(Introduction) Some elements can be included in more than one group. We have chosen the commonly followed classification. Such cases are indicated when they occur. Generally, the rules applying to one element in a group can be applied to another group to create new elements or sub-groups in that group. For example, the rules of the Vertical Cylinder can be applied to particular pieces as an attribute to create “Vertical Cylinder pieces”. The rules of Circe can be applied to specific pieces to create “Circe pieces”. The attributes of certain pieces can be applied to all pieces to create a condition as in “Chameleon Chess”. Certain stipulations can also be interpreted as conditions and vice versa.
(Stipulations) In some cases, a stipulation may have another stipulation as a goal. For example, the HelpSelfmate has Selfmate in 1 as the goal and Help Play as the play.
(Goals) There is some disagreement about whether some goals are actually conditions. An alternate definition considers a goal to be a condition if it results in the rules of the game being changed. If not then it is a valid goal. Typical examples of this anomaly are Series movers and Reflexmates. A series mover changes the rules of “alternating play by both sides”. A Reflexmate adds the Reflex condition. However, due to these two being considered as stipulations for a long time in published sources, literature, the WFCC codex, Solving software, the FIDE Albums and other competitions, it would be difficult to change their classification. We continue to follow the existing practice in these and other similar cases while acknowledging the alternate interpretations.
(Reflexmate) Could also be considered as a Selfmate with the condition “Reflex Chess”.
(Play) In general, all types of play could be considered as consisting of White and Black playing either in opposition or cooperation.
(Series play) Could also be considered as a condition. by stating that one side simply passes while the other side moves.
(Conditions) Using new boards (instead of plane 8×8), new pieces (instead of KQRBSP), cooperation (instead of opposition) and new goals (instead of checkmate) could also be considered as “changes in the rules”. Therefore, usage of new boards, pieces, goals and help play could also be interpreted as using new conditions. A helpmate would have to be called as #n with the condition “cooperation chess”. We will not go down this rabbit hole!
(MAFF) This condition is considered as a goal in WinChloe, though it is shown as a condition in most sources.
A specific criticism of our classification was that we have not defined the different main groups clearly and unambiguously. We feel some amount of ambiguity and exceptions will always be present.
However, we have only built on earlier work:
T.R.Dawson: In Caissa’s Wild Roses in Clusters considers Normal chess as consisting of a playing space, six men with specific freedom of movement, and various limitations on move freedom. These are equivalent to our main groups with stipulations and conditions being considered under a single group called limitations. He further continues by saying that Fairy Chess comprises the study of all such elements, taken in arbitrary groups at will.
A.S.M.Dickins: In A Guide to Fairy Chess (Dover Edition), groups elements into Fairy Pieces(p8), Fairy Boards(p14), Unorthodox Stipulations(p21), and Conditional Problems(p22).
WinChloe: Each problem has to be defined by Stipulation, Aim, Pieces and Conditions. Any new boards supported are covered under Conditions. Our Play and Goal is equivalent to WinChloe’s Stipulation and Aim.
Popeye: Each problem has to be defined by Stipulation, Pieces, and Conditions. Boards other than the 8×8 are not supported.
BCPS Glossary: Has the groups Stipulations(divided into Play, Goals and Other), Pieces and Conditions. Boards are not covered.
We feel our classification of the main groups matches these sources and there is no need for further justification. Still, this matter was discussed in the initial posts on JF and an attempt was made to define these groups. See the comment. We will work on further improving these group definitions. Our first target was to first publish an interface with a reasonably large list of popular elements so that it could be immediately usable.
We do feel that our work is of value, despite the scepticism and disdain expressed.
During our discussions and correspondence,
We have searched for, compiled, catalogued, acknowledged and used a long list of sources on the internet by our other friends covering the same subject.
We discovered gaps in various groups which could be filled by new elements.
We found and corrected mistakes in existing definitions.
We identified and resolved ambiguities in the definitions of some elements.
We came across differences in the software implementations of the same element.
We saw the relationships between seemingly different elements.
We found the same elements existing under different names.
We have contacted various friends for help with some elements and they have generously responded.
We have presented an easy and searchable interface for the user to navigate and explore the various groups, elements and their definitions in three different modes.
In the depressing climate which pervades the world today, our project was a source of friendly interaction and inspiration.
Finally, We have, once again, come to understand and experience what TRD meant when he said: “Fairy Chess sets the heart and mind of all who know it aflame with passionate love of its joy“.
