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Information about Gorrion

Welcome to Gorrion.

Gorrion is an online game server for the play of games of Chess, Go, Havannah, Hex, Onyx, Othello / Reversi, Pente, Unlur, Y.

It was developed by myself, Dariusz Stachowski, to create a welcoming site for the benefit of game enthusiasts and to create a community where they can engage in friendly exchange with their opponents. I hope that you will find this an enjoyable and useful site.

Please do try from your smartphone. Gorrion will format the content to make it easy for you to use. You may find gaming from your smartphone to be a more relaxing experience.

You may contact me at [ gorrion@dashstofsk.net ]. Please do put forward any comments and suggestions you may have. If you experience something you think might be a bug then do let me know. Likewise if there is some feature or enhancement that you feel would make a nice improvement. All opinions will be welcomed.

Please read the terms and conditions for this site [ terms and conditions ].

Please also have a look at my software offerings, an SGF viewer and editor for games of Go [ GoRilla ], and a PGN editor for Chess [ Penguin ]

Your Valued Support. If this site is useful to you please take a moment to make a donation. Gorrion cost me a lot of time and personal effort and the service costs of maintaining this site all fall on me. The only revenue I receive comes from voluntary donations. I believe this site should be free from advertisements or subscription. Please help me in this. Your donation will help keep my interest alive in this project and will fund further development. Thank you.

Please invite your friends to come and play.

Why the name Gorrion ?

Because it was developed initially for the game of Go I wanted a name of an animal that started with 'Go' and I already had 'GoRilla'. Gorrion is another name for sparrow.

Why have you gone to the trouble ?

I sometimes wonder why. It has taken me a lot of time and effort. But, on the whole, I have enjoyed developing this site. It has been fun.

The main reason was to expand my web development skills in a number of areas: PHP, Javascript, SQLite, online application development, web site administration and to be able to present Gorrion as a demonstration of my capabilities.

I was also a bit unhappy with the style, behaviour and format of a number of the online sites and decided I would like to have a go at writing one myself, one that was simple and that was not overloaded with functionality or media content.

How do you finance Gorrion ?

There are no advertisements and no fees. Gorrion is a free service, financed by myself and by voluntary donations from my users. I ask that you consider making a donation if you have found this site useful.

Which games are supported ?

Currently Chess, Go, Havannah, Hex, Onyx, Othello / Reversi, Pente, Unlur and Y. These games are some of my favourites. I would also like to add Connect6 and Margo. Please let me know if there is a particular game that you would like to see included.

How does Gorrion differ from other online board game sites ?

It gives particular opportunity for players to engage in conversation with their opponents. I believe that social interaction is a vital part of game playing and that all conversations should be public.

You will be able to examine the game statistics for all users to identify a suitable opponent. All users get a rating for each of the supported games, plus an average rating over all the games.

All games are accessible to all users. You will be able to run through the moves of a game and review its progress. Additionally, games are available as an SGF download ( PGN for Chess ). I hope you will use this to get better in your games.

It also makes available some games ( Havannah, Onyx, Unlur, Y ) that deserve to be better known.

Computer requirements, setup ?

You need to have Javascript enabled. Otherwise this web site will not function properly and you will not be able to log on. Data cookies are also used. Some older web browsers will not be able to display the transparent images that are needed for some of the games. Also, some older web browsers have odd Javascript behaviour. The following browsers were found to be okay:

  • Chrome 49.0
  • Firefox 21.0
  • Internet Explorer 8.0
  • Opera 9.64

Browsers on mobile devices should be okay.

How do I start a game ?

Log in and go to the 'Waiting Room' and 'accept' any game that needs an opponent.

Alternatively, use the 'New Game' menu to start a new game. You will be able to challenge an opponent directly or place an invitation in the waiting room. To challenge a user give their user name, otherwise your game will be an open invitation.

You will always be able to delete any of your 'waiting' invitations or decline an acceptance to one from a user.

Gorrion doesn't support handicap games for Go. A handicap only has meaning if there is a difference in rank between you and your opponent. If you do want to play a handicap game then you and your opponent will have to agree for one of you to pass the necessary number of moves at the start of the game.

How do I make a move ?

'View' a game in which it is your move. Click on a node in the board grid. A "Submit Move" link will display in the actions rectangle. You may click additional nodes to simulate a possible line of play. Once you have decided that your original choice is correct hit the "Submit Move" link.

You will be prompted for a comment ( if you wish ) to send to your opponent. Please note that any comments you send will remain with the move and will always be displayed on the game page. It will be included in any SGF download that any user might request. Please do not include personal information or anything you would not wish to be made public.

You may also view the board position for any previous move. Hit the move in the moves list rectangle to display the move position. Additionally, hit the 'next', 'prev' links under the board grid to run through the moves of the game.

For games of Othello / Reversi Gorrion will automatically make a move for you or your opponent if either of you has only one valid move.

How do games of Go end ?

Gorrion cannot score games of Go automatically. One player will need to resign or else both players will need to agree a draw. Both players will need to interpret the rules, count territory, adjust for komi and come to a decision.

