Andrew Buchanan
(Hong Kong)

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

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No.1127 Andrew Buchanan
Hong Kong

original – 19.09.2016

Solution: (click to show/hide)

White Kg2 Sh6 Black Kh4 Ph3

h=3                                     (2+2)   C-

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Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
September 20, 2016 00:39

A1.2 alone is a statement which becomes a chess rule only within the completeness of the system defined by ALL chess rules.
When you extract it from the system, it becomes a nonsense as it has no meaning. Then you could give a new meaning to that statement but it would NOT be a chess rule any more.

Even if the original A1.2 could bear your “interpretation” (‘…Law A1.2 tells us that if the player to move is already apparently checking or even checkmating the opposing king, then he is not allowed to capture that king, and must make another move…’), your problem would not be correct, since wK is mated on the diagram and the game is over.
The King of Black’s opponent is “placed ‘under attack’ in such a way that the opponent has no legal move”. Of course, if White had the move, then White would have a few legal moves.

Andrew Buchanan
Andrew Buchanan
September 20, 2016 02:24

Hi Nikola good to hear from you again.
I think you will find there is a perfectly consistent interpretation, and remember we are operating in a fairy domain.
Thanks for your interest! I will certainly be composing more of these by and by.
All the best,

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
September 20, 2016 12:38

Interpretation is perfectly meaningless since you didn’t give any relevant specific rules of “fairy domain”.
You just highlighted:

“… but for the purposes of this problem, Articles 1.2 & 3.7 of the Laws of Chess should see you through…”

If you claim that Black has the move, then White can’t make any legal move and wK is under attack.

Your “assessment” (…whether the opponent is actually checked or mated is made only when the opponent has the move…) should be given as a specific new rule of the supposed fairy domain.
(Or, highlight the Article of the Laws of Chess which says so.)

Different games have different rules. The nature of Chess is distinctive for the concept of CHECK which governs all other rules as the paramount general law. BTW, the same word often means both the game of chess and the check (e.g. šah).

If you change the essence of “check”, the game has no fundamental nature of chess any more.

4E71, as you interpret it, is not a variant of chess, just as football is not a variant of chess.

The other rules may change and they did change through the history.
Chess means that the side in check MUST make a move which parries the check, while all other potential moves are being suspended. That’s the paramount principle that gives the distinctive nature to Chess.
(The lack of a required check-parrying move is the checkmate.)

And that’s what the completeness of chess rules defines.
Once you recognize the structural hierarchy of the rules, you’ll know what IS and what IS NOT Chess in the essence.

All the best

Georgy Evseev
Georgy Evseev
September 22, 2016 15:00

This discussion is somewhat empty, because we are speaking about literal application of rules which only make sense in specific context outside of this context.

Maybe this is not yet football, but we are already very near to tug of war.

September 24, 2016 23:11

I suppose a move like 1.Kh5 is check to white?

andrew buchanan
andrew buchanan
September 25, 2016 00:38
Reply to  seetharaman

Yes exactly!

Andrew Buchanan
Andrew Buchanan
October 12, 2016 21:34

I won’t enter a long debate.

(A) Check & checkmate

In orthodox chess (= “Chess1”) or Chess960, we can be vague about the exact moment at which a checkmate happens. Is it in the mater’s turn as soon as the position shows “mate”? Or at the beginning of the matee’s turn? It never mattered. But Chess4E71 demands more precision. Under the Laws, Checkmate requires the final move to be legal (but interestingly not necessarily from a legal position). Therefore, the appearance that one is delivering mate at the beginning of one’s own turn would not end the game, as it cannot be the result of a legal move.

A move is only complete at the end of the turn (when the clock is hit, in over-the-board chess), and at that point the matee has the move. This is why we don’t need a new rule to say that the matee only considers checkmate in his own turn. It’s a logical implication of the existing rules.

How about check? Its only impact is that it’s illegal to move into or remain in check. It has no bearing if one is checking one’s opponent at the beginning of one’s own turn: the check certainly doesn’t magically become mate (see above). So once again we need no new rule.

Article A1.2 indicates that one can just smoothly play chess from such an anomalous position, without touching the king. Once we admit that these are merely illegal positions (or Chess4E71 starting positions) the issue just vanishes, like a removable singularity in complex analysis.

