ICS Interview – Pendor

THE ICS INTERVIEWS SERIES – No. 002 – PENDOR
Interview conducted February 2011
First published May 2011

 

INTERVIEWER
Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed as part of the ICS interview series. This will be your first interview, although Flesh did a profile of you back in 1998 and posted a few log files of yours from that period of time.

Just wanted to update the Flesh profile a bit. In 1998, he wrote that you were a young bugger in your early teens with the potential of becoming a top player because a) you’ve been banned, b) you attended the July 4th 1998 ajedrez bughouse gathering, and c) you’ve got no life outside of bughouse. Care to update this?

PENDOR
Unfortunately a few years later I got banned again, but for 10 years. During that ban I stopped playing bughouse. So I guess being banned didn’t work out very well for my bughouse career!

Back then I was in high school which I hated, found boring, learned almost nothing from, and paid little attention to. I would stay up late playing bughouse and then be half-asleep during school. But now I do have a life! So I won’t be getting into bughouse as much as before. But I did play 700 bughouse games in the last two weeks and get my RD down to 32.

INTERVIEWER
You recently came back to FICS after a 10 year ban (2001-2011). What brought you back and why were you banned in the first place?

PENDOR
I was banned for annoying the admins over a period of years in minor ways that didn’t break any specific rules. They may deny it, but that was the real reason.

As best I can remember, the specific reason I was banned went something like this:

I had a blindfold account. One day they banned it because of something I did on my regular account, just as a way to punish me. I thought that was unfair. To mess with them I requested my normal account be changed to blindfold, and it was. Then I got banned for having style=12 while playing. They thought I was cheating by using an interface to play blindfold. However they were just plain wrong. The style variable is ignored on blindfold accounts which are always sent style=9 data no matter what. I wasn’t cheating, they were simply ignorant of how the server was coded and made a mistake. I asked them to reverse the ban but they kept it up for 10 years! Over a silly mistake! Obviously the idea that I had cheated, being so obviously false once explained to them, wasn’t the real reason I stayed banned. They just were glad to see me banned and didn’t want to change it.

INTERVIEWER
In the 1990s, you were mainly a bughouse player but you also began learning some variants, notably wild 5. Which variant was your favorite back then and which one is your favorite right now?

PENDOR
It’s really hard to compare but I guess bughouse is my favorite, then wild 5 second. Bughouse has more variety because opening lines change depending on the exact timing at which moves are played on each board, and bughouse has a larger community of players. With wild 5, the opening lines can be very long with only a limited number of choices that are playable. I see it as a smaller, more limited game. A lot of fun, but closer to being solved. The other problem with wild 5 is that white’s advantage is too large.

I also enjoyed atomic, suicide, crazyhouse and regular chess.

I don’t like loser’s but I admit I never tried it a lot. I think the rules for loser’s are really inelegant compared to suicide.

Crazyhouse I think is less fun than bughouse so I never played it a ton.

Suicide and atomic both have somewhat limited openings and can have long, forcing lines. In this way I see them as similar to wild 5. They are both nice games but I like wild 5 more, which I think is more exciting with all the queens controlling the board and no pawn structure in the way. If memory serves, atomic and suicide also have the same issue with a large advantage for white.

I played chess in tournaments a lot from ages 8-16 or so. It was a big part of my life. But getting to the top level at chess takes a lot of study. Variants are a bit simpler and less daunting. I see the simpler variants a bit like puzzles. They are big and complicated for a puzzle, but small compared to chess. Even bughouse is far more limited than chess.

It’s always been hard for me to find enough wild 5 games. I have played around 15,000 games of bughouse but only maybe 2,500 of wild 5. I will play long series of games with the same players. I have played a ton of games across many series with chronatog, Hummeress and NEWFOUNDGLORY (FICS handles). Unfortunately most players are unwilling to play a lot of games if they play at all, for example I’d be really lucky if I could get pminear to play 10 games in a day.

