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When you think about chess, what do you like to think about?

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  • Jerementality
    What are the emotional and intellectual underpinnings of chess play, experience of variants and chess variant design? What guides you to think things through?
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 6, 2009
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      What are the emotional and intellectual underpinnings of chess play,
      experience of variants and chess variant design? What guides you to think
      things through?

      http://www.chessvariants.org/index/displaycomment.php?commentid=23149


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Mats Winther
      ... I wrote this recently in the chess variants discussion group: The motif behind the preoccupation with chess variants. It s obvious that chess has become
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 10, 2009
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        --- In chessvariants@yahoogroups.com, Jerementality <chessvariants@...> wrote:
        >
        > What are the emotional and intellectual underpinnings of chess play,
        > experience of variants and chess variant design? What guides you to think
        > things through?
        >
        > http://www.chessvariants.org/index/displaycomment.php?commentid=23149
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >

        I wrote this recently in the chess variants discussion group:

        The motif behind the preoccupation with chess variants. It's
        obvious that chess has become very analytical, and there is today
        less 'alchemy' left in chess. When chess began in India, it was
        commonly played with dice. The mysterious aspect of chess as a
        universe of variants is continually narrowing down into
        well-trodden paths, and chess has today become a resource of the
        overruling ego. I think this is what lies behind attempts as
        Seirawan Chess, etc., which aim at reintroducing chance and
        wizardry into a game which is today very much about technique and
        preparedness, which does not allow much room for the unexpected.
        There is nothing essentially wrong in a scientific and
        rationalistic view of chess, it's only that it might develop into
        a form of compulsion neurosis, where always the rationally best
        move must be done, with the aid of a computer.

        To allow chess to be enhanced, while keeping the option to play
        standard chess, would satisfy the part of ourselves that is not
        only interested in ego-power, tournament victories and rating
        lists. So I think that evolutions in chess reflect developments
        in the collective psyche. When the modern rules emerged in the
        beginning of the 16th century, this answered to changes in
        collective consciousness. The renaissance had brought with it
        notions of objective criteria, and the game was seen as an object
        of study in itself. Before, it was solely a game of parlor and
        wholly integrated in the social context, and that's why it was so
        popular among women in medieval times.

        Perhaps a better term than computerization is the term
        rationalization. I think it's a sign of the times that people are
        feeling that an out-and-out rationalization of every aspect of
        life, including chess, is too much to bear. The urge to
        'irrationalize' chess, by tampering with the rules, can perhaps
        be seen as a reaction against an overruling ego with its
        rationalistic urge to control, and the accompanying vain search
        after recognition and self-gratification. To give the lie to
        rationalism, one would want a 'wizard piece' to suddenly turn
        up on the board, as a chance event, to reintroduce a portion
        of 'game alchemy' into chess.

        It is possible that an evolutionary turn, what occurred in the
        16th century, is again taking place. It is necessary to meet the
        demands of a collective consciousness which cannot bear anymore
        of rationalistic reductionism. This is necessary if chess is to
        remain popular, and I think it might be inevitable to introduce
        an alternative. Congenially, FIDE has decided that Chess960 be
        included in the general chess rules, coming into force at 1. July
        2009. It is a pleasing development, but there might be better
        alternatives than Chess960. This topic must be discussed among
        chessplayers.
        /Mats
      • John Kipling Lewis
        The popularity of a game is based on many factors, but one factor in particular plagues standard chess. That is replay value. There is a bell curve in games
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 10, 2009
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          The popularity of a game is based on many factors, but one factor in
          particular plagues standard chess. That is replay value.

          There is a bell curve in games based on skill vs. luck. For example,
          chess is almost entirely a game of skill with almost no luck involved at
          all (luck playing only a part in which color you happen to draw.)

          When a novice chess player plays one that is a Grand Master, there is
          little doubt as to the outcome because skill at the game is such a high
          factor.

          On the ther end of the bell curve are games of almost complete chance.
          For example the card game "war". Since you don't make tactical decisions,
          the game relies entirely on the stack of the deck. There is no control
          over the results because you are basically playing mechanically based on
          rules and following the results.

