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Seirawan ChessA game information page
. invented by GM Yasser Seirawan, a conservative drop chess (zrf available).[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-05-23 UTC

Here's wikipedia's entry on Seirawan Chess, which includes the rules that it gives for the game, in case some of the finer points are ever difficult to find out otherwise:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seirawan_chess


Kevin Pacey wrote on 2017-08-26 UTC

Regarding my last post on Seirawan Chess, pertaining to Mr. Winther's presets: I had tried to find them through the credits section of the logs of fininished games, and discovered the links to said Winther presets appeared broken when clicking on them. However, it seems the Winther presets can be accessed via the 'All Games Played' page on Game Courier, by using either of said presets as given beside 'Seirawan Chess'. My apologies for any confusion.


Kevin Pacey wrote on 2017-08-26 UTC

I've played over a couple of old Game Courier logs of Seirawan chess that apparently relied on at least 2 presets available through Mr. Winther, but now the links to them are broken, it seems. Not sure if they were rules enforcing, but at least they showed the extra two pieces each side has at the start of a game. There is a non-rules enforcing preset on Game Courier currently, at least, but it shows nothing but a chessboard & pieces, and the players need to be wary that they ought to each drop their non-visible Hawk & Elephant on their own first rank in good time. Not sure if all this has caused the popularity of Seirawan Chess to drop in Game Courier play for some time now.


M Winther wrote on 2012-12-24 UTC

H. G. Muller wrote on 2012-12-18 UTC
I have set up a web page to act as a turn-based server for a group of people that wanted to play S-Chess over the internet. For those interested, the page is at:

http://hgm.nubati.net/schess/play.html

George Duke wrote on 2011-11-17 UTC
Should drop be in A-Chess or S-Chess manner? Consigning the other to oblivion, there has to be unequivocal answer. Track One represents replacement chesses of the obsolete f.i.d.e. singlet. Board can remain 8x8 or expand to 8x10, 9x9, and 10x10. Even 10x10 CVs improve by invoked optional accepted drop-mechanism. At the extreme for Track One, typical '10x10' will have Queen-type and King and four pairs. The drop of one or two or three reserve pieces could mean 8th piece-type and 9th piece-type, thus maintaining the aesthetic sub-near-10% ratio of 20th-century f.i.d.e. standard, 6/64. Ask in advance, what should be the value of preferred off-board pieces only later to occupy the board? Comparing historic Shogi drops and estimating piece-values comprehensively relevant and shifting to probably more suitable 8x8 and 8x10 ought all be part of the equation. Draw on all quarters. Basically, is it S-chess or is it A-chess?

George Duke wrote on 2011-11-14 UTC
S-chess deserves sub-genre status now established by these comments since 28.October.2011. Other CV sub-genres include year-1961 Ultima copycats and offshoots, year-1617 Carrera improvements on 8x10 and 10x10, Shogi revisions, Xiangqi revisions or look-alikes, and Mutator plural-move CVs -- to name five other examples. Now S-chess criteria are twofold in first back-rank drop and, second, array RNBQK permutated flexibly. The only one embodiment in Seirawan's write-up here is extendable by changing the reserve pieces to better ones, enlarging the board, or allowing more than one square to drop. Those three factors in combinations become thousands of CV sub-variants for thought experiments within this subgenre. In general, S-chesses are very able to introduce trouble-free new piece-types on familiar 8x8 or enlarged 8x10 preferentially, such as Bifurcators from the mid-aughts, year 1992 Falcon, Bent Hero and Bent Shaman of year 2006. Easily a thousand and more other piece-types, half developed since year 2000, are possible to bring on board post-move-one the same S-chess manner. Daunting but attainable is task to continue winnowing across subgenres those all inventive piece-types to just a few and also an auxiliary surrounding group of novelty 50 or 100 of the best cv p-ts to date. But is the S-Chess technique better than other placement techniques? Alternative_ Chess and Accessory_Chess, require instead the drop behind a Pawn to rank 2. Next question can be to compare the two, S-chesses and A-chesses, as to mechanism and effect. One or the other selected and justified, ideally, would exclude the competing idea most purposes. Designers should be able agree on an answer -- Rank 1 versus Rank 2 (or 3) at issue here. The same way problem-themes settle ''Which is the best move?'' to one right answer. Or cautiously would there be something else instead in carefully-selected hybrid? Basically, is it A-chess or is it S-chess?

