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Subject: Why chess? rss

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Laurentiu Cristofor
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The game rules have either been explained in other reviews or are already known, so I'll focus more on aspects that haven't been covered so far. Before doing that, I'll provide a short overview of the game.

Chess is a centuries old 2-player game with no hidden information, a fixed initial setup, and a fairly simple set of rules. The rules can be learned quickly, but mastering the game takes all the time you can afford. Because the initial position is fixed and there is no randomness, experience plays an important role in determining the strength of a player. If you can commit time to Chess, you'll be rewarded with a better appreciation of the game and your performance will improve, similar to learning how to play an instrument.

The above should be enough to help you decide if you are interested in Chess or not. For the remainder of this review, I want to focus on some reasons why I prefer Chess to other similar games:

(a) The rules for moving pieces are simple and provide a lot of flexibility: Rooks move horizontally and vertically unless blocked by another piece, Bishops move diagonally unless blocked, and Knigths make the shortest move that is not on a diagonal or a horizontal or a vertical line from the starting point, with the added bonus that their move cannot be blocked. The Queen combines the movement of the Rook and Bishop and the King is like a Queen with range 1. These moving rules make the game very dynamic with their diversity of range, movement type and blocking behavior. Pawns add a strategic element by not being able to move back. Compare these rules with Shogi's, and Chess comes as having simpler and more straightforward movement rules.

(b) You can play Chess practically anywhere because very small boards are available that you could carry in a pocket. This represents a big advantage over a game like Go.

(c) A Chess game can be played very quickly (if both players agree to do so) with a game ending in under 10 minutes. You cannot play Go this quickly unless you play on a smaller board.

Additionally, and this has been mentioned in other reviews, but it deserves being mentioned again, you can enjoy chess by simply replaying and examining famous games and some of these can be replayed and enjoyed in a few minutes.

[UPDATE 12/29/2007]: The combination of aspects mentioned above is part of the reason I enjoy Chess, but it obviously doesn't represent the full reason. I only tried to collect some objective characteristics of Chess that distinguish it from other games that fit the one paragraph description I made at the beginning of the review (such as Go, XiangQi, Shogi). I also tried to list facts that don't require a better understanding of the strategy and tactics of the game. Subjective reasons for enjoying Chess, with which I happen to agree, have already been mentioned in previous reviews, so what I tried to capture here are just objective differences that may make you prefer the game; these differences may not make you like Chess, as I do, but as long as they can tilt your preference, then they were worth mentioning.

Enough with the clarifications, here are two more Chess differentiators:

(d) Chess is based on maneuvering an army of different pieces that start the game on the board, unlike Go, which is a placement game where pieces are all the same and the board is initially empty.

(e) If you have a computer, there are more free and commercial programs available that play the game well and can help you with the analysis of games. There are tens of free engines available with several interfaces to choose from and many affordable commercial engines as well.
 
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Joe Lott
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bah, i've played a 7 minute game of go, hell probaily faster, and their are micro go boards, magnetic too...
 
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j b Goodwin

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masaakunokouchi wrote:
bah,

"Bah?" Really. Is that the best you could come up with?

masaakunokouchi wrote:
i've played a 7 minute game of go, hell probaily faster,

Maybe you can play a 7-minute game of go ("or probably faster"), but you can't do it well. A 7-minute game is not a well-played game of Go, and not much of a pleasure. Go does not really lend itself to speed play the way chess does.

masaakunokouchi wrote:
and their are micro go boards, magnetic too...


Sure there are, but they are not as easily managed as a travel chess set, which was the poster's point.

Go is a great game, but you're not selling it to anyone this way, if that was your intention.
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Keith Anderson
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Choosing chess over go because of portability strikes me as a very funny way to determine a favorite. Wouldn't this lead to a preference for tic-tac-toe which has a smaller board than chess?
 
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Joe Lott
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I disagree. A speed game of Go, can be just as enjoyable as any speed game of chess. I think it's all in the players, some people like it, some don't.

For me, I only drop 2 ranks of strenght when I play speed Go, while others drop 6 or more. It's similar in chess, some people are better/enjoy it more. I think it's silly to assume one game can be played fast and enjoyed, and the other can't.

