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Do you hear the wind of changes ?

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Austefjord

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May 18, 2002, 11:34:41 PM5/18/02
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Hi all bg lovers.
In order to make backgammon more fair and attractive for topplayers I
will like to come with a suggestion.
In great tourneys it's common to use the clock when it's down to 16
opponents left. To expand , the way to favour the best players , I
would like backgammon to use the rule of chess . If you touch your
checker , you have to move it that is. This in a combo with the clock
would be refreshing and good.
I have already posted this opinion on dbgf.dk/debat and actually it
have gotten much more support than I had expected.

I reckon that when they established the rules in chess there were some
noise and controversial discussions. Now they are used to it and only
small children play without a clock and even they use "the touching
rule" in serious chess tournaments.

There are three stages of an "new" idea.

1. When "everbody" think of it as impossible.

2. Getting used to it.

3. And when there are no other options.

You may like it or not , but I am pretty sure this is the future.


Then there is only one problem left. =)
Let people getting used to it.
I know it's not a big thing for programmers to implement clocks into
software/servers.
In the beginning as an option . Then little by little it will be as an
demand for playing against an opponent.
Personally I hope the svilo clock will be a default in every
tournament , because dice mechanics keep me out from the tourneys. The
day these things are written conventions , I and many more will
start joining "the tour". Because than we know that it's as fair as it
get. Untill than , I will watch =) .

spurs

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May 19, 2002, 2:37:14 AM5/19/02
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"touch and move"....
The backgammon rule states that a move is complete when the mover picks up
the dice......
This enables a person to make a move and examine the resulting position
before deciding whether to accept that move. There is nothing wrong with
this in my opinion. Touch and move is hardly feasible really as any move
is a combination of TWO (or even 4) separate moves... if you touch can you
still decide which move to make..... and if you move and make an error are
you obliged to move the piece in error to a corrected position... if this is
possible.... MUST one retain the OTHER move made if the error is discovered
after two (or four) moves are made..... I see too much in the policing of
this.
"The clock" is hardly necessary in OTB play.... most people do NOT take
overlong to make most moves and surely one is entitled to take "saved" time
to make complex calculation over critical moves! (This is done in chess by
limiting the time for an entire game and not for each move.... tho this is
implemented sometimes... it is rare. And do not forget that chess
tournsnament roundsconsist of only one game per person
Notice that i have NOT mentioned net play.... I DO believe there is a place
for timing net play.... tho' this precludes the "take a rest" function of
stopping both clocks as can be done in chess!

All this and a however................
in chess there are various options to limit game time, such as 40 moves in
120mins (master and most tourney play) and 5 min chess.... giving a wide
range of options and speeds both of individual play and tournament
play....... You can play a "lightning" chess tournament for league or
knockout play in a very short time....... We Could employ such
functionality in backgammon to give a variety of tournaments.......
"lightning backgammon" at say 2... or even 5 mins per person per game or per
match even! would be interesting and speed up the completion of
tourneys......
and give organizers opportunities to have "tourneys within tourneys!"
Just food for thought... praps starting a thread here!
--
----- spurs º¿º

Roy @ Oxnard, California
spur...@verizon.net
www.dock.net/spurs

"Making a living is NOT the same as making a life"
Roy Passfield...1999

"Austefjord" <joha...@start.no> wrote in message
news:8533bb5b.0205...@posting.google.com...

Austefjord

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May 19, 2002, 9:34:00 AM5/19/02
to
Well since you are comparing to chess. There you have MUCH MORE
combinations to choose from than backgammon. Either it's something
wrong with your imagination or you just don't wannna understand.
The fact that moving
forward-and-back-and-where-did-this-checker-belong? is very
frustrating.
I am glad you asked for what happens if you do an illegal touch.
Since you seem to know much about chess ;-) , same thing here.
Well inn bullet and blitz you have lost.
In classic and 30-45 min you get a penalty in adding time to the
opponent.
And I have tried this out for years , it really isn't hard when you
have done some practice. Give it a go San Antonio. =)

cheers


"spurs" <spur...@verizon.net> wrote in message news:<uKHF8.21406$8M5....@nwrddc01.gnilink.net>...

Gregg Cattanach

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May 21, 2002, 5:44:09 AM5/21/02
to
In the Georgia State Championships coming up on August, we do have a
speed-backgammon side tournament. The rules are a 3 point match with the
doubling cube AND the Jacoby Rule, and 8 minutes per player per match. If
your flag falls you lose right away. It is fun and amusing to watch, and
can lead to some interesting tactics. In one semi-final match last year one
player immediately entered a deep backgame (on purpose), and because he had
less complex decisions to make, the other player actually lost on time
before he could completed that SINGLE game :))

As far as changing to touch-move goes, nobody would put up with it... The
need to examine a resulting position, count shots, etc. is too important in
backgammon to give that up. I do wish players would handle their 'trial'
plays a bit more systematically, though. The correct way, IMO, is to make a
trial play, and if you want to try something else, COMPLETELY put it back to
the original position and try something else. When you just partially
restore the position, especially when moving doubles, it is hard sometimes
for your opponent to keep track of how many you've moved, etc.

I do support the use of clocks, but most likely only in the Championship
divisions and Master's jackpots. I like the fact that the dice are still
down when you complete your play (by hitting the clock), so this effectively
eliminates the problem of what the roll really was. Sometimes in regular
play, a person will make a play quickly, swoop up his dice, and the opponent
will think he rolled something differently than what he moved. There is no
good way to resolve this problem in normal 4 dice play.

Gregg

"spurs" <spur...@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:uKHF8.21406$8M5....@nwrddc01.gnilink.net...

>...... We Could employ such

Laury Chizlett

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May 21, 2002, 7:10:50 AM5/21/02
to
Gregg Cattanach <gcattana...@prodigy.net> writes
<snip>

>As far as changing to touch-move goes, nobody would put up with it... The
>need to examine a resulting position, count shots, etc. is too important in
>backgammon to give that up.

I don't get this at all. BG players: remember match equity tables, in
their heads; or work it out using Neil's numbers, say, ITH; do the pip
count for both players, ITH; perform various calculations based on these
pip counts, eg Thorp to determine the likely percentage win, ITH. And
you can't visualise the position after playing a double 2?

>I do wish players would handle their 'trial'
>plays a bit more systematically, though. The correct way, IMO, is to make a
>trial play, and if you want to try something else, COMPLETELY put it back to
>the original position and try something else. When you just partially
>restore the position, especially when moving doubles, it is hard sometimes
>for your opponent to keep track of how many you've moved, etc.

Exactly.

If a player makes a legal move, I say it should stay there. If it's a
bad one, tough. You soon learn. Chess and Draughts (checkers) players
have had touch-move for over a hundred years, and sorry, these are
deeper games (but less fun). How do you expect players of other games to
take BG seriously when they see players faffing around with the pieces
like a 5-year old?
--
Laury Chizlett, London


Back4U2 BBL

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May 21, 2002, 1:29:23 PM5/21/02
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"Gregg Cattanach" <gcattana...@prodigy.net> wrote in message
news:JFoG8.384$8_6.24...@newssvr16.news.prodigy.com...

IMHO I think there is a good way. A simple 'OK?' 'OK' between the two
opponents.
The one that played asks 'OK?' , the other replies 'OK'. Player now picks up
the dice.

