Fairy chess composition
 No.1195 Neal Turner (Finland) Original Fairy problems JF – 2017(I): January – June

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 No.1195 Neal Turner Finland original – 15.03.2017 Solution: (click to show/hide) white Rc4 Sc5 white royal Ga7 black Ba1 Gc8 Sd5 Pc6e7f6 black royal Gf4 s#2                                               (3+7) SAT Royal Grasshopper a7, f4 Grasshopper c8 1.Sc5-e4 ! threat: 2.Se4-g3 + 2...rGf4-h2 # 1...Ba1-d4 {(2.Sg3+ rGh2??)} 2.rGa7-e3 + 2...f6-f5 # {(3.Sg5??)} 1...Ba1-b2 {(2.Sg3+ rGh2??)} 2.Se4-d6 + 2...Sd5-c7 # {(2..rGb4+??)} 1...Sd5-e3 + 2.rGa7-f2 + 2...Se3-f1 # { (C+ by Popeye 4.75)} The Grasshopper saves the problem by guarding c5. Now we're not getting a deadly check from 1..Sb6. I couldn't find a way to use orthodox material. With Royal Grasshoppers on the board Popeye allows pawns to promote to Grasshoppers – that's good enough for me! (Author)

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March 18, 2017 04:14

Having additional G on the board once royal Gs are there is really not any serious breach of fairy economy. Of course, if an author sets himself limits stricter than usual conventions, it might lead to some beautiful positions, after long fight with construction.

neal turner
March 18, 2017 11:16

I’m at the conservative end of the spectrum on this issue.
It seems to me that if one is trying to demonstrate the special properties of some fairy piece or condition then the closer one keeps to the orthodox the better, otherwise they might get lost in a confusion of fairy effects.
But how is SAT + Royal Grasshoppers anywhere near close to orthodox?
Because it’s not SAT+Circe or SAT+Madrasi and it’s not Neutral Royal Grasshoppers or Andernach Royal Grasshoppers.
It’s orthodox SAT and orthodox Royal Grasshoppers!
And I really would prefer to have only other orthodox pieces on the board, especially when I think of all those composers who’ve struggled to solve their constructional difficulties without resorting to fairy pieces.
However the Grasshopper seems to be particularly suited to this condition, while its immobility means that we avoid unwanted side-effects.
In one recent example I’ve also resorted to a Grasshopper, not to save the problem, but because the alternative would have been to use five orthodox pieces!
But I would never consider using any other type of fairy piece.

Kjell Widlert
March 18, 2017 20:06

I agree with Juraj (but the distance from Neal’s viewpoint is not that great).

Once you have introduced fairy pieces of some kind (such as grasshoppers), one more such piece is a fairly small flaw. Of course it is preferable to have only the thematic fairy pieces, but such an advantage must be weighed against any disadvantage from using only orthodox pieces (beside the thematic fairy pieces). So the technical grasshopper in this case does not bother me much.

One could even argue that once you have introduced some thematic fairy piece into a problem, that type of fairy piece is equivalent to the orthodox pieces (why give preference in fairy chess to the piece types that for historical reasons happen to appear in OTB chess games?) so they could be used freely as long as they are used economically. I would not go quite that far, so I prefer to use orthodox pieces as far as possible – but maybe without a good justification?

By the way, Neal’s problem is a real fairy problem. It is fairy in three ways: by using the condition SAT, by using royal pieces other than kings, and by using grasshoppers.

Nikola Predrag
March 19, 2017 02:05

The concept of a “royal piece” is the very essence of Chess, giving a meaning to the game. It’s absurd to say that G and rG are of the same type.
If the presence of rG allows a promotion into G, then the presence of a (royal) King should allow a promotion into “non-royal king” (immune to a check as any non-royal “type” of piece).

bS from d5 to e8,+bSd1,-bGc8 would spare bG, but spoiling the economy of thematic mechanism.

The author chose bbGc8, a negligible “failure” that gets lost in the depths of the idea.
Sorry Neal, I like your problem 🙂

neal turner
March 19, 2017 11:13

You’re right Nicola – I did ponder this possibility.
With this set-up there seems to be three ways to go:
– Ba1 & Se8 for two B vars
– Sd1 & Se8 for two S vars
– Ba1, Sd5 & Gc8 for two B vars and one S var.
Of the first two I would go for the B vars as I wouldn’t want to lose the 1..Bd4 line.
The temptation of retaining the third variation (at the cost of just a single extra unit) was too strong for me.

neal turner
March 19, 2017 11:17