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General alpha zero[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-11-25 UTC

Is there no one interested in this?

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-11-24 UTC

Did you guys know about this : ?

Apothecary Chess Tournament[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-10-28 UTC

You are welcome Daniel

Daniel Zacharias wrote on 2021-10-28 UTC

Thanks for running the tournament!

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-10-27 UTC

This tournament has finished. The final classification is:

  1. Daniel Zacharias 10 points

  2. Erik Lerouge 9 points

  3. Aurelian Florea 5 points

  4. Oisin D. 0 points

Congratulations to the winner and all participants.

Please teach me how to type < W > (Without space)[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
You-Ting Chu wrote on 2021-10-24 UTC

OK, thank you very much!

Daniel Zacharias wrote on 2021-10-24 UTC

<This> seems to work in WYSIWYG, and also in markdown if you do <this\>

It seems like you can also use &lt; and &gt;

You-Ting Chu wrote on 2021-10-24 UTC
Hello, guys,

I want to post something, but every time I type something enclosed by "<>", it disappeared, even in the Text format (apparently it's not pure text format).

Could somebody please be so kind and teach me how to do it?

Much appreciated!

2.Manticore and 2. Griffin ?[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Bn Em wrote on 2021-10-13 UTC

On the other hand, with an initial leap the blocking would only be on a single diagonal, rather than having to check the nearby orthogonal squares as well. A tradeoff really, though in any case due to the ability to avoid nearby blocking pieces the t[HB] is probably too powerful (or, on small enough boards, too awkward) to use in (most?) games anyway.

Daniel Zacharias wrote on 2021-10-13 UTC

I agree that a piece that changes direction after 3 steps could be awkward to visualize. It would be worse, though, if the first step were a jump to the third square, because with a sliding move, you can easily see if a nearby piece blocks the movement.

Bn Em wrote on 2021-10-13 UTC

I was scrolling through some old comments and have found what Aurelian would call a 3.manticore posited by Sam Trenholme in this comment, alongside the ‘3.griffin’ and a bunch of others (the ’2.manticore’ or ‘running osprey’ is in there as well). No names alas, but still interesting to see these pieces having been discussed 12 years ago (almost to the day!).

It seems to me (on the topic of that thread) that simply the fact of having to count to three rather than either changing direction immediately or simply foregoing any counting altogether (griffon/manticore and hook mover/capricorn respectively) makes the ‘3.manticore’ non‐simple from a player's perspective; the ’2.manticore’/‘running osprey’ is kind of liminal in that respect — two‐step moves are still easily visualised and trivially interpolated — though even it is in some ways arguably more complicated than the component of Tim Stiles' fox and wolf, which only has immediate turns.

Upcoming Games[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2021-10-06 UTC

Hi all, thought I would say, from very soon till Christmas and the New Year I should be releasing a few games.

There is a Joy Joyce game, there is a few Charles Gilman games, and I have a game I have done myself, which probably will be the first to come out, and another game by myself that may have some new pieces, amazingly, I say amazingly because they are pretty simple pieces but I cannnot see anywhere that they have been used in any games, but I guess we shall see. I'm sure people will know if they exist elsewhere or not.

Thanks ya'll.

Changes to PHP Code[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-10-06 UTC

One more reason for no longer supporting offline pages is that many pages now include script-generated images with the drawdiagram.php script. These will work on a website running PHP, but they will not work offline. If I wanted offline pages to support them, I would have to write a script that finds each link to a script-generated image, creates a copy of the image with a unique name, and replaces the link to the script-generated image with a link to the copy of its output. That's too much work for something no one probably needs anyway, and can already make copies of them.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-10-06 UTC

I did occasionally use the "info" page, previously linked to from the icon of an index entry. But I do not consider this worth keeping either. Those pages can still be reached from the "info" link in the footer of the item's actual page (except perhaps for multi-item pages?).

That's why I figured it would be okay to get rid of the link from the icon. The link in the footer had been the only link to the info page I had been aware of, and I figured it would be enough for anyone who wants to go to that page. I think most people would be unaware that the icon links to an info page or would just be interested in the link to the actual page rather than the link to a page with metadata about it. The index page really gave no indication that the icons linked to something different than the actual page, and most people who clicked on an icon would probably be surprised that it didn't go to the actual page.

