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IAGO Chess System. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2009-08-19 UTC
'Variant' in the context I am speaking, refers to changes in how chess is played to meet the needs of the community of players, based on the 'wear' to the game of chess.   An original change that went on was the 'Mad Queen' and 'Mad Bishop'.  After that was the need for time control for tournament play, so the chess clock was introduced.  And now, it appears that the reducing of time addressed a lot of issues with chess.  

Again, the comment 'speed chess is a variant?' bears witness to actually variants of chess getting shut out for consideration (well, outside of maybe Chess960).  The Capablanca school is persona-non-gratis.

Charles Daniel wrote on 2009-08-19 UTC
Rich - I'm a bit confused here. You are referring to speed chess as a variant. The implications are astounding. Imagine if the 285 million players on the internet are told they are not playing chess but a variant! - since most do play some variety of speed chess 
I for one don't think so. Speed chess is simply an agreement to complete x amount of moves in y time. Even current classical chess is played at faster controls than before. Since chess was actually not meant to be played with clocks in the first place, are we all playing a variant? 
Clearly not.  
The issues of strong players drawing more often, stale opening etc only affect about 2-5 % of the chess population, and the chess community is driven by class A to class D amateurs. Draws are not even an issue at classical time control for many of them. 
The FIDE is not a 'community' and has absolutely no control on how online chess is played. It serves no purpose except to enforce the  rules of FIDE sponsored chess events.
Some variants like losing chess, Bug House catch on because they are different and not considered serious chess. IN a similar vein, one can market a game if different enough from chess  such as maybe Arimma maybe even Rococo, but not as a next chess.    
The best one can do to promote chess variants is to advertise the events that take place. The categorization scheme works too. 
With the exception of Chess960, (and only because it was suggested by Bobby Fischer), it seems to me that the chess community is simply not interested in any other chess-like game. Perhaps its the nature of chess being too complex, perhaps it is their need to master the game or their inability to think outside of chess ... 
So I believe chess variants will have to compete on equal footing with any other unknown Board Game X to attract a niche audience. 
Trying to convince the chess purists that we have the 'next chess' is probably fruitless, but I will be very interested in reading the comments if anyone starts such a promotion targeting chess players on forums etc.

George Duke wrote on 2009-08-19 UTC
I just logged onto Brainking for couple minutes. Now I know why we don't hear from Reinhard Scharnagl since they have added CapaRC there among all the 38-40 Chesses. Chess, Chinese, Japanese, Corner, Fortress.... Included are Berolina and FRC. 240 are playing now at what 8:00 p.m. Greenwich time, or the equivalent, and that's as prime time as you can get. More favourably there are 85,000 past players. Only 240/85000 shows dissatisfaction. Who's number two?,displaycomment.php?commentid=18806

Rich Hutnik wrote on 2009-08-19 UTC
The issues chess faced of excess draws, games taking too long, and stale openings all have been addressed by the fast play (blitz/speed) variant.  The World Mind Sports games used the fast version of chess for its play.  Because of this, the FIDE community won't feel the need to speak to the variant community at all.  End result is that, rather than being an important part of the ecosystem of chess, the variant community is seen as some sort of freaks, which best go away, before they pollute things.  And, with this mentality, you will see individual islands of chess variants, with individuals believing they have 'the next chess' which typically end up going nowhere.

My experience with the commercial 'the next chess' variant folks (as opposed to those who just want to do fun variants) is they are close the the worst possible type of people to deal with.  There is one variant, that shall not be named on here, that bears evidence to that.

Charles Daniel wrote on 2009-08-19 UTC
Interesting, when I play live chess, I do play the very common default 2+12 time controls mostly - which is according to : FIDE handbook still blitz since its 2+60*12/60=14 minutes which is under 15 min. So yes, speed chess is the most common chess then. Section F (Miscellaneous) of this handbook actually contains rules for Chess960!

George Duke wrote on 2009-08-19 UTC

Charles Daniel wrote on 2009-08-19 UTC
I have never heard of speed chess - unless you mean blitz or fast chess and the chess community never settled on that or whatever it is you refer to  as a 'future'.

