1078: "Knights"

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Grishnakh
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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby Grishnakh » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:36 am UTC

This reminds me of a scene from Terry Pratchett's Interesting Times
Spoiler:
Where one guy is trying to teach a Barbarian of the Silver Horde to play chess, but the Barbarian's tactic is to rush all his pieces forward simultaneously and then set his opponents pieces on fire.

AdrianChallinor
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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby AdrianChallinor » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:42 am UTC

For an Englishman, this is hilarious. One if the funniest that XKCD comics in recent times.

For the rest of you, the English Army of Henry IV was forced in to battle by the French. This was part of the 100 year war and a long time before Europe had found the lands formerly known as English/Spanish colonies to the west, in 1415.

The battle was supposed to be one sided: The French heavily out numbered the English, with many more knights, who were the heavy armour of the period. The English positioned themselves at the top of a gentle rise in the French countryside, not far from Bolougne. The French thought they were trapped.

The night before the battle it rained hard, turning the once gentle slope in to a quagmire. As the French knights charged the English lines, they became bogged down in mud. The English has a secret weapon: the Longbow. As it says, a much bigger bow than normal that could fire an arrow fitted with a heavy metal arrow head. The use of this bow took many months to perfect and required great strength. The power of the bow is that if pointed up, the arrow went very high and on its decent could generate enough energy to penetrate the French knights armour.

The knights fell, creating a mobile blockade for the next line of knights and a blood bath ensured. The English won a battle that they never should have won on paper.

Incidentally, it is also where the two-fingured salute comes from: The English archers waved two fingers at the French to show that they had both fingers needed to flight an arrow. The French, on capturing an Englishman, would cut off the forefinger and second finger of the right hand to prevent them being an archer.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby hordriss » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:43 am UTC

At Crécy, the English were not as badly outnumbered as at Agincourt. The French army was badly organised, and the English army far more disciplined and prepared.
Agincourt is considered a greater victory because of the heavy disadvantages which the English faced. It was only by choosing a long and narrow battlefield, and engaging the vast number of French and Italian mercenary knights with bodkin headed arrows, that the English managed to win.
The aftermath of this battle saw a heavy political shift in France; in the past, noblemen were ransomed in return for money, land, and privileges. Agincourt saw the death of so many of the French nobility that it led to small scale power struggles within France, hindering them from resisting further political moves made by the English. Even though the English were eventually driven back, the political landscape had been fundamentally changed.
Imagine if half of America's governers and congressmen were killed in one day.

I laughed when I saw this one.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby Scars Unseen » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:45 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
Fire Brns wrote:Besides the historical context of the joke it's funny because he ignores classical chess rules and replaces pawns with archers.

If people could customize their chessboard I think the game would be popular with more people and teach better strategy.


What, exactly, is stopping people from customizing chess boards?


Nothing.
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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:55 am UTC

I'm not sure why, but it reminded me of this. The game that taught me how to play chess:

Image
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSnAiXKU7h8

The idea of chess pieces actually fighting has been something I have enjoyed ever since,

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby blowfishhootie » Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:03 am UTC

Netreker0 wrote:
Gye wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:
Fire Brns wrote:Besides the historical context of the joke it's funny because he ignores classical chess rules and replaces pawns with archers.

If people could customize their chessboard I think the game would be popular with more people and teach better strategy.

What, exactly, is stopping people from customizing chess boards?
Not everyone has been stopped.


I think that FireBrns' comment was referring to each player being able to customize the types and positions of his own pieces and to fight it out within the same game. I think it would be interesting to have a game where the rules were something like "You get a king and any combination of pieces worth 39 points total" or something like that.

These variants are pretty fun, but I don't think they really add a strategic dimension in the same way, unless you count "hey, let's play connect 4 instead because I'm better at that" as a strategy.


There is still nothing stopping people from doing that. He said the game would be more popular if people can do that. Well, people can. People can go buy a chessboard and chess set and do whatever the hell they want with it.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby Kanonfutter » Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:04 am UTC

I am not historian either, but done research on medieval archery for my high school teaching. If I remember the sources correctly, an arrow would pierce maille, but would be rather useless against plates. It can only penetrate if shot at right angles and short ranges. However, with the volume of arrows fired, horses would be likely to be hit in unarmored places, as well as any Frenchman not completely covered in armor.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby joniSCF » Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:20 am UTC

actually, there is an agincourt defense in chess. this is the first recorded game where it has been played: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1001209

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby leeharveyosmond » Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:27 am UTC

... and one might think, looking at the cartoon, what with where the arrows have fallen and wuth the black archer-pawns standing in a row, that bows were fought like 18th century muskets: form a line, pick a target in their line, and blaze away.

