[Retros] campaigning for linear email threads
kevinjbegley at gmail.com
Tue May 27 22:03:32 EDT 2014
You declared that there is an important distinction between rules and
meta-rules, like 9 times.
OK, I'll bite -- what is that distinction? And, how is that distinction
important, in the context of this discussion?
I read your reply twice, and from this fog, I can barely sketch the
silhouette of a vague disagreement -- I don't even know what it's about --
it's as if your argument fell under the spell of MtG's "Clinging Mists"
I think we all agree that there exists information which describes the
position, and there exists information which describes the attributes of
the position (e.g., 50M counter, 3R counter); I presume that you would
declare the latter to be meta-information.
Most of us consider meta-information to be independent (e.g., 50M counter
is not considered part of the position, by the 3R counter). I do not yet
fathom your position here.
I can only presume that your meta-rules must have something to say about
the application of this meta-information, in determining the rules -- but,
unfortunately, I can not find coherence in the vagueness of your replies.
Can you please make your position more concrete?
I enjoy reading the pristine commentary that Guus continues to deliver, and
I'm frankly perplexed at where I might have any opportunity to disagree.
I know you are very capable of expressing yourself better. Please do that
-- for those of us very curious to learn your position.
On Tue, May 27, 2014 at 5:46 PM, Andrew Buchanan <andrew at anselan.com> wrote:
> Hi Guus,
> We can save your poor 2003 problem which you have just cruelly
> If you feel my approach is liberal, loose or undeterministic, then I
> communicated successfully. I think my approach is rigid, but needs to be
> fleshed out. Chess problems are "a movie of a book". There is some
> adaptation from game space to problem space required, due to (1) absence of
> knowledge of game history & (2) absence of human decision-making.
> Conventions serve to cover these holes. But they are *not* temporary rules:
> they are separate and need to be seen as such.
> Why? Take the old e.p. convention, for example:
> "An en-passant capture on the first move is permitted only if it can be
> proved that the last move was the double step of the pawn which is to be
> There are two ways this is different from a rule:
> (1) The trigger depends upon "provability".
> (2) It's not asserting whether a move is legal, it's talking about whether
> the move is *permitted*.
> So the rules give us some sets of possible legal positions and possible
> legal moves. We then use conventions to decide which moves are
> permitted. I am pretty sure Guus you are clear on the distinction between
> permission & legality. But I am not sure you are so convinced of the
> importance of keeping meta-rules involving statements of provability
> distinct from the rules themselves. Be so convinced! This is not a new idea
> - many paradoxes in logic are resolved by understanding the distinction
> between rules & meta-rules.
> The current phrasing of the castling convention is tiresome here,
> introducing an undefined term "permissibility". A better phrasing would be:
> "Castling is permitted unless it can be proved that the king or rook has
> moved before." An analogous "provability" principle applies cleanly in
> Article 15, covering first move.]
> But the challenge is that DR (which is a rule) makes a statement about
> provability. So we have two choices in how we partition into rules and
> meta-rules. We could have something functional which says that anything
> which talks about provability is a meta-rule. But I think that is too
> complicated and requires case by case analysis. The fruitful way forward is
> to use the natural division into rules and conventions which has been given
> us. I don't think DR by itself when considered as a rule causes paradox.
> It's the conflation with other conventions which causes difficulties. So
> Another example to back up this point. That players in compositions must
> to fulfil their stipulation (competing or co-operating) is a convention. If
> this convention is another "temporary rule" then DR will cause every direct
> pat, help pat or even draw study to be unsound! The source of pain is not
> or the conventions, it's squashing together rules and meta-rules, when they
> are clearly "trying" to be distinct. Note the same issue would still occur
> if we regard *both* DR & conventions as meta-rules! So we really must make
> DR a rule and conventions meta-rules.
> I don't want to get into the detailed conventions for 3 rep & 50 move in
> this long email. But these too should be viewed as meta-rules, while DR is
> only a harmless rule which applies first, innocent of the conventions. So
> Guus' wonderful problem is sound.
> There are still many detailed questions to address, but this email is
> intended to make one architectural argument. To what extent does it
> Thanks so much,
> Gus wrote:
> Ignoring the threefold repetition is indeed legal in a chess game, but
> repetition problems are mainly based on the retro convention that 3R leads
> to an automatic draw. You cannot claim that a convention automatically
> in one phase (the solution), and does not apply in another phase (DR
> I just saw Andrews mail with his liberal take on the use of conventions. I
> am glad he has a different view and I am sure we will not agree on this for
> a long time to come. I can't however resist the temptation to make one
> argument here. Andrew writes "... *then* use conventions as a last step to
> resolve any residual uncertainty". It is important to observe that this is
> not about uncertainties in rules but uncertainties on
> The game rules are clear enough (applied with reasoning). The crucial point
> is that composers create the state uncertainties on purpose in order to
> invoke the use of appropriate conventions by the solver. As such they
> integral components of the composition and act there as temporary rules
> within the problem space. The one thing however noone would not wish to
> allow is that the "temporary rules" are different at different phases of
> solution. OK, they might vary prroblem to problem, but to allow
> shapeshifting within the same composition would indeed amount to "Magic".
> Accepting that one either uses the 3R convention in a problem or not at all
> places a considerable burden on the composer. In particular, finding decent
> stipulations becomes a difficult issue. With game rules, draw claims may
> precede the actual repetition, and so should the diagram. This causes
> confusion amongst solvers and composers. Draw(n) when? By the way, winning
> is OK as well when the instruction is simply to "draw"..
> I can't see how a loose and undeterministic approach will forward this
> field. How can we ever hope to conquer the fairies if we cannot even
> unambiguous clarity in the orthodox domain?,
> I think I just axed my 2003 problem. What I do for love...
> Best wishes, Guus Rol.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Retros [mailto:retros-bounces at janko.at] On Behalf Of Andrew Buchanan
> Sent: 27 May 2014 23:41
> To: 'The Retrograde Analysis Mailing List'
> Subject: [Retros] Andrew answering
> 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
> 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
> 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
> barrier to entry & retention?
> "Vote for Guus!" say I. :)
> All the best,
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Retros [mailto:retros-bounces at janko.at] On Behalf Of Retros
> 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
> there's a legal continuation in which any colour can checkmate.
> Retros mailing list
> Retros at janko.at
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