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Brigadier Chess. Introducing the powerful Brigadier piece on a 68-square Gustavian board.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
M Winther wrote on 2015-10-26 UTC
It has been tested and it works fine. The Brigadiers are positioned on those initial squares so that they point to strongly defended pawns in the enemy position. Otherwise it wouldn't work very well. The Brigadiers can easily be exchanged, so a single queen becomes dominant. The queen can chase away a Brigadier. So it is a well-functional game, highly aggressive. /Mats

Georg Spengler wrote on 2015-10-26 UTCBelowAverage ★★
Also it is the strongest piece,  yet there are two of them but only one Queen. Ugly.

John Smith wrote on 2009-01-02 UTCPoor ★
This piece is too strong for my taste.

M Winther wrote on 2007-02-27 UTC
Good research work. I really expected another game with this interesting piece to be dug up sooner or later. I have added a link to zhou xia. /Mats

Andy Maxson wrote on 2007-02-27 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
the brigadier was also featured in christine bagely jone's zhou xia as destroyer queen

M Winther wrote on 2007-02-27 UTC
Greg, I always add 'preliminary estimate' after my evaluations because it is a continuous process. I recently discovered that I had probably overestimated my Ladon, so I modified its movement. When playtesting I use different criteria. In computer-computer games I can study how much the piece involves itself in the game. If it makes about the same amount of moves like the other pieces, then it seems to be a tactically useful piece, and its value could be on a par with the other pieces. Another method is to use different armies. On one side there are only traditional pieces, and on the other two traditional pieces less, but instead new pieces. While we know the values of the traditional pieces that have been removed, we can assume that the values of the new pieces are the same if the games tend toward equality. I have, using this method, often discovered that my new pieces could not compete with the traditional pieces, so I had to upgrade their powers, while I have restricted myself to the traditional piece context. As the traditional Western piece values are today perfectly established, its possible to tweak Zillions according to this. Zillions sligtly underestimates the knight, the rook, and the queen. This makes it exchange a queen for rook plus bishop sometimes, and it often avoids exchanging the bishop for a knight when this is advantageous. In most of my latest implementations I have corrected this. If one makes these tweakings, then Zillions is an excellent help when evaluating new pieces. /Mats

Greg Strong wrote on 2007-02-27 UTC

I, for one, am happy to see you back. I know that communication in such forums can be frustrating ... In the late 80's I thought BBS's were pretty cool, and then went down-hill when more of the general public jumped on board. Then, in the early 90's the Internet, and UseNet in particular, was very cool and filled with good information. Then the Internet went public in 1995 and the signal-to-noise ratio on UseNet became unbearable. And, yes, this site has gone down-hill as well, and I feel partly responsible. The whole user-submission of games was originally my idea, and I'm sorry that I ever suggested it. But I think that everyone who cares about Chess Variants should stick around, lest the signal-to-noise ratio decline even further. If a user or a discussion angers you, just try to ignore it ...

My previous signal-to-noise ratio comment is not aimed at you (for the most part.) Your recent comments have, in my humble opinion, been a little less delicate than they could have been, but my primary beef is with a couple of other users who will remain nameless. Regarding playtesting with Zillion, I would say that it is true that it can be of some value, especially if you carefully tweek it, but there is still no substitution for human playtesting. Consider this: even if you tweek the material values of the pieces, the computer is then playing with your values! To a large extent, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. In a game between people, each person has a different idea about the value of the pieces, and so the game helps to determine who's ideas are closer to correct. Now you could do the same thing with Zillions by doing lots of trials, testing one copy of Zillions against another, and giving each a different evaluation of pieces, and continue to repeat this proceedure, refining each time until you zero-in on the actual relative values. But this takes lots of CPU time. Probably best is a combination. You play a game, with a person, you discuss the results, then you do some playtesting with Zillions using the opinions of the different players, and try actual board positions from the game between humans... then, as Zillions tries different moves than what the people did, get the people to try those positions... etc. Go back and forth. I think that this sort of rigerous study is best. But please don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing you for not doing this, as almost nobody does this. 99% of the games on here are not really tested much, if at all. All I'm saying is don't jump to conclusions about how throughly tested your games are. If you want through evaluation of the games and the pieces, why not pick a couple of them, and get a game-courier preset for them created, get a couple of games going, get some discussion going, etc.

MHowe wrote on 2007-02-26 UTC
Andy, you must have downloaded an older version of Optima. I submitted it once and revised it once. In the revised version, as well as in the optional piece section of Nova Chess, the piece that moved like a queen and captured like a queen or hopping queen was called lioness.

M Winther wrote on 2007-02-26 UTC
Please don't discuss unpublished games, it's confusing. /Mats

Andy Maxson wrote on 2007-02-26 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
the brigadier has more in common with optima's dauphin than optima's general atually the brigadier is the same as optima's dauphin

M Winther wrote on 2007-02-26 UTC
In fact, nothing has been established except 'Brigadier Chess', an unobjectionable chess variant. /Mats

Jeremy Good wrote on 2007-02-26 UTC
Strictly speaking, I don't think Mr. Winther's age is relevant to this discussion.