George Duke wrote on 2011-11-10 UTC
Novelty classic Pocket Mutation, http://www.chessvariants.org/large.dir/pocketmutation.html, has the wide Shogi drop mechanism practically anywhere on board. In contrast, S-chesses are cautiously restricted to one specific square when at all. Broadening the S-chess drop could allow placement of the one Hawk or the one Elephant, two pieces per player, anytime to a vacant a1, b1...h1.  Beyond that liberalization would no longer be serial S-chess family of subvariants, let's suppose.  The essence of S-Chesses in their entirety would seem to be in the drop to vacant back-rank square.  Cousins still S-chess family could work, in other words, on larger boards than 8x8, or with different better-received off-board pieces, or by allowing more than one near-rank square.  Probably core-essence of an S-chess should also include starting OrthoChess R,N,B,K, and Q, but the solid innovation to note is straightforward back-rank drop. Full-range drop rather is appealing Pocket Mutation, having so many kinds of pieces, following prototype of regional Shogi. However, restricting the drop is promising Track-One Mutator for one, two, or three cv pieces. Which other better mechanisms keeping piece-drop to only one or several squares can be devised?  Outside the S-Chess school are other possibilities of restricted post-array placement from reserve, among them: http://www.chessvariants.org/index/msdisplay.php?itemid=MLaccessorychess, 
and http://www.chessvariants.org/index/msdisplay.php?itemid=MLalternativeche,
to contrast and compare.

George Duke wrote on 2011-11-09 UTC
S-Chess back-rank drop is good idea, but conflating the vacating and the drop in one move is bad idea. So these comments just ignore it to now, otherwise adhering to the S-Chess pieces and board. Drops from Shogi to Pocket Mutation are individual stand-alone moves with few exceptions. Technically the revision to require postponement of the drop to the very next move after piece leaves its array spot amounts to ''subvariant,'' and S-chesses could play well enough either way with better off-board piece-types. It actually makes more conservative the S-drop-mechanism to split into two moves. The author analogizes his proposal, making the drop part and parcel of the exit, to Castling. That way makes Castling itself with a drop tantamount to a triple move, which is too extreme for Chesses not deliberately plural-move category. The original S-Chess Castle with Hawk drop of the inventors means ''King slide, Rook slide over, Hawk drop,'' a three-mover. No way, too radical any prospective Track One, so under discussion only here are the revised natural first move of any piece, then next move optional drop to the piece's departure square instead. Look at other CV works having drops. Para-Xiangqi is Black's design with drop restriction by special piece's needing to be present. Follow-up will examine those drop-cvs of Winther and Nelson.

George Duke wrote on 2011-11-07 UTC
(V) Is there then something implied really special all the centuries about Carrera year 1617 Centaur(bn) and Champion(rn), so not subject to time-honoured design considerations?  How could that be so if the types, unlike R-N-B-K-Q-P, figure in less than 0.5% the space of Chess tracts, histories and monographs?  Even mediaeval Alfil and Ferz get mentioned more in passing reference.  It appears the literature has plenty of catching up to start doing on nuance of B+N and R+N, a real gaping momentary lapse.  For instant starter, how to get maximum potential advantage if opening '1 Knight g1-f3... 2 Elephant drop -g1...'?  Will this '2 Elephant -g1' become standard? Think thump trunk-derivation instead, and Castle/00 (!) may become the favoured modern move to open Elephant(rn) line of attack. That scenario would lead up to '5 Elephant-h1...' where the vacated rook sat before the Castle. There are superficially 8 possibilities in the back rank, but really 10 or 12 when Castling is considered.  'Ten' possibilities because King and Rook must themselves go to an otherwise impossible square with subsequent immediate plant of the off-board Hawk or of the Elephant, upon the Rook overstep, at either vacated King's 'e1' or Rook's 'a1/h1' next turn.  All the contingencies cry for complete analysation where none exists.  How and when to vacate and to drop them, the Hawk and Elephant, are virgin territory.
Besides, S-Chesses in their cautious original serial drop technique open the door to other related, interesting but different from each other piece-types to be used and introduced just by designing what cvers call 'subvariants'.  The same conservative near-rank same-side drop can be used for other pairs than those ancient upstart, awkward rn-bn. If Centaur and Champion turn out again not to be the cat's mieow, there are many other related pairs to try in their place: Cannon and Canon, Duke and Cavalier(Renaissance Chess), Falcon and Hunter (Schultz's year 1943 Hunter-Falcon), Left Schizzy and Right Schizzy(Schizophrenic), Bent Hero and Shaman. Examples only all of the foregoing, because the list since year 2000 has to reach 100 or even 200 of intriguing, connected pairs of p-ts clearly delineated from each other.  Extending the S-Chess concept to warrantable subvariants brings them on board in familiar environment for trial one by one as two only each new CV under S-Chesses 8x8 -- rather than the usual paired fixed pre-placement approach 8- or 10- or 12-wide.

