[Retros] Fwd: Are the King and the Rook pieces or what?

Rol, Guus G.A.Rol at umcutrecht.nl
Mon Jan 28 12:38:35 EST 2008

I see we agree that "intent" is a touchy subject :-)

The analytical challenge here is in the approach to
"simultaneous/concurrent events". Of course, life events are never
really simultaneous but they may appear to be within the margins of
error connected to our observational capabilities. We could distinguish
two flavours of concurrency: (a) resonant/neutral concurrency (b)
dissonant concurrency (my terminology).

Touching King and Rook with castling right simultaneously can be
considered resonant concurrency as these events are pointing in the same
direction (even the same intent) and can be interpreted together as a
single prelude to castling. As there need not be any preference for the
one or the other it would be quite appropriate for the arbiter to
require validation of both touches by castling (note: I do not state
that this is FIDE rule, I didn't look it up).

If, on the other hand, the castling move is illegal then we have a
dissonant concurrency which cannot be resolved by embracing both
touches. The same is true for the combination of resignation and
checkmate in the example below. Whenever dissonant concurrency is
encountered we need an additional decision criterium. "Intent" is not
the most likely decider in such a criterium since the dissonance more or
less invalidates the unified intent - I can invent many different
"intentional" stories surrounding the checkmate/resignation events, all
somewhat suspect.

I doubt that all the required decision criteria have been defined in
chess, but I think that inserting some attractive decisioning principles
might help. E.g., let's say "Humans over Systems" in games and "Systems
over Humans" in compositions. I could supply some arguments for that
position! In the example below the resignation would win the day in an
actual game, whereas checkmate would prevail in the composition. Not
much wrong with that.

There is nothing inevitable about this analysis but at least it supplies
an angle for discussion.

Guus Rol.


Van: retros-bounces at janko.at [mailto:retros-bounces at janko.at] Namens
pastmaker at aol.com
Verzonden: maandag 28 januari 2008 16:49
Aan: retros at janko.at
Onderwerp: [Retros] Fwd: Are the King and the Rook pieces or what?

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-----Original Message-----
From: pastmaker at aol.com
To: retros at janko.at
Sent: Mon, 28 Jan 2008 10:47 am
Subject: Re: [Retros] Are the King and the Rook pieces or what?

Hard to trivialize intent. Please consider this situation. Black (our
friendly obtuse player) is about to move in a position in which he is
way behind in material. He picks up his queen, which has several
available moves, one of which can deliver checkmate. Precisely at the
moment that he puts the queen on the very square that would deliver the
checkmate, he announces, "I resign.".

The rules say that the game ends at checkmate and at resignation. Who
won? A player can deliver checkmate without knowing it, and if he does
so without performing another act that has some contrary significance
under the rules, he has won whether he knows it or not. Intent is not a
factor in such a situation.

But (without getting into unusual psychological state) resignation is a
function of intent.

Who won the game above?

Tom Volet

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