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 > >   Not only does the 0 case run as fast as the 1 case, but it runs a bit
 > > faster overall as there's only two loops doing work, not three.
 > >
 > Because you are only seeing it as it runs on the initial startup, beginning
 > with an empty table. Egor stated that, "It clears the cells which may
 > contain "black" or "white" pieces from the previous game." In other words,
 > this function will be run after *every* game, and after a game has been
 > played, pieces may be in random positions, and the middle of the board
 > needs to be explicitly set to nil to remove those pieces. 

Perhaps not germane to the discussion, but why wouldn't you simply
allocate a fresh table?  Then there is only one code to get right:
the creation of a fresh game state.  Why try to reuse an old one?