> Gregg
>

Frank Mazza

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May 21, 2002, 1:45:21 PM5/21/02
to
>If a player makes a legal move, I say it should stay there. If it's a
>bad one, tough. You soon learn. Chess and Draughts (checkers) players
>have had touch-move for over a hundred years, and sorry, these are
>deeper games (but less fun). How do you expect players of other games to
>take BG seriously when they see players faffing around with the pieces
>like a 5-year old?

I'll accept that Chess is a deeper game than Backgammon but Checkers?
I doubt that.

As for the visualization demand issue...that's more complicated. Chess
players can only move one piece at a time...and a limited number of
places (even knights). and your opponent can only move one piece in
return.

In Backgammon, after a 55 roll, lets say, there may be 7 or 8 or more
different plausible moves involving multiple checkers in perhaps every
quadrant of the board. A demanding visualization task to mentally see
correctly every one....in my opinion.

As someone who plays both games and whose mental talents (such as they
are) run more to the verbal than mental visualization, I find many
backgammon rolls/positions make more mental demands on my
visualization abilities then Chess moves (as any who plays me online
and sees me sometimes "faffing around with the pieces like a 5-year
old" can attest...lol).

Would be interesing to see what other's think about this. I'm sure we
have chess players among the backgammon aficiandos here (Bill Robertie
has also written a number of books on Chess).

Frank (TransientResponse) Mazza

On Tue, 21 May 2002 12:10:50 +0100, Laury Chizlett
<la...@trpdata.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>Gregg Cattanach <gcattana...@prodigy.net> writes
><snip>
>>As far as changing to touch-move goes, nobody would put up with it... The
>>need to examine a resulting position, count shots, etc. is too important in
>>backgammon to give that up.
>
>I don't get this at all. BG players: remember match equity tables, in
>their heads; or work it out using Neil's numbers, say, ITH; do the pip
>count for both players, ITH; perform various calculations based on these
>pip counts, eg Thorp to determine the likely percentage win, ITH. And
>you can't visualise the position after playing a double 2?
>
>>I do wish players would handle their 'trial'
>>plays a bit more systematically, though. The correct way, IMO, is to make a
>>trial play, and if you want to try something else, COMPLETELY put it back to
>>the original position and try something else. When you just partially
>>restore the position, especially when moving doubles, it is hard sometimes
>>for your opponent to keep track of how many you've moved, etc.
>
>Exactly.
>

>--
>Laury Chizlett, London
>
>
>

Nis Jorgensen

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May 21, 2002, 1:47:09 PM5/21/02
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On Tue, 21 May 2002 19:29:23 +0200, "Back4U2 BBL"
<nardy.p...@skynet.be> wrote:

>IMHO I think there is a good way. A simple 'OK?' 'OK' between the two
>opponents.
>The one that played asks 'OK?' , the other replies 'OK'. Player now picks up
>the dice.

Making it impossible for deaf (or dumb) people to play. Also gives a
lot of possibilities for disputes, like "I didn't say OK", "I thought
you said OK", "couldn't you say OK a little quicker".

IMHO, the best solution for minimizing disputes without introducing a
chess clock would be ... to introduce a chess clock without the clock
part (a chess thingy?) Simply push the button to finish your turn.

--
Nis Jorgensen
Amsterdam

Join the Patti Beadles Fan Club!
Details to follow.

Back4U2 BBL

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May 21, 2002, 2:51:48 PM5/21/02
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"Nis Jorgensen" <n...@dkik.dk> wrote in message
news:4h1leu8tf7186g9oc...@4ax.com...

> On Tue, 21 May 2002 19:29:23 +0200, "Back4U2 BBL"
> <nardy.p...@skynet.be> wrote:
>
> >IMHO I think there is a good way. A simple 'OK?' 'OK' between the two
> >opponents.
> >The one that played asks 'OK?' , the other replies 'OK'. Player now picks
up
> >the dice.
>
> Making it impossible for deaf (or dumb) people to play. Also gives a
> lot of possibilities for disputes, like "I didn't say OK", "I thought
> you said OK", "couldn't you say OK a little quicker".
>
> IMHO, the best solution for minimizing disputes without introducing a
> chess clock would be ... to introduce a chess clock without the clock
> part (a chess thingy?) Simply push the button to finish your turn.
>
Maybe an extra die with 'OK' on it? ;-)
Pretty sure there has to be simple, cheap solution, to prevent the 'quick
pick-up' of dice.

Nis Jorgensen

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May 21, 2002, 3:23:36 PM5/21/02
to
On Tue, 21 May 2002 20:51:48 +0200, "Back4U2 BBL"
<nardy.p...@skynet.be> wrote:

>
>> IMHO, the best solution for minimizing disputes without introducing a
>> chess clock would be ... to introduce a chess clock without the clock
>> part (a chess thingy?) Simply push the button to finish your turn.
>>
>Maybe an extra die with 'OK' on it? ;-)
>Pretty sure there has to be simple, cheap solution, to prevent the 'quick
>pick-up' of dice.

A single cup has been proposed. I believe it requires a little too
much handing over. Also, the chess "thingy" solution is a good
training for the day people have to use a real clock. The device used
need not be overly expensive - I just made one out of a pencil and a
video casette. It doesn't really work, though ;-)

qwerrk

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May 21, 2002, 3:35:04 PM5/21/02
to
Gregg mentions "4 dice play" but what I have noticed at some recent
tourneys is "2 dice play." It seems the convention is to signify the
end of turn by first picking up the dice and tossing them into the
SINGLE shaker/cup, THEN hitting the clock -- turn over. The other
player now has a shaker and dice.

The 2 dice/1 cup set-up appears to work extremely well. Although a
dispute as to what the actual dice roll was can still arise, this is
no different than a 4 dice/2 cup set-up. One real benefit of adopting
a 2-dice/1-cup standard that I can see would be eliminating noisy,
theatrical dice shaking by an opponent as he/she awaits thier turn to
roll.

Finally, I'll offer an opinion on the "u touch, u move" rule proposal:
boys, that kite just ain't gonna fly (as opposed to the dog that will
hunt). Excessive back'n'forth by an opponent can be most annoying,
but one must be vigilant regardless. Concern over losing track of
starting position is pretty minimal -- I find the "one hand" rule
(only one hand at a time allowed to touch the stones) fairly effective
at preventing this sort of confusion.

Roll on,

Thomas

joha...@start.no (Austefjord) wrote in message news:<8533bb5b.02051...@posting.google.com>...


> Well since you are comparing to chess. There you have MUCH MORE
> combinations to choose from than backgammon. Either it's something
> wrong with your imagination or you just don't wannna understand.
> The fact that moving
> forward-and-back-and-where-did-this-checker-belong? is very
> frustrating.
> I am glad you asked for what happens if you do an illegal touch.
> Since you seem to know much about chess ;-) , same thing here.
> Well inn bullet and blitz you have lost.
> In classic and 30-45 min you get a penalty in adding time to the
> opponent.
> And I have tried this out for years , it really isn't hard when you
> have done some practice. Give it a go San Antonio. =)
>
> cheers
>
>

[snip remainder]

Michael Crane

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May 22, 2002, 3:25:15 AM5/22/02
to
Re the 'touch move' debate:

As a TD I am totally against a 'touch move' rule. I can just see what the
future brings . . . more of those, "Yes you did", "No I didn't" conflicts.

