31 October 2010

Two Analogies

Buried inside my most recent post -- Chess960 Point and Counterpoint -- is an analogy I call the 'house analogy'.
Chess960 is an evolution of traditional chess. To use an analogy, imagine I build a house on a lot that was previously empty. I call the road it is on 'Chess Street'. The house might be in use for centuries before someone (a certain Mr. Fischer) gets the idea to build more houses on the same lot. He builds 959 similar houses and, to make it easier to identify the houses, assigns them numbers. My original house turns out to be no.518 on Chess Street. Note that I haven't altered the function of the original house nor have I destroyed it. It is still available to everyone who used it before. But for those who are tired of the same house and want something a little different, they have many choices.

I could carry the analogy further, but I'm not sure it would help clarify the difference between traditional chess and chess960. People who want to continue living at no.518 on Chess St. can do so. They do, however, have choices that were not available 20 years ago.

In another forum on Chess.com, I used an anology -- Chess Island -- that I call the 'beach analogy'.

Chess960 is like a tropic island having 960 gorgeous beaches all with white sand and blue water. For some obscure reason, probably to do with herd mentality, everyone who vacations on the island chooses the same beach, no.518 in the numbering scheme assigned by the pioneer who first charted the island. There are so many people on that particular beach that there is no place to throw your towel down or pitch your beach umbrella, unless you cling to the rocky, dangerous cliffs that line both sides of the beach. If you want to go swimming or snorkeling you have to go out hundreds of meters to get away from the crowds. Of course, you can always rent one of those robot boats that ferry the thrill seekers as far out as possible, but the real insiders say that the increasing use of those boats is rapidly destroying the beauty of the beach.

Meanwhile the other 959 beaches remain just as they were when first discovered. A few intrepid vacationers prefer those beaches to no.518, although they have a hard time explaining why. Maybe they don't like crowds and just want to get away from it all. Whatever the reason, on every vacation they choose a different beach at random and enjoy themselves so much that they are reminded why they came to the island the first time. Once in a while they go back to the crowds at no.518 to renew old friendships and revisit old haunts, but it is never the same as it was before.

I'm sure there are other analogies.

1 comment:

HarryO said...

Hi Mark
Really funny stuff there! The suburb analogy does bring up a chuckle! I have experienced the situation of living in a house in a new estate with nothing but green paddocks around and temporary peace, but then to experience the onslaught of the new houses arriving to block the view and to add to the noise! It is completely deluded because in fact once the second person shows up to live next door to me in this new estate, we are equals and I have no claim to superiority, and once one new house shows up, do I have any right to stop the rest of the development because I like to look at green fields and not what was always inevitable?

The beach analogy is great. Playing the other 959 starting positions really does have that feeling of exploring virgin stretches of coastline. Always there is the mysterious "ocean" off the coast where the horizon stretches to infinity. We know that the horizon is an illusion but to our limited perception, we have the rocky coast and a line beyond which we cannot go further......

Beautiful analogy of Chess960 and the horizon of our perception, the limitation of the mind in the great game yet still the beautiful experience of what is indeed a rocky but beautiful coastline (some SP's more than others).

Some starting positions I have likened to the great plains and some are more like the dense jungles. However I prefer to think of some positions as more sandy shoreline and some much more rocky. Well done on coastline analogy thumbs up on that!

The analogy on my signature at Chess.com which is almost irrelevant these days because even I am absent from my own existence at Chess.com, but there it reads:

"Chess is like a beautiful forest but Chess960 is like the Amazon Jungle"

The analogy is not as good but does conveys a sense of a break down of order as we understand it in Chess960 but a great sense of adventure and exploration. It is largely unexplored and at every turn there is something potentially new, never before seen but also hidden "dangers" and uncomfortable situations.

Evaluating Chess960 positions that sometimes emerge in the midgame and even late midgame that have odd remnants from the opening is a very odd experience sometimes! I would like to find an analogy for that! Perhaps it is like paleontology where their is great joy digging deep into the earths crust to find bizarre fossils of creatures that no-one would believe you if you tried to describe them! In Chess960 these difficult to evaluate positions are like that experience a bit.

Musical analogies of course are great! Chess960 is like playing Jazz re-arranging combinations in nice ways and unique ways too. Chess960 is like a grand variation on a theme! Often when I play 960 sequentially through the positions, I am feeling the GoldBerg Variations by Bach or the Twenty Four preludes and Fugues of Shostakovitch where the next starting position still has a remnant "feeling" from the previous, but different in significant ways. That is a lot of fun.

Anyway good stuff. Yes I got your email about just having fun with 960. You are absolutely correct. At times we humans have to remind each other because we get lost. While I was at Chess.com, I was over confusing separate issues as well. I wanted to share the joy of 960 but at the same time I was pushing the Advanced Chess960 bandwagon which was too much mixing ideas all at one time. I paid the price but you have returned it to simple joy well done.

Keep up the spirit, the appreciation and the study of the true great game!