(B) Context

More generally, an argument has been presented that chess is driven by an unwritten but all-important context which constrains how rules can be used. Under this view, “context” is where the soul of chess truly lives, and if you throw away that context you are no longer playing chess – or even fairy chess.

I personally find the idea of such an unwritten context illogical, subjective and creatively limiting. So from my perspective: goodbye context. Fairy chess is indeed not chess; it is generalized chess. 1127 is just a tiny toy to introduce an idea, but I do have other varied Chess4E71 problems that I hope to publish over time.

Thanks & all the best,

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
October 13, 2016 13:21

if you don’t like Chess, you may invent a new game.
But why do you insist to call it by the name of the ancient game?

There is no Chess out of the context given by the laws of Chess.
An Outlaw violates the laws of a state but the life still goes on.
That’s because there are 2 systems, the “real life” and the abstract “legal system”.

There’s only one system in Chess and being out of the Chess laws is simply NOT Chess.
“It is illegal” means “it is NOT CHESS”.

“Leaving ONE’S own King in check” is NOT Chess, and the only possible LEGAL CHESS-PLAY is if the mentioned ONE makes a legal move.

You’re trying to apply the human “outlaw” practice where the laws are written exactly because they can be violated in reality.

However, violating the laws of the “Chess-universe” is absurd.
It IS Chess or it is NOT.

“One must not leave the door open” means “ONE must close the door”. People often don’t obey this, because there are no sanctions.
But in some trams, elevators or whatever, NOTHING happens unless that ONE has closed the door.

If the “side in check” can’t make a legal move, it’s either checkmate or it’s not Chess.
In Chess, the “side in check” has the move!
Nothing can happen before the “side in check” ITSELF parries the check!
Anything else is simply NOT CHESS, no matter how tiny or disguised an illegality might be!

October 14, 2016 10:21

Law A1.2 tells us that if the player to move is already apparently checking or even checkmating the opposing king, then he is not allowed to capture that king, “and must make another move. ”

I think there is misquote here. Nowhere it is stated that the guy who is checking the opposing his king “must make another move”. (It amounts to making two consecutive moves) When there is check it is opponent who is on the move.

Andrew Buchanan
Andrew Buchanan
October 14, 2016 17:42
Reply to  seetharaman


This is a good observation, thanks, but I disagree with your conclusion. The full quote is: “Leaving one’s own king under attack, exposing one’s own king to attack and also ’capturing’ the opponent’s king are not allowed.”

So none of these three kinds of moves are allowed. But nowhere is the obligation to make a move vitiated. Therefore one must simply make another move if one can.

Part of the definition of position is who has the move. If we know that regular chess is being played, then we can maybe conclude from the arrangement of pieces who must have the move. But in Chess 4E71 the resolution of paradox is that we may be in a starting position.

Two consecutive moves might be one way that an illegal position has been constructed, and obviously the regular chess-player in you rebels at that. But there are a million ways an illegal position might come about. That’s really irrelevant. The whole point of this exercise is to see how robust the Laws of Chess are to forward play in illegal positions or Chess 4E71.

Actually, the real difficulty (for which we may need a new rule) comes in a Chess 4E71 starting position with e.g. *White* to move apparently mated or patted. The issue here is that there is no legal prior move, and so we are not allowed to end the game by mate or pat. But White has no legal moves. (See Laws 5.1.a & 5.2.a) So the game is in limbo.

What do you think of that? 🙂

Basically, if we are engaged in Fairy Chess, and there is not a massive controversy going on somewhere, then we are doing something wrong. Comfortable Fairy Chess, where we are just seeing how many Lacny and Grimshaw hoops we can make some rotated chess figurines jump through, is fine. It’s not for me at the moment, but I respect it.

But we aren’t doing our job as generalized chess enthusiasts if someone is not pushing the boundaries of what the meaning of chess is. There’s a class of Filipino street problems, typically #3, which are constructed with about 25 White pieces in order to make them harder. (This is important because there is money at stake!) One inspiration for Chess 4E71 is that I want to embrace them too. (Though as it turned when I looked at the FIDE rules, the pawn rules are a bit different.)

