Talk:Losing chess

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No royal power implies ...[edit]

In Variant 3, the king again has royal powers. Is this supposed to imply implicitly that all of the bullets under "The king has no royal power" are now negated? In particular, it seems important to point out that when the king has royal powers, the pawns can no longer be promoted to king. (Or can they?) Pnkfelix (talk) 14:06, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Recent deletions and copyedits[edit]

When I copyedit I take care to not alter existing meaning of content, unless I'm prepared to back up the new meaning by sourcing it. A recent change by User:Mann jess altered existing meaning of content.


Losing chess (Suicide chess) has been a popular chess variant on most chess servers that have offered it ever since the early days [...]


Losing chess (Suicide chess) has been a popular chess variant on many chess servers ever since the early days [...]

(Bolding is mine.) I also have problems with other aspects of the recent sweeping edit by the same user. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 09:33, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

The prior formulation is needlessly wordy. If this is the most popular variation of chess, and it's been popular on "most chess servers that offered it", then surely it's been popular on "many chess servers". None of the article is sourced, which makes it difficult to work with the existing content. The solution to this problem is to provide sources and inline citations.   — Jess· Δ 14:11, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
You're justifying making up facts in your head that you think should be true or must be true, and then changing existing meaning in a WP article on that basis? Gee, someone might call that WP:OR, but I guess not you. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 18:16, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Wow. This is my first interaction with you. It would be nice if you could try to work collaboratively. You've said this "new version" is unsourced. So what's the source for the old version?   — Jess· Δ 18:19, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
That's shifting my point. My point is, replacing existing content with "facts" made up in one's head, is not justifiable on the WP. (Is your logic that, if you find no inline citations on existing content in an article, then you are free to replace said content with what you make up!? That's fundamentally wrong. Why are you seeming to try and justify doing so?) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 18:35, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Look, we want to include properly sourced content, right? What sources are we using for this content? Links and quotes would help.   — Jess· Δ 18:47, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
If you feel existing content lacks sourcing, then you can source it yourself, or tag it as needing sourcing, or sometimes editors outright delete unsourced content. But no editor ever, ever, ever, should replace existing content with "facts" they make up in their head. That's fundamentally wrong. (But apparently you won't give up until I say it was OK. Not going to happen. You've tried shifting the topic, you've tried bogus argument about "wordiness", you've tried ad hominem personal remarks. What next?) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 18:52, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I haven't tried "arguing" anything. I've tried working with you to improve the article. I see that's not going to happen. The change I made was a copyedit which left the same meaning. In fact, even if it had changed anything, it would have made the statement weaker, and easier to source. If you're not willing to collaborate, then there's nothing more to say. I'm going to go spend my time productively elsewhere.   — Jess· Δ 19:33, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Please don't mischaracterize me, I've been plain. The meaning wasn't the same, you altered it (do I really have to spell out how?). The question of "how easy to source" is another red herring/deflection/missing the point ... whatever you prefer to call it. Accusing me of unwillingness to discuss is false and personal comment on my motives and Wiki behavior -- please stop. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 08:08, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
I have to say that I think you're coming in a little too hot here, Ihardlythinkso. I think Jess wants to work with you to improve the article, but this will be hard if you don't drop some of the attitude. To the point at hand, I agree that the meaning was altered a bit and that absent a source it is best to either preserve or remove the original. However Jess is right that sourcing is an issue for the original claim. What reliable sources do we have that support the original text? If it isn't supported, it shouldn't be rewritten—it should be removed. The Bronstein analysis should stay, but only if we can source it. Quale (talk) 23:43, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for commenting, Quale. My concern with removing it was that the whole article appears to be unsourced to me. At least, I'm not sure what is and isn't backed up. I'd love to directly paraphrase a source if we have one. Maybe someone can shed some light on that, or I can track one down.   — Jess· Δ 00:11, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Quale, Jess is right that sourcing is an issue for the original claim. Did I ever argue or suggest different? No, I didn't; my objection was with replacing that text with a made-up "fact". User:Mann jess has never recognized at any time that he did so, and has insisted in multiple ways that he didn't do so. Collaboration requires at least a little honesty, no? (Or is it pure WP:IDHT? I dunno. [Even moments ago he still denies he changed the meaning with that copyedit. How is it possible to "work" with someone who cannot see a simple thing like that, or does see it but refuses to recognize same? I'm sorry but that is just beyond reasonability; and if the editor behaves impossibly on this simple point, what does that indicate regarding likelihood of fair or logical discussion on other points?] The alteration in meaning was made clear at the beginning of this thread for anyone who chooses to read for meaning.) Instead he chose to mischaracterize and make personal remarks, you weren't in my shoes being on receiving end of that. What reliable sources do we have that support the original text? If it isn't supported, it shouldn't be rewritten—it should be removed. I stated that the text should be sourced or tagged or removed. Never at any time did I advocate maintaining that text as-is. (Once again, I objected only to replacing it with a made-up "fact".) The Bronstein analysis was carefully prepared and implemented by User:Double sharp. The source is Pritchard's ECV (1994). But I won't be part of this article any more, I've had enough. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 08:20, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear you're leaving the article, ihardlythinkso, but if you are that means we can't discuss the reversions you made. That being the case, I'll undo them. If you decide you want to return at some time, I'd be happy to discuss them with you on the talk page.   — Jess· Δ 15:54, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Have restored the removed material. I have no interest in edit-warring w/ you, User:Mann jess. But you are simply wrong in your estimations of the materials you removed and your bases for removal. If you want to discuss neutrally, fine. If you want to use more aggressive tactics, not fine. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 16:22, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

See my comments in the section below. There's been no discussion of this since you decided to leave the article forever. If you want to discuss it, you should do that before edit warring to put contentious content back in. Thanks.   — Jess· Δ 19:05, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
I strongly support including the Bronstein analysis, but only if it is cited. I am told that Pritchard is a reference, but unfortunately I do not have his books so I can't help with the cite. I would not have deleted the Bronstein analysis, but once it was deleted it would be better to not restore it until a citation is provided. Concerning the other dispute, I don't have a informed opinion about the external links. Since two editors are at loggerheads about the links, maybe it would be helpful to ask for assistance at WP:ELN? Three or four more opinions might make it clear whether the links should be included or not.
I think the heated discussion may cause other editors to avoid getting involved, because many editors don't want to step into an ugly dispute that has gotten so personal. I know it would be very hard to fix that now, since neither of you can do it alone—you would have to work together and you quite understandably don't like each other. That's a shame, because I've seen both of you make nice improvements to chess articles. It would be great to see what you could do if you were able to work together, but that's probably impossible now. Quale (talk) 02:50, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Sourcing the Bronstein analysis has never been a problem. Pritchard, D. B. (2000). Popular Chess Variants. B.T. Batsford Ltd. pp. 33–34. ISBN 0-7134-8578-7.  The material never should have been deleted in the first place. If sourcing was an issue, the material should have been tagged "Citation needed". Or a challenging editor could have opened a Q here on Talk. The material came out of material in the biblio section, so it wasn't necessary to specify the source unless challenged. The burden to remove he material falls on the editor wanting removal. The editor here did not tag it. He didn't open a Q saying he wanted a source. He simply deleted it. He had more than one opportunity to do the right things mentioned, it was even mentioned on this Talk there there was a source for this material, but he deleted it aggressively prior to any discussion, and has insisted on deletion as a condition of discussion. (That just isn't right -- no way, no how.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 04:34, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
I have no interest to get in anything personal with this user. I would like a rational framework within which to work the issues, however. And deleting materials as a precursor condition to discussion is aggressive and not justified. (See notes about Bronstein analysis above.) The other material he deleted has been long-standing in the article and the burden of removal falls on the editor advocating removal. This is not a BLP but the user has taken a "BLP violation" mindset regarding his removals, and that is clearly misplaced. The aggressive posture of insisting on removal before discussion takes place discourages neutral and fair discussion. It is decidedly uncollegial and destroys the potential for easy collaboration. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 04:44, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
@Quale, I have no problem with including mention that these are solved lines (if it's sourced). I also don't have a problem with including links in Further Reading, or in some other way, to the full game analysis. Another option would be including a gif of one or two whole games. I suppose we could even put a full line or two in the notes, but beyond the primary concern of sourcing, I don't see it as helpful to place a large block of move sequences in algebraic notation in the middle of the article prose. Doing so isn't helpful to anyone without a chess board or computer software in front of them, playing through the moves one by one. It is sufficient to summarize the game for our readers, and point them to where to find out more. Do any of my proposed solutions work for you? The goal isn't to remove information from the article; it's to make the article easier to read.   — Jess· Δ 14:40, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Quale can respond to you, the following comments are mine. I don't think you understand or appreciate what those Bronstein lines are. Their value is not "example games". They are refutations or proofs that three first moves by White automatically lose (and thus, anyone entertaining playing this game s/ avoid 1.e4, 1.d4, and 1.d3). If the text just "mentions" those moves lose at once, I can't imagine an attentive reader not wondering how or why. Then it would be very difficult for that reader to generate those solutions herself/himself.

