Main
Date: 17 May 2008 08:58:14
From: Quadibloc
Subject: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
This post is prompted by encountering posts in a newsgroup on Chess
discussing the question of somehow revitalizing Chess.

A lot of Chess games are draws, and quite a bit of book knowledge of
openings is needed to play Chess competitively. These things can be
perceived as problems.

If Capablanca Chess is not the answer, why not something inspired by
Pocket Knight Chess?

I've been thinking of these issues myself, and on my web site I've
tried to put forwards solutions that might be more palatable than
those previously advanced. I've been examining how _komidashi_ was
successful in addressing a draw problem in Go, and I've been looking
at the history of the two-move and three-move restrictions in Checkers
for parallels.

In one thread in which I was a participant, someone posed the question
of why Checkers players in the English-speaking world hadn't adopted
the _obvious_ remedy of abandoning their antiquated and insular form
of Checkers for the modern international standard, played on the 10 by
10 board with different capturing rules - which has had no need of
even a two-move restriction?

Well, upon reflection, I've come up with the obvious answer.

Why would people who have spent a lot of time and effort learning how
to play Checkers as it is simply abandon that investment to move to a
different pond in which they would be the new frogs on the block?

This is why, when a problem with Checkers became inescapably manifest
after the Wyllie-Martins match of 1863, the remedy that was chosen was
not switching to Polish Checkers. Instead, the remedy that was chosen
was the one that involved the *least change* to the game, to maximize
the relevance of the skills of those who were at the top of the
existing Checkers world. This even explains why the switch to eleven-
man ballot, which involves a slightly larger change, is being
resisted.

And that made perfect sense, since they were the only ones with a
problem. Ordinary duffers could still play Checkers the old way
without fear of it being a futile pursuit in the sense of tic-tac-toe.
And, for a while, there was the option of learning to play Camelot
well instead of learning to play Checkers well, although its inventor,
George Swinnerton Parker, was not born until 1867, four years after
the Wyllie-Martins match.

That option could be said to have ended in 1986, when Inside Moves
went off the market... but there are still those who suggest the
possibility of a revival.

If switching from Checkers to Chess is a big jump, switching from
Chess to Go is a bigger one still that hardly bears considering, even
if Go seems to be thriving.

In any case, the case of Checkers confirms strongly my intuition that:

- For a new game to get recognition enough so that people pay
attention to who its world champion might be is extremely difficult;
and

- A reform to an old game to reduce draws and make its upper-level
competitive activity more exciting should be one which involves the
minimum of change, maximizing the relevancy of the existing skills of
the game's current masters.

John Savard




 
Date: 09 Jul 2008 15:01:32
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
> Indeed, imagine what it would be like if you found they played a different
> chess in Japan, another different chess in China, and yet again another
> in Korea...

I take your point, but they also all play "western" chess as a
standard as well. Games such as Shogi and Xiang Qi exist alongside
western chess, not as a near-exclusive replacement. This is not true
for checkers / draughts, unfortunately..


 
Date: 09 Jul 2008 11:07:27
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
> I suspect that even the most rabid Quebecois would still be willing
> to grant that they are part of North America, however.

C'est vrai, ca, mais peut-etre ils ne l'aiment pas beaucoup....


 
Date: 26 Jun 2008 00:11:40
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 11, 11:34 am, Quadibloc <[email protected] > wrote:

> Now, I remember that a few years ago, a Canadian firm - AMAV might
> have been its name - produced a "500 Game" set

Actually, it was "222 Games".

John Savard


 
Date: 19 Jun 2008 17:51:19
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 18, 9:08 pm, Quadibloc <[email protected] > wrote:

> But we are told that the move of Black's Chief's Odwar was the *only*
> possible move that would capture the Orange Odwar, despite the advance
> of the Chief's Panthan.

The Chief's Panthan *didn't* advance, it was the Chief's Odwar's
Panthan, so the distance would have been four squares, not three. That
was my mistake!

John Savard


 
Date: 19 Jun 2008 17:42:20
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 19, 6:32 am, Quadibloc <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Jun 19, 4:52 am, Fredrik Ekman <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > The difference is that the Chief and Princess
> > are set up mirrored, just like in chess. As soon as I tried that,
> > everything else fell in place.
>
> Ah. I did assume that, unintentionally, when thinking of the attack by
> the Black Chief on the Orange Chief - but I did not then allow for
> that when following the Orange Odwar.

The very first sentence of the description of the game, I now find, in
turning back to it, indeed forces the conclusion that the symmetry of
the Earth chessboard was used!

John Savard


 
Date: 19 Jun 2008 05:32:13
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 19, 4:52 am, Fredrik Ekman <[email protected] > wrote:
> The difference is that the Chief and Princess
> are set up mirrored, just like in chess. As soon as I tried that,
> everything else fell in place.

Ah. I did assume that, unintentionally, when thinking of the attack by
the Black Chief on the Orange Chief - but I did not then allow for
that when following the Orange Odwar.

John Savard


 
Date: 18 Jun 2008 20:08:36
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 17, 4:48 am, Fredrik Ekman <[email protected] > wrote:

> If you are interested in an attempt to resolve the ambiguities,

Although Burroughs didn't give the full details of the very short game
featured in The Chessmen of Mars, I do now see how it resolves some
ambiguities.

The fact that the two Chiefs are four spaces apart, the Panthan to one
side has been advanced one space, just before that Panthan is ordered
to battle Gahan to spare U-Dor a fight, and U-Dor has no escape, means
that the square one space diagonally away from the Chief's original
square, and a Knight's move away from Gahan, cannot be accessible to U-
Dor but not Gahan.

That eliminates the "Free Chief". If there was no reason to think that
the Panthan in front of U-Dor has moved away, we couldn't eliminate
the "Chained Civil Chief" by a similar argument. But, in fact, we know
this must have happened, because the Chief, unlike the Princess,
cannot jump over intervening pieces.

Also, the description of the Chief's move in the description of the
game, however, seems to eliminate any possibilities except the Chained
Wild Chief and the Free Wild Chief, because it is emphasized there
that "any combination of directions" is allowed.

We have an account, as well, of several Flier (or Odwar) moves.

The first one, three squares diagonally in a straight line doesn't
settle any arguments, although it demonstrates jumping over
intervening pieces. The same is true of the second move - but since
that move threatens the Princess, not three spaces diagonally away in
a straight line, we know that the piece can change direction during
the move.

But we are told that the move of Black's Chief's Odwar was the *only*
possible move that would capture the Orange Odwar, despite the advance
of the Chief's Panthan. A move of three squares, one orthogonal, and
two diagonal, by the Chief should also have brought him to the square
of the attacking Odwar!

So, instead of settling matters, it seems the game hopelessly
contradicts itself!

John Savard


  
Date: 19 Jun 2008 12:52:36
From: Fredrik Ekman
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
Quadibloc <[email protected] > writes:

> So, instead of settling matters, it seems the game hopelessly
> contradicts itself!

I have not set up the board to see to what extent your analysis
matches mine, but even without that, I can see that you are on
the right track. I am guessing that what you are missing out
(just as I missed it myself at first) is that the board in the
Chapter 17 game is not set up according to Burroughs' own
appendix rules. The difference is that the Chief and Princess
are set up mirrored, just like in chess. As soon as I tried that,
everything else fell in place.

Fredrik


 
Date: 18 Jun 2008 19:05:11
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 18, 8:16 am, Fredrik Ekman <[email protected] > wrote:

> In other words, 8 sofs approximate 9.5 inches, so 1 sof is about 1.2
> inches. This is reasonably consisten with the quote you mention from
> Thuvia, saying that 1 sofad is 1.17 inches. So "sofad" in that quote
> must be a typo meaning "sof".

That makes sense - except, of course, that the glossary in Thuvia says
that a safad is the Martian inch, and a _typo_ of sofad for safad
makes more sense than one of sofad for sof.

However, Thuvia had _real_ mistakes, not just typos, since it was the
book in which the size of the haad was doubled. So I still have to
admit that sof is more strongly confirmed in the canon; probably in
this book, safad was the typo for sofad - and Burroughs made the sofad
a tenth as long, as well as making the haad twice as long, just for
that book.

John Savard


 
Date: 18 Jun 2008 11:59:07
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 18, 11:14 am, [email protected] wrote:

> I don't find it at all surprising that interest in Burroughs' works
> would be subsiding.

I don't really find it surprising, for the reasons you mention, that
it is lower than it once was.

That it has reached such a low level as it appears to have done,
however, is surprising to me simply because there doesn't seem to be
anyone who has supplanted him in the particular category of escapist
fiction which he dominates, and which would likely be popular.

Of course plenty of other people write fiction for entertainment.
There are authors like David Weber and John Ringo. There are the many
writers who are following in the path so gloriously blazed by J. R. R.
Tolkien. H. P. Lovecraft has a devoted following.

But the type of fantasy Burroughs produced belongs to a different
category, I would think. With H. Rider Haggard at one end, and Lin
Carter at the other, he still doesn't appear to have been displaced.

John Savard


 
Date: 18 Jun 2008 10:14:58
From:
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 18, 12:40=A0pm, Quadibloc <[email protected] > wrote:

> the limited activity on
> alt.fantasy.er-burroughs (that ERB-APA is small might concievably just
> be its own "fault" instead of indicating the same thing) tells me that
> interest in the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs appears to have subsided
> from its past levels to an extent making hope unrealistic in this
> area. This is a pity, and it is also surprising, so it may be that the
> appearance is misleading.

I don't find it at all surprising that interest in Burroughs' works
would be subsiding. Scientific knowledge has advanced considerably
since his time, and his notions of conditions on Mars, Venus, the Moon
and inside the Earth are now known to be totally erroneous, even
ludicrous. His writing style is a sort of stilted, heavy Victorianese.
His plots are contrived and implausible, his characters wooden. The
occasional racism his work shows is offensive to today's readers.
When I first discovered Burrough's Barsoom novels, as a teenager
back in the 1960s, his notions about Mars still seemed at least
minimally plausible, and I was insensitive to or willing to overlook
all the other shortcomings. I avidly read all of them, plus the
Pellucidar, Venus, Moon and Land that Time Forgot series, and
miscellaneous others (Beyond 30, The Mad King, etc.) But picking up my
favorite of them all, The Warlord of Mars, 30 years later, I found it
almost unreadable.
I would imagine that many of the baby boomers who powered ERB's
1960s comeback came to feel the same way, and for later generations,
technological advances made ERB's sci-fi seem downright quaint and
irrelevant.

Taylor Kingston


 
Date: 18 Jun 2008 09:40:10
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 18, 8:34=A0am, Fredrik Ekman <[email protected] > wrote:
> Quadibloc <[email protected]> writes:

> While that is technically correct, back issues tend to be sold off at a
> slow rate. I happen to know that a few weeks ago, copies were available
> of all issues from #87 on (although only a single copy in some cases).
> The extremely low circulation (55 copies for each issue) together with
> the copious content (typically around 200 pages) combine to make the
> asking price of $25 worth considering, IMO.

