Peter Harris (South Africa)


Original Problems, Julia’s Fairies – 2016 (II): July – December

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No.1091 Peter Harris
South Africa

original – 03.07.2016
Dedicated to Petko Petkov

Solutions: (click to show/hide)

white qe4 be6 black kb1 rd5 sc5

h#2                                             (2+3)
b) Kb1→h7; c) Kb1→a1
Super-Andernach Chess
Transmuted Kings
(no wK)

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Juraj Lörinc
July 4, 2016 01:34

Description notes:
– Super-Andernach is a superfluous name. Combination of Andernach + Anti-Andernach was already used in the past and it is effectively Magic Board, where each square is magic – a unit (except King) arriving there changes colour.
– The problem uses Transmuting king, not Super-Transmuting, i.e. other definitions should be given above diagram.

Content-wise, there is repetition of Bd5 and Be4, even if with different rebirths (or none), the c) solutions is substantially different from other two. And bK in check in a) is a big minus.

peter harris
peter harris
July 4, 2016 15:44

With regard to the name SuperAndernach: I suggested the combination of Andernach and AntiAndernach to John Rice in 2006 and gave him examples. He wrote an article in the March issue of The Problemist. He christened the combination SuperAndernach. At that time there could not have been Magic Squares in Popeye. Whether or not there was in any other program I do not know. Magazines have used the name SuperAndernach in the past.

The moves Bd5 Be4 are repeated but why write “even with rebirths”? The fact that there are different rebirths distinguishes the moves completely. The sameness of the first half of the total moves could be said to have a unifying effect. The two mating positions are quite different.

Solution (c) is not “substantially” different. It is totally different. This is the charm of it – following the similar pair (a) and (b).

You may think that the bK being in check is a “big minus” but I certainly do not. The Transmuting Kings condition gives the checked bK a multitude of move options including capturing the wQ and then, per SuperCirce, placing it anywhere on the board. The fact that the bK is in check enhances the problem.

A rule such as a “King must not be in check” is stultifying and suffocating and against creative spirit.

“Content-wise” the problem has great play and perfect economy.

Juraj Lörinc
July 4, 2016 19:13
Reply to  peter harris

It is indeed compelling evidence of problem quality when its author says it had great play.

As regards king in check, it surely is not a stone carved rule. No, but it is a convention that can be broken if the content of the problem justifies it. Whether it is a case here, I leave to consideration of anyone, in my opinion it is a minus, you might disagree.

Board with all squares magic, equivalent to your SuperAndernach was e.g. awarded Commendation by Petko Petkov in Probleemblad 2002 competition, in a problem by Aleksandar Popovski, with the following position:
W: Kf3 Bd3 Sa4
B: Kd4 Qb3 Pc4
All squares are magic

Finally, magic squares are tested by Popeye since at least 1997 (most probably earlier), as I have tested my own problem with Popeye in that year:

peter harris
peter harris
July 4, 2016 21:11

Perhaps in the past there was a Magic Squares condition but not a Magic Board condition.

Otherwise I cannot fathom why all those years ago John Rice and I did not know about a Magic Board in Popeye. Also, Die Schwalbe have SuperAndernach entered in their FairyLexicon of Definitions and have published my problems showing SuperAndernach below the diagram.

It is a pity Popeye is using the name Magic Board. It would have been better had it used a name incorporating Andernach so that its historical roots were not lost. Chronologically there was Andernach followed by AntiAndernach and then SuperAndernach.

“Magic Board” sounds like a stage-show at a circus.

I recall writing once that it would have been fortuitous had the first invention been the full Andernach with what followed limiting it down to Capture and non-Capture variants. It would have helped with naming.

Popeye should I think make SuperAndernach an acceptable alternative Input format.

About my problem: your first comment is being very smart.

It is not a question of me offering “compelling evidence” regarding the quality of the problem. I am saying that the play is great and the economy perfect.

With regard to your “repeated move” criticism: to make my point very plainly: I have made problems with SuperCirce with two solutions that have identical Key moves except for the destination of rebirth squares of the piece captured. As a matter of fact I think in one, the captured piece was a pawn that promoted – to different pieces.

You will have many who agree with you about the “convention” regarding not having a King in check. But the issue should not be a question that justification is required. It should be what the objection is.