The lines are basically in a section of their own, so I do not see how that interferes or inhibits reading the article as a whole--the section can be skipped by the reader if not interested. If the three game scores were inordinately long, there might be a point. The fact their occupied size stands out to you may be because the article is thin on content. Future expansion would take care of that. This particular article is a good candidate for future expansion too, since it is a priority game in all three Pritchard sources (ECV, CECV, Popular Chess Variants), since this variant is one of the most popular of all variants. Advocating to keep material out of the article to provide a better physical balance, if that is what you are contending, is premature and tosses out a valued contribution to the article re those solved lines. And to back up, I don't see the space problem to begin with ... all three of the Bronstein game scores take up a net total of eight lines (on my computer). Eight lines for three complete game scores. That seems very efficient to me. It seems an exaggeration to characterize eight lines as "large blocks".

There are many many game scores of complete ortho chess games in many chess-related articles. *None* of them are useful (unless someone happens to be a good blindfold player) without a "chess board or computer software in front of them, playing through the moves one by one". (So your argument doesn't singly apply to the three Bronstein lines, you are effectively making a case to eliminate virtually 1000s of complete game scores already in hundreds of articles. So on that basis I don't see the validity of that argument. [Plus moves of any game are always played through "one by one"--there is no other way to play through them with or without chessboards and softwares.]) I've seen that you as editor have a liking for animated chess gifs, that is all fine and dandy, but there are extremely few in any chess-related articles. But that idea is as yet still far off (development, proposal, consensus, implementation). If you like to construct your own animations for the article, that seems like a personal preference, I'm not sure I see the advantage unless the move rate can be slowed to the rate preferred by the reader, because this variant involves a lot of calculation to play good moves or understand them. And even if animated gifs to show games were introduced, the complete game scores s/ be there for reference as well. The encyclopedia is envisioned as also being printed to paper, and an animated has no value when printed to paper; the game score comes first in priority. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 15:23, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

Yes, I do understand what the Bronstein lines are. I play chess, so I'm not as unfamiliar with chess notation and convention than some of our readers are likely to be. Even still, the list of moves is of little use to me unless I happened to be doing in-depth analysis. I would not expect to find that information on wikipedia, and it's of no use to me if I'm not explicitly looking for it. I'm not trying to hide the information, I'm trying to remove it from the article prose, so it's easier to read and uncluttered. It works well in the Notes, or as a link in Further Reading, or as a reference, or a chess diagram. But it's not prose. Do any of those solutions work for you, absent including several paragraphs of moves in the middle of the article?   — Jess· Δ 18:16, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm fine w/ relocating them to Notes. (In fact they are probably more appropriately there. User:Double sharp added the material originally, he's exceptional variants editor, it'd never cross my mind to examine or critique him especially given the huge morass of dysfunctional and missing variants contents already on the WP.) Most of your text above speaks to what you personally need from the article, or are interested in as reader. But you are one reader only and shouldn't presume all readers have the same interests/needs as your own. (For example the lines might have value to readers who aren't doing "in-depth analysis" and simply rather like to see & enjoy how a great player solved those forced-line problems.) You made several original objections including "not sourced" and "NOTGAMEGUIDE", so the latter was responsible for leading me to suppose you didn't fully undersand the purpose of those lines for the article. So you've expressed three or four objections to the material, and are only really now explaining your full POV on the matter. It's difficult to discuss material retention/deletion if your objections are scattered but really you have an unexpressed central interest. But even your central concern, "not prose", isn't generally a good argument because there are many game scores of sample games in chess bio articles in their own sections and not relegated to Notes section. (But it works fine here because the lines, though games, have a different purpose for the article namely as refutation proofs.) OK, I'll add to Notes soon. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 20:35, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Ihardly, I was trying to compromise with you. All I needed was your first sentence. I've added the solutions to the notes section. Thanks.   — Jess· Δ 21:15, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Oh, I know. I put it first so you wouldn't have to read the rest. (Why did you elect to? You shouldn't do that kind of thing to yourself!) ;) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 22:32, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Including the Bronstein analysis in the Notes seems like an excellent solution to me, and it is probably better than putting it in the body. I never thought of it. You guys are smart, and good wikipedia editors. Working together you can make articles better. Quale (talk) 22:47, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

Linking to flash games[edit]

Per request in edit summary, I'm starting this section so we have a place to discuss the external links. The links previously at the bottom of the article, pointing to 4 flash games, are not encyclopedic and fail WP:ELNO #8. They also simply fail to meet the purpose of external links, which is to provide additional research on the topic.   — Jess· Δ 08:13, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