INTERVIEWER
How did you begin playing on the ICS? Which server did you start on?

PENDOR
I started on FICS in February 1997. I played chess to start with but I think I switched over to bughouse pretty quickly. I got an interface pretty quickly but I was using a Mac then and the choices were pretty bad. They were Fixation and PowerICS. Thief didn’t exist yet and not all bughouse players actually observed their partner’s board back then.

INTERVIEWER
How were you introduced to bughouse and wild 5? Did someone teach you?

PENDOR
I knew how to play bughouse from playing it in person with other chess kids. When I first tried to play on FICS I didn’t know about channel 24 and there was no bugwho command, I had to figure stuff out myself. I would actually type “who” and then try to partner everyone on the list. Eventually helenep agreed to be my partner and I played my first games. Then I tried to partner him every time I saw him until I found out about channel 24. FICS had less players logged in at a time back then, maybe 150, so the “who” list was less daunting (there are 1681 players logged in as I type this). Maybe I was smart enough to do “who B” and then only try to partner everyone with a bughouse rating 🙂

For wild 5 I think I found out about it from reading “help wild”. Like everyone else my first few games consisted of getting smothered mated in a few moves. But unlike a lot of people I wasn’t discouraged. I saw it as a challenge and tried to figure out how to play better. The first good player that I learned a lot from was you (Chronatog). You were my only teacher. I remember playing with players like pminear and wawoy but I was already better than them by the time I played them much.

INTERVIEWER
What’s the meaning behind the handle “Pendor”?

PENDOR
It is the name of an island in the Earthsea fantasy trilogy by Ursula Le Guin.

INTERVIEWER
How old were you when you first began playing on the ICS? And now?

PENDOR
Judging from my FICS registration date I was 13.5 years old. That might sound early in my chess career but it isn’t. I learned when I was 4 or 5, I was taking lessons at 6 or 7 and doing well in tournaments by age 8. I stopped playing chess much in high school but kept playing variants until I was around 19, a bit after being banned on FICS. I’m 27 now.

INTERVIEWER
What were you doing back then? And what are you currently doing now?

PENDOR
I was stuck in school then. I hated school (I was too smart for it and got bored all the time and didn’t learn much) and liked chess, books and computer games. I was also athletic contrary to nerdy stereotypes. I played rollerblade hockey, tennis, and did running, and later played a lot of ultimate frisbee and took up biking.

Now I’m a philosopher. I have some websites and spend a lot of time reading and having written discussions. I’m also a programmer and do freelance programming (mostly for websites) to make a living. I also still spend a lot of time on games. Warcraft 3 came out in 2001 and I have played it from then until the present. That’s part of why I stopped playing on chess servers: I had a replacement game. I don’t play Warcraft 3 a lot anymore but I do play an RPG map called The Kingdom of Kaliron (http://tkok.freeforums.org/portal.php) which I also help create and do bug testing for.

The websites with my philosophy are http://fallibleideas.com/ and http://curi.us/.

INTERVIEWER
You mentioned that there was nothing against what you did in the rules. Do you feel that FICS mainly wants players to follow their rigid expectations of the use of their server? That being said, they appear to have a “long” list of items that aren’t stated as being against their policy but will sanction for those actions.

PENDOR
It really depends on the admin. Some like power, like telling people what to do, like bossing people around, and like enforcing their own personal idea of what is fair (never mind what the rules actually say). But also, they have a lot of ambiguous rules. Other times it was debatable whether I broke any rule or not. I used to split hairs some and could be pretty annoying I guess. Just my final ban I clearly didn’t do anything wrong, it was their mistake, but other times it’s less clear cut.

INTERVIEWER
You transitioned over to USCL during your FICS ban for a few years. What are your thoughts about USCL in general during this period of time (2001-2004)?