As for the size? Just the same with Chess. I ahve a tiny magenetic chess board, it's not the same as my regular sized one. Same with the Go boards. It cleans easy, just whipe and Go (hahaha).

As to your retort about my Bah! Your just plain wrong .
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Daniel Danzer
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Proposal: Move to China and play Xiangqi on every street!





The common box is smaller than almost every pocket chess box, because the pieces are not 3D but flat discs!



Plus: It`s the most played game in the worls with rules that haven`t changed for at least 1000 years - they are even more simple to understand than the ones of Chess, because they are more intuitive ("realistic").

It can be played real fast, too (there is no phalanx of pawns), but there is a whole lot of literature, too - in mandarin, of course.

Plus: Be the "smart guy" of the party showing off with this truly original hit - and not a boring chess set!

So: Why Chess - if you can play XiangQi? Have fun!
 
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Joe Lott
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XiangQi---
Bah, it's only the most played because there are over a billion chinese people.

Some one once said:
"Those interested in impressing others with their intelligence play chess. Those who would settle for being chic play backgammon. Those who wish to become individuals of quality, take up Go."

That's all I got to say about that. (BTW I like XiangQi, I got's my own set)
 
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Rob Herman
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Laurentiu wrote:
Why chess?


For the babes.
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Daniel Danzer
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masaakunokouchi wrote:
XiangQi---
Bah, it's only the most played because there are over a billion chinese people.


That`s why Monopoly is the most best-selling game of the 20th century - because of the worldwide capitalist imperialism, mainly through the US "cultural export".

masaakunokouchi wrote:

Some one once said:
"Those interested in impressing others with their intelligence play chess. Those who would settle for being chic play backgammon. Those who wish to become individuals of quality, take up Go."

That's all I got to say about that. (BTW I like XiangQi, I got's my own set)


You didn`t take my reply seriously - do you? I just wanted to show the rather ridiculous arguments for a game in the OP I`d say, play what you really like, period.
 
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howl hollow howl
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Confucius says: When Chess and Go zealots squabble, it is not unlike when nerds and geeks wage war against one another, when they really should be united together in fighting the dorks.
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Daniel Danzer
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sauron sauron sauron sauron

You got it, man.

The fight against stupidity has just begun.
 
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Aaron Tubb
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masaakunokouchi wrote:
XiangQi---
Bah, it's only the most played because there are over a billion chinese people.

Bah, it's only the most played because there are more people who play it.
 
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Laurentiu Cristofor
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A small precization: when I say I prefer Chess to another game for some reason, I don't mean the other game is a total waste of time and unworthy of attention - I'm just pointing what I perceive to be an advantage in the design of Chess and a factor that may determine your preference for the game of Chess.

On the "usability" point:

Go is a great game, but I can hardly see someone setting up a Go mid-game position with the ease you can set up a Chess position at any point in the game. It is also easier to disturb a Go board than it is to disturb a Chess board (ever met nasty kids in school when you were little?). This doesn't make Go a worse game, it just makes Chess a game that I would be more likely to play in a variety of adverse conditions. In Go you mostly add pieces to the board and sometimes remove them, while in Chess you mostly remove them and rarely replace them - this means that if you play Chess on the move, you move pieces or eliminate them and then stuff them in a pocket, but with Go, you have to constantly pick pieces and place them, requiring probably a pocket full of black pieces and one of white pieces - try doing this while on public transit and see how many pieces you'll have left after a few plays and a number of potholes. By the way, on this point, XiangQi and Shogi share the same strength with Chess.

Regarding XiangQi and Shogi:

- I am repeating myself, but the rules for moving pieces are more complicated and not as clean as in Chess. Apparently all these games share the same origin, but Chess travelled farther from India and I expect each culture has refined its rules further before passing it on (maybe people forgot the cumbersome restrictions and simplified the rules while teaching others). XiangQi in particular has more rules telling you what you can't do. Clean rules just tell you what you can do and then let you do it. Yes, you could argue that Chess also has unclean rules regarding pawns, but those are about a single piece and they are well justified.

