AlphaZero No Castling Chess

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lkaufman
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Re: AlphaZero No Castling Chess

Post by lkaufman » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:31 pm

carldaman wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:15 pm
lkaufman wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:50 am
Ovyron wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:48 am
dragontamer5788 wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:21 pm
I think Chess should have sharper games overall with a lower draw rate.
I just thought about this variant the other day:

If the game ends in draw, the first player that checked the other during the game is awarded a win.

There we go, no more draws and no more hitting our heads against the wall figuring out draw odds. Just, a check and defend to avoid losing and you got the game.
The last player to check rather than the first makes more sense to me as a tiebreaker, with Black winning in case no one ever gave check. But I think there are much better ways to tiebreak that are more in the spirit of chess. Ideally making repetition illegal, stalemate a win for the stalemating side, and bare king a loss, with Black winning fifty move rule draws, could work, but I think it would still favor Black too much. It could be tested with engines, and if Black does win too much, further tiebreak rules could be added until it becomes about fair.
What would be more drastic - changing the rules whereby how the game is won, or altering the starting position, or just the castling rules?

It looks to me that the first option (changing the scoring rules) is way too radical and would mess with the fabric of the game. I know there was a time when bare king or stalemate were counted as a win, but why were those rules changed? It had to be because the current rules work better than the old ones.

For instance, making stalemate a loss would directly affect all (piece &) pawn endgames, but by extension the whole game. People would hesitate to take any chances because the loss of one pawn would doom the player to an almost certain loss in the endgame. Play would become more sterile and materialistic, basically killing the game.
I believe (but do not know) that the stalemate and bare king changes were made when the queen went from being a weak to a strong piece. Before that change, the game was hopelessly drawish without stalemate and bare king being wins. With the "mad queen", draws became rare so they probably thought it made the game more interesting to have the occasional draw by stalemate or insufficient material. But of course the situation is radically different now, so it makes sense to revert those rule changes, we don't need extra draws now! I don't think the effect on early game play would be that great; when players sacrifice a pawn now, they don't usually do so in the hope of saving a pawn-down endgame by stalemate. They expect that their compensation will eventually regain the lost material and perhaps more. It would make pawn sacrifices that were just aimed at reaching a draw less appealing, but I would call tha a good thing. But the no-repetition rule change is far more important than these two, it would have far greater draw-reduction effect. Still the three changes go well together.
Komodo rules!

carldaman
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Re: AlphaZero No Castling Chess

Post by carldaman » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:45 am

I see the stalemate endings/insufficient material vs bare king/perpetual check draws as a fallback or safety net for the daring player who sacs material while trying to win (the old "playing with a draw in hand" strategy), not as a way to force 'weaseling-out' draws, which to me would seem to be a ridiculously counter-intuitive objective.

Perhaps outlawing repetitions that don't involve check is worth looking into, but that too seems a bit artificial. In any case, we should beware of the unintended consequences that dramatic rule changes could bring about.

lkaufman
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Re: AlphaZero No Castling Chess

Post by lkaufman » Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:13 am

carldaman wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:45 am
I see the stalemate endings/insufficient material vs bare king/perpetual check draws as a fallback or safety net for the daring player who sacs material while trying to win (the old "playing with a draw in hand" strategy), not as a way to force 'weaseling-out' draws, which to me would seem to be a ridiculously counter-intuitive objective.

Perhaps outlawing repetitions that don't involve check is worth looking into, but that too seems a bit artificial. In any case, we should beware of the unintended consequences that dramatic rule changes could bring about.
Why should "playing with a draw in hand" be rewarded? Why is a player "daring" if he only sacrifices to insure a draw and then look for more? Even the most cowardly, incompetent patzer can do that, it's hardly admirable or an indication of skill. But you are right to watch out for unintended consequences of changes, they should be tested with engine vs engine games first to look for them. We already learned from some tests reported here that changing repetition rules has more than expected consequences, though I would say unexpectedly favorable consequences in this case!
Komodo rules!

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Ovyron
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Re: AlphaZero No Castling Chess

Post by Ovyron » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:38 am

Hold on, back when the queen was made powerful in chess, wasn't that a radical change that made the game completely different? Yet it was adopted, so why do people want to keep the nature of chess unchanged? Why are people hesitant to add rules that destroy the nature of chess, if that was done in the past and the end-product was a superior game?

Just, stop being afraid of ending with a game very unlike chess, if it's a much superior game people will adopt it and welcome the change.

lkaufman
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Re: AlphaZero No Castling Chess

Post by lkaufman » Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:58 pm

Ovyron wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:38 am
Hold on, back when the queen was made powerful in chess, wasn't that a radical change that made the game completely different? Yet it was adopted, so why do people want to keep the nature of chess unchanged? Why are people hesitant to add rules that destroy the nature of chess, if that was done in the past and the end-product was a superior game?