PENDOR
It never had a good bughouse scene but I was able to play wild 5 there with you, pminear, Hummeress, NEWFOUNDGLORY and some others. I spent a lot of time there sculpting my ratings. There weren’t enough players to really have active communities outside chess, but (from memory) I managed to get 2555 zh rating, 2666 w5, 2222 blitz, stuff like that. I would challenge all the logged in players with no wild ratings to eek them. You could usually still get 1 point per game from unrated players up to a pretty high rating (like 2550-2650 range is where it stops, I think).

USCL had problems with admins being jerks just like FICS. ICC has problems too. I think the whole structure where people get granted extensive admins powers without really having any checks and balances or oversight helps breed problems.

INTERVIEWER
What kind of a Mac were you using? Did you ever try playing via telnet on the Mac at all? When did you transition over to a PC – which OS was it running?

PENDOR
I must have played on telnet a little bit but I was used to computers and downloading stuff already, so I would have gotten an interface in a few days. I was using a Performa with a 100 a megahertz CPU. It was running Mac OS 7 I think. I switched over to windows after a year or two of being on FICS, but went back to modern Macs around 2003.

INTERVIEWER
I was going to ask you if you played wild 5 with the board flipped, but since we actually met in person at the 1999 US National High School Championships in Sioux Falls, SD, and began playing a game of w5 OTB, I play with a flipped board but you play unflipped. That game was aborted after about 9 moves if I recall correctly. So here’s a slightly different twist on this question. Have you met and played with any other w5 players? Were there any arguments over board orientation? I know you’ve met pminear but I’m not sure if you’ve played w5 with him or just bughouse.

PENDOR
I don’t think I’ve met pminear. I don’t think he was at the early bug gatherings I attended. Not positive though. Yeah I play unflipped. I taught w5 to some chess friends (an IM and a GM!) and it was kind of tricky explaining to them why we had to reach across the board to move anything.

INTERVIEWER
Continuing on that theme, what do you recall from the 1998 ajedrez bughouse gathering? Did you get to play everybody that showed up, including Gnejs? Have you ever gone to another type of gathering since then? What other ICS players have you met in person and who was the most memorable?

PENDOR
I was the youngest person there, 14 I think. My friend, a year old than me, came to the the first one, but I went to the second one by myself. After that there was an age gap, most of the people were in their 20s. I don’t think Gnejs was at the first gathering. You know I’m not actually positive if the one I went to was the very first one, or was the second one. You might know better than me since you have old website archives.

My parents were pretty cool to let me go stay with strangers I met on the internet for like 4 or 5 days, at the age, and also everyone (including them and me) were less used to the internet back then. I didn’t actually use search engines or email all that much yet, I mostly used the internet to play chess and download games. Fortunately it was only a bit over an hour drive from my house, so it wasn’t too much trouble for them to take me there.

It was a lot of fun. I just played bug pretty much the whole time, didn’t socialize that much, did take a break to stay up most of the night playing video games (mostly Golden Eye on gamecube) on my last full day. I didn’t sleep enough any of the days and when my parents arrived at noon I had fallen asleep on the couch in the bughouse room and was difficult to wake up. I slept for about 24 hours after making it to the car, which worried them a little, I think it’s still my record for how tired I’ve gotten.

Ajedrez’s place was pretty awesome. It was big, they had a pool, they had hired help to cook meals and stuff, they had a popcorn or cotton candy machine or something along those lines, sleeping arrangements were pretty crowded but they fit everyone.

INTERVIEWER
I know you retired from OTB chess at some point – when was your last tournament?

PENDOR
My guess would be the State wide chess championship for California (with sections by grade like k-3, 4-5, 6-8, 9-12) for my last year of high school (in 2000 to 2001). I kept playing in those. I wasn’t really studying chess anymore but I think I still got second place in the last two State tourneys, something like that. But Vinay Bhat generally skipped those, I think he made IM while we were still in highschool, not all the best players would show up. I think I might have skipped the last nationals since you had to fly for those. Or maybe I didn’t, I forget.

