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Subject: So how would chess do if it came out for the first time today? rss

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Benedikt Rosenau
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russ wrote:
In denial of what? That the Japanese rules are pointlessly and unnecessarily complex? Most Go players I know seem quite aware of that fact. It's well known among anyone who's immersed in the game and its culture, at least among players I have talked with over many years.


You are narrowing down the base of reference. In my experience, the majority of Go players and an overwhelming number of those who talk about Go, e.g. here on BGG, never even bothered to check the rules. Have a look at how this sub-thread started.

As for the Japanese rules, back in the days when I used to participate in Go tournaments over Europe, the Japanese rules were applied. I doubt that this has changed, but I am curious to hear about it.

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How do you justify that they are "needed", given that plenty of other go rulesets don't have them and don't need them?


The complicated rules of Japanese Go are needed because they refer to situations where our intuitions from simple concepts are wrong. Other rulesets try to make it less complicated, usually on a less intuitive base. But the sheer number of rulesets carries a message. If there were one good ruleset, people would stick to it. But there is not. The Japanese rules have advantages, too, one of which you have mentioned.

Most rules have a hard time with passing, especially early passing, and defining life, death, and seki. Three without capturing is just one amusing special case.
 
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Russ Williams
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Zickzack wrote:
russ wrote:
In denial of what? That the Japanese rules are pointlessly and unnecessarily complex? Most Go players I know seem quite aware of that fact. It's well known among anyone who's immersed in the game and its culture, at least among players I have talked with over many years.


You are narrowing down the base of reference. In my experience, the majority of Go players and an overwhelming number of those who talk about Go, e.g. here on BGG, never even bothered to check the rules. Have a look at how this sub-thread started.

Fair enough, although "ordinary joes" in EVERY field have usually just learned about their interest in ad hoc manners. I doubt most chess players have sat down and seriously studied the full formal chess rules either, for instance.

Or (example from a totally different field), most native speakers of a language have weak explicit grammatical knowledge - they just subconsciously automatically speak the language, without having ever formally studied it. Sometimes it amazes me what people don't know about their own language. But I digress...

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As for the Japanese rules, back in the days when I used to participate in Go tournaments over Europe, the Japanese rules were applied. I doubt that this has changed, but I am curious to hear about it.

I'm not sure about overall trends either. I've been in tournaments (in the US and in Europe) played with Japanese, AGA, Chinese, Ing, ...

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How do you justify that they are "needed", given that plenty of other go rulesets don't have them and don't need them?


The complicated rules of Japanese Go are needed because they refer to situations where our intuitions from simple concepts are wrong. Other rulesets try to make it less complicated, usually on a less intuitive base. But the sheer number of rulesets carries a message. If there were one good ruleset, people would stick to it. But there is not. The Japanese rules have advantages, too, one of which you have mentioned.

Huh? I would say the opposite. The complicated rules of Japanese Go are NOT needed, because they refer to situations where our intuitions from simple concepts are wrong, and so they try to codify and enforce those incorrect intuitions (e.g. that "bent 4 in the corner is dead") by explicit brute force special case hacks, instead of simply accepting the consequences of the simple rules.

Instead of trying to patch and hack to make special cases work the way some people's (faulty) intuition says they should work, why not simply let the simple elegant core rules of the game themselves logically dictate what happens?

The Japanese rules of go are analogous to what would happen if strong chess players said "Our intuition says that someone whose got 2 rooks should always win when the other player has only a king and 3 pawns and a knight left (this is just a hypothetical example, I make no claim for its specific plausability), but there was this weird disturbing tournament game where the 2-rook guy couldn't win, so we'll add a special rule that just declares victory for the 2-rook guy in exactly such a situation", and continued to make such rule patches as other "counter-intuitive" situations arose.

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Most rules have a hard time with passing, especially early passing, and defining life, death, and seki. Three without capturing is just one amusing special case.

It's easy to define an area of contiguous unoccupied points. It's easy to define whether they touch stones of only one player or of both colors. It's easy to define those that touch stones of only one player as "surrounded territory".