George Duke wrote on 2011-11-05 UTC
(IV) Generally Hawk and Elephant will both enter the game before move 10. Keeping such power in reserve disadvantages the player. So basically two near-Queen-value pieces are added without strengthening the Pawns at all. Top-rank designers tend to provide Pawn enhancement when raising the power density like that. On large boards array-Pawn may acquire three-step option too. On little 8x8 Pawn may get a promotional boost where the pieces are rather strong, or additional one-step option. S-Chess design so far leaves Pawn unchanged. This style of brute force is common for beginners. Unfortunate throwaway Pawns and less subtle play that result may have to describe the imbalanced milieu where indiscrimateness or arbitrariness as to Piece/Pawn offset obtain. Artists and designers must think through the implication to avoid over-skewing important factors, not least relative strength of all pawns to that of the Piece field.

George Duke wrote on 2011-11-04 UTC
(III) More general fault in S-Chess is carryover lack of symmetry.  That is, RN and BN since conceived around year 1617 are two distinct types.  What is the compulsion that they occur together always?  Actually in Janus Chess are two Carrera Centaurs(BN) on 8x10. In CVs obviously Rooks get paired R+R, Bishop B+B, Knights N+N in all sub-genres even Carreras.  Most in the Carrera/Capablanca camp rather tend to add only one each of Marshall(RN) and Cardinal(BN). All sub-genres tolerate even emphasize several interchangeable names too, as here, understanding Centaur/Archbishop/Cardinal/Janus/Hawk are one and the same compound of Bishop plus Knight, according to cv-context and chosen definition.  The CV-field is that way at once peculiarly fluid and precise. 
Now, that there are 8 piece-types not 6 counting Pawn is more disruptive 8x8 than 8x10 and 10x10 when adding one only Hawk and Elephant -- to the detriment of these thinkable S-Chesses. Usual aesthetics dictates paired same-types: Bifurcators, Sissa, Unicorn, Centennial's Murray Lion, Betzan C.D.A. Half-Duck, Falcon, Mastodon, Shako Elephant, Bent Hero and Shaman. Note that some of the above are embedded Track Two novelty CVs, notional artwork, and others intended Track I Next Chess replacements of f.i.d.e.-incomplete 8x8 and that one's random chess subvariants. Anyway the ideal of all the others is to keep pairing same-types across the board, excepting those self-designated special-case Carreras with late incarnation S-chesses suffering same affliction.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2011-11-03 UTC
> and an incidental programmer can never keep up since it takes him an
> hour minimum to alter/add the right code to fit

Not really. In Fairy-Max, for instance, the only thing you would have to do is permute the Queen, Hawk and Elephant definitions in the ini file:

// Seirawan Chess (with Archbishop and Chancellor gated in during game)
Game: seirawan
8x8
5 3 4 7 6 4 3 5
5 3 4 7 6 4 3 5
p:74 -16,24 -16,6 -15,5 -17,5 
p:74  16,24 16,6 15,5 17,5
n:259 14,7 31,7 33,7 18,7 -14,7 -31,7 -33,7 -18,7
b:296 15,3 17,3 -15,3 -17,3
R:444 1,3 16,3 -1,3 -16,3
Q:851 1,3 16,3 15,3 17,3 -1,3 -16,3 -15,3 -17,3
k:-1  1,34 -1,34 1,7 16,7 15,7 17,7 -1,7 -16,7 -15,7 -17,7
h:780 15,3 17,3 -15,3 -17,3 14,7 31,7 33,7 18,7 -14,7 -31,7 -33,7 -18,7
E:814 1,3 16,3 -1,3 -16,3 14,7 31,7 33,7 18,7 -14,7 -31,7 -33,7 -18,7

The last two pieces mentioned (those after King) are those that start off-board, and you could move the definition of any of the pieces there. Of course you would have to start from a set-up position to tell which array you wanted on the board. But it would not take more than a minute...