BTW, I'd actually suggest reading WP:BRD before citing it. You may also want to read WP:BURDEN and the guidelines I've linked above. You're introducing content distinctly contrary to our policies, and edit warring to keep it in. That's not acceptable. My interactions with you so far have been distinctly unpleasant. I'd very seriously appreciate if you could find a way to work collaboratively.   — Jess· Δ 08:16, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Well, I think you are the unpleasant one, displaying WP:IDHT when someone is plain and clear multiple times with you, and mischaracerizing me with your personal remarks re my motives as though fact, which shows you assume bad faith besides treading into personal accusations = personal affrontery = personal attacks. You are aggressive and left no edit summary for the sweeping set of deletions you made in your original edit to this article. You've implied there is something important in BRD that I don't understand. How about tell me what you're meaning rather than being aggressively obtuse? Ihardlythinkso (talk) 08:56, 31 January 2014 (UTC) p.s. Your constant use of "our policies" is condescending and insulting. (Aren't you aware how? You call me "unpleasant". Go figure.)
Your idea that ELs must point to "additional research" isn't correct. Those "games" are not Internet playsites but rather offer the reader an applet whereby he can gain a better understanding of the subject of the article through direct interactive experience with a program. It is hard to imagine a better way to gain more insight into the nature of the subject game in such a short time than that. WP can and should exploit the fact that it is not a paper encyclopedia and can utilize such interactive technology to enhance understanding of the subject. The links to those applets add to understand the subject game in a way nothing else could and that enhancement is outside the ability of the article body text, so those ELs are serving the purpose ELs should. Your only argument is that those applets require Java, and I think the advantages already mentioned outweigh. The WP:ELNO is guideline not policy and exceptions are allowed through evaluation and common sense. I think your orientation is to enforce guideline blindly and ignore advantages given to the article per WP:EL, so I solidly disagree with you. I doubt this discussion can go further since you seem overly aggressive, reverting multiple times before discussion, then making uncalled-for personal derogatory comments once you finally get here. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 09:23, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
You reverted me with a rationale of BRD, and then reverted again after I'd started a section on the talk page, before even participating. If you won't read BRD, I'll quote it for you:
  • "BRD is not a valid excuse for reverting good-faith efforts to improve a page simply because you don't like the changes. Don't invoke BRD as your reason for reverting someone else's work..."
  • "BRD is not an excuse to revert any change more than once. If your reversion is met with another bold effort, then you should consider not reverting, but discussing..."
  • "Note: The first person to start a discussion is the person who is best following BRD."
The content you restored is directly opposed to both convention and our content policies. The burden is on the editor restoring material. You've now reinstated more content, unsourced, without discussing it here or providing any rationale. Since you won't work with me, I could just drop this, and every other page you edit from my watchlist, but frankly, these articles are in such shambles, it's amazing they have survived this long in such a state. This article isn't even sourced! I'm going to head to DRN to get outside input. If that doesn't work out, an RfC may be worth trying.   — Jess· Δ 15:21, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
You invited discussion only after reverting twice the restoration of material you boldly deleted. (After I restored it the first time, I was shocked to see you instantly revert and delete the material again. I restored and reminded you about BRD, then you instantly deleted it again.) The sequences by David Bronstein were carefully prepared and implemented by User:Double sharp based on reliable source in the article bibliography. It is not WP:GAMEGUIDE as you argued at the DRN item you opened. Since you're giving two reasons you deleted that material, both invalid, I don't know how to respond to that. You're getting excited (these articles are in such shambles [...] This article isn't even sourced!) and I want to remind you that the article has been around awhile and that I've been a minor contributor to it doing mostly only some copyediting, not contributing content or sourcing -- you're arguing with me as though I'm responsible for the state of the article, or using the collaborative but incomplete efforts of other editors as some sort of argument that I'm defending the article status as-is. That isn't the case. But you made up your own WP:OR content and used it to replace existing content, which you've been unwilling to recognize even though it is plain, and you've made constant excuses for doing so even though that type thing is counter WP fundamentals. And you deleted valid content w/o explanation. If you like to discuss that's fine but you should drop the behavior of attacking the other editor's "willingness to collaborate" when you run into objection(s). Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:27, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
You reverted me on the basis it was an "unexplained removal". Cool, no problem. So I explained why I removed the links. Then you reverted me again because of BRD, which WP:BRD says explicitly not to do. But cool, still no problem. I explained that I'd open a section on the talk page to discuss it with you, but asked that we leave the content out in the meantime. Then you reverted me again, before even participating on the talk page, and called me a bully. It was at this point we had a problem.
I'm happy to work with you on improving the article, but you've got to work with me to make that happen. I could have gamed 3rr and removed the content again, but I didn't. I also could have stonewalled any attempts to discuss the matter, but in fact I opened a section to discuss it, and I've listened to what you had to say in the section above and on other pages and incorporated that into my editing. I could have done all manner of other disruptive behavior, but instead I've only asked you questions, tried to compel you to work with me, and requested outside input at DRN and 3O. You've got to assume good faith, or we won't make any progress. I'd like to stop discussing conduct and focus exclusively on article content. You can have the last word about it if you want, or come to my talk page, but otherwise let's focus on making changes. Can we do that?
While we're waiting for input from 3O, here are the issues you've brought up with my copyedit so far.
  1. You want the links to the flash games included. They violate WP:ELNO, but you believe they are an exception to the rule. I disagree. Linking to flash games is unconventional and encyclopedic, and I see no reason why this article is a greater exception to the rule than Chess, a featured article. Can we agree to remove those links, at the very least until we agree on a compelling reason why this article should be an exception to our established guidelines?
  2. You believe we should include a list of example solved games, move by move, in algebraic notation. You haven't yet provided any rationale for that (just that my edit summary was "deceptive"). I'd like to discuss that in a new section. Can you open one and explain what you think they add to the article? You also said it was sourced, but I don't see one. Can you please point to it? I'm happy to discuss it with you.
  3. You believe my wording choice relating to Antichess' popularity changed the meaning and is unsourced. However, as I explained above, we can't solve a problem with "unsourced" wording unless we have a source to look at. I've asked a number of times, but you haven't provided any sources, and you became very angry at my asking. I was planning to hunt down some sources to expand the article, but never got a chance because of all this drama relating to a simple copyedit. Can we agree to leave that wording as-is until we have a source to do a rewrite? A second option is removing the sentence altogether, but since the whole article is unsourced, removing just one sentence is a little arbitrary.
Does that work as a step forward?   — Jess· Δ 00:01, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Have restored the removed material. I have no interest in edit-warring w/ you, User:Mann jess. But you are simply wrong in your estimations of the materials you removed and your bases for removal. If you want to discuss neutrally, fine. If you want to use more aggressive tactics, not fine. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 16:22, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

If you're interested in discussing, then you should have discussed. You left the conversation over a month ago, and then resumed edit warring today without responding to what I'd written. If you want to participate, then participate.   — Jess· Δ 19:01, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
You're the one who's edit-warring, Mann jess. (You removed perfectly good content, prior to any discussion, multiple times.) I find it near impossible to discuss anything with an editor so uncivil. You seem to bully your way, and create conflict unnecessarily. I won't enter discussion w/ you under your aggressive terms. You bully and attempt intimidation. It's bad. You shouldn't be on this page or any pages w/ such behavior. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 19:27, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
Please stop with the personal attacks. If you "won't enter discussion", then please leave me alone. If you want to discuss, then please respond to what I wrote a month ago, just above.   — Jess· Δ 19:35, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
Not willing to discuss w/ you on your aggressive terms. (Didn't I say that already?) Restore the material that shouldn't have been deleted prior to discussion first. And stop the false accusations re personal attacks. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 20:57, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
(And BTW, how is please leave me alone even possibly rational, when I never asked or invited you here? Please don't answer, I know you will only insult. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 21:03, 13 March 2014 (UTC))

I'd say WP:ELNO #8 supported excluding these links - although it talks about avoiding direct links to material that requires a plugin, the page has no content other than three brief sentences reiterating how Suicide Chess is played, so is of zero use to a user lacking the Java plugin. Is there perhaps some wider Chess/boardgame WikiProject consensus on whether linking to rich media "play online, it's the best way to understand the game" sites is a useful practice? --McGeddon (talk) 16:02, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for participating. I don't know the answer to your Q. Those applets help a reader to grasp the move rules basically. (They're not strong applets; they are essentially interactive demos for how pieces move. In many chess variants, not this one, fairy pieces have moves not like ortho chess pieces, so the applets are extremely helpful to get a grasp over reading text that defines move rules. I see that as a perfect application of exploiting an interactive experience that technology offers, over a paper-bound encyclopedia. Games are designed to be *played*--not studied like fossils of extinct species. Readers probably don't come to the Antichess article to learn about its history; they come to learn the rules of play.)

WP chess-related articles contain literally 1000s of links to ortho chess games at Here is from requires Java which may not be present on your computer. You can download Java for free from here. Java technology, unfortunately, tends to be unstable for some users. To solve this, we provide more than one Java viewer: if one doesn't work, try another. (You can change your Java viewer setting on the preferences page or on any game page.) Perhaps your browser's configuration has Java turned off? Check your browser preferences for any Java-related options and make sure they are set properly.

Note that it is possible to configure your browser to view PGN files from the web in a PGN viewing application; once you do this, the "download PGN" link found on the game pages should display the game using your own software.

Ihardlythinkso (talk) 16:24, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

"White to play and win"[edit]

Is the image in the top right describing a famous Suicide Chess game, or a classic puzzle, or something else? An unexplained spoiler-alert "click here to see the answer" puzzle seems a little odd for an encyclopedia entry, and offhand I can't see any other chess articles doing this. --McGeddon (talk) 16:20, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

It's a chess problem. (An "Antichess" problem.) The "hide/show" option is infrequently used in WP articles ... I would estimate there are about a net total of only a dozen uses in 1000s of chess-related articles. So it is very selective use. Couple years ago there was RfC over use of it, several adminstrators were involved as well, and the overwhelming consensus was use is OK for chess puzzles. After that MOS was updated to support hidden content for chess puzzles. The basic idea is that the whole point or purpose of a chess puzzle is defeated by non-hidden content. But there are many chess puzzles on WP with solutions non-hidden as well. When I've included "hide/show" I've tried to be very selective. (For example in the current article, even if the entire puzzle wasn't in the article, it wouldn't impact the article, the puzzle is just frosting on the cake. So why not protect the original composer's hard work, and let people enjoy this problem. That was my rationale for "hide/show" in this case.) Critieria for WP artcle Featured status is that articles are not only complete and correct, but well written and interesting or enjoyable to read as well. Giving non-hidden puzzle answers is like a magician explaining the secret of his/her magic trick before executing the trick, and how enjoyable would a magic show be then? Last, I don't know for sure but an editor mentioned the "show" version pops out when printing to paper (or at least did for him). Ok, Ihardlythinkso (talk) 16:39, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Forgot to add, I think it's also a perfect exploitation, as above for the applet ELs, of technology over paper that allows interactive value. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 16:51, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
McGeddon, I recently added a hide/show to the caption of a chess diagram at article Chess. (It's not a chess composition puzzle, but it is highly similar. But with a twist because in this case the "solution" is non-hidden, just the followup continuations are hidden.) Please go see if you can find it, and then tell me what you think. (I.e. if it adds value. Prior, the three continuations after 1.Bh5+ were all listed in the caption.) Ok, Ihardlythinkso (talk) 16:58, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

