No.226 (JV)

Julia Vysotska


Original Problems, Julia’s Fairies – 2013 (I): January – April

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No.226 – h#2,5 by Julia Vysotska – Neutral battery, Chameleons, critical moves… The problem seems to be light and thematic. (JV)


Nightrider(N): A Rider along a straight line on squares lying a Knight`s move away from each other.

Chameleon: On completing a move, a Chameleon (from classical standard type) changes into another piece, in the sequence Q-S-B-R-Q…  Promotion may be to a chameleon at any stage in the cycle.

No.226 Julia Vysotska
h#2,5           2 solutions           (1+7+2)
Nightrider b8
Chameleon Rg1
Solutions: (click to show/hide)

26 Responses to No.226 (JV)

  1. Dmitri TurevskiDmitri Turevski says:

    It looks like this scheme may work without neutral pieces, e.g.:
    h#2.5; 2.1…; f7: Chameleon Pawn, b8: Nightrider
    1…cPf7-f8=cS 2.Qg1-g6 cSf8*d7=cB 3.Sf6-g4 cBd7-f5=cR #
    1…cPf7-f8=cR 2.Qg1-g5 cRf8*f6=cQ 3.Bd7-g4 cQf6-f4=cS #

    • JuliaJulia says:

      Yes, it works. Hm.. I had a bit different look at it – I was going to show that Chameleon piece is one of the cases, when it is possible to use a neutral battery, as after transformation the neutral Chameleon can’t come back to the battery line.
      In your scheme you insist on promotion into Chameleon, using Chameleon pawn, but it is not really needed here, right?

      Another question is a usage of Chameleon pawn. Yet in summer I was told by Petko Petkov that such piece doesn’t exist really and shouldn’t be used. The weird thing then is that it is programmed and it works. Still, I’d listen to the inventor of Chameleon piece. That’s why I haven’t used Chameleon pawn in my neutral version, but had to make some other piece to be a Chameleon to allow the promotion.

      • Seetharamanseetharaman says:

        The trouble with using Chameleon pawn is not that it “doea not exist now” (We can always invent it !!), but a defining a pawn as chameleon is counter-intuitive. Chameleon men, change after each move and this transformation wont happen in the case of chameleon pawns (except after it promotes). So, you are right Julia.

      • Dmitri TurevskiDmitri Turevski says:

        >after transformation the neutral Chameleon can’t come back to the battery line.
        This is indeed interesting effect. However the rear piece still doesn’t need to be neutral to show this (nor doublecheck is necessary, for that matter). It’s a pity this effect is a bit impure in the 1…f8=ncS solution:
        1…f8=nR? (not chameleon) 2.cRg6=cQ nRxf6 3.Bg4 nRf5++ failes to thematic switchback 4.nRf5-f6! so only 1…f8=ncR! solves
        And there’s no matching try
        1…f8=nS? as there’s a complex motive in promoting to chameleon piece here.

        As about chameleon pawn, perhaps it can be argued if the given name fits this piece best, but how the piece itself is more illogical, counter-intuitive or anti-aesthetic compared to any other fairy piece (in such a scale, that its use should be totally avoided) is still not clear for me.

        Frankly, given that chameleon is not a property that you can assign to any piece, but rather four separate fairy pieces (cQ, cR, cB, cS), i find it more counter-intuitive that pawn can promote to cS when there’s no cS on the board.

        • Seetharamanseetharaman says:

          You have a valid point that having used a chameleon piece/promotion it would have been better to avoid double check.
          My issue with chameleon pawn is that as a pawn it has no chameleon effects!

    • Seetharamanseetharaman says:

      Popeye does not allow “Chameleon” attribute to pawns.

      • JuliaJulia says:

        Why? It does allow! Popeye input for my problem in case of adding Chameleon to the pawn would look:
        Stipulation h#2.5
        White Ka2
        Black Kh5 Rg1 Bd7 Sf6 Pb6 Ph6 Ph4
        Neutral Nb8
        Neutral Chameleon Pf7
        (a black Rook g1 is not chameleon here) and it gives the same solution.
        I’ve checked it with Py4.61 and Py4.59.
        But it doesn’t matter if Chameleon pawn logically (and aesthetically) shouldn’t be used.

