Fairy chess composition

# No.1688 (AG&DP)

Original Fairy problems
JF-2022-I:
01.01.2022 - 30.06.2022

Definitions / Определения

No. 1688 Armin Geister &
Daniel Papack

Germany
original - 31.01.2022

black Ph4h3g2d2 Bh1a5 Sg1 Qf8 Re8c8 Kd8 white Ph2e2c7e7f7g5g6 Kh6 Qg7
ser-h#8                       9+11
Mars Circe

Solution: (click to show/hide)

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Seetharaman
February 1, 2022 12:25

Four switchbacks to release WQ and a reciprocal Bristol as a bonus 😀!

Last edited 2 years ago by Seetharaman
Geoff Foster
February 12, 2022 00:25

Initially, 1…Qxd2?? is illegal because of check from bPg2 (via g7). The plan is to promote bPg2 to R and then move it back to g2, but 1.Sf3+?? moves the bS to a white square, from where it checks the wK via g8. Also, 1.Qg8? 2.Sf3 fails because 3.g1=R+?? checks the wK via h8. Therefore 1.Qh8! 2.Rg8! 3.Sf3 (allowed because g8 is occupied) 4.g1=R (allowed because h8 is occupied). After 5.Rg2, Black wants to restore the position, starting with 6.Sg1 (not 6.Se5?, 6.Sd4? or 6.Se1?, which would stop the intended mate). With the bS back on a dark square the bR can leave g8 without checking the wK, so 7.Re8 blocks e8, preventing the bK from moving there). The wQ is pinned by bBa5 (via f8), so finally 8.Qf8 unpins the wQ.
Very nice logic for all the switchbacks!

Walter Lindenthal
July 5, 2022 18:00

I would think the diagram is illegal! In Marscirce a capturing stone is reborn BEFORE capturing. An orthodox pawn here can only change his file by capturing. For white pawns this should mean they are reborn before (further) capturing on line 2 of their “current” file (thus changing ONLY ONE file by diverging from “current” line 2). As wPe2 and wPh2 are still on their home square (thus blocking possible rebirth squares for another wP), it seems impossible that THREE other wP (f7, g5, g6) are “inside” this zone of files e-h!

July 6, 2022 00:51

Walter, an interesting point about Mars Circe position legality, this perhaps might be some idea for retro problem. However, according to current standards, legality of fairy position is generally not required – see footnote 18 to the Codex for Chess Composition.

Walter Lindenthal
July 6, 2022 11:36
Reply to  Juraj Lörinc

(Remark: After retirement now I’m more or less a VERY interested newcomer to problem/fairy/retro-chess with almost no background in orthodox chess, and I worked in professional IT)

I fully understand that fairy chess requires some kind of “illegality” as compared with a proof game (retracting to the original, orthodox setup on the board), otherwise there could not even exist a fairy diagram. But should this lead to accepting logically “impossible” diagrams? What about bPg7, bPh7, bPh6 – would you accept that? Or a closed black pawn line (the bK behind the line) and a bQ on h8 – would you accept that? Or a bBa6, bPb7, bPd7 – would you accept that? Or would you still accept all of those if it has no meaning for the solution, or only if an appropriate fairy condition is given in addition (eg make&take, or Mulehopper)? So, is it true in the full meaning of the wording “…legality of fairy position is generally not required”… but we still talk about chess logic as a base of fairy chess? In my opinion there should definitely be a logical borderline for this kind of compromise in legality – see eg JF-1692 (G.Tar, Anticirce).

Footnote [18] in Codex is a poor wording, because the second sentence starts with “It also does not apply…” – which is the reference for “It…”??? And according to this footnote any Retro with (eg) Interchange Circe (PWC) or Strict Circe with less than 32 stones should be illegal??? And what about the final wording of the footnote “… unless it is essential to the content of the composition” – what could be more essential for a composition than the diagram, if you try to “decipher” what the problem is about…???