- The extra rules in XiangQi and Shogi may be preferred for adding extra complexity (palace, captured pieces become zombies, etc), but I prefer complexity derived from a few simple rules to complexity derived from a lot of rules. Simplicity is a generally appreciated quality in art, engineering, and sometimes even in fashion, all other things being equal. You may choose to disagree with this criteria or with my assessment or you may choose to point out what these games gain from the extra complexity, but that's about as much as you can do

- Most boards I find for these two games have pieces marked with ideograms rather than sculpted pieces. This makes it harder to identify which is which. I wouldn't play Chess that much if the only way I could would be by moving pieces of wood with K, Q, B, N, R, and P etched on them. It's a marketing issue, not a game issue, but I'm sure it limits the wider acceptance of these games outside their country of origin. Even the computer Shogi game I have comes with ideograms - there appears to be no standard iconic representation of pieces.

Finally, of course, the number of people playing a game doesn't say anything about the quality of the game. Proof: Monopoly.
 
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Joe Lott
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Laurentiu wrote:

Finally, of course, the number of people playing a game doesn't say anything about the quality of the game. Proof: Monopoly.


I could not agree more
 
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Daniel Danzer
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Laurentiu wrote:
Regarding XiangQi and Shogi:

- I am repeating myself, but the rules for moving pieces are more complicated and not as clean as in Chess. ... XiangQi in particular has more rules telling you what you can't do. Clean rules just tell you what you can do and then let you do it.


Well, there is a palace marked on the board, so you don`t have to remember it, a deadly view between the generals and an elephant, who cannot cross the (again clearly marked) river. That is all.

How about castling or en passant? The stalemate rules in XiangQi are also more clear (A player loses, if he cannot make a legal move without putting himself into check.)

Laurentiu wrote:

Yes, you could argue that Chess also has unclean rules regarding pawns, but those are about a single piece and they are well justified.

They are justified because of history. People realized the bad phalanx with pawns only moving one single step, so they can start with two now. The En passant rule results from this, so you have more unclarity here ...
In the contrary to Chess, the pieces in XiangQi follow a kind of "realism", that makes it much easier for newbies (even kids, I tried it a lot at the youth club I work at!) to learn and remember the moves:

General - stays in his palace (or headqusrter).
Advisor - stays with him, protecting him - or even is bad for him, because standing in his way - traitor!
Horse - moves like a Knight, but not able to jump.
Chariot - moves like a rook - having wheels makes it so fast and straightforward.
Elephant - has limited positions, because it is less flexible, and cannot cross the river (too heavy!).
Cannon - moves like a chariot (it has wheels, too, you know) but captures over one piece, using it as a kind of protection - like the old catapults needed some wall to protect the preparation and targeting.
Soldiers - move one step forward, but also sideways in enemy country. The danger loosens the strict order, right?

Explain "Bishop" "Rook" or "Queen" or "Castling" this way, and you win this debate.

Laurentiu wrote:

Most boards I find for these two games have pieces marked with ideograms rather than sculpted pieces. This makes it harder to identify which is which.

First, this is more a cultural point, for the identification of the characters is more "viewing" than "reading". I suggest to turn the pieces around and paint some nice icons on the backs to adopt this:



Laurentiu wrote:

Finally, of course, the number of people playing a game doesn't say anything about the quality of the game. Proof: Monopoly.


Absolutely. But unchanged rules for 1000 years prove some replayability, instead of an evolutionary process with some compromises.

Some issues about Chess for me (and the reason for many variants invented by great players) is the slow start, the closed phalanx of pawns, the crowded board (half of the squares are occupied in the beginning) and an over-powerful Queen. You don`t have this in XiangQi - there are 90 places for 32 pieces, a row of pawns with gaps, a straightforward start, ...

Finally, I want to say, that I like Chess a lot and play it, and I don`t fight here, but just exchange opinions about the strength and certain weaknesses that appear even in the "Game of Kings".

I recommend to get a XiangQi set (or draw a board on a asheet of paper and take some wooden disks and paint them) and try it by yourself. For me, the view on Chess changed since then a lot.

