Abstract Strategy Games

Anything and everything about abstract strategy games

Interesting 3D version of Blokus:

Looks like my game group:

Abstract Strategy Games

Rolit is a multi-player game similar to Othello:

If you have four players I recommend playing a different game like Blokus, or Ringgz. But, if you have only three players, Rolit is the game. Many four player games can be played with three, but normally aren’t as fun, or the rules are awkward. Rolit doesn’t have that problem, and plays well with three people.

If you like Chess and new rock bands, you’ll love this. I often feel like the guy in the video when I lose a game (throwing a chair). Enjoy.

You’ll also notice that they suck at Connect Four. Black already had four in a row and red kept playing…obviously not abstract strategy gamers!

If your opponent is paying attention, it is difficult to cheat while playing abstract strategy games. Removing your opponent’s rook from the chessboard will most likely get noticed. However, with computers becoming faster and more powerful computer-assisted wins are becoming more common. Chess tournaments often have cash prizes adding motivation.

Last week at the Aeroflot Open 2009 there was an accusation of cheating:

In Round 6, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, the top seed, lost quickly to Igor Kurnosov of Russia. Afterward, in a letter to the tournament organizer, Mamedyarov accused his opponent of cheating, saying that Kurnosov went to the bathroom after every move, and carried his coat with him.

Mamedyarov said he had examined the game against a computer program called Rybka and found that his opponent’s moves matched the computer’s recommendations every time.

Reports from Moscow said the tournament referee searched Kurnosov after the game and found only cigarettes, a lighter and a pen in his pockets.

After his protest, Mamedyarov withdrew from the tournament. Kurnosov was allowed to remain in the competition.

Of course, this isn’t the first accusation of cheating in Chess:

Many creative ways of distracting your opponent have been devised. During the 1972 world championship match between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer, the Russians claimed that an electronic “brain disruption” device had been installed in Fischer’s chair that was activated whenever Fischer got up to walk around during Spassky’s turn to move. Although Soviet technicians didn’t find anything, it planted a paranoid seed in Fischer’s mind, as he later had all of the fillings removed from his teeth to prevent the Russians from sending signals to his brain. For his part, Fischer insisted that the television cameras were too loud and demanded that the board be moved to a separate secluded room or he would not play. All of the on-again, off-again match distractions seemed to permanently destroy Spassky’s nerves, as he never returned to championship caliber after the match (see video). During the 1978 world championship, Anatoly Karpov had a parapsychologist in the audience, whom challenger Viktor Korchnoi claimed was distorting his brain waves. At one point in the match, Korchnoi threatened to punch the psychic in the nose before deciding to hire his own psychics to counteract the negative vibrations.

Collusion is the most difficult form of cheating to prove. Following the 1962 Curacao tournament to determine the next challenger, Sports Illustrated published Fischer’s article “The Russians Have Fixed World Chess,” in which he bitterly complained that the Russians prearranged draws against one another in order to conserve their energy for play against him (see video). The scandal led to the tournament system being scraped in favor of a series of elimination matches.

I’m sure we will be seeing more and more cheating as technology improves and cash prizes grow. Eventually technology will have to be created to defend against cheating in person and online. Chess.com claims on their cheating faq page they use “cutting-edge technology and human judgement” to detect cheating. This will become more common as cheating becomes easier and more available.