INTERVIEWER
Moving back to online chess, what’s your opinion on premove, smartmove, lag, and in general, online chess etiquette?

PENDOR
Premove and smartmove are great. I think interfaces should do everything they possibly can to make it convenient and fast to actually move pieces. Physically moving pieces around isn’t part of chess, it’s just a detail we can’t get rid of. The important thing is thinking of what you want to move. I’m in favor of even more advanced smart move (like I should be able to double click on f3 to play 1. Nf3, pieces could have a priority ordering. I think I read that an interface has this but unfortunately Thief doesn’t). Lag is annoying, especially for bughouse. Mild lag isn’t that big a deal except for bughouse where it changes who can sit. People who lag a bunch in bughouse should offer aborts and then go buy better internet. I am not in favor of minmovetime, I don’t think you have a right for your opponent to flag if he can actually win the rest of the with game zero time spent choosing moves.

I think all serious chess games (with long time controls) should be played with increment (which is better than time delay). Around 5 seconds or even 3 is fine. The reason is that’s enough to hold a lot of draws in chess, and win games where your opponent should be resigning. Losing on time in a queen up endgame in serious chess is dumb (except in lightning and blitz where it’s part of the game, get over it). I’ve had tournament games decided on time, like I reached a complicated endgame against Vinay Bhat and we both had 30 seconds left and no increment, and I was up an exchange! Turns out he’s a better lightning player than me.

INTERVIEWER
Do you have a favorite all-time series or game in a variant that you either played or observed? You can provide multiple answers for multiple variants if you’d like.

PENDOR
Nope. Any long, evenly matched bug or w5 series is great.

INTERVIEWER
Since your time playing bughouse has spanned a wide range of time periods, who was the best bughouse player when you first began playing, the best OTB bughouse player, and the best bughouse player around 2000-2001? And now with your return to playing some more bughouse, who’s been the best player you’ve gotten a chance to play against or with in 2011? Some old names are still floating around with new names being added into the mix, like ChickenCrossRoad and even Levon Aronian (rln).

PENDOR
Firefly, JKiller and Gnejs were some of the best early on. JKiller was a little later but still before my FICS ban. Since I came back I am most impressed with Vaboris and ChickenCrossRoad. As best I can rememeber, I knew Vaboris a long time ago, and he was pretty good but not at the very top. From the players I’ve seen, maybe Cren third and JKiller fourth. I haven’t seen rln play. I prefer players with a fast and greedy style who are very good at defending and don’t usually sack much to attack unless they can win cleanly. JKiller and Firefly play less like than than some of the other top players who I like better. Against 1. e4, I am a fan of 1… e5 but not e6/d5 systems which give black weak dark squares.

INTERVIEWER
Do you have a favorite opponent?

PENDOR
I find it most fun to play against really fast players. The more moves we can play before any pieces come the happier I am. I like to have a high normal-move to drop-move ratio in my bug games. Also the opening can be dangerous and is the time most favorable to sac-sitters. I just want to blitz out the development of all my pieces and get enough stuff around my king, then play for a slower and more positional attack instead of a sacrificial attack.

INTERVIEWER
Having played on both FICS and USCL, with ICC being a possible addition to that list, what server was your favorite? Did you play on some of the other servers like EICS before it went down or MEWIS-2?

PENDOR
I played on MEWIS (2?) and I think GICS a little bit but not much. MEWIS had that variant which was chess but you specify the time in seconds instead of minutes. That was pretty silly and you were way better than me at it.

FICS is the best server. It has always dominated at bug, and at least since I started playing w5 it’s no worse than the others.

INTERVIEWER
Do you have any thoughts about computers or (C)heating in general? Being a programmer now, your feelings on this subject may have changed with time – if it has, could you trace your opinion of the subjects from 1997 on?

