The Mind Sports Olympiad is free and online this year! And it will include Hex! Hex, Havannah

34 replies. Last post: 2020-07-21

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The Mind Sports Olympiad is free and online this year! And it will include Hex!
  • David J Bush ★ at 2020-06-15

    A provisional start time for the Hex tourney has been suggested: 730pm UK time on Aug 30. That's a Sunday. It is my understanding this is expected to finish in 4 hours.

    This will be held on Board Game Arena, which offers four grid sizes: 6, 11, 14, and 15. I told them that most of you LG players, IMO, would prefer 14. Please let me know what you think. Of course there are lots of other players not on LG. I have heard that the game is very popular in Portugal, where 11 is the standard size. If attendance grows past 32, maybe the field could be divided into a size 11 pool and a size 14 pool.

    Plans are not finalized, so input is welcome. I might become involved with organizing in some way. Of course I also want to participate. I welcome feedback!

    Those who might like to play should know about the BGA time controls and the BGA policy regarding time forfeiture. The slowest time control there for real time play is about 3.5 minutes per player per game, with about 30 seconds increment per move, with the proviso that your time may not exceed the initial time. With such a relatively huge increment, you may be able to build your time back to 3.5 minutes from near zero, possibly more than once during the game. If your time drops below 20 seconds, you will hear a tick tock sound. When a player oversteps, their time goes negative and the opponent sees a link to kick the overstepper out. If they click on it, they get a warning that basically says “This is serious, are you sure?” then if they confirm, the overstepper has 20 more seconds to make a move. So if you allow the overstepper to accumulate negative time beyond the increment, then even after they move they will still be in negative territory, listening to that tick tock all the while, and you would still have the option to put them on a 20 second limit.

    BGA does not have automated tournaments like Playok, but from what I understand, pairings will be determined using an app called Swiss Perfect, and announced in the main lobby. The server chooses who places the first stone. The pie rule is implemented. This will be in “Simple Mode” not “Arena Mode.” I recommend players gain familiarity with the server before the tournament.

  • Florian Jamain ★ at 2020-06-15

    14, clearly :P

  • Loony at 2020-06-15

    What are the advantages of 14?

  • David J Bush ★ at 2020-06-15

    I'm wrong!

    BGA DOES have automated tournament software. As a premium member, I can initiate a tournament there for any game they have. The time control options are completely different. Apparently there is no increment per move in a tournament. So sorry for the misinformation. I will get back to you with more details.

    Also here is a link to MSO.

  • Force majeure at 2020-06-15

    Are they going somehow to verify players' fairness and lack of bot support?

  • HappyHippo ★ at 2020-06-15

    14 is good, but I would prefer 15

  • David J Bush ★ at 2020-06-15

    By “they” I assume you mean the people at BGA. Here is a forum thread which addresses these issues in general. You are of course welcome to ask in their forums. Registration is free. In general I am impressed with their attention to cracking down on cheaters and abusers. Using profanity can get you in trouble there.

    Alain D. from the MSO has suggested we hold an informal tournament first, to see how it all will work, and help anticipate any problems. So everyone, what day of the week, what time UTC is good for you? I'm guessing we could do it about two weeks from now. If for example we have 5 rounds to complete in 4 hours, that's 48 minutes per round, so the best available time control for that is 22.5 minutes per player per game, apparently with no increment per move. It's faster than I would prefer, but automation is vastly more convenient than announcing pairings in the lobby and expecting everyone to find the correct opponent and set up the game parameters by themselves.

    I have specifically asked BGA to modify their Swiss pairing algorithm so that it accepts the 13x13 rating list here as the primary criterion for ranking participants. The more accurate this ranking list is, the fairer the tournament will be. There's nothing inherently wrong with their rating system. It just hasn't had all that many strong players playing there.

  • Force majeure at 2020-06-15

    David, I didn't mean to offend anyone - by “they” are addressed the organizers and all people involved. I don't know who is in charge.

  • kspttw at 2020-06-16

    Heh, I talk with them about hex, maybe it helps a little ;p

    Is it a problem to implement another size and time? Really we are forced to use settings on some server?