And BTW “C+” does only show that der software solves a problem in the same way, it does not prove that the software solves it in a “correct” way…

shankar ram
July 6, 2022 11:52

Hello, Walter.
Welcome to problems, fairies and retros!
The questions you raise are not new.
You may find some related threads at http://matplus.net/start.php?px=1657097462&app=forum&unfold=2&act=home
And, of course, you can also post new questions!

Joost de Heer
July 6, 2022 12:45

JF-1692 uses the last move to justify the ep-capture, and therefore retro content is enabled.
In the same vein: Do you accept a PWC composition with less than 32 pieces? Do you accept a horizontal cylinder or toroid, which are inherently illegal because e1 and e8 are directly connected?

Walter Lindenthal
July 6, 2022 13:13
Reply to  Joost de Heer

Now we are at the core of the interpretation! According to Codex FN 18 a PWC or Strict Circe composition (esp. Retro) with less than 32 pieces actually would be illegal (which actually is an unwanted deduction). But any different type of board is legal due to FN 14c. In my opinion article 7, especially FN 14 gives a rather good framework idea about legality in fairychess (although only as “… for example”): It does NOT list an illegal position of pieces as an “accepted” compromise, which IMO is fully coherent – which quality would a solution have based on wrong assumptions or an inconsistent diagram, definitely no logical quality, but maybe purely artistic (like the red dot on the white canvas)…
… So, you have to allow it by extending the interpretation (possibly) in order to enrich the artistic effects of fairychess, but where will be the limits? And is chess the right base for such freethinking?… I don’t know…

July 6, 2022 21:13

Free thinking in fairy chess is more than welcome. Everybody is free to set his own ways how to approach various aspects. However there are some standards that usually better be respected otherwise the individual risks being misunderstood or not understood at all.
For me the most obvious example is the number of utilized fairy elements. While grasshopper, leo, lion and locust are all quite well understood fairy pieces and each of them allows creating many good and understandable compositions, putting them together into one problem might be recipe for repelling anyone interested in fairy chess problems. Too many too similar elements, confusion, etc. The same holds for too many fairy conditions in one problem, very few people are willing to invest their time for studying such monsters only to find it was lost time (there are exceptions confirming the rule).
Then legality of fairy problems is not required. However, depending on the circumstances I can accept black pawns trio Ph7, Ph6, Pg7 – or not. While in Circe this is totally legal, in “almost orthodox” fairy problem this could be too disturbing, while in other positions this could be no problem. Everybody has his limit of acceptance set differently.
(Speaking from viewpoint of persion who has seen, solved, composed and judged a few fairies of almost all kinds…)

Jacques Rotenberg
July 7, 2022 10:32
Reply to  Juraj Lörinc

With all due respect, Juraj, I don’t quite agree with you.
“…Free thinking in fairy chess is more than welcome. …”
it begins well! I fully agree, even more, I would say
“…Free thinking in chess problem is more than welcome. …”
-not only in fairies!-
but, you go on…
“…However there are some standards that usually better be respected otherwise the individual risks being misunderstood or not understood at all…”
To be misunderstood or not understood at all is very common place. So what ?
If you are really afraid of being misunderstood, the best you can do, is try your best to understand other people.

July 7, 2022 21:28

Thank you, Jacques, for bringing this “mis-understanding point” forward. For me it was a key point in my post, I was trying to give a few examples. Let’s take the example of fairy chess problem with too many different fairy pieces, in worst case even with similar movement. Do you think there are chess composition lovers queueing to analyze such complicated chess problem? Even if author invested hours and days into creating it, solvers and just enthusiasts prefer less demanding positions in terms of fairy chess elements number and complication. I’ve been on both sides…

Walter Lindenthal
July 7, 2022 10:46
Reply to  Juraj Lörinc

Juraj, thanks for bringing aspects up such as “…there are some standards that usually better be respected otherwise…”, or “…can accept black pawns trio Ph7, Ph6, Pg7 – or not…”, or “…Everybody has his limit of acceptance set differently”, etc. This means not only freedom of thinking (composer) but also freedom of interpretation (judge, solver)… agreed, this way you’d talk about fairychess as pure artistry. And there is no “absolute” right nor wrong…