Rich Hutnik wrote on 2009-08-19 UTC
The basis point of the 'IAGO Chess System' is to provide a framework by which chess could continue to evolve, and also allow room for the variant community to be part of the discussion.  What I lay out with classes is ONE approach.  The heart of the approach is to start with A and go to Z, with the further you get away from A to be the further you get away from the base game, or original evolution point (this has an internal logic to it).  If there is a need to have an E-Class and have M-Class become something else, go for it.  However, we would need a consensus here, and it become a convention.

I had proposed that new pieces be the starting point of evolving, but if people want another option (or set of options, like formations and shuffle) please feel free to go there.  And, whatever the consensus is, IAGO could end up backing something that is the equivalent to FIDE Chess for FIDE.

I will say this work does matter, because the chess community is settling on speed chess as the next step in the future of chess, and this blocks the variant community from speaking.

George Duke wrote on 2009-08-19 UTC
Thanks Jeremy for the correction that one of the two Bent Shaman pathways is through Alfil not Dabbabah. Outside this Iago description, reference off and on has been to practical application of M-Class as Modern or Evolving but I call Mutating [it's ''Mutable'' in other paragraphs], conflating the original M-class with some sentences from other classes. Hutnik in comments points out the over-all flexibility. For example, wherever it originates, Rococo would have to be worked in some M-class for whether Chameleon has all the kinks out, or the edge squares' ambiguities are things of the past. Following the link through, I usually mean *X-class* when referencing M-class. Deciding Rococo details best served would be X-class modifications.

Rich Hutnik wrote on 2009-06-26 UTC
I have an interest (can put IAGO in there if you want) of seeing a functioning taxonomy developed, that would help assist in the promoting of chess variants, and setting up meaningful tournaments.  I would personally be very much in favor of a monster revamp and gutting of the internals of the 'IAGO Chess System' if it mean the variant community would get behind it.  

IAGO Chess System (aka IAGO Chess) is attempt 1.0 at this.  It does propose that what it become be done by consensus of a community, rather than some individual trying to be a genius.  To that end, I welcome a uniformed set of mutators, pieces (with standardized names and appearances), formations and whatever else people want to add, be added to the System, and the system continue to evolve.

Anyhow, just my 2 cents...

George Duke wrote on 2009-06-25 UTC
Taxonomy of CVs themselves and rules-sets by utility or certain piece classes (RN, BN) or others as experimental. Somewhere else Hutnik has Mutators listed like Neto's.

Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-06-18 UTC
Charles, thanks for the comments on IAGO Chess System.  I do believe those are some of the objectives.  More work needs to be done to make it so.  Also, thanks for the reply here.  It makes sense to have it attached to the IAGO Chess System.

I am all in favor of coming up with some 'Universal' chess variant kit that has a larger board.  I would actually like one under the IAGO banner that could encompass a wide range of games.  There are several issues though that are a potential barriers to making this so (You need to keep in mind FIDE folk when proposing anything):
1. The availability to purchase such equipment.  Rationalizing people can make their own boards and so on, isn't going to cut it with most people.  Most people aren't interested in arts and crafts projects to do their games.  Saying you can import it isn't going to cut it either.  People need things more immediate.
2. You have to take an evolutionary starting point to get the FIDE crowd interested in variants.  I am of the belief that the use of reserve pieces with drops and gating is the least disruptive way to do this.  IAGO, Seirawan and Alternative all provide ways to get new pieces into regular chess, without disrupting the starting point.  Of course, Seirawan is proprietary and the designers don't want it tweaked in any way, so I use it as a hypothetical here.  I am suspect that the FIDE crowd wants to go with a larger board now.  At least NOT from the perspective of investing in new equipment.  The movement has to be subtle, but also opening up the doorway for variants.  On this point, I think we need to do an actual survey of what they want, rather than doing presumptive speculation on what they want. 

