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Brăila, Go, restul se înţelege

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Split Infinity de Piers Anthony

Un viitor indepartat, o planeta privilegiata de bogatia data de mineralul sursa de energie pt zborurile interstelare, dar si de prezentza „Jocului” (The Game).

Un complex turneu unde sportivii se intrec in toate sporturile jocurile si domeniile imaginabile. Evident Goul nu putea lipsi. Si astfel, jocul ce ne pasioneaza este prezent inca o data ca subiect in literatura.

Am copiat capitolul mai jos. E prea lung ca sa ma apuc sa il traduc fara sa fie solicitari. Daca sint destui care nu manevreaza destul de bine Engleza, si solicita in comentariu traducerea, voi reveni la acest articol si voi traduce.

Pentru a înţelege contextul în care se
joacă partida voi prezenta cîteva detalii.
Planeta şi exploatările miniere, implicit, erau
deţinute de o castă de îmbogăţiţi, numiţi
Cetăţeni, care aveau nevoie evident şi de
servitorii de rigoare chit că tehnologia
avansată pasa munca majoritar în grija
maşinilor. Banul nu juca nici un rol în viaţa
servitorilor care aveau hrana asigurată din
belşug, singura răsplată fiind o plată la finalul

termenului de zece ani cît le era permis să
stea pe planetă, plată ce le era suficient să
trăiască decent tot restul vieţii oriunde în
galaxie.
Dar pentru a le asigura loialitatea li se
oferea o a doua răsplată şi anume cea de a
putea participa la Joc. Anual în urma
întrecerilor finalistul cîştiga dreptul de a
deveni Cetăţean, deci dreptul la o cotă parte
din producţia de minereu, implicit o bogăţie
greu de imaginat.
Nu voi detalia aici tot regulamentul
care e destul de complex dar în mare era
vorba de grupe tip ladder, şi de turnee dublu
knockout. Intr-un meci cei doi concurenţi
începeau cu alegerea jocului sau a sportului
în care se vor întrece, pentru că se puteau
întrece în tot ce crease mintea umană de-a
lungul mileniilor, joc sport sau chiar artă. Şi
pentru că, evident unii excelau la ceva alţii la
altceva, era important să cunoşti cît mai bine
adversarii şi să eviţi să îl întîlneşti la un joc
unde e tare. Alegerea domeniului dintr-un
meci este pe undeva chiar un joc. Astfel, toate
jocurile erau împărţite după diverse criterii şi
categorii, de inteligenţă, fizice, de noroc, sau
artă, apoi după alt criteriu, toate plasate intr-o
grilă. Un concurent alegea verticala, ce
conţinea 1. Fizic, 2. Mental, 3. Şansă, 4. Arteşi
evident va alege mental dacă în faţa lui e un
atlet excelent, dar acum atletul are drept de a
alege din alte 4 categorii plasate pe
orizontală, ducînd către o variantă de joc
unde să aibă mai multe şanse. A. Dezbrăcat, B.
Unealtă, C. Maşină, D. Animal. Dezbrăcat fiind
mai mult cu sensul de neasistat, decît fără
haine. exemplu cei ce nu excelau nicăieri se
bazau pe jocurile de noroc, unii chiar
ajungînd departe doar pe baza norocului.
Stile, eroul nostru, de meserie jocheu, de-a

lungul romanului se întrece cu ceilalţi în
diverse domenii, de la poezie pînă la fotbal,
pentru că da, deşi fotbalul nu e joc de doi, cei
doi concurenţi completau echipa cu roboţi,
care evident jucau echilibrat, victoria fiind
asigurată de priceperea jucătorului uman.
Regulamentul Jocului e ceva mai complex, şi
dacă doriţi mai multe detalii vă recomand să
citiţi cartea. Aici voi completa doar cu
fragmentul în care Goul este jocul în care se
vor întrece cei doi concurenţi.

——————————————————————————

The holder of Rung Seven kept his appointment as he had to, lest he forfeit. He was not much taller than Stile and tended to avoirdupois despite the antifat med ication in the standard diet. Hence his name. Snack. He hardly looked like a formidable player but neither did Stile.

An audience had gathered, as Sheen had predicted. It was possible that some Citizens also were viewing the match on their screens especially his own employer. Stile’s move was news.

Snack got the numbered facet of the grid. Stile sighed inaudibly; he had been getting bad breaks on facets in this series. Snack always selected MENTAL.

Very well. Stile would not choose NAKED, because Snack was matchless at the pure mental games. Snack was also uncomfortably sharp at MACHINE- and ANIMAL assisted mental efforts. Only in TOOL did Stile have an even chance. So it had to come up 2B.

There was a murmur of agreement from the specta tors outside, as they watched on the public viewscreen. They had known what the opening box would be. They were waiting for the next grid.

In a moment it appeared: sixteen somewhat arbitrary classifications of games of intellectual skill. Snack had the numbered facet again, which was the primary one. He would go for his specialty: chess. He was versed in all forms of that game: the western-Earth two and three-dimensional variants, the Chinese Choo  hong-ki, Japanese Shogi, Indian Chaturanga and the hypermodern developments. Stile could not match him 269

there. He had a better chance with the single-piece board games like Chinese Checkers and its variants but many games used the same boards as chess, and this grid classified them by their boards. Better to avoid that whole bailiwick.

Stile chose the C row, covering jigsaw-type puzzles, hunt-type board games he liked Fox & Geese the so called pencil-and-paper games and, in the column he expected to intersect, the enclosing games.

It came up 2C: Enclosing. There was another murmur of excitement from the audience.