Article name (name[s] of the game[s])[edit]

How was "antichess" settled upon for the name of the article? As Pritchard seems to be the only reference, I presumed it was from that, but he seems to call it "losing chess." In my own experience, having played quite a bit of this on a number of chess servers and in person at multiple venues, I've never heard it called antichess. Speaking of the main variant as it's described in the article, I've only heard it called (a) giveaway via those on ICC, (b) suicide on all other chess servers (FICS and USC certainly, but also, if memory serves, MEWIS,, and GICS), (c) losing chess randomly. Giveaway and suicide have a minor difference in conditions for winning, yes. Just looking around online I'm seeing a few instances of "antichess" but few and far between. --— Rhododendrites talk |  23:07, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

I personally favour a move to "Suicide chess". MaxBrowne (talk) 10:42, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
Thirded: a Google Books search returns 138 results for "suicide chess", and only 64 for "antichess". --McGeddon (talk) 11:12, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
The name "Antichess" doesn't come from Pritchard (that name doesn't occur in either ECV, CECV, or Popular Chess Variants). Pritchard files the game under name "Losing Chess" ("Losing chess" at WP) in all three books. He lists "Giveaway", "Suicide", etc. as synonyms. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 18:26, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
From the sources I'm seeing, counting all instances when multiple names are given, "losing chess" does seem most common, so I suppose that's what we should go with even if most people who play the game today call it something different (with redirects for the others). Any objections? --— Rhododendrites talk |  22:08, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
I concur w/ that opinion. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 05:29, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

Variant numbers/names[edit]

Some of the variants have names, some have numbers - is the numbering taken from the sources, or just something that a Wikipedia editor used to distinguish them? If it's the latter, would it be easier on the reader if we invented brief names for them (and maybe grouped the similar ones)? --McGeddon (talk) 17:27, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Also, in terms of what is due/undue, we should really have a standard of at least two sources for each. --— Rhododendrites talk |  17:33, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
Variant numbers 2, 3, and 4 were not made up. (The article main variant is labeled variation "I", and variants 2, 3, and 4 are labelled "II", "III", and "IV" by Pritchard in ECV.) As far as the other variants and names, they pre-existed in the article before my adds, so I don't know about them, nor the variant added today. Ok, Ihardlythinkso (talk) 00:20, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Promotion to King in example problem[edit]

It says in the rules that promotion to a King is possible in this variant. In the pictured example problem in the lead one could change black's promotion on the 5th move to a King

1.h3! a5 2.h4 a4 3.h5 a3 4.h6 a2 5.h7 a1=K!!

White's task of getting his piece taken by this King is a lot harder, and will certainly take more than two moves (if it is even possible). --LukeSurl t c 22:34, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

I don't think the problem was composed for a ruleset that allowed King promotion. --LukeSurl t c 22:37, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
a1=K still loses. h8=R is a standard win with the R eventually able to force the king into the corner with e.g. Ka1 Rc3 where any move loses. --— Rhododendrites talk \\ 05:38, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Yep, but this will take many more moves than the given answer (6. h8=R Kb2 7. Rh4 Kc2 8. Re4 Kb2 9. Rd4 Kb1 10. Rd3 Ka1 11. Rc3 Kb2 12. Rc2 Kxc2 1-0) In these problems one assumes black is trying to stave off defeat for as long as possible, therefore a1=K is the correct choice for black. Generally I don't think this is a particularly instructive image to be in the lead of this article. --LukeSurl t c 15:50, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
This is true, and I agree it's too complex and/or lengthy to include as a basic example. --— Rhododendrites talk \\ 22:15, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
I've replaced the image with a diagram which demonstrates a few basic ideas of losing chess (compulsory captures, options when multiple captures are possible, non-royal kings). I believe this is more instructive than the endgame problem. --LukeSurl t c 15:13, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
a b c d e f g h
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
d6 black pawn
b5 white bishop
e3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
After 1. e3 b5 2. Bxb5 d6?? white has a forced win with 3. Bxe8 Qxe8 4. Qg4 Bxg4 5. Kd1 Bxd1 6. a3 Bxc2 7. Ra2 Bxb1 8. b3 Bxa2 9. Ne2 Bxb3 10. Rd1 Bxd1 11. h4 Bxe2 12. h5 Bxh5 13. g4 Bxg4 14. f3 Bxf3 15. e4 Bxe4 16. d3 Bxd3 17. a4 Qxa4 18. Bh6 gxh6 (or Nxh6) 1-0
The new one looks to cover the basics pretty well. Two other ideas either instead or in addition:
  1. a forced win in the opening, which to me is one of the more interesting phenomena with this game -- I put together the one on the right for example
  2. a really basic endgame rather than an elaborate problem. Perhaps the last three forced captures at the end of a game.
--— Rhododendrites talk \\ 22:15, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Nice example. I've added it into the article. --LukeSurl t c 22:56, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, but petty as it sounds, in the future I'd appreciate if I compile and post something here, I'd appreciate being able to add it myself (since posting it here is for discussion rather than to ask someone else to do what I can do perfectly well). Not asking to rv, of course. --— Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:02, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Capitalization of the game's name[edit]

Is the game Losing chess, Losing Chess or losing chess? Most sources seem to go for "Losing Chess". --LukeSurl t c 16:26, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

It s/b "Losing Chess". (Just like it s/b "Alice Chess" instead of "Alice chess", and "Grand Chess" instead of "Grand chess", and a host of others.) Somehow WP:Article titles was misinterpreted for this (CV names), whereby MOS says to use sentence case (cap first letter only of article name, unless title of book, etc.). But "Losing" and "Alice" and "Grand" etc. are not adjectives modifying "chess" -- they are part & parcel of the game name, a proper noun. There are some perhaps less clear examples due to use (e.g. "Fast/Speed/Bullet Chess" or "Fast/Speed/Bullet chess" or "fast/speed/bullet chess"; "Bughouse Chess" or "Bughouse chess" or "bughouse chess" or simply "Bughouse" or "bughouse"; and clearly the traditionals/regionals "shogi", "xiangqi", "makruk", etc.), but these are not those. And is it really efficient or even logical to have article-by-article discussion/consensus on this issue, when Losing & Alice & Grand and maybe 100 others are the exact same issue?! (Ditto non-CVs like "Chinese Checkers" game name where "Chinese" is not a modifier of "checkers" ala "Chinese checkers".) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 23:24, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Bb7 example[edit]

@Ihardlythinkso: I can't tell by your edit summary here if you changed the example because it was too similar to the other one or if you felt it better not to illustrate two blunders. If the first, I have nothing to add -- it illustrates basic mechanics perfectly well; if the second, FWIW Bb7 there is also a forced loss for black. --— Rhododendrites talk \\ 05:39, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