          Neither of these results give rise to a desire to replay. In the first
          case the novice and the Grandmaster gain little enjoyment from play
          because the outcome is almost never in question. In the second case the
          outcome has no relationship to the players at all.

          However on the bell curve are many games that have lots of replay value.
          What characteristics give rise to replay value?

          1. Players of different skill levels still have reasonable chances to win.

          2. Players can identify their reason for losing and thus either blame some
          exterior factor (luck/dice/cards) or realize some tactic that could be
          changed to effect a win. Note that too much loss from luck results in bad
          replay value.

          3. Players can experiment with in "what if" scenarios and thus give the
          game new life over time. By allowing the game either a nearly unlimited
          amount of game positions/options or by changing the game rules over time
          to keep the game fresh, discovery of new or interesting tactics will keep
          players exploring the game's mechanics.

          John Kipling Lewis

          On Wed, 10 Jun 2009, Mats Winther wrote:

          > --- In chessvariants@yahoogroups.com, Jerementality <chessvariants@...> wrote:
          >>
          >> What are the emotional and intellectual underpinnings of chess play,
          >> experience of variants and chess variant design? What guides you to think
          >> things through?
          >>
          >> http://www.chessvariants.org/index/displaycomment.php?commentid=23149
          >>
          >>
          >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >>
          >
          > I wrote this recently in the chess variants discussion group:
          >
          > The motif behind the preoccupation with chess variants. It's
          > obvious that chess has become very analytical, and there is today
          > less 'alchemy' left in chess. When chess began in India, it was
          > commonly played with dice. The mysterious aspect of chess as a
          > universe of variants is continually narrowing down into
          > well-trodden paths, and chess has today become a resource of the
          > overruling ego. I think this is what lies behind attempts as
          > Seirawan Chess, etc., which aim at reintroducing chance and
          > wizardry into a game which is today very much about technique and
          > preparedness, which does not allow much room for the unexpected.
          > There is nothing essentially wrong in a scientific and
          > rationalistic view of chess, it's only that it might develop into
          > a form of compulsion neurosis, where always the rationally best
          > move must be done, with the aid of a computer.
          >
          > To allow chess to be enhanced, while keeping the option to play
          > standard chess, would satisfy the part of ourselves that is not
          > only interested in ego-power, tournament victories and rating
          > lists. So I think that evolutions in chess reflect developments
          > in the collective psyche. When the modern rules emerged in the
          > beginning of the 16th century, this answered to changes in
          > collective consciousness. The renaissance had brought with it
          > notions of objective criteria, and the game was seen as an object
          > of study in itself. Before, it was solely a game of parlor and
          > wholly integrated in the social context, and that's why it was so
          > popular among women in medieval times.
          >
          > Perhaps a better term than computerization is the term
          > rationalization. I think it's a sign of the times that people are
          > feeling that an out-and-out rationalization of every aspect of
          > life, including chess, is too much to bear. The urge to
          > 'irrationalize' chess, by tampering with the rules, can perhaps
          > be seen as a reaction against an overruling ego with its
          > rationalistic urge to control, and the accompanying vain search
          > after recognition and self-gratification. To give the lie to
          > rationalism, one would want a 'wizard piece' to suddenly turn
          > up on the board, as a chance event, to reintroduce a portion
          > of 'game alchemy' into chess.
          >
          > It is possible that an evolutionary turn, what occurred in the
          > 16th century, is again taking place. It is necessary to meet the
          > demands of a collective consciousness which cannot bear anymore
          > of rationalistic reductionism. This is necessary if chess is to
          > remain popular, and I think it might be inevitable to introduce
          > an alternative. Congenially, FIDE has decided that Chess960 be
          > included in the general chess rules, coming into force at 1. July
          > 2009. It is a pleasing development, but there might be better
          > alternatives than Chess960. This topic must be discussed among
          > chessplayers.
          > /Mats
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
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