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Comments by V. Reinhart

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Chess on an Infinite Plane (hidden). Chess game with no boundaries (infinite board), and Guard, Chancellor, and Hawk.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-25 UTC

I would tend to agree that this particular game may not be the perfect showcase for this image set. Among other reasons, the game and the graphical set represent different periods in the development of variant chess games. The graphics were released in 1999, and this game was released last year (about a 19 year difference).

But there is a lot that can be said as far as aesthtics are concerned in linking a game to a particular image set. First, I think that Fergus Duniho's set of abstract chess graphics (see link below) is a very innovative and awesome design. The graphics are minimalistic, and the icons often give some indication of how a piece moves. It is somewhat "cubist" which pays homage to some of civilization's great art and artists, Pablo Picasso included. I am not familiar with any other chess graphics that are similar to Fergus's set, so I think his creation entered new ground as an artistic creation in the realm of board games.

Another comment is that to my knowledge, this set of graphics have not been used for any new games for several years (other than this game). The last comment on the page for these graphics was in the year 2011, about seven years ago. A new application of this set can be viewed as a "revival" or "allusion" to a style that has been absent in recent years.

Lastly, there can be some discussion about the "playability" of using this set of graphics. Although quite simple in appearance, it differs significantly from chess's classical piece design. The king and queen for example don't look anything like what most people are used to. I really like the designs a lot, but some can argue that they make playing a game more difficult. If not familiar with the design, recognizing the different pieces can have some affect on calculating chess moves. With this in mind, why would anyone use it? Well, just as in classical chess, many, many, shapes and designs have been created over the years - some beautiful, some ugly, some simple, and others garish.  But some people just love to explore the different aesthetic elements of the game!

Link to Abstract Chess Pieces by Fergus Duniho:

Abstract Chess Pieces by Fergus Duniho

V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-25 UTC

Some websites and forums use links to connect readers from one web page to another - not everything is discovered by a prime search alone. As for the topic of infinite chess there is interest in it - both as a mathematical model for game theory and also for game-playing. You can find links to both here:

Chess on an Infinite Plane

YouTube - infinite chess

V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-25 UTC

It has to do with the aesthetics of the game. To some people (but not all) the aesthetics of a game is an important element. For me, I enjoy games from both a mathematical context, but I also think style and appearance are important too.

V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-24 UTC

Ok, thanks Greg. Let me think about it for a few days before it's deleted. I spent a lot of time learning about Fergus's abstract piece set, and was happy with the result. (The concept of "infinity" is somewhat abstract, and I felt that abstract graphics suited it perfectly).

What I might do, if it fits somewhere, is see if I can show this as an example of how the abstract piece graphics can be used for large-format games. But I have to get familiar with those threads again to see where it would best be placed. Either in the comments for the game's primary page, or the comments for the abstract piece set.

In the meantime thanks for your reply.

V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-24 UTC

Do entries such as this stay hidden forever, or is there some mechanism to either place them in archive, or to release them? The championship game for this variant is currently in progress (see link below) although the competitors are using classical chess icons rather than Fergus's icons.

I think Fergus's icons are rather cool and would love to see this version made publicly available.

Chess on an Infinite Plane - Championship game

Chess on an Infinite Plane. Chess game with no boundaries (infinite board), and Guard, Chancellor, and Hawk. () [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-09 UTC

@Aurelian, that is a really interesting comment, and I love that idea. Like you say, an unbounded board can be populated with an infinite number of pieces in many ways. In addition to what you mention, and "on top" of the "normal" armies (near the kings), pawns can be populated for example on every 10th file and every 10th rank. So the density in half the plane is 1/10 x 1/10 = 1%. Similarly bishops and rooks can be populated with a density such as 0.1%, and queens populated on 0.05%.

So now you really have an "infinite" game with "infinitely many" pieces. But still - only one king of each color. As in the diagram, the White king starts on (5,1) and the Black king starts on (5,8).

This could have amazing and very interesting mathematical properties. Obviously, the strategy of the end-game cannot be "simplification" to just a few pieces! Players will need to learn to mate as other pieces slowly march inward, trying to replenish captured pieces.

Who is going to solve this type of game strategy? You said it best: "But we as cyborgs of the future will get there".  I agree with you 100%!!!

Chess with Different Armies. Betza's classic variant where white and black play with different sets of pieces. (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-08 UTC

I agree that 10x8 would not make sense for Chess with Different Armies. The all-new pieces are already enough of a change.

