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  • The 100 Move Rule In Trice's Chess

    Chess players that are familiar with tournaments run by F.I.D.E. (which is pronounced "FEE-day," and is an acronym in French which translates into "The World Chess Federation" in English) are familiar with the so-called 50 Move Rule. Here is the explanation directly from the F.I.D.E. website, which you can read about by clicking this link or see the October 2020 verbiage of the rule shown below:
    Leave it to F.I.D.E. to find some way to complicate the language and the procedure for declaring the game drawn. Basically, if 50 moves go by without the capture of any piece or the movement of a pawn, the game is a draw by the 50-Move Rule. But, if a player was to make a move, that MIGHT indicate he is willing to play further. So.... F.I.D.E. decided that players should summon the Tournament Director to their board, write down your intended move so that your opponent can't see it, show this candidate move to the director, show your entire move list for the entire game to him, prove your case that there were no captures nor any pawn moves in the prior list for 50 moves (including your as-of-yet-unmoved intended move that you just wrote down), and only then will the game will be declared a draw. In Trice's Chess there is no need for all of this procedural nonsense. The game is automatically drawn without the need for claiming the draw without making a move as in the case with F.I.D.E. However, 100 moves must transpire before the game is automatically drawn.
    So Why 100 Moves in Trice's Chess Instead of 50 Moves in regular 8x8 Chess?

    Some time in the year 2004, Marc Bourzutschky and Ed Trice computed what is referred to as the complete set of 5-Piece Tablebases specifically for Trice's Chess. This includes every way to arrange 5 pieces on the board (2 of which are counted as the kings) with the exception of 4 on one side against the lone opponent's king. Imagine the endgame of King + Archbishop vs. King + Knight + Bishop for example. There are many, many ways to pit 3 pieces for one side against 2 for the other. The first piece can reside on any one of the 80 squares. The next piece has 79 availble squares since the first piece is already on one of them. So for one set of 5 pieces, there are 80 x 79 x 78 x 77 x 76 = 2,884,801,920 different arrangements. (There is a way to reduce this with symmetry math and indexing tricks in Computer Science, but we'll overlook this for now.) For each of these positions, either side can move, so that's really 5,769,603,840 (5.7 billion!) positions for each way to set up 5 pieces. The endgame of King + Chancellor vs. King + 2 Bishops would have 5.7 billion positions, as would King + Queen vs. King + Knight + Rook and so on and so on and so on.

    The entire computation took 30 days back in 2004. The computation must begin with the 3-piece set of tablebases, then it expands to 4, then 5. It was during the 4-piece computation that Ed Trice noticed this position:

    In the endgame of King + Archbishop vs. King + Bishop there exists a position (shown above) that requires 72 moves to win. It represents the longest known win on the 80-square board with only 4 pieces. You will notice there are no pawns on the board. A strong defensive player could repeatedly retreat his Bishop in such a way to try to avoid its capture, frustrating the side with the Archbishop. In so doing, one could easily exceed 50 moves, yet still be in lost position. The side with the Archbishop might "need some time" to figure out a winning technique for this difficult position. Ed Trice decided that a player should be given the opportunity to win a position that has been proven to be a win. Clearly more than 50 moves should be allowed, but how many more moves? It took a while, but the 5-piece tablebase data helped find a reasonable answer.

    The longest win in Trice's Chess is a forced checkmate in 268 moves IF the "50 Move Rule" is not applied. In the endgame of King + Queen + Pawn vs. King + Queen, the position above on the left is the starting arrangement for the longest win. With perfect play against optimal resistance, it takes white 98 moves just to advance the pawn once! You can see the move list and the resulting position above on the right. This is the major reason why the rule was extended to 100 moves in Trice's Chess. After moving the pawn, the counter is reset to zero! This is also the case if a capture is made. Then, the winning side gets another 100 moves to either checkmate, move a pawn, or make another capture, et cetera, et cetera.

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