The Chess Variant Pages
Custom Search

[ Help | Earliest Comments | Latest Comments ]
[ List All Subjects of Discussion | Create New Subject of Discussion ]
[ List Latest Comments Only For Pages | Games | Rated Pages | Rated Games | Subjects of Discussion ]

Latest Ratings and Comments

Later Reverse Order EarlierEarliest
New game on CV - Horseman Pawns[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
wdtr2 wrote on 2019-08-10 UTC

Change your password[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
John Lawson wrote on 2019-08-08 UTC

I've had emails like that, similar to yours.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2019-08-06 UTC

A while ago, one longtime member shared with me an extortion scam email he had received that included his CVP password in it. Today I received a similar email that included my CVP password. If you get such emails, just ignore them. It talks about installing malware on your computer, recording your passwords, recording you through your webcam, then conveniently removing all trace of the malware from your computer. It's just a scam, not a real extortion threat.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the password it included in the email was the one for this site. Until just now, I had not changed it in years, and several years ago, all passwords here were encrypted as MD5 hashes. This is very insecure, because there is a fixed relationship between the original word and the encryption, which allows people to build translation dictionaries that can identify your password from its MD5 hash.

If there were really malware on my computer monitoring my passwords, the hacker could just as easily steal my Paypal password, which would prove lucrative without going through the trouble of trying to blackmail me.

If you have not changed your password in a long time, it will still be encrypted as an MD5 hash. To fix this, sign in and change your password. Your new password will be encrypted in a format that does not have a 1-to-1 relation with the password, and it will be much more secure. While you could keep the same password and just update its encryption, that is what I had done, and this email proved that this was not enough to protect my password. The best thing you can do to protect your password is to change it.

Video Tutorial[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Greg Strong wrote on 2019-08-03 UTC

ChessV is open source and it contains a simple scripting langauge for modifying games or creating new ones.  It is hit-or-miss with what you can do in the scripting language.  Usually, you can add or remove piece types, create new piece types, and select what rules are in effect.  You cannot, however, create new rules with the scripting language at this time.  Most of what you suggest would be new rules and would require you to change the C# source code and recompile.

The download comes with several games that are defined in the scripting language, the most advanced being Butterfly Chess.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2019-07-31 UTC

Are you talking about Game Courier now to play it here on-line, or about ChessV? I don't think that in ChessV you can do any of these things; ChessV is not a general configurable variant engine, although it does have a mechanism to configure some (mostly minor) rule variations on the games it supports. And I don't think it is open source. Greg can tell us more about that.

As for Game Courier; I am sure all that is possible there, but in practice you have to be a programmer to be able to write a rule enforcing preset. For this reason the large majority of presets have no rule enforcing at all, and just leave it to the players to enforce the rules. Erroneous rule enforcing is much worse than having no enforcement at all. This should be a good option for the mentioned 100-cell chess, as the location-dependent move rules seem to give it above-average complexity.

Stanislav Kravchenko wrote on 2019-07-30 UTC

Hello. Do you have a clear, detailed video tutorial on creating your own chess pieces and variations? By changing the rules? Is it possible to introduce a diagonal on which some figures could be amplified? Is it possible to introduce pawn castles, so that the pawn could swap places with its own figure standing in front and walking diagonally, that is, with the queen, bishop, wizzard, lion, zanny ...? should only be transformed into the figure that stood on this square, only on the royal square in anyone?

100 cell chess Vsevolod Dubrovsky[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2019-07-24 UTC

Stanislav's name and the fact that he brings this up at all suggests that he reads Russian. So why doesn't he put a discription of this variant on this website?

Google translate doesn't do too bad a job on this, BTW. It seems that this is a patented commercial variant (in Russia) that uses 2-step area-moving Ferz and Wazir as extra pieces, which furthermore aquire Bishop or Rook moves when on the same file as the King. Seems the King itself also has some extra capabilities, but I didn't really read that far.

Greg Strong wrote on 2019-07-23 UTC

I don't read Russian, but I will ask my wife to take a look.

Stanislav Kravchenko wrote on 2019-07-23 UTC

Hello. Do you have the opportunity to add a description of this type of 100 chess to your site, as well as the opportunity to play it on ChessV?

Chess variant engines and CECP (XBoard) protocol[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2019-07-08 UTC

Your diagnosis is entirely correct. Because KingSlayer was originally designed with only (2x) 7 piece types, it initializes the move-generator data for the four variable types from a larger list of all types depending on the army choice. But when 'Traitor promotion' is set it initializes the 5th variable type as a copy of the 4th, in the table for the opponent. But I forgot to flip the orientation. I will add a note to this posting when I have fixed it.

