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Cross Chess (wikipedia.org)
54 points by tosh on April 28, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 27 comments

There's a version of draughts, Wikipedia calls it International Draughts, which is quite popular in Europe but not very well known in English-speaking countries, played on a 10x10 board. Apparently the world champion hasn't yet been defeated by a computer. The world champions have always been Europeans, with the exception of a couple from French colonies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Draughts_World_Champio...

>> The world champions have always been Europeans ...

A bit of nit picking: 1956 champion is a Canadian.


From Montreal; alright, it was a former French colony by then.

Is that just because no large initiatives have been made?

a la checkers on bigger board.

The rules are a bit different, since you can take pieces backwards and crowned pieces can move along entire diagonals. I used to play it a bit when I was a teenager.

ah I didn't realize. Thanks.

I think chess is an appealing game because it's touted as the sport of the brain. Once one knows the rules they imagine they have the same chance of winning as anyone.

The truth is chess performance depends tremendously on training, practice and number of games played. At my first job as a software developer they had an internal chess championship which I joined expecting to be beaten badly (there were programmers who were participating afterall), even though I spent most of the previous summer playing chess in the local park. I won that championship, positioning myself as a "smart guy" within the company. I don't think I was actually smarter than them. I barely had more exercise.

I think that these chess variants can cancel most of the training one has and level the playing field, making that chess game a brain game again.

At the very very low level at which I have played, it is more of a waiting game, waiting for the opponent to make a mistake, perhaps from paying inadequate attention and then trying to capitalize on it.

On the higher levels of play it is rarely a swashbuckling affair, with almost no possibility for a player to win, if they by chance fall behind. There are no glorious fightbacks, come from behind wins in chess( at least none famous that I have heard of).

Perhaps, having something like the 'doubling cube' in backgammon will add more excitement to tournaments.

Fischer Random / Chess960 is my favourite variant because it negates the rote learning of opening sequences, but still captures the rest of the game. It’s really fun.

> The truth is chess performance depends tremendously on training, practice and number of games played.

As does every other human activity. (Even defecation; just ask any parent.)

> there were programmers who were participating afterall

Programmers vs mathematicians, I'd bet on the latter.

Programmers aren't all that good at chess as a rule. They universally think they are.

That's a ridiculous stereotype. Mathematicians as a group would tend to be better at chess, given similar level interest, because it takes a lot more memory and pattern recognition to pass the filter of getting to be a professional mathematician than a programmer. Meanwhile programming is much more broadly accessible to all ranges.

I started to win consistently at chess against my father (who was very passionate about math, even reaching national Olympics in highschool) in my 9th grade, after one semester of learning programming doing logic schemes. So, programming might help in advancing one's chess play a bit.

Here's a huge list of chess variants: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_chess_variants

Anyone: please make an online playable version!

Vanilla chess is tremendously captivating. I think only a narrow segment of hyper experts crave a variant.

The problem with chess is that what makes it so addictive is the effect of memorizing openings. Opening theory adds strategic depth, flavor, and a landscape to what would otherwise be a dry, abstract, overly tactical game. It also allows psychological warfare and an element of surprise which isn't possible in variants with randomized starting positions. At the same time however everybody bemoans the fact that you need to memorize openings. I don't see an easy way to solve this conundrum. I understand the situation in Bridge is somewhat similar but I know nothing about Bridge.

Class B player chess here.

Yes and no. What would make you think that memorizing openings is so addictive? Unless you're playing chess for a living, master 2 or 3 openings (queen or kings side) is more than enough and usually so much more effective than knowing superficially a wide range of openings.

Not that true also that defined openings will put the game in a more tactical rather than strategic position. It depends on the opening, and mostly the strategic vs. tactical approach depends on the middle game and on the type of players. Look at Casablanca (strongly strategic) and Tal/Morphy (strongly tactical).

While most people concentrate on memorizing as much as openings the possibly can, I do recommend to learn more end-game variants. Even average chess players (Class C, B, A) don't usually have a good understanding of end-games and that's what makes the different between a good players and a very good player (ie. IM).

> While most people concentrate on memorizing as much as openings the possibly can, I do recommend to learn more end-game variants.

That cannot be emphasized enough.

I've even had players offer me a draw in a classical king vs king+rook situation.

When I learned chess in the GDR we practiced endgames ad nauseum but openings were left until very late.

There's something I don't understand about people who think things like this. Let's go for a simple thought experiment. You're sitting down to play a player who is somewhat stronger than you. He plays 1. Nh3 - a quite awful move of which there will be little to no opening theory on simply because it's so bad. How confident are you now about your chances? I think most players are fully aware that even given such awful opening play, the stronger player will still win in chess.

Chess openings are insidious and certainly the reason the vast majority of players never improve. Imagine a player loses in 10 moves. Naturally he's going to blame his opening. The reality is that he lost because he made some massive tactical blunders. But in either case there are two options here. The first is to go look in a database or book and see where he went wrong. The second is to actually begin the long and difficult path towards improvement that begins with hundreds of hours of work in tactical exercises and deep analysis.

It's not hard to see which most players end up picking. And this becomes a recurring process. They lose another game because of tactical mistakes and go look up and see what they should have played and try to memorize that. And they do this over and over and over. And the next thing you know they repeat some mistake they made long ago because they forgot the right move. In the end their rating stagnates, their play never improves, and then go and complain that they just don't have the "talent" to improve. But it's of course complete nonsense. Beginners love to focus on opening traps, but the reality is that opening studies are the trap in and of themselves!

Since you mentioned it, situation in Bridge is quite different. Memorising can't give you such a considerable advantage against people who have studied less. This is also one of the many reasons that the game will not be dominated by computers in the near future at least. I have met many chess friends, even a grand master that are playing bridge fanatically because the game remains more "enjoyable".

To reduce the stale opening procedure and introduce greater opening-diversity, there is a great variant specifically designed with that in mind called chess960, or Fischer Random.

In case you haven't checked it out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess960

Do you play a fair amount of chess? Your love of opening theory stands in contrast to the majority of chess players as far as I'm aware. Rich strategic themes emerge from complicated tactical positions. This is as true in variants like chess 960 as it is in standard chess.

That's not true at all. You don't have to be a "hyper expert" to get tired of standard chess or to enjoy trying new games. I am not a even a regular expert at chess and I enjoy a few chess variants from time to time.

Looks like the guy who invented the game also prosecuted Ted Bundy. Can't say I expected that.

There is something particularly asymmetric about the way the board looks in this one

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