What's wrong with the software?

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
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MJMcCready
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What's wrong with the software?

Post by MJMcCready » Sat Jan 30, 2021 12:20 am

I haven't played through the Immortal Game in a while and had a look at it earlier but it struck me that the accepted view is that Anderssen had the black pieces and started the game since the rule of white starting first was not the dominant norm at the time. But whenever I try to look at it with software they always describe the game as Anderssen V Kieseritzky and not Kieseritzky V Anderssen. Software shows Anderssen playing with the white pieces which according to the accepted view is factually incorrect. How has this come about? Who created these PGNs and implemented the current laws even though they weren't put into practise at the time?

https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1018910

That aside it's the only well documented game I know of where black starts? Does anyone know of any others also well documented? And in implementing this convention and then standardizing it, did we actually benefit from it in any way?

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: What's wrong with the software?

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sat Jan 30, 2021 1:56 am

The London v Paris game from which the French Defence took its name is another such game.

Tim Harding
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Re: What's wrong with the software?

Post by Tim Harding » Sat Jan 30, 2021 1:17 pm

There is nothing wrong with the software. If you really wanted to, you could input the Immortal Game into ChessBase, for example, using the set-up function with the normal position placements but stipulating it was Black's move. But then the first move by his opponent would be numbered 2, i.e. you would get 1...e5 2 e4 f5 etc.

We have a long-standing convention worldwide that the playing making the first move is White and all historic games in databases are adapted to that.

For much of the 19th century, in Britain at least, a player would choose what colour they preferred to play with.
If they both preferred the same one the choice was made by lot. This can be seen in Staunton's Chess Praxis (page 17), in the 1862 BCA code of laws (page lxix in the tournament book).

They both state that the right of first move and "if either player require it" the choice of colour shall be made by lot.

Choice of colour by lot is even mentioned in the amended laws for the 1883 London tournament, but I am not aware if any game in that event was actually played with Black moving first.

Typically in a set match (including a correspondence match) or a series of games between players on the same day, they would keep the same colour but alternate first move.

Some writers, notably Staunton, tended to prefer Black as first player so I think you can sometimes see games (I cannot give an example off the top of my head) where his ILN column or magazine said the first player was Black but another publication assigned the first move to White.

Gradually it became the norm (around the 1880s) that White moved first in chess and Black moved first in draughts (checkers).

In 1851 when the Immortal Game was played it can indeed be seen that Kieseritzky played Black. The earliest publication of the game I have seen (and possibly it was the first publication) was in Kling and Horwitz's magazine "The Chess Player" on page 2 of the very first issue.
Tim Harding
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MJMcCready
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Re: What's wrong with the software?

Post by MJMcCready » Sat Jan 30, 2021 2:53 pm

So it appear that, for notational purposes only, it's easier to fix which colour starts the game? In the context of the modern game, I'm not sure that's beneficial. If that law was revoked it would impact upon pre-match preparation considerably I think.

MSoszynski
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Re: What's wrong with the software?

Post by MSoszynski » Sat Jan 30, 2021 7:49 pm

Tim Harding wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2021 1:17 pm
In 1851 when the Immortal Game was played it can indeed be seen that Kieseritzky played Black. The earliest publication of the game I have seen (and possibly it was the first publication) was in Kling and Horwitz's magazine "The Chess Player" on page 2 of the very first issue.
Shortly after it was played, the game appeared in La Régence, which Kieseritzky edited. Incidentally, the game is shown as terminating before the queen sacrifice took place.

John McKenna
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Re: What's wrong with the software?

Post by John McKenna » Sat Jan 30, 2021 11:30 pm



The above moves are from the game Bird,H-Horwitz,B 1851 London and follow the modern convention that White moves first.

Compare the final position above with the one below (note they are essentially the same) -



The above diag. is the first one in Howard Staunton's book The Chess Tournament - London 1851 and is from the 2nd game between -

Black - who moved first from the start of the game - Mr. H. Bird and he has just played 27. P. to K. R's 4th. (If the board was lettered and numbered algebraically, which it is not, that would be written Ph7-h5.)

White Mr. B. Horwitz - who moved second from the start of the game - now replied 27... P. Q. B's 3rd. (Pc2-c3 in algebraic.)

Are we then to believe that the game Black. Mr. Bird v. White. Mr. Horwitz comnenced with the board having a white square in the right-hand corner and the Black and White Queens both starting on squares of their own colour respectively? (In other words the board and pieces were arranged in the exactly same way they are today but without algebraic lettering and numbering around the edges.)