I'm not complaining about the price - as such, but Internet users do
tend to be expecting, when given a link, to find the information there
immediately.

> One fellow member was kind enough to call my article in
> #92 "the definite jetan article", an epithet I certainly hope will be
> proven false by someone else in the future.

I could desire that as well, but the limited activity on
alt.fantasy.er-burroughs (that ERB-APA is small might concievably just
be its own "fault" instead of indicating the same thing) tells me that
interest in the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs appears to have subsided
from its past levels to an extent making hope unrealistic in this
area. This is a pity, and it is also surprising, so it may be that the
appearance is misleading.

John Savard


 
Date: 18 Jun 2008 05:37:56
From:
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 17, 9:05=A0pm, Quadibloc <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Jun 17, 4:34 pm, [email protected] wrote:
>
> > then in the dreadful 11th novel it was suddenly 3-
> > legged.
>
> Since the dreadful 11th novel was adapted from a Big Little Book by
> one of Burroughs' sons,

Ah, I did not know that. The paperback edition I bought back around
1970 clearly assigned authorship to ERB, though in an intro it did
mention some questions about that.

> that can't be taken as evidence of
> inconsistency by Burroughs - although, yes, even in the good novels,
> sadly, there was plenty of inconsistency too.

He needed Ghek the Kaldane for an editor.


 
Date: 17 Jun 2008 18:05:00
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 17, 4:34 pm, [email protected] wrote:
> then in the dreadful 11th novel it was suddenly 3-
> legged.

Since the dreadful 11th novel was adapted from a Big Little Book by
one of Burroughs' sons, that can't be taken as evidence of
inconsistency by Burroughs - although, yes, even in the good novels,
sadly, there was plenty of inconsistency too.

John Savard


 
Date: 17 Jun 2008 18:03:22
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 17, 11:50 am, Fredrik Ekman <[email protected] > wrote:
> [email protected] (John Savard) writes:
> > Actually, the safad is defined as the "Martian inch" in the Martian
> > Glossary at the end of Thuvia, Maid of Mars.
>
> Oh, so that was your source. Actually, that glossary is so full of errors
> that it is just a Martian inch short of being ridiculous. You will notice
> that there is no "sofad" in the dictionary, even though sofad has been
> mentioned previously in the series, while safad has not (and is not in
> the rest of the series, either). My guess is that "safad" is just a typo
> for "sofad", just as "od" in the same glossary must be a typo for "ad".
> Several similar errors in the glossary beg the assumption that some
> typist could not read Burroughs' handwritten notes.
>
> In a later book (Llana of Gathol, IIRC), Burroughs mentions that one
> tenth of the sofad is one sof. So there is your Martian inch proper.

Ah! I am somewhat surprised, though; given karad, haad, ad, and sofad,
one would have expected that sof- is a prefix meaning "one-hundredth",
and so safad sounds more reasonable. As it happens, in the text of
Thuvia, Maid of Mars, the sofad is referred to as 1.17 inches instead
of 11.69 inches... so having "sofad" as a typo for "safad" would have
made wonderful sense.

Still, something _explicitly_ mentioned - that a tenth of a sofad is a
sof - does have to take precedence over speculation.

John Savard


  
Date: 18 Jun 2008 16:16:25
From: Fredrik Ekman
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
Quadibloc <[email protected] > writes:

> Ah! I am somewhat surprised, though; given karad, haad, ad, and sofad,
> one would have expected that sof- is a prefix meaning "one-hundredth",
> and so safad sounds more reasonable.

You do mean "one-tenth", right? As it happens, I have been toying with
the same idea, but I have been forced to conclude otherwise.

> Still, something _explicitly_ mentioned - that a tenth of a sofad is a
> sof - does have to take precedence over speculation.

There is no such explicit comparison of one sof with one sofad, but
there is explicit reference to the sof compared with the inch. The
following is from Chapter 12 of Swords of Mars (not Llana, as I
incorrectly thought).

"if there were human beings on Thuria [...] they would be but about
nine-and-a-half inches tall"

and later

"an inhabitant of Thuria, [...] would be about eight sofs tall"

In other words, 8 sofs approximate 9.5 inches, so 1 sof is about 1.2
inches. This is reasonably consisten with the quote you mention from
Thuvia, saying that 1 sofad is 1.17 inches. So "sofad" in that quote
must be a typo meaning "sof".

Fredrik


 
Date: 17 Jun 2008 15:34:21
From:
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 17, 1:50=A0pm, Fredrik Ekman <[email protected] > wrote:
> [email protected] (John Savard) writes:
> > Actually, the safad is defined as the "Martian inch" in the Martian
> > Glossary at the end of Thuvia, Maid of Mars.
>
> Oh, so that was your source. Actually, that glossary is so full of errors
> that it is just a Martian inch short of being ridiculous. You will notice
> that there is no "sofad" in the dictionary, even though sofad has been
> mentioned previously in the series, while safad has not (and is not in
> the rest of the series, either). My guess is that "safad" is just a typo
> for "sofad", just as "od" in the same glossary must be a typo for "ad".
> Several similar errors in the glossary beg the assumption that some
> typist could not read Burroughs' handwritten notes.
>
> In a later book (Llana of Gathol, IIRC), Burroughs mentions that one
> tenth of the sofad is one sof. So there is your Martian inch proper.
>
> =A0 Fredrik

It's been decades since I read much ERB, but as I recall,
inconsistency was not uncommon in the Barsoom series. IIRC, the
aforementioned glossary named the dead city of Aaanthor as the Martian
equivalent of Greenwich, i.e. zero longitude, but in another novel
some place named Exum was so described. The Martian rat, the ulsio,
was described as 6- or 8-legged (don't remember which) in the first 8
or 10 novels, then in the dreadful 11th novel it was suddenly 3-
legged. Burroughs was not nearly so conscientious as, say, Tolkien in
ensuring consistency in his imaginary worlds.
As far as the panthan's move is concerned, I would think a backwards
diagonal move was not to be allowed. The panthan could move sideways
or forward, but never back either diagonally or orthogonally. This
means of course that a panthan on the 10th rank can only shuffle back
and forth; no promotion is envisaged. Another thing ERB probably did
not spend much thought on. He was, after all, an imaginative hack just
churning out pulp for profit, not a serious artist.


  
Date: 18 Jun 2008 15:51:27
From: Fredrik Ekman
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
[email protected] writes:

> It's been decades since I read much ERB, but as I recall,
> inconsistency was not uncommon in the Barsoom series.

That is certainly correct, although in some cases ERB was more consistent
than you would expect (considering his many slip-ups, that is). He did
keep copious notes on many things, and words and names is one subject
where he can _mostly_ be trusted to be consistent. (Exact numeral
reference and measurement is one where he _cannot_.)

> IIRC, the
> aforementioned glossary named the dead city of Aaanthor as the Martian
> equivalent of Greenwich, i.e. zero longitude, but in another novel
> some place named Exum was so described.

Again, the glossary is just a tangled mess, full of errors and
inconsistencies. It cannot be used as any kind of useful reference.

> The Martian rat, the ulsio,
> was described as 6- or 8-legged (don't remember which) in the first 8
> or 10 novels, then in the dreadful 11th novel it was suddenly 3-
> legged.

As someone else pointed out, the three-legged variant was made up by
John Coleman Burroughs, ERB's son. This has recently been confirmed in
an issue of Burroughs Bulletin.

> As far as the panthan's move is concerned, I would think a backwards
> diagonal move was not to be allowed. The panthan could move sideways
> or forward, but never back either diagonally or orthogonally.

I agree with this conclusion.

> This
> means of course that a panthan on the 10th rank can only shuffle back
> and forth; no promotion is envisaged.

Correct, but this is not nearly as much of a problem as most critics of
jetan like to claim. To begin with, the jetan panthan will have to spend
at least eight moves to reach the final rank, whereas the chess pawn
can do so in five. Also, the panthan can prolong his journey by
side-stepping along the way. Either way, the bottom line is that the
panthan will take a different, more defensive, role than the pawn. Since
there is no promotion, there is no reason to race across the board and
there will be no horde of panthans "shuffling back and forth" along the
final rank.

Fredrik




 
Date: 17 Jun 2008 11:37:37
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 17, 12:33=A0pm, Quadibloc <[email protected] > wrote:

> For myself, I admit to being strongly tempted, but first I'm going to
> dig out my copy of "The Chessmen of Mars" and see if there _is_ any
> evidence present that might help in such a quest.

Upon returning to the site, I see that I had better not take too long
in doing so. Back issues may still be available, as you've said, but
if so, there are at most 11 of them in existence.

John Savard


  
Date: 18 Jun 2008 16:34:51
From: Fredrik Ekman
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
Quadibloc <[email protected] > writes:

> Upon returning to the site, I see that I had better not take too long
> in doing so. Back issues may still be available, as you've said, but
> if so, there are at most 11 of them in existence.

While that is technically correct, back issues tend to be sold off at a
slow rate. I happen to know that a few weeks ago, copies were available
of all issues from #87 on (although only a single copy in some cases).
The extremely low circulation (55 copies for each issue) together with
the copious content (typically around 200 pages) combine to make the
asking price of $25 worth considering, IMO.

Not everything in any given ERB-APA is good, of course, but if you
happen to enjoy ERB, there are always a number of really good articles
in each issue. One fellow member was kind enough to call my article in
#92 "the definite jetan article", an epithet I certainly hope will be
proven false by someone else in the future.

Fredrik


 
Date: 17 Jun 2008 11:33:12
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 17, 11:58=A0am, Fredrik Ekman <[email protected] > wrote:
> [email protected] (John Savard) writes:

> > Also, it might be noted that the issues involved are cited on
>
> >http://www.chessvariants.com/other.dir/jetanrules.html
>
> Huh? Did I miss something here?

No; I didn't claim that his web pages did what your articles did,
merely that they discussed the issues for those who might not know
about them.

Some of the people reading this thread will only have a casual
interest in the matter, and will not be prepared to order printed
copies of issues 92 and 94 of the publication in question, the
_covers_ of which are displayed on the web site you linked to.

For myself, I admit to being strongly tempted, but first I'm going to
dig out my copy of "The Chessmen of Mars" and see if there _is_ any
evidence present that might help in such a quest. I'm suspicious that
even the strict and chained rules give the pieces so much freedom of
movement as to make the game unplayable.

In at least one case, though, I agree that what you've done is
plausible. When it comes to the Panthan, while I would be inclined to
eliminate the diagonal backwards moves, I now realize that doing so
would assume an oversight on the part of ERB, while including them is
consistent with accepting that he meant what he said. Perhaps
elsewhere in Chessmen is information that would allow the remaining
ambiguities to be addressed as well.

John Savard


  
Date: 18 Jun 2008 16:25:12
From: Fredrik Ekman
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
Quadibloc <[email protected] > writes:

> For myself, I admit to being strongly tempted, but first I'm going to
> dig out my copy of "The Chessmen of Mars" and see if there _is_ any
> evidence present that might help in such a quest. I'm suspicious that
> even the strict and chained rules give the pieces so much freedom of
> movement as to make the game unplayable.