Ben Reiniger wrote on 2021-10-05 UTC

I did occasionally use the "info" page, previously linked to from the icon of an index entry. But I do not consider this worth keeping either. Those pages can still be reached from the "info" link in the footer of the item's actual page (except perhaps for multi-item pages?).

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-10-05 UTC

Since I can now work on code on the development server, I took the time to remove the remaining code for creating offline pages. While David used to make offline versions of the website, I have never done that. For one thing, I wasn't familiar with how he went about it. But I also didn't see the use for it. Things have changed since David wrote the code for this. Back when we got on the internet with 2400 baud modems that used the phone line, it would have been convenient to have an offline version of the site. But now that broadband and WIFI-enabled mobile devices are both common, it is easy enough to connect directly to the website. When the site is down, as it was recently, archived copies of pages can be found at So, an offline copy is not needed for archival purposes. Additionally, the website has grown more interactive than it used to be. While it was originally a set of static HTML pages, it now includes comments, database-generated pages that may be revised on the website, and ongoing games. Finally, when I program code, I write it simply for a website, and I do not want to have to take care to build in support for generating offline pages.

Besides code that was run with the condition $foroffline or $offlineindex, I replaced every instance of echoandwrite with echo, and I removed the function definitions for echoandwrite and echoorwrite. The latter wasn't even being used anyway.

Removing some of the $foroffline code created a bug, and this happened to draw my attention to the icons that appear to the left of links. I had thought of these as slightly informative decoration, but they included links to information pages and included a bunch of ALT text telling some things about the item linked. I got rid of the links to the information pages, changed the ALT text to TITLE text, and reduced the provided information to just telling what the icon meant. With this done, I was able to remove the remaining $foroffline code in make_author_line, and I also removed the $foralttext option from it. There was really no need to include author information in the ALT text for the icon when it was already on the screen anyway. Removing the little-used links to info pages and reducing the information provided by what is now a tooltip should reduce page size and make index pages quicker to load. With that in mind, I may look into extending how many links may appear on an index page.

2.Manticore and 2. Griffin ?[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Bn Em wrote on 2021-09-27 UTC

The difficulty with viewing e.g. the 2.griffin/running ostrich as R2‐then‐B is that the obvious reading of that (in line with the obvious reading of full ‘rook then bishop’ — see also the large shogis' ‘rook‐then‐rook’ and ‘bishop‐then‐bishop’ hook movers) suggests that it could also make the Bishop move after only a single Wazir step, becoming effectively a compound of griffon and ostrich — what Gilman called a Fimbriated griffon (after a kind of outline in heraldry). Which is really quite powerful and not what either of us means afaict.

My view here is that the usual Ostrich (and Osprey) have a move along a given path, but the shortest of its moves is two steps — something it has in common with Tamerlane's picket, Alfonso X's unicorn, and indeed Shatranj's and Xiàng Qí's elephant. For the picket and elephant, the 2‐step move is non‐coprime, and so a one‐step move can be trivially interpolated: for the former this gives the familiar Bishop, while the latter gave a piece that was dubbed the ‘modern’ elephant (and of course with a modern dabbaba to match). For the unicorn it is less trivial (the knight has two possible interpolations) but extending the long‐range move backwards suggests orthogonal‐then‐diagonal over the alternative, giving our Manticore.

In the Osprey's and Ostrich's case, the 2‐step shortest move, as with the picket and elephant, is non‐coprime, and so the obvious interpolation lines up with your 2.bent riders. In the Osprey's case, the alternative exists of doing as with the unicorn and extending backwards, giving a ferz‐then‐bishop‐at‐90°, but fsr 90° turns seem (above‐mentioned hook movers notwithstanding) to be less favoured.

I don't disagree about blockability: what I have termed ‘running’, as opposed to the preëxisting ‘modern’, is explicitly blockable — though arguably calling them ‘lame/stepping modern’ os[prey/triche]s is just as descriptive. Fergus' helical pieces also differ from Charles' Proselyte ⁊c in being (by default) blockable, as well as interpolating.

