The Editor and the Readership
Second, Kevin Worth mailed me to say that an e-mail game was started using David Norman's variable length rules, presented in last issue as a way to limit the length of a game without adversely affecting the play of the participants. I myself am quite taken by the scheme, and can see it becoming the worldwide standard (wouldn't that be nice?!) method for face-to-face tournament play.
Another thing I'd like to mention here is that Brian Kieslich's "Black Spy" story, "A Cryptic Postcard," generated one of the highest response totals. So I feel like I owe it to the readership to say that the solution to that puzzle will be published in the next issue. I feel bad about delaying it, but well, I just plain ran out of editing time.
And now, with no further ado, on with the letters.
You are correct that few Dip players bother to think beyond the year. I always try to think what effect my current move has on the "shape" of my forces. Pawn "shape" is another useful concept from chess, although it is harder to use in Dip, given the terrain differences.
Anyway, thanks for a great article.
Author's response: Thank you for the compliments. Glad to hear that my thoughts hit home with a fellow chess player. It makes me think one or two of them might actually be right. I like the way you are using whole board tempo analysis in the game you described. Sounds to me like you're on the path to victory (but watch out for those knives!).
Funny you should mention pawn structure. I agree that it has application to Dip as well. I had tried to develop a section of the article on that concept also, but I just couldn't manage the translation from chess terms to Dip concepts. Maybe someday . . .
No time in my life for chess tournaments either, but there are many thriving chess communities on the web. If you haven't looked for them, go ahead and give it a try. The level of competition at many of them is very good.
Easily one of the best written articles I've ever read at The Pouch. There was one a few issues back that rivalled...something by some guy who thought you should approach negotiations in Diplomacy like you approach negoatiating a legal contract...
Keep up the good work, Paul. Another super effort.
[Author's response: I am blushing, and honored by your generous praise. Not sure what else to say.
Ah, now I know: a mentor of mine once told me, "Paul, one of your biggest faults is that you have no idea how to handle a compliment. The appropriate thing to do is smile and say 'thank you.'"
So , and thank you.]
Fascinating how good thinking lends itself to many different fields. If you are looking for good games, with intelligent players who don't take things for granted, please allow me to recommend the e-zine The Old Republic, run by Tim Richardson, keeper of the Face-to-Face Section of The Pouch.
I would be interested in discussing this, and other Diplomacy matters at greater length with you. Do you play Face to Face?
Again, an excellent article.
[Author's response: Wow! Compliments and an invitation to play from the world champ? My wife is suffocating in my bloated ego right now.]
However, since it was not really Germany's SC at the time, I was surprised to note that you didn't mention Tartakover's axiom that "it is always better to sacrifice your opponent's pieces"...
[From the author: Heh heh. Good point. You're right, I should have remebered that one.]Anyhow, thanks very much for a great article, which I'll have to remember when I start playing in serious e-mail games... or, at my next ftf game next weekend, assuming that the game doesn't die around 1906 from the stabbed players whining excessively... You didn't mention the best way to deal with a piece behind your lines...convince your opponent that he'd be better off attacking a common neighbor, then get him to allow you to disband it...it worked as Turkey; a three-unit Italy was getting pounded by Austria but managed to get a fleet to Syria. Actually, it was he that suggested that Italy stab Austria, but...and then Austria quit because he wanted to play Starcraft...of course, his real mistake lay in giving up Greece in 1901 without any argument whatsoever...
[From the author: An excellent point. I tried to remember to tie the tactics into diplomatic strategies, but it can be hard to remember to do that all throughout a tactically based article. Naturally, if the piece behind your lines can bury you, the thing to do is look for a diplomatic solution rather than a tactical one. That's superior advice.]
[Author's response: And may they smile upon you, as well. I'm pleased that you found value in my efforts and grateful you took the time to write.]
Keep up the good work!
[Author's response: Thanks for the compliments, Konrad. I'll pass this along to Manus at the Pouch, too. Never forget to thank the publisher!]
Today, with full knowledge, complete understanding, and willful intent, I did use your world-class web site "The Diplomatic Pouch" for work during work hours. I confess that I knew I needed to find out some information on the international employment laws. I was advised to seek the websites for the embassies of both Germany and England/Great Britain/United Kingdom/whatever-they-call-it-now. I remembered an article reviewing the web efforts of the Diplomacy countries ("Seven Embassies for Seven Dippers" by Larry Peery), so without any shame or hesitation I found the article, surfed over to the aforementioned embassies and got what I needed, all on official company time.
Yes, Father Hand, I got paid for making an official work visit to The Pouch. I know that it isn't supposed to be like that. I know that I should have used a search engine. I confess my trespasses, and I ask forgiveness, promising never to use The Pouch for work again.
Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa.
[From the publisher: Go forth, my son, and sin some more.]
(The most interesting so far is that Chris Martin has pegged me as playing Austria in one of the games he was in. I will accept the compliments graciously, but I probably do need to tell him that John Quarto did not play Austria the entire weekend nor was he ever in a game with Chris that weekend!)
[From the Publisher: Consider him told, and the record hereby corrected. ]
Anyway, within a few mouse clicks of hitting the Pouch, one simply must visit the Registry to see if one is listed. To my surprised delight, I'm already in there! Thanks for being so on the ball with everything!