And why compare bg with chess? It is like comparing apples with oranges!

Michael

"Back4U2 BBL" <nardy.p...@skynet.be> wrote in message
news:3cea83f5$0$8169$ba62...@news.skynet.be...

Laury Chizlett

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May 22, 2002, 8:59:19 AM5/22/02
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Frank Mazza <fxmaz...@yahoo.com> writes

>I'll accept that Chess is a deeper game than Backgammon but Checkers?
>I doubt that.
>
One of the measures of how "deep" a game is how often the world champion
changes. If one player dominates the game, then IMO the luck must be
minimal. Thus Kasparov in chess, and in checkers Marion Tinsley who won
the world championship in 1954 and lost only 7 or 8 games over the next
40 years until his death. In the end only a bot (Chinook?) could beat
him.

>As for the visualization demand issue...that's more complicated. Chess
>players can only move one piece at a time...and a limited number of
>places (even knights). and your opponent can only move one piece in
>return.
>

The number of candidate moves in chess is often much more than in
backgammon. All moves in backgammon are basically one-move deep: skill,
experience and judgement are needed to select the right move. I have
seen combinations in chess that are 50+ moves deep.

>In Backgammon, after a 55 roll, lets say, there may be 7 or 8 or more
>different plausible moves involving multiple checkers in perhaps every
>quadrant of the board. A demanding visualization task to mentally see
>correctly every one....in my opinion.
>

I have much more trouble counting quickly, storing the pip count on my
hands etc than I do with this visualization task :-)

The reason I'm banging on about chess is that every week, all over the
world, chess tournaments go on, with touch-move in force and the
tournament directors are not troubled. It is enforced by the players who
see it as basically a matter of etiquette and good manners not to try
out moves or dance your playing hand from piece to piece.

We get BG positions posted all the time here. Does every one who
responds with answers to "X to play 44" have to set the board up and try
out the moves physically? You can't do it on FIBS or any other server;
why then allow it over the board?
--
Laury Chizlett, London


Nis Jorgensen

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May 22, 2002, 9:18:24 AM5/22/02
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On Wed, 22 May 2002 13:59:19 +0100, Laury Chizlett
<la...@trpdata.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>
>We get BG positions posted all the time here. Does every one who
>responds with answers to "X to play 44" have to set the board up and try
>out the moves physically? You can't do it on FIBS or any other server;
>why then allow it over the board?

You can in most clients. Your opponent doesn't see it, though.

Laury Chizlett

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May 22, 2002, 10:13:56 AM5/22/02
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In article <ui6neu0sd7ddkndg2...@4ax.com>, Nis Jorgensen
<n...@dkik.dk> writes

>aury Chizlett


>You can't do it on FIBS or any other server;
>>why then allow it over the board?
>
>You can in most clients. Your opponent doesn't see it, though.
>

Because I don't I had thought you couldn't :-) Point taken.
--
Laury Chizlett, London


Adam Stocks

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May 22, 2002, 10:44:32 AM5/22/02
to

"Michael Crane" <michael.a.c...@ntlworld.com> wrote in message
news:jMHG8.7293$7M3.1...@news11-gui.server.ntli.net...

> Re the 'touch move' debate:
>
> As a TD I am totally against a 'touch move' rule. I can just see what the
> future brings . . . more of those, "Yes you did", "No I didn't" conflicts.

Exactly. The multi-piece moving aspect of backgammon would make touchmove a
nightmare to tournaments players and TD's alike, despite the fact that the
bg community has high standards of sportsmanship. I just can't see it
working. Backgammon is a different discipline from chess, and allowing
players to fiddle with their checkers has worked just fine for many years.
Touchmove would also detract immensely from the relaxed social atmosphere we
enjoy when playing, even in competitive play. Another thing - the shallow
dearch depth needed for backgammon compared to chess means that it is not as
important to allow the opponent to be able to see a totally static position
during his 'thinking time' (your own turn) as it is in chess. If they bring
a touchmove rule into tournaments, I won't be going to them.

Adam

spurs

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May 22, 2002, 10:42:22 AM5/22/02
to
Don't get me wrong....... I am NOT a "faffer" and am totally againstmaking
moves THEN assessing position THEN making move decision...... Praps I should
look at the crucial 66 reply to my "faff"!!!!
I think that when you move it should be an attempt to make a valid move.
There is of course the miscount possibility that can make your move
invalid... when you must obviously take it back.... but touch and move?
Suppose you have made a complete move (in any order) and one checker is in
an invalid position.... Presumably I MUST correct the move using THAT
checker...... Now i am punished twice because the other move may have been
dependent on this invalid position.... Now must the other checkere remain
where it landed or can I tke it back? The touch and move rule when making
more than one move is not a go IMHO. But we can make "faffing" illegal by
making your moves actual attempts at making real moves, validated by
removing the touch from both checkers.
I like the "use only one hand" rule.
Re clocks..... Why do we need clocks....... what is the percentage of
games at tournaments where the use of clocks would improve the rate of play?
And who are the people involved in those games.......
Perhaps as an experiment we could use clocks just to time games without
penalty..... recording each players time with the score....... this would
very quickly identify time hogs.... The crucial factor for TDs is the TOTAL
time and this is seldom a problem anyway at most tourneys i have attended.
And we are currently using 4 dice. Do not pick up your dice until your
ooponent has accepted your move by rolling his, which he may do as soon as
soon you have hit your clock with the hand that moved your last checker.
Of course he can use some of HIS time to assess your position BEFORE he
rolls.... that's his prerogative.
Of course now we can have the problem of settling a dispute.... should the
clock run while we get a director? and who's clock? and who makes THAT
decision!
The problems never end!

--
----- spurs º¿º

"Making a living is NOT the same as making a life"
Roy Passfield...1999

"Austefjord" <joha...@start.no> wrote in message
news:8533bb5b.0205...@posting.google.com...

Daniel Hollis

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May 22, 2002, 12:41:31 PM5/22/02
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Nis Jorgensen <n...@dkik.dk> wrote in message news:<407leu8cg2hmcn564...@4ax.com>...

> A single cup has been proposed. I believe it requires a little too
> much handing over.

I agree that passing the cup around is tedious, but I thought that
just a single set of dice is the common way to implement this. When
your turn is done, your opponent picks up the dice.

However, that means your opponent's action is ending your turn.
Obviously a dispute can arise if your opponent ends your turn
prematurely. With a clock, this isn't the case since you hit the
clock to end your turn. Otherwise, a verbal declaration could end
your turn, or perhaps sliding your dice to your opponent.

Another idea is that your turn ends when you've played your move. If
you would like to see your move before you commit to it, then you
should protect the dice - slide them to the center, or your side, or
say something.

In any event, it is going to be difficult to deal with a blatently
cheating opponent. If your opponent will lie about what the dice
showed, he may lie about what the original position was. If a player
won't agree to what's happened, then he can't be prevented from
cheating. He will just have to be watched more closely in the future.

Frank Mazza

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May 22, 2002, 2:34:09 PM5/22/02
to
One player dominating a game may be one measure of a games depth...but
just one. But I think it is true that Chinook is totally dominant over
the best human players...something that is not true of Chess,
Backgammon and certainly Go (where the best programs don't stand a
chance against the best humans). This may count against the depth of
checkers.