George Duke wrote on 2011-11-03 UTC
What would Capa say about S-Chess?  Not bad, but the extra mechanism in the drop is unnecessary by enlarging the board. Beyond Capa's thought, are Hawk(bn) and Elephant(rn) second fiddle?  If not, why not rather pre-situate Hawk and Elephant and then serial-drop the Queen and later some one other piece, to keep the desparate 8x8 size? Start these things and there are hundreds of S-Chess subvariants at large.  A designer can think of one subvariant a minute or more, and an incidental programmer can never keep up since it takes him an hour minimum to alter/add the right code to fit.  So let's stay with the gm S-Chess design specifics, not to embarrass programming-savvy designers.  S-Chess is intended anyway not as some Next Chess, but as a diversion and decoy, obviously intended to be picked apart.  Seirawan knows it is not going anywhere but fun to analyze between rounds.
Http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=7638.
Ergo two exhibits: (I) Specifically here, for example, Knight exits b1-c3 and the next turn or two Elephant dropped (bulkily) to b1 guards that very Horse. The 'b-1' White Elephant -- pun intended -- out of nowhere cannot figure in a castling maneuvre of course.  To castle Queenside, White Elephant in fact now has to clear out pronto.  Thus Elephant can exit the same way original Knight did, or Elephant just wait until the b-file Pawn two-steps.  Then Elephant can go Rook-style like b1-b3.  Scads of fun but does it feel really justifiably Chess-like-deep, natural and inspiring?  
(II) In S-Chess, on little 64 squares player, without having promoted a Pawn, can have four Knight-steps attacking a given square from behind at once, for instance, 'd4' well-guarded by all of conforming Knight on c2, Knight on f3, Knight-leg Elephant e2, Knight-leg Hawk b3.  Demonstrating over-the-hill soon-400-year-old 'RN' and 'BN' ex Carrera overkill to the spry space 'd4' nigh.  Unaesthetic.

George Duke wrote on 2011-10-28 UTC
Seirawan Chess has its good point in a weak drop system for easy familiarity. Chessbase. The foregoing describes S-Chess ignoring that in variant circles there is disenchantment with Elephant(RN) and Bird(BN) as not measuring up. For example, on specific 8x8 the immediate sense contrary to Seirawan is that the same Carrera Champion and Centaur would need more space. It is obvious to anyone with a feel for Chess. Think for instance of awkwardness in Betza's 1970s Tutti-Frutti on little 64 squares. Yasser Seirawan is ranked #93 worldwide with inactivity since 2007. He is busy immersed in OrthoChess, so the acceptable, above average CV analysis here by our standards is actually good to see in simply appearing at establishment Chessbase several paragraphs. Locked-mindset Chessbase being more the problem inhibiting advance than gms experimenting practically the same way Lasker and Capa did 80 years back. Obstinate non-mention of 400-year-old Carrera's or Bird's or others' than Capablanca becomes offensive when considering that even if called to their attention the likes of prior groundbreaking Carreras, they probably still would cite origination in 1920s Capablanca, the same decade of f.i.d.e. founding. Overcoming 8x8 obsession is automatic by regarding other standards, regional Shogi 9x9 and continental Xiangqi 9x10, and then deciding which among 9x9, 8x10 and so on are right for worldwide fundamental pieces and their supposed logical compounds.

George Duke wrote on 2009-07-24 UTC
Three already ratings are enough. I previously rated SC Excellent, Good, and errrr Poor once too, for conflicting reasons. Of course Carrera Centaur(BN) and Champion(RN), the two exotic pieces here, have been around 400 years. They have been used in hundreds of rules sets. The vast majority would be 8x10 and 10x10. CVPagers all of a sudden have shunned them the last two years. Hopefully for good. I saw the Seirawan video without the audio once for nonverbal cues. Daniel is right Seirawan is pseudo-excited for who-knows-why and who-cares-why. Sorrowfully Seirawan admits to not even having known BN and RN exist for centuries. [Cue-in. Duhhhh. Act gleeful anyway.] We are the experts and the professionals now, not the vested-interest several hundred GMs of old-style 64-squares, their one settled version. Their expertise may not transpose very well and they know it. /a> ////