MHowe wrote on 2007-02-26 UTC

'MHowe, how could I possibly deny that I've implemented this piece for the first time in a variant? It's a simple fact.'

Back to making claims? But it has already been established that both Nova Chess and Optima included an identical piece and both of them predated Brigadier Chess. I thought this had already been made clear.

'I am very relieved that you've twice assured us that you don't 'claim ownership' of this piece, which you haven't published anything on, and which you didn't invent, and which you didn't even think up. So now I don't have to be sued in court and can sleep well at night. What a relief!'

I didn't claim to have invented it, just to have used it in a game with an earlier date than Brigadier Chess, information which you yourself requested when you put up the Brigadier Chess page, and which has been corroborated by others. I don't know who first invented the piece; there might be earlier applications.

I see no need for the sarcasm. Try to be civil about things, if you please. This site needs more civility.

I'm curious now, and this is not intended as sarcasm, and feel free not to answer if you don't see fit, but what is your age, Mats?

M Winther wrote on 2007-02-26 UTC
MHowe, how could I possibly deny that I've implemented this piece for the
first time in a variant? It's a simple fact. I am very relieved that
you've twice assured us that you don't 'claim ownership' of this
piece, which you haven't published anything on, and which you didn't
invent, and which you didn't even think up. So now I don't have to be
sued in court and can sleep well at night. What a relief! 

MHowe wrote on 2007-02-25 UTC

In response to:

'I haven't 'claimed' anything.'

I quote:

'Brigadier Chess, and the new Brigadier piece, were invented by undersigned, August 2006 (if you have heard of this piece before, please contact me).'

This is a claim. And a request for correction if applicable. We now have more information about a prior use of the Queen+Leo piece. Best of luck with Brigadier Chess.

And in response to:

'hello and goodbye'

I said that I should learn to stay away. But I might not be smart enough.

David Paulowich wrote on 2007-02-25 UTC

The WWW page for the Leo was created here on May 24, 2000. In response to a request on this page for examples of previous use of the Queen+Leo piece, I checked my hard drive for my copy of Comments/Ratings for Nova Chess 100, from [2005-10-15] to [2006-01-05].

Michael, hello and goodbye.

Greg, we are still left with the important question: What are the relative piece values of the R, N, B on Gustav III's chessboard? Perhaps I will comment on that in the proper place.

M Winther wrote on 2007-02-25 UTC
I do not understand Mr. Howe's attitude. I haven't 'claimed' anything. I have presented pieces and created good programs for them. I have given a commercial site the right to use all my inventions for free. They are working now to implement certain of my variants. I have posted this offer to Unenet groups, too. I wrote to Alga, too, and offered them my Chess Variants for free. I claim no copyright, or no such thing. This is good, as nobody, e.g., no game company, or American individual (who always think in terms of 'ownership'), can claim that they've invented these and prevent others from using them. By the way, what am I expected to do when inventing and implementing all these pieces? I only say that I created 'this' on 'this date'. Then nobody can claim copyright on it, or file for a patent. Then the piece can be used by anybody, also commercially. /Mats

M Winther wrote on 2007-02-25 UTC
Of course, time will tell how a variant is evaluated. But you are wrong about Zillions. It can be tweaked to play openings good, and to evaluate the pieces correctly. I nearly always tweak the pieces, and give them new values. That's why I try different alternatives and playtest them, and also evaluate them intuitively. If the piece is too weak I often give it new capabilities, like I did with the Ladon, the Castalia, etc. I also encourage castling, and discourage early queen moves. All this is very easy to do, and the effect is marvelous.

For instance, I altered the Korean Chess and Chinese Chess code in the Zillions standard versions. All I did, more or less, was to tweak the pieces so that their values became more correct. The result was that my tweaked versions won one match each against the standard Zillions versions. Both matches ended 6-0. So the effect is an immediate increase in playing strength. Please have a look in my zrf's and copy the tweaking code. It's a pity that people don't tweak their programs. Perhaps it's not always necessary, but in most cases it is, and suddenly the program is interesting to play against and the playtests are valuable.

Zillions can play chess very well, if pawn moves are encouraged in the opening, etc. I playtested my Saitek Travel Champion which is evaluated to Elo 2080 by USCF. This is a very proper evaluation, I think. This computer plays a very nice game of chess. I ran it against my Blindfold Chess (which contains some tweaking) at 10s per move in two games, and 30s per move in one game. The Zillions computer was a 1.6 GHz. The two first games ended 2-0 to Zillions and the last was drawn, although Zillions had a pawn up in the endgame. In the first game Zillions had a pawn up in the endgame, too, but it should have been a draw. The Travel Champion made a silly move however.

