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The Chess Variant Pages

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CSS Dixieland wrote on 2022-08-24 UTCGood ★★★★

Mon Admirable Monsieur Jean-Louis Cazaux,

Je parle assez couramment la belle langue de Racine, même que je ne l’aie pas parlée depuis des années, mais veuillez me permettre d’offrir les informations suivantes dans la langue de Shakespeare, comme une aide pour ceux qui peuvent avoir des difficultés à lire Votre langue.

Le sujet est déjà suffisamment complexe en l’état tel qu'il est.

The player whom You refer has nothing less than 43 games hanging in Game Courier. The oldest is hanging since 29th June 2021 (a frightening 421 days as of 24th August 2022), the newest since 15th August 2022.

Of those 43 games, 7 games are waiting for his move and 36 are waiting for the move of his opponent. All sorts of Chess varieties are represented, out of the thousands of varieties that exist here in Game Courier. Even the most exotic and flamboyant varieties, are represented amongst his 43 games. Very few appear more than once, the vast majority appear only once. The pattern here is clear: a player who experiments with every variety that has existed, exists, and will exist, in the whole History of Chess. But also a player who does not care much about the results of his games, nor about a minimum respect for his opponents.

And of those 43 games, only 3 are timed (one with Ye, the other two with Mister Daniel Zacharias), while the other 40 games are untimed. The game that he is 'playing' with Ye was posted to the public room for any player to accept, but here it is not a question of who sent the invitation and who received or accepted the invitation. It is rather a question of DISRESPECT for the opponents, and to some extent also of abusing the resources offered by Game Courier. About technical resources the problem is trivial, because the data base of Game Courier can handle many more games than it handles now, but about the lack of respect for opponents, the problem becomes much more serious. You already know, Sir, my recommended solution.

Then, let me please proceed to explain how You can apply the solution, hopefully catering to Your personal preferences or needs. I hope to avoid too many technicalities, but pray forgive me if I dive deep into waters technical, and You find it difficult to bear with me. I am at Your disposal for answering relevant questions.

Sophisticated time controls were incorporated to Game Courier over eighteen years ago, in February 2004.

The idea was to make the Play By Mail system capable of handling games in a single session, also known as 'one sitting', or 'real time', or 'face to face', or by other names, and in several or many sessions for the same match, likewise called 'extended period', or 'delayed time', or 'correspondence', or by other epithets.

It was for that reason that complex time controls were introduced. Complete, exhaustive, flexible, with rich possibilities for any situation that could possibly be imagined. Then a manual was written and made public detailing how Game Courier can be correctly operated. GAME Code is full-fledged programming language, full of resources for implementing almost any board game in existence, short of boards of infinite extension or hyper boards of N dimensions. Naturally, the time control system had to accompany that sophistication.

It was hoped that the manual could answer almost any doubt. And in fact IT CAN answer almost any doubt, but it is easy for programmers to say that. The uninitiated may find certain explanations somewhat cryptic.

The manual assumes a certain level of Computing literacy, but any technical system offered to the public is a trade-off between technical sophistication, and usability. The most perfect computer in the World, but with the technical manual, every instruction, and all characters on screen written in Sumerian, would be useful only to those who can read Sumerian. And to a team of top-level specialists in several disciplines who would need years for deciphering the text or for discovering how the computer works by very careful process of trial and error. And even so, there is a high chance that not every feature would be discovered.

In Your specific case, which may also be the case of a number of our Esteemed Members, it seems to me that the best approach at the moment is to solve Your immediate problem, instead of delving into a rich plethora of concepts and definitions, but let me briefly inform that there is not a single method for timing competitions of Chess, or of other games, sports, or contests. Be it championship, tournament, single match, or some combination of them, various timing methods have been devised throughout History.

The first truly international Chess Tournament, organised by Mister Howard Staunton and other prominent British players, played in London in the year 1851, and won by Herr Adolf Anderssen, had no time controls whatsoever. As a consequence, some players took an exceedingly long time for their games. Twenty hours for only one game, or even two hours for one single move, were recorded for the amazement of posterity.

You will understand that under such conditions, more than a mental sport, Chess becomes a sport of pure physical resistance. The most suffered and ascetic hermit wins the game. After that horrifying experience, time controls by need had to be introduced in Chess competition. First the clepsydra (also called sand glass or hour glass), later the analogue mechanical clock, then the double clock originally invented specifically for Chess (later applied also to other competitive activities), and in the XX century the digital double clock.

Besides physical devices, diverse methods of timing or winning have also been experimented with variable success. There is the fixed maximum time per turn, fixed maximum time per game, increment or delay by Fischer or Bronstein Method, the Sudden Death, the tie break by points or by Armageddon, and others.

It would be my pleasure to go on describing how Chess and its ancillary equipment evolved in the course of years and of centuries, but if I continue, then this short introduction will become a book. Thus, without any further immersion into the History of Chess that I love, I am going to offer presently a concrete instruction that, as it is my hope, will be understood and put in effect without need of previous technical knowledge:

Go to a working preset that You would like to play, against a specific player or offered in the Public Room.

Activate the link that reads 'Invite'. In another page You will see "Invite Someone to Play (Name of Preset)"

Fill the relevant fields and leave the others as they are. You have already done it, so You know what I mean.

I strongly recommend that You activate the two check boxes labelled 'Rated Game ?' and 'Timed Game ?'

Once in the time controls, You set the third of seven boxes (upper right box) called 'Min Time' to 40 days.

I repeat, because this is the most important detail of the whole operation: SET MIN TIME TO FORTY DAYS.

Be careful for not setting it to 40 weeks, 40 hours, 40 minutes, nor 40 seconds. It must be for FORTY DAYS.

You leave all the other time control fields as they are: ZERO. Then You activate the link marked as 'Invite'.

I sincerely hope that the unavoidable technical complexity of the lines above have not been too confusing.

As example, You have received an invitation from me for playing Maidens Chess, a Chess variety of my own invention. The set is identical to Standard European Chess as per FIDE rules, therefore if You prefer we can play normal Chess instead of Maidens Chess. My preset does not enforce rules, neither shows legal moves.

I request the Honour of playing this game with Your person, Monsieur. Accompanying my invitation to play, You have also received from me a formal request that I include in the following lines. Good luck, Monsieur.

Mon Respecté Monsieur Jean-Louis Cazaux,

Je demande l’honneur de jouer à ce jeu avec Votre personne. Nous pouvons le jouer comme des échecs européens normales, en suivant les règles de la Fédération internationale des échecs, ou nous pouvons le jouer comme des échecs de jeune fille (Maidens Chess), une variété d’échecs de mon invention.

Le préréglage n’applique pas les règles. Le délai est exactement de 40 jours PAR COUP (entre un mois et deux mois, comme Vous l’avez demandé). Bonne chance, Monsieur.

Dixieland for ever ! P. A. Stonemann, CSS Dixieland

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