Not so. Much closer to modern mortar fire or indirect long-range machine gun fire. The beaten zone shall be in that direction at such-and-such a range, everybody shoots up in the air together so that a storm of arrows drops together, and you should try to not be where the arrows land.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby Indy » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:06 am UTC

I can't believe today's comic is not about the Higgs boson. Unless it's about the Higgs boson and I've missed the reference through my unparalleled ignorance of chess and martial history.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby Monika » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:33 am UTC

SW15243 wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:Yeah after skimming that Wiki article, this battle was the first to make predominant use of longbowman. But ... so what? If there is something funny, insightful, or otherwise worthwhile about this comic, I'm not seeing it.

Yeah, okay. But then it's not really a 'gambit' is it? It's sort of like the 'bring a gun to a knife fight gambit'. It's not a gambit, it's just good sense.
I also still don't get the title text.

Gambit means a type of chess opening http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambit. Actually this is not a gambit because nothing is sacrificed. But it's just combining a chess term with a real battle term.



Shadowlost wrote:While you guys go off about illegal opening moves... Is the black queen not on the wrong spot?

Masterfool wrote:Not only that, the black pawns have bows!

*giggles uncontrollably*
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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby queueingtheory » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:53 am UTC

AdrianChallinor wrote:Incidentally, it is also where the two-fingured salute comes from: The English archers waved two fingers at the French to show that they had both fingers needed to flight an arrow. The French, on capturing an Englishman, would cut off the forefinger and second finger of the right hand to prevent them being an archer.


Actually there's no evidence for that. No references earlier than the beginning of the 20th century.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby VanI » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:07 am UTC

Antior wrote:What do those arrows in the chess notation mean?

Ah yes. The arrows represent arrows.
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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby BAReFOOt » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:15 am UTC

*fills every free field with a pawn/“archer“*
“Our arrows will blot out the sun!”

*cuts away all but one row of the own half of the field, cuts it in stripes, and attaches them behind the own field*
“Then we will fight in the shade!”

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby BAReFOOt » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:22 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:There is still nothing stopping people from doing that. He said the game would be more popular if people can do that. Well, people can. People can go buy a chessboard and chess set and do whatever the hell they want with it.


Isn’t any tabletop RPG, in essence, a very very modified variant of chess? ^^

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby Scars Unseen » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:34 am UTC

BAReFOOt wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:There is still nothing stopping people from doing that. He said the game would be more popular if people can do that. Well, people can. People can go buy a chessboard and chess set and do whatever the hell they want with it.


Isn’t any tabletop RPG, in essence, a very very modified variant of chess? ^^


Not really. Or at least not in any way that is more meaningful than saying that World War II was a variant of "tag." Like chess, tabletop role playing requires you to think, and it can, but does not necessarily involve moving pieces across a surface. That's about where the similarity ends.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby silverpie » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:47 am UTC

It's not exactly clear when the modern starting position was standardized (the earliest clear reference that has most of the modern rules in place is 1497, which postdates Agincourt), and some older variants do have the kings on the same color. So that part is excusable. (Ne3 is not, though... the knights have always been exactly one square removed from the corner, with the exception of 장기 (janggi), which doesn't look anything like Western chess.)

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:51 am UTC

Scars Unseen wrote:
BAReFOOt wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:There is still nothing stopping people from doing that. He said the game would be more popular if people can do that. Well, people can. People can go buy a chessboard and chess set and do whatever the hell they want with it.


Isn’t any tabletop RPG, in essence, a very very modified variant of chess? ^^


Not really. Or at least not in any way that is more meaningful than saying that World War II was a variant of "tag." Like chess, tabletop role playing requires you to think, and it can, but does not necessarily involve moving pieces across a surface. That's about where the similarity ends.


Actually, most table-top RPGs can be traced back to table-top miniatures wargaming (i.e. predecessors of Warhammer and its ilk), which were given 'role playing' rules by the likes of the Great Gygax.

