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 Tablut

Discuss about tablut game or find new opponents.

There is a fellowship dedicated to tablut, its called tablut reborn and can be found here;

http://brainking.com/en/ShowFellowship?fid=397


for all paying members of BrianKing.


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21. September 2011, 15:26:37
ughaibu 
I think his reply is silly. Rules about perpetual check exist in other games, and like all rules, they concern the behaviour of players. This guy seems to think that pieces exist in some ideal non-human world, and that's nonsense. It may be a wonderful thing about tablut, that the game is asymmetrical, unfair if you like, but it's not a wonderful thing if all the asymmetricality favours one side over the other.

17. September 2011, 05:42:13
ughaibu 
There's no reason that rules should be imported from chess, particularly as these are modern introductions even within the rules of chess. Were shogi the default game neither stalemate nor perpetual raichi would be allowed. Naturally, rules for tablut should be considered only on their independent merit for the game tablut, and it is clearly established that the strongest players think that perpetual raichi is a loss for white.

1. Juni 2011, 05:10:29
ughaibu 
Well done.

6. Februar 2011, 11:25:20
ughaibu 
Son of Monse:
An historical point but, the black pieces in tablut had two heads.

17. Februar 2010, 09:50:20
ughaibu 
It's now more than three years since Fwiffo played any games of tablut here, but judging by the rules page, draws by perpetual raichi still haven't been made illegal. The reason that Fwiffo stopped playing is because this rule is quite clearly wrong. Is there any plan to change this so that the game is more balanced?

7. April 2005, 21:46:06
ughaibu 
See my previous post.

7. April 2005, 21:39:18
ughaibu 
Of course not.

7. April 2005, 21:22:30
ughaibu 
It's not, it's unutterably boring.

7. April 2005, 16:37:36
ughaibu 
I dislike fussy rules so I'd simply make perpetual raichi a loss for white. Assuming all draws at BrainKing would've been wins for black by this rule, white would still have won a significant majority of the games.

7. April 2005, 15:43:21
ughaibu 
That is only the case if the king will be captured immediately if it doesn't escape to a square from which it attacks the edge. I dont mind a special case for such situations.

6. April 2005, 20:24:20
ughaibu 
Doesn't the fortress situation provide for a well fought draw?

6. April 2005, 18:53:14
ughaibu 
Emne: Stormerne
I dont see why white should be granted a drawing resource as a let out if they played "really badly". If in this situation black has played well why should white have a draw in hand? If, on the other hand, black also played badly then the side who played least badly should win. I think you would need to suggest a drawing mechanism for black to exploit (had they played really badly) if white is to be allowed such a resource.

6. April 2005, 05:57:46
ughaibu 
Emne: Fwiffo
I'm assuming that perpetual raichi will be made illegal, hopefully soon.

29. Marts 2005, 17:22:44
ughaibu 
I think the Stormerne-Whisperz situation represents a valid draw. Black needs four pieces to make such a fortress plus at least one piece to protect the king, this complicates positional considerations in a way that I think probably helps balance the game. Black has to be wary of avoiding exchanges as this could lead to white creating a fortress but on the other hand too many exchanges will open up lines, in white's favour. As the strategy of both sides involves keeping an eye on fortress building possibilities as well as on the king's capture or escape, I think this drawing possibility also adds to the games complexity and depth.

27. Januar 2005, 07:11:17
ughaibu 
Emne: BuilderQ
Thanks, that's good to know.

23. Januar 2005, 20:04:49
ughaibu 
Linne's fluency in latin is another point, on top of his inability to speak any sami.

23. Januar 2005, 19:42:46
ughaibu 
Quite. The concept of draw is excluded in this case. I've pointed this out many times, there is no reason to accept repetitious attack as a draw. If necessary I'll investigate and provide analysis to demonstrate how the BrainKing rules detract from the game (sorry to sound like a certain psychotic). For the present, I'm concerned if there's a problem with archived games under these rules should there be a change.

23. Januar 2005, 09:13:25
ughaibu 
Effectively there is no rule stating that white can draw by continually attacking the edge, is that correct?