Just, stop being afraid of ending with a game very unlike chess, if it's a much superior game people will adopt it and welcome the change.
If you want a much-superior game related to but very unlike chess, just take up shogi! That's what I did. But a lot of people want to play a game that retains all the elements of chess, the same tactics, same positional judgment, etc., but just without the need for memorizing theory and without so many draws. It's easy to fix either one of these problems, by FRC in the first case or by scoring changes for various types of draws in the second. To fix both, I suppose you need to combine FRC with the scoring changes.
Komodo rules!

MTaktikos
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Re: AlphaZero No Castling Chess

Post by MTaktikos » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:17 pm

lkaufman wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:50 am
But I think there are much better ways to tiebreak that are more in the spirit of chess. Ideally making repetition illegal, stalemate a win for the stalemating side, and bare king a loss, with Black winning fifty move rule draws, could work, but I think it would still favor Black too much.
The first three changes (repetition illegal, stalemate a win for the stalemating side, and bare king a loss) are very promising.
If I understand right, the fourth change (Black winning fifty move rule draws) favors Black too much and should be omitted
But the no-repetition rule change is far more important than these two, it would have far greater draw-reduction effect. Still the three changes go well together.
OK, here you obviously want the three changes mentioned above. For simplification, let's call this variant "Larry's Chess"
It could be tested with engines, and if Black does win too much, further tiebreak rules could be added until it becomes about fair.
Since there exists the "Fairy Stockfish" project (https://github.com/ianfab/Fairy-Stockfish) , nothing is easier but implement the three changes (in the file variant.cpp). Have done so, compiled the engine SFLarry_x64.exe and uploaded together with the Winboard GUI

http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=062 ... 8209077036

To test the engine, simply start winboard, choose as first and second engine this SFLarry, and then File/New variant/larry
You (or anybody who is interested, of course) can start an engine match, this engine against itself. Have fun!

Edit: Something went wrong with the tinyupload host, the site is extremely slow or is down. Here an alternative link to the
SFLarry engine:
http://www.mediafire.com/file/sijdrnhnu ... s.zip/file

carldaman
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Re: AlphaZero No Castling Chess

Post by carldaman » Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:23 am

Ovyron wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:38 am
Hold on, back when the queen was made powerful in chess, wasn't that a radical change that made the game completely different? Yet it was adopted, so why do people want to keep the nature of chess unchanged? Why are people hesitant to add rules that destroy the nature of chess, if that was done in the past and the end-product was a superior game?

Just, stop being afraid of ending with a game very unlike chess, if it's a much superior game people will adopt it and welcome the change.
The only thing that would worry me is bad, half-baked and counter-productive, changes to our game.
When the modern Queen made its appearance it was a resounding success and revolutionized the game. Why oppose it? I would not.

Criticizing questionable changes does not equate being opposed to all changes. I'm a big fan of 10x8 Capablanca chess and Seirawan's 8x8 variant. I even bought the pieces for it, including the Elephant and the Hawk. I've even warmed up to Fischerandom - I now play that online more than regular chess. I've liked other variants like shuffle and pre-chess and wouldn't mind if they took over as the most popular form of chess.

carldaman
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Re: AlphaZero No Castling Chess

Post by carldaman » Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:40 am

lkaufman wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:13 am
carldaman wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:45 am
I see the stalemate endings/insufficient material vs bare king/perpetual check draws as a fallback or safety net for the daring player who sacs material while trying to win (the old "playing with a draw in hand" strategy), not as a way to force 'weaseling-out' draws, which to me would seem to be a ridiculously counter-intuitive objective.

Perhaps outlawing repetitions that don't involve check is worth looking into, but that too seems a bit artificial. In any case, we should beware of the unintended consequences that dramatic rule changes could bring about.
Why should "playing with a draw in hand" be rewarded? Why is a player "daring" if he only sacrifices to insure a draw and then look for more? Even the most cowardly, incompetent patzer can do that, it's hardly admirable or an indication of skill. But you are right to watch out for unintended consequences of changes, they should be tested with engine vs engine games first to look for them. We already learned from some tests reported here that changing repetition rules has more than expected consequences, though I would say unexpectedly favorable consequences in this case!
My point is that daring play should not be deterred, but encouraged. Such an approach involves extra risk and requires skill. Such players are NOT the type who look forward to chickening out into a perpetual or repetition.


Regarding repetitions, I'm curious, which would you prohibit or penalize, the repetition of positions or that of moves? Because there may be a significant distinction.

The only type of repetitions I would prohibit would be unforced ones, which would require the intervention of an arbiter, unfortunately, and one armed with a chess engine, most likely.

