Do You know the Marine pieces?
(Part III – Scylla, Charybdis)
IGM Petko Petkov
The third part of my article about Marine pieces relates to two other (non-classical?) pieces that are also little known in practice: The Marine MAO – SKYLLA or SCYLLA (SK in Popeye, SC in WinChloe) and the Marine MOA – CHARYBDIS (CY in Popeye, CH in WinChloe). Problems with these pieces can be checked with both programs: Popeye and WinChloe.
The Scylla is a Marine Mao.
Definition: The Scylla moves as a normal Knight provided the destination square is vacant; to capture it takes an enemy unit on the intervening orthogonal square. If this square is occupied by a friendly unit then the Scylla is obstructed.
In Scheme N38 the white SKe4 can play as an ordinary MAO: 1. SKc3 and 1.SKc5 (without mate of course). According to the definition, here it is possible to realize 4 captures with the wSK, but only two of them are mates: 1. SKxf4-g5#! and 1. SKxe3-f2#! with line-openings for the white B and R. Also possible are the captures 1.SKxe3-d2 and 1.SKxf4-g3 but they are not mates.
In N39 we cannot immediately use the white battery created by the SKf2 and TRf1: 1.SKh1+? is not mate because of 1….Kxe2! (in the initial setting this move is illegal because of self-check!). Therefore we should begin with 1.TRxb3-b2! with a threat of 2.SKh1#. The black thematic defenses are very nice: 1…Rxg4! – now 2.SKh1+? doesn’t work because the unpin of the Rg4 allows Rf4!, closing the battery line of the TRf1! But because of the pin on g4 we can mate with 2.Sg5#!
Analogically: 1…Rxe4! 2. Se5#!; 1….Qxe4! 2.Ra3#!; 1…Sxg4! 2.Rf6#! The white battery P/SK plays after 1…Qb8 2.e5#!
N40 shows an important characteristic effect of the Skylla, which of course is also inherent in many other pieces of the “Locust-type”. Look at the starting position: here, after the capturing move 1…Kxa6 the king cannot return to the square b5, because of check from the wSKc5!
You can use these effects in many other genres and also – in #3 or moremovers. This matter is almost unknown and holds many pleasant secrets.
The Charybdis is a Marine Moa.
Definition: The Charybdis moves as a normal Knight provided the destination square is vacant; to capture it takes an enemy unit on the intervening diagonal square. If this square is occupied by a friendly unit then the Charybdis is obstructed.
The play here is of a similar type as with the Skylla. There is also an analogy with the building of different mechanisms.
A simple, but important for practical patterns, mechanism is demonstrated in N41: the idea is to open a line for the white Queen. The solution is: 1.Ke7! threatening 2.Qd3#! – pay attention that the square “d3″ is guarded by the CYc4 and it is impossible to play 2…Kxd3?? (Self-check). Variations: 1…Ke2 2.Qd2#! (The square d2 is guarded by the CYc3) and 1…Ke4 2.Qd4#! (The square d4 is guarded again by the CYc3).
There are two interesting tries: 1. Kc8? (2.Qd3#) but 1…CYb7!! and the wQd8 is pinned by the CYb7! Analogically: 1.Ke8? (2.Qd3#) but 1…CYf7!!
It is also possible to try 1.Kxc6? (2.Qd3#) – now the wKing is not under check from the CYa5 of course, but this piece can give check, playing 1…CYb7+! (this check is possible because the square c5 is free). Analogically: 1.Kc7? CYb6+!
A multiple realization of the Annihilation theme is seen in N42: 1.CYe6 2.CYd4 3.CYxc3-c2 4.CYxb3-b4 5.CYc2 6.CYxd3-d4 7.CYxe3-e2 8.CYxf3-f4 9.CYg2 10.CYxh3-h4 11.CYf3 12.CYg5 Rh3#.
N43 shows play of the duet Scylla/Charybdis which create an interesting reciprocal double battery, combined with Annihilation captures of the black Queen: a) 1.Qxd5 Rb3 2.Qxd4 CYxd4-d5#; b) 1.Qxd4 d6 2.Qxe5 SKxe5-d4#. Such batteries can also be constructed with SK/SK or CY/CY.