As for 3‐or‐more.gryphons/manticores, it might indeed be interesting to have names for those (though they might begin to veer into being a little too exotic?), but it'd be equally useful imo to have names for the equally unusual threeleaper‐then‐bishop or quibbler‐then‐rook.

Backups[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-09-27 UTC

I now have a script set up that runs from the backup server to make daily backups of both the /home/chessvariants/public_html/ directory and the chessvariants database every midnight at Eastern Standard Time. The script looks like this, but with the actual database password. It doesn't need the server password, because it is using an SSH key pair to connect.

mv /root/chessvariants.sql /root/chessvariant-backup.sql
ssh mysqldump --opt --user=root --password=XXXXXX chessvariants > /root/chessvariants.sql
/usr/bin/rsync -ae ssh --delete /home/chessvariants/public_html/
touch /home/chessvariants/public_html/
mysql --password=XXXXXX chessvariants < /root/chessvariants.sql

2.Manticore and 2. Griffin ?[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-09-27 UTC

Hello Bn Em,

I think the 2.manticore and 2.bishop are the pieces that start like a ranging piece and continues like another one. The Osprey for example does not do that. I'd name this R2 then B and B2 then R respectively. I am testing these in my next games. I think n.Matincore and n.Gryphon are good names for Rn then Bishop, and Bn then Rook. I think they are interesting exactly because they are blockable and playing them is more strategic because they have to be played after some pawn chains collapse.

Comemnt search doesnt work[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-09-26 UTC

Are there any plans to restore this functionality?

I tried to yesterday and failed. I have not been able to get MariaDB 10 to work reliably on either server, HostSlayer or RackNerd. It used to work before I tried updating the HostSlayer VPS to Rocky Linux via updating to CentOS 8 first. So, maybe there is some setting that has to be corrected. For now, runs on HostSlayer with CentOS 7, PHP 7, and MariaDB 5.5, while runs on RackNerd with Rocky Linux 8, PHP 8, and MariaDB 10. Until I can get things working correctly on the new RackNerd VPS, I will continue to use MariaDB 5.5, and comment searching will remain disabled.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-09-26 UTC

There appears to be some kind of corruption from the MariaDB 10 installation that is preventing a reinstallation of MariaDB 5.5 from working. When I check its status after reinstalling version 5.5, it says "Failed to start MariaDB 10.6.4 database server." I expect I will have to reinstall CentOS, but I don't want to get it started right now, because it is late. Unfortunately, the new VPS also seems to be having issues with MariaDB 10. It frequently loses connection with the MySQL server, and I have to refresh a page a few times before it connects.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-09-26 UTC

Since I haven't gotten MariaDB to work on the original server, I switched the domains of the servers. However, there are still things to fix, and I still have to deal with the original server.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-09-25 UTC

My attempt to update to MariaDB 10 has not been successful, and I have been unable to revert to MariaDB 5.5 without errors. So, is currently without a working database. At least I made a backup and copied it to If the problem on continues, I might not continue with HostSlayer. As long as I have things backed up on RackNerd, I may try reinstalling the OS on HostSlayer. But for now, I have floaters in my eyes, and I need to have lunch.

Backups[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-09-25 UTC

The touch command was used on the new server's /home/chessvariants/public_html/ directory at 12:00:14 AM EST. So, the automated daily backup worked when it was expected to. I'll look into including a backup of the database into the same script today. But since there are some different files in the folders for the database on each server, I want to fix that by making them both use the same version of MariaDB.

Comemnt search doesnt work[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-09-25 UTC

It depends on a feature of MariaDB 10, but when I restored the server earlier this year, MariaDB 10 was frequently losing the connection to the database, and MariaDB 5 proved more reliable. So, I switched to MariaDB 5 and manually removed the details that required 10. On the new server, I have installed Rocky Linux 8, PHP 8, and MariaDB 10. Since it also has reverse DNS, which should make email more likely to be delivered, I have plans to make it the main server when everything is working correctly on it. For now, I have to update scripts to work with PHP 8. The new server has less storage space, but it has more than enough for the site. It has less RAM, but this server usually doesn't use even half the available RAM. Both sites have 4 cores, and the new VPS uses faster CPUs. Although the new server is on, it will not support comment search until I add support for this back into the database. To start with, I will look into updating to MariaDB 10 on this server.

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