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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2005-02-24
 By Reinhard  Scharnagl. Capablanca Random Chess. Randomized setup for Capablanca chess. (10x8, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Reinhard Scharnagl wrote on 2008-01-26 UTC
In the case of a real free castling there is the possibility to also have castlings, wherein the king is making only one single step. Then an encoding as e.g. Kd1 is not sufficient to distinguish a castling move from a simple King's move. Moreover in traditional chess O-O and O-O-O is used. Thus the representation should be very related to that. using O-O-x has more common parts to those traditional forms than O-x. Thus I am preferring that. By posting here I intended to investigate the status quo of writing down castling moves in variants, before I would start to implement such abilities in SMIRF's successor application Octopus.

aronymous wrote on 2008-01-25 UTC
How about this : Ko-a for castling to the a-file , and Ko-b for castling the b file, and so on ? or O-a , O-b .. etc

Reinhard Scharnagl wrote on 2008-01-25 UTC
Hi Sam, there seem to be different kinds of free castling, thus including one-step-castlings. This is one reason and another, because a castling should be obviously in its notation Thus I would prefer adaptions to the classic notation. Another question is, that a GUI should be more flexible in accepting several kinds of notations. Nevertheless I try to unify such notations into a common mimic.

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2008-01-25 UTC
For my own Schoolbook chess, which supports free castling, I just notate a castling move as the square the king moves to; for example, Kc1. Where the rook moves to is determined by where the king moves to, and the only time the king can move more than one square is when he castles, so this notation is unambiguous.

- Sam

aronymous wrote on 2008-01-25 UTC
I suggest notating is as a King's move. Like 'Kb1'. This is a standard way to notate normal castling, btw.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2008-01-25 UTC
Hi, Reinhard. Good that you're making free castling available in SMIRF. You might want to generalize all castling as 'OOx', where 'x' is the column ended upon, for consistency.

Reinhard Scharnagl wrote on 2008-01-25 UTC
Well, having no suggestions yet, I made some myself: All castlings placing the King three squares from the left white side will be written as O-O-O (standard). All castlings placing the King two squares from the right white side will be written as O-O (standard). All other castlings will be written e.g. O-O-b terminated by the King's target column letter, here 'b'. Would that be acceptable?

Reinhard Scharnagl wrote on 2008-01-25 UTC
I am just thinking it over, whether to support also free castling in SMIRF - the variation, where the King makes at least two steps, to enable an unambigious move entering via a GUI. Then a lot of other chess variants would be able to be supported. But there is a question left: how is the regular notation for those castlings? O-O and O-O-O would not at all be sufficient here. SMIRF is downloadable at:

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2007-08-16 UTC
I just gave this program a test spin last night. So far, it looks good; its mating power and willingness to make sacrifices makes for some very exciting games to look at. I'm glad to see an exciting Chess variant player.

Zillions' game playing style is, in comparison, sterile and drawish. To make a comparison, Zillions is Kramnik's ice and SMIRF is Topalov's fire.

Reinhard Scharnagl wrote on 2007-08-15 UTC
Hi Sam, again I provide a link for chess variant insiders like you: link to locally make SMIRF BC-168b available. As often repeated there also is an improved version for real donators. ;-) Best regards, Reinhard.

P.S.: could you please specify the PGN notation concerning your 10x8 extended castling rules? Because traditional O-O or O-O-O would not be always sufficient, as I presume.

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2007-08-13 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
It saddens me to see that the excellent SMIRF chess variant engine is no longer available for download. Fortunatly, I was able to download a copy of SMIRF when it was still free downloadable, and have finally had a chance to give this chess engine a test spin. The variant I have SMIRF play is my own 'Schoolbook Chess' (CRC setup #27621 with different castling rules).

SMIRF has a very romantic style of play, making bold sacrifices. For example, in thie game against Zillions of Games, where both sides have five seconds to make a move on a Pentium Core Duo 1.5Ghz, SMIRF has the black pieces and makes several bold sacrifices before finally delivering the mating blow to white:

1. e4 Ng6 2. f3 Nd6 3. d3 Af6 4. NI3 e6 5. Ng4 Ah5 6. I4 AI6 7. Nb3 h5 8. Nc5 Qc8 9. Ixh5 Axh5 10. NI3 Af4 11. g3 Ah6 12. h3 b6 13. Ng4 Aj5 14. Nb3 Mh8 15. Af2 BI6 16. Bj4

SMIRF gets ready to make his first sacrifice.