Didn't know if the orig example may have been made up (so then yeah, too close to the later example, and based on known blunder). The replacement example is citable (real game) & shows muli Black capture options like the first did. (Did you cook 2...Bb7?? Then right now you're the only one who knows! Curious to see your line!) ;) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 05:52, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Here's the P. Minear game: 1.e3 b5 2.Bxb5 Bb7 3.Bxd7 Bxg2 4.Bxe8 Bxh1 5.Bxf7 Qxd2 6.Bxd2 Bf3 7.Bxg8 Rxg8 8.Qxf3 Nd7 9.Qxf8 Nxf8 10.c4 h5 11.Bc1 h4 12.Ne2 Ng6 13.Kd2 h3 14.f4 Nxf4 15.exf4 Rh8 16.a4 Rh7 17.c5 Rc8 18.a5 Ra8 19.b4 Re8 20.Ba3 Rc8 21.Nbc3 Ra8 22.Ke3 Rc8 23.Kf3 g5 24.fxg5 Rh6 25.gxh6 Ra8 26.Ne4 c6 27.Re1 e6 28.Bc1 a6 29.N2c3 Rc8 30.Na4 e5 31.b5 axb5 32.h7 bxa4 33.h8=K Rxh8 34.Bh6 Rxh6 35.Kg2 hxg2 36.h4 Rxh4 37.Ra1 Rxe4 38.Rxa4 Rxa4 39.a6 Rxa6 1–0 Ihardlythinkso (talk) 06:10, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Just found this: "The most popular opening move for White is e3, and standard play is 1.e3 b5 2.Bxb5, common Black replies now being Bb7, Ba6 or e6. After 2...Bb7 3.Bxd7 Bxg2 4.Bxe8 Bxh1 5.Bxf7 Qxd2 there are two losing moves out of five open to White: Bxg8 and Qxd2." (Pritchard 1994 ECV, p. 177) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 06:35, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The Bb7 line was solved by Lenny Taelman (lenthep on FICS) and hosted along with a bunch of endgame tables at his website,, which went dead a few years back. The Nilatac book browser gives it as being lost, too, though that one doesn't follow each line to the end online. I may have a .doc of the proof somewhere on an old hard drive (but I may be remembering an aborted attempt to copy it all :) ). If you want I can take a look and email it to you. --— Rhododendrites talk \\ 06:46, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Oh yeah. (I just saw the mathematics paper ref'd by recent text add. That paper says, summarized in the article, that 1...b5 has been busted.) I'm not disputing it (can take it on faith), just wasn't aware. But I think the lead example is still better (a past popular opening line) than what was there. (Don't you?) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 07:05, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Any source from 1994 is going to be kind of problematic when it comes to claims about what is commonly played and/or good. Those were still ICS days, and I don't think suicide had been implemented yet. Online isn't everything, but certainly a whole lot more people started playing it since introduced to FICS/ICC. Theory evolved quite a bit on FICS in the later 90s and early 00s, which is likely when most of the websites on the subject are from and when the computers started to get impossibly good (solving things like Bb7 became possible). Of course, I'm neck-deep in OR here. --— Rhododendrites talk \\ 06:54, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. (But I wasn't suggesting to put "the most popular lines" in the article. That was just for Talk about the example for lede. And at that point yes -- I didn't know it was busted.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 07:05, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Concur the lead example is better than it was. No objections here. --— Rhododendrites talk \\ 02:27, 21 January 2015 (UTC)



  • Chessrat changed instances of "his" to "their".
  • Then Ihardlythinkso reverted.
  • Then LukeSurl restored "their".
  • Then I changed "their" to "his or her".
  • Then MaxBrowne restored "their".
  • While I'm typically fine with a singular they/their, I find it problematic here, so I restored the status quo ("his").

According to WP:GNL if you can use gender-neutral language "with clarity and precision", you should do so. It specifically says to avoid "the generic he" (and, I think it's safe to presume, "him"/"his").

Personally, I think "he or she", regardless of what you think about that approach in general, is a perfectly acceptable option and does not make the sentences unclear or unprecise (the criteria).

"Their" on the other hand, since every instance refers to one of two players, is confusing. If you have no idea about chess or this variant, it might be possible that "A player wins by reducing their pieces to just a king" could be interpreted as "A player wins by reducing [the players'] pieces to just a king". In many cases it's fine, but when outlining the rules of a game between two players, singular vs. plural matters. I don't think it can be said that using they/their maintains the same level of "clarity and precision". — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:55, 12 August 2016 (UTC)

I actually didn't expect the addition of gender-neutral pronouns to be remotely controversial, so this edit war was a bit surprising. In my opinion, the phrasing "A player wins by losing all their pieces" is less confusing than "A player wins by losing all his pieces": usage of the singular they is extremely common and does not seem ambiguous at all, while the generic he is somewhat dated and feels unnatural. I can't understand why anybody, regardless of their knowledge of chess, would instinctively parse "A player wins by reducing their pieces to just a king" as "A player wins by reducing [the players'] pieces to just a king". Maybe there's an age and/or regional difference here, with the singular they being less familiar to some people?
While I prefer usage of the singular they, "his or her" is also acceptable, if somewhat clunky. The current wording, using the generic he, should certainly be avoided; not only is it sexist but it also directly contradicts the MoS. Chessrat (talk, contributions) 15:05, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
Agree w/ Rhododendrites in all respects. "Their" as singular possessive is IMO the best alternative to "his", e.g. "his or her" is an abomination. But beyond that, "their" is especially inappropriate for *this* game in context of rules presentation, since the unusual rules requiring the loss of pieces is what this game is about (and any possible confusion re whose pieces, which plural possessive "their" inherently brings along with it, s/b avoided, if you want to write rules well for a reader unfamiliar w/ the game). This makes it a slam-dunk against use of "their" in this case. "He" isn't or shouldn't be "unnatural" to anyone at all familiar w/ chess, and the variant of course presumes that familiarity. Clarity of presentation to reader trumps anything else; claims of "sexist" are absurdly wrong and indicative of a misguided editing priority/focus. p.s. I'm sick of this repeated discussion. How many times must it occur? IHTS (talk) 22:41, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
Oh right, I see. Judging by your talk page, it seems like you've been adding sexist language to chess articles on wikipedia for a long time – didn't realize that this had already been argued before. :/ The situation is quite clear: using male pronouns is against MOS:GNL (as well as the essays WP:GNL and WP:WAW).
Some things that you said that should be picked up on: firstly, you say that "He isn't or shouldn't be unnatural to anyone at all familiar w/ chess"; why is this? I very rarely see "he" used in a gender neutral context; it immediately jumped out at me when I read the page which is why I brought it up! (and for the record, I have a fide rating >2000, so I'm definitely familiar with chess).
Secondly, you write that "any possible confusion ... s/b avoided, if you want to write rules well for a reader unfamiliar w/ the game" and a couple of sentences later "the variant of course presumes that familiarity". Are we or aren't we using pronouns to people familiar with chess? Because you seem to have contradicted yourself here. (The answer, of course, should be that we cater to all readers).
Anyway, the only argument you bring against "he or she" is that it is supposedly an "abomination", which is obviously not an argument against its inclusion.
So, to conclude, while I prefer "they" and don't believe that it causes confusion at all, if the consensus is that it can cause confusion, then "he or she" must be used. (Nobody has provided an argument against using "he or she" yet). Chessrat (talk, contributions) 23:25, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
No contradiction. ("write rules well for a reader unfamiliar w/ the game" means for a reader unfamiliar w/ this variant; "the variant of course presumes that familiarity" means familiarity w/ chess, not familiarity w/ rules of this variant; I never met anyone who learned chess devoid of any books, e.g. learning chess solely from WP.) "I very rarely see "he" used in a gender neutral context" to me is an unbelievable statement from someone w/ >2000 rating, apparently you've never read a chess book in your life?! You have an inflexible, binary view of editing ("using male pronouns is against MOS:GNL", ""he or she" must be used") even though the flexibility in the MOS:GNL has already been pointed out, lack of background ("didn't realize that this had already been argued before"), and are waging false & baseless personal attack ("Judging by your talk page, it seems like you've been adding sexist language to chess articles on wikipedia for a long time"). So Mr., I'm done w/ you, go cry to momma. IHTS (talk) 06:20, 13 August 2016 (UTC)
Chess, even more than many other subjects, was known as a "gentleman's game". Combine that with the typical use of masculine pronouns when many of the best known chess books were written, and I agree it's strange to say that there's no such trend. Even more strange is 'In my opinion, the phrasing "A player wins by losing all their pieces" is less confusing than "A player wins by losing all his pieces'. I sort of get saying that they're equally clear (though I don't agree), but given we are talking about an individual abstract "player", the meaning of the rules can be understood regardless of gender but not regardless of singular vs. plural. There's just no possible way it's clearer. I'm very familiar with the singular they, but it's poor writing to use it in a context when it's conceivable it could be understood in its plural sense. I have no problem with "his or her", obviously, and haven't seen any arguments against it other than, it seems, personal preference. Technically its less concise, using more words, but certainly clearer than "their" and given the technical nature of its use, clarity is the more important. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 20:33, 13 August 2016 (UTC)
We don't have to stick with what we get when we search-and-replace "his" with "their" throughout an article - we could refer instead to "all of their own pieces", or rewrite the sentence entirely. --McGeddon (talk) 23:36, 13 August 2016 (UTC)
it's possible there's a way, but I'm very skeptical there's any way a use of "their" can be as perfectly clear as a singular pronoun. I still say "his or her" is the best way to go, but either "his" or "her" is preferable to "their" in this case. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 03:58, 14 August 2016 (UTC)
Seems peculiar that "he or she" and "his or her" are accepted as gender neutral, when placing the masculine pronoun always first is anything but. (Other examples: "men and women", "male and female", "man and wife", "Mr. and Mrs.", "brother and sister", "boys and girls; and nearly never "women and men", "female and male", "woman and husband", "Mrs. and Mr.", "sister and brother", "girls and boys".) If there can be such a thing as grammatical hypocrisy/blindness, there it is, ladies and gentlemen! IHTS (talk) 08:05, 14 August 2016 (UTC)
Although we seem to agree in general on this matter, this does not hold. One omits half of the possible audience. The other necessarily places one before another, but omits nobody. The singular they gets around ordering, but can create ambiguity. This is the imperfect grammatical scenario we're in. As the topic is the explanation of rules (i.e. technical writing), the only totally unacceptable solution is the ambiguous one. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:25, 14 August 2016 (UTC)
I wasn't comparing "he or she" to "he" or to possessive plural. I was pointing out the little-recognized fact that "he or she" isn't "gender neutral". It is a chauvinistic expression, and in that regard, also "sexist". (So what I said was, labeling/calling/suggesting a chauvinistic/sexist expression is "gender neutral", is ... peculiar.) IHTS (talk) 15:48, 14 August 2016 (UTC)
How?? Please explain. Georgia guy (talk) 12:45, 15 August 2016 (UTC)
Duh. IHTS (talk) 02:20, 16 August 2016 (UTC)
The singular "they/their" is perfectly clear in the context of this article and abides by MOS:GNL whereas "he/his" does not. At every point in this article where a "they" pronoun can occur there is zero ambiguity as to whether the singular or plural meaning is implied. --LukeSurl t c 07:43, 14 August 2016 (UTC)
I doubt you can know that. (You're suggesting no reader would/could be confused. If a reader *is* confused by the possessive plural when reading this article, even slightly, that's not good because 1) the game is essentially all about its rules definition, and 2) you're unlikely to ever know the reader's confusion, since it's highly unlikely she'll edit the article or Talk page in order to say so.) IHTS (talk) 08:32, 14 August 2016 (UTC)
The specific phrase is The objective of each player is to lose all of his/their pieces or be stalemated, that is, a misère version. and minor variations thereof in the other occurrences. The specification of "a player" or "each player" in those phrases removes any plural/singular ambiguity from the MOS:GNL-complaint they/their. --LukeSurl t c 12:36, 14 August 2016 (UTC)
The clarifying text "the objective of each player" occurs only once in the article, and I disagree "a player" removes any plural/singular ambiguity in the phrase "A player wins by reducing their pieces [...]". (There is inherent ambiguity potential w/ that phrase.)
Here's how David Parlett (The Oxford History of Board Games, 1999, p. 329) describes a solution to the 'diplomacy problem' inherent in three-player chess variants (the bolding is mine):

