The Chess Variant Pages
Custom Search



Kibbitz Listing

Game: Hypermodern Shatranj Log: lunaris-crazytom-2010-91-137
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
Does the preset announce a draw due to stalemate before the final move is submitted? I hadn't thought about that. But I was careful to avoid stalemate, most notably when capturing the white rook: taking with the king was fine while taking with the elephant would have been stalemate. In the final position, I believe Black has mate in three: 79. Kh3 Kf3 80. Kh2 Rc1 81. Kh3 Rh1# There were some key mistakes by both sides, but all in all it was a good game, well fought from start to finish.
Game: Eurasian Chess Log: fergus-crazytom-2010-128-843
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
Yes, that Vao was a strong piece that I couldn't manage to get rid of. I think it was a mistake to put my King on g9, as there was just too much danger on the 13-h10 diagonal. It was also a mistake to move my Queen off of that diagonal; I was trying to find some offensive activity, but this move weakened my position too much. I didn't realize that checkmate was coming immediately (though I knew it couldn't be far off), since i9 appeared to be guarded according to standard chess optics. Unfortunately I can't make any similar excuse for failing to anticipate the knight fork. I like Eurasian Chess, even though I have trouble playing it well. Even very early in the game one has to be alert for attacks by the Cannons and Vaos, and I think in each game I've managed to get myself into trouble by playing what seemed to be sensible developing moves. Perhaps I'll improve after the publication of the first book on EC opening theory....
Game: Fischer Random Chess Log: crazytom-mageofmaple-2005-66-189
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
I'm not sure what I was thinking on move 25. I needed to make the safe move, 25. Qd7. With all the unfamiliar variants in this tournament, it's kind of embarrassing to be caught blundering in good old chess. <p>I really liked the starting position in this game, but I suppose when all the bishops start in the corners they're destined to be traded off in the center.
Game: Rococo Log: crazytom-lazyking-2005-67-764
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
Okay, I can live with that. <p>Certainly the ZRF confirms Peter's original intent. What I said about Zillions of Games was meant to explain why it would not occur to someone like me to look in a ZRF for clarification of rules which already seemed clear. Basically, I don't use Zillions, so I generally don't pay any attention to ZRFs. I don't recall whether I ever looked at one before yesterday, and until I did I didn't know or expect that it would contain a human-language description of the rules. <p>If the original text of the Rococo page was ambiguous, it was ambiguous in an unusual way. It seems that almost anyone who reads it without prior experience with the game sees only one interpretation, but different people don't all see the same interpretation. So the ambiguity is hidden: it goes unnoticed until people with different interpretations play a game in which a certain type of position arises. Since the ambiguity was not obvious, the original text was misleading. (Certainly no one intended to mislead anyone, but as it happened I and others were misled.) <p>It's unfortunate that this happened in a tournament game, but at least now we all know what the rule is, and future generations of Rococo players won't have to have this argument. <p>In other news, I've been trying to google up the story of the 19th-century chess master who once promoted a pawn to a piece of the other color. It was Pillsbury, according to a post by Ed Trice on CVP's Gothic Chess page, but I can't find a complete account. I seem to remember that someone almost got pushed through a window, but perhaps my mind has jumbled two stories together.