Restricting a player from making the strongest move in a given position appears to me to be against the spirit of the game. It would be one step away from being chess.


I have to say that these discussed scoring changes make something like Fischerandom/Chess960 appear more and more appealing, as an alternative.

lkaufman
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Re: AlphaZero No Castling Chess

Post by lkaufman » Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:33 am

MTaktikos wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:17 pm
lkaufman wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:50 am
But I think there are much better ways to tiebreak that are more in the spirit of chess. Ideally making repetition illegal, stalemate a win for the stalemating side, and bare king a loss, with Black winning fifty move rule draws, could work, but I think it would still favor Black too much.
The first three changes (repetition illegal, stalemate a win for the stalemating side, and bare king a loss) are very promising.
If I understand right, the fourth change (Black winning fifty move rule draws) favors Black too much and should be omitted
But the no-repetition rule change is far more important than these two, it would have far greater draw-reduction effect. Still the three changes go well together.
OK, here you obviously want the three changes mentioned above. For simplification, let's call this variant "Larry's Chess"
It could be tested with engines, and if Black does win too much, further tiebreak rules could be added until it becomes about fair.
Since there exists the "Fairy Stockfish" project (https://github.com/ianfab/Fairy-Stockfish) , nothing is easier but implement the three changes (in the file variant.cpp). Have done so, compiled the engine SFLarry_x64.exe and uploaded together with the Winboard GUI

http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=062 ... 8209077036

To test the engine, simply start winboard, choose as first and second engine this SFLarry, and then File/New variant/larry
You (or anybody who is interested, of course) can start an engine match, this engine against itself. Have fun!

Edit: Something went wrong with the tinyupload host, the site is extremely slow or is down. Here an alternative link to the
SFLarry engine:
http://www.mediafire.com/file/sijdrnhnu ... s.zip/file
Wow, I had no idea this would be so easy, thanks! But I'm having trouble. Since I've almost never used Winboard, I tried installing it in a Fritz GUI as UCI, and although it installs fine and plays, it appears to be playing normal chess, not "Larry's Chess". I'm guessing that means it only works with Winboard; if that's what you tell me I'll take the time to learn how to use Winboard. The other possibility is that the download is the wrong file; although the external name includes the name Larry, the internal name does not, so I want to make sure I have the right file. Assuming I get it working one way or the other, my prediction is that the draw frequency will be half or less from normal, but that the White to Black win ratio will be much higher than normal, which is the reason I added the bit about Black winning fifty move rule draws, although most likely that would favor Black by even more than "Larry's chess" without that rule will favor White. Anyway I need to get some data before trying to improve the idea. I'm in a tournament this weekend so I might not get to do much with it until late Sunday or Monday, but I look forward to it!
Komodo rules!

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Laskos
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Re: AlphaZero No Castling Chess

Post by Laskos » Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:05 am

MTaktikos wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:17 pm
lkaufman wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:50 am
But I think there are much better ways to tiebreak that are more in the spirit of chess. Ideally making repetition illegal, stalemate a win for the stalemating side, and bare king a loss, with Black winning fifty move rule draws, could work, but I think it would still favor Black too much.
The first three changes (repetition illegal, stalemate a win for the stalemating side, and bare king a loss) are very promising.
If I understand right, the fourth change (Black winning fifty move rule draws) favors Black too much and should be omitted
But the no-repetition rule change is far more important than these two, it would have far greater draw-reduction effect. Still the three changes go well together.
OK, here you obviously want the three changes mentioned above. For simplification, let's call this variant "Larry's Chess"
It could be tested with engines, and if Black does win too much, further tiebreak rules could be added until it becomes about fair.
Since there exists the "Fairy Stockfish" project (https://github.com/ianfab/Fairy-Stockfish) , nothing is easier but implement the three changes (in the file variant.cpp). Have done so, compiled the engine SFLarry_x64.exe and uploaded together with the Winboard GUI

http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=062 ... 8209077036

To test the engine, simply start winboard, choose as first and second engine this SFLarry, and then File/New variant/larry
You (or anybody who is interested, of course) can start an engine match, this engine against itself. Have fun!

Edit: Something went wrong with the tinyupload host, the site is extremely slow or is down. Here an alternative link to the
SFLarry engine:
http://www.mediafire.com/file/sijdrnhnu ... s.zip/file

I self-played SFLarry in a dozen or so games at 1' + 1'' in Winboard with Larry variant. All were adjudicated as repetition draws, although repetition should be illegal, and the side making it should lose. It seems a bug to me. The PGN end looks like that: 48. Rc3+ {-4.56/19 1.3} Kf2 {+5.97/19 0.6}
{XBoard adjudication: repetition draw} 1/2-1/2

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