary group, and all judges from the
CVP staff.

To the judges of the preliminaries:  Thank you for stepping forward at a
difficult time to ensure that the contest could go on.

Glenn Overby II wrote on 2003-05-22 UTC
The 12 finalists have been announced.  I do not have entries in
competition, so I will probably be putting my competitions editor hat back
on to organize the finals jury.  A further announcement may be expected in
a couple of days.

Good luck to the finalists!

Hans Bodlaender wrote on 2002-12-16 UTC
I think the only fair division is a random division. I propose that I'll make a random division in three groups (any other number doesn't divide 33 fair, and 11 groups is too much.) <p> For fairness, I should either give games of the same author always to the same group, or allways to two different groups. <p> I'll try to make such a possible division soon.

LCC wrote on 2002-12-15 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I don't think the newcomer x veteran idea makes much sense, because it's
based on the false concept of familiarity - that veterans have extensive
knowledge of their fellows' previous submissions and that newcomers have
none. I seriously doubt it. I am a relatively new visitor to this site yet
I have checked *all* submissions to the previous contests, and playtested
some, including all previous winners. This may, of course, affect my
decisions - 'oh, this guy didn't do as well as in that other contest...
it's good but I'll send him a message by voting low' (of course, effect
exagerated) and there is no simple way to oppose this - adding me to the
list of veteran judges? On the other hand, some 'veterans' may have had
little contact with other submissions, and even forgotten who authored
what. It's doubtful they will have any more 'twisted' reactions than

On a more serious issue, most volunteered judges, including me, are
participants in the contest. Will judging be limited to us, or any
volunteer will be accepted? If the latter is correct, how will 'foul play'
be controlled? While I am all in favor of trusting people's gamesmanship,
the idea of ficticious judges voting alike to benefit someone isn't so
farfetched as to be dismissed.

William Overington wrote on 2002-12-15 UTC
> Assuming we have that, I propose that 11 newcomer games be put into one
group, and the rest be split into the other groups.
The current rules of the 84 Spaces Contest state as follows.
The contest will be judged by one or two qualified judges. It will be
announced later who these judges are. 
end quote
Now, the rules appear to have, in practice, been changed so that lots of
people, including entrants, judge the contest.  That change, however,
seems to be going back more towards the original rules of the 84 Spaces
The distinction of some games being designated newcomer games would, I
feel, be unfair.  That was not in the rules at the start and should not
become part of the rules now.
David Short suggested four groups of eight.  Once Flipworld is added into
group 4, as he suggests, would those groups be suitable?  Is there any
reason not to use those groups?

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2002-12-15 UTC
By veteran, I meant anyone who has entered a previous Chess variant contest
at this site. By newcomer, I meant anyone for whom this is their first
time entering a Chess variant contest at this site. Using Glen Overby's
figures, I estimate that there are 13 veterans and 11 newcomers. 

I do not at all understand John Lawson's objections to segrating games by
veterans and newcomers. I do not understand how he thinks results would be

My main concern is that judges avoid, as far as they can, judging games by
people whose games they're already familiar with. Of course, this is
feasible only if a good number of the judges are new enough to be
unfamiliar with previous games by those who have already entered contests.
Assuming we have that, I propose that 11 newcomer games be put into one
group, and the rest be split into the other groups. Those judges who
already have favorite or least favorite games by veteran contestants can
then judge the group of games entirely by newcomers.

Glenn Overby II wrote on 2002-12-13 UTC
I'm shaking my head in bemusement.  Had the contest run by its original
plan, before Life intervened for its organizer, we'd be less than three
weeks from being done.  (Albeit with many fewer entries, and that includes
some good ones.)  Now, with the prospect of two or even three rounds of
judging by a pool still unknown, we may be looking at June.

I suppose this is partly the price of success...33 entries is really quite
a fine turnout for this contest.

My suggestion is to slow the pace of suggestions, and let Hans work
through what he wants to do.

John Lawson wrote on 2002-12-13 UTC
There have been so many points made here I cannot comment on them all, but
I will mention some that have drawn my attention.

FYI, I have also volunteered to be a judge.  Am I to be classified as a
newcomer or a veteran?  It seems the proposed critia are based mainly on
contributions to the CVP.  I am not blessed with that sort of creativity,
but I have been a regular visitor and commentor for five years, and I have
been interested in chess variants for 40 years.  Furthermore, I seem to be
of approximately average playing strength among variantists.

