Claude Beaubestre

Original Fairy problems
January – June’2020

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No.1472 Claude Beaubestre

Happy New Year 2020
original – 11.01.2020

Solution: (click to show/hide)

White Ka1 Black Kb4 Rb2 Pd3

ser-=4                                        (1+3)
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Stephen Emmerson
Stephen Emmerson
January 11, 2020 20:13

White can only claim the draw if it is White’s turn to move (9.2.1), but one could argue if one were being difficult 🙂 that the side with the move after this stipulated series is complete is not defined! (And, if it were Black to move, the same position with the same player to move (9.2.2) has not yet arisen for the third time).
Question: why the bP and need to constrain the wK?

Stephen Emmerson
Stephen Emmerson
January 11, 2020 20:14

Oh, and Happy New Year!

January 12, 2020 10:46

The diagram it actually a dead position, so the ‘solution’ is illegal.

Kjell Widlert
Kjell Widlert
January 12, 2020 17:40

The problem should not be taken too seriously, but it is fun to try to be serious for a while…
I agree with Stephen: the final position is a draw only if it is assumed that White will play series moves for at least five moves (but not indefinitely, for then we have a dead position [with a draw] as soon as White has a lone K – no mate would ever be possible.
I agree with Joost too: as all White moves are forced, we actually have a dead position in the diagram (but still only if we assume that the White series will be at least five moves long – if Black is to move after move 4, is is easy to reach a mate).
I also agree about Pd3: I don’t see the need for it, White cannot reach a draw or a stalemate in any other way by moving to c2. And without it, we don’t have a dead position either, so the author’s intention would work (still under the assumption of a 5+ move series)!
We should also note that the stipulation is a trick: this is not a series stalemate, which “ser-=” normally denotes, but a series stalemate.

François Labelle
François Labelle
January 12, 2020 18:53

I disagree with some of you.
The Dead Position Rule doesn’t apply here according to the Codex since this isn’t a retro-problem.
An automatic version of the 3-fold Repetition Rule applies to all compositions. Draw “claims” are relevant to over-the-board play only.
ser-= must mean “series stalemate” and not “series draw” otherwise most ser-= and h= compositions that are long enough would be cooked in 4 moves or so.
This means that the correct stipulation is “ser-draw 4”, but in that case the bP is not needed.
In the actual problem, the moves are forced, so the problem is a valid ser-~4 (~ means “any move” in Popeye”). Maybe this is the best stipulation for this problem?

Kjell Widlert
Kjell Widlert
January 12, 2020 19:53

Yes, you’re right – I’m the one who should know (being involved in the Codex for a long time). The Codex was amended in Ostróda 2015 to state that the Dead Position rule applies to non-retro problems only if expressly stated in the stipulation.
So no Dead Position in this problem!

January 12, 2020 22:24

This problem was only a smile to wish a happy new year to Julia. But it was fun to read all these serious comments …
By the way I agree that the stipulation ser-~4 proposed by François replaces my own stipulation.
I wish you all a happy 2020.