16... Mh5!? 17. NI3 Mxj4 18. Nxj5 Bxj5 19. Ag1 Mh5 20. Kf2 Mg5 21. f4

SMIRF now sacrifices both of his knights to continue the attack on White's King.

21... Nxe4+! 22. dxe4 Mxe4+ 23. Kg2 Nxf4+! 24. gxf4 Mxf4+ 25. Kh2 KI8 26. c3+ f5 27. MI5

SMIRF sacrifces his bishop in order to keep his attack lively.

27... j6! 28. Mxj5 Qb7 29. Bf3 Qxf3 30. Axf3 Mxf3+ 31. Kg2 Mf4+ 32. Kh2

Black can now force mate; finding this mate is left as an exercise to the reader.

In another game, SMIRF plays ChessV, with SMIRF having the white pieces and each side given 30 seconds to decide their move on a Pentium Core Duo 1.5Ghz. Here is how that game went:

1. Ng3 e5 2. Mh3 Ne7 3. Nd3 Neg6 4. e3 d6 5. f4 exf4 6. exf4 Ad7 7. Af2 Axh3 8. Axh3 Ke8 9. Bg4 Bh4 10. Bd7+ Kd8 11. Qe1 Ne7 12. Bf2 Nhg6 13. Nf5 Bxf2 14. Kxf2 c6 15. Nxe7 Nxe7 16. Qe2 d5 17. Nc5 Ng6 18. Rje1 Kc7 19. Bxc6 Kxc6

At this point, even though White is down material, he can force mate. The mate, again, is left as an exercise for the reader.

Mark Thompson wrote on 2007-08-13 UTC
Today in Germany a law forbidding vaguely-defined 'hacker tools' went into effect.


This is a real DEATHBLOW to computer-using German people, because it makes no distinction 'between, for example, a password cracker and a password recovery tool, or a utility designed to run denial of service attacks and one designed to stress-test a network.'

What may be worse, 'While making life more difficult for security consultants and sys admins, the new laws will, paradoxically, make it easier for police to use hacking tactics in gathering intelligence on suspects.'


Please try to avoid Germany's becoming a totalitarian country. Until this law is rescinded, I promise to drink no more Beck's--nothing but Heineken and Guinness. I hope you'll do the same.

Reinhard Scharnagl wrote on 2007-08-04 UTC
A real DEATHBLOW to email contacts with US American people Well, because I am not interested in having my email postings 'legally' verified by the CIA, NSA and other 'peace securing' organisations, even without finding any suspicion against my person, I will no longer correspond with people from USA by email. Please try to avoid the USA to become a totalitarian country. So please join boycotting that raising freedom killing USA practice. Reinhard.

Stephen Stockman wrote on 2006-09-21 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
u could be the lucky 12000'th visitor at my 4-way chess web-site

Reinhard Scharnagl wrote on 2006-09-20 UTC
Hi Sam. Please note, that there is a rule number one (especially its second part): 1. the bishops have to be placed upon different colored squares; same rule applies to the implicite bishop pieces: queen and archbishop (aligned to FRC)

A reader wrote on 2006-09-20 UTC
Er, .. 'the queen is the the left of the queen.' 'the king is to the left of the king,' This doesn't make sense !!

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2006-09-20 UTC
OK, I've looked at the list and can sorta see why you had 12118 setups when I had 9820 setups. First of all, I consider mirror image setups to be identical, so I have removed them by requiring the queen to be left of the king (from white's side of the board) in all of my setups. This reduces the number of possible setups from 252,000 to 126,000. I note that you consider a setup and its mirror different--which it can be given certain castling rules.

I modified your list of crc setups to only show the ones where the queen is the the left of the king. For some reason, your list of 12118 setups has 6056 setups with the queen to the left of the king, and 6062 setups with the Queen to the right of the king.

Once I did this, I noted that there are some 3764 possible opening setups, where all the pawns are guarded, the king is to the left of the queen, and where there are no bishops together, that are not on your list of possible setups. I have put this list here:

This list uses 'M' for the rook + knight piece and 'A' for the knight + bishop piece.

- Sam

Edit: Fixed 'queen' and 'king' wording.

Reinhard Scharnagl wrote on 2006-09-18 UTC
Hi Sam, here is a link to all those 12118 valid CRC arrays: Which of them is not correct or doubled? Of course, I am not perfect, but I need a precise hint if need be, if something really should be wrong.