I also want to add that Seirawan, IAGO and Alternative all can be adapted to a wide range of chess variants. Like the Beyond Chess board, there are more universal in how they work, thus are compatible with a range of games.  This compatibility in approach is what is needed.  Things like this, and mutators, are what matters.  My take on the board is that, taking a wargames approach, it should be nothing more than a 'map' for a scenario.  The board shouldn't be the end all and be all answer for anything.  It is just a part of a larger picture.  The 8x8 board is readily available and comfortable with people, so I say this should be the starting point.  Let me add here also that IAGO Chess (and Alternative to some extent) are able to strengthen Chess960, by addressing any weaknesses in configuration of pieces.

As for my 'next chess', I am looking for an evolutionary path for it to grow and continue to adapt, that would encompass the fullness of the variant world, in the most rational way.  In this Chess960 is part of the solution, as is the use of reserves that enter via drops and gating.  You also throw in mutators in this. And, players can go beyond with new boards also.  The idea is to loosen things up, but provide a feedback loop on what works, that would bring the variant and FIDE crowd together.

In regards to the various projects, I want 'The Next Chess' to be a separate project.  I had discussed 'The Chess of Tomorrow' project as a place for this.  The results are what IAGO can adopt.  IAGO Chess (the game) is an example now, definitely subject to modification.  It was an attempt to do Capablanca chess in IAGO, through the use of drops and gating, as a compromise.  There is also the classification approach (IAGO Chess System) which I believe should be expanded and tweaked, 'The Chess of Tomorrow' project would fit into this.

Also, don't diminish the 9 queen problem.  It gets worse the more you have promotion and an ever wider variety of pieces.  Chess players, FIDE folk, play with a fixed number of pieces.  You start bring variant pieces in, then you have issues.  The issue is that the salt shaker is no longer a queen, but an ever-growing number of pieces.  The variant crowd does have a chance to find a practical solution for this in some form.

What we need to do now is have action.  We need to start doing things.  We need to make variants more financially viable, and available to people, and have it interesting.  In this comes standards.  We need to increase the pool of games played, and see how the interplay works.  Cutting the Gordian Knot of piece values would be a big help also, and figuring out how to balance the unknown would be a big plus.  Throw in here a base of equipment used, with standardized names, and equipment standards, and what kind of boards apply, and you are on to something.

And in this, if there is decent involvement and results, you can have IAGO get behind whatever the findings are.  That is one of the roles of IAGO, to help bring about consensus.

Charles Daniel wrote on 2008-06-18 UTC
Rich, so moving thread to topic IAGO.
I think IAGO has a few things going for it.
1. it provides a good way to class many types of variants and rules.
2. it also can serve as a unifying governing body for many types of contests/tournaments etc.
3. it can help in promoting variants in general.

However, I disagree with your approach to finding the 'next' chess - which seems basically to replace std. or FIDE chess with another ruleset - supposedly resulting in fewer draws.

Most std chess players might actually look to variants for variety and as such would be more interested in larger chess boards (or different shaped ). That is at least how I got interested. The idea of changing the rules of std chess but not much else does not appeal much to me and in any case you are still creating a 'variant'.

Consider instead of marking your approach to finding the next chess as just one of MANY possible approaches. Groups of players might investigate via large board size or however they see fit. In the end, whatever game(s) turn out to be most played (by actual players) can move through the various classes as you propose.

My preferred approach is to find the best possible chess on a large board 12x12 max, 10x10 or odd shaped 104 sq. With sufficient players participating - this goal can be reached. I envision this new large chess to be played side by side with std chess until it gains more popularity.

It might be beneficial to break up IAGO into various compartments with 'finding the next chess' being only one and also one of many approaches. Thus, we can differentiate between IAGO classification, IAGO promotions and IAGO 'finding the next chess' !

Additionally, I think most games have to be good to go. That is they are churned out and any fault found by others (via play) is going to cause the game to be dropped. The adjustments are better done by the inventor right at the beginning.
As an example, if Omega chess's potential problems: not enough pawn play, rook cannot mate becomes an issue for many players - the game will sink. I even proposed a similar game if it does -
Omega Transplant but commercially it will be over if any problems arise.

Non-commercial games have a harder time getting started since they never get played and the comments are far and few between. One opinionated person going around commenting on games that suit his theoretical fetish is certainly not feedback :)
I think IAGO can certainly help with these games the most.