PENDOR
I like to play computers for practice in variants but not in chess. In wild 5 it’s great to actually lose some white games to a computer, you can learn some useful defensive techniques to use as black against humans from that. I think that cheating is terrible and dumb. I didn’t realize there was an issue there. Don’t cheat. But if you want to do computer aided play, or tweak an engine to be good at variants, without lying about it, then that’s great.

INTERVIEWER
About your transition into philosophy, would you agree that some of the “small things” you were doing to admins and other users in the 90s were mainly pestering them with philosophical-related questions and posing situations that were uncomfortable for them to answer or discuss?

PENDOR
Yes I always had some interest in philosophy. I wasn’t very knowledgeable about it back then, overall, but I did like logic, precision, and intellectual integrity. Those traits have been helpful later. To some extent I saw the FICS rules as a game, and I enjoyed looking for loopholes to exploit, just as I would do with any video game.

INTERVIEWER
What got you interested into truly starting to study philosophy? I’m interested in a critical tipping point or a turning point. I know around 2002 or 2003 you discovered the book, The Fabric of Reality which turns out to have had a major impact on your life.

PENDOR
Yeah, that was the book. I read it in November 2001. I loved it. Then I went to the author’s website and read everything. I got involved with a discussion community on IRC and an email list, both about *Taking Children Seriously*, Deutsch’s parenting philosophy. I wasn’t interested in parenting or education when I started, I just read it because I enjoyed the high quality of argument in his writing.

Once I got on IRC I started talking to David and his friends and learned about libertarianism and lots of other topics. David mentored me personally which made a huge difference, for years he would spend hours most days answering my questions and arguing with me until he got too busy writing his new book.

INTERVIEWER
And how did you end up meeting David Deutsch online? What makes his work, Godwin’s, Burke’s, and Feynman’s so attractive to you?

PENDOR
On a small IRC room. I am attracted to high quality of argument. I think he’s right. That’s all there is to it. His views contradicted a ton of my pre-existing views when I met him. I grew up left wing, now I’m a fan of Ayn Rand, I changed my mind a lot. I appreciate arguments good enough to change my mind.

INTERVIEWER
Being philosophical about ICSes in general, what do you think has been the greatest experience of being online? And what has changed in the ICS and ICS culture for you? You’ve got some experience from both ends of the spectrum, being online nearly constantly to coming back to the ICS after several years’ absence. What are your observations and thoughts? Any critical events you feel occurred that changed the ICS landscape or has there been a seismic shift during your absence that you think you missed out on?

PENDOR
I’m not chatting much on FICS now that I’m back. People still argue in 24 and swear at each other and dump partners after 2 games and yell about how bad they are. I got called a nub a few times by people who have no idea that I’ve played way more bughouse games than them. I mostly just ignore this stuff. I don’t really care what people think, I’m just there to play.

I think that playing games like chess is good for one’s mind, as long as one is improving at the game and learning new things. I think it was a good experience for me to play on FICS so much and I would recommend it to others. I also learned to type from using FICS. I could barely touch type at like 25 wpm when I started, that got up to 100 wpm from chatting on FICS. It was also good for me as a social outlet. I was shy in person but I got accustomed to talking to people online, so that definitely helped me.

INTERVIEWER
You mentioned learning how to type faster from FICS. On a related tangent, what’s your pinion on the new interfaces that try to do everything for the user, including separating channel tells into tabs and hiding the command prompt instead of making everything available in a single window?

PENDOR
I haven’t tried many. I don’t like interfaces that hide the command prompt. ICC has a new mac interface in beta where you literally can’t type commands anywhere! It’s awful. I’m pretty much happy with a telnet window. It has a pretty steep learning curve which I guess is a problem for a lot of people, but it’s fine for experienced users.

INTERVIEWER
You logged a few incidents on FICS, which were presented on Flesh’s pages. Did you log as a rule of thumb or only in extraordinary cases? Do you have a personal log or game log that you’ve retained over the years? I know that I made you store all the master w5 games that I knew of on FICS for your personal studying purposes, but do you have any unpublished logs or game files?