The only logical way to overcome this problem is to specify as each player's objective that he mate the player on his left (assuming clockwise rotation) while defending himself against his right-hand opponent.

(Now that's using the masculine pronoun four times in one sentence, and even with the clarifying phrase "each player's objective" in the sentence, using possessive plural would mess up the objective of conveying the solution w/ clarity. [And in case anyone needs to understand why "he or she" is abominable, try substituting "he or she" and "his or her" and "himself or herself" in said sentence and see what you get.]) IHTS (talk) 14:12, 14 August 2016 (UTC)
In this context, the substitution of "their" for "his" cannot be argued to add clarity, but it can be argued to lessen clarity (even if you disagree). "His or her" is not problematic for clarity. Its worst offense is that it's "clunky", but generally preferable to gender-specific pronouns, and less clunky than replacing all of these with instances of "a/one/the player". — Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:25, 14 August 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Just to suggest further that "he" is not objectionable because it is "sexist" or "anti-gender neutral", I would guess that, the vast majority of the members of WP:CHESS would not have any problem with, replacing all "he/his/him" references by "she/her/her". (Funny! I wonder if the impassionied gender-neutral advocates, who feel masculine pronoun is unacceptably exclusionary, would voice the same objection if replaced by feminine pronoun. [I know I wouldn't. {Some chess writers do that.} Even I've been attacked for writing "sexist" language on WP. {Like Parlett!? Gee thanks!} Go figure.]) p.s. In fact this could be considered a bold proposal to end this ongoing dispute for this article and similar situations: Change all "he/his/him"s to "she/her/her"s. (My !vote: Accept.) IHTS (talk) 16:09, 14 August 2016 (UTC)

There are only four short and samey sentences in this article that use the generic he, it shouldn't be beyond our wit to rewrite these to use the singular they, with clarity and precision. Off the top of my head:

  • The objective of each player is to lose all of his pieces or be stalemated, that is, a misère version.The objective of each player is to lose all of their own pieces or to be stalemated, that is, a misère version.
  • A player wins by losing all his pieces, or being stalemated. → move to a new penultimate bullet point A player loses if all of their own pieces have been captured. (this section mentions the stalemate win twice, and "lose if all captured" is plainly one of the "special rules" that the bullets are listing)
  • A player wins by reducing his pieces to just a king, or by checkmating the opponent.A player wins if their only remaining piece is a king, or if they have checkmated their opponent.
  • A player wins by reducing his pieces to just a king, or by getting checkmated.A player wins if their only remaining piece is a king, or if they have been checkmated.

Thoughts? --McGeddon (talk) 17:05, 14 August 2016 (UTC)

