Author Topic: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?  (Read 403 times)

chilipepper

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Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« on: January 23, 2018, 10:07:15 pm »
I'm not aware of any international committee which governs chess variant games, nor oversees variant chess-game tournaments. So I decided to collect some information on recent and active tournaments, and who is regarded as our current World Champions. The table below is just a start, and I presume there is much more that can be added. If you have any information to add please share! :)

the "chilipepper"👹

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Asher Hurowitz

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Re: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2018, 10:12:47 pm »
I'm the American champion of Sittuyin according to the online tournament I set up which I won.
Indeed it is certain that Chess Variants make me happy.

My Youtube Channel on Chess Variants
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb-lm6a8XZo0eqAhfR4QWOg

My Lecture at Yale University, aged 13
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smDO2Dpx5tg

My Youtube Channel on Rubik's Cube
Search"Polyhedral Paradise"

chilipepper

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Re: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2018, 10:29:48 pm »
I'm the American champion of Sittuyin according to the online tournament I set up which I won.
So cool! It's good to know that the founder of this forum has credibility, and can win games!

I see that it's played on an 8x8 board. Are you aware if any engines can play it? The reason I like to add that information is so we know if it can be played in an online format, with slow time-control, and know for sure the player(s) aren't using engines.

Also, what year was the tournament? I can go back a few years in this summary. I'll add details to the chart within a few days. 8)
the "chilipepper"👹

HGMuller

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Re: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 05:04:07 am »
I think Sjaak II features Sittuyin as one of the preconfigured variants.

GothicChessInventor

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Re: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2018, 09:43:24 am »
I think you need to include the size of the playing population and the number of players in the event that determines the "world championship." If there are fewer than 10000 players, I would not think this represents a title with a "world" prefix. If there are fewer than 2000 then I don't think you can claim to be the champion of any country. If less than 500 then you are talking about, at best, a "state" or "province" championship. And if less than 100, I would not think even the title of a City Champion applies.

HGMuller

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Re: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 10:19:24 am »
In 2016 I became 'Dutch Champion Superchess', in a tournament with only 8 participants. It didn't really feel like being champion of anything. (Although it was very nice that I beat a player rated ~2400 in orthodox Chess to it!)

The 'World Champions' mentioned above were determined in a tournament with approximately 4 players, the event never having been announced to a wider audience... At least the Dutch Superchess championship was announced on all Chess clubs, and on the superchess.nl website.

'Bulldog Chess' and 'Waterloo' are totally unknown even on chessvariants.com, which hosts descriptions of thousands of Chess variants. This is basically like two people cooking up a game in their cellar, playing it secretly against each other, and then declaring themselves 'Wold Champion'.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 10:25:28 am by HGMuller »

chilipepper

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Re: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2018, 10:34:56 am »
I think Sjaak II features Sittuyin as one of the preconfigured variants.
Thanks HGMuller. I currently don't see that in one list I see of variants supported by Sjaak II (link below). Can anyone confirm it? ???

http://www.eglebbk.dds.nl/program/chess-index.html
the "chilipepper"👹

chilipepper

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Re: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2018, 10:44:42 am »
I think you need to include the size of the playing population and the number of players in the event that determines the "world championship."...

The list represents tournaments that are open to the international community. I plan to add other tournaments from the last three years as I learn about them. I'm currently not requiring a minimum entry requirement, so long as the tournament isn't restricted to a single club or one country.

I would like to add the list of countries represented in each tournament, but I'm afraid that might make the table too cumbersome. For now (to my knowledge) the games represent players from the following countries:

The Waterloo series included players from Ukraine, England, and the U.S.

The Bulldog series included players from India, China, the Netherlands, Mexico, Singapore, the U.S. and others.

The Chess on an Infinite Plane series includes players from Switzerland, Singapore, Uganda, China, and the U.S.

Any other information about these or other tournaments is welcome! :)

In 2016 I became 'Dutch Champion Superchess', in a tournament with only 8 participants...

Congratulations on the win! To me that sounds very impressive and I'll add that to the list of tournaments. If you hear about any other open tournaments for the game please share the information here! :)
the "chilipepper"👹

GothicChessInventor

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Re: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2018, 11:00:28 am »
Well in the year 2000, the first year of Gothic Chess, we had (I think) 400 people to play for the "US Championship" but most of the people who made the finals were from Philadelphia. There were players from Washington, D.C., a few places in New Jersey, two came from New York city. It was mixed swiss elimination (online) to get to the final group, then a double round robin over-the-board. In total there were 20 rounds.

While that was probably a larger playing population than some of these variants, I had no illusions about being the "United States Champion."




McGoohan

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Re: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2018, 11:15:12 am »
I agree principally with GothicChessInventor and HGMuller.

In 2017 a new chess-variant of AntonioEsfandiari was invented: "Knights And Queens".