Charles Daniel wrote on 2009-07-24 UTC
Yes, but this is my point. The pieces are too heavy and most likely give white a huge advantage. Anyway, I saw the video of Seirawan introducing the game. From what I gather he seemed like a nice guy and quite honest though there is still a possibility that this variant was invented purely for profit  
which by itself is not bad but not with the flaws it has. 
Anyway, he seemed quite interested  in the new pieces but i get the feeling he has not explored the game in depth and not too interested if the game is balanced. For example he showed a mate in 4 which went something like e4 e5 d4 d3 pxp pxp qxq drop elephant mate. 
He seemed quite excited by that - and yes these things fascinated me when i started out with chess variants. But i have come to realize that very powerful pieces on a board while interesting have their drawbacks esp on a 8x8 board. 
Also you are basically saying it is an advantage to be able to drop the heavy pieces anytime so there should only be a few chances at the beginning.
I am saying though that the move followed by a drop is actually 2 moves. Why not simply keep the same restriction of introducing early but make the drop a separate turn? IN that case that mate in 4 could not have happened and white may not get such a huge advantage. 

Seirawan  also mentioned that their first idea was to have the pieces exist  on the board right from the beginning in a fianchetto and they rejected that idea. It seems to me that they did not playtest before and play around with the different parameters enough before releasing. 

Anyway this whole discussion gives me an idea for a new variant on an 8x8 very similar and in my opinion better. 


I really wish I could stop making variants -- 

and leave it to you to just make every conceivable one possible :) 


i guess the next 2  or 3 will be my encore and i am done for good ...

hopefully :)

M Winther wrote on 2009-07-24 UTCGood ★★★★
Charles, the common sense rule in chess is that the heavy pieces are best kept in the reserve. The heavy Capablanca pieces are awkward when surrounded by light enemy pieces on this small board. Strategically, it is more clever to keep them in the reserve until the situation is cleared up. This is coupled with the great flexibility of the introduction square. But this would create a game that is unconstrained and allows the players to play with hidden cards. It is destructive to the clarity of the game. Planning becomes very difficult. Generally, free introduction of heavy pieces is not a good idea.
/Mats

Charles Daniel wrote on 2009-07-23 UTCBelowAverage ★★
Not so. Dropping it on a separate turn does not allow the drawback you stated in your site. Why should a player not decide to drop a powerful piece? My suggestion allows one player to develop quickly without dropping the piece and still have that option in reserve. An altogether more flexible situation adding more varied type of play. In fact the game is VERY strategically clear to each player - either one or both players can choose to develop first gain the advantage and then introduce the piece.

I see no reason the dropped piece is 'FORCED' to make an entry soon. That makes the game more contrived and less flexible. If anything it is preferable to leave that up to the players. A good player will be smart enough to know that the opponent will eventually introduce the new piece. If a player is good enough to play without the piece he/she can dos so knowing that the option to introduce it still remains.

The game Wreckage uses this drop mechanism.

By the way your description for Pioneer Chess is faulty. IF White turns down the piece and Black overrules - no game can be played - both players disagree on what game to play.


M Winther wrote on 2009-07-23 UTCGood ★★★★
The underlying reason for this dropping method is that the external pieces are forced to make an entry soon. It creates a flow in the game. If all the pieces develop and no entry is done, then the pieces cannot be introduced. If they were allowed to stay outside and enter at any time, then the game would be strategically unclear. It wouldn't be possible to decide for a plan because you wouldn't know what forces the opponent has prepared. It is not proper for Western chess which demands planning and foresight. So it's a good idea. In my Pioneer Chess I go even further. The players, in their first move, must decide from which file they aim to introduce the external piece. 
http://hem.passagen.se/melki9/pioneerchess.htm
/Mats

Charles Daniel wrote on 2009-07-23 UTCBelowAverage ★★
I am not sure why this method of dropping into the back rank was chosen. Its quite possible that white will have an even greater advantage because of this. Better to make the drop  as a separate turn. This seems more logical and slows it down a tad.  
Also I just realized I had commented on this item before. Looks to me that the ability to drop ninja pawns in addition to the rook-knight and bishop -knight might actually be more interesting perhaps 2 or 4, not sure.
The Rook-knight and bishop knight drop into empty space in backrank in separate turn. The ninja pawns can drop into vacant space in second rank and optionally push forward to center. The ninja pawns will move like pawns except for enpassant and ability to move 1 space sideways and also capture sideways in enemy half of board. 