Good that ChessV now gives a memory command. I already had made KingSlayer a bit more robust to not receiving one, by having it interpret memory size 0 as 128KB and launching it with that size, and then check the memory size at the start of every search to see if it is still at 0, and allocating 64MB if it is. But relying on default hash sizes is likely to give rise to unfair use of resources.

[Edit] OK, I uploaded a version (0.1, same link) where the traitor orientation should be fixed. This was a bit tricky, as the initialization also collects all sliding directions of an army, to know from which directions it should expect discovered checks.

Greg Strong wrote on 2019-07-07 UTC

I have had some more time to test.  This is a really an excellent CwDA engine.  I think I have found another bug though.  In one game, it insisted ChessV made an illegal move when the move was fine.  In that game, ChessV was white playing the nutters and KS was black playing the rookies.  KS promoted a pawn on g1 and chose to promote to a colonel.  ChessV then moved the king to g4 and KS called this an illegal move, presumably thinking that its colonel on g1 attacked it.

So I think the issue is that when KS plays black and promotes a pawn to a piece from white's army, it thinks that the piece moves "forward" as a white piece instead of as a black piece.

Also, good catch about the memory usage.  ChessV does not yet offer an xboard engine's configuration options but as a stop-gap I have added settings for the generic "memory" and "cores" options and it will supply them to xboard engines that support those featuers.

wrong personal invitations[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Aurelian Florea wrote on 2019-06-12 UTC

All right!...

Carlos Cetina wrote on 2019-06-11 UTC


Please note that the pair of personal invitations you gave me recently 



were wrongly addressed to a Game Courier user that does not exist: carlos cetina (with lowercase initial letters).

I am registered as Carlos Cetina (with uppercase initial letters) and userID: sissa.

Such logs are not listed in my "Your Games on Game Courier" page.

Now then, regardless of this random fact, I'm sorry to tell you that I'm currently focused on promoting the Symmetric Chess only; and, for reasons of time and energy savings both physical and mental, I have decided not to play other variants except those included in the current tournament.

So my dear friend, send me all the invitations you want as long as they be of Symmetric Chess!!!

Chess variant engines and CECP (XBoard) protocol[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Greg Strong wrote on 2019-06-04 UTC

Yes, you're right, I was still on 1.2 somehow.  I will test with 1.3.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2019-06-03 UTC

Are you sure you got the new version, and that there was no problem with your browser caching the old version? It should say cwda-1.3 for the version number, and have 'dragons' as one of the options for the White/Black Army (not properly working yet, though). I tested it with a position "8/6P1/6k1/8/8/8/8/1K6 w - - 0 1" in FIDE vs Rookies, and it does play g7g8q without quote in that position.

In earlier versions I had some crashes too, which seemed to occur when the score got extreme. This disappeared after I calculated the interpolation between opening and end-game evaluation in a less overflow-prone way, and the version I originally posted had played several hundred games against Fairy-Max without a single crash. It could be that I broke something when changing the check test to also work with ski-slides. (But I see in the log that this happened for 1.2, so this cannot be the explanation.) This crash also doesn't reproduce.

Indeed I did not put equal armies in the list it announces in the variants feature. It would recognize the names in the 'variant' command, but of course a proper GUI would never send those if the engine did not announce it supported those. It is possible to play equal armies by selecting those through the White/Black Army options, and then select variant fairy. (This is how I test, as it currently is the only method where it is compatible with Fairy-Max, when I tick the option for old piece names, and turn traitor promotion off.)

BTW, in the log I see that you did not send a 'memory' command to set the hash size. That means KingSlayer would use its default hash size, which is only 1MB.

Greg Strong wrote on 2019-06-02 UTC

Also, it looks like it doesn't support both sides playing the same army?

Greg Strong wrote on 2019-06-02 UTC

Sorry, H.G., it looks like that did not solve the problem.  I am also getting an occasional crash.  I'll email you the debug output.  But when it doesn't crash or make illegal moves, it seems to win the majority of the time :)

H. G. Muller wrote on 2019-06-02 UTC

A yes, this was something I couldn't test, because WinBoard doesn't accept dressed letters as promotion suffix yet. This was a bit of a subtle bug: the quote suffix was initialized to 0 when entering the MoveToText routine, and then set to a quote if promotion to the 7th piece type occurred before being printed. But by an oversight the suffix had been declared as a static char, so the initialization did not work on every call of MoveToText, but only at program start. So once a move with quote suffix was printed, all promotions would from then on be printed with this suffix. (But WinBoard happily ignored that.)

I uploaded a fixed version to the same link.

Greg Strong wrote on 2019-06-02 UTC

Nice!  I didn't have an opportunity to mess with this during the week, but I now have KingSlayer cwda integrated within ChessV cleanly.  It is pretty strong!