Conventions have no place in Art. They are self-emasculating if not mindless.

petko petkov
petko petkov
July 4, 2016 23:36

Thank You very much dear Peter for your dedication! Thank also to You, dear Juraj for your intеrеsting commnts and explanations! In light of the small terminological discussion
between you I would like to share also my opinion.

I thnik THAT MAGIC BOARD it is not full adquate to the Andernach + Antiandernach (or SUPER ANDRNACH)!!
The proof is simple but very interesting in my opinion: The condition MAGIC BOARD excludes the possibility simultaneously to work with conditions SUPER ANDRNACH +MAGIC SQUARE if we accept these names as synonymous. But de facto such possibility exists!! For example:

Popeye Windows-32Bit v4.75 (1422 MB)
beg sti h#2
pie whi kh1 pa6
bla ka7 pc2
con magicsquare c8
Andernach next

1.Ka7-a8 a6-a7=b 2.c2-c1=Q=w Qc1-c8=b=w #

solution finished. Time = 0.063 s

Therefore, I think that the combination Andrnach + Anti-Andrnach (or SUPER ANDERNACH ) has an indepndent importance and its replace with MAGIC BOARD would be a mistake.
From other side it is obviously that the combinatin : 1 (or sеveral ) magic squere(s) + SUPER ANDERNACH is a very fresh and fruitfull new modus, in my opinion.

In aspect “terminology” – I think that’s not so important how we write: Andrnach + Anti-Andrnach or only Super – Andrnach. But however we maybe should prefer Super Andernach because it is only one condition.

Dmitri Turevski
Dmitri Turevski
July 5, 2016 16:06
Reply to  petko petkov

Andernach + AntiAndernach + N Magic squares
equivalent to
(64-N) Magic squares?

Stipulation h#2
Option Variation NoBoard
Condition MagicSquares a1a2…c7d1…h8
white Pa6 Kh1
black Pc2 Ka7

1.Ka7-a8 a6-a7=b 2.c2-c1=Q=w Qc1-c8 #

Kind of defeats the “proof”.

Luce Sebastien
Luce Sebastien
July 5, 2016 01:37

Dear all,

I like the example of Aleksandar Popovski, showed by Juraj.
There is a unity (desired by the composer) between the two sol with a royal battery each time.

In the composition of Peter, there are some spectacular effects but not this unity. It is often the case when we use more then 3 conditions.
By the way, in Winchloe, the chessboard can be totally magic and we can surprisingly find many problems of Peter Harris wih this kind of chess board …?!

But let’s play with the position showed by M. Petkov.
With one half move less, we have the same effect in…Volage !
White : Pa6
Black : Ka8 Pc2
h‡1,5 (1+2)

1…a7(N) 2.c1=D(B) Dc8‡

peter harris
peter harris
July 5, 2016 13:28

Very good Petko and thank you.

I did not think of the possibility of combining SuperAndernach with Magic Squares!

Since I last wrote I have found out that Popeye has not and never has had a Magic Board condition – only the Magic Squares. It seems WinChloe has Magic Board.

I hope that Popeye will now consider introducing SuperAndernach to save users from having to input both Andernach and AntiAndernach.

I hope you are well Petko.

peter harris
peter harris
July 5, 2016 20:44


Do not become fixated by unity.

Do not judge a problem so much on the extent of how much or how little unity it exhibits.

You will end-up preferring a problem with two mediocre plays that are unified to one that has two sparkling solutions that are not – that are in fact totally different.

Remember too that unity by its very nature implies an element of sameness – a sort of repetitiveness. This in turn implies predictability and lack of something new and surprising. Finally however pretty it is, it can lead to boredom – for a solver particularly. This is a danger.

Obsession with unity is widespread.

There may be connection in the human psyche between the love of unity and symmetry; symmetry such as was perfected by the classical Greeks in their architecture.

However that may be, the problem-world is in need of another criterion to give some relief from the tyranny of unity.

Georgy Evseev
Georgy Evseev
July 6, 2016 09:45

And I would say: Do become fixated by unity.

It is because this kind of unity allows to distinguish an artistic chess problem from random puzzle.

I would say that the problem with “two sparkling solutions that are in fact totally different” is in reality a problem with sparkling solution and sparkling cook.

