[Retros] The paradigmic divide on (retro) Rules and Conventions

Guus Rol grol33 at gmail.com
Mon Jun 16 14:23:19 EDT 2014

Dear retro-friends,

You will have noticed that there exist no uniform agreement on the
understanding of the relationship between Rules (Laws) and Conventions in
the retro-field. I will give my view on where the schism originates and
what it entails primarily. On this level of abstraction I do not expect to
deliver irrefutable proof or conceptual superiority. I only invite you to
evalute both approaches on the basis of their effectiveness and expansive

The "other" paradigm is based on a common understanding of the concept
"Convention". An appropriate definition may be (Mirriam Websters): *A
custom or a way of acting or doing things that is widely accepted and
followed. *May be a similar description will be found somewhere in the rule
books and explanations by FIDE and WFCC. In such an environment, the
conventions will obviously give way to everything published under the more
formal headings of approved "Laws", "Rules" and "Regulations". It is also
predictable that such a starting point would generate the ideas that
are currently prevalent in the retro community.

"My paradigm" is fundamentally different. It didn't come from reading every
bit of law and jurisprudence to be found but from studying the subject of
retro-analysis and more in particular of retro-activity (retro
uncertainties) through its architecture. I found that - without the
conventions - the subject lacked an essential command & control structure
necessary to bridge the gap between retro-problem and "FIDE law". I
concluded that a rigid formal decisioning system was needed, operating not
in contention with "FIDE law" but performing a distinct reduction task all
of its own. Strange enough, the commands in this control system were more
or less the same as could be found in what regulatory bodies had
baptized "Conventions". *This left me with no other option than
to redress the underprivileged conventions to their mandatory role
of  "controllers of the retro-active universe"*. In my view, this is what
should have been done by the scribes of the these conventions in the first
place from a true understanding of the nature of the retro-field. Had they
done their job, the conventions would have never been named "conventions"
but probably something more appropriate like "selection rules". And may be
they would have written some conventions alongside of them on subjects that
truly begged for "widely accepted customs"..

There is much more to say about this paradigmic schism as the gap gets
wider when the application scope gets larger. If you read my first post
on "the basics of the relationship between rules and conventions" (actually
the 2nd one by that name) you can find the difference on the chess board
already on the first page. It is up to you to chose. And you can always
change your mind, of course.

Best wishes, Guus Rol.
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