PENDOR
I didn’t log very much. I think I didn’t actually use any logging I just copy/pasted a few discussions to files. I don’t have game logs either.

INTERVIEWER
What’s the most notorious event in FICS history during your time playiung on FICS, and additionally, the most notorious player in your view?

PENDOR
The most notorious event is when Seipman made an admin dup account! Which makes Seipman the most notorious player. It sure took a lot of patience to pull that off.

INTERVIEWER
You had your ratings wiped by the admins. What’s your view on rating wipes and their effects on the FICS rating pools in general?

PENDOR
Wiping my rating lowered the amount of points in the wild pool. For variants without a lot of players it can make a noticeable difference. However you can add points to the rating pool with careful use of high RD! I don’t think wiping ratings is a good idea in general; if someone cheats to get a high rating, honestly who cares? They aren’t hurting anyone so why try to punish them? Especially if they are legitimately a strong player then giving them a low (default) rating doesn’t just hurt them it hurts everyone they play while they are underrated. I think admins should try to police the server less and just leave people alone.

INTERVIEWER
Thief was mentioned as being a superior interface in your opinion at this point in time for you. What other interfaces have you seriously used between the Mac days and now? In the early days of Thief (versions 0.3 to approximately 1.5), there was no support for w5 and it wasn’t until Zon asked me for assistance with it that Thief finally worked properly for w5. If Thief was no longer being maintained (by the bughouse community), is there another interface that you’d enjoy using?

PENDOR
After getting windows I used Winboard and Lightning Rulez some but I preferred SLICS for bughouse. I also tried CClient but didn’t like it. I don’t know what I would use without Thief, I guess I would try the newer interfaces out.

INTERVIEWER
Some other players on FICS may have had the same antagonistic style you had during the 90s. Do you happen to recall MarcoBR, Gorgonian, and flum? Gorgonian seems to still be around, but MarcoBR got banned as far as I recall, and flum is dead. Were there any other players with personalities in this vein, such as Bugholio, possibly? Did you enjoy sparring with those players verbally?

PENDOR
I remember the name flum for sure, but I don’t remember anything about him. I think I remember the name Gorgonian too but not MarcoBR. I mostly argued with admins or people in public channels like 2, 24 and 50. I didn’t care that much who it was and didn’t pay a lot of attention to their names.

INTERVIEWER
Continuing on this theme, are there any other old _ICS players you’d love to contact again just to catch up on things or even play a few games with again?

PENDOR
Yeah, I would like to play some wild 5 with Hummeress, NEWFOUNDGLORY, Chronatog, Dragonslayr and nasnad. But so far I’ve only found Hummeress online. pminear would be nice to catch up with. I stayed in contact with knighttour on AIM some while I was banned.

INTERVIEWER
You mentioned modifying an engine for a variant. What if the engine “solves” that variant? Would you continue to play that variant at all? It seems that ever since Iskandar/Alesi discovered the Qa5 opening tree in wild 5 from Fritz around 2000/1 or so, and after nasnad & DragonSlayr’s analysis of this tree, it appears that most uncreative players have adopted the Qa5 tree as their sole opening of choice in wild 5. What are your thoughts on both the solvability of a variant and the Qa5 issue in wild 5?

PENDOR
If someone can win 20 whites in a row against me, and then do it again after I look for some new lines, then they might have a point. But I don’t think the game has gotten to the point where white always wins. It’s hard to tell how close it is.

I’m definitely not convinced that Qa5 wins. It wouldn’t shock me if it does. Qe6 probably wins too if I had to guess, and probably some other lines too. But the game is still fun as long as black is winning some games, and black still does win.

I do think it’s lame that some players only play Qa5. It’s more fun to play all the decent white lines and to understand how to play in a wider variety of positions. But none of the Qa5 only players actually consistently win with it because they aren’t good enough. And when they don’t play it they lose horribly because they don’t actually understand the game, plus they aren’t much good with black. They also struggle against 3. … Nf3 lines, which I find easy to play against.