There are two good ideas that are mutually exclusive.  One is Fergus's
idea that the top five games advance in each of the three pools of eleven.
 The other is Mark's suggestion that the pools are too large, and six or
seven games per pool would be better.  Perhaps the protocol should be left
to Hans in this case, because it depends on how many judges are

When it comes to dividing up the games, there are several ideas.  I like
David's idea of balancing out the pools by format of game.  I think it is
a good idea to separate both contributions by the same person into
different pools.  Of course any contributor who also judges should not be
allowed to judge their own game.  I emphatically think it is NOT a good
idea to segregate the games designed by 'novices' and 'veterans'.  It
seems clear to me that a pool of 'veteran's' games would be more
competitive than a pool of 'novices's' games, and would result in skewed
first round results.

As a judge, I would expect some guidance on the criteria I would be using
to rate.  I expect to play, as David suggested, at least two of each game
(ideally more, if the nature of the game was eluding me).  I assume I
would play with the other judges of my pool, or with the inventor, if he
makes himself available as David has.  As the prospect of playing 22 large
and complex variant games simultaneously is daunting, I am already
beginning to extricate myself from my other gaming activities to make

William Overington wrote on 2002-12-12 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
> Please note that I did not take into account the 'newcomer vs. veteran'
criteria when I made the above groupings ....
Excellent.  That is, I feel, how it should be.
I feel that each entry should be judged on the entry itself, with
absolutely no facet of the assessment process being based on whether the
author is an experienced author of chess variant games or is a newcomer.

It may, however, be that the experience of people who will be acting as
judges should be taken into account in assigning judges to each of the
various groups of games.  That, however, is not at all the same as
assigning a game based upon its author's experience.
I seem to remember that the first rules of the 84 Spaces Contest seemed to
imply that each entrant was required to participate in the judging.  That
then went when the rules were changed.  Now that the rules have
effectively been changed again so as to involve entrants in the judging,
could there please be, for the avoidance of doubt, a clear statement as to
whether an entrant is once again now required to participate in the
judging or if participating in the judging is optional.

I hope that the chess variants pages do not slip into that awful practice
of the news media and some magazines of referring to a person by just his
or her surname rather than stating either a first name or a formal style
in front of the surname.

LCC wrote on 2002-12-12 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Which is rather complicated on its own.

Glenn Overby II wrote on 2002-12-12 UTC
The 33rd game appears to be Flipworld.

David Short wrote on 2002-12-12 UTC
One other quick comment I forgot to add to my previous remarks: How exactly to you determine who is a 'veteran' ? You shouldn't necessarily only go by how many times someone has entered previous contests. I've entered a few (41 squares, 42 squares, 100 squares), but I have several other CVs published on this site. Someone who has never entered a contest on this site before may actually have had a few other games published here, so they don't necessarily qualify as a newcomer, do they?? I therefore think that the best criteria in judging the 'newcomer vs. veteran' arguement is to look at the total number of CVs they have had published on this site (including their entry or entries for this contest) and rank them from most to least, and make the deliniation somewhere in the middle, or in quarters. Top quarter most experienced evaluates bottom quarter least experienced, second quarter most experienced evaluates second quarter least experienced, and vice versa. The problem is that you can't have it both ways. You can't break the contest down along those 'newcomer vs. veteran' lines AND break them down into the subsets I was suggesting earlier, in which certain types of game designs are equally distributed into different starting groups. The best you can do is start out with my suggestions, dividing all the 12 by 7s, 7 by 12s, and 10 by 10 -16s, and the 4 Newton submissions, and from there, rank the remaining games and randomly distribute them. <p> The problem is that after a while we start making this more complicated than it really needs to be. Here, I've just come up with a proposed breakdown of the 32 published games so far into 4 groups of 8 games each. What my groupings below accomplish is to make sure that all games are equally divided according to the parameters I suggested in my previous comments. That is to say, I've successfully managed in the groupings below to equally seperate all 4 '7 file 12 rank' games, all 4 '10 by 10 -16' games, all 3 '12 file 7 rank' games, distribute one Newton family submission into each of the 4 groups, and make sure that no group contains two entries by the same person. I've also divided the 3 most complicated games (as per my earlier suggestion) into different groups. Those can be found in groups #s 1, 2, and 3, and so therefore I suggest that the 33rd and final (and as yet unpublished) entry into the contest go into group # 4 below, which would be the largest and yet be one without any of the other 3 most complicated games, thus somewhat offsetting the imbalance. After breaking the games into different groups according to the criteria above, I then sorted the remaining games simply according to the order in which they were first published (earliest into one, next earliest into the next, next earliest into the next) and so on. The results of my efforts (and mind you are all free to come up with your own groupings, this is just my suggestion): <p>GROUP # 1: Invasion, Herb Garden Chess, Delegating Chess, Arabian Chess, Ramayana Chess, Ultra Slanted Escalator Chess, Tandem 84, Excelsior <p>GROUP # 2: The Pit, Schizophrenic Chess, Ryu Shogi, Transporter Chess, Unconventional Warfare Chess, Lions and Dragons Chess, Round Table Chess 84, Cross Eyed Chess <p>GROUP # 3: Tree Garden Chess, Quintessential Chess, Wizard Chess, Tetrahedal Chess, Jacks and Witches 84, Beastmaster Chess, Influence Chess, Tamerspiel <p>GROUP # 4: Seenschach, Viking Chess, Orwell Chess, Outback Chess, Chessma 84, Heros Hexagonal Chess, Battle Cheiftain Chess, Wizard's War <p> You're all welcome to tinker with the above list here or there if you come up with some subtle criteria I have overlooked, but I think I've done most of the work for you right here, I can't see too many ways on improving on this. To me, any further alterations to the above will be 'six of one, half dozen of the other' that is to say, not have much practical differences from my suggestion. Please note that there were only 8 games which did not fall into any of my previously suggested categories (board size, contributors) which needed to be specifically seperated, and those were: Tandem84, Round Table Chess 84, Battle Cheiftan Chess, Influence Chess, Wizard's War, Excelsior, Cross Eyed Chess, and Tamerspiel, and of those I just listed, the last 3 do not currently have ZRF files available for them. I have distributed them into groups 1, 2, and 3, so once again the 33rd and final entry which I will also assume does not as of yet have a ZRF ready for it should go into Group # 4, thus balancing out that disparity as well. (Please note that I did not take into account the 'newcomer vs. veteran' criteria when I made the above groupings, but as I have just pointed out, only Tandem84, Round Table Chess 84, Battle Cheiftan Chess, Influence Chess, and Wizard's War have any flexibility to be moved around. The other 27 games, I would think, need to be locked into place, otherwise you start conflicting with the seperation criterias we have spoken of before.)

