Hubert Gockel 

Original Fairy problems
July – December’2018

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No.1346 Hubert Gockel

original – 22.11.2018

Solutions: (click to show/hide)

white Ka4 Qa5 black Pa6 Kh1 neutral Se4 Pb5f2

h#2             2 solutions         (2+2+3)
Neutral pieces e4, b5, f2

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Jacques Rotenberg
Jacques Rotenberg
November 26, 2018 09:58

It seems that something goes wrong here.
After 1.nSc5, Qd2 should not be legal because the neutral knight threatens the king and nothing « superguards » it

Georgy Evseev
Georgy Evseev
November 26, 2018 12:19

It is unfortunately current logic of neutral pieces. Today they are considered as “both white and black”. So, black part attacks white king, while white part superguards it. Similar logic is used in Madrasi, Back-to-Back, etc.

I do not like it, but have to live with it.

Jacques Rotenberg
Jacques Rotenberg
November 26, 2018 15:09

at least, such a strange way of understanding things should be written with the stipulation.

Jacques Rotenberg
Jacques Rotenberg
November 26, 2018 15:56

by the way, now, I understand the comment of the author : among the neutral pieces (and according to this way to associate neutral pieces and superguards) only the pawn can give check (or take any piece)

November 27, 2018 19:57

I never intended it to be like this. I omitted to define superguards clearly for Neutral pieces. This is a grave omission on my part I realised later.

I assumed that neutral pieces also can capture as each side has the option to consider each neutral piece as either white or black. So I assumed they do not observe.

Unfortunately both the programmers in Popeye and Winchloe independently thought differently.

November 27, 2018 20:07

Considering Neutral pieces as “half white-half black” was not the intention of its inventor T.R.Dawson and neither it is logical. If that is taken as definition, then no one can capture neutral pieces, as capturing one’s own pieces is not allowed without added conditions. He said while introducing Neutral pieces, “either side can consider them as black or white”.

Geoff Foster
Geoff Foster
November 28, 2018 00:04

A neutral pawn moves up the board when played by White and down the board when played by Black. The “white” part of a neutral pawn on b5 guards a white piece on a6 or c6, while the “black” part attacks a white piece on a4 or c4. So if the nPb5 is considered to guard the wK, then the guard is by the “black” part of a “both white and black” unit. I can’t see how the “black part attacks white king, while white part superguards it”.

Kjell Widlert
Kjell Widlert
November 28, 2018 02:04
Reply to  Geoff Foster

The “parts” referred to are parts of the nS, not parts of the nP!

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
November 28, 2018 00:17

-“either side can consider them as black or white”-

So, in a helpmate, both White & Black will consider a Neutral piece in a way that helps fulfilling the stipulation?!

Juraj Lörinc
Juraj Lörinc
November 28, 2018 00:41

Frankly speaking, I am quite surprised that the question of the neutral pieces mechanics is an issue.

It is already quite well established how they work together with Madrasi, Back-to-Back, Face-to-Face, Annan… and other conditions. There are at least 143 problems using these conditions in combination with neutral pieces in big WinChloe database, by 57 authors (! – not just a very small group of prolific advertisers).

I also see no wonder in fact that both WinChloe and Popeye programmers have implemented these interactions more-or-less in same way (I leave some percent for peculiarities), precisely because the mechanics is standardized. By the way, in the ancient times, Popeye was not programmed to work with this combination, Madrasi + neutrals resulted in error message.

It would be rather confusing to have the interaction between neutral pieces and fairy conditions defined differently. Of course, anyone can do it in it own way, but then the confusion would be probably growing.

Kjell Widlert
Kjell Widlert
November 28, 2018 02:20

This is a very odd effect, that the same piece which would like to capture the wK also superguards it to make it immune to capture. As Georgy points out, this is really a consequence of the interpretation that neutral pieces are white and black at the same time – and as Juraj points out, this convention is well established in several fairy forms.
With the other possible convention (the side to move may decide for each neutral whether to treat it as white or black at this particular moment) other effects would arise: for example, two neutrals (nRa1 + nRb1, say) would not paralyse each other in Madrasi: the side to move could choose to treat both pieces as his own and move one of them. This is also quite odd.

I really prefer the established convention of having the neutrals white and black simultaneously.

Georgy Evseev
Georgy Evseev
November 28, 2018 08:45

Historically, at least as I believe, this kind of apporoach was proposed by Petko Petkov in his article concerning interaction of neutral pieces with Madrasi condition. Sorry, I do not remember the year and source (in the nineties, I think).
It was then soon programmed in Popeye according to that interpretation.
While there are some intersting effects/motives which become possible with such approach, other equally interesting possibilities specific for another approach are now probably lost forever.

Thomas Maeder
Thomas Maeder
November 28, 2018 12:05

> With the other possible convention (the side to move may decide for each neutral whether to treat it as white or black at this particular moment)

This is not “other” (i.e. “different”).

It’s Black’s move when we are finding out if the black king is super-guarded.

Geoff Foster
Geoff Foster
November 28, 2018 23:57

Apologies for my mistake.

Another unusual possibility with neutral units that are both white and black is CnPP (Complete neutral Pawn Promotion): Neutral pawns always promote whenever they reach either promotion rank (first or eighth), regardless of how they come to arrive there. This was actually the case in some early versions of Popeye (e.g. version 4.65), but the “bug” was later corrected. CnPP was used in problem no.4 in Fairings 57.

In the above Fairings, which was the final issue of that magazine, Chris Feather made some interesting comments. Here is a sample: “… Black captures a (temporarily) white pawn and then tries to promote it on the black promotion rank. Not only do I find nothing wrong with that (since I consider nPs as permanently neutral, not intermittently white and black!) but I would also add … an historical [argument]: when neutral pieces were first introduced around 100 years ago, no rebirth conditions had yet been imagined, so
that the only way to promote was by transferring a pawn to the promotion rank in the normal way; thus the more interesting possibility simply did not exist!”

Jacques Rotenberg
Jacques Rotenberg
December 3, 2018 06:09

All that depends on your way of calculation.
If you look at the guards before or after you play the potential capture.

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