So, would you agree to the same kind of freedom when it comes to “…set his own ways how to approach…” within a field defined by a system of rules – just ignore the rules if they don’t fit… and where’s a limit then (again “limit of acceptance set differently”)? IMO there should be a difference between on the one hand those “adaptations” necessary to allow fairychess to exist and flourish (here Marscirce) as well as “artistic” freedom in how to approach, and on the other hand “errors” committed right under those VERY adaptations (“illegal” pawns position in the diagram)? So, you might feel there’s freedom of interpretation of gravity of those errors, too…

July 7, 2022 21:30

Even freedom should be used in moderation. Otherwise the author might be free – and alone. Very few or nobody would care about his creations.

Walter Lindenthal
July 9, 2022 13:15
Reply to  Juraj Lörinc

Juraj, you talked about moderation and circumstances and “…some standards that usually better be respected…”. Here I never wanted to address issues of too many / too different fairy elements, where I fully agree. I just wanted to address basic chess logic and logical requirements for a meaningful fairychess composition. I just noticed it, here not only one of the THREE wP (f7, g6, g5 – see before) create an “illegal” position in the diagram, but also the bPg2 is “illegal”, because – under Marscirce – he must have crossed from f7 (original or rebirth square) by capture to g6(!), but then there would be NO bypassing both wP in front of him on the g-line in order to get to g2.
The only (invalid!) explanation could be a temporary shift of wP to the f-line, letting pass by the bP to g2(!), and later returning wP to the g-line, all must be caused by a capture from their home square (at first g2xf3 and later f2xg3). Due to a limited number of w/b stones this would involve at least 3 bP from [b7,c7,e7] (the pawn a7 is out of reach for f3), thus you would need more than the available 16 w stones to be captured in order to bring a sufficient number of bP to f3 and g3 for capture…!
It’s basically not just about this composition, but I still try (as a learner!) to understand especially the term “generally” in your comment “…legality of fairy position is generally not required”. The issue here IMO is not legality but impossibility under Marscirce! So, would you still classify the diagram as legal, would it still be within your limits of acceptance? Thanks!

July 9, 2022 15:35

I have to admit that I do not understand the difference between “illegality” and “impossibility”. My understanding was that position is illegal if it is impossible to reach it from the initial position, so unless I miss something important, two terms can be considered as equivalent.
However, saying – “legality of fairy chess position is generally not required” – implies there might be some specific cases. And these specific cases are precisely these compositions in which the retro element is explicitly required in the solution. For them legality of the position is important.
In the diagram 1688 I do not care about legality.

shankar ram
July 10, 2022 06:59
Reply to  Juraj Lörinc

I think all impossible situations are illegal. But not vice-versa. For example, a side can expose his King to check: illegal but not impossible!
A line piece cannot pass through another piece: impossible and (therefore) illegal.

July 10, 2022 16:13
Reply to  shankar ram

I think I understand your point, at least to the following degree: moves that are physically impossible (examples: Bc1-h6 in the initial position, any moves leading to heap of black pawns Ph7, Ph6, Pg7) and moves that are physically possible, but prevented by other rules (e.g. your example exposure of the king to the check, or even white 0-0 with f1 attacked by Black). From the legality point of view they do not differ: it is not possible to make such moves due to whole set of rules. If the legality is required, then all should be avoided in the proof game legalizing the position. If legality is not required (default for fairy chess problems, unless retro element is involved), then I do not have to care about the past.
What I understand also, it is the fact that for some fairy chess lovers legality of the position is welcome addition or even must from their viewpoint. As a criterion taken into account when evaluating the quality of specific composition, it is quite natural.