11. November 2004, 10:39:48
ughaibu 
Okay, I see what you mean.

11. November 2004, 04:50:06
ughaibu 
Kevin: in those variants only the king can enter a corner, so eight pieces is the minimum to block all corners.

10. November 2004, 18:21:24
ughaibu 
Emne: Snigfarp
By "attacker" I take it you follow the convention and indicate black. Tafl game boards of differing sizes probably had various rules concerning, for example, escape squares. If you consider the percentage of occupied space against the number of squares available in the context of reducing pieces, it's clear that the several tafl games would'nt share all their rules.

9. November 2004, 21:08:27
ughaibu 
Emne: Hasurami
Please send me an internal message.

27. Oktober 2004, 11:55:51
ughaibu 
I suspect that Long is pointing out that the rules could be read to mean that a piece is killed by "suicide" if it moves to between two opposing pieces(?)

18. Oktober 2004, 11:01:49
ughaibu 
Emne: Fencer
In game 483565 why has black not been declared the winner? The game was finished on move 13.

12. August 2004, 11:44:57
ughaibu 
It's pronounced with the "t", tablut being the noun form of "dabloo", a verb meaning "to play board games". I think the Sami used dabloo but tablut has become the accepted form. I may have reversed the noun/verb relationship but I can look it up if anyone's in danger of losing sleep over the matter.

8. August 2004, 13:21:55
ughaibu 
I dont remember if complete rules are on the internet, I dont think so as rule 10 was new to me. Snigfarp looked up a translation from 1811 in the British Library.

8. August 2004, 13:13:01
ughaibu 
The rules as recorded by Linne in his diary.

7. August 2004, 03:37:55
ughaibu 
There is rule 10 that's not normally included. Snigfarp is a tablut scholar, perhaps he'll give his view.

6. August 2004, 06:03:23
ughaibu 
Emne: Bumble
The situation has arisen in several of my games and the capture works as Harley said.

16. Juli 2004, 01:45:01
ughaibu 
I'm playing a game at the moment in which my opponent just actively surrounded my king on the third side but the square didn't change colour. Even if I make a pawn move allowing the king's capture the square doesn't change colour, at least not without submitting the move (and I dont want to lose the game just to see if there's a colour change).

16. Juli 2004, 01:21:28
ughaibu 
I'm getting incorrect numbers of captured black pieces in lots of games, even old archived ones but as it doesn't effect what happened on the board I'm not too bothered.

16. Juli 2004, 01:02:13
ughaibu 
It looks like you're right about that. If you look at my most recent games, it's the one with Mongoloid, the square still turns that peculiar colour.

16. Juli 2004, 00:59:24
ughaibu 
I think it did happen when the king went within three blacks although there was no immediate capture possible. I'll replay the game and see how it looks in the archived version.

16. Juli 2004, 00:36:49
ughaibu 
It happened to me in a game this week, it didn't effect things just looked a bit funny. Have you been getting incorrect numbers of captured black pieces too?

5. Juli 2004, 09:37:47
ughaibu 
There is a fellowship devoted to tablut: Backoff's Little House of Tablut Horrors, anyone who'd like to join please send me a message.

6. April 2004, 13:59:34
ughaibu 
If you play 2....d1-d2 and white replies 3.c5-c1 how can black add the extra piece needed to block the five edge squares?

6. April 2004, 12:50:05
ughaibu 
After 2.e5-d5 it's only a threatened draw, there may be a defense. From the beginning 1.d5-d8, f9-f8 2.e5-d5 white's king has five open squares on the d-line from which to attack the a-edge but black only has four pieces to defend that edge so white can draw. Of course I've been in this position as black without the game ending in a draw but only because white tried to win, what would you suggest as black's 2nd move?

