Going Forward to Light and Order!

Going Forward
to Light and Order!

by Shankar Ram

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)

Originals November 2020

JF Original Problems | November, 2020

The judge of JF-2020/II: Hans Gruber.
The judge of Retro & PG problems 2019-2020: Vlaicu Crișan

Coming soon: nobody in the waiting list…

  • (16.11) No.1560 (PG 9 ; Nanna Chess) Gregor Werner (Germany). Warm welcome to Gregor!
  • (15.11) No.1559 (s#7 ; Circe) Ivan Bryukhanov (Ukraine). Welcome back after 8 years break! 😉
  • (15.11) No.1558 (PG 2.5, 7-fold checkmate ; Add pieces, KoBul Kings, Make&Take) Pierre Tritten (France). Just an empty board?! (no animation)
  • (15.11) No.1557 (hs#2 ; Grasshopper, PAO, VAO) Georgy Evseev & Boris Shorokhov (Russia). Welcome to solve!
  • (06.11) No.1556 (hs=3 ; AntiCirce) Gábor Tar (Hungary). „Anticice pin” on the same square.
  • (06.11) No.1551.1 (ser-s#21 ; Circe Rex Inclusiv) Dirk Borst (Netherlands). Correction to No.1551: bPe7 is added to correct the cook found by Arno Tüngler and Kjell Widlert
  • (06.11) No.1525.2 (h=10.5) Anatoly Stepochkin & Sergey Shumeiko (Russia). Improvement to No.1525.1: same idea, but nicer solution.
  • (03.11) No.1555 (hs#3.5) János Csák & Gábor Tar (Hungary). Warm welcome to János!
  • (02.11) No.1554 (hs#4) Vitaly Medintsev (Russia). ODT model mates and something more to discover…

Animated diagrams use Py2Web by Dmitri Turevski and WinChloe‘s graphics, Christian Poisson

Fairy Classification, step 1: sources and more…

Fairy Classification project: step 1

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;
  • to involve more members to our working team.

On this first step we’re very grateful to:

If anybody still feels himself enthusiastic about our project – please, join us! Your suggestions and info about sources, classification, fairy definitions, historical facts, etc, may help a lot!

Originals October 2020 (2)

JF Original Problems | October, 2020 (2)

The judge of JF-2020/II: Hans Gruber.
The judge of Retro & PG problems 2019-2020: Vlaicu Crișan

Coming soon: nobody in the waiting list…

  • (28.10) No.1553 (h#3 ; Grasshopper ; Take & Make) Niels Danstrup (Denmark). “I have made some ChessProblems back in 1977 and 1978 (!), and have started again in 2020. – Welcome back and to JF!
  • (27.10) No.1552 (h#2 ; Take & Make) Jacques Rotenberg & Pierre Tritten (Israel / France). “Paradoxical specific play…”
  • (27.10) No.1551 (ser-s#21 ; Circe Rex Inclusiv) Dirk Borst (Netherlands). I’ve got used to see Dirk’s name on JF while he was a judge of Retro&PG problems (JF-R2017-18)  and absolutely surprised now to see this is the first Dirk’s problem I publish on JF! Is it possible at all? 😉 Warm welcome, Dirk!

Animated diagrams use Py2Web by Dmitri Turevski and WinChloe‘s graphics, Christian Poisson

Fairy Classification: preliminary questions

Fairy Classification: preliminary questions

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:

1. Statistics about fairy elements

2. INTRO to the classification: questions to the definitions of the classes, by Dmitri Turevski

3. Preliminary Classification, suggestions by Chris Tylor and Shankar Ram

4. Sources of information for classification and definitions

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.

Welcome to join the project!

Your comments and updates are highly appreciated!



ORTHODOX SECTION: Almost half of the received entries were orthodox. We had 19 entries from 13 composers from 10 countries. The overall level of the section was average, with no really outstanding compositions. We hoped to see more Schnoebelen promotions in Rook and Bishop, but alas, the Queen and Knight promotions prevailed. Due to the lack of surprise element, we decided to start our award from Honourable Mentions.

FAIRY SECTION: We must admit this section exceeded our expectations, due to the out-of-the-box interpretations of the theme. In spite of the rather reduced participation (23 entries from 19 composers from 9 countries), the level of the tournament was quite high, with many problems worth retaining. We could hardly refrain ourselves from including all of them in the award!

Originals October 2020

JF Original Problems | October, 2020

The judge of JF-2020/II: Hans Gruber.
The judge of Retro & PG problems 2019-2020: Vlaicu Crișan

Coming soon: nobody in the waiting list

  • (22.10) No.1550 (h#8; Maximummer) Anatoly Stepochkin (Russia). If bQ&bR would exchange their places it would be #1…
  • (19.10) No.1549 (hs#3; Mars Circe) Armin Geister & Daniel Papack (Germany). “inspired by R. Kohring”
  • (17.10) No.1548 (-8 & #1 Proca ; Circe Assassin) Paul Rãican & Bojan Bašić (Romania / Serbia).
  • (14.10) No.1547 (hs#5; Anti-Circe) Dmitri Turevski (Russia). Could be challenging for solvers!
  • (14.10) No.1496.2 (-13 & s#1 Proca ; Anti-Circe Cheylan) Paul Rãican & Klaus Wenda (Romania / Austria). An improvement to No.1496 is made with forward stipulation changed to s#1 and Anti-Circe type to Cheylan.
  • (13.10) No.1545.1 (h#2.5 ; Circe) Ivo Tominić (Croatia). An improvement to No.1545: “an improvement of my 1545 in two respects:
    1) bSg2 is replaced by bP, 2) unnecessary capture on f3 is avoided.
    Another wP put on e3 recloses third rank for Rb3; due to the consequential loss of thematic diagonal bQ is transfered to d5. Black Pe6 becomes superfluous when position is rotated against a vertical axis (a1=h1)”

Animated diagrams use Py2Web by Dmitri Turevski and WinChloe‘s graphics, Christian Poisson

GET OFF, MOVE ON or STAY PUT! By Chris Tylor

“In the late 1970s, I circulated among the members of the now defunct Fairy Chess Correspondence Circle some ideas and illustrative problems for variants arising from different effects of a piece moving to an occupied square. By 1987, many of these ideas and problems had appeared in a series of articles in George Jelliss’s magazine Chessics (issues 10-12, 17 and 29/30) under the name of ‘Chess Reactions’.”

..skipped..  ⇒ see the full article in PDF, 23 pages

“The present version of this account contains 105 problems belonging to 17 distinct variants (4 of them established ones, the others my own) plus another 12 more miscellaneous problems in an appendix. Almost all the problems have positions that are ‘fairy-legal’ from the normal game array; 76 of them are CT originals/corrections of variable quality, some being mere sketches to illustrate possibilities. Only a few are computer-testable, but although the majority have been looked at by someone other than myself, in the very nature of things it is likely that some will prove to be unsound. It is hoped that any defects in the problems will neither detract too much from their interest nor discourage composers from tackling some of the variants described.” – Chris Tylor

Fairy elements: the statistics

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 …   ⇒

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!

News in commenting system and more…

Dear friends, just a short note about the commenting system. You have already seen the new design for some time. I hope, everything works well and you haven’t experienced any issues with writing/submitting your comments.

Still, maybe you haven’t discovered some new features I’d like to mention

And, please, check the WELCOME tab sometimes!   – Julia