Long live “the tyranny of unity”!

peter harris
peter harris
July 6, 2016 12:11

Is the Art of Chess Composition to be made synonymous with the creation of pairs? Is this what it is to be reduced to?

There are other criteria. There are great and beautiful problems devoid of any unity.

There is this aspect to unity: that it is an easy way out – an escape. Using English slang: it is a cop-out.

It is one thing to create unity and it is very easy to judge it. It is more difficult to create and judge other qualities that would enable a problem to stand on its own two feet without relying on paired/unified solutions.

The concept of unity is having too big an influence – to the detriment of creativity It must be the cause of beautiful unpaired creations never seeing the light of day.

Otherwise unity is great!

There are the following two English nursery rhymes:

Georgie Porgie Puddin’ and Pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry,
When the boys came out to play,
Georgie Porgie ran away.

Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,
Had a wife but couldn’t keep her,
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well.

shankar ram
shankar ram
July 6, 2016 15:24

Hey Peter!
I doubt if our Georgy ever did such naughty stuff 😉
But.. even here, notice the rhyming of the words – another form of unity!
Of course, in “modern” poetry, rhyming is not mandatory! Maybe that’s your point.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
July 6, 2016 17:02

Unity is what makes one whole. Without unity, each one of the 3 problems (1091a, 1091b, 1091c) makes just a simple example, illustrating the trivial effects of the rules (combined conditions).

But what happens in 3 twins? – the creation of white direct battery which mates in the end.
B1=anticipatory line closing by placing a front piece for selfcheck-avoidance, allowing B2=placing a rear piece by Black
W2=battery mate + closing bR’s line.

There’s quite enough of unity, especially for 4 economically used pieces. The diversity of some features actually highlights the efficiency of single thematic mechanism. I wouldn’t prefer some boring and most trivial analogy, just for the sake of “silly rhyme”.

However, checks on the diagram make the play impure and W1-moves rather unconvincing (but still there’s a “grain of salt” in each of them).

Poetry is not in the rhymes, but sadly, a bureaucratic approach hardly perceives anything but silly rhymes.

peter harris
peter harris
July 7, 2016 09:14


You write:

Without unity, each one of the 3 problems (1091a, 1091b, 1091c) makes just a simple example, illustrating the trivial effects of the rules (combined conditions).

Let me say this:

There could be a 3-solution problem [not a twin] the 3 solutions of which are all brilliant but completely different. There could be another problem whose solutions all have something similar, something in common which is said to “unify” them.

The play in the first problem was not constrained by “unity” considerations and was therefore able to be more interesting.

To write-off the first problem as a mere an illustration of trivial effects is absurd. Great skill and art can be required – just as much as required to compose the second.

There is the misconception that it is easier to compose the first type of problem.

Consider twins of the type madrasi / isardam or chameleon / Einstein or h# / h= or a Duplex: the question of unity do not arise. The play and the ideas have to be judged. The same thing should apply to all problems including the first problem mentioned above.

The orthodox problem world gave-up on 1-solution h# problems for good reason. The Fairy world has followed suit when the reason does not apply.

If there was a worldwide tourney with requirements:

One only h#4 solution with conditions: SuperCirce, AntiAndernach, Isardam

you would see what beautiful compositions would come forth.

Some people are trudging along in a narrow rut – not flying high and free with fairies.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
July 7, 2016 12:19

Dear Peter, you’re talking about the puzzles.
A puzzle may be just a trivial task for solving. It could be COMPLICATED and therefore time-consuming, but still trivial.

A problem is COMPLEX, due to some intrinsic principles which make one whole of it.
AxB+CxD+ExF appears as a trivial arithmetical exercise in case of “random” numbers 2×8+4×18+3×27
Arranged as 4×4+2x4x9+9×9, it resembles (4+9)x(4×9)

There’s the intrinsic principle in the sum 1+2+3+…+99+100 which makes “the problem” out of a trivial puzzle/task.

And I hate to waste my time on browsing through various complications without being rewarded by a discovery of some complex intrinsic principle.

peter harris
peter harris
July 7, 2016 12:55

I wrote:

“There could be a 3-solution problem [not a twin] the 3 solutions of which are all brilliant but completely different. There could be another problem whose solutions all have something similar, something in common which is said to “unify” them”.

