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 Post subject: Go handicap vs. Chess handicap
Post #1 Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 10:13 pm 
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I often read about people making the claim that Go has a handicap system, while chess does not.

When I found out that my new neighbour knows how to play the game, I went and spent some money on a cheap wooden board.

I play with eight pieces and he plays with the full set of sixteen. That makes for an interesting game for both of us.

So next time you play a weaker opponent, try giving them a handicap, it's more fun that way. Give them the first three moves or something.

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 Post subject: Re: Go handicap vs. Chess handicap
Post #2 Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 10:28 pm 
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Chess has a well defined handicap system. My favorite is the capped pawn, by which the stronger player can mate only with that pawn. :D

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Post #3 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 1:00 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
Chess has a well defined handicap system. My favorite is the capped pawn, by which the stronger player can mate only with that pawn. :D
Wow! Interesting... first time I hear of it. ( Any known chess software/app features this handicap ? )

Hmm, if the better player ( I'm thinking a GM :) ) still keeps all the 16 initial pieces,
I imagine this handicap is still quite insufficient for the average chess person.

I'm thinking which common household item would make a nice cap for the pawn...
Worst case, just wrap a basic rubber band around it.
Anzu wrote:
I play with eight pieces and he plays with the full set of sixteen.
Anzu, did you start with your King and 7 pawns ?

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Post #4 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 2:20 am 
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EdLee wrote:
Anzu, did you start with your King and 7 pawns ?


Here's a picture -


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 Post subject: Re: Go handicap vs. Chess handicap
Post #5 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:47 am 
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fyi, when teaching or playing with young children, people often play with a less pieces for both players, ie king and 4 pawns vs king and rook or king and 3 pawns vs king. I think this reduces the overload of having to think about too many pieces at once.


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 Post subject: Re: Go handicap vs. Chess handicap
Post #6 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 9:28 am 
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What, is this lifein8x8? :)

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Post #7 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:53 am 
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Anzu wrote:
EdLee wrote:
Anzu, did you start with your King and 7 pawns ?


Here's a picture -


FYI, this is a huge handicap, comparable to 9 stones in 9x9 go. Only suitable for playing complete beginners.

I play chess at a decent level (2000 ELO, roughly equivalent to 1d in go) and I have never seen or played a handicap game. Giving up a pawn is a much bigger deal than giving up a move or a stone in go - without pawns you can't get any presence on the board and as a result your whole game will suffer terribly and even if you manage to hang on, a single pawn advantage is often decisive in the endgame. Two pawns is a trivial win. 3 pawns or a piece is "just resign already...";

Free moves handicap, aka go handicap would be much better but you can't go past 3 free moves because you can checkmate in 4.

TLDR: pawns are precious.


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Post #8 Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 7:57 pm 
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lemon wrote:
... A single pawn advantage is often decisive in the endgame. Two pawns is a trivial win. 3 pawns or a piece is "just resign already...";


I was winning by five pawns, and still managed to lose recently.

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 Post subject: Re: Go handicap vs. Chess handicap
Post #9 Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 7:16 am 
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Wow, I seriously disagree.

Of course this does depend on the level of play. What was just said about the advantage of one, two, or three pawns (or the equivalent in "the exchange" or a "piece") is true for strong players. But not so true when it comes to the less experienced.

For example, an endgame K + Kn + B vs K alone IS an "elementary mate" (but it isn't trivial).

One of the things beginners in chess need to be taught is how to checkmate in the elementary mate endgames. You teach them first K + Q vs K, then K + R vs Km K + 2B vs K, etc. Then why K + 2Kt vs K is drawn but K + 2Kt vs K + P would usually be won. You also teach then how in the endgame to translate that K + P vs K to victory (promoting the pawn) and wen instead is drawn.

The point I am making is that when the chess handicap is used to equalize a game between an experienced player and one who is not, because the experienced player knows those "hows" might be able to get a draw in games that should be lost.

But it is not all THAT much different in go. Three stones would be a HUGE handicap between pros, even weakest against strongest (pro). But not as big in the amateur kyu levels.

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 Post subject: Re: Go handicap vs. Chess handicap
Post #10 Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 9:23 am 
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Why is it that chess handicaps have almost died out, while go handicaps are going strong?