As for any board-size being better than another, I think that's just a matter of preference. Going smaller than 5x5 might be too small because enemy pawns would be in contact with each other, and the complexity of the game becomes severely diminished. As far as I know, there is no upper bounds for the maximum size of a good board size, and even infinitelly-large boards are easily playable and fun.

ChessVA computer program
. Program for playing numerous Chess variants against your PC.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-08 UTC

Oh thanks - I understand now. Other than bishops, I've never played with any piece restricted to a limited range of the board. I'm sure there are many such pieces, but unfortunately there is probably no existing catalog of "meta-color" bound pieces. Maybe something for me (or anyone) to work on for this year?

V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-06 UTC

Just a little confused about some of this discussion: what is the distinction between "meta-color bound" compared to "color-bound"?

Chess with Different Armies. Betza's classic variant where white and black play with different sets of pieces. (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-06 UTC

Agree 100%. My only comment is that 10x8 boards (compared to 8x8) have something peculiar: you can add a few variant pieces without taking away any of the classical pieces.

Of course there are other ways to do this: new pieces can be added after the original ones move out, or they can be put in place of pawns, or in front of pawns, or pawns can be moved up to make space for more pieces. But I really like the 10x8 board in favor of these options.

ChessVA computer program
. Program for playing numerous Chess variants against your PC.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-06 UTC

Do these "rules of thumb" work for the huygens chess piece? As far as I know this piece does not appear in any chess engines, but it could be a good exercise to test the robustness of any new code.

V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-04 UTC

Yes, agree with all. There are some 7-men endings that engines can't play perfecty, such as the mate-in-546 position. I once plugged that position into a chess engine and it was pretty much clueless. Even with the 50-move rule, the side that could achieve the draw (by playing to 50 moves) sometimes lost the game. (Of course, these endings aren't seen often if ever in actual play).

V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-03 UTC

Thanks HGMuller for the very informative information.

I believe the Lomonosov EGT is based on DTM because it includes forced mates that go on for hundreds of moves without pawn moves or promotions. The longest I believe is a 546-move forced mate.

Many of my questions are from the point-of-view of seeking an engine which plays perfectly. Of course there's no prospect of anyone doing this in the near future. But the question of "how" is interesting to me.

As for using the existing Lomonosov tablebase for actual play, I believe it could be possible for anyone who has paid to use the resource. Although the database is huge, information related to the "position-at-hand" could be transmitted in packets. I would think the internet is fast enough to support a game with 90 min/40 moves (for example).

Nevertheless, you raise some very good points. Another interesting point is that in perfect play, most of the 7-man tablebase includes positions that may not even exist in a perfectly-played game. In other words, although the tablebase represents "perfect play", much of it may not be part of "perfect games".

It's interesting to think how chess is still so far from being solved, and yet people like you (Fairy-max), Greg (ChessV), Nicolino (Chess and a Half ), Aurelian (Enep), and others keep inventing stuff that is beyond chess!

V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-03 UTC


As usual thanks for the info. I believe that there is only one institution that has produced a complete 7-man tablebase, and it required a few months using supercomputers in Moscow. I believe queries of the data can be made here:

Since this has been completed, there is no reason for anyone to do it again. But I've been curious how much work it would take to expand it to an 8 man tablebase. Doing it completelly is probably currently not feasible, but from your description I would guess some "shortcuts" can be used to gain some end-game results for a range of 8 (or more) end-game positions.

Again, this is for normal chess, so you and Greg have a lot of work to do.;)

V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-02 UTC

@Aurelian - Happy new year!

@HGMuller - Thanks for the detailed answer. I really appreciate it.

I'm not sure if you can answer this or not, but you mentioned retrograde analysis can be done "on the fly" instead of pre-calculated. Obviosly this saves storage space, at the small cost of more code.

Do you have any idea what is the most men on the chessboard that can exist where this strategy can be used? The reason I ask is that tablebases have been created for normal chess with up to 7 men, but the storage space required was immense.

Could some storage space have been saved by using retrograde analysis instead, or can the 7-men tablebase be effectivelly expanded by adding a retrograde analysis in front of it (thus getting info on 8-men positions).

Not sure if that would be easy to answer, but curious if you or anyone knows.

V. Reinhart wrote on 2018-01-02 UTC

Happy New Year to all!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but since ChessV plays variants wouldn't it be a monumental task to understand, and then code the conditions for theoretical draws by insufficient material for a range of pieces more than the normal set of chess pieces?

As I understand, in normal chess KNB vs K can sometimes be a draw with perfect play, but playing it correctly is not easy for either side. It is also a rare ending. Coding this in normal engines would be a lot of work for an ending that is almost never seen.