The existence of something common between solutions [which people call unity] is said to convert a puzzle into composition. It is a necessity.

Not only is this dictum [that their must be something common] arbitrary and artificial, it is also quite unnecessary.

Both types of problems can and should exist side by side with equal standing.

There is much posturing on this subject – and muddled thinking.

[There is also a sort of fear].

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
July 7, 2016 19:49

You can make a single phase problem with a substantially complex idea.
You can make 3 problems in one position, “selling” it as “3 for the price of 1”. Sounds promising but the experienced might “smell” a marketing trick, since there’s often 1 so-so problem and 2 cooks in disguise.

And it’s quite expected that the salesman shouts: “3 brilliant problems packed as 1 problem”.

But it’s also quite expected that there’s nothing really brilliant in any single of the 3 twins.
No.1091 is worth due to presenting thrice the battery creation and line-interference in the mating move. The motivations are impure but the mechanism is tremendously efficient.

3 truly brilliant (different) problems in one position could hardly be expected in h#2. It would be nice to see 1 brilliant phase for the beginning.

Show me the brilliancy and I’ll be grateful. (Or at least, try to fool me by a marketing trick better than merely shouting about “brilliancy”.)

peter harris
peter harris
July 7, 2016 21:31

Touching on the issues raised in this conversation – in however oblique a way – is the question of the difference between the interests of composers and the interests of solvers.

Composers will profess that there is no difference – but there is. And it is pretence to believe there is none.

Put in an exaggerated form to make my point: composers compose for composers. They form mutual admiration societies, revelling in their own creations – discussing very technical and artistic topics of how they create great works of art. Solvers are furthest from their minds. They will not admit that solvers’ interests could be different from theirs. That would be impossible. After all, are not all solvers supreme art connoisseurs who share the same arcane interests as theirs?

It would come as a rude shock if the order of merit they assigned to a number of their problems was turned upside down by solvers.

And so we come back to:

“There could be a 3-solution problem [not a twin] the 3 solutions of which are all brilliant but completely different. There could be another problem whose solutions all have something similar, something in common which is said to “unify” them”.

I would say that many solvers would prefer the first problem – but then, those that did would be barbarians.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
July 8, 2016 02:32

Generally speaking, I agree that there are some true points in what you say about the composing “lobbies” and “schools”. And there’s much more of it in the establishment of all “high art”.

It all may look as lifeless, spiritless, sterile or whatever. But can you enliven it by degrading the perception to fit the mediocrity and banality?

Composers CREATE to present clearly and intensively some original IDEA. A solver tries to RE-CREATE the authors idea through solving the problem.

What might be a meaning of “composing for the solvers”?
Composer creates a “new world”, with some original relations among the elements. A spectator should discover the relevance of the features which govern that “world”, in order to perceive and comprehend it as a whole.

I don’t care about the puzzle-solvers who perceive the solution just as a sequence of the right moves. A computer can find such a sequence.

And I don’t care about a proclaimed “brilliancy” where there’s not a sparkle, just as I don’t care about the non-original “unifying” trivialities.

And I’ll not comment the “muddled thinking”.

peter harris
peter harris
July 8, 2016 09:36

Ah me Nikola I guess your heart is in the right place and your intentions are good.

This whole question is based on the premise that there are 3 equally brilliant but completely different solutions.

This of course is possible. You write as if it is not.

[You mention a stipulation type and length H#2 as an argument to support the unlikelihood of making 3 solutions. The stipulation type or length does not enter into this issue. The problem in question could for example be a HS#4].

The discussion is to be on the above basis – not on the smart sounding comment made my Georgy and you, that one would see one solution and two cooks.

And regarding your “3 for 1” bargain comment: what is wrong with a 3 for 1 bargain anyway? Solvers will be pleased to get 3 problems with one diagram.

And so Nikola because

´This whole question is based on the premise that there are 3 equally brilliant but completely different solutions”.

your last post is full of nothing.

P.S. To obtain 3 different solutions requires great skill – perhaps even more than is required to obtain 3 similar solutions. And as I said in a previous post: being free from the constraints of there having to have similarities [called unity] the play in the 3 different solutions can be more complex.