As for Chess...yes, combinations can go deep, but I think the
psychological literature on Chess players show that even the best
don't think 50 moves ahead..rather on average 3 to 5. Emanuel Lasker,
world chess champion from 1894 to 1920, was once asked how many moves
he considered when analyzing a chess position. "Only one," he replied.
"But it's always the best move."

Humans use other heuristic tools..positional sense...etc. to prune the
search tree very quickly, unlike the chess playing programs that have
less in the way of heuristics and need to use brute calculating
capacity to search millions of positions a second.

Of course the pruning is even more pronounced in backgammon, otherwise
the game couldn't be played at a high level at very fast speeds by
many expert humans.

Of course, maybe I should ask myself why, if my spatial reasoning is
not that good, I'm attracted to games where visualization ability is a
factor..lol!

Still intriguing stuff and worthy of further research.

As for the touch-move issue....I'm new to backgammon and play online
virtually exclusively...so I'm not qualified to talk about the
mechanics of over the board tourney play.

As for moving the checkers around like a 5-year old, sometimes when I
lapse into that I do get complaints, it can be annoying (doesn't
bother me when someone I'm playing does it). I did, though, once
watch Jerry Grandell move the same two checkers back and forth about
10 times in an online match at GamesGrid...but of course with him, no
one complained..::)

Frank (TransientResponse) Mazza

qwerrk

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May 22, 2002, 2:52:00 PM5/22/02
to
deeper games? come on! ummm, chess, sure, it's at least (^_^) as deep,
but checkers?! not a chance!

Hyacinth Bucket might be able to, but I can't envision one good reason
to be concerned about keeping up appearances for players of "other
games" and just how does one "faff" anyway? flubbing, floundering,
waffling, faltering, maybe even falafelling, but "faffing"?

Roll with it,

Thomas


Laury Chizlett <la...@trpdata.demon.co.uk> wrote in message news:<S8ZwelC6...@trpdata.demon.co.uk>...


> Gregg Cattanach <gcattana...@prodigy.net> writes
> <snip>

re-SNIP>

Back4U2 BBL

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May 22, 2002, 7:04:36 PM5/22/02
to

.... One cup, one pair of dice.
You roll. You move.
You pass the cup to the opponent, he/she takes the cup: move is played.
Opponent picks up the dice, he/she rolls. He/she moves.

This would not take more time or 'hassle' than playing with 2 cups and 2
pair of dice.
And the advantage?
When a player passes the cup, the dice are still visible on the board.
If the opponent does not agree with the move, the dice are still there.

Well....
Just give at a thought....

Nardy
BBL

Paul Tanenbaum

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May 23, 2002, 3:59:02 AM5/23/02
to
"Adam Stocks" <ad...@stocks49.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:acgahf$2b7$1...@newsg1.svr.pol.co.uk...

> "Michael Crane" wrote:
> > Re the 'touch move' debate:
> > As a TD I am totally against a 'touch move' rule. I can just see
> > what the future brings . . . more of those, "Yes you did", "No I
> > didn't" conflicts.
>
> Exactly. The multi-piece moving aspect of backgammon would make
> touchmove a nightmare to tournaments players and TD's alike, despite
> the fact that the bg community has high standards of sportsmanship.
> I just can't see it working.
>
> Backgammon is a different discipline from chess, and allowing
> players to fiddle with their checkers has worked just fine for many
> years. Touchmove would also detract immensely from the relaxed
> social atmosphere we enjoy when playing, even in competitive play.
>
> Another thing - the shallow search depth needed for backgammon

> compared to chess means that it is not as important to allow the
> opponent to be able to see a totally static position during his
> 'thinking time' (your own turn) as it is in chess.
>
> If they bring a touchmove rule into tournaments, I won't be going
> to them.

In some parallel universe, there is another earth, where they also play
backgammon - with slightly different rules - and they even have
Usenet...

> > "Re the 'shifted checkers' debate:
> > As a TD I am totally against a 'shifted checkers' rule. I can just
> > see what the future brings . . . more of those, "The checkers were
> > originally there", "No they were here" conflicts.

> Exactly. The touch move aspect of backgammon would make 'shifted
> checkers' a nightmare to tournaments players and TD's alike, despite


> the fact that the bg community has high standards of sportsmanship.
> I just can't see it working.
>

> Backgammon is a similar mental discipline to chess, where
> visualization is part of the game, and touch move has worked just fine
> for many years. 'Shifted checkers' would also detract immensely from
> the relaxed social atmosphere we enjoy when playing, as it would cause
> delays, needless arguments, and exasperation.
>
> Another thing - the shallow search depth needed for backgammon
> compared to chess means that one may relax during the opponent's
> move; whereas, with shifted checkers, one must be constantly
> alert to mistakes as the pieces move around, resulting in unnecessary
> mental fatigue and detracting from the easy going nature of the game.
>
> If they bring a 'shifted checkers' rule into tournaments, I won't be
> going to them.

---
Paul T.

Adam Stocks

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May 23, 2002, 8:54:51 AM5/23/02
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"Paul Tanenbaum" <ptane...@consultant.com> wrote in message
news:aci7f9$pp7tb$1...@ID-82218.news.dfncis.de...

> In some parallel universe, there is another earth, where they also play
> backgammon - with slightly different rules - and they even have
> Usenet...

???

Adam

Kim

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May 23, 2002, 9:12:43 AM5/23/02
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"spurs" <spur...@verizon.net> wrote in message news:<i7OG8.19$md...@nwrddc02.gnilink.net>...

for anyone who wants to experiment with both the clock and "touch it,
move it", i might suggest going to playsite. there i would say almost
half the matches are timed (its an option u can choose)with the most
common being 3 pts 10 mins. all of the daily tournaments are timed (3
pts 12 mins) and since playsite doesnt have the option of un doing a
move its basically the same thing as "touch it, move it". one caveat:
dont get suckered into something ridiculous such as 5 pts 5 mins or
10 pts 10 mins. the players who play those games lack the skill to
win without the clock. personally i prefer to play without the clock
although a reasonable amount for any given match would be ok. as far
as the other issue, i much prefer to move my pcs around and visualize
the entire move. sometimes its difficult to see how things will play
out just in your head and actually moving the pcs around helps. online
if u dont like the way things look u can click the un do button and
have all your pcs go back to the exact spot they started from. in
live play the unscrupulous player could move his pcs up one or two
pips if his opponent wasnt paying close attention. that would be my
only favorable argument for the "touch it, move it" rule.

Michael Crane

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May 23, 2002, 11:00:05 AM5/23/02
to
<snip>

> .... One cup, one pair of dice.
> You roll. You move.
> You pass the cup to the opponent, he/she takes the cup: move is played.
> Opponent picks up the dice, he/she rolls. He/she moves.

What, if after passing the cup across you spot a better play? Is you move
ended when the cup is passed or the dice are picked up?

I have tried playing with one set of dice and one cup. It is very
unsatisfactory. Also, from TDs viewpoint it will slow things down and cause
more problems than it cures.

Michael

"Back4U2 BBL" <nardy.p...@skynet.be> wrote in message

news:3cec2407$0$8161$ba62...@news.skynet.be...

Back4U2 BBL

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May 23, 2002, 3:22:23 PM5/23/02
to

"Michael Crane" <michael.a.c...@ntlworld.com> wrote in message
news:iv7H8.822$bs1....@news8-gui.server.ntli.net...