I think trying to solve an entire variant is a fun challenge.

INTERVIEWER
You mentioned that you weren’t aware of (C)heating being an issue. Have you ever visited Dr Unclear’s classic (C)heating website, hosted at Geocities before that provider shut its doors? What about lagcheating and its impact in bughouse? TheRaven had a lag generating program available on his personal website, and that’s why he got ratebanned by the admins for such a long period of time. With the number of bughouse games you’ve played, I am sure you’ve run into some “suspicious” lag. Thoughts?

PENDOR
I didn’t see the Dr Unclear site and I had very few suspicious about lag in bughouse. A few times people cheated really obviously. I think TheRaven did it to me at least once. But I didn’t care that much and just kept playing bug. I was never very concerned with my bughouse rating or win/lose record, I just liked to play.

INTERVIEWER
What’s your opinion on duping and duplicate accounts?

PENDOR
I think it’s not that big a deal. I think anonymity is a good thing and the admins should leave everyone alone. Yes you can use dupes to rating cheat, and you shouldn’t do that, but I don’t think fighting with users so much is a good approach to the issue.

INTERVIEWER
Extending the previous question, what are your thoughts on the hypocritical policy of FICS/ICC/other _ICS sites to allow titled players and administrators to have duplicate accounts but not to permit regular users the same right?

PENDOR
I didn’t know they did that. I think they have a point that having a private account is valuable to titled players and admins so they can play without people trying to talk to them. But they should recognize that privacy is valuable for everyone.

INTERVIEWER
You mentioned some ratings manipulation on the USCL server. What are your thoughts on ratings manipulation?

PENDOR
I think it’s a fun challenge to manipulate ratings. Cheating can make it too easy (like if you make extra accounts and have them throw game). If it’s too easy then it’s boring. However cheating presents a new challenge of not getting caught and banned which can be fun. But generally I think it’s better to manipulate ratings without cheating, for example by using eeking.

INTERVIEWER
Do you have “enemies” on ICSes? Such as possibly acdc/laazrockit? I recall you got into several disagreements with him.

PENDOR
foxbat hates me. Superintellect hates me. I think acdc might have been a rival partly (he played wild 5, but I was better). I don’t really remember who else.

INTERVIEWER
What’s your opinion on the bughouse community / culture? And of other specific cultures on FICS, such as the channel 10 culture?

PENDOR
I don’t know much about channel 10. I’ve visited but it didn’t catch my interest. The bughouse community is great and so are their in person gatherings. It was really nice of ajedrez in particular to invite so many people to his home.

The biggest problem with the bug community is the people who dump their partner after losing two games and then flame and blame him. But there’s plenty of people who don’t do that who you can partner with so it’s not a big deal.

INTERVIEWER
Any final commentary you’d like to provide regarding the ICS experience?

PENDOR
A lot of people try to avoid arguments and confrontation. I’m glad I wasn’t shy or passive. Sure I annoyed some people but it was more interesting that way and I learned from the experience. I learned some things about people’s psychology, and about what people with authority act like. On another note, I would recommend trying all the major chess variants to any chess players out there.


Elliot Temple (Pendor) was a good American scholastic player for several years, who reached an USCF expert rating during his last few years of scholastic chess. He finished in a tie for second place at the 1999 National High School Championships in South Dakota, and was well known online during these years as a bughouse player and online antagonist. He attended the ajedrez bughouse gathering documented at Flesh’s bughouse page, and eventually got banned by administrators due to his personality online.

Moving to US Chess Live! in 2001, he learned wild 5 and became one of the best players during the Bronze Era of wild 5 chess. After a few years on USCL, he dropped off of the online chess scene to pursue other interests but has recently resurfaced after being unbanned on FICS and is playing both variants once again.

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