In the second game the Travel Champion was run over in the opening. Openings were well-known. The first was a Keres defence. The other a Caro-Kann, Panov variation, and the third a closed Sicilian. Zillions played better in the opening in all games, so the tweaking is effective. While the Saitek computer could put up some resistance, I would judge Zillions to be, perhaps, Elo 2150-2200, on an 1.6 GHz computer, because it wasn't that superior. Of course, more playtesting is needed. But a good guess would be at least Elo 2250 on a standard computer of today, that is, around 3.2 GHz.

People seem to underestimate Zillions's chess playing capacity greatly. It's a good program that plays an interesting game, at least when tweaked. Of course, against humans it would fare even better because we aren't used to playing these strange chess variants, with their strangely moving bifurcation pieces, etc. However, in standard chess, strong human chessplayers would know how to overcome it. /Mats

MHowe wrote on 2007-02-25 UTC
'MHowe, who cares who invented a certain piece, that's a trivial

This is an odd thing to read from one who carefully claimed to be the
inventor of the Brigadier, as well as many other pieces.  But as I said
before, which you apparently did not understand, I feel no sense of
ownership.  As far as my lack of judgement in throwing the piece out, you
yourself failed to understand my context, to which you attach such
importance.  I decided that, in the context of Nova Chess, the Lioness
not work as well as various other pieces.  I have no idea whether or not
you have found an appropriate context for it, having neither played nor
analyzed your variant.  

Now I remember why I cancelled my membership to this site.  And now I
really should learn to stay away.

Greg Strong wrote on 2007-02-25 UTC

I must disagree with Mats' statement that what is important is:

above all, creating Zillions files, and e-mail presets.

We are talking about the worthiness and balance of pieces. What is important is playtesting. And playtesting against Zillions doesn't count. Zillions cannot evaluate pieces correctly, and doesn't play a reasonable opening. To be able to make any real statement about radical new pieces beyond speculation, requires significant playtesting against other people.

M Winther wrote on 2007-02-25 UTC
MHowe, who cares who invented a certain piece, that's a trivial thing. What matters is the implementation, publishing documents about it, creating wortwhile variants, studies, or problems, and, above all, creating Zillions files, and e-mail presets. I really think you threw out this piece with the bath-water. People tend to think that such pieces are too powerful, like the Amazon. But the fact that they are powerful means that they have to back off when threatened by all other pieces. It calls for careful play, unlike a knight or a pawn who can attack at many occasions. /Mats

MHowe wrote on 2007-02-25 UTC
Point take about the Super General. But my Lioness from Optima and Nova Chess made orthodox queenlike noncapturing moves, and so it was in fact the same piece as the Brigadier. I feel no sense of ownership about it, though, and make no demands to be recognized as its inventor by others who use equivalent pieces in their inventions.

M Winther wrote on 2007-02-25 UTC
This is not correct. My Brigadier is *not* the same as the 'Super
General' in Supremo Superchess. The Brigadier moves and captures like a
Queen but can also *capture* an enemy if there is another piece in between, 
and any interim squares are empty.

However, in Supremo Superchess the 'Super General' can also jump
*without capturing*. This makes an immense difference. The Super
General's movement freedom is overwhelming, while the Brigadier's
movement is much more restricted. So the Brigadier is not the same as
Mr. Howe's unpublished Optima and Nova, either, as these, allegedly,
use the Super General moves.

Moreover, the Brigadier is a very useful piece. I, too, have discarded
several piece inventions, but the Brigadier was found to work very well. I
have implemented it in Zillions and tested it in several computer-computer
games. It was found not to be overwhelmingly powerful, and the activity of
the pieces remained distributed between the different pieces, i.e., the
Brigadier did not move around too much.

It's not possible to go between to protect a piece that is directly
threatened by a Brigadier (because the Brigadier can capture by jumping).
But this doesn't matter much because, while the Brigadier is so valuable,
all pieces, except the king, can stay put if directly threatened by the
Brigadier. A king standing on the same diagonal/orthogonal as an enemy
Brigadier needs two pieces between itself and the enemy Brigadier to be
protected. This is not hard to accomplish since the highly movable
friendly Brigadier can be used as defensive piece. 

As to Fergus's 'uninvented' Tank and Bazooka: pieces must be properly
tested, I think, before deciding whether they work. Moreover, such pieces
could, after all, be blocked by a Bodyguard, which can stymie piece
movement. So it also depends on the context if they can be used.

Andy, I have never experimented with 'different armies' chess variants,
although I always use this concept when testing the strength of new
pieces. Pitting Amazons against Brigadiers is an interesting concept,
which you could try to implement in some form.  /Mats

Andy Maxson wrote on 2007-02-25 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
this is an interesting break from the same ol, amazon, this should be of the sam value and would be a intersting to see fighting the amazon what would be even cooler would be a queen plus korean lion

MHowe wrote on 2007-02-25 UTC
Yes, Supremo Superchess and my own Optima (withdrawn) and Nova Chess (still in private development), which called the piece a Lioness, all predate the 2006 date given for the 'invention' of the Brigadier. I no intention of using the piece in any future version of Nova Chess, though. I decided that it lacked clarity and had a tendency to make openings unstable.

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