It's hard for me to imagine anyone coding all possible endings, for a wide variety of variant pieces and for different board sizes.

But if anyone has started to do this for any one variant, or a range of variants, I'd love to hear about it!

(the ChessV upgrade sounds interesting, and hope to load it sometime this year)

Infinite Chess. Chess on on infinite board.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
V. Reinhart wrote on 2017-12-24 UTC

Considering Ji's rule #3 that pieces are stranded if there is no "8x8 square which includes at least one piece of the opponent" then there may be positions where many pieces are lost in one move. For example, if White's pieces (quantity "n-1") are in a legal position because they are within 8 squares of a Black bishop, and if the bishop flees to a legal position by "1" White piece, then White loses all except the "1" piece. I'm not sure if such a position would be reached in a well-played game, but it is interesting that multiple pieces can be lost in a single move. Has anyone played this, or thought it out in more detail?

Alpha Zero plays chess[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
V. Reinhart wrote on 2017-12-16 UTC

Thanks @HGMuller for the info about Stockfish (SF) and AlphaZero (AZ). I was curious about the hardware in the SF/AZ games. Stockfish was certainly not handicapped, and yet apparently didn't win a single game. It lost 28 and tied 72.

One source I saw says that Google's most recent TPU can process instructions at a rate of 45 TFLOPS, which I believe is significantly faster than what most people have available at home (cpu or bandwidth limited)

I think it's pretty much hopeless for anyone to argue that humans can win against computers in any type of game. Our only chance of winning a game is to play it before it gets studied by computers. So people like @Aurelian and @JoeJoyce will need to stay busy inventing new games faster then people like @GregStrong and @HGMuller can program this stuff!!

V. Reinhart wrote on 2017-12-15 UTC

As for AlphaZero (AZ) playing chess against humans this much is pretty clear:

Stockfish >> human
AZ >> Stockfish

So obviously:

AZ >> human

("Stockfish" denotes the chess engine supported by a typical desktop CPU. Its performance against AZ with stronger hardware has not been tested)

Two comments I have about AZ:

1) AZ (currently) requires supercomputer-equivalent support (application-specific devices its developers call TPUs or "tensor processing units").

2) AZ and its related programs have also become very good at playing Shogi and Go. I don't see any reason why it could not master every chess variant I've ever seen. It's just the time (programming of the rules), and the required  hardware that would deter its developers from doing this. There is certainly many other things for neural networks to be studying, so i don't anticipate AZ will "invade" the chess variant world.

V. Reinhart wrote on 2017-12-13 UTC

A few comments ago someone asked about materials on AlphaZero. Here is an academic paper, with several authors. Not sure how many (or if all) were funded by Deepmind (which is owned by Google, and created AZ):

Most new technologies seem to first be used for military applications, and then general consumer products. I'm surprised AZ appeared so quickly in the chess-playing world. We aren't insignificant!

Refusal Chess. Refuse your opponent to make certain moves. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
V. Reinhart wrote on 2017-11-23 UTC


Sorry for no moves for a few days. I tried to get the engine's moves today, but had problems. Not sure if it was or my connection. I'll be travelling for a few days, so might not play for a few days. But hope to continue game soon. Sorry for the delay.

V. Reinhart wrote on 2017-11-18 UTC

That's interesting too.  I actually prefer games with longer time control.

But I did like the live commentary - like watching a baseball game with experts discussing the games. I think they did a pretty good job overall considering it was the first year.

V. Reinhart wrote on 2017-11-16 UTC just held a 4-day tournament of the top chess engines. Three days were qualifying rounds. The match between the top two engines was just finished today (20 more games to determine the best engine).

I can reveal the result, but it might be better for visitors to just go there. There is video commentary, chat forums, and a pgn file of all the games. It will probably continue to be discussed and analyzed for several more days.:)

Link is here:


V. Reinhart wrote on 2017-11-16 UTC

Thanks Nicolino, I appreciate the info.

I've been watching some of the Top-10 chess engine tournament, and am also swamped with my normal work, so have been playing slow. But I have not forgotten about this game.:)

V. Reinhart wrote on 2017-11-11 UTC

About clearing browser cash - I never do that, I don't even know how. Is it "Ctrl-f5" (maybe varies with OS?)? I'll hit that next time if there's problems.

When using the nubati server, we can "undo" moves because that's what were doing. (I haven't done it yet because engine-player has not requested it yet)

But when producing pgn notation (to describe games), I think "Refuse" or "Reject" is better because that is the terminology used historically, and I believe it matches the intention of the author(s). But either way is ok for me.:)

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