March 10 1999 RussCon Report

20 players, 21 games.

Some of us who play go had the pleasure on the previous evening of playing simultaneous games with Yuki Shigeno, a visiting Japanese pro. The rest of you should play more go. Especially some of you. You know who you are. Tuesday night, Dobie Mall food court.

Remember: no RussCon next week (March 17), but Marty has set up alternate RussCon that Wednesday night at Dobie Mall food court.

And don't forget Laser Quest is Monday March 22! Try to get there at 8:15, or 8:30 at the latest. It's in the parking lot of Highland Mall, on the north side. Bring $20 including ones, since the cost will be between $10 and $20 per person depending on how many of us show up.

If anyone's interested, some of us are going to see the play Frankenstein in Love by Clive Barker on Saturday night. Consult the Chronicle or for details. We will probably eat dinner first at Manuel's on Congress (near the theater), I'll say around 6:20.


Game Results:

Fight 3 JP 2 Marty 0 Bob -2
MoleHill 2 JonathanC 1 Steve -1
ModernArt 5 Jay 4 Ken 2 Clayton 0 WendyWhe -2 KevinH -4
TitanArena 5 Jeffles 4 Tim 2 RussW -1 Alfred -1 Daniel -4
QuoVadis 5 WendyWhe 4 Jay 2 Clayton 0 KevinH -3 Ken -3
ResPublica 3 Marty 2 Steve 0 JP -2
Samurai 3 Doug 2 JonathanC -1 Steve -1
FilthyRich 5 Tim 4 RussW 1 Alfred 1 Daniel -2 Jeffles -4
MoleHill 2 JeffF 1 Jonobie -1
Instinct 6 Daniel 5 JeffF 3 Tim 1 Jonobie -1 RussW -3 Alfred -5
Samarkand 5 WendyWhe 4 KevinH 2 Marty 0 Jay -3 Ken -3
LordOfTheFries 3 JP 2 Brady 0 Jeffles -2
ResPublica 4 Harry 3 Jeffles 0 Doug 0 Bob -3
DevilBunny 3 JP 2 Steve 0 JonathanC -2
Samarkand 4 KevinH 3 JP 1 Jeffles -1 Harry -3
ResPublica 5 Daniel 4 JeffF 2 Alfred 0 RussW -3 Jonobie -3
Elfenland 6 Bob 5 JonathanC 3 Jay 1 Steve -1 Marty -3 Doug -5
Raj 3 JP 1 Brady 1 Jeffles -2
Raj 3 JP 2 Jeffles 0 Brady -2
HoneyBears 5 RussW 4 Bob 2 Marty 0 Doug -2 Steve -4
DevilBunny 5 Jeffles 4 RussW 2 JP -1 Doug -1 Bob -4

Alfred brought Devil Bunny Needs a Ham last week, but it didn't get played until this time. It is good fun! You've got to love a game where each player is a group of chefs trying to climb to the top of a skyscraper, while the Devil Bunny, who wants a ham and mistakenly believes that keeping the chefs from reaching the top will get him a ham, is knocking the chefs off the side of the building. The world needs more such games.

Filthy Rich was woefully disappointing. Too much chaotic luck, and impossible to get anywhere if the cards aren't with you. Cute idea, with the notebook game board and cards going into plastic pockets, hiding cards on later pages, etc. Too bad we didn't enjoy it. The high point was when Tim (who was clearly the Devil in this game) happened to roll 6-6-6 on 3 10-sided dice.

Instinct is a trick-taking card game which was enjoyable. You only score points in a hand by making your bid exactly. Sadly, I suck at trick-taking games, but I still enjoyed it. Jeff was dominating us the whole time, then Daniel surged ahead at the last moment with a daring 6-trick bid which he pulled off, snatching victory in a crowd-pleasing finale.

Honey Bears continue to rule. Inexplicably, the Red Bear is almost always the most popular and surges ahead of the others. Go Red Bear!

I see JP won another game of Fight. Yeah, yeah, and the sun rises in the east.

There was some garbled rumor of Wendy defeating Ken in Samarkand by spilling beer on him. The details are hazy.


Evening's Soundtrack:

Artificial Joy Club, Melt
Blue Oyster Cult, Fire of Unknown Origin
Brave Combo, No, No, No, Cha Cha Cha
Pansy Division, Deflowered
The Velvet Underground & Nico

No one guessed the common theme. All these groups have a synonym for "group" in their group name.


Rank ratings:
 0.6000 JeffF (3 games played)
 0.5385 Tim (3)
 0.5000 WendyWhe (3)
 0.3684 JP (8)
 0.2353 Jay (4)
 0.1765 Daniel (4)
 0.1000 JonathanC (4)
 0.0000 Harry (2)
 0.0000 RussW (6)
 0.0000 Clayton (2)
-0.0417 Jeffles (8)
-0.0588 Marty (5)
-0.1111 Bob (5)
-0.1333 KevinH (4)
-0.1667 Brady (3)
-0.2941 Alfred (4)
-0.3333 Doug (5)
-0.3333 Ken (3)
-0.4375 Steve (6)
-0.5000 Jonobie (3)

New Win ratings:
 0.5833 WendyWhe (3)
 0.4118 Daniel (4)
 0.3333 Harry (2)
 0.3158 JP (8)
 0.1538 Tim (3)
 0.0588 Jay (4)
 0.0556 Bob (5)
 0.0417 Jeffles (8)
 0.0000 KevinH (4)
-0.0400 RussW (6)
-0.1000 JeffF (3)
-0.1111 Doug (5)
-0.1176 Marty (5)
-0.1667 Brady (3)
-0.2000 JonathanC (4)
-0.2353 Alfred (4)
-0.2500 Clayton (2)
-0.2500 Ken (3)
-0.3000 Jonobie (3)
-0.3750 Steve (6)

People at the top o' the heap are JeffF, Tim, and Wendy. (I.e. no one has both scores better than any of these players.)

My recent readings on ordinal measurement theory (you think I'm kidding?) lead me to question the validity of trying to pick a unique Devil from among those who have none above them in the partial ordering. (And they all played 3 games, so I can't even use that as a tie-breaker!) As part of the ongoing Devil Point experimentation, I renounce my former naive methods of determining a unique Devil from the 2 sets of ratings. Thus Jeff, Tim, and Wendy are Co-Devils, as seen from the standpoint of mathematical purity.

Issues of statistical soundness aside, it would informally appear that Wendy did best, since she's above 17 people, whereas Tim is above 14, and Jeff is above 9. Plus the sum of Wendy's scores is highest. So Wendy is the Primary Devil, and Tim is Secondary Devil, in the event a tiebreaker for the dining table rights is necessary. But I emphasize that this old-style reasoning is purely a pragmatic heuristic, the mathematical validity of which cannot be guaranteed by the RussCon management. Do not try these techniques at home! I am a trained professional!

Similar theoretical debates arise in go tournaments. If 2 go players win the same number of games, there are various tie-breaking schemes (sum of opponents' scores, sum of defeated opponents' scores, head-to-head, etc.), which are all intuitively plausible but ultimately hand-waving rationalization. It be more valid to simply declare the 2 to be co-victors (and split the prize money between them). But there often seems to be a human desire to have a unique winner, even if chosen by a less-than-rational criterion. Or the prize (e.g. a trophy, or dining table rights) may be indivisible, and so a unique winner must be chosen for pragmatic reasons.

Of course dining table rights could be shared amongst the Devils, unlike a trophy. I leave it to them to duke it out for our enjoyment if they wish.


Perhaps he is right.

Perhaps he is not.