Thanks for your attention.
 
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Laurentiu Cristofor
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duchamp:

I'm not at all upset if someone would prefer another game to Chess. If you look at my profile, Chess is not among the games I am playing these days. It is also very difficult to compare such games while being objective at the same time. If you look at my short review, I've tried to keep it as objective as possible, by focusing on aspects that don't relate to the subjective enjoyment that someone can take from a certain set of rules. What I enumerated are just observations regarding Chess, which can serve as differentiators, both for and against playing Chess, according to each reader's personal preferences. As one comment already pointed out, you may not care at all about such differences. But I thought it interesting to point them out and it's funny to see how many comments I generated in a day with this review.

I made three points in my review about Chess, and while they can be argued, I am comfortable with defending them. These were: (a) rules simplicity, (b) ease of play, and (c) speed of play. I claim (a) differentiates it from XiangQi or Shogi, while (b) and (c) differentiate it from Go (I agree that Go beats Chess on (a) and XiangQi and Shogi are comparable on (b) and (c) - no arguments on that). I also plan to add a couple more differentiators to my original review after finishing this message, but for the purpose of this discussion, it seems only (a) is a point we're disagreeing on. You have also presented some arguments for preferring XiangQi. I'll try to address all these below.

(1) When I claim Chess has simpler rules, I just mean that; I don't mean those rules are easier to remember, because what one person can remember is a subjective point. I can remember Chess's rules easier because they are simpler and I also understand why you would remember XiangQi's rules easier because of the scenario setting behind them, but all this is a subjective evaluation and unrelated to my point.

Chess DOES have simpler rules than XiangQi, and by this I mean that expressing the rules of Chess can be done in a more concise manner than expressing the rules of XiangQi. Anyone can easily determine this by attempting to write the smallest set of rules for both games and then counting the actual rules and exceptions for each of them. I'm talking about rules that formally define the game, not picturesque descriptions of the roles of each piece, as you provided. Somebody should be able to play the game using those rules without having to ask for clarifications.

Without actually counting all descriptions and exceptions, it should be easy to see why Chess has simpler rules: it has fewer pieces and the movement of these pieces is not restricted by rules related to board areas ad range restrictions. You can change XiangQi into Chess by lifting the restrictions on the movement of pieces and eliminating some pieces, but to change XiangQi into Chess, you have to add more pieces and more restrictions to existing rules of movement. This makes Chess have simpler rules than XiangQi in a formal (mathematical) sense - you have to add rules and pieces to it, to get XiangQi, not subtract them.

Example: The Knight in Chess makes the shortest move that is not in a straight line (horizontal, diagonal, and vertical) and cannot be blocked. In XiangQi, the Cavalry makes a similar move, except it can not jump, which requires an additional explanation of how Cavalry can be blocked. This adds complexity to explaining the game and also to evaluating a position, because now I can't simply evaluate the cavalry movement by evaluating the positions it can land to, but I also have to evaluate the adjacent positions to the Cavalry's current position. The fact is that Chess's rule is simpler to both define and to evaluate (whether it is simpler to be understood is a totally different and subjective aspect). Now, of course, you may prefer the slight complexity added by XiangQi's rule, but I don't see any valid argument for it being simpler.

Additional example note: Even you have described the Cavalry movement by saying it behaves as in Chess and then adding a restriction, making your description more complex. Your description is also not complete because it doesn't cover the conditions under which the Cavalry's movement is blocked.

You argued Chess is more complex because of castling and pawn rules. Castling is one rule with two clauses describing the actual movement and the exceptions preventing it and I mentioned that the pawn rules are well justified, because you would also ask for them if they weren't already part of the game. As you pointed out, they are made in the interest of both speeding the initial game as well as preventing them from allowing the sneaking pawns in the endgame. XiangQi's rules regarding the palace and river, on the other hand, seem more related to trying to maintain the appearance of a specific battle scenario than to optimizing the game flow.

Quote:
They are justified because of history.


History doesn't justify anything, it can only instruct and serve as motivation. And just generically mentioning history doesn't mean anything if there isn't some point to that history. Every past thing is history, but some history is about evolving, some history is about destroying, some history is about stagnating, and so on - the lessons are not the same.