  2. Manfred Rittirsch says:

    Note that the ‘Chameleon’ property MEANS in fact something totally different when it is attributed to a pawn! It does NOT indicate that the pawn will change to something else after each move, but it limits its promotion range to chameleon pieces only. With that, it is nothing more than a crutch that may help to avoid cooks by orthodox promotions. Because of that forced resctriction of choice it should be obvious why it does not go well with promotion themes: it butchers (or at least dilutes) the point! Unfortunately promotions are the only occasions to show the difference here. So I agree with Petko that using a chameleon pawn can’t be recommended at all.

    • Dmitri TurevskiDmitri Turevski says:

      Isn’t Maximummer basically the very same crutch to deal with undesired moves? Should the Maximummer be avoided for the same reason?

      >it is nothing more than a crutch
      It is little more: it may be quite economical way to make sure chameleon promotions are possible at all. In pursue of avoiding chameleon pawn Julia had to make the black rook chameleon (unthematically) – isn’t that a crutch?

      I do agree that neutral chameleon pawn f7 butchers out thematic(!) try 1…f8=nR? But what is so special in, say, 1…f8=nB so it should be treasured?

      • I’d say that “it depends” too, no strict rule can be set in my opinion, at most soft rule requiring consideration.

        Often, limiting conditions (or other fairy elements) are used only to avoid cooks and also I have done it a few times.

        But they can usually be used in a positive way with some deeper thinking. I have no specific example for chameleon pawn, but for Maximummer there are many good examples.

        E.g. h#6 Maximummer by Klaus Wenda or my h#3 White Maximummer.

      • Manfred Rittirsch says:

        > Isn’t Maximummer basically the very same crutch to deal with undesired moves? Should the Maximummer be avoided for the same reason?
        Yes. it should (as well as other restricting conditions like ABC etc.), if it’s ONLY a crutch to show otherwise orthodox ideas. However, I didn’t use the word ‘must’ for a reason. 1st, we are talking about opinions and taste, and 2nd, even in my humble eyes it always depends on the individual case, e.g. a perfect economy of material can be a valuable achievement and a considerable statement, too.

        > [Chameleon pawn] … is little more: it may be quite economical way to make sure chameleon promotions are possible at all.
        You are right, but you should never miss to consider what will be left to think about whatever way you choose to allow Chameleon promotions – as you did:

        > I do agree that neutral chameleon pawn f7 butchers out thematic(!) try 1.f8=nR?
        That’s already enough for me to prefer the standard pawn. I agree that it would be perfect to have an analogous try 1.f8=nS? with a double check involving that promoted piece and refuted by the nS’s return to the battery line.

        > But what is so special in, say, 1.f8=nB so it should be treasured?
        Well, nothing. The same would apply to 1.f8=nChB?. Of course, only pieces in reach of the half pin are of any interest here.

        • Dmitri TurevskiDmitri Turevski says:

          Exactly. So it is not chameleon pawn per se should be avoided bar rather ill use of it?

          As shown by Juraj, there’s no doubt Maximummer can be put to good thematic use. I wonder if cP can be as well? It is a matter of some creative research, of course, but should such a research be discouraged?

          • Manfred Rittirsch says:

            Didn’t mean to discourage anybody! In fact I would be extremly happy if some fruitful research would discover a great cP-Problem. I could imagine a few possibilities based on the fact that any restriction may as well be implemented as a burden. If the aim would be easy to achieve with standard promotions, but requires big efforts due to the Chameleon property, and if exactly that observation would absorb the solver’s mind, we would already face a typical problem challenge.

            • Dmitri TurevskiDmitri Turevski says:

              Sorry, i must have misinterpreted your initial comment in a way that you recommend to forget cP like it never existed.

              Perhaps, the cP may play a clear thematic role in a simple locigal moremover, where white foreplan results in replacement of the black orthodox pawn by a weaker chameleon pawn?