    And there are three types of time control implement - normal, fast, and slow. I'm not sure that all are available for the tournament.

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2020-06-16

    I hope they choose a size > 13. On 11x11 there would be a big benefit from preparation (which I am not planning to do).

    It's interesting how will people perform on relatively short time controls. Also I'm very curious if there are any strong players out there away from LG.

  • kspttw at 2020-06-16

    I agree, but on the other hand - 30 sec per move, on 14x14 board is very quick,especially at the opening.

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2020-06-16

    Assuming a player has to make 20-30 moves, then with no increment I think one should have at least 15 minutes for the whole game

  • David J Bush ★ at 2020-06-16

    The time controls you see when you play a “Simple mode” game or an “Arena mode” game are not the time controls that will be in place in a tournament. You will have a set amount of time to make all your moves, and as far as I can tell at this point, NO increment at all is added per move. I don't know exactly what happens if you overstep your time control in a tournament game. Apparently the start times for each round are fixed, and all games from the previous round need to end. So chances are, your time control will be 22.5 minutes per player per game. That's faster than I would like, especially for 14x14, but apparently the MSO wants to finish in 4 hours and there will likely be enough participants to require 5 rounds. I have been trying to persuade them to give us more time. I don't want to try to run some sort of ad hoc manual tournament, where I announce pairings in the lobby and hope that everyone will find their opponent and set up the game parameters correctly. An automated tournament is a huge convenience.

    This is the sort of thing I want to check out for myself before August, which is why I want to run this practice tournament so we get used to what it will be like in August. I will create the tournament on Friday the 19th. Right now I favor a start time Sunday the 28th of June at 7:30 pm London time, with a duration of 4 hours. Please provide alternate suggestions if that is a problem for you.

    kspttw, of course the tournament does have to be a specific size grid and with a specific time control. That's why we are discussing these details, before the tournament starts. We might, for example run two distinct tournaments simultaneously, one for 11 and one for 14. Each player will have to choose one or the other, but not both. I don't really know if MSO would get on board with that idea for their tournament or not. If you want to see a tournament with different settings, completely distinct from the MSO, as a premium member I am able to set it up, if enough people express a similar interest. Does that answer your question?

  • kspttw at 2020-06-16

    “Does that answer your question?”

    Absolutely not. We have to choose 14x14 because, for example, 13x13 is not implemented. We have to choose their time control because they implement only that. I prefer a little longer games, probable witch more time in the beginning and less increment.

    “You will have a set amount of time to make all your moves, and as far as I can tell at this point, NO increment at all is added per move.”

    I played some tournaments on bga, including hex - and the increment is added. However, it is added after opponents move.

    “I don’t know exactly what happens if you overstep your time control in a tournament game”

    You can “skip” opponent's move and win, or just play.

    Be careful because on bga there arelarge gaps between games: for pairing, next for sitting, next for the game. It is important if we have limited time.

  • David J Bush ★ at 2020-06-26

    The 14x14 tournament has been launched. The time control is 22.5 minutes per player. No game will be allowed to exceed 45 minutes in total duration. Maximum attendance has been set at 500, which theoretically means the tournament might take 9 rounds, over 6 hours. However it is much more likely to take 3 or 4 rounds, which is 3 hours at most.

    I should explain how the time control works on BGA, for all games that use one, including non-tournament games. When your time gets as low as 20 seconds, you will hear a tick tock sound. If you overstep your time, you do not immediately lose. Instead your time goes negative, and the opponent sees a button “kick the opponent out” and if he clicks on it, he will see a message which says, in effect, “This is serious, are you sure?” and if your opponent confirms, the overstepper will have 20 more seconds to make a move or be defaulted. For non-tournament games, there is an increment added with each move, so if a player goes negative, he could build his time back up, move by move, by taking less time to move than the increment value.