Jacques Rotenberg
July 6, 2022 01:40

with black pawns on e7 and f7 it is mars-circe legal and it works – C+
I agree with Juraj, it is a very small detail

Walter Lindenthal
July 12, 2022 16:00

Let’s contemplate it from a different perspective: Is there a specific need for wPg6? You don’t need to cover a possible flight square of wK, but what else? As far as I could retro-analyze, without the wPg6 the diagram should even be legally(!) established, also bPg2 (the main reason for pinning the wQg7) would now be legal, allowing the given solution.
Instead of removing the “illegal” wPg6 you could alternatively exchange the “illegal” wPg5 with a w Wazir (having been legally promoted on a8 or b8), thus also making the whole diagram legal(!), but resulting in a shorter solution: 1.Qg8 2.Sf3 3.g1=W 4.Wg2 5.Sg1 6.Qf8 Qxd2# (via d1).

Jacques Rotenberg
July 21, 2022 15:09

Walter Lindenthal, did you read my comment on july 6 ?

Walter Lindenthal
July 21, 2022 20:14

Jacques Rotenberg: Yes, I read it. Unfortunately I misread it as “with WHITE pawns on e7 and f7 it is MC legal”, so I did not understand what you meant, and then the discussion here developed further… The “C+” means almost nothing (sorry it is not a quality mark, just confirming that the software found the same (wrong or right) solution, but it does NOT confirm correctness of the software)! There are possibly many ways how the diagram could be made MC legal, e.g. remove the unnecessary(?) wPg6, or replace wPg5 with (e.g.) wSg5. I only wanted to express that the presented diagram (with these(!) 6 wP on files e-h) can easily be recognized not only as illegal but as technically impossible under MC, with the consequence that also bPg2 such is illegal by Retro analysis (see below)…

Now lets turn to your original “with BLACK pawns on e7 and f7 it is MC legal”: there would be 5 bP in the zone of the 4 files e-h, two files at the “entrance” to the zone are “sealed” with bPe7/f7. A Pawn CANNOT RETURN to its home square under MC, only “interim” by capturing a stone 1 square diagonally forward (for bP on line 6), but which brings them in the same moment again AWAY from the home square to the capture square (on line 6). Consequently bPe7/f7 must NOT have moved yet! So, how would the additional third bP on files g or h could have “entered” this zone, if e7 (and f7) was never a free square? A Pawn can only change files by capturing, and under MC this requires a free home square at the current file to execute the capture. Sorry, IMO it seems equally technically impossible under MC (not only illegal)!

Jacques Rotenberg
July 22, 2022 00:50

ok… so
1) C+ means that a dedicated program (here : winchloe) found a solution, and only one, unless there is a bug, it means that the problem is correct
2) the white pawn g6 is needed (against a cook like 1.Qg8 2-5.Sf3-e5-g6-h8 6.g1=R 7.Rg2 8.Qf8)
3) you are right about the legality, my mistake, with black pawns on e7 and f7 it remains illegal

Jacques Rotenberg
July 22, 2022 06:06

Your suggestion of a white knight g5 is C+ and the position, with a white pawn g6 seems legal

Walter Lindenthal
July 22, 2022 16:18

ad 1) C+: yes, I agree, this would be the intention of a C+ mark. After much testing I have no doubts that the presented “solution” (which I like very much!) is correct and unique. But evidently C+ does neither confirm a check of “correctness” of the diagram (would it have to do that at all under the current legality-interpretations for fairies? BUT e.g. Popeye does not even identify an impossibility in a fully orthodox diagram situation with e.g. Pg7 Ph7 Ph6 – you can easily check that!), nor can it guarantee that the software itself is correctly “running the move calculations (or predominant interpretations)”. So actually C+ does not necessarily “prove” that the problem is correct, it ONLY shows the presented solution’s conformity with the specific realization of the dedicated(!) program and only within its scope!

ad 2) yes, you are right, the wPg6 indeed is needed for a unique solution in ser-h#8, sorry, my fault.