6. April 2004, 11:53:19
ughaibu 
Take the opening move 1.d5-d8, on the face of it black has four natural looking responses: 1....d1-d5, 1....d1-d7, 1....e8-g8 and 1....f9-f8, in reply to any of these except 1....d1-d5 white can play 2.e5-d5 threatening an immediate draw by repetition. I dont know if the draw can conclusively be defended but in any case this typifies an opening situation in which black is struggling to avoid the draw never mind trying to win. If it turns out that black can only prevent the draw by choosing 1....d1-d5 the number of possible styles of subsequent middlegame is enormously reduced, something that I cant see as being good for the game.

6. April 2004, 11:38:38
ughaibu 
Good point. If the only non-losing moves available to both sides result in repetition a draw would seem to be the fair result.

6. April 2004, 05:24:27
ughaibu 
Voluntary repetition takes two, perpetual check does not. I agree Lythande could have played and won that game in accordance with the rules in force at the game's start, if his opponent objects to the result maybe Fencer should void that game(?)

5. April 2004, 17:31:40
ughaibu 
Emne: Whisperz
As said below there was no mention of repetition by Linnaeus but if repetition was illegal he wouldn't have seen it or commented on it. I agree it's tough on a player to have the rules changed mid-game but to say the king hasn't been captured is like saying suicide avoids death. What happens in chess is irrelevent, I could equally say in shogi perpetual check loses and a stalemated king also loses, the problems should be considered in the spirit of tablut not other games. As white wins the majority of games at BrainKing why should they be given two drawing resources as well? Black has no drawing resource so there is no equality and the concept of draw implies equality.

23. December 2003, 12:55:16
ughaibu 
It's not clear just from the results whether or not white has a significant advantage. The difference is much greater among lower rated players than among higher so I still think that white is easier rather than "better" in a theoretical sense. When I have some time I'll run through the results of all completed tournaments comparing results by colour, it may transpire that black's results will have improved over time with the aquisition of experience.

23. December 2003, 11:03:33
ughaibu 
Emne: Jason
The rules for other versions are mainly derived from tablut and there's no reason to think they're necessarily accurate. The rules Fencer uses are pretty much exactly as they were recorded first hand by Carl von Linne, this is the only "full" recording of rules for a tafl-type game that exist. The problem is that he only spent a few days with the Sami and couldn't speak their language, also he was primarily interested in plants not board games so it's unlikely that he would have tried to ask about the possibility of repeating moves. If repeating moves had been legal there's a possibility that he would have observed and recorded the fact, as he didn't do so is a slight negative evidence that repeating was not legal. I've tried contacting various university departments and Sami journals, cultural organisations, etc in the hope that somebody would be able to clear this question up but I've had no success so far. The main point is that there is no reason why repeating moves should be legal and a draw, it's likely that as this point wasn't originally covered later authors simply transfered the idea from chess. You mention versions with escape to the corners, hostile squares, etc, these restrictions were introduced by players who after some experience felt that the bias was too strong and that white's aim should be made more difficult. I think the bias is an illusion and that the game was of sufficient antiquity that the rules recorded by Linne should constitute a game worth playing for 2000 years. However, the question of repetition isn't covered by those rules and we now have the experience to make a ruling on this question which, from lack of any clarification from Sami sources, might be a good idea. How about a poll of the opinions of members with established tablut ratings?