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
<p>Fergus,</p> <p>It looks like we're in agreement regarding the text of the rules. But I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of treating the ZRF as a source on equal footing with the human-language text.</p> <p>First of all, Zillions of Games is proprietary software which only runs on Microsoft Windows and costs more money than I'm willing to pay for it. I don't have a copy, I don't intend to buy one, and I don't think tournament players should be expected to buy Zillions in order to know the rules of the games in the tournament.</p> <p>In order to determine what rules the ZRF enforces, I would have to do one of the following: either (1) purchase Zillions of Games, download the Rococo ZRF, and spend many hours setting up every situation I could think of in which a question could arise; or (2) learn the programming language used for ZRFs, download the Rococo ZRF, and spend many hours analyzing its source code to see how it would handle each situation I could think of in which a question could arise. In both cases, I couldn't be sure that I hadn't missed an important situation, and in the second case I couldn't be sure that my analysis was correct.</p> <p>It would have made sense for me to attempt one of these two things only if I had thought that the text of the rules was unclear. And if I had thought that, I would simply have asked a question on the Rococo comment board. As it happens, I remember thinking about the issue of capture along an edge before the game began, and after reading the text carefully, I thought that I understood the rule and that no other interpretation was possible.</p> <p>Now, today I have looked at the ZRF, and while I don't have the knowledge necessary to analyze the code, I see that it contains the following text as part of the game description [emphasis mine]: <blockquote>The outer ring of squares on the board may only be entered when required by a capture. Moves within the outer ring are only allowed when capturing as well, <b>and then as few squares as necessary</b>. Thus, a piece on the outer ring may only move to capture or to leave the outer ring.</blockquote> The phrase in bold makes the rule clear.</p> <p>In summary, I don't like the idea that I should have been expected to check the ZRF, but I must admit that the information was there to be found if I had checked it. Thus, if it is the opinion of the court that I should have checked it, then I guess I don't have much of a case.</p>
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
<p>Fergus,</p> <p>I guess I assumed that you were reading the kibitz section for this game, since you replied promptly to my question on April 6, and since I thought the issue should be considered unresolved as long as the game was not progressing. Under this assumption, your silence seemed perplexing and aggravating, especially since my time was steadily trickling away. But my assumption was not justified, and I had no way of knowing whether it was true. So for my unpleasant comments based on this assumption, I apologize.</p> <p>I thank you for the more complete explanation of your position, but I still disagree with some parts of it. I hope we can discuss them without rancor; I will try to do so, for my part.</p> <p>I will respond point by point:</p> <hr><blockquote>First, you should follow the rules of the game. This is given in the rules of the tournament.</blockquote> <p>Agreed, provided 'the rules of the game' means the rules specified by the text that was available to the players at the start of the game. (For the sake of brevity, I will refer to this text as 'the original text'.) I consider this a matter of common sense.</p> <hr><blockquote>Second, when there is a question on the interpretation of the rules, the ultimate authority on this matter is the creator(s) of the game. This is a matter of common sense.</blockquote> <p>I can accept this (with some reservations based on unlikely hypothetical situations). If, after I had a chance to explain my thoughts, Peter and David both gave the same interpretation of the original text, I would defer to them.</p> <hr><blockquote>David and Peter, the creators of Rococo, were both consulted on this matter, and they both ruled that the move in question was illegal.</blockquote> <p>I disagree, if the relevant rules are those available at the start of the game. David's interpretation was indeed based on the original text, but Peter's was not. The crucial phrases 'or passing over' and 'that particular edge square' did not appear until Peter's first post to the Rococo comment board on March 29. And in his second post that day, he said: <blockquote>However, that's not what I actually wrote when I wrote down the rules, so I can see why the rules would be intrepreted to allow captures by LL and W (and sometimes C) that start on edge squares to choose among multiple edge squares for their landing square.</blockquote> This sounds to me like an explicit acknowledgment that his interpretation is not the only possible interpretation of the original text, if not an endorsement of my interpretation.</p> <p>There's another important issue here that keeps falling through the cracks of the discussion. It is not sufficient to determine whether my move was legal or illegal. At least four interpretations of the original text have been proposed; we must determine which of the four applies to this game, since it will govern both the move in question and possible future moves in similar positions farther down the game tree.</p> <p>It is therefore highly relevant that David and Peter did not give the same interpretation of the original text. David's interpretation does not allow 14. L x9-x1; Peter's does. Thus, even if I had accepted their posts as a definitive ruling that my move was illegal, I would not have been able to proceed with the game.</p> <hr><blockquote>Furthermore, their interpretation of the rules did fit the letter of the rules, and it is incorrect to say I based my decision 'on Peter's statement of the rules that he had wanted but had not written.' Peter's decision did fit the rules as written, and David had already made the same decision, also based on the letter of the rules, before Peter had even said anything on the matter.</blockquote> <p>David's interpretation was based on the letter of the rules, as you say, but it is questionable, because of the paradox first pointed out by Michael Nelson. David has not posted anything since then.