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2006-09-18 UTC
'There 12118 positions still are remaining'

My program counts 9819. Here are my restrictions:

* All pawns defended

* King between rooks

* No bishops together

* No RNBQMKABNR setup (patented; M = Rook + Knight; A = Bishop + Knight)

I'm curious where the number 12,118 comes from.

- Sam

Reinhard Scharnagl wrote on 2006-04-14 UTC
There has been a question, why SMIRF is supporting two other castling modes than merely the standard castling. Despite of that this is exceeding genuine CRC questions, here is the answer: SMIRF also is supporting Janus Chess, which needs 's' = symmetric castling, and MBC (Embassy), which needs 'm' = modern castling. CRC follows the traditioal approach to place the king after castlings either two squares distant from alpha-side or one square from omega-side.

Derek Nalls wrote on 2006-04-14 UTC
Out of the 3 options offerred for castling in SMIRF, I chose 'symmetric' castling for Optimized Chess 8H x 10W. This destroyed my plan to compare the strengths of SMIRF and Gothic Vortex III at this game by letting them fight it out at 3 minutes per move since the latter program exclusively supports traditional or 'normal' castling as exists in Gothic Chess. It is particularly gracious of Scharnagl to support symmetric castling within SMIRF, esp. since he has stated clearly that he personally prefers normal castling. To date, I suspect that a good reason to prefer symmetric castling has not been explained. Any unique game is singular in nature, regardless of whether it exhibits an east-west symmetry or asymmetry. However, unlike E-W symmetrical games which always exist as 1 unified, opening setup, E-W asymmetrical games are split so they always exist irreducibly as 2 mirror-image opening setups which can be transposed into one another. Obviously, neither one is any more or less proper than the other. Of course, most inventors only offer 1 of these 2 mirror-image, opening setups as the asymmetrical game and most players, on the rare occasion that a choice between 2 is offerred, will always prefer to learn using just 1 of them. Ideally, the king would be perfectly centered by E-W measure so that castling would naturally be the same between the 'Mirror I' and 'Mirror II' variants of Opti Chess. Unfortunately, this is obviously impossible as the '10W' in the game title gives a strong clue. An odd, NOT even, number of files must exist for it to be possible to perfectly center any single piece E-W. The opening setups in Mirror I and Mirror II have the 2 rooks balanced perfectly, equidistantly, symmetrically E-W from the center of the board. The opening setups in Mirror I and Mirror II have the king as close to the exact E-W center of the board as possible which is unfortunately, the line dividing the 5th and 6th files. Consequently, the king rests on the 6th file square in Mirror I and the 5th file square in Mirror II. With normal castling, the king and rook will end-up on destination squares that are asymmetrical from the exact E-W center of the board within both variants AND on destination squares that are different when comparing both variants. With symmetric castling, the king and rook will end-up on destination squares that are symmetrical and identical within and between both variants. Essentially, a simple average of the results of normal castling for Mirror I & II is taken which yields whole numbers. By contrast, one can wonder (with dark humor) how the person(s) who established the standard for normal castling kept from going crazy when you realize ... In deciding exactly where to drop the pieces kingside and queenside, in turn, they had to decide whether it was more proper to round-off exactly 1/2 square's distance to zero square's distance or 1 square's distance. Even Dr. Mark Thompson could not answer that one!

Derek Nalls wrote on 2006-04-09 UTC
optimized chess 8H x 10W

Reinhard Scharnagl wrote on 2006-04-08 UTC
RULE TO BE ADDED After experimenting with CRC for several months I detected that there could be some special positions, which might be too advantageous for white. They belong to a subclass of positions, where the pair of bishops is neighboured. Thus I as the author have decided to add the following selection rule: 'positions with neighboured bishops have to be avoided.' There 12118 positions still are remaining.

Reinhard Scharnagl wrote on 2006-04-05 UTC
Hi Derek, SMIRF is still beta. It is designed to be shareware in the form of donationware. On its download page there is the possibility to make a donation via paypal to support the project. Any serious donation will be answered by sending back a permanent personal key, which will stay valid for follow up versions. Without a key SMIRF will always answer immediately, thus not showing its full strength. See: SMIRF download page. Because of Gothic's patent, GC currently is not supported directly, nevertheless any 8x8 or 10x8 position could be set up manually.

Derek Nalls wrote on 2006-04-05 UTC
How much does SMIRF cost (in US dollars)?

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