Actually, that is not the case. Only the Chief and Princess are
extremely powerful in terms of freedom of movement, and they are each
restricted by other rules. Compared with chess, most jetan pieces have
much less freedom of movement than, say, a Rook.

> In at least one case, though, I agree that what you've done is
> plausible.

The Panthan is actually the piece that I found was hardest to figure
out what ERB intended. In most cases, some careful reading of the
rules and of the game described in Chapter 17 of the book leaves
only one remaining possibility.

Fredrik


 
Date: 15 Jun 2008 15:37:35
From:
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 15, 6:11=A0pm, Quadibloc <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Jun 15, 3:15 pm, [email protected] wrote:
>
> > =A0 It would depend on whether you were going to play in the Manatorian
> > style, with live pieces that fight to the death to decide the outcome
> > of a capture move.
>
> Yes, you *would* need larger squares then, but I left that out of
> consideration.
>
> >reference is made to
> > everything from a small handheld travel set (in "Llana of Gathol," as
> > I recall)
>
> You recall correctly - "it would be a sacrilege to play at Jetan with
> the figure of a goddess" or words to that effect.

Ah, I remember that now. The Jetan pieces were carved in the
likenesses of various persons from the court of Helium, John Carter's
granddaughter Llana included. The young soldier with Carter had fallen
in love with her at first sight. Haven't read that book in at least 40
years. Glad to know of another Burroughs reader.

> > in fact in "The
> > Chessmen of Mars" he was a bit careless, giving two slightly different
> > versions of the rules, leaving many rule ambiguities unresolved,
> > =A0 There seems to be a small but active Jetan subculture experimenting
> > with various versions of the game, as allowed by the ambiguity of
> > Burroughs' specifications. For example, when Burroughs said that a
> > piece was to move 3 squares either straight or diagonally, did that
> > mean exactly three squares, no more, no less? Or 1, 2, or 3 squares as
> > the player wishes? And may diagonal and orthogonal moves be mixed in
> > one move, or may one move in one direction only?
>
> Just the move of the panthan - "any direction except backwards" -
> really? Like the Drunk Elephant in Shogi? Or is diagonally backwards
> also not allowed? is confusing enough.

Hence the modern distinctions between chained/unchained and wild/
civil Jetan rules.


 
Date: 15 Jun 2008 15:11:27
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 15, 3:15 pm, [email protected] wrote:

> It would depend on whether you were going to play in the Manatorian
> style, with live pieces that fight to the death to decide the outcome
> of a capture move.

Yes, you *would* need larger squares then, but I left that out of
consideration.

>reference is made to
> everything from a small handheld travel set (in "Llana of Gathol," as
> I recall)

You recall correctly - "it would be a sacrilege to play at Jetan with
the figure of a goddess" or words to that effect.

> in fact in "The
> Chessmen of Mars" he was a bit careless, giving two slightly different
> versions of the rules, leaving many rule ambiguities unresolved,

> There seems to be a small but active Jetan subculture experimenting
> with various versions of the game, as allowed by the ambiguity of
> Burroughs' specifications. For example, when Burroughs said that a
> piece was to move 3 squares either straight or diagonally, did that
> mean exactly three squares, no more, no less? Or 1, 2, or 3 squares as
> the player wishes? And may diagonal and orthogonal moves be mixed in
> one move, or may one move in one direction only?

Just the move of the panthan - "any direction except backwards" -
really? Like the Drunk Elephant in Shogi? Or is diagonally backwards
also not allowed? is confusing enough.

John Savard


 
Date: 15 Jun 2008 14:15:03
From:
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 15, 11:29=A0am, Quadibloc <[email protected] > wrote:
>
> Having found that the size of a tournament Chess board is about the
> same as that of a traditional Go board, and that the sizes of
> tournament Checkers boards are similar, but somewhat smaller, it has
> now occurred to me to examine the units of length given by Edgar Rice
> Burroughs in his Barsoom novels, so as to be able to specify, in the
> Barsoomian system of units, what might be a reasonable size for the
> squares of a board for tournament play of the Barsoomian form of
> Chess, known as Jetan.

It would depend on whether you were going to play in the Manatorian
style, with live pieces that fight to the death to decide the outcome
of a capture move.
I have read all the Barsoom novels, even made a Jetan set when I was
about 16, but I don't recall that Burroughs ever specified any sizes
for Jetan pieces or boards. In the novels, reference is made to
everything from a small handheld travel set (in "Llana of Gathol," as
I recall) to the huge boards, probably at least 100 feet on a side,
used in the arena at Manator ("The Chessmen of Mars"). Burroughs
probably did not care much about such details, and in fact in "The
Chessmen of Mars" he was a bit careless, giving two slightly different
versions of the rules, leaving many rule ambiguities unresolved, and
giving a very unclear account of the one game that is described in any
detail.
A couple of relevant links:

http://www.chesscafe.com/text/jetan.txt
http://www.geocities.com/jetantower/

There seems to be a small but active Jetan subculture experimenting
with various versions of the game, as allowed by the ambiguity of
Burroughs' specifications. For example, when Burroughs said that a
piece was to move 3 squares either straight or diagonally, did that
mean exactly three squares, no more, no less? Or 1, 2, or 3 squares as
the player wishes? And may diagonal and orthogonal moves be mixed in
one move, or may one move in one direction only?


  
Date: 17 Jun 2008 12:48:49
From: Fredrik Ekman
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
[email protected] writes:

> Burroughs
> probably did not care much about such details, and in fact in "The
> Chessmen of Mars" he was a bit careless, giving two slightly different
> versions of the rules, leaving many rule ambiguities unresolved, and
> giving a very unclear account of the one game that is described in any
> detail.

If you are interested in an attempt to resolve the ambiguities, then
I humbly recommend my own articles on the subject in ERB-APA #92 and
#94. Back issues are still available. Have a look here if interested:

http://www.geocities.com/erbapa/

> There seems to be a small but active Jetan subculture experimenting
> with various versions of the game, as allowed by the ambiguity of
> Burroughs' specifications.

Correct. On the Internet, this community is centered around the Yahoo!
group Jetan. Find it here:

http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/jetan/

If you are interested in Jetan, you should certainly consider joining.
We are a nice group, and not very high-volume. The only problem is that
the members have very diverse backgrounds and interests, so when can
just about never come to a consensus. But I guess that just makes the
conversations all the more interesting.

Fredrik


   
Date: 17 Jun 2008 11:57:49
From: John Savard
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On 17 Jun 2008 12:48:49 +0200, Fredrik Ekman <[email protected] >
wrote, in part:

>[email protected] writes:
>
>> Burroughs
>> probably did not care much about such details, and in fact in "The
>> Chessmen of Mars" he was a bit careless, giving two slightly different
>> versions of the rules, leaving many rule ambiguities unresolved, and
>> giving a very unclear account of the one game that is described in any
>> detail.
>
>If you are interested in an attempt to resolve the ambiguities, then
>I humbly recommend my own articles on the subject in ERB-APA #92 and
>#94. Back issues are still available. Have a look here if interested:
>
>http://www.geocities.com/erbapa/

Also, it might be noted that the issues involved are cited on

http://www.chessvariants.com/other.dir/jetanrules.html

John Savard
http://www.quadibloc.com/index.html


    
Date: 17 Jun 2008 19:58:23
From: Fredrik Ekman
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
[email protected] (John Savard) writes:

> >http://www.geocities.com/erbapa/
>
> Also, it might be noted that the issues involved are cited on
>
> http://www.chessvariants.com/other.dir/jetanrules.html

Huh? Did I miss something here? That page is by Larry Smith, and is
an edited version of his excellent web site. Nowhere does he appear
to cite my articles from ERB-APA #92 and #94, although I cite him
extensively. My articles complement Smith's site. I do what he chose
not to, namely try to establish just what Burroughs actually meant.
In #94 I suggest an edited and clarified set of rules for jetan.

Fredrik


 
Date: 15 Jun 2008 08:29:43
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Jun 14, 6:10 am, [email protected] (John Savard)
wrote:
> On Tue, 10 Jun 2008 11:38:51 -0700 (PDT), Quadibloc <[email protected]>
> wrote, in part:
>
> >My memory was right - green and buff for Checkers. Also, the pieces
> >need to be red and *white*, and the squares 2 inches in size, and the
> >pieces from 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
>
> >For Chess, the squares can be from 2 inches to 2 1/2 inches; as to the
> >size of the pieces, the guidelines are complicated, (3 3/8" to 4 1/2"
> >height for the King, and a base from 40% to 50% of that height) but
> >one manufacturer recommends the base of the King should be about 75%
> >of the size of the square for a good match.
>
> I have pursued my researches further, and found out what the Federation
> Mondiale du Jeu de Dames has as its tournament standards for
> International Checkers - their standards are, of course, metric - and
> the FIDE standards for chess, which call for somewhat smaller chess
> pieces than the USCF ones, although there is considerable overlap.
>
> The results of my researches are on the bottom of the page at
>
> http://www.quadibloc.com/other/cnv03.htm

Having found that the size of a tournament Chess board is about the
same as that of a traditional Go board, and that the sizes of
tournament Checkers boards are similar, but somewhat smaller, it has
now occurred to me to examine the units of length given by Edgar Rice
Burroughs in his Barsoom novels, so as to be able to specify, in the
Barsoomian system of units, what might be a reasonable size for the
squares of a board for tournament play of the Barsoomian form of
Chess, known as Jetan.

This is now added to the page the URL of which was given above.

John Savard


  
Date: 17 Jun 2008 12:41:46
From: Fredrik Ekman
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
Quadibloc <[email protected] > writes:

> [...] it has
> now occurred to me to examine the units of length given by Edgar Rice
> Burroughs in his Barsoom novels, so as to be able to specify, in the
> Barsoomian system of units, what might be a reasonable size for the
> squares of a board for tournament play of the Barsoomian form of
> Chess, known as Jetan.

I looked up the url you provided. I have not checked your conversions
(I assume that you did your maths correctly), but you quote Burroughs
incorrectly. The unit of measure that should be used here is "sofad,"
not "safad" (which does not exist, as far as I know).

Fredrik


   
Date: 17 Jun 2008 11:41:01
From: John Savard
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On 17 Jun 2008 12:41:46 +0200, Fredrik Ekman <[email protected] >
wrote, in part:

>I looked up the url you provided. I have not checked your conversions
>(I assume that you did your maths correctly), but you quote Burroughs
>incorrectly. The unit of measure that should be used here is "sofad,"
>not "safad" (which does not exist, as far as I know).

I do mention the sofad - about 11.69 inches. But one web site I've
visited claims that the safad is the "Martian inch", which might even
derive from John Carter and the Giant of Mars, and so I added that as a
unit equal to one-tenth of a sofad. This may not be accurate, it's true.

