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)
Our Fairy Classification project has started, motivated by the great enthusiasm and good will of Chris Tylor and Shankar Ram! Now our small group is moving from the Preliminary questions to the next steps. The main ideas of this post are :
to inform everybody what we currently do;
to get your comments/suggestions about the current steps;
If the project of creating some better database of fairy elements might succeed? If we’re ready to jump into it? Who would be ready to join the team? What is the order and what’s the freedom? And what’s is the main purpose of this database?
Let me quote the words of Chris Tylor’s comment which has just appeared: “I now propose that we go back to basics and make the overall aim of our new database not so much to produce order as to give light – to show users new properties and applications of a range of fairy elements, together with the way in which they relate to other elements (or perhaps stand alone), and maybe in the process point users to ways in which new advances might be made.” – Agree!
Let’s summarize the most important ideas from about 80 comments to Fairy Statistics post:
Fairy pieces. Some sub-groups would be straightforward, e.g. leapers; others much messier, e.g.hoppers; while some pieces would stand alone or be hard to group, e.g. imitator.
Piece modifiers OR Piece attributes; i.e. ways of modifiying the properties of a whole range of pieces, e.g. royal pieces, neutrals (a small group). Can be a subgroup of (1) Fairy pieces.
Fairy variants. Some variants would form fairly clear sub-groups, e.g. Circe variations; others might go in pairs, e.g forms and anti-forms; most would probably resist classification.One obvious sub-group of the conditions main group would be “move restrictors”: maximummer, minimummer, single combat, black must capture, ohneschlag(no captures), black must check, checkless chess…
Boards, e.g vertical cylinder, boards with holes (a small group).
Stipulations (a small group). Subgroups: Aims and Ways.
The attributes of each element of the groups:
Name or names.
A description or summary of the properties or rules, perhaps defined in terms of the properties or rules of something else, e.g. a rook-lion as a lion moving on rook lines only.
History, i.e. inventor and date (if known).
Approximate number of known examples (which would need updating at intervals). The WinChloe database has been mentioned as a source, but there should be others, e.g. the PDB.
The solving programs (if any) that would support the piece/variant, together with the symbol or name that each program uses for that piece/variant.
If we’re getting into this project, from the moment when the new database appears and has some entries I can start presenting it on JF. So, it might get in use before the whole project might be considered as finished or being up to date 🙂
For now I’ve created a GoogleSheet document Fairy-Classification for online work. The statistics and preliminary classification groups already included for future correction. I’d like to ask Shankar Ram to accept my invitation to be the main moderator of this project. The right to view/edit the document will be granted to all members of the team.
Does anybody know the approximate number of fairy elements (pieces and conditions) we have? Just try to guess!
I believe, for now WinChloe‘s Echecs database (by Christian Poisson) is the most comprehensive source of published problems and existing fairy elements. The last update of Echecs database from 12.09.2020 contains 785,899 problems! Well, this is the information visible to all users of WinChloe. But there’s something else, not so visible, but still existing – Fairy pieces and condition invented. I’ve asked the implementer about it. So, thanks to Christian we have an astonishing statistics! The number of invented elements is … ⇒
about 2670 fairy pieces+conditions! Of them just 51 were used in more than 500 published problems. And more than 2100 were used in less than 10 problems (out of them about 1000(!) was used in one problem only!)
Well, I’ve asked for this statistics not only out of curiosity. I have many thoughts and ideas about development of our fairy chess. Still not ready to formulate it quickly, still have to settle some thoughts in my head, still would be willing to see if anybody is interested in creating some better order in Fairies.
But before all the questions, you’re welcome to see the full statistics: in Excel file for download | or in PDF (51 page) for easier watching. Maybe somebody would help with English translations (I’ve made it for the top elements only).
Would very much like to know the names and to congratulate the inventors of our TOP 21 (>1000 problems composed)! Thanks to your comments the list is getting inventors’ names:
Number of problems
year of invention
Abdul Jabbar Karwatkar
the ancient Chinese piece Cannon
J. de A. Almay
Take & Make
Take & Make
from the ancient Muslim Chess
Hans Peter Rehm &
If composing with the “TOP” fairy elements we’d be understood by most of other composers; the same time it would be harder to create something original here; but the originality would be felt and appreciated and valued by the most!