Georgy Evseev
Georgy Evseev
July 8, 2016 10:56

I hope everyone has understood that I had intentionally written my previous post in provocative manner. Still what I had written is what I really think.

Several more thoughts.

1. Of course, unity is not a formal requirement. But still, analyzing a problem, one asks himself: what did author want to show? The unity helps to understand what is going on and greatly increases impression.

Two “great” different solutions do not create this kind of resonance, moreover they may adversely affect each other. One may like ice cream and also like chicken broth. But ice cream in chicken broth may cause mixed feelings.

2. There are many different kinds of unity. The unity may be geometrical or tactical, and may apply to some position or to play. Also the unity may be full or partial. There is a lot of different ways to emphasize an idea (including some additional possibilities like HOTF, black-white analogy, “anti-unity”, etc.).

3. I am very much against “there could be” position. I, really, do not know what “could be” and what “could not be”. Hypothetical logic is very dangerous – it is based on unproved foundations.

4. I have a bad feeling, that this crusade against unity may introduce an big inflow of some random computer-generated problems which will de facto simply further erode already not very clear boundary between good and bad in composition.

peter harris
peter harris
July 8, 2016 13:15

Dear Nikola, I think you are right.

IF there is a difference between puzzles and problems, then I make puzzles.

My aim in making problems is and always really has been to set solvers an enjoyable challenge; to have pleasing play and final positions; to have surprises and the unexpected. If the result could be called a work of art, it was quite accidental.

This ties-up with what I said in my previous post regarding interests of composers and solvers.

While Composers seek artistic merit Solvers seek enjoyment and pleasure in the solving process. This is not to say there is not blurring between the two.

So: many solvers will not fall over in a fit if a bK is in check or they can find no “unity” or if there are any of a thousand other short-comings composers say exist PROVIDED the problem is a delight. They do not descend on a problem like vultures from the sky onto a carcass and peck away at it – shaking their heads.

I do not know how many solvers there are out there!

Perhaps King Oberon and his beautiful Queen Titania will invite you to morning tea and scones in their palace garden. You will then not have to have a beer and a sandwich in the local tavern.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
July 9, 2016 02:42

Of course, a “great puzzle” for a “most delightful solving” is a masterpiece among puzzles. But what should be judged – the delight of the solvers?

I don’t assess a problem by searching for “any of a thousand short-comings”. It’s about what was created and not about what’s missing.
So, if you draw 3 lines, I might ask why do you show me that, without mentioning the “missing unity”. But if I must, I could make some evaluation of the 3 lines.

However, if these 3 lines make a triangle, I may judge how skilfully the triangle was realized.

Georgy Evseev
Georgy Evseev
July 11, 2016 10:45

Concerning the quality of “chess puzzles”, from my point of of view the best (by the big margin) chess puzzle is a well-known Reti study (Kh8, pc6 – Ka6, ph5). And its greatness, unexpectedly, would have been much diminished it it were more difficult!

Its main paradox lies in contradiction between obvious unability to reach the goal and the very easy way it is really reached. I do not know any other composition which is able to so oppress the solver by the diagram position, that he mostly becomes unable to think at all.

And concerning “the delight of solving”, the process of solving should be rewarded with more than pleasure of unraveling the puzzle. And this “more” is exactly the quality of author’s idea and its realization. If after traveling through a complex underground maze an adventurer only finds a pouch with a few copper coins as a “treasure”, he will not be very happy.

peter harris
peter harris
July 11, 2016 17:57

Good Georgy.

Who can disagree with you? Not even me!

That is why you will find a chest of gold and precious stones at the end of my solutions! (?)

Of course it is not only what you find at the end that is important, it is also the quality of the journey there. It is this quality that can be difficult to assess – whether or not it warrants being “an underground complex maze”.

The journey should in some way or another be delightful.

Georgy Evseev
Georgy Evseev
July 12, 2016 09:56

As the solution is available, the journey may be skipped. While the maze may be brilliant or not, we may directly skip to the chest. And by looking into the chest we may very much decide, if the journey would have been worth traveling.

So, the conclusion “The problem is so-so” after the analysis of the problem generally means that the process of solving will give less delight then one would want.

(Incidentally, I consider myself a person able to discuss both the quality of problems and the solver’s thoughts.)

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