Our above response may not satisfy everybody. But we are here for the long haul and all suggestions for improvement will be considered. Gens Una Sumus.
“One of the benefits of our Classification Project is the opportunity to study some rarely used fairy elements and also fill in gaps in their grouping. One such study resulted in this “mini-article”. More such will follow!” (NSR)
To summarise, our list of Reciprocal types are:
1 Reciprocal (Grazer) Helpmate (Reci-h#). Help Play – #1 & h#1 by B.
2 Reciprocal HelpSelfmate (Reci-hs#). Help Play – #1 & s#1 by W.
3 Reciprocal (Grazer) Selfmate (Reci-s#). Direct Play – #1 & s#1 by W.
4 Reciprocal SemiReflexmate (Reci-½r#). Direct Play – #1 & semi-r#1(h#1) by W.
JF Fairy Terms database (the old JF’s database of fairy elements which is still in use for the definitions of fairy pieces/conditions for the original problems). With the time the FCC should replace the old database fully.
The SEARCH function is added to the Fairy Chess Classification Project!
From the FCCP‘s main page you see:
Our thanks to all the maintainers of these sources. Going forward, we plan to add more elements from all these sources as well as any interesting elements that are freshly invented. We will also add more information to each element like history, popularity, solving program support and example problems. Also planned is a user interface to search and explore the elements. In these dark days, some light and order! We welcome you to join us!
Please post your opinions, suggestions and queries! – The Fairy Chess Classification Project Team
Some interesting information about Chris Tylor, our most active contributor to the Fairy Chess Classification Project: In December 1888, T. Fisher Unwin, the London publishing house, published a 112 page book of poetry called “Chess: A Christmas Masque” by Chris’s Grandfather, Louis Tylor. (Masque: a type of theatre entertainment including poetry, singing, and dancing, performed in England in the 16th and 17th centuries).
The British weekly The Spectator, in its 22-Dec-1888 issue, described the book as “A LITTLE poem, this, but dealing with great mysteries, and one which will commend itself to those who, like Milton’s fallen angels, love to reason of- ” Providence, Fore-knowledge, Will, and Fate, Fixed Fate, Free-will, Fore-knowledge absolute.”
Viktor and Andriy quoted this book as a new addition to their anthology of world chess poetry. And with poetic license, they said Chris’s work in chess problems was a creative link to and a continuation of his Grandfather’s book!
The book has been considered culturally important and has been reprinted recently. A public domain PDF is available here.
Somewhat in the spirit of Lewis Caroll, it starts with a dream by a boy who falls asleep on Christmas eve, before a chess board and sees the chessmen start to move and speak. Here are some excerpts:
A pleasant dream. Me thought the smooth square board
Grew rugged as the chequered field of life;
My chessmen took a human shape and moved,
The White with purpose good, and the Black with ill.
When the play is over, and the match is won,
Times of joyous contest ended, joyous rest begun;
Then the players, foes no longer, only rival friends,
Drink a parting health together; So the evening ends
When the play is over.
Read the full book from the link above, or better still, buy a hard copy online!
Published with a gratitude to the initiator and author of this article, the soul of Fairy Chess Classification Project, Shankar Ram! (JV)
Just a short notice for now: I would like to let you know that Fairy Classification project highly supported by Shankar Ram, Chris Tylor, Maryan Kerhuel is up and running. I was too busy with office work for some months, same as Shankar Ram. But Shankar has got back to activity faster than me, offering to us an updated Concept Map having in background 19 pages of the structured list of Fairy Elements I hope to present you later as well.
We will keep working and I’ll get back to you with some more presentation when ready!
What happens in our Going Forward to Light and Order project? While I haven’t followed the project for about 3 weeks, the team was continuously discovering new highlights and new questions as well. Tonight I couldn’t provide any summary of the current situation, but let me show you some moments jumped into my eyes. Later on the members of the team might comment something more, and of course, all of us would appreciate your comments (and joining to the team as well! 🙂 )
Shankar always makes some nice graphical presentations for us. So, I’d like to share something with you:
“I did a small analysis of the way Leapers evolve into Riders, Hoppers and other related types. This scheme generates 116 different pieces – some of them possibly not yet used and/or named!