(see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chainmail_(game))
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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby Wingman4l7 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:21 pm UTC

For those interested in an irreverent yet painstakingly detailed look at the aforementioned battle of Crécy, I'd suggest reading Warren Ellis' graphic novel Crécy. The illustrator, Raulo Cáceres, has got a dense drawing style that just blows me away.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby SerMufasa » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:32 pm UTC

As someone who likes history and chess, I was definitely bemused.

As for this thread, I find it funny that people noticed the notation mistake before the layout mistake.

As for "making chess more popular" ... are you on crack?

Finally ... a video!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GspfcOi1 ... re=related
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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby Dr. Diaphanous » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:40 pm UTC

I challenge you to a pedantry battle!

Shadowlost wrote:While you guys go off about illegal opening moves... Is the black queen not on the wrong spot?


Henry V, the English king, didn't have a queen at that time. In fact, the main outcome of the English victory at Agincourt was that the French king Charles VI was forced to give his daughter's hand in marriage to Henry, thus making him heir to the French throne on Charles' death. (disclaimer: My knowledge comes from the Shakespeare play rather than actual history, but Wikipedia seems to back it up).

Masterfool wrote:Not only that, the black pawns have bows!


There is a bowman in some chess variants!

Ha!

In England, the battle of Agincourt is one of the most famous battles ever, along with Hastings, Waterloo, the Somme, and a few others. Is it widely known in America? How about in France, if we have any French people here?
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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby SerMufasa » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:51 pm UTC

Dr. Diaphanous wrote:In England, the battle of Agincourt is one of the most famous battles ever, along with Hastings, Waterloo, the Somme, and a few others. Is it widely known in America?


Only by those who particularly like/study history. When I was in high school (over 20 years ago ... ugh), I remember having a sidebar in my history textbook about the longbow revolutionizing warfare, but I'm sure most of us wouldn't have remembered that Agincourt was the specific battle (if it was even mentioned).
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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby CloudDog23 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:54 pm UTC

So it has come to this

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby Suralin » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:01 pm UTC

As a military history buff, I found this to be quite amusing. In Chess, your Knights are the most versatile units in the game and your pawns were pretty much relegated to cannon fodder. This reflected much in the battle standards at the time. So in Chess, getting the knights out on the field first is a common starting strategy as their versatility can be great to harass your opponent. The Battle of Agincourt was a battle that saw those very same Knights get slaughtered by the Pawns (after they were equipped with arrows). Three things counted for the major victory for the English - 1) The narrow chokepoint, 2) The Longbowmen, and the biggest one 3) The mud due to the rain that occurred just before the battle.

The chokepoint funneled the knights where the Longbowmen were free to concentrate their volleys. This is bad enough, but the mud not only slowed down the Knights, but once they fell, it was incredibly hard to get back up. And with the other knights behind you, you were either trampled into the mud (and therefore suffocated to death), or died from the volley of arrows. It was a French disaster.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby Biliboy » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:09 pm UTC


In England, the battle of Agincourt is one of the most famous battles ever, along with Hastings, Waterloo, the Somme, and a few others. Is it widely known in America? How about in France, if we have any French people here?


I'm not sure about my fellow Americans, but I'm pretty familiar with it, not only from Shakespeare, but from military history books I've read, and one episode of one of those 'lets compare soldiers shows' on cable tv. I've also always liked archery and it's hard to avoid seeing anything about the English longbow, and it's history.

Also, as soon as I saw this I was reminded of http://comicjk.com/comic.php/213

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby da Doctah » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:11 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
Fire Brns wrote:Besides the historical context of the joke it's funny because he ignores classical chess rules and replaces pawns with archers.

If people could customize their chessboard I think the game would be popular with more people and teach better strategy.


What, exactly, is stopping people from customizing chess boards?
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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby SerMufasa » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:14 pm UTC

Biliboy wrote:
I'm not sure about my fellow Americans, but I'm pretty familiar with it, not only from Shakespeare, but from military history books I've read, and one episode of one of those 'lets compare soldiers shows' on cable tv.


That's a good point; it's possible that general knowledge regarding Agincourt is more advanced in the US now due to TLC and History Channel than it was back in the days of 54 channels.

EDIT: Regarding customizing chess, I can't help but think of the Chess Event in Kara. I got my soloing tactic down cold.
Last edited by SerMufasa on Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:29 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby JudeMorrigan » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:17 pm UTC

I am saddened by the fact that so many people in this thread are apparently unfamiliar with Henry V.