              • Manfred Rittirsch says:

                Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough before!
                Your logical idea sounds good, but a replacement of the pawn won’t be as easy as in no. 7 of this article. Maybe a “Beugung” (or a Hamburger?) would be handier.

                • Dmitri TurevskiDmitri Turevski says:

                  “Beugung” is exactly the term i failed to remember yesterday! I have even made up a rude ugly #6 scheme, but it is really nothing worth showing.

                  The problem you quote is a true masterpiece to my personal taste, one of those ideas you never forget. Thank you for showing it!

                  • Manfred Rittirsch says:

                    Thank you for appreciating it!
                    I tried to find a scheme for a cP myself and discovered a Dresdner idea in 4 moves but it seems to be much harder than expected to get it sound.

  3. JuliaJulia says:

    I have nothing more to add about Chameleon pawn after Mr.Rittirsch. I fully agree.
    But about “having used a chameleon piece/promotion it would have been better to avoid double check” (by Seetharaman): In my scheme double check is needed. Of course, Chameleons can be used differently, and not only neutral, and not only with double-check etc.. – but it would be another problem. Or what was meant?

    About my scheme, an interesting version could be a board rotated on 180 degrees, promotion on the black’s move, and in that case some move of a white (neutral) piece instead of black (Rg1). If the white would be some Chameleon piece with a thematic move – it would be perfect, I believe. But it is complicated (if possible at all). At least, I had too many cooks in my tries, and also I didn’t have some good idea for the white move.

    • Manfred Rittirsch says:

      I can see Seetharaman’s point: If there was no double check at all, the battery front piece would just have to hide away and we would already have a valid reason for avoiding the corresponding orthodox promotions in both solutions. This would imply a white rear piece, however.
      The twinning by rotation sounds like a very good idea to take additional benefit from the pawn’s neutral property and attracted my attention.

  4. Nikola Predrag says:

    Julia has well proved her abilities and imagination so I’m afraid that too much courtesy might only make harm to her development.

    There is a halfpin of black pieces in the beginning. One of them makes a selfblock and the other remains pinned, but only visually – the pin is neither utilized nor the unpin occurs. Instead, the strategy is a creation of a direct battery by the banal and brutal capture, “enriched” with the simple selfblocks. Selfblocks by completely artificial chameleon piece (bcR) are multiply non-economical.

    Well, that is my view, I wouldn’t be satisfied with that when the halfpin offers more complex transformations. For example:

    halfpin->selfpin->unpin (by forming a direct masked battery)->opening of the battery line->battery mate

    Just few examples to work on:
    Stipulation H#3
    Black chameleon Bd7
    White Ke1
    Black Ph7 Pb6 Sf6 Ph6 Kh5 Ph4
    Neutral Nb8 Pf7

    1.Se4 nPf8=ncR 2.Sg5 ncRf6=ncQ 3.cBg4=cR ncQf4=ncS#
    1.cBg4=cR nPf8=ncS 2.cRg6=cQ ncSd7=ncB 3.Sg4 ncBb5=ncR#

    Stipulation H#3
    Black chameleon Qd7
    White Kf1
    Black Pb7 Sf6 Ph6 Kh5 Ph4
    Neutral Nb8 Pf7
    Twin Move f1 c5

    a) 1.cQe7=cS nPf8=ncS 2.cSg6=cB ncSd7=ncB 3.Sf6-g4 ncBb5=ncR#
    b) 1.Sh7 nPf8=ncR 2.Sg5 ncRf6=ncQ 3.cQg4=cS ncQf4=ncS#

    Stipulation H#3
    Black chameleon Bb6
    Black chameleon Rc6
    White Pc4 Kh3
    Black Kd6 Se5
    Neutral Pa7 Ra6
    Twin Move c4 b4

    a) 1.cRc7=cQ nPa8=ncQ 2.cQd7=cS ncQc6=ncS 3.cBc7=cR ncSb4=ncB#
    b) 1.cBc7=cR nPa8=ncS 2.cRe7=cQ ncSb6=ncB 3.cRc7=cQ ncBd4=ncR#
    (or orthodox bBb6&bRc6 and ncPa7)

  5. Bartel Erich says:

  6. Bartel Erich says:


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