Note: the 116 pieces are generated from only the 3 basic leapers: Wazir, Fers and Wazir+Fers(Erlking). Another 63 can be added with the Knight evolving into Nightrider/Rose, N-Hopper, Nao, N-Lion, etc. Adding up to 179 Pieces!”
This is only a “simplest” part of Vlaicu‘s comment given to the scheme:
“1. I have some difficulties in understanding how a (1,2) Hopper can turn direction with 45 or 135 degrees. Maybe not all these angles are possible with all the leapers? 2. For the sake of clarity, I think we should divide the leapers into two categories: those with linear march and those with non-linear march. The non-linear march can be further divided into Double Riders (e.g. Boy-scout, Girl-scout, Quintessence and the 4 types of ZigZag NightRiders recognized by Popeye) or Octogonal Riders (Rose) 3. There are also the double Hoppers – pieces which jump over two pieces – again with linear march and non-linear march (Double Grasshopper). 4. There are also the newly invented movable hurdles – the Bul and Dob pieces, which are similar with the “hurdle colour changers”. So far nobody decided to use an Andernach Bul Grasshopper, but I think that combination should be also possible…”
The ending phrase by Maryan Kerhual on the Homogeneity topic made me smile:
“First remark: do we agree that the chapter Pieces should only answer to the question “how are pieces allowed to perform a move geographically on a normal chessboard”? (the question, is the piece allowed to move is not pertinent). If the answer is yes, the classification of the Jaguar in 2.2.5 of the Fairy Glossary, and of the Bul Grasshopper in 2.3.4 of FG is questionable. Second remark: do we agree that Leapers are pieces that are not blocked by obstacles on their way to a given square, whereas Riders need encountering no obstacles on their way.
In that case Maos and Moas should be classified as Simple Riders (see 2.2.1 of the) and not as Restricted Leapers (see 2.1.3 of FG), an option already admitted in FG.
By the way the Nightrider should have been called Knightrider to be consistent with a unified terminology, but we are not going to modify that poetic name!”
And the same Maryan about the Attributes: “We know about that excellent idea of associating attributes to some pieces, very efficiently in the case of Royal units, Neutral and Half-neutral units , Undefined Pieces, Invisible Pieces, excellent because these characteristics cannot be confounded with conditions.
But the idea could also be applied to conditions, and I see two interesting attributes associated to conditions to begin with: 1) attribute ‘ultra’ ; 2) attribute ‘strict’…. “
Of course, the discussion goes in different directions, and can go continuously deeper and deeper, as Vlaicu commented: Human imagination has actually no limits!🙂
But allowing some more imagination to ourselves, we still have to do some practical work to push the results to appear.
“What we need to do immediately is make a selection of some popular elements belonging to each of the main groups and fill out the intended details like history, popularity, supporting software and example problems to put into a publicly viewable and searchable database on JF. This will give some immediate benefit and feedback. We can then fine tune our work to improve it further.” (Shankar)
Our chess problem field is not gaining as many new followers as it should. There is a competition for ways to spend leisure time: various other board and video games – most of them available online, as well as the old ways like music, movies, serials, sports – again mostly online. Also, the regular game is experiencing a boom, with more OTB and online tournaments. But here too, players are less interested in chess problems, than before.
In this atmosphere, we should try to make our hobby as attractive as possible for newcomers. The biggest area in chess problems is the category of fairy chess. Here, more and more new forms are being invented. The easy availability of chess problem solving software is probably helping in this. But this has created a big obstacle for the newcomer, who might well be scared away by the plethora of incomprehensible terms under the diagrams!
Therefore, this project is an attempt to provide an easy and helpful way for a newcomer to find the definition of an unfamiliar fairy element, as well as some additional information about its history, popularity, software supporting this element and of course, some carefully selected example problems which bring out the characteristics of the element.
In the process of this project, we need to classify the various elements into groups and sub-groups, along with linkages between similar elements – in short, produce a taxonomy or knowledge organisation of fairy chess elements. This will aid understanding, meet the human need for orderliness, and help to check whether a particular element is already existing.
Of course, various sources are available online, many of which meet the above objectives. These have been used as the basis or foundation for this project. All of them have been listed and acknowledged. However, all of them have some shortcomings in terms of completeness, being up-to-date, clarity, example problems and organisation. Our project is an attempt to address all these shortcomings.
We welcome all comments and suggestions!
A great work to classify fairy elements has been already done mostly by Shankar Ram and Chris Tylor! (Julia)