John Savard
http://www.quadibloc.com/index.html


    
Date: 17 Jun 2008 12:02:20
From: John Savard
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
On Tue, 17 Jun 2008 11:41:01 GMT, [email protected]
(John Savard) wrote, in part:

>On 17 Jun 2008 12:41:46 +0200, Fredrik Ekman <[email protected]>
>wrote, in part:
>
>>I looked up the url you provided. I have not checked your conversions
>>(I assume that you did your maths correctly), but you quote Burroughs
>>incorrectly. The unit of measure that should be used here is "sofad,"
>>not "safad" (which does not exist, as far as I know).
>
>I do mention the sofad - about 11.69 inches. But one web site I've
>visited claims that the safad is the "Martian inch", which might even
>derive from John Carter and the Giant of Mars,

Actually, the safad is defined as the "Martian inch" in the Martian
Glossary at the end of Thuvia, Maid of Mars.

John Savard
http://www.quadibloc.com/index.html


     
Date: 17 Jun 2008 19:50:47
From: Fredrik Ekman
Subject: Re: Specifications for Regulation Tournament Jetan Boards
[email protected] (John Savard) writes:

> Actually, the safad is defined as the "Martian inch" in the Martian
> Glossary at the end of Thuvia, Maid of Mars.

Oh, so that was your source. Actually, that glossary is so full of errors
that it is just a Martian inch short of being ridiculous. You will notice
that there is no "sofad" in the dictionary, even though sofad has been
mentioned previously in the series, while safad has not (and is not in
the rest of the series, either). My guess is that "safad" is just a typo
for "sofad", just as "od" in the same glossary must be a typo for "ad".
Several similar errors in the glossary beg the assumption that some
typist could not read Burroughs' handwritten notes.

In a later book (Llana of Gathol, IIRC), Burroughs mentions that one
tenth of the sofad is one sof. So there is your Martian inch proper.

Fredrik


 
Date: 14 Jun 2008 19:09:49
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 14, 6:36 pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected] > wrote:

> As I pointed out earlier in this thread, you *can* get 10x10 boards
> from several sources in Quebec. We won't however start the debate on
> whether Quebec is properly part of Canada :)

Oh, I missed that. I would have expected to find 12 by 12 boards in
Quebec, along with 8 by 8 boards. They've been pretty isolated from
France for a long time.

John Savard



 
Date: 14 Jun 2008 17:36:22
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 14, 6:00 pm, Quadibloc <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Jun 14, 2:25 pm, David Richerby <[email protected]>
> wrote:
>
> > Rich Hutnik <[email protected]> wrote:
> > > ... because 10x10 boards are not readily available in North
> > > America...
> > Last time I looked, Canada was in North America.
>
> And 10 by 10 boards aren't available readily there (here) either,
> since we play our Checkers the same 8 by 8 way they Draughts in the
> mother country. But I don't know about Mexico.

As I pointed out earlier in this thread, you *can* get 10x10 boards
from several sources in Quebec. We won't however start the debate on
whether Quebec is properly part of Canada :)


  
Date: 09 Jul 2008 11:04:45
From: Chris Mattern
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On 2008-06-15, [email protected] <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Jun 14, 6:00 pm, Quadibloc <[email protected]> wrote:
>> On Jun 14, 2:25 pm, David Richerby <[email protected]>
>> wrote:
>>
>> > Rich Hutnik <[email protected]> wrote:
>> > > ... because 10x10 boards are not readily available in North
>> > > America...
>> > Last time I looked, Canada was in North America.
>>
>> And 10 by 10 boards aren't available readily there (here) either,
>> since we play our Checkers the same 8 by 8 way they Draughts in the
>> mother country. But I don't know about Mexico.
>
> As I pointed out earlier in this thread, you *can* get 10x10 boards
> from several sources in Quebec. We won't however start the debate on
> whether Quebec is properly part of Canada :)

I suspect that even the most rabid Quebecois would still be willing
to grant that they are part of North America, however.


--
Christopher Mattern

NOTICE
Thank you for noticing this new notice
Your noticing it has been noted
And will be reported to the authorities


 
Date: 14 Jun 2008 17:14:47
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 14, 1:58=A0pm, Rich Hutnik <[email protected] > wrote:

> In order to get a regulation ACF checker set, you have to order from
> their store directly. =A0There is a more than favorable chance that such
> equipment will be available elsewhere pretty soon.
>
> I have had conversations with them, and the barriers to get them
> spread is fairly large. =A0This is the basis upon which I have spoken in
> this thread.

Aside from the fact that given the sheer pain of the three-move
restriction - and image problems of Checkers in comparison to Chess -
has limited *serious* interest in Checkers to a level far below that
which exists in Chess, there is another problem.

Their *regulations* are verging on the silly, which leads stores to
expect low demand for sets that meet them.

They require a board with exactly 2 inch squares. This is at the low
end for tournament chess boards; if they instead allowed the same
flexibility that the USCF and FIDE allow for tournament chess boards,
it would be easier to make combination chess and checkers sets.

Green and buff are a good color for the squares on the board; Chess
players would have no quarrel with that.

But white and red checkers, I feel, are not a good choice. Checkers is
played on the green squares. Red doesn't contrast well with green - if
you're color-blind. And because the red checkers are the *light*
checkers in a conventional set of red and black checkers, people will
be confused about which checkers in the regulation set correspond to
which checkers in a conventional set.

White and blue? Yellow and black? White and a light green shade that
still contrasts well with the green squares? Chess players seem to
think that white and black pieces don't lead to eyestrain, but then it
is true that it can be hard to tell if a black checker is turned King
side up.

But maybe white and red was the best choice, and people can get used
to it.

John Savard


 
Date: 14 Jun 2008 17:00:51
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 14, 2:25=A0pm, David Richerby <[email protected] >
wrote:
> Rich Hutnik <[email protected]> wrote:

> > ... because 10x10 boards are not readily available in North
> > America...

> Last time I looked, Canada was in North America.

And 10 by 10 boards aren't available readily there (here) either,
since we play our Checkers the same 8 by 8 way they Draughts in the
mother country. But I don't know about Mexico.

John Savard


 
Date: 14 Jun 2008 13:06:10
From: Rich Hutnik
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 9, 1:27 pm, ChessVariant Inventor <ChessVariant.Inventor.
[email protected] > wrote:
> 'Rich Hutnik[_2_ Wrote:
>
> > ;271014']
> > I also believe you need a bridge between the chess world and the
> > variant world. I will post my thoughts here on this. if it merits
> > such.
>
> > - Rich
>
> I think this *bridge* should be a -*recognizable GM*- who picks a few
> variants of his /her liking and promotes them by playing other GMs.
> If this were to happen, the chessvariant community would greatly
> benefit now understanding what a high level chess player is looking for
> in a chess variant.
>
> For example if Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik or Kasparov were to play
> Herculean Chess:http://chess.computerwebservices.net/herculean.php
>
> It would be a major breakthrough. This should however not be a
> particular Gm simply endorsing a chess variant just to make money - it
> should be an honest evaluation.
>
> There is no way, though that a larger board variant or one with new
> pieces will EVER catch on with regular players simply because this
> makes the game much harder to play. Any game with new pieces is
> "harder" to play and there is zero motivation to do so.
> Changing the rules is even more unpleasant for chess players. e.g use
> of cards to choose openings/balloting etc

Seirawan is pushing his own chess at his point. It is a proprietary
game actually, that is his and Harper's. You can go to House of
Staunton to get your own pieces for the game. I say proprietary,
because they want to completely lock everything down. I think there
is a lot of promise, but it could deadend.

Hey, if people want a simplier chess variant, there is always Near
Chess, and other new formation chess games.

- Rich


 
Date: 14 Jun 2008 12:58:29
From: Rich Hutnik
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 10, 12:14 pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected] >
wrote:
> > I have learned from this thread:
> > there are people in the US who want to buy 10x10 checkers boards
> > they don't know how, or are unwilling, to find a supplier outside the
> > US
> > such boards can be manufactured in the US, for little effort
>
> > This suggests a business opportunity.
>
> Unfortunately it may be a very small market. Even 8x8 checkerboards
> that meet American Checker Federation specifications are uncommon
> enoug, though not quite impossible to find.

In order to get a regulation ACF checker set, you have to order from
their store directly. There is a more than favorable chance that such
equipment will be available elsewhere pretty soon.

I have had conversations with them, and the barriers to get them
spread is fairly large. This is the basis upon which I have spoken in
this thread.

- Rich


 
Date: 14 Jun 2008 12:54:38
From: Rich Hutnik
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 10, 3:50 am, Peter Clinch <[email protected] > wrote:
> Rich Hutnik wrote:
> > On Jun 9, 6:18 pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected]> wrote:
> >>> At least in the United States, you can't find them anywhere. They
> >>> aren't even online here.
> >> L'ssociation qu=E9b=E9coise des joueurs de dames in Canada advertises
> >> 10x10 and 12x12 boards, so at least there is a North American Source.
> >> See
>
> >>http://www.fqjr.qc.ca/dames/materiel.html
>
> >> Completely in French, though I suppose you can do a Google traduction.
>
> > Ok, Canada, in French :-) How about the United States in English?
>
> So "anywhere" actually means "anywhere in my own back yard"?
>
> If it's something you want and are looking for, is that really too big a
> step?


"Anywhere" means "anywhere in the average Joe's background". People
need to think a bit differently here. Not just what they can do for
themselves, but how it is available for others who may be new. What I
was saying is that, because 10x10 boards are not readily available in
North America, and likely everywhere, you have a hard time getting any
game that uses a 10x10 board adopted.

I can make my own for personal use if I needed to. Don't expect
others to do the same though.

- Rich


  
Date: 14 Jun 2008 21:25:05
From: David Richerby
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
Rich Hutnik <[email protected] > wrote:
> ... because 10x10 boards are not readily available in North
> America...

Last time I looked, Canada was in North America.


Dave.

--
David Richerby Lead Puzzle (TM): it's like an
www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~davidr/ intriguing conundrum that weighs
a ton!


 
Date: 12 Jun 2008 07:22:54
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
> Yes, bits matter. But there is a /huge/ gulf between pen and paper and
> something on board that someone has taken a bit of care over draughting,
> plus the actual pieces on the board would be your standard checkers.

A relatively easy way to make an attractive board (or at least a quite
acceptable one), without needing a lot of crafting ability, is to buy
small ceramic tiles and glue them to a wooden backing (plywood sanded
on one side for instance).


 
Date: 11 Jun 2008 13:15:55
From: Harald Korneliussen
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 11, 9:51=A0am, Peter Clinch <[email protected] > wrote:
> Harald Korneliussen wrote:
> > But I think I really just want to get a board and some pieces, play
> > some games with my friends, and see if this is something worth going
> > further with first.
>
> If it's just you and your friends then all you need is a piece of board,
> a rule (preferably a square, so the squares are, errrr, square) and a
> magic marker.

As I said, I've got to convince them to try first, and that should be
_much_ easier on the board I have ordered from the Royal Dutch
Draughts Federation...