Why is it that go handicaps have died out at the professional level?

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Post #11 Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 9:47 am 
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Quote:
Why is it that chess handicaps have almost died out, while go handicaps are going strong?
Related question: of ALL the games out there, other than Go, which ones have a handicap system routinely used (enjoyed) by people ?
In other words, is Go the exception ?
Quote:
Why is it that go handicaps have died out at the professional level?
Does it have to do with money ?
In the Lee Sedol v. AGA pros event, they went to 2-stones;
and the tourney was abruptly halted just before the next game would've been 3-stones.
It would be illuminating to find out the actual distance between the current top pros v. the others.

Related: if AlphaGo continues to improve, how much farther from top pros can it reach ? How many stones ?
Once AlphaGo can beat all the top pros, will they stop further development ( re: Deep Blue ) ?

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 Post subject: Re: Go handicap vs. Chess handicap
Post #12 Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 11:58 am 
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If you give a rook as handicap, can you still castle on the missing rook's side?

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Post #13 Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 5:02 pm 
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EdLee wrote:
Related question: of ALL the games out there, other than Go, which ones have a handicap system routinely used (enjoyed) by people ?

At the amateur level, golf and bowling are played regularly with handicaps.

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 Post subject: Re: Go handicap vs. Chess handicap
Post #14 Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:53 am 
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Also croquet.

I'd suggest that they're still in use in games if they are roughly transitive, I.e if A gives B X and B gives C Y then A gives C X+Y, and give about a 50% probability of winning.

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Post #15 Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:47 pm 
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EdLee wrote:
of ALL the games out there, other than Go, which ones have a handicap system routinely used (enjoyed) by people? In other words, is Go the exception ?


In Japanese chess (shogi), handicaps are used all the time. The stronger player takes some pieces off the board before the game.

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 Post subject: Re: Go handicap vs. Chess handicap
Post #16 Posted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:11 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
Why is it that chess handicaps have almost died out, while go handicaps are going strong?

Why is it that go handicaps have died out at the professional level?


That capped pawn handicap in chess is interesting. On first thought the player receiving the handicap could devote everything to win by capturing the capped pawn at all cost.

Real handicaps for pros existed into the 20th century. Years ago Kobayashi Koichi participated in an event (reported in Igo Club, I think) in which he took on three pro shodans starting at even and, I think, changing the handicap each game depending on the result of the previous game. I recall that Kobayashi forced the shodans down to three stones, which would have been the old handicap between pro 9-dan and pro shodan. If I recall correctly, Kobayashi was at his peak then so his actual strength might have been higher than nine dan. Handicaps between pros were abandoned after the institution of komi. It is probably cynical to think that perhaps the higher ranked pros didn't want to have only 50% chance of winning against lower ranked pros in the preliminary rounds of the big title tournaments.

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 Post subject: Re: Go handicap vs. Chess handicap
Post #17 Posted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:02 am 
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Chess handicaps are not dead. :D

http://www.usefulchess.com/others/nakamura-komodo.html

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 Post subject: Re: Go handicap vs. Chess handicap
Post #18 Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:09 am 
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Check it out guys, this chess program (Chess Free by AI Factory) supports handicaps:


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 Post subject: Re: Go handicap vs. Chess handicap
Post #19 Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:58 am 
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I think that handicap shown in the screenie of 8 pieces vs 16 is bigger than 9 stones by quite some margin. That said, a pawn handicap is not that large.

Magnus Carlsen played 9 games against IM Lawrence Trent without a rook, and beat Lawrence in 4 of the games. Now admittedly Magnus is a decent chess player, but a rook is a big handicap, and the time controls were fairly fast, but it shows you have a reasonable flexibility on handicaps at high level.

Interestingly, despite having a nominal "value" of a point each, each pawn would have a different impact on handicap value, simply because of how it impacts piece mobility, king safety and a few other positional issues.

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 Post subject: Re: Go handicap vs. Chess handicap
Post #20 Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:10 am 
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When I was growing up it wasn't unusual but not common to get "a knight's odds" or "a pawn's odds" (White plays without a knight or two pawns) in a game where an adult was teaching a young child or similar. I don't remember any adult players doing but chess was done very informally where I was a boy. I don't have trouble imagining someone doing it in a pub for a bet though. ;)

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