[Retros] campaigning for linear email threads

Guus Rol grol33 at gmail.com
Wed May 28 05:01:49 EDT 2014

Hi Andrew and Kevin,

What we might actually be starting on here is a "paradigmic debate".
Paradigm shifts are not achieved by single arguments or even a collectons
of arguments. They require tme, contemplation, good scenarios and growing
consensus as well. Which is probably the main reason why I want to write
the book.

Amongst what Andrew addresses as meta-rules, an important place must
be reserved for the "role play". Most confusions I see come from a scenario
with the traditional roles of players and solver. Actually the solver in a
retro-problem is very very different from the players and very different
from the solver in other types of problems. Besides that we need the roles
of "selectors" and "arbiters" to make sense of retro-problems. Each role
operates in its own space and has its own terminology.As an example:
players will always talk about "rights" while the solver talks mostly of
"licenses". When there is consensus about the role play other issues become
easier to address.

More next week.

Best wishes, Guus Rol.

On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 2:46 AM, Andrew Buchanan <andrew at anselan.com> wrote:

> Hi Guus,
> We can save your poor 2003 problem which you have just cruelly
> defenestrated!
> If you feel my approach is liberal, loose or undeterministic, then I
> haven't
> 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
> captured."
> 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/not
> 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
> conventions=meta-rules.
> Another example to back up this point. That players in compositions must
> act
> 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
> DR
> 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
> succeed?
> Thanks so much,
> Andrew
> 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
> draws
> in one phase (the solution), and does not apply in another phase (DR
> evaluation).
> 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
> "retro-active-states".
> 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
> become
> 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
> the
> 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
> provide
> 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
> 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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> Retros at janko.at
> http://www.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/retros
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