If people pass too soon and there's unsettled territory, so be it; no one earns points for it. What's hard about that?

Who cares if it can be tricky to define life, death, and seki? There's not even a need to define life, death, and seki in the rules, any more than chess needs to define "zugzwang" or "central influence" or "material advantage" in the rules - just let them be strategy concepts that are consequences of the rules.

I don't see why you say there are difficulties with this. It's only as hard as you want to make it.
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Tony Hamen
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You know why I'm glad this isn't the case? All the King's Men by Kurt Vonnegut wouldn't exist.
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Russ Williams
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gentlegiantglass wrote:
You know why I'm glad this isn't the case? All the King's Men by Kurt Vonnegut wouldn't exist.

Heh, I was just thinking about that story this morning, due to reading an article about chess used in movies (e.g. Seventh Seal), which got me thinking about chess used in prose fiction also.

I wondered if the chess game in the Vonnegut story was sufficiently explained that one could reconstruct it, and if it was a plausible/realistic game. (Anyone know?)
 
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Tony Hamen
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I wondered if the chess game in the Vonnegut story was sufficiently explained that one could reconstruct it, and if it was a plausible/realistic game. (Anyone know?)
From what I can remember, since this was a short story from Welcome to the Monkey House, not a lot of emphasis was put on the moves and game itself. More emphasis was put on the fact that this man was losing his family, and that he had to sacrifice some of his loved ones in order to win the game.
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gentlegiantglass wrote:
Quote:
I wondered if the chess game in the Vonnegut story was sufficiently explained that one could reconstruct it, and if it was a plausible/realistic game. (Anyone know?)
From what I can remember, since this was a short story from Welcome to the Monkey House, not a lot of emphasis was put on the moves and game itself. More emphasis was put on the fact that this man was losing his family, and that he had to sacrifice some of his loved ones in order to win the game.


It's All the King's Horses....No?
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Russ Williams
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markgravitygood wrote:
It's All the King's Horses....No?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_the_King%27s_Horses_%28stor...
Indeed!
 
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Karl von Laudermann
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If chess were introduced today, I think one selling point would be the fact that it could be played with a standard Arimaa set.
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Benedikt Rosenau
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russ wrote:
Fair enough, although "ordinary joes" in EVERY field have usually just learned about their interest in ad hoc manners. I doubt most chess players have sat down and seriously studied the full formal chess rules either, for instance.


True. There is a field in epistemology dealing with this. However, you do not have to learn that much in most boardgames, including Chess, and it shows. You can expect tournament players to know the rules.

Quote:
Instead of trying to patch and hack to make special cases work the way some people's (faulty) intuition says they should work, why not simply let the simple elegant core rules of the game themselves logically dictate what happens?


I am with you here. I like elegance in rules and elegance in the effects on gameplay. However, it does not work that way in traditional games. Some of the most played abstracts have the most complex rules. And these rules exist because of their effect on gameplay.

The thread is about Chess and I shall use examples from Chess. Have a look at en passant. After the double step of the pawn had been introduced - an extra rule that adds alot to the game -, too many interlocking pawn structures could be formed. That was a bad thing. So, a special extra rule came up that allowed to break these structures, but only on the very next move.

Castling is another example. Its predecessors existed in medieval Chess. But with the appearance of the "mad queen", it quickly became formalized. Some points were still open. Philidor still allowed castling from a check. Nowadays, rules forbid that, and they also say no, if the field next to the king is under attack. You need to play Chess in order to understand the impact of and the reason for this rule.

By the way, I think effects like this answer the question raised in this thread. If Chess were to appear today, people would get the rules wrong or change them at whim. After all, what is the point of pawns not capturing the way they move?


Quote:
It's easy to define an area of contiguous unoccupied points. It's easy to define whether they touch stones of only one player or of both colors. It's easy to define those that touch stones of only one player as "surrounded territory".


