Fairy Chess Classification Project 

The Fairy Chess Classification (v.0, 22.04.2021) – Initial Release!

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In these descriptions of fairy elements, the normal meanings of common orthodox chess terms or concepts such as ‘square’, ‘capture’, ‘promotion’ or ‘castling’ will be assumed to be understood, though these normal meanings will often need modification when applied to fairy elements. However, the term ‘move’ will be used to mean a non-capturing move as opposed to a capture (though ‘move-length’ would be taken as applying to a move or capture), ‘unit’ will be used to mean any piece or pawn, and ‘piece’ to mean any unit apart from a pawn or king. Also, any reference to the royal powers of a king will be taken to apply equally to any other royal piece used instead of a king. In this classification, the fairy elements divide into the four ‘Main Groups’ of Stipulations, Pieces, Conditions and Boards, these Main groups being divided into Groups (and in most cases Sub-Groups). In this Outline View Version, the various groups and sub-groups are labelled according to a three number system, but individual elements are not numbered. (None of these labels need be used in any Fairy Database that might be set up.)

  • Version 1 was the ‘Glossary CT1’ document dated 7 December 2020
  • Version 2 the ‘Glossary CT4.1’ document dated 27 March 2021
  • Version 3. Chris Tylor, 30 March 2021; Outline version by NSR
  • Further revisions by CT/NSR, 8-24 April 2021

Concept map

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After nearly 6 months work, our inaugural release (version 0) with over 390 elements is ready for public viewing!
We have used the BCPS Glossary as the basis to which we added some more elements found in JF, the Die Schwalbe MärchenschachlexikonChristian Poisson’s Website, and others on the web.

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

All previous posts together with the comments can be found in the Fairy Classification category

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Marjan Kovačević
Marjan Kovačević
April 22, 2021 23:09

I could only try to imagine the amount of voluntary work to collect, define, redefine, formulate, discriminate, present … and bring us some light … Among all the chess websites, forums and blogs, I couldn’t recall any other case where a small group of enthusiasts from different countries joined their good intentions for the benefit of community. Amazing, hat down to the Team!

April 22, 2021 23:54

Wow! Great job. A cursory look tells me what we can use and probably need:– Locust lion and a Nightrider/Rose locust! A locust with optional capture suggests itself. Now what shall we call it??— Patent claimed for all if not in use already 😀😀

Last edited 19 days ago by Seetharaman
shankar ram
shankar ram
April 23, 2021 11:27
Reply to  Seetharaman

All these: Locust Lion, Nightrider Locust and Rose Locust already exist! There are published problems using them. We haven’t included them here yet!
A Locust with “optional capture”? Not clear.

April 23, 2021 22:13
Reply to  shankar ram

Actually it is a grasshopper with option to capture the hurdle only. Capture beyond the hurdle prohibited. In other words a piece which moves like G but can capture only like Locust.

Last edited 18 days ago by Seetharaman
April 30, 2021 10:33

In what piece category will the Querquisite be? And in 4, should there be a 4.4 modified boards (e.g. (worm)holes and grids) or will that be part of the other categories?

shankar ram
shankar ram
April 30, 2021 11:56
Reply to  Joost

Joost, Thank you for joining the conversation!
Querquisite: Currently this is not yet in our list. We will add it in the future updates. This piece would be in the category 2.6 Other Pieces

Worm holes are currently categorised as a condition under 3.7.6: Effects of all moves, though it is mentioned in the definition that it could also be considered as a board attribute.

Grids are currently categorised as a condition under 3.7.5: Restrictions on all moves, though it is mentioned in the definition that it could also be considered as a board attribute.

The categories are not set in stone and may change in future. Also, some elements like the above two could be considered as belonging to more than one category. We will indicate this in the definition and provide a link(yet to be implemented!) to the alternate category.

Last edited 11 days ago by shankar ram
Andrew Buchanan
Andrew Buchanan
May 2, 2021 05:56

Great work all! Stupendous!
I’ve mostly not yet participated in this, but I’ve spent some time cleaning up PDB fairy piece data (partly in order for me to learn more about them!)
(1) How can we ensure that detailed fairy piece datasets are aligned and stay aligned? Are there any real reasons for differentiation between databases? (E.g. language support might be one?)
(2) There is some terrific scholarship by Christian Poisson at systematizing classes of fairy piece: to take a random example: http://christian.poisson.free.fr/problemesis/categories.html#Bondisseurcoureur. How can you ensure that this structure, which underpins WinChloe engine, forms a part of the FCCP?
(3) Can you embed links to these other fairy piece sites, which often include great examples? E.g. the diagram on the Leaper-Rider page I mentioned. Picture/word = 1000 as they say.
On which note I will shut up 🙂 Thanks again!

Last edited 9 days ago by Andrew Buchanan
shankar ram
shankar ram
May 2, 2021 07:12

Thank you, Andrew!
We welcome your involvement!
To answer your questions:

(1): The present classification was decided by Chris and myself, with some help from others. It is based on the original BCPS glossary by Stephen Emmerson, which we reworked and modified. Obviously some elements may look out of place in their current slots. We will continue reviewing these and make changes as appropriate. Some elements, due to their nature may fit into into more than one category. These, we are trying to indicate by saying “…can also be considered as…” and similar phrases. We are working with Julia to incorporate hyperlinks within the definitions to such alternate categories.

(2): Yes! We are are aware of Christian’s work and have liberally used it in our project. However, in a few cases, there are some inconsistencies between WinChloe and Popeye or a particular element was missing. In these cases we have used our judgement.

(3) We have also used The Die Schwalbe Märchenschachlexikon, PDB keyword search and various other sources on the web. You can see the whole history of the project, from 4-Oct-2020 when it all started, on these pages: https://juliasfairies.com/category/fairy-classification/
I will discuss with Julia about making a place here to list all the sources we have used. We have quite a comprehensive list!

Last edited 9 days ago by shankar ram