There was a Hex tournament on a local boardgame convention nearby some
years ago. They played on pen and paper. Although it had a lot of
participants, they haven't held it since. Bits matter.


  
Date: 12 Jun 2008 08:33:17
From: Peter Clinch
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
Harald Korneliussen wrote:

> As I said, I've got to convince them to try first, and that should be
> _much_ easier on the board I have ordered from the Royal Dutch
> Draughts Federation...
>
> There was a Hex tournament on a local boardgame convention nearby some
> years ago. They played on pen and paper. Although it had a lot of
> participants, they haven't held it since. Bits matter.

Yes, bits matter. But there is a /huge/ gulf between pen and paper and
something on board that someone has taken a bit of care over draughting,
plus the actual pieces on the board would be your standard checkers.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/


 
Date: 11 Jun 2008 10:34:25
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 11, 1:58=A0am, Peter Clinch <[email protected] > wrote:

> But why do you need to worry about what the American Checker Federation
> thinks, unless you're playing their game in one of their tournaments?

You're right, but again, this wasn't really the point.

His point was that even though the English form of checkers is a
popular game, and so sets are readily available in the United States,
it isn't popular _enough_ so that sets which conform to the official
recommended form are available. You can - in games specialty stores -
manage to find chess sets that qualify for UCSF tournament standards,
but that's partly because their standards for the boards, at least,
are less restrictive.

And so this was part of a complaint about the variety of game
equipment available: not only are 10 by 10 boards for Continental
Checkers not available, even a "proper" board for regular checkers is
not. (But I found a "Bucket of Games" chess set with red and yellow
pieces from Pressman in a dollar store lately, so now I have real
pieces for four-player chess!)

Now, I remember that a few years ago, a Canadian firm - AMAV might
have been its name - produced a "500 Game" set where several 8 1/2"
pieces of cardboard included boards for a *lot* of traditional games,
even The Game of Goose; it was very inexpensively made, but it was an
attempt to 'top' the other multi-game sets on the market. So if one's
standards of real equipment are generous enough, it was tried...

John Savard


 
Date: 11 Jun 2008 07:10:47
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism

> > Unfortunately it may be a very small market. Even 8x8 checkerboards
> > that meet American Checker Federation specifications are uncommon
> > enoug, though not quite impossible to find.
>
> Then it'll be pin money rather than a business in its own right. Still
> means more beer...

Then it is clearly worth doing :)


 
Date: 11 Jun 2008 07:10:08
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism

> But why do you need to worry about what the American Checker Federation
> thinks, unless you're playing their game in one of their tournaments?

Of course, you don't need to worry about it at all. People play
checkers with the very common red and black boards with red and black
plastic pieces, and enjoy the game without further effort.

The ACF specs, though, call for a board and pieces that is very
pleasant to use, with appealing color combinations that are easy on
the eyes. The more common black plastic pieces on black squares can
be hard to see (maybe that's an advantage at times?) and I find the
red/black on red/black color combination harsh.

But yes, the game is the same, and I will play as poorly with one set
as I would with the other, I suppose.

I do feel that with chess sets it can make a larger difference. Some
chess sets are unpleasant to use, and some of the more outre designs
cause confusion. (Is that a Bishop? Or what is it anyhow?) I have a
large metal chess set which I like as an aesthetic ensemble (the king
weighs 18 ounces, I think, and doubles as a weapon) but it is not
especially useful for play, as under most lighting the black and white
pieces don't have nearly enough color contrast and it is too easy to
mistake a white piece for a black. The tournament specs however call
for boards and pieces that are generally easy to use and practical.
(Although there are exceptions! Once I played in an outdoor
tournament in Hawai`i, and sets which were "single weight" but still
up to tournament specs were literally blowing in the wind.)


  
Date: 11 Jun 2008 16:15:56
From: Peter Clinch
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
[email protected] wrote:

> I do feel that with chess sets it can make a larger difference. Some
> chess sets are unpleasant to use, and some of the more outre designs
> cause confusion. (Is that a Bishop? Or what is it anyhow?)

In the case of a game I lost to my nephew, "it" was something to do with
the Trade federation/Sith forces from "Attack of the Clones".
Apparently it moved like a bishop, and I thought it was a knight,
resulting in me losing, errrrrr, something quite valuable.

If you can't win by playing better, confuse the opponent! ;-)

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/


 
Date: 11 Jun 2008 06:18:15
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 11, 1:58 am, Peter Clinch <[email protected] > wrote:

> So that means I don't play Chess when I use my rather smaller bone
> pieces, often on a smaller board?

You are, at the least, playing a game isomorphic to Chess! This would
be true even if both players had their Kings and Queens reversed...

That wasn't my point at all, though. It was just interesting that only
the smallest allowed tournament chess board would also be a valid
checkerboard for tournament purposes. And I wanted to exhibit the spec
(for checkers) since it had been mentioned so much in the thread.

John Savard


 
Date: 10 Jun 2008 18:21:07
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
As a final follow-up in this thread, for those who read French, I do
recommend Jean Bernard Alemanni's book "Les jeux de dames dans le
monde" which is a wonderful and very well done overview of the
varieties of checkers and draughts played around the world. Mr.
Alemanni has uncovered a most surprising number of interesting
variants, many of which were quite new to me.



 
Date: 10 Jun 2008 18:16:21
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 10, 4:35 pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected] > wrote:

> Checkers / draughts is fragmented, and the
> same thing is not true.

It's not too bad, though; it's pretty much the English-speaking world
against everywhere else... as usual.

John Savard


 
Date: 10 Jun 2008 15:35:58
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
> One of the most appealing things about checkers is that it is a game
> with a community, and a history. Regular international tournaments,
> official titles, newspaper columns, etc.

What you say is true of international draughts, and was once true of
8x8 Anglo-American checkers. Today, there is a small organized
checker community, a few tournaments, and little being published (my
weekly internet column is actually one of the few example, along with
some monthly association newsletters). The checkers era really ended
with the coming of television in the early 1950s.

But to return to the topic of this group: a big advantage for chess is
that you can go virtually anywhere and play. The rules are the same.
It is truly international. Checkers / draughts is fragmented, and the
same thing is not true. What you play in the U.K. will not be what
you play in France, and likely not what you play in Montreal, though
it *is* likely to be what you might play in Winnipeg. Even in the
U.S. you might play "straight" or you might play "pool" checkers
depending on the locale. In Italy it's different again ... and on and
on.


  
Date: 09 Jul 2008 10:57:29
From: Chris Mattern
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On 2008-06-10, [email protected] <[email protected] > wrote:
>
> But to return to the topic of this group: a big advantage for chess is
> that you can go virtually anywhere and play. The rules are the same.
> It is truly international. Checkers / draughts is fragmented, and the
> same thing is not true. What you play in the U.K. will not be what
> you play in France, and likely not what you play in Montreal, though
> it *is* likely to be what you might play in Winnipeg. Even in the
> U.S. you might play "straight" or you might play "pool" checkers
> depending on the locale. In Italy it's different again ... and on and
> on.

Indeed, imagine what it would be like if you found they played a different
chess in Japan, another different chess in China, and yet again another
in Korea...


--
Christopher Mattern

NOTICE
Thank you for noticing this new notice
Your noticing it has been noted
And will be reported to the authorities


 
Date: 10 Jun 2008 13:17:53
From: Harald Korneliussen
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 10, 2:20=A0pm, Peter Clinch <[email protected] > wrote:
> Harald Korneliussen wrote:
> > It isn't just the boards. Strategy books are also almost completely
> > unavailable in English (or any non Russian/Dutch/French language).
>
> Personally I like to learn about games by playing them, but I do realise
> there's plenty of folk like to read up on how to do better so fair comment=
.

One of the most appealing things about checkers is that it is a game
with a community, and a history. Regular international tournaments,
official titles, newspaper columns, etc. Because of this, I think it
may be possible to convince people that it's a "real" and "serious"
game. Most people aren't willing to take a game to any non-superficial
level unless they know such a community exists.

Sure, I like games where no one really knows what expert play looks
like, and you've got to figure out everything on your own. But most
people aren't like that. Since I'm not afraid of a little book
learning, I play these games so as to not be so lonely :-)

> This suggests to me that in this day and age anyone close to a large town =
in a developed country should be able to do something similar if they really=
want to.

Don't get me wrong. I don't know much about International Draughts
yet, but if I really want to, I'm sure I can contact the Dutch
embassy, the Norwegian-Singalese friendship committe, the Senegalese
boys I met at a summer camp 8 years ago, all the local boardgaming
clubs, the newspapers, the "strange people around the country" TV show
(with myself as the exhibit), get two dozen 10x10 boards made, order
clocks, translate introductory materials, and get Oslo's first
International Draughts club rolling. That is if I _really_ want to.
It's still not rocket science.

But I think I really just want to get a board and some pieces, play
some games with my friends, and see if this is something worth going
further with first.


  
Date: 11 Jun 2008 08:51:24
From: Peter Clinch
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
Harald Korneliussen wrote:

> But I think I really just want to get a board and some pieces, play
> some games with my friends, and see if this is something worth going
> further with first.

If it's just you and your friends then all you need is a piece of board,
a rule (preferably a square, so the squares are, errrr, square) and a
magic marker. You'll have the pieces.

Total investment, half an hour of your time and maybe as much as a
couple of dollars, then if you decide it's worth going further then you
can think about a "proper" board.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/


 
Date: 10 Jun 2008 11:38:51
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 10, 12:28=A0pm, Quadibloc <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Jun 10, 10:14=A0am, "[email protected]" <[email protected]>
> wrote:
>
> > Unfortunately it may be a very small market. =A0Even 8x8 checkerboards
> > that meet American Checker Federation specifications are uncommon
> > enoug, though not quite impossible to find.
>
> Rich Hutnik raised this point before - basically, just as Fischer
> preferred a white and dark-green chessboard, similarly, the official
> colors for a checkerboard are now buff and dark green, or something
> like that, to minimize eyestrain - not the traditional red and black,
> which tends to maximize eyestrain.
>
> The checkerboard that came with the Transogram 52 Game Treasure Chest,
> though red and black, at least had the numbers from 1 through 32 on
> the black squares!

My memory was right - green and buff for Checkers. Also, the pieces
need to be red and *white*, and the squares 2 inches in size, and the
pieces from 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

For Chess, the squares can be from 2 inches to 2 1/2 inches; as to the
size of the pieces, the guidelines are complicated, (3 3/8" to 4 1/2"
height for the King, and a base from 40% to 50% of that height) but
one manufacturer recommends the base of the King should be about 75%
of the size of the square for a good match.

John Savard


  
Date: 14 Jun 2008 12:10:56
From: John Savard
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Tue, 10 Jun 2008 11:38:51 -0700 (PDT), Quadibloc <[email protected] >
wrote, in part:

>My memory was right - green and buff for Checkers. Also, the pieces
>need to be red and *white*, and the squares 2 inches in size, and the
>pieces from 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
>
>For Chess, the squares can be from 2 inches to 2 1/2 inches; as to the
>size of the pieces, the guidelines are complicated, (3 3/8" to 4 1/2"
>height for the King, and a base from 40% to 50% of that height) but
>one manufacturer recommends the base of the King should be about 75%
>of the size of the square for a good match.