Yes. The flip side of this is that as soon there is no undefined score after one stone has been placed on the board. There is a flop side, too, and it shows, expecially if you take the rules at face value. One effect is that every captive has to be captured. That requires that your own stones must appear in the score. That in turn means a lot has to be counted. With boards the size of the Go-bang, it is a nuisance.

The Japanese rules provide reasons for passing much earlier, and they have the extra nice effect that placing stones into enemy territory better be useful, or you will just add captives to the score. On the one hand, the Japanese rules are exceedingly complicated, on the other, in real games, they often simplify matters.

And the game came first, the codification of the rules later. Formalizing rarely has one single right answer. Three without capturing is a case in point. The guys from Combinatorial Game Theory assign values to positions and in their own well defined approach, "three without capturing" is three points for the player with fewer stones in the position. The Chinese rules assign two points (more) to the player who has more stones. The Japanese rules first sided with CGT and made it three points, then they changed without saying why and made it a seki - zero points for either player. For a simple mind like mine, that makes a lot of sense because neither player can initiate capturing, even though I see the point of the other arguments.

3, -2 or 0, there is not a single right solution. Rulewise, Go is a mess.
 
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russ wrote:
Fair enough, although "ordinary joes" in EVERY field have usually just learned about their interest in ad hoc manners. I doubt most chess players have sat down and seriously studied the full formal chess rules either, for instance.


Uh, No.

That's true IF AND ONLY IF you consider Tournament Chess Rules and all the gyrations that go with Game Timing, 3-time repetition rules, the offer of a draw, scoresheet requirements, J'adoube, etc. "Chess Rules" are simply how you play the game - i.e., how the pieces move, what stalemate is, what the requirements are for draws, resignation, en passant, king in check, Castling, Promotion, etc.

Fairly simple, and I doubt *any* chess player past 30 days of playing gets any of this stuff wrong.
 
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Benedikt Rosenau
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markgravitygood wrote:
Fairly simple, and I doubt *any* chess player past 30 days of playing gets any of this stuff wrong.


Well, his point is that they get it right, yet they cannot phrase it correctly as a rule. There is a contrived example of this in the chess rules. Imagine a pawn promoting to a rook on the e-file while its king has not been moved. For White: Ke1, Re8. Question: is castling allowed on the e-file with the result Ke3, Re2?

The Fide-rules had to be amended because a literal interpretation allowed that.
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Zickzack wrote:
markgravitygood wrote:
Fairly simple, and I doubt *any* chess player past 30 days of playing gets any of this stuff wrong.


Well, his point is that they get it right, yet they cannot phrase it correctly as a rule. There is a contrived example of this in the chess rules. Imagine a pawn promoting to a rook on the e-file while its king has not been moved. For White: Ke1, Re8. Question: is castling allowed on the e-file with the result Ke3, Re2?

The Fide-rules had to be amended because a literal interpretation allowed that.


Well, FIDE. There ya go...
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Footoomba wrote:
it would make an awesome ccg
pawns are commons
rooks, knights and bishops are your uncommons
kings are unique, as you have to have one.
queens rare.
and naturally pack the pack out with heaps of black and white "board" pieces.


Note: Good CCGs do not balance powerful cards by making them rare. Richard Garfield assumed rich players would buy all the rares they needed if they were more powerful.

Rather he made rares more powerful, but with bigger costs.

Like the Polar Kraken that is 11/11 trample, but eats one Island first upkeep, two the next, three the next... That's some seriously difficuly upkeep to maintain.

It's rare. I could buy 4 of them easily, but does it make any sense to put four in a deck?

If you want a deck-building chess-game, check out Knightmare Chess by Steve Jackson. I haven't actually played it, but it looked pretty cool.
 
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Pablo Schulman
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It would be marketed like Shuuro:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/38764/shuuro
 
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Abstract Games » Forums » General
Re: So how would chess do if it came out for the first time today?
Typical politically correct malarkey; the queen is more powerful than the king, men can change their gender if they feel like it, and members of the Catholic church are portrayed as being no better than horses. Whatever happened to the good old days when games could just be about running plantations?
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