Mark Thompson wrote on 2002-12-12 UTC
I rather agree with the concern that 11 games is a lot to judge in one round, and I'd like to suggest that even the 8 or 9 option could be improved upon. How about having 6 groups of judges, each judging either 5 or 6 games, and the 3 'complicated' games David mentions go to the groups judging only 5 games? Then each group could choose the 2 or 3 most favored games, and the winners could be redistributed to a second round of judging.

Glenn Overby II wrote on 2002-12-12 UTC
Thirteen entrants (16 designs) have participated in prior contests.  A
rough familiarity factor, computed by adding the number of prior entries
to the number of judge recognitions (prize or special mention), shows: 
Aikin 6, Neto 6, Quintanilla 5, Overby 4, Bell 3, Cazaux 3, McComb 3,
Short 3, Thompson 3, Bruck 2, VanDeventer 2, Forsman 1, Greenwood 1. 
Messrs. Cazaux and Greenwood certainly are well-known for other
contributions as well.

Ten entrants (18 designs, including two joint-entries) have two games. 
These are Campos, Fourriere, Knappen, A Newton (1 joint), P Newton (2
joint), T Newton (1 joint), Overby, Overington, Quintanilla, Short.

David Short wrote on 2002-12-12 UTC
I'm not sure that the 'newcomer vs. veteran' thing is that important, but if you guys feel strongly about it, I'm not going to argue too strenuously about it. While I don't have time to be a full fledged judge, I am willing to give my input as a veteran CV designer on the judging process, so that it will be handled fairly and equitably. I am also willing to play-test my own two entries in the contest against any judge by email (see earlier comment). I have a few more ideas: Perhaps you should break the judging into groups of four rather than three: three with eight games each and one with nine. Eleven games apiece seems like an awful lot to me, and depending on how many judges you can get you may be able to distribute things a little easier this way. (Just how many games should come out of each group into the second round of judging is something you can all decide for yourselves.) I am assuming that you will have more than one judge giving their input on a particular group. For example, if you have 12 preliminary round judges to cover the four groups, you have three judges per group. (Another advantage of going with four inital groups rather than three is, as I have already pointed out, there are four different games using 7 files and 12 ranks, four different games using a 10 by 10 board with the middle 16 squares as a 'no-entry zone', and four games submitted by members of the Newton family, and each of the four games for each of the aforementioned subsets could be put into the four different preliminary round groups.) It makes sense to have two judges from the same group play-test the same games with each other, either by email or in real-time. (With internet communication what it is today, moves can be sent in algebraic notation via instant message, using ZILLIONS to record the game, if the direct interactive ZILLIONS in-game link cannot [for whatever reason] be used.) I would also hope that each judge play-test each game they are responsible for at least TWICE. One time does not necessarily give one a good feel for a game, and often once a game has been played for the first time one might begin to pick up on certain strategies once they get into the flow of the game that had not occurred to them simply from reading the rules page and looking at the initial setup, which they will then be better prepared to use (either for attack, or to defend against) during the second time around. After that, if someone wants to play-test it even further than that, that's up to them based on how much free time they have on their hands. I also think that it's always helpful whenever a game's inventor can volunteer to play-test his own game with a judge (as I have offered), since who else has a better initial feel for a game than the creator itself, and I hope that as time goes by more entrants will come forward to volunteer to play-test their own games with judges. Even the games which do not yet have a ZILLIONS OF GAMES zrf file available can be play-tested by email, by including an ASCII diagram with each move transmitted, altered by hand in each reply to reflect the new position that occurs with the move that is being sent. (btw that might also be another initial criteria to use to seperate games into different preliminary round groups: those games which do not have ZILLIONS OF GAMES zrf files available for them, should be equally distributed amongst the groups). <p>Finally I was wondering if anyone was going to make any suggestions as to what criteria judges should use to when evaluating games in the contest. I don't mean to say that I think anything would be written in stone, that anyone MUST use certain