    But tournament time controls do not use increment. If your time goes negative, you do not immediately lose, but the opponent has the option to force you to play within 20 more seconds, the same as before. Except, the opponent does not need to do that, in order to win the game. Once your time goes negative in a game with no increment, it will remain negative for the rest of the game. After your move, the opponent could choose not to move, knowing you have taken more than your share of time, and the round will end before their time runs out. No game is allowed to continue past the maximum round duration. You will lose the game because the opponent will always have positive time remaining on their clock. Or your opponent could continue to play until you are one move short of a chain, and then wait for you to lose on time.

    Another MSO Hex event is being considered, for the “classic” 11x11 grid, to be held on another day. Here are the choices for a time limit, all with no increment per move:

    • 10 minutes total, 5 min per player
    • 20 min total, 10 min per player
    • 30 min total, 15 min per player
    • 45 min total, 22.5 min per player
    • 60 min total, 30 min per player
    • 90 min total, 45 min per player
    • 120 min total, 60 min per player

    Please let me know which you prefer, and I will relay this info to Mr. Ilfeld at the MSO.

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2020-06-26

    I like 15 minutes per player the most.

  • kspttw at 2020-06-26

    15 minutes in 11x11 seems ok.

  • David J Bush ★ at 2020-06-26

    Thanks for your input. Here are a few more details to be aware of.

    • Swapping actually changes the colors of the players and leaves the first token the same color, in the same cell.
    • There is a confirm button for your move, not like Playok.
    • BGA has a very serious attitude about rudeness and abuse, not that I expect any such behavior from any of you, but for example, use of the acronym LMFAO will result in the opponent being warned not to respond and here's what to do to report. LMAO might also be enough to trigger them.
  • Arek Kulczycki at 2020-06-27

    It seems that to join a tournament one has to have rating points true?

    I just played my first game there and to be honest I quite dislike the look of the board and all the trophy notifications are annoying. Can I turn them off?

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2020-06-27

    Well, I'm a malcontent, sorry :)

    For people used to board like LG I recommend chrome addon Flip screen, whith that you can invert the board horizontally

  • HappyHippo ★ at 2020-06-27

    I've also played a few games. The user interface is a bit of a mess, popups everywhere, and I don't like the board orientation. OTOH they do have 15x15, which I like, and I like that you can see your opponent's moves as soon as they're made, which means that even “turn-based” games can become real-time if both players are online.

    I'm going to try that flipscreen extension, thanks for the tip!

  • ypercube at 2020-06-29

    Practice tournament was played yesterday at

    10 players registered, 9 played.

    Winner was Arek with 5 wins out or 5 games.

    Results and games can be found at

  • ypercube at 2020-06-29

    Note: unfortunately, games and results are only visible if you login :(

  • kspttw at 2020-06-29

    Good tournament, I think we can sometimes play again. They have 14x14 and 15x15 sizes.

  • kspttw at 2020-06-29

    Games are also available to unlogged users.Your link just redirects to the wrong page.

  • kspttw at 2020-06-29

    Ok, games not, but results are present :-)

  • David J Bush ★ at 2020-06-29

    Here is a good link to the completed practice tournament page.

    Congratulations to Arek!

  • ypercube at 2020-06-29

    you are right kspttw, something went wrong with my link.

    Correct link by David above ^^

  • David J Bush ★ at 2020-07-02

    Both the MSO 14x14 tournament and the 11x11 tournament are open for registration. Please click for details. Note that medals will be sent to the top three finishers, so please provide the requested information when you register.

  • ypercube at 2020-07-03

    The 14x14 tournament has changed date to: 2020-08-29 at 15:30 (Europe/London timezone)

    New link:

  • David J Bush ★ at 2020-07-20

    Actually that's the old link. Here is the new link to the 14x14 tournament.

  • Force majeure at 2020-07-21

    What is the deadline for registration?

  • David J Bush ★ at 2020-07-21

    You could perhaps register for the tournament and with the MSO a few minutes before the tournament starts, but I would recommend you do so at least one day before.

  • kspttw at 2020-07-21

    It doesn't look very professional from organizers site, so I agree with David - earlier is safer. Who knows what can happen.

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