If so then the opening of the above game would have been commenced by Black thus - 1. P. to Ks 4th (Pe7-e5) P. to K's 4th. (Pe2-e4) 2. Kt. to K. B's 3rd. (Ng8-f6) Kt. to Q. B's 3rd. (Nb1-c3) 3. B to Q. Kt's 5th. (Bf8-b4)...

Which, in effect, would result in a mirror image of the usual way we see the moves displayed these days'with White moving first - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5... And with the colours of the pawns and pieces reversed from white to black and vice versa.

Were the players in 1851 prepared to play these mirror games depending on which colour moved first?

And, finally, why does Staunton's book always have diagrams that have White at the bottom and Black at the top no matter which colour moved first? Just by a printing convention that was a precusor to the later convention of White always moving first?
Last edited by John McKenna on Sun Jan 31, 2021 2:49 am, edited 3 times in total.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: What's wrong with the software?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jan 31, 2021 12:57 am

John McKenna wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2021 11:30 pm
Were the players in 1851 prepared to play these mirror games depending on which colour moved first?
That would seem the logic of allowing the holder of the black pieces to move first. It perhaps works better if you think in descriptive.

John McKenna
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Re: What's wrong with the software?

Post by John McKenna » Sun Jan 31, 2021 2:36 am

I agree, Roger, that thinking and writing in descriptive notation about the moves in a game where Black moves first seems easier than doing so in algebraic. Particularly if the board being used has no lettering and numbering at the edges.

It does though seem sensible to always give White the first move if algebraic notation is mandatory. Even so some players write better algebraic when playing White than when playing Black. (A common problem is writing algebraic as if one is playing White when one is actually playing with Black.)

I must also say that interesting question MJM asks in the title of this thread (What's wrong with the s/w?) was well answered by Tim Harding, further above, with -

"There is nothing wrong with the software. If you really wanted to, you could input the Immortal Game into ChessBase, for example, using the set-up function with the normal position placements but stipulating it was Black's move. But then the first move by his opponent would be numbered 2, i.e. you would get 1...e5 2 e4 f5 etc."

It would be better if the s/w did not have to display the moves that half move behind and could do -

1.e5 e4 2.f5...

But it is probably not worth the effort.

PS A lot of players are going to have to get used to writing the moves down, again, when they go 'offline' and return to over-the-board chess.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: What's wrong with the software?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sun Jan 31, 2021 8:48 am

"PS A lot of players are going to have to get used to writing the moves down, again, when they go 'offline' and return to over-the-board chess."

Or even learn how to do it... I imagine "touch move" will be a problem as well.

NickFaulks
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Re: What's wrong with the software?

Post by NickFaulks » Sun Jan 31, 2021 9:39 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Sun Jan 31, 2021 8:48 am
I imagine "touch move" will be a problem as well.
I am hoping Hybrid will be a success, not just for pandemic reasons, but wish touch move could be incorporated. It doesn't feel right to me that you can move a piece to a different square and see what the position looks like.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

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MJMcCready
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Re: What's wrong with the software?

Post by MJMcCready » Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:32 pm

If the cursor hovers over a pawn or piece, isn't that touch move?

Kevin Williamson
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Re: What's wrong with the software?

Post by Kevin Williamson » Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:51 pm

John McKenna wrote:
Sun Jan 31, 2021 2:36 am
PS A lot of players are going to have to get used to writing the moves down, again, when they go 'offline' and return to over-the-board chess.
We're also going to have to get out of the habit of saying our analysis out loud...... or is that just me?

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: What's wrong with the software?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:58 pm

"We're also going to have to get out of the habit of saying our analysis out loud...... or is that just me?"

and swearing loudly when we blunder pieces, laughing uproariously when the opponent misses a one-move mate etc.

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MJMcCready
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Re: What's wrong with the software?

Post by MJMcCready » Mon Feb 01, 2021 2:02 am

Kieseritzky, it is often said, had a rather tragic end to his life. Dying penniless in a charity hospital and given a pauper's grave? Poor old soul.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: What's wrong with the software?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Feb 01, 2021 12:14 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:32 pm
If the cursor hovers over a pawn or piece, isn't that touch move?
The programmers of the earliest chess servers twenty five years ago or more didn't think so and that was followed by all subsequent software designers.

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