The issue at hand that should be discussed more intensely IMO is the “qualities” of a (wonderful!) chess solution, if it’s based on a technically “impossible” diagram – is there insofar a difference if you apply orthodox conditions versus fairy conditions? Of course, “impossible” means at the same time illegal, but illegal can be understood as “orthodox illegal” or “fairy illegal”, what I specifically mean is a “technically impossible” basement for the chess problem under the specifically given fairy condition (here it’s orthodox stones only PLUS Marscirce). Some concessions have to be made to allow fairy at all, of course. But how far should you allow to go with this interpretation? Is it really reasonable to follow a principle of “…legality of fairy position is generally not required”!? I feel this damages the standing of fairy chess, and it seems to hamper the combination of fairy with retro, both assumedly unnecessary. We should better find an improved definition for “fairy-legal” concessions to enable quality fairy chess than resigning to (technical) impossibilities… Today we might rather accept the illegal wPg5 than a legal wSg5 (due to “economy” considerations)!

If you want to cover all kinds of imaginable fairy-situations (like 20 bS on the board, or the likes) then you could also argue here that a 9th wP was placed from scratch on f1 and a 9th bP on h6, as this was not an orthodox starting setup but a fairy one! This way the presented diagram would be fully legal! So, I do understand the difficulties… but where are the meaningful limits!?

Jacques Rotenberg
July 22, 2022 16:38

on point 1) :
C is for “computer” not for “correct”
C+ means computer tested, not more
about “legality” or other questions of that kind, I am not qualified.
My personal view is that an author should try to make something “interesting” or “nice”, and this seems much difficult already.
To give limitations of any kind that would eventually help to discard a good problem, in my eyes, looks like a mistake.

Walter Lindenthal
July 24, 2022 13:42

If my (modest) understanding of series-mover is correct, then economy considerations (“Zeit-Ökonomie”) have to be applied? So, what about shorter solutions (with the “illegal” wPg6 or even without it!), there seem to be many, e.g.:
(in 2) 1.d1=R 2.Rd3(or Rd5) Q×R# (via d1)
or
(in 2) 1.d1=Q 2.Qd2(…d6) Q×Q# (via d1)
or
(in 3) 1.d1=R 2.Bd2 3.Rb1(or Rf1) Q×B# (via d1)
or
(in 3) 1.d1=Q 2.Bd2 3.Qf1 Q×B# (via d1)
or
(in 6) 1.Qg8 2-5.Sf3-(e.g.)e1-c2-a1(!) 6.Qf8 Q×d2# (via d1)
or
(in 6, only without wPg6) 1.Qg8 2-5.Sf3-e5-g6(!)-h8 6.Qf8 Q×d2# (via d1)
or
(in 8, economic?) 1.Qh8 2Rg8 3-6.Sf3-(e.g.)d4-b3-a1(!) 7.Re8 8.Qf8 Q×d2# (via d1)

Jacques Rotenberg
July 24, 2022 23:01

I cannot really understand : economy is not an aim in itself. The authors want to show 4 switchbacks -moreover, they make a problem in 8, how can it be shorter ?
On the other hand ” time economy” (“Zeit-Ökonomie” as you say) is not a parameter. There is no rule that can tell you what a good problem is. Sometimes an author wants to show his idea as short as possible, sometimes not.

Walter Lindenthal
July 25, 2022 09:52

Honestly? A good problem is one that combines illegality (impossibility) of the diagram with disregard of standing principles (rules)? I assume, nobody would accept (e.g.) a “wonderful” #4 if it can be solved in 3 moves (=cook)! The same must actually be true here with a series-mover. It might be much simpler to construct a “good problem” if you neglect the basic rules, in principle (but not implying this happens intentionally)! So you’d say the following is not the correct aspect (from http://echekk.fr/?Aide-de-serie): “L’énoncé annonce en général le nombre de coups que la série-solution de l’auteur comporte. C’est le nombre maximal de coups qu’une série doit comporter pour satisfaire l’énoncé. Une série plus courte suivie d’un coup de mat serait une solution non désirée par l’auteur, c’est-à-dire une démolition” (at the moment I couldn’t find another source). I’m just a learner/beginner, but sorry, this kind of “rule bending” approach bumps strongly into my respect for these chess variants!

Dmitri Turevski
July 25, 2022 10:28

(in 2) 1.d1=R 2.Rd3(or Rd5) Q×R# (via d1)

But the white queen cannot move because of the check from bPg2, that’s the point of the problem. Or did you mean some different setting?