I am finding one issue, though.  Sometimes upon promotion KingSlayer sends the wrong notation. For example, ChessV was playing the Clobberers with the white pieces and KS was playing the FIDEs with the black pieces.  When it went to promote, it sent c2c1q' which is not correct.  The Queen is part of its army, not the opponents, so the quote shouldn't be there.  (ChessV then says it forfeited due to illegal move.)

H. G. Muller wrote on 2019-05-29 UTC

The previous version was still plagued by a woken-up 'sleeper bug': all the end-game discounting worked fine when I tested it on setup positions for the end-game, but it did not apply it when the same end-game was reached in games! Turned out castling messed up the Rook counter, which had never mattered before, as the count was not used. But now it made the drawishness code think both sides had (tons of) Rooks. I uploaded a fixed version ("KingSlayer cwda-1.2") to the same link. This also prints some results of the drawishness detection for the root as part of the Thinking Output, so that it can be easily seen when it misjudges. Like Fairy-Max it slightly randomizes the first 8 ply of any game, (adding -8 to +7 cP to the score of each move in the root), to provide more game diversity in test runs.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2019-05-27 UTC

OK, I seem to have produced something that works according to specs. I uploaded it to I had it play matches against Fairy-Max in FIDE-Nutters and Clobberers-Rookies, and there don't seem to be any illegal moves anymore. I did this using the old piece IDs of Fairy-Max, but in the uploaded version I replaced this by the new IDs we agreed on, but added a checkbox option that can be used to select the old IDs. The piece-to-char tables sent in the 'setup' command still always use the old IDs, though, and don't provide IDs for pieces of the opponent army; this is still something I have to fix. But I am not sure ChessV even looks at the setup command, and the pieceToCharTables probably have meaning for Win/XBoard only.

I also added a checkbox option 'Traitor promotion', where you can switch the possibility to have it promote to the super-piece of the opponent army on or off.

[Edit 2019-05-28] I fixed a problem with input of under-promotions, (which could not be tested by playing against Fairy-Max, as it never does those). It now also can do all under-promotions to pieces of its own army (the FIDE version of KingSlayer only considered promotion to Q and N, but not in all armies the other pieces are as redundant as B or R). The pieceToCharTables in the 'setup' command now use the piece IDs that are selected by the old IDs option, and merge in the super-piece of the opponent army, if the 'Traitor promotion' option is enabled.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2019-05-25 UTC

I currently put an extra ~ in the names compared to what I proposed here earlier: A~B~(C) instead of A~B(C). This looked more balanced (the latter form suggested a tighter coupling between B and C). This would also make it possible to recognize '1-parameter' sub-variants by the ~ alone, e.g. bird~(10x8), carrera~(10x8).

Name explosion would occur when a sub-variant needs multiple parameters (such as CwDA); with a single parameter the possible parameter values would have to be mentioned anyway. We could solve it by introducing wildcards for the parameters: nutters~*~(cwda) would mean the variant group 'cwda' has two parameters, and 'nutters' would be a possible value for the first parameter. Such a partial variant declaration would be discarded if there weren't also declarations of the form *~rookies~(cwda) in the variants feature to specify some possible values for the second parameter. This is not backward compatible with existing GUIs, though; these would not recognize the * as wildcard, and take the names litterally. This problem could be ameliorated by making the engine such that it would also accept the names with the wildcard in it in the 'variant' command, and would treat the parameter value * as a command to keep the previous value of that parameter. A user could then still make the selection Nutters vs Rookies by first selecting nutters~*~(cwda), and then switch to *~rookies~(cwda). (On second thought, we could adopt the convention that a second parameter that is only given as a wildcard in all the supported sub-variants would be assumed by the GUI to allow the same values as the first parameter. The engine, when confronted with * for this parameter, could then use the previous value of the first parameter for it.)

BTW, many of the problems you mention for Cylinder Chess sound familiar. I remember that at some point of implementing XBetza support in XBoard I decided moves should be generated after 'lifting' the moving piece off the board, in order to allow bent multi-leg moves to pass back over itself (e.g. for igui). That caused XBoard to hang with an oR on an empty rank... I solved it by making the Betza-driven move generator such that it would treat all slides as finite-range slides with the maximum board dimension minus 1 as range. If you already support finite range slides, this would cause no extra overhead.

SEE is indeed troublesome, if there are pieces with fancy moves. But like you say, it isn't really necessary. Pure MVV/LVA already is pretty good, and Fairy-Max gets by with only sorting the MVV/LVA-wise best move in front, and searching the other captures in arbitrary order. My guess is that >90% of the beneficial effect of SEE comes from detecting if a piece is completely unprotected, so that HxL captures on it are safe. So I often use the simpler algorithm BLIND, which postpones HxL capture of protected pieces compared to MVV/LVA. This still requires you to know whether a piece is protected, though. The null-move reply could have told you, but in QS there is no null move. You could get (somewhat inaccurate) protection information as a side effect from the move generation that was done in the parent; this could have marked all pieces that block friendly captures as protected (e.g. in a bitmap of the board or of the piece list, or even a (packed?) set of counters, to be able to correct single protection for the piece that was moved).