  • I am with IHTS on the issue. The MOS guideline does advocate GNL but adds "...where this can be done with clarity and precision." The singular "they", while gramatically acceptable, is also ambiguous since "they" could refer to both players. Having to consider the context in order to arrive at the correct interpretation makes for difficult reading. Clarity in the rules takes precedence over gender-neutral language. Sjakkalle (Check!) 20:07, 14 August 2016 (UTC)
Which of these suggestions do you think would make the article ambiguous? The article has had genuinely ambiguous singular-they content in the past (I once fixed a poor wording of the objective of the players is to lose all their pieces), but I don't see any ambiguity in something like A player wins if their only remaining piece is a king, in the context that it's presented. It could be made ambiguous if the previous sentence happened to set up a particular context where the "they" seemed to refer to both players (which could be avoided by phrasing this as all their own pieces, or by changing the previous sentence), but this isn't the case here. --McGeddon (talk) 08:57, 15 August 2016 (UTC)
One example: "A player wins if their only remaining piece is a king, or if they have been checkmated." It could plausibly mean that a player wins once the only remaining piece on the board is a king of either color. It could mean that a player wins once both players have been checkmated. Using the "their" pronoun doesn't make it clear if the text refers to "a player" or both players. Someone knowing the rules of losing chess wouldn't interpret the text that way, but for readers who don't know the rules we must provide absolute clarity with no ambiguity. Sjakkalle (Check!) 05:22, 17 August 2016 (UTC)
I can't see that there's a "players" plural nearby for the reader to assume that the "they" is referring to. This could be reworded to A player wins by reducing their own pieces to just a king, or by getting checkmated., his or her pieces or something else - I was just trying to get away from repeating "their own pieces" four times and to write it more naturally. --McGeddon (talk) 08:53, 17 August 2016 (UTC)
Just as if WP:MOS said "Either gender-neutral language or generic male language is acceptable; use GNL only if it can be done with clarity and and precision; if it can't, just use the generic male"?? Georgia guy (talk) 20:38, 14 August 2016 (UTC)
  • McGeddon's suggested edits eloquently allow for MOS:GNL-compliant language to be used in this article with clarity and precision (there is zero ambiguity regarding plural/singular forms of the pronouns). --LukeSurl t c 20:41, 14 August 2016 (UTC)
  • I would still oppose McGeddon's suggestion. Not because they are bad suggestions -- they're not -- but for all the reasons I've given above. I an sympathetic to those advocating "they" here, and in the vast majority of cases I would not have a problem with it -- so I can understand being frustrated at my resistance. However, in the context of explaining rules of a two-player game, it's crucial for there to be no ambiguity between singular and plural pronouns. Not now, and, insofar as we can help it, not in the future. By that I mean adopting a singular they approach renders that the default, requiring all future contributions to be just as precise, always easily slipping back into ambiguity. If there were no valid alternative, that would be one thing, but there is. When clarity is at stake, gendered pronouns can be used, and there's always "he or she" (that one has a preference, aesthetic or otherwise, for "they" is irrelevant, given "he or she" is a perfectly valid approach that conforms with GNL). In sum, my order of preference is (a) "his or her", (b) either "his" or "her", (c) "a player's" in every case, (d) "their". — Rhododendrites talk \\ 22:34, 14 August 2016 (UTC)
  • I too oppose. In this context "lose all of their own" maybe helps clarify but at the cost of redundant expression "their own". (Which might beg a question, "Can a player 'lose' their opponent's pieces too?") And the switch from direct language ("A player wins by reducing [...]", "A player wins by checkmating [...]") to indirect language ("A player wins if [status on the board occurs]") IMO is a poorer way to express game objectives, which s/b compelling, i.e. what a player must do to win, as opposed to what condition wins, where the reader is left to deduce what activity to undertake to bring it about. (Even if a negligible second step, it's still there.) Also, the "if" conditional language reminds me of "when" definitions (e.g. "A person is rich, when they have a lot of money." "A woman is pregnant, when she is going to have a baby.") These language modifications to force possessive singular "their" amount to twists and contortions that let fleas in the house when the dog comes in. IHTS (talk) 02:57, 16 August 2016 (UTC)
  • I support McGeddon's suggested edits. No matter how the argument against increasing ambiguity is worded -- and it essentially amounts to saying the generic "he" must be retained so that the distinction between singular and plural is clear -- the English language is evolving. And it is evolving away from using "he/him/his" as pronouns for hypothetical people. It's becoming less and less excusable over time, and this is not a debate that is going to go away. I myself made an edit yesterday on a small chess article to change "he" to "they", simply because I thought it appropriate to do. I was entirely unaware of this active discussion on the topic, and it seems to me that I am not the first and will certainly not be the last casual editor to see opportunity for an obviously supported change like switching "he" to "they" and think little of making the edit. The debate will be re-ignited every single time that happens. Yes, generic "he" reduces ambiguity in the sentence in a concise way by having a clear distinction between singular and plural. But it is fast becoming outdated English, and articles should surely be written in a format that is acceptable to the common native speaker. The ambiguity can be resolved with the similarly concise addition of one or two more words, but in most cases it is context which resolves the ambiguity anyway. I had to strain very hard to find a way to read "A player wins if their only remaining piece is a king" as implying anything about both players, and that is because the last noun to appear was "A player" which is singular and in my mind immediately set the tone of the succeeding pronouns to be singular "they". It is a matter of how familiar the reader is with singular "they" whether they pick up this context, but that's just English. Context is as much of a language as the words themselves. Sjakkalle said that "Clarity in the rules takes precedence over gender-neutral language", however in my view, using modern English takes precedence over everything. Should we use "thou" rather than "you" to make it clear when the second-person pronoun is singular rather than plural? Of course not, context provides the clarification, and when it doesn't we add words (eg, "you, personally"). Unfortunately, I feel the debate over gender-neutral pronouns often comes down to English speakers who are familiar with singular "they" and can unambiguously read the sentences arguing against those who are not familiar with it and feel the sentences are clunky, and neither side is able to see the problem is they are essentially speaking two slightly different versions of the same language. The question is, which version is coming and which version is going? -- Rhotias (talk) 13:42, 17 August 2016 (UTC)
Just a few logical points ... First, the argument to avoid "he" because "thou" is dead, would be a valid analogy if "he" were dead, but that isn't the case. (Pick up a few random newly published chess books at Barnes & Noble, and see what you find.) Second, you state "in my view, using modern English takes precedence over everything [including clarity]", but that isn't a valid argument on the WP since it contradicts MOS:GNL which places "clarity and precision" as a higher priority. Third, "the similarly concise addition of one or two more words" is self-impugning, since "the addition of more words" is the opposite of concision ("Expressing much in few words", The American Heritage Dictionary). Fourth, "in most cases it is context which resolves the ambiguity" and "Context is as much of a language as the words themselves." might be okay in other language venues, but for rules specifications for games (and the rules are the games), which are often used as points of reference in gameplay disputes, it's a different venue. (Imagine if Monopoly rules depended on "context" for clear definition, when unnecessary to do, in the case of a dispute between two players consulting the written rules to resolve their dispute. Not good.) Fifth, "it essentially amounts to saying the generic "he" must be retained". Not necessarily, there're still unexplored (undiscussed) alternatives. (E.g. "she/her/her" supplanting "he/him/his". And maybe some other neat ideas.) IHTS (talk) 19:19, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

I don't think engaging in the general debate over gendered vs. gender neutral language is going to do any good here. If someone wants to propose requiring "they" in all articles, or to explicitly allow "he", that can happen on the relevant guideline's talk page. If people feel passionately about changing this article to "they", I'd suggest an RfC. It might actually be useful to hold such an RfC at WikiProject Chess to apply to all chess-related articles. I'll go ahead and repeat my own position: "he" is undesirable per per GNL; "they" is unacceptable per GNL in the way it is less precise in a scenario that calls for precision (repeating that this is not the case with appeals to things like evolving language doesn't convince me -- I already support using gender-neutral language, but while "they" might work for many purposes, we don't have a good gender-neutral singular pronoun for those scenarios when singular vs. plural clarity is most important). "He or she" is the only option that retains precision and gender neutrality, but some people just don't like the way it looks/sounds. That's understandable, but it's not an argument that supports being less clear. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 02:15, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

I think it's interesting, in the context here where "he" is considered undesirable, it's used generically to mean one of the players. But when you change to your preferred "he or she", suddenly the issue of chromosomes is put on the table. (And, male is put ahead of female, not chauvinistic at all?!) So how again can "he or she" be more gender neutral, when it 1) puts sex on the table where it wasn't there before, and 2) puts males first, females second?! IHTS (talk) 08:51, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

From A Person Paper on Purity in Language by Douglas R. Hofstadter.

Another of Niss Moses' shrill objections is to the age-old differentiation of whites from blacks by the third-person pronouns "whe" and "ble." Ble promotes an absurd notion: that what we really need in English is a single pronoun covering both races. Numerous suggestions have been made, such as "pe," "tey," and others, These are all repugnant to the nature of the English language, as the average white in the street will testify, even if whe has no linguistic training whatsoever. Then there are advocates of usages such as "whe or ble," "whis or bler," and so forth. This makes for monstrosities such as the sentence "When the next President takes office, whe or ble will have to choose whis or bler cabinet with great care, for whe or ble would not want to offend any minorities." Contrast this with the spare elegance of the normal way of putting it, and there is no question which way we ought to speak. There are, of course, some yapping black libbers who advocate writing "bl/whe" everywhere, which, aside from looking terrible, has no reasonable pronunciation. Shall we say "blooey" all the time when we simply mean "whe"? Who wants to sound like a white with a chronic sneeze?