Now the handmade grid. Stile felt more confidence here; he could probably take Snack on most of these variants. They completed a subgrid of only four: Go, Go-bang, Yote and tic-tac-toe. Stile had thrown in the last whimsically. Tic-tac-toe was a simplistic game, no challenge, but in its essence it resembled the prototype for the grids of the Game. The player who got three of his choices in a row, then had the luck to get the facet that enabled him to choose that row, should normally win. The ideal was to establish one full row and one full column, so that the player had winners no matter which facet he had to work with. But in the Game grids, there was no draw if no one lined up his X’s and 0’s; the real play was in the choosing of columns and the interaction of strategies.

And they intersected at tic-tac-toe. That was what he got for fooling around.

Stile sighed. The problem with this little game was that, among competent players, it was invariably a draw. They played it right here on the grid-screen, punching buttons for X’s and 0’s. To a draw.

Which meant they had to run the grid again, to achieve the settlement. They played it — and came up with the same initial box as before. And the same secondary box. Neither player was going to yield one iota of advantage for the sake of variation; to do so would be to lose. But the third grid developed a different pattern, leading to a new choice: Go-bang.

This was a game similar to tic-tac-toe, but with a larger grid allowing up to nineeten markers to be played 270

on a side. It was necessary to form a line of five in a row to win. This game, too, was usually to a draw, at this level.

They drew. Each was too alert to permit the other to move five in a row. Now they would have to go to a third Game. But now the matter was more critical. Any series that went to three draws was presumed to be the result of incompetence or malingering; both parties would be suspended from Game privileges for a period, their Rungs forfeit. It could be a long, hard climb up again, for both and Stile had no time for it. The third try, in sum, had to produce a winner.

They ran the grids through again and arrived again at tool-assisted mental, and at enclosing. The basic strategies were immutable.

Stile exchanged glances with Snack. Both knew what they had to do.

This time it came up Go the ancient Chinese game of enclosing. It was perhaps the oldest of all games in the human sphere, dating back several thousand years. It was one of the simplest in basic concept: the placing of colored stones to mark off territory, the player enclosing the most territory winning. Yet in execution it was also one of the most sophisticated of games. The more skilled player almost invariably won.

The problem was. Stile was not certain which of them was the more skilled in Go. He had never played this particular game with this particular man, and could not at the moment remember any games of Go he and Snack had played against common opponents. This was certainly not Stile’s strongest game but he doubted it was Snack’s strongest either.

They moved to the board-game annex, as this match would take too long for the grid-premises; others had to use that equipment. The audience followed, taking seats; they could tune in on replicas of the game at each place, but preferred to observe it physically. Sheen had a front seat, and looked nervous: probably an affectation, considering her wire nerves.

Stile would have preferred a Game leading to a quick decision, for he was conscious of Neysa and Kurrelgyre 271

in the other frame, locked in potion-hardened cages. But he had to meet his commitment here, first, whatever it took.

They sat on opposite sides of the board, each with a bowl of polished stones. Snack gravely picked up one stone of each color, shook them together in his joined hands, and offered two fists for Stile. Stile touched the left. The hand opened to reveal a black pebble.

Stile took that stone and laid it on the board. Black, by convention, had the first move. With 361 intersections to choose from  for the stones were placed on the lines in Go, not in the squares he had no problem. A one-stone advantage was not much, but in a game as precise as this it helped.

Snack settled down to play. The game was by the clock, because this was a challenge for access to the Tourney; probably few games of Go would be played, but time was limited to keep the Tourney moving well. This was another help to Stile; given unlimited time to ponder. Snack could probably beat him. Under time pressure Stile generally did well. That was one reason he was a top Gamesman.

They took turns laying down stones, forming strategic patterns on the board. The object was to enclose as much space as possible, as with an army controlling territory, and to capture as many of the opponent’s stones as possible, as with prisoners of war. Territory was the primary thing, but it was often acquired by wiping out enemy representatives. Stile pictured each white pebble as a hostile soldier, implacable, menacing;

and each black pebble as a Defender of the Faith, up right and righteous. But it was not at all certain that right would prevail. He had to dispose his troops advantageously, and in the heat of battle the advantage was not easy to discern.

A stone/man was captured when all his avenues of freedom were curtailed. If enemy forces blocked him off on three sides, he had only one freedom remaining;

if not buttressed by another of his kind, forming a chain, he could lose his freedom and be lost. But two men could be surrounded too, or ten enclosed; numbers 272

were no certain security here. Rather, position was most important. There were devices to protect territory, such as „eyes” or divisions that prevented enclosure by the other side, but these took stones that might be more profitably utilized elsewhere. Judgment was vital.

Snack proceeded well in the early stages. Then the complexity of interaction increased, and time ran short, and Stile applied the notorious Stile stare to unnerve his opponent. It was a concentrated glare, an almost tangible aura of hate; every time Snack glanced up he encountered that implacable force. At first Snack shrugged it off, knowing that this was all part of the game, but in time the unremitting intensity of it wore him down, until he began to make mistakes. Trifling errors at first, but these upset him all out of proportion, causing his concentration to suffer. He misread a seki situation, giving away several stones, failed to make an eye to protect a vulnerable territory, and used stones wastefully.

Even before the game’s conclusion, it was obvious that Stile had it. Snack, shaken, resigned without going through the scoring procedure. Rung Seven was Stile’s.

Stile eased up on the glare and Snack shook his head, feeling foolish. He understood how poorly he had played in the ambience of that malevolence now that the pressure was off. At his top form he might reasonably have beaten Stile, but he had been far below his standard. Stile himself was sorry, but he was above all a competitor, and he had needed this Rung. All his malignance, the product of a lifetime’s reaction to the slight of his size, came out in concentrated form during competition of this nature, and it was a major key to his success. Stile was more highly motivated than most people, inherently, and he drove harder, and he never showed mercy in the Game.

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OFF
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