KingSlayer uses MVV/LVA, but it has a provision to initially abort the search of HxL captures that go sour, to reschedule them until after the other captures have been searched. To this end it can pass the value of the victim as 'threshold' to the child. When that child then generates a capture of a piece more valuable than 'threshold' on that same square (which it would after H x protected L), it immediately returns 'abort score' INF+1 (so the caller can see that the capture was bad and needs to be rescheduled). As an extra it would also abort if the 'obvious gain' from capture on a different square would exceed 'threshold'. Where that gain is defined as the value of the victim if unprotected, or the difference between victim and attacker value if protected. This protection information is obtained from the parent (inaccurate as it is, but only used in 'second order'). Normally you would only abort on capture of a King (returning +INF, as no rescheduling is needed), i.e. use threshold = INF-1. This is what is done during the search of the rescheduled captures, to prevent it would abort again.

Duplicat moves are not really a very large problem; the duplicat should give a hash hit that makes it fail low immediately. Bifurcating pieces (e.g. bent sliders like the Griffon) also tend to produce them, if you are not careful to define the overlapping part of one of the branches as a lame leap.

Bent sliders (including the ski-jump case) are pretty nasty anyway. They blur the distinction single vs double check, as beside offering the possibility for triple (or even quadruple) check, they can cause double check to occur along a single path. So that contrary to normal double check, it can be resolved by interposition (but still not by capture of the checker). The ski-slide of the Wyvern thoroughly wrecks KingSlayer's implementation of check detection and handling. Perhaps I should not spent further time on that now, and try to get the other armies working as quickly as possible.

In that case I am nearly there; I have implemented a rather general material evaluation that reproduces the general trend of the EGT results, driven by a 32-bit 'properties' word for each piece type. The even bits in this word are used as flags to indicate whether that piece has the corresponding property (e.g. mating potential, color binding, lacking mating potential even as a pair, being rather weak for a major, etc.). As I won't do any score discounting with more than 2 pieces for each side, the property words can be added for each player, and when both pieces have a certain property, this cause a carry to the (originally unused) next-higher (odd) bit. This makes it easy to recognize conditions like having two majors (almost always a win), having a pair of Knights (draw), having only minors (draw against any defender), etc. Pieces with the 'super-piece' property will use a 2-bit field in the properties word to indicate their ranking, so that we can decide whether an extra minor on their side will make it a win.

It also detects uneven distribution of color-bound pieces over the square shades, to penalize that by a fixed score (which is equivalent to awarding a pair bonus), and declaring a draw when it happens to the only two pieces in absence of Pawns. And when both sides have full color binding on opposite shades it will discount the evaluation by a factor 2 even with many Pawns. This seems to capture the most important effects. I guess I could still have it invoke the existing code for detecting a KBP.K draw in all cases where the only remaining piece is color bound.

Still have to test everything, though.

Greg Strong wrote on 2019-05-24 UTC

Wouldn't it be more logical to use 'E' for the War Elephant? It is likely to be depicted as an Elephant, so this would have a better mnemonic value.

Yup, I agree with this.  I have updated the table.

Just let me know what exactly you want the xboard game names to look like.  I was thinking we could extend your idea a little and say that where game-specific parameters need to be encoded in the game identifier, they are formatted like P1(game) or P1~P2(game) or P1~P2~P3(game), etc.  CwDA has two parameters, P1 is white army and P2 is black army.  At some point I would like to come up with a better option for programs that support it so we don't have an exponential explosion of game names, but as a starting point, and for backwards-compatability with programs that don't support it, this seems like a promising approach.

I'm really looking forwards to having multiple interoperable CwDA engines.  I originally started writing ChessV because I wanted to better study CwDA and Zillions wasn't good enough (and there was nothing else.)

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2019-05-24 UTC


I had sugested, for one of his variants, the name platinum general for the drunk elephant. To me that seems more interesting. But that's a bit off topic!...

H. G. Muller wrote on 2019-05-24 UTC

Wouldn't it be more logical to use 'E' for the War Elephant? It is likely to be depicted as an Elephant, so this would have a better mnemonic value.

You make a strong case for 'Lion'. (And it indeed is a very nice piece.) I suppose the reason I don't like it is that I am just too involved with Shogi, and that the Lion is such an iconic piece there. But I guess I just should come to terms with the fact that Shogi names often have completely different meaning than those in western chess variants, and that a (Drunk) Elephant is nothing like an Alfil, and a (Dragon) Horse nothing like a Knight.

25 comments displayed

Later Reverse Order EarlierEarliest

Permalink to the exact comments currently displayed.