One of the more hilarious suggestions made by the squawkers for this point of view is to abandon the natural distinction along racial lines, and to replace it with a highly unnatural one along sexual lines. One such suggestion-emanating, no doubt, from the mind of a madwhite-would have us say "he" for male whites (and blacks) and "she" for female whites (and blacks). Can you imagine the outrage with which sensible folk of either sex would greet this "modest proposal"?

Another suggestion is that the plural pronoun "they" be used in place of the inclusive "whe." This would turn the charming proverb "Whe who laughs last, laughs best" into the bizarre concoction "They who laughs last, laughs best." As if anyone in whis right mind could have thought that the original proverb applied only to the white race! No, we don't need a new pronoun to "liberate" our minds. That's the lazy white's way of solving the pseudoproblem of racism. In any case, it's ungrammatical. The pronoun "they" is a plural pronoun, and it grates on the civilized ear to hear it used to denote only one person. Such a usage, if adopted, would merely promote illiteracy and accelerate the already scandalously rapid nosedive of the average intelligence level in our society.

(This is for those who insist that it is ok to use "he"). MaxBrowne (talk) 02:50, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

Counting the expressed !votes there, we've got four users with a first preference for a clearly-written "they" (Chessrat, Lukesurl, Rhotias, myself), two for "he" (Sjakkalle, and - so far as I can make out - IHTS) and one for "his or her" (Rhododendrites). Although "his or her" is in the minority, it also seems the least objected to, with only IHTS opposing it. Shall we adopt the "his or her" wording, at least for now? --McGeddon (talk) 10:39, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

I feel like everything that could be said on this has been said now. We're not going to stumble across an objective reasoning that will convince everyone. Can we find an uninvolved admin to close this discussion and return an informed policy-based verdict? --LukeSurl t c 11:01, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, there are several who view "he" as unacceptable based on the GNL guideline, a smaller number that view "they" as unacceptable based on the GNL guideline (and based on clarity/technical writing). "He or she" is a compromise in that it is not unclear and does not single-gender, but there are several who seem to oppose it on the basis of aesthetic/quality preferences. IHTS, for example, has expressed opposition to "he or she", but I think he opposes it less than he does "they", because his priority is unambiguity. But he and MaxBrown have both expressed distaste for that formulation, and I don't know how much forcefulness the GNL guideline has in such a scenario (in other words, as much as I obviously support "he or she", I don't know that "least opposed" is the best way -- although might be best in the short term). As this is not an RfC, I don't think formal closure is appropriate, but would be happy to collaborate to develop an RfC question to bring to VPP/VPR, since the results could then apply to, say, all articles which explain rules about multiplayer games. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 11:35, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't know why you're restricting the scope & potential guideline re this issue to "articles which explain the rules about multiplayer games", when the issue exists in the language generally--potentially for any article on any topic--whenever a possessive follows a singular antecedent. And no, I don't endorse "he or she" as "better than" choice "they". (In this thread I wrote: "Their" as singular possessive is IMO the best alternative to "his", e.g. "his or her" is an abomination.) IHTS (talk) 02:36, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes, a wider game-related RfC sounds like a good idea here. --McGeddon (talk) 08:43, 26 August 2016 (UTC)
For the record, I'm OK with "his or her". --LukeSurl t c 12:15, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
  • My order of preference:

(1) Find some way to avoid the pronoun, e.g. remove the possessive and use a simple article, or pluralize the sentence. Not easy but usually the best option. (2) Singular "they". I know it's traditionally considered ungrammatical but our language is not static, and an increasing number of newspaper style guides now accept it (e.g. Baltimore Sun, Washington Post). It is common in colloquial English even when people aren't making any particular effort to be non-sexist, e.g. "if you see your neighbour in trouble give them a hand" sounds completely natural. (3) He or she/his or her. It's awkward and tends to draw attention to itself. I don't buy the argument that it is "sexist" because the male component comes first, but it is arguably less inclusive than the singular "they" because it excludes people who don't identify as either gender. (4) "Ze", "zir", "hir" etc. Cool idea but it never caught on outside of a few student mags. (5) Generic he/his. The absolute worst option. I don't care how many chess writers still do it, this is stone age stuff and I doubt you'll find it recommended in even the most conservative style manuals anymore. Chess literature really is one of the last holdouts in this regard, and it should not be accepted anywhere on wikipedia. Needless to say I don't buy the argument that writing about board games is some kind of special case. MaxBrowne (talk) 05:01, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

Unless I'm mistaken, the "argument" that board game articles are a special case, doesn't exist. (I've never seen any editor propose that argument. I certainly have never. The only time I've seen it is when a fervent gender-neutral proponent, like user Georgia guy, preemptively suggests that the argument is no good, even though no one supporting "he" has advocated it. [So that fits the definition of straw-man.]) On another point, it's hard to swallow the suggestion that many or most or all modern chess book authors write like cavemen. IHTS (talk) 21:40, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
Diffs such as this one do indeed create the impression that you regard board games as some kind of special case, exempt from normal wikipedia requirements for gender-neutral language. MaxBrowne (talk) 00:48, 26 August 2016 (UTC)
The fact that gender-neutral forced on games literature results in awkward fit, doesn't mean that I think it fits other areas or topics just fine (does it?). (I can only talk about my editing niche. If articles on rifle training or other topics reach the same conclusion and also want exception at MOS, and other topics too, or all topics too, then someone will make the logical deduction that forcing avoidance of "he" might have been misguided. I've recently tried 4 or 5 ways to eliminate "he" from a sentence at Parallel Worlds Chess, ending up with the least objectionable in my view, and know that all 4 or 5 were inferior [unnatural/awkward prose] to the original sentence employing "he". I have no problem switching "he" to "she", but that doesn't seem to be a popular solution idea. Anything else is a rock in the craw of the language. Doesn't work.) IHTS (talk) 07:58, 26 August 2016 (UTC)
We cannot use "she" as a gender-neutral replacement, as it isn't one. The very first point on WP:GNL is to avoid "non-neutral language" such as "a masculine or feminine pronoun to refer to a generic or hypothetical person" (emphasis added). We either use "he" and confuse the reader with the implication that all chess players are men, use "she" and confuse the reader with the implication that all chess players are women, or use "they" and (possibly) confuse the reader with the implication that it is possible for a player to lose an opponent's pieces. The remaining option is "he or she" which as MaxBrowne pointed out above would confuse the reader with the implication that no chess players are nonbinary or agender. "they" is an umbrella pronoun which is inclusive of both binary genders as well as all other gender identities – Rhotias (talk) 12:21, 26 August 2016 (UTC)
To repeat something ad nauseum that has already been told on the WP perhaps hundreds of times by mutiple editors, "he" doesn't refer to gender when used as generic singular prounoun. And it never has been in millions of uses in the literature, Associated Press articles, etc. So I disagree w/ your black & white assumption. Another black & white assumption is "cannot use" acc. the GNL guideline. (The guideline, like all WP guidelines, provide flexibility ["when can be done w/ clarity & precision"]. You s/ also familiarize yourself w/ WP basics [pillars], including re "no fixed rules". Instead of binary robotic editing, Wales has said more than once that editors are editors and are to use their editorial judgment. [I don't think you can do that when you are so inflexible and see things as so black & white, with all the mandatory declaratives you've posted in this thread.]) IHTS (talk) 03:54, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
Over at chu shogi I tried to make some of the examples of the already confusing rules less confusing by alternating genders between the players, so that I could be unambiguous while avoiding repeating "White" and "Black" incessantly. I doubt anyone would interpret this as implying that the first player is always a woman and the second is always a man, unless they were deliberately trying to be obtuse.
I don't mind the current wording, but if it has to be made gender-neutral, I don't see an alternative to "his or her", given the precision necessary for an article detailing game rules. I would normally use "they", but find it unacceptable in this context because of its ambiguity between singular and plural. Granted, using "his or her" is essentially shouting our gender-neutrality from the rooftops, but it should annoy people less than "his" and confuse people less than "their". Double sharp (talk) 07:02, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

Losing Chess has been solved as a win for white[edit]

Proofs here: --Patashu (talk) 03:19, 20 October 2016 (UTC)