> <snip>
> > .... One cup, one pair of dice.
> > You roll. You move.
> > You pass the cup to the opponent, he/she takes the cup: move is played.
> > Opponent picks up the dice, he/she rolls. He/she moves.
>
> What, if after passing the cup across you spot a better play? Is you move
> ended when the cup is passed or the dice are picked up?

Move would be ended once the cup is passed. Yes

>
> I have tried playing with one set of dice and one cup. It is very
> unsatisfactory. Also, from TDs viewpoint it will slow things down and
cause
> more problems than it cures.

You would not have 'your' cup, yes.
But slowing things down?
Rules now: play is not over until opponent picks up the dice.
The same 'picking up the dice time' is now used by your opponent.
But.... if you're used to shake your cup and threw the dice once your
opponent has lifted the dice... yes: there will be a delay.
I can see a delay in bear-off.

Austefjord

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May 23, 2002, 5:58:20 PM5/23/02
to
You have passed 40 and you think of yourself as an innovation kind of
type.
Well perish the thought.
If you start counting combo's backgammon is very lowrated compared to
chess, othello , go and many more mind games.
Backgammon are for person , who as a rule doensn't stand a chance to
compete in athletic kind of sport and don't make it all the way in
f.ex chess.
And if you doubt my strength of judgement and wisedome , I can tell
you that I have been at top 20 at GG recently and I play chess , go ,
bridge and poker regualary.
The change hopefully will come and with them the sponsor money and
more serious comments.
And correct me if I am wrong , but are ekw also an international
master IM in chess. And did he has this thought for a long time :
Don't play me if you take back checkers.

cheers

"Michael Crane" <michael.a.c...@ntlworld.com> wrote in message news:<jMHG8.7293$7M3.1...@news11-gui.server.ntli.net>...

Austefjord

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May 23, 2002, 6:07:27 PM5/23/02
to
Correct me if I am wrong.

Did you follow a game between Tobias Christensen and Leonid Riskin
that was so fast that you didn't stand the chance to notify the game
untill they had reached 8 pt even?
Than I have to ask you.
Did they move checkers forward-and-back ?
And if you had a second chance would you have given them one pair dice
and one cup ?

cheers


"Michael Crane" <michael.a.c...@ntlworld.com> wrote in message news:<iv7H8.822$bs1....@news8-gui.server.ntli.net>...

Michael Crane

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May 24, 2002, 3:58:07 AM5/24/02
to
<snip>

> You have passed 40 and you think of yourself as an innovation kind of
> type. Backgammon are for person , who as a rule doesn't stand a chance to

> compete in athletic kind of sport and don't make it all the way in
> f.ex chess.

What? I might be well past 40 (by 13 years) but I'm as fit as a butchers
dog! I keep myself fit and regularly play badminton against 'boys' half my
age - and whup them! Get yourself round to my house and I'll give you head
start over a four mile run - if you can drag yourself from the PC, that is.

I can play chess, but I lost interest in it after I discovered something far
more exciting - watching paint dry :-)

Michael

"Austefjord" <joha...@start.no> wrote in message

news:8533bb5b.02052...@posting.google.com...

Michael Crane

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May 24, 2002, 4:00:13 AM5/24/02
to
I watched Leonid play in Istanbul. It was like watching an octopus! I swear
he had 8 arms!!

Michael

"Austefjord" <joha...@start.no> wrote in message
news:8533bb5b.02052...@posting.google.com...

Daniel Hollis

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May 24, 2002, 8:17:38 AM5/24/02
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"Back4U2 BBL" <nardy.p...@skynet.be> wrote in message news:<3cec2407$0$8161$ba62...@news.skynet.be>...
> .... One cup, one pair of dice.
> You roll. You move.
> You pass the cup to the opponent, he/she takes the cup: move is played.
> Opponent picks up the dice, he/she rolls. He/she moves.

I realize that's how it's done. I am suggesting 2 cups, 1 pair of
dice. I think the tedious part is the the cup passing, not the single
dice. The act of rolling and moving is so basic to backgammon that it
must be convenient in order for the game to be enjoyable. That's the
problem with passing a dice cup back and forth.

To use 2 cups, we need a different method to end your turn. I am
suggesting that once you've played 2 (or 4 for doublets) checker
moves, then your turn is done and your opponent should pick up the
dice. I am not suggesting that we deny a player his right to look
over a position either. If you want to do that you should call for
time or physically protect the dice. Most moves don't require looking
the board over anyway. Optimizing for the typical 2 second move is
best, IMO.

Michael Crane

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May 24, 2002, 8:27:05 AM5/24/02
to
<snip>

>I am suggesting that once you've played 2 (or 4 for doublets) checker
> moves, then your turn is done and your opponent should pick up the
> dice.

Oh no! Now we get rid of premature rolls and replace it with premature
picking up!!!

I am against anything premature - and so is my wife :-)

Michael

"Daniel Hollis" <dan.h...@alum.dartmouth.org> wrote in message
news:ad369a45.02052...@posting.google.com...

Adam Stocks

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May 24, 2002, 11:05:26 AM5/24/02
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"Michael Crane" <michael.a.c...@ntlworld.com> wrote in message
news:LpmH8.1111$pf3.1...@news11-gui.server.ntli.net...

Get yourself round to my house and I'll give you head

That's got to be the best typo I've ever seen :-)

Adam

Douglas Zare

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May 24, 2002, 12:06:44 PM5/24/02
to

Laury Chizlett wrote:

> Frank Mazza <fxmaz...@yahoo.com> writes
> >I'll accept that Chess is a deeper game than Backgammon but Checkers?
> >I doubt that.

What is the depth of an unsolved game of no chance? You have to beat another
human being. I don't see why chess is considered deeper than checkers. This
issue just came up on rec.games.abstract, and to paraphrase Ralf Gering,
"That's because you don't think ahead 10 moves like a good checkers player
does." (I think 10 is very low; in endgames you may have to thing forward
much more than that.)

Checkers has the tendency to be more drawish than chess when played by top
players. However, you won't draw very often against a top human player
unless you study the game intensely and stretch your mind much more than a
casual player is willing to do. That stretching is what I think makes a game
deep.

Backgammon has luck. In my opinion that makes it both more shallow in some
ways and deeper in others: You don't have to master much to be able to win
25% of the time against a top player, but on the other hand, it does not
suffice to play a tiny bit better than your opponent, to capitalize on one
mistake or weakness, and then coast on technique. In backgammon, even if
your opponent has blundered horribly, it still matters what you do, and if
you make one mistake you still have incentives not to make more.

> >
> One of the measures of how "deep" a game is how often the world champion
> changes. If one player dominates the game, then IMO the luck must be
> minimal. Thus Kasparov in chess, and in checkers Marion Tinsley who won
> the world championship in 1954 and lost only 7 or 8 games over the next
> 40 years until his death. In the end only a bot (Chinook?) could beat
> him.

Well, the last match ended with Tinsley's illness and death, IIRC. It's
unclear whether Chinook was stronger. One problem is that there is not as
much interest in development after a computer beats the top human player.

Most people don't view checkers or chess as having any luck (never mind the
draw of opening moves/colors), though of course there is subjective luck. I
don't see why you would say there is less luck in checkers than in go.

