[Retros] Andrew answering

Kevin Begley kevinjbegley at gmail.com
Tue May 27 16:06:14 EDT 2014

When the ancient board game of Chess must look to "Magic: the Gathering"
for lessons in how to make logical rules, we can be certain that something
has gone terribly wrong.
No offense to MtG enthusiasts, but rules governing chessmen should be
capable of less ambiguity than those describing fantasy creatures (Wizards,
Dragons, Zombies, Werewolves, etc).


On Tue, May 27, 2014 at 8:41 AM, Andrew Buchanan <andrew at anselan.com> wrote:

> Hi Joost,
> I agree with you, but what others are saying is that under the current
> conventions, you can't ignore 3-fold repetition at all.
> But in fact even with the current convention, the problem is still sound.
> There is a crucial principle (unwritten, like most of the important stuff
> apparently) which says that you should apply all the rules (including all
> reasoning) exhaustively, and *then* use conventions as a last step to
> resolve any residual uncertainty. So we should apply A1.3, which says yes,
> this game is alive, indeed the last move prior to the diagram is the key
> move in a direct #3. And then we look at how conventions apply. So I never
> had any doubt this problem is sound.
> If my impatience with the conventions seems strange, it's because I know
> that our stupid situation is unavoidable. We are living in something like
> the dark days of Magic the Gathering *before* they properly sorted the
> rules
> out (around 1998, with the release of 6th edition rules). It was horrible.
> And since Wizards of the Coast invented the stack, layering system,
> templates, and all the other beautiful rules concepts which underlie modern
> Magic, they've been going from strength to strength. Magic is *far* more
> complicated than chess rules+conventions, but the rules are so solid they
> don't even need judges for online matches. Check out
> http://www.wizards.com/Magic/TCG/Article.aspx?x=magic/rules: both the
> Basic
> Rulebook and the Comprehensive Rules.
> What MtG has is a *corporation*, who can just define the rules and say
> "that's that". We just have, bless us, a bunch of meandering nice people.
> The only way out for us, I think, is if one (1) respected elder statesman
> with time on his hands assembles a set of conventions properly founded in
> logic. And then the rest of us will moan and complain when he proposes
> these, but except for a few edits, what he will say will be accepted,
> because it will be such a big step forward in common sense. That's the only
> way we can grow our little hobby.
> Magic has millions of players today - bigger even than when it started as a
> fad in 1993. Why shouldn't retrograde chess problems have a few more
> thousand serious enthusiasts than it does today, if we take away the
> biggest
> barrier to entry & retention?
> "Vote for Guus!" say I. :)
> All the best,
> Andrew.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Retros [mailto:retros-bounces at janko.at] On Behalf Of Retros
> Probleemblad
> Sent: 27 May 2014 22:52
> To: The Retrograde Analysis Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [Retros] rights & ocassions / not answering Andrew anymore
> On 05/27/2014 11:57 AM, Guus Rol wrote:
> > Hi Olli,
> > Yes, you got the idea! I am not sure about the precise position and
> > timing but basically DR cooks it if you aim for the position after Bf8.
> I don't think so. DR uses article 5.1b ("The game is drawn when a position
> has arisen in which neither player can checkmate the opponent's king with
> any series of legal moves."). Since ignoring the 3-fold repetition is
> legal,
> there's a legal continuation in which any colour can checkmate.
> Joost
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