</p> <p>I don't believe that Peter's decision fit the rules as written (what I'm now calling 'the original text'). I've explained my reasoning several times. If you believe it did fit the original text, can you explain why? If what I've said is wrong, can you point out my error?</p> <p>Neither David nor Peter has posted anything pertaining to the interpretation question since my first post to the Rococo comment board, dated March 30. Perhaps I don't have an unalienable right to have my thoughts taken into account, but it seems reasonable for those in a position of authority to listen to all sides before passing judgment.</p> <hr><blockquote>There has been no revision to the rules during the course of the tournament; there has only been a clarification.</blockquote> <p>Whether there has been a revision to the rules is just what we are debating. There has at least been a revision to the <i>text</i> of the rules, which is what I meant when I used the word 'revision'. If the new text is equivalent to the original text, as you claim, then the revision of the text amounts to a clarification of the rules; if they are not equivalent, as I claim, then there has been a revision of the rules.</p>
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
Still disappointed but no longer surprised by Fergus's silence, and under duress due to the depletion of my time, I have retracted my legal move (14. L x9-x0). I maintain my belief that this move is legal, and that once made it may not be retracted under the rules of the tournament. Nevertheless I have been forced to do so. If I do not win this game, I will request a complete and impartial review of this fiasco, and I believe that Michael Madsen is also entitled to such a review if he does not win.
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
<p>Nothing in the written rules of the tournament says that Fergus alone has authority to interpret the rules of all games (even when both players agree). Perhaps we are to assume he has such authority, since he is in charge of the administration of the tournament. But if so, there is an interesting conflict of interest, since he is also a player in the tournament.</p> <p>In my pre-tournament na
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
<p>Thanks for your comments, Greg. I'm glad that at least one other person has thought about this.</p> <p>I can kind of see where you're coming from, but it's not as clear as you say. I agree that 'the' and 'any' are different words, and that the difference is relevant to the meaning of the first sentence you quoted. But the sentence as written is logically problematic. If we give this sentence the highest weight as you propose, then the legality of capture on one square is defined by this sentence in terms of the legality of capture on another square, which is defined by the same sentence in terms of the legality of capture on the first square, et cetera ad infinitum. This sentence is self-referential, which in general can lead to paradoxes, and in this case does. This sentence at best is inconclusive regarding the question of legality of capture on any particular square, and at worst breaks the game.</p> <p>So since I can't make sense of that sentence, I look at the two other relevant statements in the rules. (All three of these statements ought to be, and at least seem to claim to be, equivalent. Perhaps one day there should be a debate concerning the merits of redundancy in rules of games.) Neither of the other two statements makes any reference to particular edge squares; they refer only to the act of landing on an edge square, giving the clear impression that one edge square is as good as another.</p> <p>As for the intent of making it hard to hide from Leapers on the edge, perhaps I should state for the record that hiding from the Black Chameleon played no role in my decision to move to x0. In order to get to the x-file to attack my Leaper (if it were on x1), the Chameleon would have to capture one of my pieces, the position prior to this capture being subject to multiple constraints if the Chameleon is to go to an edge square. In short, this will only happen if the two players cooperate to make it happen, and I at least have other plans. My reason for moving to x0 rather than x1 was quite simple: to attack the Swapper on h8.</p> <p>Of course, one can imagine other positions in which the capturing Leaper would have to worry about possible capture by an enemy Leaper or Chameleon, so the issue is relevant from a game-design standpoint. But it's not at all clear that allowing my Long Leaper to go to x0 (or in general, to any square other than the first beyond the victim) violates the intent of making it hard to hide from Long Leapers. It only seems that way when one is thinking only about a potential future capture <i>of</i> a Long Leaper by an enemy Long Leaper (or Chameleon). But we shouldn't ignore the fact that the rule in question is specifically that governing <i>the only means by which a Long Leaper can capture a piece on the edge</i>. So if we say that a Long Leaper capturing a piece on the edge should not have its choice of destination squares as it would in the interior of the board, we are in fact making it <i>easier</i> for the Long Leaper's victim (in this case also a Long Leaper; the present case is almost maximally confusing) to hide from a Long Leaper on the edge of the board. This seems contrary to the stated intention. (After writing this I've just noticed that Peter has further clarified his intention on the Rococo page.) <p>Having said all that, I still haven't completely ruled out the possibility that I'm crazy. I welcome comments (but not unsupported orders) from anyone.</p>
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
Actually, the last thing Peter said on the matter was that the 'rule' you quote was not clear in the game description. That was an understatement on his part; that 'rule', whether it was his original intention or not, appears nowhere in the game description. <p>I believe I made some valid points in my comments of 29 March, yet they have received no reply of any kind. If you disagree with what I said, it's only fair to explain how I'm wrong. <p>Let me try to be as clear as I can be. I cannot in good faith take the move back, because tournament rules forbid the taking back of a legal move, and I believe my move was legal. I cannot in good faith continue the game without taking the move back, because others claim it was illegal. Therefore my only option is to do nothing until one side can convince the other, or until we reach an impasse, at which point perhaps the universe will cease to exist.