> >As for the visualization demand issue...that's more complicated. Chess
> >players can only move one piece at a time...and a limited number of
> >places (even knights). and your opponent can only move one piece in
> >return.
> >
> The number of candidate moves in chess is often much more than in
> backgammon. All moves in backgammon are basically one-move deep: skill,
> experience and judgement are needed to select the right move. I have
> seen combinations in chess that are 50+ moves deep.

Really? I thought the record of a human-analyzed combination was under 50
moves and was in postal chess, though there were many variations.
Grandmasters do not think 50 moves deep, at least according to their
writings and to the psychologists who study them.

> >In Backgammon, after a 55 roll, lets say, there may be 7 or 8 or more
> >different plausible moves involving multiple checkers in perhaps every
> >quadrant of the board. A demanding visualization task to mentally see
> >correctly every one....in my opinion.
> >
> I have much more trouble counting quickly, storing the pip count on my
> hands etc than I do with this visualization task :-)

There can be over 2000 legal moves in a backgammon position. Even the bots
have trouble considering each move, and although most can be ruled out as
foolish, sometime the foolish-seeming moves are right, e.g., banana splits,
breaking a prime in the middle, trying to get another checker picked up when
fully primed, etc. I played a well-known player in tournament who repeatedly
erred by not considering plays.

> The reason I'm banging on about chess is that every week, all over the
> world, chess tournaments go on, with touch-move in force and the
> tournament directors are not troubled. It is enforced by the players who
> see it as basically a matter of etiquette and good manners not to try
> out moves or dance your playing hand from piece to piece.

Just be thankful it isn't allowed in othello.

I think the touch-move rule is simply a matter of convention, and does not
warrant insults about the mental discipline of the players who are not used
to it.

On GamesGrid, I try to avoid moving the checkers forward and back, but here
are two reasons I do so:

1) It is faster to make a move, and then decide whether I like it, than to
decide first, and then move. So I usually move, then pause, then pick up the
dice, but sometimes I change my mind.

2) If I'm going to take a bit of time thinking about an unusual move,
sometimes I'll make the move so that my opponent or the watchers can see
that there is something to think about.

Douglas Zare

Laury Chizlett

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May 25, 2002, 7:28:01 PM5/25/02
to
Douglas Zare <za...@math.columbia.edu> writes
<snip>

>Laury Chizlett wrote:
>> The number of candidate moves in chess is often much more than in
>> backgammon. All moves in backgammon are basically one-move deep: skill,
>> experience and judgement are needed to select the right move. I have
>> seen combinations in chess that are 50+ moves deep.
>
>Really? I thought the record of a human-analyzed combination was under 50
>moves and was in postal chess, though there were many variations.
>Grandmasters do not think 50 moves deep, at least according to their
>writings and to the psychologists who study them.
>
50 move combinations are admittedly very rare and are mostly of a very
confined variety; usually, but not always, in endgames. Most chess moves
are one move deep - but you have to keep it up over the whole game!

When I wrote the above I was thinking of at least one combo by Alekhine,
in his "Greatest Games" (although he was not always trustworthy in his
comments on his own games), but, more importantly, more than one game by
Korchnoi, whose profundity tended to over-reach his mastery of the
clock. In one game IIRC, K took over an hour and a half to make a move,
and, although he achieved a winnable position 50+ moves later, lost
through time trouble, a perennial problem with this great player. I
haven't played competitive chess for a long time now: I find backgammon
much more attractive as I have aged, and, honestly all my chess books
are in the attic. I'll try and find the exact game. It's a beaut.

>There can be over 2000 legal moves in a backgammon position. Even the bots
>have trouble considering each move, and although most can be ruled out as
>foolish, sometime the foolish-seeming moves are right, e.g., banana splits,
>breaking a prime in the middle, trying to get another checker picked up when
>fully primed, etc. I played a well-known player in tournament who repeatedly
>erred by not considering plays.
>

I've played backgammon for over 40 years now and expect to die not
knowing every twist this game has to offer. One of its attractions is
that you can, in a casual game, call for, and offer, advice on each
other's moves - we are all, in the end, at the mercy of the dice, as
modified by our own judgement. In such games, moving the pieces about is
to me both totally acceptable and totally enjoyable. When it comes to
touch-move I'm talking about serious tournament or money play - it is
too late for learning at such times.
<snip>


>I think the touch-move rule is simply a matter of convention, and does not
>warrant insults about the mental discipline of the players who are not used
>to it.

I intend no insult against the many players in the world that are better
than I. I am just surprised that any such player should think it
acceptable to accept a situation where it is OK to "let's try this...
no, let's put 'em back - is that right? Now...can I do this? Em..were
they like this?... yes that'll do... no... " And, in truth, I suspect,
such players don't like it either.
--
Laury Chizlett, London


Paul Tanenbaum

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May 27, 2002, 12:46:45 AM5/27/02
to
"Douglas Zare" <za...@math.columbia.edu> wrote in message
news:3CEE6514...@math.columbia.edu...

>
> > >I'll accept that Chess is a deeper game than Backgammon but
> > >Checkers? I doubt that.
>
> What is the depth of an unsolved game of no chance? You have to beat
> another human being.

Is there a good definition? Intuitively, I'd say it comes from our
perception of the breadth and depth of the search tree, in an 'average'
position. Also the number of possible positions that can arise.

Chess has more positions than does checkers, and the general view is
that analysis is more challenging; i.e. deeper or wider search tree.

Chess certainly has more positions than backgammon. But there's a
paradox regarding the tree search: the width of tree expands so rapidly
in bg - with the dice precluding any pruning - that search more than 2
ply is infeasible. Chess, on the other hand, allows deeper search, due
to pruning heuristics, and so we say that chess is a deeper game. But
the deeper search results from its being an 'easier' search; by this
view bg is more difficult, so why is chess a 'deeper game'?

Perhaps because evaluating the leaf node positions is more challenging;
the continuous equity aspect of bg is more forgiving of error than the
sharper win/lose/draw chess evaluation.

> I don't see why chess is considered deeper than checkers.

It meets the criteria above.

> ...


> There can be over 2000 legal moves in a backgammon position.

Example?

Maybe we could hold a contest: find the position & dice roll which has
the most possible moves.

> ...


> I think the touch-move rule is simply a matter of convention, and does
> not warrant insults about the mental discipline of the players who are
> not used to it.

I disagree.

It's not merely convention, but laziness, and warrants reproach about
discipline, if anything does.

---
Paul T.

Kees van den Doel

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May 27, 2002, 5:08:17 AM5/27/02
to
In article <acsdmn$s073b$1...@ID-82218.news.dfncis.de>,
Paul Tanenbaum <ptane...@consultant.com> wrote:

>> There can be over 2000 legal moves in a backgammon position.

>Maybe we could hold a contest: find the position & dice roll which has
>the most possible moves.

Here's my entry:

white on roll
Black: 1 checker on his 1 point
White: single checkers his 1,3,5,7,9,11,13,15,17,18,19,20,21,22,23 point
dice: 1-1


Kees (Variable cloudiness still comes here that foreignors can finish
this too long.)

Kees van den Doel

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May 27, 2002, 5:13:03 AM5/27/02
to
In article <acsdmn$s073b$1...@ID-82218.news.dfncis.de>,
Paul Tanenbaum <ptane...@consultant.com> wrote:

>> There can be over 2000 legal moves in a backgammon position.