At this point this variant has failed miserably even more so than gothic which i believe is far superior (and actually in retrospect quite a good variant). Perhaps the version I suggest above might be interesting - I wouldn't mind trying it. I may create a preset and send out a challenge. 


As to why does regular Chess have on the order of 10^4 to 10^6 times more followers than variant chess ..
Chess variants are parallel universes - completely unexplored with weird rules /laws and strange configuration. The regular chess universe is still unexplored and overwhelming for most despite the oversaturation of opening theory at top GM level. 
Chess variants are for those with moderate to little interest in regular chess and with no desire to compete with regular chess players. I doubt if there are currently is any 2100+ rated (at present) chess player interested in variants. Seirawan himself must have lost interest in his own variant just like Bobby Fischer lost interest in FRC. 

2100 chess rating is approximately the elo at which opening theory becomes tedious since many lines do have to be memorized. Some may say its even higher than that. Below 2100 and memorizing opening theory is not terribly important - understanding openings is of course a different matter. 

It is important that the chess variant community understand that nothing is to be gained by proposing to 'fix' chess or to 'convert' chess followers. 
Chess variants instead must attract the type of person who does not want to dedicate to one game and likes a chess-like family of games. Of course high rated players disillusioned with the game will be welcome but they must come on their own. 

Rather than harp on the nonexistent 'flaws' of chess, it is better to show how interesting it is to play a game of chess in which a few properties are changed. Board size, pieces etc making in many cases a radically different but still vaguely familiar game of chess. This is the appeal of chess variants. Think HORSE in poker - tournament of a family of poker games. 

A chess tournament like this can take place here too. The recent Cv Potluck  was a good start, and SHOULD BE DONE AGAIN.

Maybe one day the parallel universes of chess might appeal to a totally new audience. From that certainly a few chess variants will immediately spring to mind in the general populace just as orthodox  chess does now.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2008-11-19 UTC

George Duke asks:

Why does regular Chess have on the order of 10^4 to 10^6 times more followers than chess variantism does?

Followers want leadership, and the Chess world gives them that. Chess variants attract a kind of pioneering individual who is averse to being a follower. We're the Daniel Boones of the Chess world, scouting ahead where the masses of followers still fear to tread.

I think CVers share in the blame for their isolation and outcast status, because the prolificist way of making CVs has only come to fruition since 2000 with Internet facility. As a result, excellent games like Rococo do not get played.

I dealt with the outcast status bit in another message. I was going to answer that Rococo is doing fairly well. 21 games of it have been completed on Game Courier, which is better than most games, but 16 of those games were played by you. Most of the ongoing games of Rococo are also yours. So why isn't it doing better than it is? And is proliferation the cause of this? I'll deal with the first question first. There are a few reasons Rococo is not so popular. (1) Its inventors are not actively promoting it. (2) Its an Ultima variant, and I expect most Chess variant players prefer games with capture by displacement. In fact, while David and Peter were working on Rococo, I began working on my own Ultima variant, but I found myself so uninterested in Ultima-style games I never bothered to release it. (3) Rococo is too recent to have ever gained much of a following.

Now for the second question. Is proliferation the cause of people not playing Rococo? If we look at the games doing better than Rococo on Game Courier, most are older, more established games. A few are newer. Of these, one has been heavily played by its inventor, and a couple more seem to have achieved some genuine degree of popularity. Would people play Rococo more if there was less proliferation? I can't answer that. But I think it is unlikely that it would be played much more. Several of the players on Game Courier are game inventors trying out their own games. If they weren't here proliferating, they might not be here playing games either. And many others here are playing a large number of different games. It seems that Game Courier attracts people who are interested in variety and creativity. Yes, there are a lot of games, and if there were fewer games, some might get played more than they are now. But all this affects is the popularity of individual games. The important thing is that many games are being played, many more than were being played in the 1990's. This is good for Chess variants in general even if it spreads the wealth among games instead of more easily enabling a selected few to rise in popularity.