With regard to pieces: chess players are fine with using a salt shaker for a new queen :) so I think this is the most trivial issue of all.
Besides, I can't remember when last i played any chess game on a physical board.
A bigger issue is to get a good idea out to many - a nice chess set will be a good start. The commercial variants have this advantage.

Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-04-12 UTC
There is a Zillions adaptation of the IAGO Chess game at:;id=1576

Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-04-09 UTC
I am under the impression that Chess operated under a ban by the Catholic Church, because they likely found people spending far too much time playing it, and was picking up a gambling angle (the use of dice in some versions, and also probably betting).  The Church likely judged that chess was an unproductive use of time, and banned it.

As for the war analogy, this is my take, but you did happen to find the ruling class using it to train in strategy and movement.  You can also argue that perhaps it was a divination device for kings to determine outcome of battles (aka a wargame).  This then also might be another call for the ban by the Catholic Church regarding chess.

George Duke wrote on 2008-04-09 UTC
It was written out 7.April.2008, ''...when it comes to war (this is what Chess is an abstracted model of), that no battle fought is ever the same? It is 'Heraclitian' in that the conditions to start the battle are never the same, and they change in the battle, independent of what the troops do. Yet great generals are able to be evaluated.'' Chess as War is just one metaphor, an unexamined comforting one. When Chess has been occasionally important culturally, it stands for far more than war. H.J.R. Murray 'History of Chess'(1913) covers the 'Chess Moralities' over two centuries, the ''best-selling'' (in sense of having the most hand-written copies made) works before invention of printing, only except for the Bible. Does diminished scope credited today arise because Napoleon played Chess, or false attribution to Alexander III as its inventor? One great website 'GoddessChess' rejects the idea as main historical rationale for Chess, to promote war. Some historical references at that site I have used for Falcon poetry introduction. At least two Chess Variant Page contributors, Andreas Bunkahle and John Ayer, also write for Goddess Chess. One of many dissident views there is that Chess is game of the Goddess: relevant symbolism the Queen as the most powerful. When Catholic Church for some years banned Chess, it was not because of objection to promoting War but more so because of promoting older, natural belief centered in Goddess -- in contradistinction to approved worship-objects of newer partriarchal religionists -- typical radical opinion in discussions at GoddessChess. [Slight rewording 9.4.08 same day]

Graeme Neatham wrote on 2008-04-07 UTC

... what fixed set of rules would be needed to still identify the game as chess, and allow for infinite variations? ...

From the CVwiki we have

The single defining quality of 'Chess' is that
the winning condition is predicated on one (the royal) of two (royal and non-royal) classes of pieces

If this statement is accepted then for a game to be a chess variant it must have these 2 rules: one to define the royal and non-royal classes; and one to define the winning condition in terms of the royal class.

Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-04-07 UTC
There is a separate entry, on here, that looks at the way can be unbounded, and could produce an infinite number of variants, based on a change in how he rules are set up. I will have to ask whether or not turn-order is finite or infinite. It might be show that a player moving N moves in a row, could always win a game. This would then put a natural boundary, and would not be infinite. You can find that thread here: This then points to the Chess of Tomorrow Project Wiki site entry here: So, the idea of this part of the Chess of Tomorrow Project is to look at what elements of chess would be able to produce a Calvinball (never play with the same rules twice) Chess, verses being finite. I welcome any other people to contribute here to input into this and see what may or may not fit. The Wikidot entry would be appropriate place to go.

George Duke wrote on 2008-04-07 UTC
Move-turn order rules are also unbounded. And so would anything associated with 'Moves', even restricting to 8x8 White-Black-White... IOW, drops, gates, immobilization, required capture or Check -- based on particular Move sequence or number. Of course in theoretical terms here, there is no place for such as 'artificial' 3-fold repetition.

Singh wrote on 2008-04-07 UTC
Since the number of different possible states of the observable universe is
about 10^(10^150) (give or take a few) then no game can be infinite. 
Nothing we can interact with can be infinite because the extent of the
universe about which we can have any information is finite.

It is a very big number, though, so maybe you should stick to the idea of
'practically infinite'.  But it all seems rather silly.

Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-04-07 UTC
George, do you mean the simple fact that you can have an infinite number of boards for chess is proof of this?  Aka, a board can theoretically by infinite size?

Ok, let's say we limit the board, for discussion sake to an 8x8 board (standard chess size).  Can such a game using an 8x8 board (standard chess, not movable tiles) be infinite in the number of variations?

At this point also, I would then like to ask, what fixed set of rules would be needed to still identify the game as chess, and allow for infinite variations?

Hey, here is a good question to ponder regarding this: What rules are by their nature unbounded that they cause a game to have infinite variety of rules associated with them?  One could argue that board size is one.  But what other ones?

George Duke wrote on 2008-04-07 UTC
A game can have infinite number of variants of it, self-evident.

Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-04-07 UTC
George, I think you are getting at the scope of what I am thinking about regarding Calvinball Chess.  Of course, this is an extreme expression of the scope of the chess here, in that someone would NEVER play with the same set of rules twice (this includes the use of mutators).  But that is meant as a way to see the theoretical bounds.  Actually, what I am looking at with the 'Chess of Tomorrow' project is to bring all these methods together, coordinate and so on, and have a way for them to come into practice, so best of breed rises up.  This would be a Superset of what IAGO Chess System (which is a Superset of IAGO Chess, the game).  And in this, I would propose it as part of the solution, with the community and people involved modifying what is needed.  The answer should be from practical experience, not ego or anything else.

Of course, in all this, and mutators, a way that the rules can be varied further is by a timing element involving the introduction of when mutators would come into play, and also when new pieces enter the board.  Even changing the turn order by a few moves, delaying or requiring, results in a different game.  The Calvinball angle adds a timing mechanism that effect when rules come into play.

And in all this, would be a general study of chess strategy, finding what the universal principles are, and their exceptions.  

By the way George, you come down on the side that Calvinball is theoretically possible, in that a game can have an infinite number of variants for it?

George Duke wrote on 2008-04-07 UTC
Calvinball has some similarity to earlier Nomic. Even if all variants are solvable, for practical purposes, as someone states, we can buy all the time we want by Mutators, mixing back-rank like Alexandre and Fischer, drops or gates, moveable squares. [It turns out Aaron Alexandre, originator of idea that eventually led to what we now call FRC or Chess960, was one of hidden operators of Maelzel's automaton Turk around the 1820's.] Actually CVPage probably has 5000 Mutators and maybe 100 good ones. So deadend need not be deadend after all. Now how does any system evaluate 5000 Mutators? Can 1000 people evaluate 10,000 Mutators in reasonable time? Where are the minds set on the task? Probably instead, Chess needs to be handed down from above. Just before year 1500, likely only few dozens were playing in Northern Italy with the Queen ranging across the diagonals full-length, Pawns double-stepping etc., and that caught on, OrthoChess 64. If no one much plays CVPage games, even their inventors within own Game Courier, they may not have theoretical interest in evaluations. Equally important (and just saying the same thing differently) is practical aspect of getting respected piece-mixes or Mutators, and that is all but impossible without impartiality.

Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-04-07 UTC
The whole 'Calvinball Chess' question is one that raises the natural boundaries of chess variants.  Is the number of variants to a game finite (bounded) or infinite (unbounded).  If it is finite, unless you add luck element to it, then all variants naturally are solvable.  However, if it is infinite, then that game is not solvable.  Well, perhaps someone can find an underlying core direction that will universally say one side or another is solved or not.

The point is that it is a THEORETICAL question asked.  It, by itself, isn't the best form of chess.  But it is meant to be a test for whether or not variants themselves are deadend.

By the way, as far as a 'sense of accomplishment' goes, it is a game.  You defeat your opponent.  If you end up the top dog by being the best player, and being champion, that is the sense of accomplishment.  One can get a sense of accomplishment from mastering an OPPONENT over mastering a particular set of RULES.

Can I add here that when it comes to war (this is what chess is an abstracted model of), that no battle ever fought is the same?  It is 'Heraclitian' in that the conditions to start the battle are never the same, and they change in the battle, independent of what the troops do.  Yet, great generals are able to be evaluated.

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