I have pursued my researches further, and found out what the Federation
Mondiale du Jeu de Dames has as its tournament standards for
International Checkers - their standards are, of course, metric - and
the FIDE standards for chess, which call for somewhat smaller chess
pieces than the USCF ones, although there is considerable overlap.

The results of my researches are on the bottom of the page at

http://www.quadibloc.com/other/cnv03.htm

John Savard
http://www.quadibloc.com/index.html


  
Date: 11 Jun 2008 08:58:54
From: Peter Clinch
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
Quadibloc wrote:
> On Jun 10, 12:28 pm, Quadibloc <[email protected]> wrote:
>> On Jun 10, 10:14 am, "[email protected]" <[email protected]>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Unfortunately it may be a very small market. Even 8x8 checkerboards
>>> that meet American Checker Federation specifications are uncommon
>>> enoug, though not quite impossible to find.
>> Rich Hutnik raised this point before - basically, just as Fischer
>> preferred a white and dark-green chessboard, similarly, the official
>> colors for a checkerboard are now buff and dark green, or something
>> like that, to minimize eyestrain - not the traditional red and black,
>> which tends to maximize eyestrain.
>>
>> The checkerboard that came with the Transogram 52 Game Treasure Chest,
>> though red and black, at least had the numbers from 1 through 32 on
>> the black squares!
>
> My memory was right - green and buff for Checkers. Also, the pieces
> need to be red and *white*, and the squares 2 inches in size, and the
> pieces from 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

But why do you need to worry about what the American Checker Federation
thinks, unless you're playing their game in one of their tournaments?
It's like saying it's impossible to play Bridge if the cards aren't
exactly X by Y inches with approved court illustrations...

I play checkers on one of my chess boards, that don't conform to the
above but it's still the same game.

> For Chess, the squares can be from 2 inches to 2 1/2 inches; as to the
> size of the pieces, the guidelines are complicated, (3 3/8" to 4 1/2"
> height for the King, and a base from 40% to 50% of that height) but
> one manufacturer recommends the base of the King should be about 75%
> of the size of the square for a good match.

So that means I don't play Chess when I use my rather smaller bone
pieces, often on a smaller board? It just means my set wouldn't get
used in a formal tournament.

This thread is increasingly convincing me that people are going out of
their way to find obstacles to playing games. One of the really great
things about games is they're /just games/, and it doesn't matter if the
squares are a micron under size and the pieces 1% off the correct colour
hue. You can still play them.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/


 
Date: 10 Jun 2008 11:28:42
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 10, 10:14=A0am, "[email protected]" <[email protected] >
wrote:

> Unfortunately it may be a very small market. =A0Even 8x8 checkerboards
> that meet American Checker Federation specifications are uncommon
> enoug, though not quite impossible to find.

Rich Hutnik raised this point before - basically, just as Fischer
preferred a white and dark-green chessboard, similarly, the official
colors for a checkerboard are now buff and dark green, or something
like that, to minimize eyestrain - not the traditional red and black,
which tends to maximize eyestrain.

The checkerboard that came with the Transogram 52 Game Treasure Chest,
though red and black, at least had the numbers from 1 through 32 on
the black squares!

John Savard


 
Date: 10 Jun 2008 09:25:38
From: zdrakec
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism

> Since "nice" Go boards are expensive a pal of mine looked into creating
> some for our club via local laser cutting and etching services,
> available via the Yellow Pages. =A0He got some fairly respectable ones
> made up at a much lower cost than commercial equivalents. =A0This suggests=

> to me that in this day and age anyone close to a large town in a
> developed country should be able to do something similar if they really
> want to. =A0It remains the case that we're not in the realm of
> unobtainable rocket science.
>
> Pete.

Smart! Very smart!


 
Date: 10 Jun 2008 09:14:46
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism

>
> I have learned from this thread:
> there are people in the US who want to buy 10x10 checkers boards
> they don't know how, or are unwilling, to find a supplier outside the
> US
> such boards can be manufactured in the US, for little effort
>
> This suggests a business opportunity.

Unfortunately it may be a very small market. Even 8x8 checkerboards
that meet American Checker Federation specifications are uncommon
enoug, though not quite impossible to find.


  
Date: 11 Jun 2008 09:00:31
From: Peter Clinch
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
[email protected] wrote:
>> I have learned from this thread:
>> there are people in the US who want to buy 10x10 checkers boards
>> they don't know how, or are unwilling, to find a supplier outside the
>> US
>> such boards can be manufactured in the US, for little effort
>>
>> This suggests a business opportunity.
>
> Unfortunately it may be a very small market. Even 8x8 checkerboards
> that meet American Checker Federation specifications are uncommon
> enoug, though not quite impossible to find.

Then it'll be pin money rather than a business in its own right. Still
means more beer...

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/


 
Date: 10 Jun 2008 15:25:34
From: Nick Wedd
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
In message <[email protected] >, Peter Clinch
<[email protected] > writes
>Harald Korneliussen wrote:
>
>> It isn't just the boards. Strategy books are also almost completely
>> unavailable in English (or any non Russian/Dutch/French language).
>
>Personally I like to learn about games by playing them, but I do realise
>there's plenty of folk like to read up on how to do better so fair comment.
>
>> Improvised boards are not good enough. They might be good enough for
>> me, but I'm just one person, and one person can't play a game on his
>> own. I need to convince people to try, and for that, the visual appeal
>> of a "real" board is essential.
>
>Since "nice" Go boards are expensive a pal of mine looked into creating
>some for our club via local laser cutting and etching services,
>available via the Yellow Pages. He got some fairly respectable ones
>made up at a much lower cost than commercial equivalents. This suggests
>to me that in this day and age anyone close to a large town in a
>developed country should be able to do something similar if they really
>want to. It remains the case that we're not in the realm of
>unobtainable rocket science.

I have learned from this thread:
there are people in the US who want to buy 10x10 checkers boards
they don't know how, or are unwilling, to find a supplier outside the
US
such boards can be manufactured in the US, for little effort

This suggests a business opportunity. If I lived in the US, I might act
myself.

Nick
--
Nick Wedd [email protected]


 
Date: 10 Jun 2008 06:58:44
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 9, 8:47 pm, Rich Hutnik <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Jun 9, 6:18 pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > > At least in the United States, you can't find them anywhere. They
> > > aren't even online here.
>
> > L'ssociation qu=E9b=E9coise des joueurs de dames in Canada advertises
> > 10x10 and 12x12 boards, so at least there is a North American Source.
> > See
>
> >http://www.fqjr.qc.ca/dames/materiel.html
>
> > Completely in French, though I suppose you can do a Google traduction.
>
> Ok, Canada, in French :-) How about the United States in English?

I have yet to discover such a source for a 10x10 board, though of
course one can't immediately conclude that it doesn't exist.


 
Date: 10 Jun 2008 05:34:58
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 10, 6:20 am, David Richerby <[email protected] >
wrote:

> It's not exceptional but it's not cheap and import duty is not your
> friend. (Though possibly neither of these objections applies to the
> specific example at hand, shipping from Canada to the USA.)

Canadians purchasing goods from abroad are usually charged a $5.00
service fee from the post office for collecting GST (the national
sales tax, which works like VAT rather than a strict end-sale sales
tax, as the provinces collect). This despite our free-trade agreement
with the Americans.

John Savard


 
Date: 10 Jun 2008 04:58:05
From: Harald Korneliussen
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 10, 12:53=A0pm, Peter Clinch <[email protected] > wrote:

> We're not the realm of having to hand-carve the pieces or anything like
> that, it looks more like excuses being found to shelve the idea.
>

So you're good at searching, and you knew where to look. Well, I found
out too, eventually, but the BGG forums are evidence that most people
aren't that good at searching. There are some abstract fans in my
local game store, I asked them about 10x10 draughts, they said that
they had tried to find them but failed. So yes, it is an issue.

It isn't just the boards. Strategy books are also almost completely
unavailable in English (or any non Russian/Dutch/French language). I
suppose you could use Google translate on the French federation's
pages like I do, but considering that GT translates "jeu de dames" as
"M=FChlenspiel" - you get the idea, it takes a good deal of decryption
when the translator has practically nothing of the technical
vocabulary.

Improvised boards are not good enough. They might be good enough for
me, but I'm just one person, and one person can't play a game on his
own. I need to convince people to try, and for that, the visual appeal
of a "real" board is essential. Few people enjoy games purely for
their abstract qualities. Not even I can say that I do that. Hex on a
square grid, for example? It works, but it's just not the same. Solid
bits =3D serious game.

But thanks for the game shop link. now I can compare prices, and see
how nice a set I can get while remaining below the tariff limits!


  
Date: 10 Jun 2008 13:20:13
From: Peter Clinch
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
Harald Korneliussen wrote:

> It isn't just the boards. Strategy books are also almost completely
> unavailable in English (or any non Russian/Dutch/French language).

Personally I like to learn about games by playing them, but I do realise
there's plenty of folk like to read up on how to do better so fair comment.

> Improvised boards are not good enough. They might be good enough for
> me, but I'm just one person, and one person can't play a game on his
> own. I need to convince people to try, and for that, the visual appeal
> of a "real" board is essential.

Since "nice" Go boards are expensive a pal of mine looked into creating
some for our club via local laser cutting and etching services,
available via the Yellow Pages. He got some fairly respectable ones
made up at a much lower cost than commercial equivalents. This suggests
to me that in this day and age anyone close to a large town in a
developed country should be able to do something similar if they really
want to. It remains the case that we're not in the realm of
unobtainable rocket science.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/


 
Date: 10 Jun 2008 02:57:57
From: Harald Korneliussen
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 10, 11:18=A0am, Peter Clinch <[email protected] > wrote:
> Quadibloc wrote:
>
> > In this case, his concern isn't primarily with finding a board and
> > checkers for himself for the game itself, but rather with how
> > generally and easily available equipment for alternate forms of Chess
> > and Checkers are, so that their popularity might increase.
>
> Fair enough, but I don't think in this day and age the fact that you're
> mail ordering from Quebec, Canada or somewhere in NL or wherever is
> actually a major barrier compared to ordering from some bit of the US
> you don't live in. =A0International shipping really isn't that exceptional=

> any more.

Right, but the language barrier is significant. I searched the net a
long time for 10x10 boards, and on boardgamegeek forums you also see
several other people asking for it. Right now, I suspect most people
who don't speak French, Dutch or Russian will never find a board
online, even if they go looking for it.

I suppose this really means that the International Draughts community,
despite the name of the game, make very little effort to market the
game outside their individual countries.


