Lately a lot of draws happened with me playing black, all perpetual raichi: 7 times since november.
I myself could have forced a draw under the existent rules in my latest game against ughaibu, a much better player.
The purpose of this post is to re-open the discussion on this issue.
Let me first point out a rule-change would take only a change in the description of the rules, not re-programming. This is important because it means it would take very little time for Fencer to adjust the rules. Just a text change.
What I'm trying to do is the following:
taking up the project ughaibu has started, I will try to prove white has a forced draw from the start. Maybe I will not succeed, but at least I will show the "perpetual raichi is draw" rule diminishes blacks options hugely and pervades the game in a negative way.
The move that leads the easiest to perpetual raichi is 1. d5-d8.
What are the options of the black player?
1. ... d1-d5, 1. ... d1-d7, 1. ... f9-f8, 1. ... e8-g8, 1. ... b5-b7. Those are the natural responses to d5-d8, although 1. ... d1-d7 is dubious already. Of course there is no need to explore every move, only the logical ones.
In this first part I will try to prove that in all but 1. ... d1-d5 white has perpetual raichi. In later parts I will try to do the same for 1. ... d1-d5, or at least make clear the game tree is narrowed so much when one tries to prevent perpetual raichi, the game loses much of its charm.
1. d5-d8 d1-d7
2. e5-d5 e1-d1
2. c5-c7 now white has 6 rows on which to give raichi with 4 soldiers to block. Moving e8 or e2 could reduce it only to 5 which is still perpetual raichi. The same goes for d1-d2, d9-d8, d9-d7, a6-d6. 2. ... d9-d6 fails to 3. c7-c6 perpetual raichi or win. 2. ... a4-d4, 2. ... d1-d3 and 2. ... d1-d4 will all be captured and are no reasonable defenses.