Black Retro „Duals“
by Günther Weeth, Stuttgart
Even after more than a century of the composition of retro problems we are confronted with a certain problem, strange as it might appear to most of us. It shows off when it comes to the evaluation of defensive retractors.
Some retro experts strictly representing no other style than the classical orthodox one, thus being exclusively committed with the aesthetic demands of help retro play sometimes seem to be mistaken when it comes to evaluate defensive retractors. Every now and then you may come across their verdict on black retro moves obviously being ambiguous. Here an example: retro wKc4-c3, bPb7-b5+/bPb6-b5+. A similar move is made in a top class defensive retractor once composed by no less an author than Wolfgang Dittmann, and – according to his report – that move was clearly reprimanded by the judge. Small wonder, – it appears to be an automatic reflex when such an expert is alarmed: “But this is a dual; it lowers the value of the problem….”
How to explain such a reaction?
Orthodox specialists in the field of retro art with their inborn love of classical retroanalysis are accustomed to demand a series of absolutely dual-free moves on either side in the exact shortest proof game as well as in such release problems where a certain number of initial dual-free moves are required (last n moves?). In any such case we deal with help play. And as in forward help play, here any non-uniqueness is to be considered as a dual or a cook.
But in any defensive retractor, no matter whether orthodox or fairy, the situation is entirely different from the above mentioned one. If a black reply to a white retro move is not meant to lead to variants in the white retro play to continue, i.e. if the kind of that black single move does in no way differentiate the series of moves to follow, that black single move does not at all need to be unambiguous. Such a move simply has got to be legal. This is the very same situation as in forward direct mates or studies.
In order to make my point clear let me quote one sample composed by the acknowledged master of the defensive retractor and chosen from the mass of retractors with the same alleged “duals”. Beside its actual thematic intention, the problem quite obviously shows arbitrary black retro moves as we are wont to recognize them in direct forward play where they are marked as “any” in the quotation of the solution.
Die Schwalbe 1979
-4 & #1 Proca retractor (10+6)
1.f5:e6 e.p., e7-e5 2.Bg8:Rh7! Rh8:P(S,B,R,Q)h7+ 3.Re5-b5! Kb5-a6 (or Kb5:S/Ra6) 4.Bd5-g8+ – fw.1.L:b7#. (not 2.Bg8:P(Q,B,S)h7??) Here we see no less than two weighty alleged „duals“. The significance of the 2nd arbitrary move is just given by the observation of the law of legality in abolishing the white self-check.
The purpose of these lines would be fulfilled if they helped to do away with the reproach of such alleged „duals“ once forever. All friends of retro art are invited to comment on the issue of this article which does not at all refer to matters of subjective taste but rather deals with the fundamental need of preserving all experts’ unanimity in utilizing the same parameters of judgement in tourneys of the future.