Walter Lindenthal
July 25, 2022 11:57

Oh my god, how embarrassing! Yes your’re absolutely right, it’s a unique ser-h#8 then, how could I’ve lost sight of this most important part of it; it’s a 4-way threat to be solved… I sincerely APOLOGIZE to all of you!!! THANK YOU for this clarification!

Walter Lindenthal
July 27, 2022 14:06

I hardly dare to maintain my objection, but I still think this is NOT a unique solution! What about the following (partly alternative) sequences of moves for the given stipulation ser-h#8 under Mars Circe:
1.Qg8! 2.Sf3 3.g1=S! 4.Sf3-e1 5.Se1-g2! 6.d1=Q(R) 7.Bd2! 8.Qd1-f1(Rd1-b1,f1) Q×Bd2# (via d1).
The source (http://echekk.fr/?Aide-de-serie) I referred to earlier says: “Le problème est également démoli si l’on trouve une solution de longueur égale à celle de l’auteur, mais différente d’elle” (…ser-h#… is spoiled, if there is a different solution with the same length)! So, isn’t it primarily about the standing principles (rules) to follow and not about the (supposed) intention of the composer…? I’m REALLY confused as a learner! THANKS!

Joost de Heer
July 27, 2022 15:13

No cook: Black defends by Qf1-d1

Walter Lindenthal
July 27, 2022 16:12
Reply to  Joost de Heer

Yes, you’re right! The wQd2 can neither mate directly, she too requires the empty home square d1 for the mate move! THANKS a lot!

Paul Raican
July 29, 2022 12:39

Tested also by Jacobi with this input:
cond marscirce
stip ser-h#8 forsyth 2rkrq2/2P1PPQ1/6PK/b5P1/7p/7p/3pP1pP/6sb
(in less than an hour)

Paul Raican
July 29, 2022 13:05

Without bBa5, we have a shorter solution: 1.Qg8 2.Sf3 3.g1=S 4.Se1 5.Sg2 Q-d1xd2#

Walter Lindenthal
July 29, 2022 15:24
Reply to  Paul Raican

By removing stones (e.g. without bBh1) you might find other “valid” (shorter) solutions:
1.Qg8 2-5.Sf3-e1-c2-a1/a3 6.g1=S 7.Qf8 Q×d2# (via d1)

Paul Raican
July 29, 2022 15:19

Without wPg6, we have an alternative solution: 1.Qg8 2.Sf3 3.Se5 4.Sg6 5.Sh8 6.Qf8 7.g1=R 8.Rg2 Q-d1xd2#

Walter Lindenthal
July 29, 2022 15:31

Finally, I’ve tried so many further (unconventional) approaches with the given stones, but all of them resulted in more than 8 b moves, or an illegality in a move, or the mate could not be established in one (unimpeded) final w move. Amongst them were different (invalid!) variations of, e.g.:
1.Qg8 2.d1=S 3.Bd2! 4-6.Sc3-b1-a3 7.Qh8 f8=wQ… but NO!
nor
1.Qh8 2.BxQg7(via f8)! f8=wQ!… but NO!
nor
1.Qg8 2-3.Sf3-e1 4.Qh8 5.g1=R! 6.Rg2 7.Qg8 8-9.Sf3-g2… but NO!
nor
1.Qg8 2.Sf3 3.g1=S! 4.Sf3-e1 5.Se1-g2! f8=wQ… but NO!
nor
1.Qg8 2-5.Sf3-e1-c2-a1! 6.g1=S 7-8.Bg2-f1! Q×d2# (via d1)… but NO!
nor
1.Qg8 2-5.Sf3-d4-e6-f8! 6.g1=S 7-8.Bg2-f1! Q×d2# (via d1)… but NO!
nor
1.Qh8 2.d1=R 3.Bd2 4-5.Ra1-a8 6.BxQg7(via f8)! f8=wQ+… but NO!

So, my final conclusion is: the authors’ given solution is unique and perfect – congratulations! …(but in the diagram I’d still change the “illegal” wPg5 to a legal wSg5)…

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