Probably it is not very easy to compose a good problem with only one Marine piece or with several such pieces but of only one Marine type. Therefore, the main creative question here is how many and what kinds of Marine pieces to use if you have 8 types of Marine pieces: Siren, Triton, Nereid, Poseidon, Marine Knight, Marine Pawn, Scylla and Charybdis (these pieces can all be tested with both programs WinChloe and Popeye)?
With this material you can build thousands of interesting mechanisms, of course using also all other orthodox pieces. But participating in a “Marine pieces” TT you should underline to the highest degree the specificity of these pieces. In this respect I recommend you to pay utmost attention to the following points:
- Battery-play, creation of batteries (direct or indirect) and destruction of batteries with a Marine accent!
- Double (reciprocal) batteries are a very fruitful idea here – you can realize it also with neutral and half-neutral pieces.
- Another interesting and specific thematic accent is to have play that is connected to the large group of themes and ideas demonstrating Annihilation in passive and active form.
- Also interesting are the different blocks and unblocks of squares that are “Locust’s squares”. This way it is possible to activate or deactivate a Marine piece, for example by the black piece which executes thematic functions.
- Promotions into Marine pieces are a good but rather difficult theme if we speak about problems of a high class type. This area has not been studied, and there are no good problems of this type.
- If we speak about genres where you will work, it is necessary to note the following:Pay attention to work with neutral or half-neutral Marine pieces. This material is almost forgotten in contemporary problems of this type. By the by, in this field are also possible many paradoxical stalemate and double-stalemate finals created with marine pieces! For example : black Kd3, neutral Sirens on c3 and e3. On the one hand, this mechanism demonstrates a double neutral Siren/Siren battery; on the other hand, this final demonstrates a stalemate for Black if there are no other black or neutral pieces on the board!! Many analogical examples are also possible with half-neutral pieces.
- In current practice problems of direct type prevail – mainly twomovers and helpmates. In two movers we see a lot of problems where so called “Alphabetical themes” are presented. In helpmates (mainly in 2 moves) battery play dominates.
- For now there are few problems of genres H=, H= =, Series movers. Interesting, for example, would be to try realization in Pser – genre!
- HS# ( HS=, HS = = ) are a very good and modern arena for your future work with Marines – in this respect it is possible to find in contemporary databases some very interesting problems from Mario Parrinello!
- Pay attention to work with neutral or half-neutral Marine pieces. This material is almost forgotten in contemporary problems of this type. By the by, in this field are also possible many paradoxical stalemate and double-stalemate finals created with marine pieces! For example : black Kd3, neutral Sirens on c3 and e3. On the one hand, this mechanism demonstrates a double neutral Siren/Siren battery; on the other hand, this final demonstrates a stalemate for Black if there are no other black or neutral pieces on the board!! Many analogical examples are also possible with half-neutral pieces.
The use of Marine pieces in problems with additional fairy conditions would be a much larger subject!
See also Part I and Part II of the article
(March – May’ 2013)
Marine Mao and Marine Moa are nice and easy names. Unfortunately some cryptic names have been given to these interesting pieces.
Thanks Petkov for these nice articles. Problem No.41 is a nice problem with a good key !
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@ Seetharaman: Scylla and Charybdis are mythical sea monsters from Greek mythology.
So quite appropriate names to accompany Poseidon and his tribe. At least that’s what I thought when inventing them.
Thanks Torsten for your thought behind the name. Nice to know that you are the inventor Scylla and Charybdis. Congrats.
I now understand the connection with the Ocean and legends for the names of these pieces… just as Poseidon, Triton Siren etc. are connected.
Still my personal feeling is that Marine Mao, Marine Moa are easier to grasp and remember. Actually the other pieces could also have been named similarly Marine Queen, rook, bishop etc.
However, the names do sound nice and exotic just as the pieces are !!
Torsten, congratulations for being the inventor of Scylla and Charybdis! I’m fond of Greek and Latin mytology which I studied when I was a student.