(2) On rules description

Quote:
Advisor - stays with him, protecting him - or even is bad for him, because standing in his way - traitor!


Sorry, this description can be used for a fairy tale, but you can't use it to actually play XiangQi. The advisor only moves diagonally, and only within the palace, and only by 1 point, and it can be blocked. It takes 4 distinct statements to define its movements (one involving the additional concept of palace) while I only need 2 statements to describe the Bishop's movement: it moves diagonally and can be blocked - no range or area restriction. If that's not simpler, then I guess we really can't get anywhere on this argument.

(3) On the ideogram issue, I already mentioned that this is not really a game issue. Your suggestion, however, doesn't help the case of XiangQi either - I don't need to do that with Chess regardless of what culture I come from.

(4)

Quote:
But unchanged rules for 1000 years prove some replayability, instead of an evolutionary process with some compromises.


No, this doesn't prove ANYTHING. It's just your subjective perception of what it means. Replayability was never in question for any of these games - they are literally played to the death, even if it is done by distinct sets of people.

And if you can take a joke, here's a humorous explanation for why the rules of XiangQi never changed (who knows, it might even be inadvertently true; jokes happen to be that way): I read that Generals used to be called Emperors until some Emperor took offense and chopped the head of a few players who dared to capture the pieces. This must have put a damper on all future ideas for updating the rules of the game. Imagine some player coming with the idea of making Advisors move like Bishops. Emperor feedback: Advisors leaving the side of their Emperor!!! Traitors!!! Off with his head! - Yep, it makes one think twice about changing the rules of such game.

(5)

Quote:
Some issues about Chess for me (and the reason for many variants invented by great players) is the slow start, the closed phalanx of pawns, the crowded board (half of the squares are occupied in the beginning) and an over-powerful Queen. You don`t have this in XiangQi - there are 90 places for 32 pieces, a row of pawns with gaps, a straightforward start, ...


This is all subjective (as you already admit) and the reason why I didn't even try to tailor the review around what I like about Chess. I happen to disagree with you on all those points, but that's fine and it's not something we can have an argument about. You cannot argue taste and smell, as they say Also, a review like this is meant for novice players, most of which will certainly never get to the point of mastering the game so they can feel entitled to propose rule changes (or so their proposals would be considered seriously). If you get bored with playing Chess, the last thing you need is a review about Chess.

Ending comments:

Quote:
Finally, I want to say, that I like Chess a lot and play it, and I don`t fight here, but just exchange opinions about the strength and certain weaknesses that appear even in the "Game of Kings".


I enjoy an argument, but it's hard to argue about subjective opinions like the fact that you think the Queen is over-powerful. On the other hand, I think concepts like the simplicity of the rules can be argued about. Of course, even if we agree that Chess's rules are simpler than XiangQi's, this doesn't mean that Chess is preferrable to XiangQi - but I hope that for people liking simpler rulesets, it would provide a good pointer, that's all.

Quote:
I recommend to get a XiangQi set (or draw a board on a asheet of paper and take some wooden disks and paint them) and try it by yourself. For me, the view on Chess changed since then a lot.


This is why I prefer Chess - I don't need to go through this exercise to get a proper set - I bought some Chess sets for as low as 2$ and they were made in China - why don't they make similar XiangQi sets is something I can't figure out. Is it so hard to design some small plastic pieces to represent the XiangQi's components? I'm positively baffled. Point me to a set with icons or sculpted pieces that is affordable and I promise I'll try to purchase it. If not, then I'd rather spend the time playing Chess, or Go, or even play with the Shogi program I have around.

And to also answer an earlier question:

GamePlayer:

Quote:
Wouldn't this lead to a preference for tic-tac-toe which has a smaller board than chess?