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
I don't mean to delay the game unduly, but the rules of the tournament require that we determine whether my last move was legal. There has been a week of silence following the initial flurry of discussion. I still believe the move was legal, but Fergus's last statement was that it must be taken back. Fergus, if you're listening, can you tell us your current position on the matter?
Game: Fischer Random Chess Log: crazytom-mageofmaple-2005-66-189
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
[Comment deleted; it was intended for another game.]
Game: Rococo Log: crazytom-lazyking-2005-67-764
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
<p>I think only Michael can take the move back, since I took the liberty of making it again. Perhaps I shouldn't've done that, since it now appears that things are substantially less clear than I had thought. In any case, Michael should take the move back again; I think it's reasonable that it should be my clock ticking while we resolve the question. <p>I actually see three separate questions here: <p>1) What did Peter and David intend when they invented Rococo? <p>2) What is the correct interpretation of the rules as they were actually written when this particular game began? <p>3) If the answers to questions 1 and 2 are different, which should apply to this tournament game? <p>I think questions 1 and 2 should be answered on the Rococo page's comment board, while question 3 should be answered within the context of this tournament. <p>As for question 3, I think that this game should be governed by the rules as written, if a consensus can be reached regarding the answer to question 2. After all, my strategy in this game has been based on my understanding of the rules that I read, and the same is probably true for Michael. <p>On the Rococo comment board, David has said that my move is illegal, but his interpretation is paradoxical. Peter has said that my move should be forbidden by the intended rules, but has admitted that what was written is somewhat different. I don't think either of them has given a definite answer to question 2, and as I said above I don't think that the answer to question 1 should dictate tournament procedure.
Game: Ca Log: mageofmaple-hasurami-2005-83-070
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
I hope I'm not out of line for pointing this out....

Greg's second move (2. Lxf5) is not check, since the Black Queen is not attacked.

Game: Rococo Log: crazytom-lazyking-2005-67-764
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
Yes, it has been quite bloody. This is my first game of Rococo, so I can't say for sure whether such violence is inherent in the game or whether it's just the way Michael and I have played. The edge squares make the Leapers quite a bit more powerful than in Ultima, and the Cannon Pawns behave very differently than Ultima's Pincer Pawns, although it seems that most of mine have been more like cannon fodder.
Game: Takeover Chess in 64 squares Log: crazytom-carlos-2004-264-073
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
Apparently I've been careless and let my time run out. I hate to lose that way, but I probably would have lost the game anyway. Having lost my central pawns and being behind in development, I didn't have very good prospects. Congratulations, carlos.
Game: Shogi Log: tony_quintanilla-crazytom-2004-80-058
Thomas McElmurry Verified as Thomas McElmurry wrote on
Well done, Tony, and thanks for the game. I felt like I had an ever-so-slight advantage early in the game, but that shows what I know about shogi. As is so easy to do in games with drops, I left myself without adequate defenses and paid the price. Good luck in the rest of the tourney.