The clocks for both players will stop once two consecutive passes have been made.

If a player refuses to resign or if there is a dispute contact me and I will arbitrate. I also reserve the right to settle a game after two consecutive passes have been made and if it appears to have been abandoned or forgotten due to non agreement or if the losing player appears not to want to resign.

A player may offer a draw any time and their opponent may agree a draw any time. You need not wait until it is your move. If it is your move an offer of a draw will not stop your clock. An offer will expire once the next move is made.

How do games of Y end ?

Currently, one of the players will need to resign.

Will my games remain on this site forever ?

I will endeavour to keep games for as long as possible. However it may be necessary to remove games to prevent the database becoming overloaded with too much data. Games will be removed according to age and number of moves played. Games that have lasted to the very end will remain longer than those that have been abandoned early.

Why are conversations not private ?

Because I would like users to treat this site as an online forum where ideas, comments, suggestions and intelligent conversations are all made freely available. I would very much like to encourage this. But, once again, please do not include personal information or anything you would not wish to be made public. This is a recent site and there is no functionality ( yet ) for users to edit a past comment.

If you do object to anything that your opponent has written then contact me ( by eMail, not via the Forum ) and I will delete their comment.

If you wish to send a private message to another user then you may do so using the 'Send Message' feature. The user will receive your message via eMail.

How do I decline a challenge from another user ?

'View' the game and hit 'decline' in the actions rectangle. It will not count as a loss to you. The other player will be notified that you have declined to play. The 'decline' option will show on games when you have not yet made your first move.

If you do not wish to receive direct challenges from other users then uncheck the 'permit direct challenges' option in your 'User Details' information page.

What is the time control ?

Players are allowed a number of days to make their moves. Their 'time' is increased by a number of days for each move they make and starts to run down once their opponent has made their move. The default allowance is 56 days with an additional 1 day per move.

Currently there is no holiday timeout or night downtime built into the system.

In games of Go the clocks will stop once two consecutive passes have been made, but will restart if a player then chooses to continue with a move.

How will I be notified ?

An eMail will be sent to inform you when your opponent has made his move. If you do not wish to receive these emails then check 'Do not eMail' in your 'User Details' information page. Notifications of challenges, swaps, passes, results, offers of a draw will still be sent.

You will also receive a reminder if you have not moved in your game after approximately 7 days. 'Reminder' emails may not always be regular. If you do not wish to receive these reminders then uncheck 'Send Reminder' in your 'User Details' information page. Reminders will not be sent in games of Go if two consecutive passes have been made.

Also, when you are in the 'Your Games' page the number of games waiting for you is shown in the browser tab for the page. This is periodically updated and the page will automatically refresh when there is a change. If you are waiting on a game you get a visual prompt without having to manually reload the page.

There may also be occasions when I will send a broadcast eMail to all users to inform them of any important events ( maintenance downtime, changes ) relevant to the site.

What is the rating system ?

Players who have played 12 or more games will have a rating that is determined by the ELO system as described at [ http://senseis.xmp.net/?EGFRatingSystem ].

Players who have played less than 12 games will have a provisional rating, a quantity averaged over the games played and based on the ratings of their opponents and on the results of the games.

Go games of 9x9 and 13x13 count less towards a player's rating advancement than a full 19x19 game.

Go kyu / dan ranks are related to ELO approximately by the following table. 100 ELO points equate to one step in rank.

    ELO Rating         Go Rank    
27007 dan
26006 dan
25005 dan
24004 dan
23003 dan
22002 dan
21001 dan
20001 kyu
19002 kyu
18003 kyu
17004 kyu
16005 kyu
15006 kyu
14007 kyu
13008 kyu
12009 kyu
110010 kyu

You also get a global site rating which is the weighted average of all your game type ratings.

Login and security

The default behaviour is that there is no timeout of your login session. You will be logged in for the entire duration of your browser session. Also, login will be automatic whenever you restart your browser software. To enable this Gorrion needs to store a data cookie on your device. If someone manages to get hold of this cookie then they could impersonate you. If you are unwilling to accept the security risk you may opt to set the 'login timeout' option in your User Details information page and your login will timeout after 850 seconds of inactivity.

In all cases, if you are using a public device please exit using the 'Log Out' menu.

Be aware also of potential difficulties if you attempt to log in as the same user simultaneously on two different devices. One of the sessions will become logged out.

Also you will not be able to log on simultaneously as two different users within the same browser session.

Who are the users nobody / somebody ?

These are users for the demonstration games that were pre-loaded into the Gorrion database. You will not be able to challenge these users.

Will there be further developments ?

I do have plans for development of this site. I would like to add other games and also to have some sort of ladder or tournament system. However, I first need to monitor how the initial offering is performing.

Will there be a version for use on mobile devices ?

No app just yet. However Gorrion detects whether you are using a smartphone and will format the content to display better on the device. If Gorrion thinks you are using an iPad or tablet then you will have the option to display the content in smartphone or desktop format.

If the format on your particular device looks wrong then contact me and I will see what amendments I can make.

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