criteria when evaluating games, because I would think that judges should be allowed a certain amount of flexibility and freedom in deciding which criteria they feel are most important, and obviously different judges will probably weigh different criteria with different importance, but I wonder if anyone will come out and state POSSIBLE criteria that could be used, or if you would prefer that judges figure that out for themselves without any outside influence. I would certainly be willing and able to give my two cents worth in this forum as to which criteria should be used in evaluating games if I am asked to, but for now will keep my mouth shut in case you'd all rather everyone be silent about that topic. Please let me know. I'll tell you this much though: If you ask me to state the various criteria I think are important in evaluating games, I'll tell you which ones I think are more important than others, but I won't try to come up with any kind of elaborate points-scoring system to give games grades or scores. To me that's a bit too scientific and it's not going to be appropriate or userful for different judges who may personally disagree that a particular criteria I stated should be more (or less) important than the emphasis I would seem to give it.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2002-12-12 UTC
I've had an additional thought on how to select the initial three groups of games and the judges for them. I know some of the games are by veterans of past contests here, and I assume without checking that several are by newcomers. I suggest that, insofar as it is feasible, games by newcomers and veterans should be segregated from each other. Veterans should judge games by newcomers, and newcomers should judge games by veterans. This will help eliminate any bias that veterans have toward games by people whose other games are known to them. I expect that complete segregation will not be feasible, especially if both veterans and newcomers have submitted two entries. But if we get a good number of newcomers to act as judges, it may be feasible to have most or all of the veteran judges initially judge between games that are only by newcomers. Whether newcomers judge games by veterans or newcomers is really unimportant, since they may be equally unfamiliar with games by both. But if the veterans were to focus on games by newcomers during the first round of judging, this would help eliminate the effect of bias in the judging.

David Short wrote on 2002-12-11 UTC
I've taken the time to identify which games in the contest have certain
commonalities between them, specifically, the board layout design. 
These games, I feel, should be seperated into seperate inital 11-game
groups as much as possible. The ones where four games are listed should
be broken down into a 2-1-1 ration and the ones where three games are
should be broken down into a 1-1-1 ration. 

12 FILES, 7 RANKS: Herb Garden Chess, Schizophrenic Chess, Viking Chess

7 FILES, 12 RANKS: Delegating Chess, Orwell Chess, Wizard Chess, Ryu

Garden Chess, Seenschach, The Pit.

Finally, I nominate the three games which, to me, seem to be the most
complicated. Certainly there may be one or two others which others might
feel should go into this 'top three' list more than one or two of the
I am listing here, but I certainly wouldn't want to be the judge which 
has to play any of these three games, and therefore I feel each of the
following games should be split up among the three different groups,
one apiece: Ramayana Chess, Tetrahedal Chess, Unconventional Warefare

Further input and voting should be taken among the judges to come up
with that final 3 'most complicated' list and seperate them into the 
three different groups.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2002-12-11 UTC
I agree with David Short's suggestions. It would be best to split games by
the same person into two different groups. This will better allow each
game to be judged on its own merits. Besides the scenarios he mentions,
another is that a judge, in an attempt to be fair to all contestants, will
let himself favor only one game by the same person, even though both may
be deserving of ranking among the highest. Suppose that one author has two
games that are really better than the others. If all the judges like these
two games more than the others, but out of a sense of fairness let
themselves favor only one or the other, they could be split on which one
they favor. This could then result in neither game by that person placing
among the highest ranked games.

I'm willing to judge. I may find time to playtest the games in a group
during the winter break. I probably don't have time for email games that
could carry into the next semester, but I should be able to find time to
play against Zillions.

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