  
Date: 10 Jun 2008 11:53:02
From: Peter Clinch
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
Harald Korneliussen wrote:

> Right, but the language barrier is significant. I searched the net a
> long time for 10x10 boards, and on boardgamegeek forums you also see
> several other people asking for it. Right now, I suspect most people
> who don't speak French, Dutch or Russian will never find a board
> online, even if they go looking for it.

Stock joke comparing the Dutch to the British: they're taller than us,
and their English is better... All you really have to do is ask.

How do you find a game store? Well, I put aside my limited knowledge of
practical Dutch and Googled for holland games shop and that led me to a
couple of useful looking places on the first page, especially
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/15712 which is a list of Dutch
game shops. Even with no Dutch it shouldn't be too hard to find email
addresses on the sites suggested to ask about a 10 x 10 board in English
(I have some rudimentary Dutch, and soon found a selection of 10x10
boards at http://www.moenen-en-mariken.nl/producten/ with prices as low
as €6.95 before shipping).

In other words, the practical barriers to a 10x10 board are not being
bothered to spend more than a brief time period armed with a web
browser. It may be as much as an hour to find one... just how
interesting is it as a game if you can't spend that sort of time? Just
how interesting is it as a game if you can't get some board and a magic
marker and make up your own? (I have a perfectly serviceable Go
half-board that took the back of a wooden chess board, though a bread
board would have been fine, a carpenter's square and rule and a magic
marker and a bit of time and care to make).

We're not the realm of having to hand-carve the pieces or anything like
that, it looks more like excuses being found to shelve the idea.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/


 
Date: 10 Jun 2008 02:11:22
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 10, 1:50 am, Peter Clinch <[email protected] > wrote:

> So "anywhere" actually means "anywhere in my own back yard"?
>
> If it's something you want and are looking for, is that really too big a
> step?

In this case, his concern isn't primarily with finding a board and
checkers for himself for the game itself, but rather with how
generally and easily available equipment for alternate forms of Chess
and Checkers are, so that their popularity might increase.

So it's not actually a question of laziness on his part. I remember
checking around here in Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada, and even a store
which sold French-language books and a few other miscellaneous items
to the French community here didn't bother with a board for Canadian
Checkers, so apparently the interest in that game is limited even
among French-speaking Canadians. (Not living in Quebec, I don't know
if the 10 by 10 game is the usual one there, but I suspect not.)

John Savard


  
Date: 10 Jun 2008 10:18:41
From: Peter Clinch
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
Quadibloc wrote:
>
> In this case, his concern isn't primarily with finding a board and
> checkers for himself for the game itself, but rather with how
> generally and easily available equipment for alternate forms of Chess
> and Checkers are, so that their popularity might increase.

Fair enough, but I don't think in this day and age the fact that you're
mail ordering from Quebec, Canada or somewhere in NL or wherever is
actually a major barrier compared to ordering from some bit of the US
you don't live in. International shipping really isn't that exceptional
any more.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/


   
Date: 10 Jun 2008 13:20:54
From: David Richerby
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
Peter Clinch <[email protected] > wrote:
> I don't think in this day and age the fact that you're mail ordering
> from Quebec, Canada or somewhere in NL or wherever is actually a
> major barrier compared to ordering from some bit of the US you don't
> live in. International shipping really isn't that exceptional any
> more.

It's not exceptional but it's not cheap and import duty is not your
friend. (Though possibly neither of these objections applies to the
specific example at hand, shipping from Canada to the USA.)


Dave.

--
David Richerby Miniature Strange Atlas (TM): it's
www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~davidr/ like a map of the world but it's
totally weird and you can hold in it
your hand!


 
Date: 09 Jun 2008 19:47:31
From: Rich Hutnik
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 9, 6:18 pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected] > wrote:
> > At least in the United States, you can't find them anywhere. They
> > aren't even online here.
>
> L'ssociation qu=E9b=E9coise des joueurs de dames in Canada advertises
> 10x10 and 12x12 boards, so at least there is a North American Source.
> See
>
> http://www.fqjr.qc.ca/dames/materiel.html
>
> Completely in French, though I suppose you can do a Google traduction.

Ok, Canada, in French :-) How about the United States in English?

- Rich


  
Date: 10 Jun 2008 08:50:36
From: Peter Clinch
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
Rich Hutnik wrote:
> On Jun 9, 6:18 pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected]> wrote:
>>> At least in the United States, you can't find them anywhere. They
>>> aren't even online here.
>> L'ssociation québécoise des joueurs de dames in Canada advertises
>> 10x10 and 12x12 boards, so at least there is a North American Source.
>> See
>>
>> http://www.fqjr.qc.ca/dames/materiel.html
>>
>> Completely in French, though I suppose you can do a Google traduction.
>
> Ok, Canada, in French :-) How about the United States in English?

So "anywhere" actually means "anywhere in my own back yard"?

If it's something you want and are looking for, is that really too big a
step?

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/


 
Date: 09 Jun 2008 15:18:08
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism

> At least in the United States, you can't find them anywhere. They
> aren't even online here.

L'ssociation qu=E9b=E9coise des joueurs de dames in Canada advertises
10x10 and 12x12 boards, so at least there is a North American Source.
See

http://www.fqjr.qc.ca/dames/materiel.html

Completely in French, though I suppose you can do a Google traduction.


 
Date: 09 Jun 2008 12:03:37
From: Rich Hutnik
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 9, 3:28 am, Peter Clinch <[email protected] > wrote:
> Rich Hutnik wrote:
> > The issues faced by this is that people can't buy 10x10 boards
> > anywhere.
>
> For some values of "anywhere". They're standard in continental Europe
> AFAICT. My Dutch wife's chess/checkers board has 8x8 on one side and
> 10x10 on the other. She expressed surprise that I expressed surprise,
> she not having realised checkers was played on anything other than 10x10
> and me not realising it wasn't always played on a chess board.
>

At least in the United States, you can't find them anywhere. They
aren't even online here.

- Rich


 
Date: 09 Jun 2008 09:01:42
From: Harald Korneliussen
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On Jun 9, 11:17=A0am, Nick Wedd <[email protected] > wrote:

> A British friend was very keen on 10x10 checkers. =A0But she had
> difficulty finding information about it on the web. =A0A Google search
> using its French name "dames" yielded many hits, none of them at all
> relevant.

I looked for a long time, and eventually found that they could be
ordered from the Dutch Checkers foundation:

http://www.kndb.nl/cms/staticfiles/kndb_bondswinkel.htm

All in Dutch, but it's decipherable enough. They can also be contacted
by mail. I haven't ordered mine yet, but I intend to do it soon.


 
Date: 09 Jun 2008 10:17:39
From: Nick Wedd
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
In message <[email protected] >, Peter Clinch
<[email protected] > writes
>Rich Hutnik wrote:
>
>> The issues faced by this is that people can't buy 10x10 boards
>> anywhere.
>
>For some values of "anywhere". They're standard in continental Europe
>AFAICT. My Dutch wife's chess/checkers board has 8x8 on one side and
>10x10 on the other. She expressed surprise that I expressed surprise,
>she not having realised checkers was played on anything other than 10x10
>and me not realising it wasn't always played on a chess board.

A British friend was very keen on 10x10 checkers. But she had
difficulty finding information about it on the web. A Google search
using its French name "dames" yielded many hits, none of them at all
relevant.

Nick
--
Nick Wedd [email protected]


 
Date: 19 May 2008 02:38:08
From: Harald Korneliussen
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On May 19, 5:47=A0am, Quadibloc <[email protected] > wrote:
> Of course, I know why no one has thought of it before - for one thing,
> the advantages from normal openings are relatively slight,

Yes, I imagine that by far the most of these openings will be not
normal. In other words, openings the stronger player would never, ever
make. Then the challenge for the stronger player will be to make the
best of it, incorporating small or large mistakes the weaker player
will make.

> and for another, constraints on openings tend to be unpopular.

That may be. I hope people will handle feeling a little "cramped" in
return for bringing in new players.


 
Date: 18 May 2008 20:47:45
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On May 18, 3:36 am, Harald Korneliussen <[email protected] > wrote:

> The big problem is deciding how big the handicap levels should be, and
> finding a set of 52 openings that fits them.

This is certainly an interesting idea. And it certainly is true that
there are many Chess openings, and some are known to favor one side or
the other, so it would be workable.

Of course, I know why no one has thought of it before - for one thing,
the advantages from normal openings are relatively slight, and for
another, constraints on openings tend to be unpopular. This is true
even for Checkers, where they were unavoidable.

John Savard


 
Date: 18 May 2008 02:36:42
From: Harald Korneliussen
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On May 17, 5:58=A0pm, Quadibloc <[email protected] > wrote:
> - A reform to an old game to reduce draws and make its upper-level
> competitive activity more exciting should be one which involves the
> minimum of change, maximizing the relevancy of the existing skills of
> the game's current masters.

I have an idea for a very careful addition to chess which keeps the
masters' skills relevant, but which could give it a much-deserved
boost among new players. A handicap system based on set openings. I
imagine a system based on a deck of cards, where the aces represent
the most equal openings, and the kings the most biased. Since there
are four suits, there are four possible starting positions for any
handicap level, giving some variation (ensuring that handicap 4 level
games will not always lead to open positions etc.). To make it extra
neat, spades and clubs could be openings where black has the
advantage, and hearts and diamonds could favour white.

To play a game, just sort out the four cards of the appropriate
handicap level, make the weaker player draw one, and play through the
moves written on the card. If unsure of the handicap level, draw from
a range of levels instead.

While you would need a special kind of deck that has the openings
printed on them, an expert would just memorize them, and thus be able
to improvise a handicap game with only a regular deck of cards (or
anything, really). This would make it much easier for the expert to
bring new people into the game, and make chess culture less
intimidating to outsiders. Chess purists probably won't mind; they can
just abstain from playing handicap games.

This a much better way of handicapping than the traditional way of
playing with a piece less: Card handicap positions are positions which
could have (theoretically, maybe) arisen in regular play, and so it
becomes the same game to a larger degree.

The big problem is deciding how big the handicap levels should be, and
finding a set of 52 openings that fits them. To some degree we could
use computer analysis, especially for the second step, but it would be
much better and reliable with input from a couple of strong chess
players.


 
Date: 17 May 2008 23:00:50
From: Rich Hutnik
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On May 17, 7:45 pm, Quadibloc <[email protected] > wrote:
> On May 17, 5:02 pm, Rich Hutnik <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > I also believe you need a bridge between the chess world and the
> > variant world. I will post my thoughts here on this. if it merits
> > such.
>
> Although my post was somewhat aimed at noting that variants have dim
> prospects of being "the way" to revitalize Chess, I agree with this
> thought about a bridge.
>
> Let us suppose that young people playing Checkers who like it enough
> not to turn to Chess, hearing of the dreaded three-move restriction
> decide they do not wish to put up with such toils, and turn to the 10
> by 10 board and Continental Checkers.

The issues faced by this is that people can't buy 10x10 boards
anywhere. Until there is mass adoption, it is hard to get that. The
Chess variant community would like it a lot. We just aren't there
yet.

