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

Guus Rol grol33 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 17 13:24:58 EDT 2014

Hi Kevin,

I am glad you understood the message I tried to get across even when you
consider it badly constructed. Some (but not most) of my language is
lighthearted and not designed to withstand semantic disection. As I do not
hold the work of the Codex committee in great esteem, I set out to describe
it as produced by  "scribes". Why I consider "selection rules" more
appropriate than "conventions" you can read in my first article on the
Rules and Conventions. Since the retro conventions are really about
"selecting games" rather than about "permitting moves" in my paradigm there
is nothing arbitrary about the choice of this term. But alternative
suggestions are always welcome. None of my terminology is designed to be
definitive, it only serves to separate distinct ideas and operations. But
there will be many rewrites before all this is in my book..

You have not noticed what my first 3 articles have delivered but it is
really quite a lot. All that is seen are the straight lines from cause to
effect but the collateral damage caused to crooked competing theories
is easily overlooked. To name just a few:

1. It makes an end to all attempts to marginalize the retro-conventions in
relation to laws and rules.
2. It states that the conventions are not "sweets for the kids" but a
mandatory requirement in every form of chess supporting the retro-field
both orthodox and fairy. If you read discussions e.g. on "disparate chess"
you can see them all rendered futile under this dictate. Just add the
required conventions to any fairy type as was done to orthodox chess.
3. By reordering the time-relation between conventions and laws -
conventions before the laws instead of after - all classical
indeterminicies are gone. Famously, Andrews example with a "possible" e.p.
move plus mate is resolved instantly, and with it many similar situations.
4. These principles delivered a step by step approach to the status of
3R (conventional) automation and 3R claimed draws. Plus its final
resolution. More importantly, it poses serious questions to anyone choosing
to deny its conclusions.
5. The demand for a retro Rule Book was established and some of its content
defined. This need not worry anyone as a theory claiming the power to
handle fairies, could be expected to easily manage a few amendments to
orthodox chess laws.
6. Anybody with a mathematical mind can see the portential of an approach
that replaces case based static conventions by generic and dynamic first
order logic. It eradicates the influence of uncomputable opinion and
authority based "expertise". Finally there is a window towards transparent
and provable conclusions.

You may not agree to all this but I suggest that these few points
already comprise bigger changes to the retro field than ever proposed
before. You complain that I always promise to write more later and such is
true. But I also leave no post without setting a little concrete step
forward. That it may take some time to reach my destination is all due to
Albert Einstein: *"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no

Best wishes, Guus Rol.

On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 1:19 AM, Kevin Begley <kevinjbegley at gmail.com>

>  Guus,
> This is beginning to read like a deliberately bad parody.
> *"Had  ['the scribes'] done their job, the conventions would have never
> been named 'conventions' but probably something more appropriate like
> 'selection rules'." *
> Let's break that down...
> 1) The function of "the scribes" *was *to copy, read amend, explain, and
> protect the law.
> 2) Because they did not perform their function, your disfavored jargon
> ("retro conventions") gained the upper hand over your preferred jargon
> ("retro selection rules"). and
> 3) The reader is given absolutely zero cause to care about either term.
> In fact, the reader has probably lost all reason to care, because this
> author has been carelessly inventing terminology (e.g., the Digital Boards
> Theory, where the word "digital" reads like the worst assault on logic ever
> performed, in the interest of obtaining a meaningless acronym).
> You keep describing the bread, in terms that no reader need care, as if to
> avoid discussing what's between the slices.
> Forget the scribes, and worry about your function:  explain what is the
> significant difference in your approach, and persuade readers why they
> should want to consider it.
> Lovecraft managed to describe Cthulhu, without any need to waste time
> developing an aimless jargon. Steinbeck would not have lamented so long
> about the hard row that the tumbleweeds of his own jargon must hoe.
> If your approach might actually constitute an improvement, why have you
> deliberately hidden it away in useless jargon? I can endure the fog only
> for a purpose, and you have yet to show any product.
>  Let's cut to the quick...
> 1) pour what you have into a shot glass.
> 2) let the reader sample it, and
> 3) only then, will anyone care to read about your distillation process.
>  On Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 11:23 AM, Guus Rol <grol33 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>  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
>> capability.
>> 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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