So enjoy the jarring feeling of your king “apparently” being in check,, of weird pawn stuff, and of Limbo. There’s more to come 🙂

Georgy Evseev
Georgy Evseev
October 14, 2016 12:02

There was period when, especially in blitz games, it was possible to win the game by capturing the enemy king after opponent’s illegal move.

I think that this was the reason for today text of Article 1.2.

At least in the rules from 1988 there is no such article.

Andrew Buchanan
Andrew Buchanan
October 14, 2016 18:01
Reply to  Georgy Evseev

Yes that could well be the reason. In Appendix A of the Laws, concerning Rapidplay, A.4 is maybe fruitful for construction: “If the arbiter observes both kings are in check, or a pawn on the rank furthest from its starting position, he shall wait until the next move is completed. Then, if the illegal position is still on the board, he shall declare the game drawn.”

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
October 14, 2016 19:53

If ONE is doing nothing HIMSELF, he HIMSELF is leaving the things as they are. And if that is illegal, the only legal possibility is if the same ONE (HIMSELF) DOES something relevant.
Waiting for the opponent to do something is illegal.
If your opponent is going to make a move, YOU are leaving your King in check.
In such a position, any hypothetical forward play, with the opponent having the move, is IMPOSSIBLE IN CHESS.

October 16, 2016 05:14


Maybe you should create a fairy condition – « initial chess » or something like that – with clear rules concerning e.g. pawn promotion.

In such a case, I would not consider the wK to be checked in your diagram position, just because there is no past and hence no previous checking action – the position bPh3 wKg2 with black on move is just a matter of fact, and you’re right it is illegal for black to capture the white King.

Now the difficulty is to construct a problem which is more than an illustrative puzzle for the new condition – I mean finding an original idea where it is mandatory to see a King which is apparently (but not really IMO) in check.

Andrew Buchanan
Andrew Buchanan
October 16, 2016 17:13

Hi Nicolas,

Thanks for your interest.

The expanded definition of Chess 4E71 is associated with the later problem No.1135. However the definition link at 1127 goes to the older version, which is hardly a definition at all. I hope Julia could please update the 1127 link.

1135 is a non-toy problem where apparent check is key to the logic, but is not present in the diagram. However in the toy 1127 the apparent check is indeed mandatory because it drives the movement capabilities of the Black pawn.

There are many other related problems (under the Lese Majeste keyword) in Problemas issues July & October 2015.

What’s the difference between Lese Majeste & Chess 4E71? For aristocrat problems, not very much, but when it comes to pawns, I felt it was better to define comprehensive rules for a fairy format rather than expect people to guess how the rules might adapt to an illegal position. So any Lese Majeste problem could probably now be taken to be 4E71.

I have a whole raft of new problems and ideas. Currently waiting for Julia to post a non-controversial mathematical 4E71 problem before I send the next one.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
October 16, 2016 18:00

A crucial fairy rule which hypothetically might give a meaning to the “new condition” is missing.
The mentioned “implications” have no origin in Chess (laws).
– “…Law A1.2 tells us that if the player to move is already apparently checking or even checkmating the opposing king, then he is not allowed to capture that king, and must make another move…”
– “…In such a case, I would not consider the wK to be checked in your diagram position, just because there is no past and hence no previous checking action…”

Article 1.2 doesn’t allow these speculation. First change 1.2 and we’ll see what will be left of the Chess.

Until then, White can’t possibly leave his King under attack.

Georgy Evseev
Georgy Evseev
October 16, 2016 20:14

According to the first statement of A1.2 the position 1127 is checkmate: white king is under attack and they have no legal move (as it is not their turn). Black have already won)))).

Andrew Buchanan
Andrew Buchanan
October 17, 2016 00:57
Reply to  Georgy Evseev

Hi Georgy,

Please read A1.2 again.

“The objective of each player is to place the opponent’s king ‘under attack’ in such a way that the opponent has no legal move. The player who achieves this goal is said to have ‘checkmated’ the opponent’s king and to have won the game. ”

Here the player has not *placed* the opponent’s king under attack. This is a Chess 4E71 starting position. There have been no prior moves in the game, so no placing has happened. So no checkmate.