> It would seem to me that this would be the reason for the Checkers
> governing body to start supporting the new game - so that if it did
> supplant conventional Checkers in popularity, their organization would
> continue to survive and prosper, instead of becoming irrelevant, and
> replaced by another organization for people playing the new game.

They will support anything that the players will go for. I am working
with checkers now, and can tell you that is how they operate (at least
in North America).

> As with Checkers, so with Chess. If Glinski Hexagonal Chess, or
> Seirawan Chess, or Capablanca Chess, or anything else like that were,
> on its own account, without any help from the USCF, to become so
> popular as to be seen to be... an eventual *threat*... _then_ there
> would be a good reason for the USCF to support the upstart, so that if
> the new game took over, the organization would still survive and not
> be supplanted.

My hope is that I can work with these organizations and get something
going. Considering IAGO, which I am involved with, supports ALL
abstract strategy games, if USCF or others won't support them, IAGO
will. What USCF would need to do is learn from the American Chess
Federation in how they have multiple games they support. They support
play as you choose and the 3 move restriction. Chess, however, has
greater issues that have been touched on here.

The issues with all these games is that they require new equipment.
Without this, you don't get it to go well. This is why Chess960 has
gotten some traction, as has Bughouse. Other games are in a Catch-22.

> As long as a variant is insignificant, though, giving it any
> encouragement would only create a threat where none exists.
>
> So the people interested in a new game, a variant, have to do the hard
> work of getting enough people interested on their own, without help
> from the established structures for the old game. After one particular
> variant stands head and shoulders above the rest, and is on the radar
> screen, *then* it has a chance of being accepted into the fold.

What I suggest is a "roll your own" variant, where rules are treated
as mutators and let the best be selected. I am also an advocate of a
general Chess variants champion, treating variants as a unified
category unto itself.

- Rich


  
Date: 09 Jun 2008 08:28:54
From: Peter Clinch
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
Rich Hutnik wrote:

> The issues faced by this is that people can't buy 10x10 boards
> anywhere.

For some values of "anywhere". They're standard in continental Europe
AFAICT. My Dutch wife's chess/checkers board has 8x8 on one side and
10x10 on the other. She expressed surprise that I expressed surprise,
she not having realised checkers was played on anything other than 10x10
and me not realising it wasn't always played on a chess board.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/


 
Date: 17 May 2008 16:45:26
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On May 17, 5:02 pm, Rich Hutnik <[email protected] > wrote:

> I also believe you need a bridge between the chess world and the
> variant world. I will post my thoughts here on this. if it merits
> such.

Although my post was somewhat aimed at noting that variants have dim
prospects of being "the way" to revitalize Chess, I agree with this
thought about a bridge.

And I have come to a thought on this through my cynicism.

The Ford Trimotor airplane.

Parker Brothers and the Monopoly Playmaster.

IBM and the System/7 minicomputer.

IBM and the IBM Personal Computer.

Microsoft and Internet Explorer.

Microsoft and MSN Search.

Darmok and Jalad, down at the schoolyard. Oops, sorry, wrong
newsgroup.

Let us suppose that young people playing Checkers who like it enough
not to turn to Chess, hearing of the dreaded three-move restriction
decide they do not wish to put up with such toils, and turn to the 10
by 10 board and Continental Checkers.

It would seem to me that this would be the reason for the Checkers
governing body to start supporting the new game - so that if it did
supplant conventional Checkers in popularity, their organization would
continue to survive and prosper, instead of becoming irrelevant, and
replaced by another organization for people playing the new game.

As with Checkers, so with Chess. If Glinski Hexagonal Chess, or
Seirawan Chess, or Capablanca Chess, or anything else like that were,
on its own account, without any help from the USCF, to become so
popular as to be seen to be... an eventual *threat*... _then_ there
would be a good reason for the USCF to support the upstart, so that if
the new game took over, the organization would still survive and not
be supplanted.

As long as a variant is insignificant, though, giving it any
encouragement would only create a threat where none exists.

So the people interested in a new game, a variant, have to do the hard
work of getting enough people interested on their own, without help
from the established structures for the old game. After one particular
variant stands head and shoulders above the rest, and is on the radar
screen, *then* it has a chance of being accepted into the fold.

John Savard


 
Date: 17 May 2008 16:29:49
From: Quadibloc
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On May 17, 5:02 pm, Rich Hutnik <[email protected] > wrote:

> On the chess front, a simplified chess game would help out some, count
> it either Near or Simplified Chess. Even go with Simpleton's Chess.
> Consider teaching people something that is easy for them to get into
> as a starting point.

As it happens, during my web researches on Chivalry and associated
games, I found, to my surprise, that - not counting All the King's Men/
Smess - Parker Brothers actually once published a game, Citadel, that
could be considered to be a form of simplified Chess.

I describe it on my web page at

http://www.quadibloc.com/other/bo0104.htm

at the bottom (the web page is about Chivalry and Camelot, but also
includes diagrams of the boards for Chinese Checkers and Halma).

The main point of my post was to express a conclusion I'd reached from
considering the various things done with Checkers - including the
eleven-man ballot - that by looking at the _nature_ of the things done
to resolve the (inescapable!) problems with Checkers, we can see why
changes to Chess are resisted, and why a change to a different game,
by means of a Chess variant, is the most difficult of changes to get
accepted.

If Chess can be revitalized _without_ invalidating what the experts in
Chess have already learned, because the change is a very slight one,
that would be a direction more likely to be accepted.

John Savard


 
Date: 17 May 2008 16:02:35
From: Rich Hutnik
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism
On May 17, 11:58 am, Quadibloc <[email protected] > wrote:
> This post is prompted by encountering posts in a newsgroup on Chess
> discussing the question of somehow revitalizing Chess.
>
> A lot of Chess games are draws, and quite a bit of book knowledge of
> openings is needed to play Chess competitively. These things can be
> perceived as problems.
>
> If Capablanca Chess is not the answer, why not something inspired by
> Pocket Knight Chess?

That is what Seirawan Chess goes for. You use reserves you bring into
the game. IAGO Chess (the game) is a mix of Seirawan and pocket. You
can do drops or gating, unlike Seirawan that uses just gating. The
idea of reserves is a good way to handicap also.

*SNIP*

> Well, upon reflection, I've come up with the obvious answer.
>
> Why would people who have spent a lot of time and effort learning how
> to play Checkers as it is simply abandon that investment to move to a
> different pond in which they would be the new frogs on the block?
>
> This is why, when a problem with Checkers became inescapably manifest
> after the Wyllie-Martins match of 1863, the remedy that was chosen was
> not switching to Polish Checkers. Instead, the remedy that was chosen
> was the one that involved the *least change* to the game, to maximize
> the relevance of the skills of those who were at the top of the
> existing Checkers world. This even explains why the switch to eleven-
> man ballot, which involves a slightly larger change, is being
> resisted.

There is equipment issues which is why they go with the 3 move
opening. The analogy of the 3-move opening in Chess is Chess960.
Checkers is also experimenting with 11 man aside checkers.

> And that made perfect sense, since they were the only ones with a
> problem. Ordinary duffers could still play Checkers the old way
> without fear of it being a futile pursuit in the sense of tic-tac-toe.
> And, for a while, there was the option of learning to play Camelot
> well instead of learning to play Checkers well, although its inventor,
> George Swinnerton Parker, was not born until 1867, four years after
> the Wyllie-Martins match.
>
> That option could be said to have ended in 1986, when Inside Moves
> went off the market... but there are still those who suggest the
> possibility of a revival.

The World Camelot Federation (Inside Moves) is still around. It is
hardly the successor to checkers, but a good game in its own right.

> If switching from Checkers to Chess is a big jump, switching from
> Chess to Go is a bigger one still that hardly bears considering, even
> if Go seems to be thriving.

They aren't even the same type of game. Checkers is multi-
elimination, and Chess is royal elimination.

> In any case, the case of Checkers confirms strongly my intuition that:
>
> - For a new game to get recognition enough so that people pay
> attention to who its world champion might be is extremely difficult;
> and
>
> - A reform to an old game to reduce draws and make its upper-level
> competitive activity more exciting should be one which involves the
> minimum of change, maximizing the relevancy of the existing skills of
> the game's current masters.

All the world of abstract strategy games is facing same issues,
although each game has its own angle on it. What you describe is an
ideal. You can't underestimate the need for easy access to equipment
(this is one reason for Camelot not being adopted).

And recognition is in spades with chess, but doesn't mean that people
pay attention. Chess is recognized, and there was a $1.5 million
tournament in Mexico last year. Who cared about it? The World Mind
Sports Games is going on in China this year, and know many that care?
It is discussed in passing.

What needs to happen is the games in question need to get an improved
spectator sports angle to them, and justify sufficiently good enough
ratings on TV, they stick around. A lot can be done here, and must,
but that is what you are looking at.

On the chess front, a simplified chess game would help out some, count
it either Near or Simplified Chess. Even go with Simpleton's Chess.
Consider teaching people something that is easy for them to get into
as a starting point.

I also believe you need a bridge between the chess world and the
variant world. I will post my thoughts here on this. if it merits
such.

- Rich


  
Date: 09 Jun 2008 18:27:46
From: ChessVariant Inventor
Subject: Re: The Breakthrough to Cynicism

'Rich Hutnik[_2_ Wrote:
> ;271014']
> I also believe you need a bridge between the chess world and the
> variant world. I will post my thoughts here on this. if it merits
> such.
>
> - Rich

I think this *bridge* should be a -*recognizable GM*- who picks a fe
variants of his /her liking and promotes them by playing other GMs.
If this were to happen, the chessvariant community would greatl
benefit now understanding what a high level chess player is looking fo
in a chess variant.

For example if Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik or Kasparov were to pla
Herculean Chess:
http://chess.computerwebservices.net/herculean.php

It would be a major breakthrough. This should however not be
particular Gm simply endorsing a chess variant just to make money - i
should be an honest evaluation.

There is no way, though that a larger board variant or one with ne
pieces will EVER catch on with regular players simply because thi
makes the game much harder to play. Any game with new pieces i
"harder" to play and there is zero motivation to do so.
Changing the rules is even more unpleasant for chess players. e.g us
of cards to choose openings/balloting etc

However, the simpler solution most likely to be adapted in about 10 yr
time is to use a few "balanced" starting positions from Fischer Random
Anand already said that some positions gave white a much bigge
advantage while some were about equal. Kasparov said many position
should be "thrown" out and that just one position should be played fo
one year. These suggestions will be taken seriously and are most likel
to be adopted.

Simply switching the king and queen positions would change a lot o
opening lines.

Another interesting position: switch the queen and queen bishop an
switch the king and kings bishop.

It seem much more likely for these changes to take place.

Variants and rule changes will most likely be discarded until perhap
another 100 yrs.


I believe a savvy promoter could make a few high level GMs play some o
these large board variants and generate a lot of publicity in doing so
A variant could develop as another game played alongside std chess an
this is the best possible future of chess variants


--
ChessVariant Inventor