Joe Joyce wrote on 2008-11-18 UTC
Rich, you can't regulate creativity. We've had this discussion before. IAGO as an entity has no need for regulation in the CV or any other community. Its purpose is to push abstract strategy board games. Chess in any form is a quintessential representation of such. I got interested in the idea of creating an IAGO way back when, got involved, and have paid attention ever since. I can say a few things about it.

Everything IAGO could possibly want from the CV site is already happening - slowly. And messily. Examples: the 'Track 1' and serious 'Track 2' game discussions. I will point out these are a constant source of new games that will challenge even the best chessplayers in a tournament. They are exactly what IAGO wants for tournaments, because they have all been playtested and examined for problems by some very creative people. Further, I will point out that the game out of the 10 or so games I've discussed as the best 'next chess' game is Fergus' Eurasian Chess. The only game I'd rule out of an IAGO-sponsored tournament of all the games I discussed is Black Ghost [sorry George - but I do think all the others are fine for not merely a CV tournament but an abstract games tournament] because it unbalances the game to black. I don't think it's a fair [enough] game. 

There are people here doing things from working on making CV kits to creating the new interfaces we are and will be using. But it's the free choice of everyone involved. IAGO is not a leader taking us to a promised land. Instead, IAGO is a librarian, who should be able to assist people in finding games by providing information and easy directions. Rather than make the rules, IAGO uses rules already made by others. While it may showcase some games in tournaments around the world, it's meant to direct people into the wide world of abstract games. You yourself were the one who put together the IAGO database of about 1000 games playable against human opponents over the internet. That's a card catalog for abstract strategy games you've made. That's a service, one that IAGO performs as part of its function. Being useful and user-friendly should be the main goal of IAGO.

The CV site is meant to be mostly glorious chaos, as far as I can tell. But chaos spontaneously organizes into patterns, and this is where IAGO will get its infusion of games from. However, while IAGO can get its games from the order found here - George and I aren't working together for nothing; we both see theoretical and practical benefits from The Two Tracks and other such ideas - the site gets its life from the chaos it sustains. 

By attempting to push everyone in a particular direction, you will only get people to push back, even if they want to go that way. And many if not most of us are far too individualistic to go any way but our own. Yet if it's an interesting path IAGO offers, many of us will walk it to see what's there. [Push, and you find people roll rocks onto the path...] 

In trying so [too] hard, you make it difficult for the rest of us to talk about IAGO - it's overkill. I'd love to run an IAGO tournament featuring chessvariants [and other games], in New York or Baltimore or Cleveland or Boston or Albany or... but we have to get people there. I'd like to be able to feature Next Chess games and a prize or two, and pull in some people who visit the site. For that, we need more positive feelings and fewer negative ones. Ahem. I don't want people using the IAGO banner as a dartboard while I'm standing by it waiting for the ScoreFour tournament  at NonCon, for example. And as an editor of this site, I have to be extremely careful of conflicts of interest, among others. As I have a standing policy of preventing or ending conflicts [not heated discussions] onsite as I am reasonably able to, I find it nicely ironic that in this I can and will say as little [more] as possible, being both a very early member of IAGO and later the junior editor here. It seems I may be obliged to both comment and not comment. I think the football game is still on...

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2008-11-17 UTC
Outcast status? I don't think so. Speaking for myself, I am a loner, doing my own thing because that's what I like to do. I don't seek or need validation from Seirawan, FIDE, IAGO, or any other organization of Chess players to be happy with what I'm doing. I am content that some people are discerning enough to appreciate my games, that various people are enjoying the use of Game Courier, and that it attracts enough activity for me to find opponents to play my games with. As for why Seirawan may want nothing to do with this site, assuming that's the case, maybe he is more into his own variant than he is into variants in general. That's a perfectly fine attitude to take. Not everyone cares as much about the variety of Chess variants as we do, and that is perfectly all right. Or maybe his main contact with the world of Chess variants has been Rich Hutnick, and he was turned off, rightly so, by Hutnick trying to push his own agenda on him. I'm turned off by Hutnick trying to push his agenda on us, and it is enough to keep me from wanting anything to do with IAGO.

pallab basu wrote on 2008-11-17 UTC
It is a bad game!!, there is no strong new concept. Pieces were also introduced many times before. Putting too many heavy pieces on 8x8 make this game extremely clumsy. Modern chess or Capablanca chess is far better.

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