On chess.com was a tournament launched with 20 participants on February 2, 2017 with this new variant, which I won in December 2017.

https://www.chess.com/tournament/knights-and-queens-unrated

After the final I was the only player who did not lose a single game and won all 18 games. I was the best player, but that does not make me a world champion. That would be a very formal legal title with no real justification, even if 20 million chess players are active on chess.com and everyone could have participated in the tournament.

Nevertheless, the list from chilipepper can be useful, which people in which variants are best players. And maybe this helps make chess variants more popular if we have our own "stars".

chilipepper

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Re: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2018, 11:52:36 am »
First, congratulations to GothicChessInventor for winning the U.S. Championship in 2000 of Gothic Chess. I'm sure there was a lot of spectacular play in those competitions.

Also, congratulations to McGoohan for the 2017 tournament win in Knights And Queens! Another superb performance which is very noteworthy in the variant world!

And thanks everyone for the other comments - this is awesome! It's exactly the type of information I was hoping to collect and gather in one place. As McGoohan says, I hope this list will help chess variants to become more popular.

Current and new players can use this as a resource to see who are the stars, even if the competitions are still at an amateur level. It can also serve as a resource for players who want to consider competing in a new discipline - maybe trying a game with more pieces, or a larger board.

The information provided by everyone is excellent. It's not too much to summarize in a single list. I'll keep working on it - just let me have a few days between each update. If it does become too cumbersome due to length then I might cull or filter out some info if necessary (based on some criteria). But we're not anywhere near that point yet. Obviously variant chess is not as popular as the classical game of chess by any measure. This is the place where people can learn about it and see if it grows!

Remember, the game of baseball was once played on a poorly marked field with little or no audience, and some games did not even have a home run fence. There was no official "ball" and pitchers would arrive at games with their own hand-crafted inventions. But somewhere, over time, the ball and rules of the game became formalized. Information was spread in newspapers, on the radio and by trading cards. Eventually the stars of the game were born. I believe variant chess will grow in a similar fashion. We just have a different medium than radio and playing cards!:)
the "chilipepper"👹

HGMuller

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Re: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 12:11:42 pm »
My main gripe with that is that there is no guarantee a player is any good if he beat one or two others in a game no one else is interested in playing, and his opponents just learned the rules a week in advance. Most Chess variants are pretty much alike, and if you would be good at one, you would be good at many others. 'Superchess', for instance, is actually a family of variants that (much like Musketeer Chess) use different substitution pieces. So one year the 'championship' can be played with a certain set of pieces, the next year with another. Yet the same person, who happens to also be a FIDE IM, tends to win it.

I have been watching one of these games going on at the chess.com, and the play was awful, hardly above the level of a random mover. One player didn't even seem to be aware that when an opponent trades a piece, it is usually good strategy to recapture. Being able to beat such opponents isn't really worth mentioning. How strong can play really be in a variant where the rules are only decided upon days before the match? If the players were all super GMs, perhaps I would believe it. If they are rated, say, 1500 at orthodox Chess, of which they have known the rules incredibly much longer, well....

chilipepper

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Re: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2018, 12:23:59 pm »
That's an interesting point of view, but the way to be a Champion is to play games and win. Using the baseball metaphor, some players of the early 20th century are long forgotten. They were superseded by better and more skilled players. It's not my goal to discern "best" possible play for any particular game, and compare players with theoretical play. One of my objectives is to give attention to players who play games and win. That's the pinnacle of game-playing. :)
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GothicChessInventor

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Re: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2018, 02:21:09 pm »
We also had "computer world championships" for Gothic Chess, and H.G. ran a few "battle of the Goths" tournaments with programs that could interface with his Winboard protocol.



Maybe we could compile a list of computer programs as well. There were entrants from 3 different decades in our first Gothic Chess computer event! One was a DOS program "CapaGNU" that could also play Gothic Chess with a slight modification to the piece placement at the start. There was a "Zillions of Games" entrant, Chess V, TSCP Gothic (from the Netherlands based on Tom's Simple Chess Program), S.M.I.R.F. (programmed by Reinhard Scharnagl of Germany, may he rest in peace) and Gothic Vortex (my program, built on a Crafty framework with the help of Gil Dodgen, may he rest in peace) so it was an interesting event.


Brian Colgan operates the SMIRF program against ChessV
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 02:29:39 pm by GothicChessInventor »

HGMuller

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Re: Who are Today's World Champions in Variant Chess?
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2018, 02:40:42 pm »
Indeed, the Gothic tournaments were great. The last Battle of the Goths event is already quite some time ago, but as far as I know there has been no development of engines that could play Gothic Chess at all, since then. Bihasa won the last tourney convincing. (But of course only WinBoard-compatible engines could compete, so Gothic Vortex wasn't there.)

BTW, I am in possession of the source code of TSCP-Gothic. For the "Battle of the Goths" events, which also used other starting positions (to get more game diversity), I had hacked TSCP-G, overwriting the startup FEN with a hex editor. (It did not support the WinBoard command for setting up a position.)