18. December 2003, 06:55:51
ughaibu 
Emne: Rod03801
Thanks for the reply. The problem is that what is known of the rules of tablut comes from one diary entry of Carl Linne during a brief stay with Sami people in the mountains of Sweden. Naturally, in that time, he wouldn't have come across every situation that can occur and some situations wouldn't have come to his attention precisely because the Sami players would be familiar with the rules. Tablut and similar type games have existed from around 2000 years ago so I think we can be confident that fully satisfactory rules also existed. There is no reason to believe that repeating position is legal and constitutes a draw. There's a tendency for people with a chess background to feel that chess is a species of senior game and to make decisions about rules in quite different games by observing chess, there's no justification for this. Among other considerations chess is a game plagued by draws and it would be better, under the influence of other games, to remove the draws from chess. In an earlier discussion on this page stalemate was being discussed yet even in chess stalemate doesn't make sense, the king is as dead as if checkmated. I accept the logic that the king (in tablut) can move onto a surrounded square next to the centre but if the king can not then leave that square because black occupies the opposing adjacent square and white has no other pieces that can move then, it seems obvious to me, this is a white loss (Linne even says that white loses when the king has no power of movement), likewise if white has several pieces left and black surrounds them such that none can move it is clearly a black win according to the spirit of the rules. These are rare situations that it's usually possible to avoid by taking care with the move order but it would still be nice to have something in the rules. Repetition, on the other hand, is not rare, in fact in almost ever game black has to not only try to win but also has to avoid the possibility of repetition. As black has no mechanism to force a repetition, white doesn't need to pay any attention to the possibility. This in itself is unsatisfactory, further, I suspect that white may be able to acheive repetition by force from the outset, if such is the case then it makes no sense to allow repetition. My suggestion is that repeating moves with continuous threats to the edge should be a loss for white. There exists an organisation called the Tafl Gild, they have some bizarre aims to be brought about by a resurrection of Viking culture primarily their version of tablut. Although I dont agree with their general interpretation of the rules of Linne and think their variant is a rather poor game I do recognise that they have one of the largest bodies of contemporary playing experience (the same can now be said of BrainKing) and it is noteworthy that they have elected for repetition to be a loss for white.

17. December 2003, 10:57:49
ughaibu 
Emne: Repetition
The aim of the game is for the white king to escape, in a position where the king continually attacks the edge and black continually blocks it, the king doesn't escape. "Well", you might say "neither does black capture the king in such a situation". That's true enough, but the logic of the situation suggests that if the king doesn't escape, ie is restricted to the hostile environment of the board indefinitely, he will die from either starvation or exhaustion. Does nobody else feel that there is something flawed in this rule? Is there any reason why a game should have draws? Even if all draws had been considered to be white losses, of the total games played at BrainKing white would still have won 60%, this is a much bigger skew than exists in pente, a game in which a member recently objected to tournaments with only one game between participants because the bias is so strong.

20. Juni 2003, 20:39:11
ughaibu 
Emne: Eggman
The rules of the original game aren't fully known but Linnaeus says the edge not the corner. He doesn't mention whether or not the king can take part in captures but evidence from references to other tafl games suggest he couldn't.

16. Juni 2003, 18:17:41
ughaibu 
Emne: Draws by repetition
What I dont like about the draws by repetition is that they can only be forced by white, the concept of 'draw' implies equallity and in this situation where the resource is available to one side but not the other there is inequallity. If white has no possibility of winning it seems fair enough that they can escape by repeating moves but I suggest that rather than this being a draw the consequence be that the players play again with reversed colours.

26. Maj 2003, 12:51:29
ughaibu 
Emne: Whisperz
Because it's tiresome to go through the multiple game matches sorting out the results of individual games by colour I only looked at the 18 players with established ratings, perhaps this has given me a distorted picture. I would like to join your tournament but cannot at present, hopefully I'll be clear by the sign-up deadline.

25. Maj 2003, 19:23:50
ughaibu 
Emne: Harley
Thanks for the reply. You've an interesting viewpoint, as you say the approach adopted by either side is quite different, I guess that makes it natural to have a preference.

25. Maj 2003, 18:39:11
ughaibu 
Emne: Harley
As multiple game matches are designated a colour I was overestimating the ratio of whites to blacks in your games, in fact there is almost nothing in it, 73 whites and 69 blacks in decisively completed games, and 6 draws, 3 with each colour. Your results are somewhat better with white, 49 white wins to 43 black wins and 24 white losses to 26 black losses. I've compared results by colour for all the players with established ratings and of the eighteen only one has better results with black. Among the higher rated players the difference is slight but for lower rated players white wins are far more common. In the games played between the top five rated players white wins by 16-10 so they appear to balance their ratios by winning with black against lower rated players. As the game is asymmetric in both force and aims it would be strange if there were no bias and it seems easy from these figures to conclude that white has the advantage, however it's also possible to suggest that black is more difficult to play, after all black has more pieces, more possible moves and therefore a greater likelihood of making a mistake. A further point is that of the eighteen players with an established rating ten appear to have a preference for black.

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