>Maybe we could hold a contest: find the position & dice roll which has
>the most possible moves.

Here's my entry:

white on roll
Black: 1 checker on his 24 point
White: single checkers his 3,5,7,9,11,13,15,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24 point
dice: 1-1

2220 moves.

Frank Mazza

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May 27, 2002, 11:48:25 AM5/27/02
to
Well put, Paul!

Frank Mazza

Douglas Zare

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May 28, 2002, 1:29:15 AM5/28/02
to

Paul Tanenbaum wrote:

> "Douglas Zare" <za...@math.columbia.edu> wrote in message
> news:3CEE6514...@math.columbia.edu...
> >
> > > >I'll accept that Chess is a deeper game than Backgammon but
> > > >Checkers? I doubt that.
> >
> > What is the depth of an unsolved game of no chance? You have to beat
> > another human being.
>
> Is there a good definition? Intuitively, I'd say it comes from our
> perception of the breadth and depth of the search tree, in an 'average'
> position. Also the number of possible positions that can arise.
>
> Chess has more positions than does checkers, and the general view is
> that analysis is more challenging; i.e. deeper or wider search tree.

I think most people agree almost instantaneously that chess is harder than
checkers without being able to play either one well. What does it mean if
the analysis is "easy?" Your opponent can do it, too. I find that in
checkers you are supposed to look forward many more moves than in chess for
an equivalent playing level.

> Chess certainly has more positions than backgammon. But there's a
> paradox regarding the tree search: the width of tree expands so rapidly
> in bg - with the dice precluding any pruning - that search more than 2
> ply is infeasible. Chess, on the other hand, allows deeper search, due
> to pruning heuristics, and so we say that chess is a deeper game. But
> the deeper search results from its being an 'easier' search; by this
> view bg is more difficult, so why is chess a 'deeper game'?

I'd be careful that the depth of the search is not the same thing as the
depth of the game. In fact, the opposite statement has merit.

Different games require different skills. Some require deep evaluation of a
fixed position. Some require that one search or prune your way through many
possibilities. Some require attention to details. Some require one to see
the grand scheme, independent of the details. Regardless, you are supposed
to be stronger than your opponent.

> Perhaps because evaluating the leaf node positions is more challenging;
> the continuous equity aspect of bg is more forgiving of error than the
> sharper win/lose/draw chess evaluation.
>
> > I don't see why chess is considered deeper than checkers.
>
> It meets the criteria above.

Which criteria? That the "general view" is that the analysis is more
challenging? That it has more positions? The vast majority of legal chess
positions are completely absurd. I still don't see any reason to consider
chess deeper than checkers. I don't see why either is comparable to
backgammon.

> > ...
> > There can be over 2000 legal moves in a backgammon position.
>
> Example?

It's not too hard to show that the positions with the most number of moves
possible will involve 1-1: Any move you can make with 2-2 can be made with
1-1 if you order the points 24-22-20-...-2-23-21-19-...1. There are too few
moves possible with nondoubles or checkers on the bar or the bearoff.

The most I have found is 2226, with checkers on the 24, 23, 21, 20,...6,5,
and 3. There are a few variations possible in this ordering, e.g., pushing
the checker on the 5 to the 4. An easy upper bound on the number of moves
possible is 18 choose 4=3060, which would be the number of ways to
distribute 4 moves to 15 distinct objects, but I think that the 2226 is
optimal.

> Maybe we could hold a contest: find the position & dice roll which has
> the most possible moves.
>
> > ...
> > I think the touch-move rule is simply a matter of convention, and does
> > not warrant insults about the mental discipline of the players who are
> > not used to it.
>
> I disagree.
>
> It's not merely convention, but laziness, and warrants reproach about
> discipline, if anything does.

If you require the touch-move rule, and then people stop considering moves,
or give up backgammon as too difficult, then that indicates laziness, or an
unwillingness to spend mental energy on this pastime. Otherwise, I'd
consider it one of the many tasks that is possible but not customarily done.
We might be better off if people didn't breathe in elevators (to choose a
random example), but I'm not going to stop or to chide people on their
weakness if they do.

Douglas Zare

Paul Tanenbaum

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May 28, 2002, 2:46:38 PM5/28/02
to
"Douglas Zare" <za...@math.columbia.edu> wrote in message
news:3CF315AB...@math.columbia.edu...

> > > > >I'll accept that Chess is a deeper game than Backgammon but
> > > > >Checkers? I doubt that.
> > >
> > > What is the depth of an unsolved game of no chance? You have to
> > > beat another human being.
> >
> > Is there a good definition? Intuitively, I'd say it comes from our
> > perception of the breadth and depth of the search tree, in an
> > 'average' position. Also the number of possible positions that can
> > arise.
> >
> > Chess has more positions than does checkers, and the general view is
> > that analysis is more challenging; i.e. deeper or wider search tree.
>
> I think most people agree almost instantaneously that chess is harder
> than checkers without being able to play either one well. What does it
>mean if the analysis is "easy?" Your opponent can do it, too. I find
> that in checkers you are supposed to look forward many more moves
> than in chess for an equivalent playing level.
>
> > ... But there's a paradox regarding the tree search: the width of
> > tree expands so rapidly in bg that search more than 2 ply is

> > infeasible. Chess, on the other hand, allows deeper search, due
> > to pruning heuristics, and so we say that chess is a deeper game.
> > But the deeper search results from its being an 'easier' search; by
> > this view bg is more difficult, so why is chess a 'deeper game'?
>
> I'd be careful that the depth of the search is not the same thing as
> the depth of the game. In fact, the opposite statement has merit.

We still don't have a good handle on what constitutes a "deep game".

Another idea would be something like: as the tree search from a position
goes deeper, there are more 'surprises'; i.e. after N moves, it looks
like White is winning - but then a few more moves, and we give Black the
edge - then some more moves, and it's unclear...

This type of thing would occur more often in chess than bg. Probably
more than in checkers too.

> Different games require different skills. Some require deep evaluation
> of a fixed position. Some require that one search or prune your way
> through many possibilities. Some require attention to details. Some
> require one to see the grand scheme, independent of the details.
> Regardless, you are supposed to be stronger than your opponent.
>
> > Perhaps because evaluating the leaf node positions is more
> > challenging; the continuous equity aspect of bg is more forgiving of
> > error than the sharper win/lose/draw chess evaluation.
> >
> > > I don't see why chess is considered deeper than checkers.
> >
> > It meets the criteria above.
>
> Which criteria? That the "general view" is that the analysis is more
> challenging? That it has more positions? The vast majority of legal
> chess positions are completely absurd.

Ditto for backgammon.

> I still don't see any reason to consider chess deeper than checkers. I
> don't see why either is comparable to backgammon.

How about: difficulty in programming up to world class level?

Or: number of distinct rating classes (per Elo), from beginner to world
best?

> > > ...
> > > There can be over 2000 legal moves in a backgammon position.
> >
> > Example?
>

> ...


> The most I have found is 2226, with checkers on the 24, 23, 21,

>20,...6,5, and 3... An easy upper bound on the number of moves


> possible is 18 choose 4=3060, which would be the number of ways to
> distribute 4 moves to 15 distinct objects, but I think that the 2226
> is optimal.

18 choose 4?

