It’s official: after achieving victory on the Four-Suit version of Spider Solitaire sans rot13(haqb), with one impostor trying to rot13(shpx) things up at every opportunity I have decided to award both Bart Wright and Schistocerca Americana the title of International Master. It’s a bit of a misnomer in that we don’t get to travel all over the world to play in tournaments and prove we can mix it with the best – but I will stick with the IM title because it is considered the next level below GM and both players certainly displayed an extremely high level of skill. The other reason for the IM title is because it allows Spider GM to showcase himself at his brilliant worst. If you would like to guess the punchline before reading on, I have inserted the usual spoiler blocker.
In Chess, all titles are obtained by playing in enough tournaments and getting a sufficiently high score against decent opposition. Players can achieve “norms” in individual tournaments and you need enough norms to prove you didn’t get lucky in a single tournament. Your rating also needs to be sufficiently high. The good news is you don’t lose your title after a dip in your rating (or a string of bad tournaments), so you keep your title for life – save for something incredibly stupid, such as an arbiter finding compromising images of Stockfish recommending the best move on your mobile phone. This is fair enough: if there was no guarantee of keeping your title there would be much less incentive to achieve it in the first place. A GM title implies that your ability/talent is enough to mix it with the world’s best, provided you are willing to put in the time and effort and life doesn’t get in the way. An IM title is pretty much the same thing except “the next level down”. Then you get Federation Master titles and of course you can also add a W-hook (using the Scrabble vernacular) for female players. Hence WGM, WIM and so on.
Unfortunately, IM Schistocerca Americana is a bit of a mouthful even for somebody who recently composed a work-related rap song to the tune of Million Voices by Otto Knows. Therefore, he gets the indignity of being renamed IM Bug. And Bart Wright suffers an even worse fate:
An eventful round. We snagged the last unseen card in Diamonds (the Three), enabling us to clear the suit – but at the expense of a turnover or two. The Kolourfull Kibitzers had some robust discussions along the way.
With one suit removed, I expect the worst is behind us (in terms of complex decision-making) but we only managed to turnover two cards this round. Still, there is plenty of play left for the good guys. An excess of even-numbered cards is still a problem, but as the endgame approaches, we have every right to expect … the odds to shift in our favour.
Yep, looks like Spider GM is still in fine form. Bring it on 😊
SA has suggested I add another move “cb” before dealing a new row of cards and Bart is happy with this decision
We managed to uncover 11 face-down cards in this round, which can be considered par assuming the same number of face-down cards are turned every round – this may be a strong assumption, but it does suggest our game is not terrible. We did not uncover an empty column but column 7 has no face-down cards which is nice. Most of our decisions were trivial so far, although the Kolorfull Kibitzers still managed to find ways to place themselves under suspicion. At least dealing a new row of cards now implies I don’t have to worry about having too many comments for a single blog post.
On the negative side, we didn’t manage to attract any new readers, but that’s not something I have control over. And the pun at the end wasn’t the greatest either.
The main interest centred on the format of the blog after discussion in the comments. My decisions included, but are not limited to: (1) include a screen dump after every new turnover (2) have screen dumps in chronological order instead of reverse-chronological order (3) SA’s last minute request to insert “spoiler-blockers” (for lack of better term) so he can analyse a game state independently with more chances of suggesting something stupid and (4) adding links to previous rounds – but obviously not applicable for round 0.
With the format of the blog sorted out we should now be in a position to focus on the Stuff That Is Important. With more cards in play (and not in numerically descending sequence!) I expect our decisions to be much more interesting and will give the three Kibitzers more chances to show off their true Kolors 😉
Thanks to Bart and SA for their valued contributions!
One quick question: as the blog creator I do not know how to add a new comment to my own blog post for some reason. I only know how to reply to an existing comment. Can I prove the WordPress editor is stupid if I look into the mirror at a 45-degree angle – or is it more straightforward than that?