Julia's Fairies

No.561 (GE)

Georgy Evseev


Original Problems, Julia’s Fairies – 2014 (II): May – August

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No.561 by Georgy Evseev – A rich and original battery and anti-battery play! (JV)


Lion(Li): Moves along Queen lines over another unit of either color to any square beyond that unit. A capture may be made on arrival, but the hurdle is not affected.

No.561 Georgy Evseev
original – 23.06.2014
561-hs#3,5-gehs#3,5            b) Black Rc1            (8+8)
Lions: b1, b7, f3, h1, h4
Solvers hint: (click to show/hide)
Solutions: (click to show/hide)

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Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
June 24, 2014 05:26

Such a rich and beautiful idea is worth seeing but nevertheless, the realization should not be tolerated.
Otherwise, anything would become tolerable.

Rook-Lion h1 and Rook-hoppers b1&f3 would spare Bb2 and their power would be quite enough for what is needed. 3 non-thematic Lions are anyway too strong and the truth is that hoppers are more economical although belonging to another fairy-family.

Variety of fairy pieces can gradually “spoil” the realization, two families are not too bad. Merely cookstopping white officer immediately ruins it.
Probably, there are other possibilities.

Kjell Widlert
Kjell Widlert
June 27, 2014 01:03
Reply to  Nikola Predrag

Interesting questions, and I think the answers are not very clear.

Lions are thematic (essential to the idea) – but should lions that only act on R or B lines be replaced with R-lions and B-lions, respectively? I tend to prefer to stick to one type of fairy piece where possible, but which choice is more economical is debatable.

Should then lions be replaced with grasshoppers if they act only in that capacity? As Nikola notes, grasshoppers belong to a different family, and I think most would agree that they should not be introduced – unless something important is gained.

So the next question is – how serious a flaw is a passive white officer that only serves as a cookstopper, and what difference does it make if it is still present in the mates? Clearly, the problem would be better if it were not needed, so it is a flaw, but how serious? How does this flaw compare to the flaw of introducing other types of lions and also some hoppers? I honestly don’t know the right answer, I can only say that for some reason I am not overly disturbed by the wBb2 here.

This all touches on another question we have asked here before: how important is white economy vs black economy in a selfmate … and in a helpselfmate? Sorry, I can’t answer that either. I can only say it all depends on the content…

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
June 27, 2014 06:45
Reply to  Kjell Widlert

A fairy problem obviously allows fairy conditions or pieces which are needed for thematic reasons. Technical fairy elements are not desirable, particularly the conditions (because of their general influence on everything).
Fairy nature of some technical piece is restricted to that single piece and therefore, it’s not such a terrible flaw. Technical pieces of a different type than the thematic pieces, are one grade worse and the more different types there are, the flaw gets gradually bigger.
I see that in #2 the complex cycles make tolerable quite a rich fairy Zoo.

The point is, what might be tolerated without jeopardizing the principles?
Fairy pieces can’t be an automatic defect in fairy chess. It’s all about a balance of the economy and the content, just as in all problems. A significance of a defect is gradual.

White superfluous pieces are an automatic terrible defect. Even a terrible defect might be conditionally tolerated if some incredible idea is presented in a sound problem. But we would say: “Wow, it’s indeed possible, but can it be made without such a great defect?”

Terrible defects should not be taken gradually, like for instance, one superfluous piece is a small flaw, two are somewhat bigger flaw etc..
What would we have of the Babson task (and many others ) if the defects were too easily neglected?

I enjoy seeing the original ideas even with constructional defects but a composer must be pushed to show his full talent and skill.

Georgy Evseev
Georgy Evseev
June 27, 2014 09:57

It is interesting to see different approaches to issues of art and economy. (Though from my point of view I would try to avoid words like “terrible” or “intolerable” because they are very subjective.)

Specifically, the issue of pieces which leave the board before the end of solution was discussed many times (I even remember an article in “Problem” from sixties). The general opinion was that this is acceptable. Well, you may see from my initial comment that I was not very happy myself to use this trick, but I still consider it the best possibility I found.