Not if you want some complexity. I am not trying to define all the things that make Chess the game it is, I'm only looking at some differences from similar games, where similarity was understood to include complexity. You are right that complexity is an important factor (I take it this is what you wanted to point out), but I don't see complexity as an important differentiating factor. For most players, all the games mentioned so far (Chess, Go, Shogi, XiangQi) are complex enough - no one is going to master them easily. Go may be more complex in the sense that evaluating a position is more difficult than in Chess, but is that really an important factor? I'm afraid this topic may require a longer discussion than we already started but to keep it simple, I would suggest this might only matter to people that plan to play the game professionally.
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Joe Lott
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laurentiu:
your both wrong, it's pointless arguing about International Chess / XiangQi.

Just play Go.
 
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masaakunokouchi wrote:
laurentiu:
your both wrong, it's pointless arguing about International Chess / XiangQi.

Just play Go.


You Go Jo! (and don't come back!)

laugh

Gg
 
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duchamp wrote:
Proposal: Move to China and play Xiangqi on every street!





Bah. I just wanted to say "Bah".

My friend just came back from China and gave me that exact same set... and steel chopsticks, a weird glass dual-walled tea decanter with a built in filter and a bottle of moonshine that I am not sure if it is actually Ethanol or not (I'll still drink it, but it smells like anti-freeze).

Anyhow... I can't wait to try the game.
 
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Daniel Danzer
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Laurentiu wrote:

When I claim Chess has simpler rules, I just mean that; I don't mean those rules are easier to remember, because what one person can remember is a subjective point. ...

Chess DOES have simpler rules than XiangQi, and by this I mean that expressing the rules of Chess can be done in a more concise manner than expressing the rules of XiangQi. Anyone can easily determine this by attempting to write the smallest set of rules for both games and then counting the actual rules and exceptions for each of them.

Without actually counting all descriptions and exceptions, it should be easy to see why Chess has simpler rules: it has fewer pieces and the movement of these pieces is not restricted by rules related to board areas and range restrictions.


I checked both rulesets and put them together in an overview chart. To make this visible, I uploaded it as an image.

Let`s assume, that the description of the boards, setup placement, basic “frame” rules (the two players move alternately and so on), check rules (the possibilities of a player with his king/general in check) and so on are almost the same or can be shown easily by a diagram, so they don`t add anything to the rules` differing complexity. The same applies to the ending conditions (checkmate / stalemate, repetitive moves ...).
Then let`s have a look at both of the games` rules, trying to use "positive" phrases:


I cannot see, why Chess has "simpler rules".
 
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Laurentiu Cristofor
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Quote:
I cannot see, why Chess has "simpler rules"


Of course you cannot - that's because you are counting the Chess exceptions separately, but you don't do the same for XiangQi, where you made sure to conveniently bundle all the palace and river related exceptions with the rules of movement. It all starts from your assumption that the boards are the same - they are not - in Chess the board places no restrictions on the movement of pieces and requires no special definition, while in XiangQi it does, and you cannot simply ignore that part of the game. You count promotion in Chess as an exception and you don't count the midboard soldier promotion as one? Of course you'll get a lesser count this way!

To be clear, when I was counting rules, I meant doing the following:

Example: In Chess, "the King moves in (all directions) by (1 point)" has 2 clauses - one for direction and one for range. In XiangQi, "the General moves (horizontally) and (vertically) by (1 point) (inside the palace)" has 4 clauses - two for direction, because it cannot move in all directions, one for range, and one for movement restrictions. Chess's rule is simpler by 2 to 4 and if you sum these differences up for all pieces, you'll get plenty to cover for the complexity of en passant, castling, and pawn promotion.
 
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No, I just tried to put the rules in positive terms instead of "restrictions". You made the proposal to make a most simple ruleset for both games and compare them - what I tried. You also made the proposal to exclude the things, people don`t have to know to play the game, and not even the the term "river" is really necessary for this.

Concerning the board and setup, you have the river (seperation in two halves) and the palace, but in Chess you also have orientation matters: The board has to be rotated in such a way, that each player has a black square on the left corner of his first row. But considering, that the description of the boards can easily be done with a single picture and one or two descriptions.

For the moves of the general (and all "horizontally and vertically") you could say "orthogonally", and so on, but even if you do this "how many clauses" experiment to the end and come up with the most reduced and equally expressed rules - you still had to count the positive and negative clauses needed for "en passant" and "castling" ...