See also A5.2.a which emphasizes that the mating move must be legal.


Georgy Evseev
Georgy Evseev
October 17, 2016 09:24

The means of “placing the opponent’s king ‘under attack’” are not mentioned – masterful dice throwing is OK method. And there were nothing contradicting Articles 3 and 4 in reaching this position.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
October 17, 2016 10:21

You may place someone in trouble exactly by doing nothing.
Black has checkmated wK exactly by NOT making a move.
This immediately ends the game, so even the help-stipulation doesn’t allow Black to save wK from the jeopardy.

Andrew Buchanan
Andrew Buchanan
October 17, 2016 12:01

Hi Georgy & Nikola,

Of course, I had wondered about your interpretation. I tried to have no pre-conceptions. After all, we’re talking about a situation that the rules were never intended to handle.

Taking Article A1.2 by itself, I felt it was about 80% likely that placement means actually taking a move. In chess, one cannot pass. Also, I felt that having a single point at the beginning of the turn at which end of game status is checked for the moving player is more elegant and practical than sub-dividing a turn into different phases, particularly when conditional moves are to be considered.

I don’t think these two points are conclusive, but then we combine them with Articles 5.1.a, 5.2.a & 5.2.b, all of which elaborate on the end of the game to insist that the last move must be legal, These positions cannot checkmate. I felt that “place” here implies active movement.

However I am getting bored of this discussion point. Please don’t just repeat yourselves again on this one tiny issue.

With white to move in the starting position, the really interesting question is what happens not when Black is apparently in check, but when White is apparently mated, stalemated or in dead position, bearing in the requirement for legal last move. I like the interpretation of Limbo here.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
October 17, 2016 17:27

I would be terribly bored if I haven’t been upset by the public propagation of false “implications”.

The mentioned articles don’t imply what you claim.
The complete context of Chess Laws offers no other way to be checked or checkmated except by the opponent’s move.
Your “implication” from the Chess context directly relies on the same rule that you want to change into a fairy rule.

You’re getting bored and not really interested in the opportunity to discuss your own ideas. This behavior speaks for itself.

peter harris
peter harris
October 19, 2016 13:36

This problem raises metaphysical and ethical issues.

I suggest that it be referred to The Society of the 9th Pawn.

[The society was founded in London in 1897 to investigate paranormal phenomena].

As an example of their activity:

In April 1921 they were given the following report written by an eyewitness to the happening:

Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon,
The little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

The report was considered at a Special Meeting.

All issues were satisfactorily explained including: the cat’s musical ability, how the cow overcame gravity and lack of oxygen and how and why dogs laugh. (One member at the meeting said his dog often laughs and rolls around on the carpet when doing so).

Regarding the dish, the meeting agreed that the report by the witness must be inaccurate; that the movement of the dish must have been caused by telekinetic powers of either the cat or the dog.

In conclusion the meeting expressed the hope that the cow returned home safely.

[The full minutes of the meeting can be found in the Society’s Journal for the year 1922].

October 19, 2016 16:27
Reply to  peter harris

Really funny! 🙂

Andrew Buchanan
Andrew Buchanan
October 20, 2016 15:23

Excellent! 😀

Actually, the definition of 4E71 has been revised, as I iterate towards comprehensive rules and conventions from the simple starting point that *every* layout of orthodox pieces be legal. See 1135 for the revised definition. But the definition given at the toy problem 1127 is still the original version: I don’t know why it’s not been updated.

With the refined definition, the text part of the solution to 1127 is a lot shorter & less impressionistic:

“Because Black to move is apparently giving check, it is a starting position. So the bP started on h3 and under the 4E71 conventions (a) can make a double move and (b) must stay as a pawn if it reaches the first rank.”

I would appreciate if Julia might update the definition and the solution here. Please all have a shot at 1135 which is not a toy problem.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
October 20, 2016 20:35

Andrew, your own definitions of 4E71 (previous and new) tell that 1135 might be legal only as the initial position.
And that 1127 is an illegal position.
Also, if the diagram 1127 is claimed to be the initial position, it would be illegal even with White to move.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x