At the same time I take the issue of “fairy economy” much more seriously than Nikola. Generally, when I compose a problem with fairy pieces, I consider working with an extended pieces set which includes an ortodox set and fairy pieces which are a crucial part of mechanism (what considered a “crucial part of mechanism” may change during the process, though). For me this means that, from one hand, I always try to avoid using additional fairy pieces that are not part of mechanism. From the other hand this means that necessary fairy pieces (lions in this problem) have the same rights as orthodox pieces for auxiliary and technical purposes. I even sometimes prefer fairy pieces (if, for example, I can guard the flight with knight and with “confirmed” fairy piece and this knight will be the only knight on the board, I will probably prefer the fairy piece, as the knight in a sense will look “more fairy” here).

To show an example, for me white Equihopper a2 in Nikola’s 560 seems very foreign and even Nereid d7 does not look necessary. If I was to work on this problem, I would be trying to rich something like following version:

White: Kd5 Rd6 LEf7e4b5 Pf6g5
Black: Ke8 Qb6 Ra8h8 Pf5a5f3 Sc4g3 LEa6g2 Bd4a4
b) wLEd6

1.0-0 LEf7-e8 + 2.Kg8-f7 Rd6-d7 #

b) wLEd6
1.0-0-0 LEb5-e8 + 2.Kc8-d7 LEd6-e7 #

(This version may probably be improved further, as I only prepared it as an example.)

June 27, 2014 10:34

Interesting discussion. Whether to use fairy pieces for technical purposes is mostly subjective. If a lion can replace two white pieces I would not mind using a lion. Similarly in a problem with a few grasshoppers, I would not mind using a grasshopper instead of a rookhopper. Though they are the same family, an additional G will look better and will look more harmonius. But I understand that opinions can differ. .

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
June 27, 2014 19:20

Georgy, I’m aware that my intentions are often not clear in my posts.
I try to desribe some set of criteria with a deeper basic consistency which should work eventually for entire chess composition.
I would be a complete idiot if I would consider my writings as an “evident truth”.
I am trying to avoid my subjectivity and for the sake of consistency I actually often have to change and refine my previous beliefs.
I post it in public to initiate a discussion which might achieve a few general basic points of chess composition. Many antipode judgements and comments show that there are no general basic principles commonly understood and accepted.

A greatest thing in our Codex is allowing a creative and artistic freedom. Strict rules would suffocate chess composition. But exactly that freedom allows the individuals and groups to impose their subjective strict criteria to the others.

Anyway, my posts call for a discussion and analysis. I t’s about the search for the most fundamentall points and a possibly consistent interpretation of them. It is very, very tricky.

I try to make a clear difference between some points. Therefore I use strong words.
“Terrible” is used with the meaning “too great”, beyond the grades from small up to great.
And there’s the point of my writing,
All the points and reasoning could and should be explored and replaced with a better, commonly understandable and acceptable sketch. The consistency of logic should dominate our subjective prejudicies.
The proper words to replace “terrible” and any other are certainly wanted.

With your problem, you have very probably intended to provoke a discussion (as I intended with my No.560).
So I tried to formulate a sketch for a. hypothesis about “terrible/intorelable” flaws, related to “partial/gradual” flaws.
Generally, I agree with your view of the economy of fairy elements.
The difference is if a “non-economical” fairy piece HAS some function in the solution and an orthodox piece HAS NO function.
So, at least hypothetically, NO FUNCTION might be intolerable and NON-THEMATIC FUNCTION might be relatively/gradualy tolerable. This might be applicable as a GENERAL GUIDELINE.
It is not my subjective opinion, there are the questions:
“Would that be a useful guideline?”
“Could such a hypothesis be valid in most cases, but still allowing well explained exceptions?”

Note that the concept of “gradual flaws” allows a rather subjective treatment because it’s about a balance of the content and the flaws. It wouldn’t encourage the “fairy Zoo” any more than it is now.

Tolerating of superfluous pieces would heavily degrade chess composition. Actually, step by step it happens, particularly in hs# and fairy chess. It’s quite paradoxical, due to the increasing tremendous help of the computers, the composing criteria should become more demanding and certainly not softer.

About my No.560, I write on that page:

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