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Re: [Bug-XBoard] Xboard 4.3.15 bugs Mac OS X 10.5.8 PPC

From: Hans Aberg
Subject: Re: [Bug-XBoard] Xboard 4.3.15 bugs Mac OS X 10.5.8 PPC
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2009 13:05:06 +0200

|I put the bug-xboard cc back again, as it relates to xboard capabilities.]

On 2 Sep 2009, at 07:49, h.g. muller wrote:

Here is another debug output from 'xboard -variant fairy -debug'. When
running fairymax against itself, I get the error
 Illegal move "c1f4" from first machine.
I'm not sure about the rules, isn't it an archbishop that isn't
implemented correctly.

You are correct:The rules as they are programmed in the fmax.ini file
for -variant fairy do not correspond to XBoard's idea of it. In particular
the inital array for Fairy-Max was just the normal FIDE array, so it
was attempting to move a normal Bishop, while WinBoard thought
there was an elephant there.

Note that -variant fairy is not really meant as a serious variant, but
more as a wild-card variant where someone that wants to experiment
with unorthodox pieces (e.g. to determine their empirical values from
comp-comp games, like I do) gets a lot of leeway from XBoard.
In the version I now distribute with WinBoard and which is available
as Debian package for Linux, I even commented this variant out of
the fmax.ini file. The fmax.ini file on my website was still an older one. Usually I play -variant fairy starting from a file with positions (containing
one or more "exo-pieces"), so that XBoard sets up the position in
Fairy-Max before every game, and the discrepancy goes unnoticed.
And usually, before I do that, I have to edit the fmax.ini file to make
sure Fairy-Max supports the exo-pieces I want to test: Although
XBoard supports 22 piece types and allows all of them to be used in
-variant fairy, Fairy-Max is limited to supporting 16 piece types at
once, where white and black points count as different.

I attached an fmax.ini file that at least defines the pieces present
in the XBoard opening array (plus Archishop, Chancellor and L=Amazon),
so that there is no discrepacy for someone that plays it.

It works now. When I try variants out, I find it natural to run a game in xboard with the engine playing against itself. After playing awhile, I want to go back to see what actually was played.

Then the Mac OS X chess GUI "Sigma Chess" has a feature "branch game", which pops up window with another copy of the game up to that point. This way, one can try to play against one engine in various positions.

At this point, it is good to figure out the rules of the pieces and the game. It is logically a backwards to do it this way, but I think the GUI and natural human curiosity encourages it. So perhaps xboard should have some windows for "piece definitions" and "rules games".

After this, one might want experiment with defining ones own variant.


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