In the end, I would say, the rules for these both games are of equal simplicity - a bit depending on the way to look at them, but they differ not enough to make a real point for one of these two saying: This one has simpler rules, so try this before the other - the start of the whole (fun) argument.

BTW, I didn`t say, that XiangQi has simpler rules. I said: I cannot see more simple rules for Chess.
 
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Laurentiu Cristofor
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My point is that in XiangQi most movement rules have restrictions, so if you choose to not count them ... well, then that's a different thing that you are counting.

The orientation of the board in Chess doesn't really matter for playing the game; in fact, you don't even need the 2 colors for the squares - those are just game helpers. The orientation is specified only so that everyone keeps the board the same way - it's a convention - it doesn't affect the mechanics of the game.

The XiangQi river on the other hand is impacting the movement of two pieces - one cannot move past it and the other one changes its movement rules (effectively a promotion) after it passes it. The palace restricts the movement of other pieces. These are no longer helpers, they're an integral part of the game. Remove the palace and let the General roam in all directions and you'll get the Chess King.

You can use orthogonally instead of saying horizontally and vertically, but that only simplifies the English description. Mathematically speaking, horizontal and vertical movement are expressed as different equations (constant y and constant x, respectively). Even diagonal movement is a combination of two different movements with different equations (slope 1 and slope -1). I am not saying this because I think this particular simplification matters, but I am using this as an example to make the point that you have to look at the formal description of movement instead of counting English propositions. Each "inside the castle" or "before crossing the river" or "after crossing the river" is an extra clause that describes a limitation to the movement rules. The castle places restrictions on both coordinates of the piece while the river only concerns the y.

You argue that Chess has more special cases - I don't want to call them exceptions because they're more than that. Let's look at them:

Castling - it is similar to the clear line special case in XiangQi, except in Chess it is only available for a limited time. It is more complex to express, I agree, so we can write this off as a plus for XiangQi.
En passant - this is indeed special to Chess, which is why everyone is picking on it probably.
Promotion - it is similar to XiangQi's midboard promotion, except in XiangQi, the promotion creates a new type of piece, while in Chess it merely transforms the pawn into an existing piece. I'd say Chess comes better here.

This pretty much leaves the En passant rule confronted to the limitations that are placed on XiangQi's pieces. I think it wins easily.

Quote:
BTW, I didn`t say, that XiangQi has simpler rules. I said: I cannot see more simple rules for Chess.


You said
Quote:
I cannot see, why Chess has "simpler rules".
, which implicitly means you see XiangQi's rules as being simpler, because these were the games discussed and "simpler" implies a comparison. But if you didn't say XiangQi has simpler rules, then what are we talking about?
 
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They both have fairly simple rules. However, that belies the entire complexity of each game. Arguing over which game has simpler rules is pointless. Each can taught without too much trouble to an elementary school child. So why argue over it?
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Some additional thoughts on Chess (and XiangQi):

If you remove the 2 square optional initial move for Chess (which removes en passant as well), then you can still very well play Chess - as it was played centuries ago. The move was added to speed up the opening game, but you could teach (for starters) someone to play the game without it. For those that find en-passant and 2 square pawn moves complex, the game is eminently playable without them.

In XiangQi, the palace impacts pawn play significantly - without the palace, the soldiers would become useless at the end of the board, crawling without a purpose along the edge. Both palace and river lead to restricting some pieces to defensive positions - no such role restriction exists in Chess.

In the end, I think an important difference between XiangQi and Chess may be ideological, as both can be viewed as reflecting different models for social order: in XiangQi, some pieces are restricted to certain roles and their freedom of action is limited by the rules of the game - this reflects a society where people's place and role is pre-ordained and where following customs prevails even in the face of great danger. In Chess, there are no rules restricting the roles of pieces - it is up to the player to decide their roles and even the King can lend a hand in the battle - he won't blindly hold to the comfort of his palace until his demise. Because of this, as a wargame, Chess provides a better simulation of a modern conflict than XiangQi, which is limited to being a scenario from ancient warfare (which is what it really is based on).
 
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