15 choose 4 = 1365

> > > ...
> > > I think the touch-move rule is simply a matter of convention, and
> > > does not warrant insults about the mental discipline of the
> > > players who are not used to it.
> >
> > I disagree.
> > It's not merely convention, but laziness, and warrants reproach
> > about discipline, if anything does.
>
> If you require the touch-move rule, and then people stop considering
> moves, or give up backgammon as too difficult, then that indicates
> laziness, or an unwillingness to spend mental energy on this pastime.
> Otherwise, I'd consider it one of the many tasks that is possible but
> not customarily done.

But it's reasonable to ask why people resist. In casual games, there is
no problem in shifting checkers around. In tournaments, where there is
an air of seriousness, touch move is superior for reasons of courtesy -
think first, then handle the pieces.

> We might be better off if people didn't breathe in elevators (to
> choose a random example), but I'm not going to stop or to chide people
> on their weakness if they do.

Well, it's not like people can choose not to breathe by effort of will.

---
Paul T.

Murat Kalinyaprak

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May 29, 2002, 3:48:22 AM5/29/02
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Michael Crane wrote LpmH8.1111$pf3.1...@news11-gui.server.ntli.net

>... I keep myself fit and regularly play badminton against


> 'boys' half my age - and whup them!

When I saw "badminton", I couldn't help using up my
allowance for going off-topic here. Until I discovered
and started playing it indoors regularly once a week
for the past 4 winters, I thought it was a "foofoo" kind
of a sport but I found out that it gives a much harder
work-out than many "macho" sports... I really enjoy it
but I don't know about that "boys" stuff... I thought you
weren't catholic...??

MK

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Michael Crane

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May 29, 2002, 4:11:25 AM5/29/02
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I'm not a catholic, I just wear a cassock because I like too ;-)

The 'boys' I play with are amazed that although I am twice their age and a
good bit older than their fathers, they have a job to beat me (at
badminton!). When I miss the occasional return and am berated for doing so I
reply, "Could your dad have hit that back?"

Michael

"Murat Kalinyaprak" <mu...@compuplus.net> wrote in message
news:3cf4...@post.newsfeed.com...

Douglas Zare

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May 29, 2002, 6:17:55 AM5/29/02
to

Paul Tanenbaum wrote:

> We still don't have a good handle on what constitutes a "deep game".

I agree. I won't accept the proposition that chess is deeper than checkers
unless soemone can come up with a reasonable measure other than popular
perception (which differs, of course, from what many top checkers players
say).

> Another idea would be something like: as the tree search from a position
> goes deeper, there are more 'surprises'; i.e. after N moves, it looks
> like White is winning - but then a few more moves, and we give Black the
> edge - then some more moves, and it's unclear...

Of course, that is very subjective. It assumes that you have some sort of
static evaluation. For most games, you don't need to know whether you are
winning or not as you play it. That's one of the great things about the
doubling cube: It forces you to have an absolute understanding of your
chances, not just a relative understanding.

> This type of thing would occur more often in chess than bg. Probably
> more than in checkers too.

Why do you say that? About checkers, I mean. Preconceptions, or experience
with checkers computer programs?

> > Different games require different skills. Some require deep evaluation
> > of a fixed position. Some require that one search or prune your way
> > through many possibilities. Some require attention to details. Some
> > require one to see the grand scheme, independent of the details.
> > Regardless, you are supposed to be stronger than your opponent.
> >
> > > Perhaps because evaluating the leaf node positions is more
> > > challenging; the continuous equity aspect of bg is more forgiving of
> > > error than the sharper win/lose/draw chess evaluation.
> > >
> > > > I don't see why chess is considered deeper than checkers.
> > >
> > > It meets the criteria above.
> >
> > Which criteria? That the "general view" is that the analysis is more
> > challenging? That it has more positions? The vast majority of legal
> > chess positions are completely absurd.
>
> Ditto for backgammon.

Which criteria?

> > I still don't see any reason to consider chess deeper than checkers. I
> > don't see why either is comparable to backgammon.
>
> How about: difficulty in programming up to world class level?

This is a measure of our strengths or weaknesses in telling a computer how
to play, but the way we think about a game may be much different. It's
difficult to program the notion of a group in go, but it is very easy for a
human to recognize on a usable level. Go may be deep, but the difficulties
in programming may be unrelated. In fact, it is extremely difficult to get
the computer to count the score at the end of the game, too, partly because
of ambiguities and special cases which nonmathematicians prefer to ignore.
There has been extensive discussion of this on rec.games.go.

> Or: number of distinct rating classes (per Elo), from beginner to world
> best?

The standard response for that is that one can increase the complexity of a
game by making it a match of several games. There are quite a few others. I
don't think that drawish games are necessarily less deep.

One can also increase the complexity by that measure by relabelling the game
to be more confusing to a novice. Consider the game of 15: We alternate
choosing a number from 1 to 9, and the winner is the first to have 3 numbers
adding to 15. Most people lose when they play me. Guess what game this
really is?

4 9 2
3 5 7
8 1 6

This is the picture I keep in mind as I play.

It is much easier to teach most Westerners to play chess than to play shogi
(sometimes called Japanese chess, in which you can drop captured pieces) or
xiang qi (Chinese chess, with a river in the middle of the board, and kings
confined to palaces). Does that mean these are deeper games? I hardly think
so; I won almost all of my first 10 games of chinese chess, playing against
Caltech students who had played while growing up. The beginner phase is not
well defined.

> > > > ...
> > > > There can be over 2000 legal moves in a backgammon position.
> > >
> > > Example?
> >
> > ...
> > The most I have found is 2226, with checkers on the 24, 23, 21,
> >20,...6,5, and 3... An easy upper bound on the number of moves
> > possible is 18 choose 4=3060, which would be the number of ways to
> > distribute 4 moves to 15 distinct objects, but I think that the 2226
> > is optimal.
>
> 18 choose 4?
>
> 15 choose 4 = 1365

The number of ways of distributing k checkers on n points is (n+k-1 choose
k). Think of arranging k checkers and n-1 dividers in a row. Every choice of
the placement of checkers corresponds to an arrangement of checkers on
points by putting the checkers to the left of the first divider on the first
point, the checkers between the first and second dividers on the second
point, etc.

Ok, instead of checkers on points, we have 4 1's to distribute among 15
labelled checkers. In my position, not all distributions are distinct, as
the checkers are not labelled, so 24/22 is the same move as 23/22 24/23. So
15+4-1 choose 4 = 3060 is an upper bound, but not a very good one. Can
anyone beat 2226?

> > If you require the touch-move rule, and then people stop considering
> > moves, or give up backgammon as too difficult, then that indicates
> > laziness, or an unwillingness to spend mental energy on this pastime.
> > Otherwise, I'd consider it one of the many tasks that is possible but
> > not customarily done.
>
> But it's reasonable to ask why people resist. In casual games, there is
> no problem in shifting checkers around. In tournaments, where there is
> an air of seriousness, touch move is superior for reasons of courtesy -
> think first, then handle the pieces.

I agree that it is better to avoid shuffling checkers, and I apologize if I
take a move back. However, things get really ugly when you enforce the
touch-move rule in chess and call a tournament director when someone does
not say "adjusting," as happened on an adjacent board in a tournament I
attended.

Douglas Zare

Adam Stocks

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May 29, 2002, 12:57:38 PM5/29/02