This day is called the Feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day and comes safe home
Will stand a-tiptoe when this day is named
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall see this day and live t' old age
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours
And say, "Tomorrow is Saint Crispian."
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars
And say, "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words —
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester —
Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.
This story shall the good man teach his son,
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered,
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition.
And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's Day.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby FrobozzWizard » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:19 pm UTC

So I got a chuckle out of this, even it is inaccurate both historically and chess-wise.

The historical inaccuracy is that the French started off Agincourt by sending in crossbowmen - who were slaughtered by the longbowmen before they could get into range, and then run down and killed by the French knights.

The chess, though, seems to be along the equivalent of the poker play "Smith and Wesson beats 5 aces". It's fun to play the equivalent of Calvinball sometimes though.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby SerMufasa » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:21 pm UTC

JudeMorrigan wrote:I am saddened by the fact that so many people in this thread are apparently unfamiliar with Henry V.


Henry V is rarely taught in High School English in the US, so unless you are particularly inclined to study Shakespeare or watch Kenneth Branagh films, it's likely to escape your attention.
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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby Aiwendil » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:30 pm UTC

Surely, I thought, I'll be the first to have noticed either a) that the black queen is on the wrong square, b) that it's not actually a 'gambit', in the chess sense, or c) that the alt text has Ne3 when clearly Nf3 was intended.

These boards keep making me realize that I'm just not that special.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby SerMufasa » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:36 pm UTC

Aiwendil wrote: b) that it's not actually a 'gambit', in the chess sense


I've been thinking about this, and it's possible it is a gambit ... on the White side. But the 0-1 at the end of the alt/mouseover/title/whatever-text seems to belie this.
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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby Spectrum » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:47 pm UTC

Unless it's about the Higgs boson and I've missed the reference through my unparalleled ignorance of chess and martial history.


I'm getting a premonition of an XKCD that somehow combines chess, military history, and the Higgs boson.

If it's possible, it will happen here...

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby Spectrum » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:49 pm UTC

But getting back to the subject of customizing chess... There is "chess variants", which seems to focus on changes to the board and playing structure, and there is "fairy chess" (which I learned of from Martin Gardner) which focuses on inventing new pieces and working out their consequences. There seem to be hundreds of variant pieces, and a quick google reveals one called an "archer"...

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby am3930 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:14 pm UTC

So there are seriously people who will look at a comic about an unconventional (illegal) chess strategy and complain about the botched set up?

Why not just assume that the board was set up wrong for the sake of tactics. If the most powerful piece isn't where your enemy expects it to be (in a move by move game where you can easily examine your opponent's army at any time) you can easily gain the element of surprise.

If you're incredibly lucky.
Take me out to the black.
Tell them I ain't comin' back.
Burn the land and boil the sea.
You can't take the-


****, they have.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby SerMufasa » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:16 pm UTC

am3930 wrote:Why not just assume that the board was set up wrong for the sake of tactics. If the most powerful piece isn't where your enemy expects it to be (in a move by move game where you can easily examine your opponent's army at any time) you can easily gain the element of surprise.

If you're incredibly lucky.


But at the cost of several early-game attack angles? I'm not sure if it's worth it.
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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby readin » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:19 pm UTC

mcv wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:Yeah after skimming that Wiki article, this battle was the first to make predominant use of longbowman.

It's not. The Battle of Crecy, the opening battle of the Hundred Years War, was the first to make predominant use of the longbow.


But no one has ever heard of Crecy because Shakespeare didn't write a play about it.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby readin » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:26 pm UTC

Fire Brns wrote:Besides the historical context of the joke it's funny because he ignores classical chess rules and replaces pawns with archers.

If people could customize their chessboard I think the game would be popular with more people and teach better strategy.


Shogi! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shogi_variants)

The Japanese did a lot of customizing of chessboards. Other east Asian countries have a version (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiangqi , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janggi ) of chess too.

Why oh why can't I link to anything??

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby enumerated powers » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:27 pm UTC

Higgs boson already discovered. Decided not to publish.

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Re: 1078: "Knights"

Postby Spoe » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:30 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Forsooth, I did not get this at all. And the arrows do not render correctly in the alt-text in Chrome or IE9. (Works in Firefox though.)


Rendered fine in both (Win 7) for me.


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