Julia's Fairies

No.593 (KP&EM)

Kostas Prentos (USA) &
Emmanuel Manolas


Original Problems, Julia’s Fairies – 2014 (III): September – December

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Please send your original fairy problems to: julia@juliasfairies.com

No.593 by Kostas Prentos & Emmanuel Manolas – Surprising mates by Bg6 and Re2 with use of Andernach Lions! (JV)


Andernach Lion (or Hurdle Colour Changing Lion):  hops on Queen-lines over a hurdle changing its color. (In Popeye use: HurdleColourChanging LI).

No.593 Kostas Prentos &
Emmanuel Manolas

USA / Greece

original – 04.09.2014

Solutions: (click to show/hide)

white kb3 pc2 white hurdlecolourchanging lia6 black ke4 re2 bg6 pd4d5 black hurdlecolourchanging lib2c5

h#2               b) Pc2→g2               (3+7)
Andernach Lions: a6, c5, b2

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Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
September 4, 2014 22:57

It would be a great surprise if the mates would NOT BE by Bg6/Re2. These pieces are half-used and static.
They are black but the fact is that a piece which mates in one phase, is idle in the other.
That would be a terrible defect in orthodox helpmate and I don’t see what could make an essential difference in case of fairies.

The idea is simple and looks nice, perhaps it could be improved.

Emmanuel Manolas
September 5, 2014 02:28
Reply to  Nikola Predrag

Nikola Predrag thank you for your comment.
You write “… the fact is that a piece which mates in one phase, is idle in the other”
but the truth is that this mating piece is not present on the board in the other phase. If anyone examines the mating positions, there is no idle white piece.

Emmanuel Manolas
September 4, 2014 23:20

Thank you Julia.
We were asked to use Andernach Lions in the Quick (3 hours) Composing Tourney, in WCCC Bern. We had difficulty to deal with these fairy pieces. Only the latest Popeye version 4.69 could handle them correctly, which we downloaded from the Internet. We had not time to check then all our ideas. This problem, No.593, was finished after the deadline. I hope you like it.

Kostas Prentos
Kostas Prentos
September 5, 2014 07:59

Having idle pieces in any problem is not nice. In help-play problems it is unacceptable to have an idle white piece in any phace. Idle black pieces or even cookstoppers are quite common, even if they better be avoided. The fact that the mate is given by the black Re2 and Bg6 in different phases does not make these pieces white a priori. I accept the criticism about a half-idle black piece, but not as if it were a white piece.

The intended idea was to rule out Black’s defense with color change of the mating piece. This requires two black moves and leaves no time to bother about the remaining black material.

Kenneth Solja
Kenneth Solja
September 5, 2014 09:00

As a problem for the quick composing tourney it looks fine to me although white pawns in both phases which are actually not needed. Like this and made in time this would been high in the award.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
September 5, 2014 19:47
Reply to  Kenneth Solja

Perhaps Kenneth’s comment should be commented 🙂
“…although white pawns in both phases which are actually not needed…”

These Pawns actually make the most interesting part of the content.
In b), 2.LIg7(d4=w) is a tactical effect which is required for guarding e5 which is trivially required by the stipulation. Such effects can make a content of a chess puzzle but they actually can only spoil a content of a chess problem. Of course, they might be technically needed for the soundness and thus acceptable.

What is the logic content that makes a true chess problem here?

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
September 5, 2014 21:43
Reply to  Nikola Predrag

Stipulation directly requires some tactical features:
– changed colour of Re2/Bg2 in the end, provided that the change can’t be reversed
-selfblock&hurdle on f2/g5
This would make h#1 and here’s where the creation of problem’s content actually begins.
1.LIf2(d4=w)/LIg5(d5=w) threatens to change the colour of mating piece and causes the unblock of d4/d5.
The useful effects bring in the harmful effects. And the complexity increases by the ways of correcting the harmful effects.
Prevention of the colourchange of mating pieces by line-closing 2.LId2(c2=b)/(d4=w) gives additional flights d3/d4. wK saves the plan, using the additional effect of move B1, unguard of c3/c4.
The fact that e5 must be guarded by changing the colour of Pd4, actually spoils a bit the purity of problem’s logic but this could be considered just as an imperfect technical element.

I like the idea pretty much, still the idle pieces are more than “imperfection”.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
September 5, 2014 15:54

Dear Kostas, my intention is not to criticise a particular problem but to draw attention to the general principles.
If we just read a shortened formulation of some principle without asking WHY it was established, we might misinterpret the very essence of the principle.
That actually often happens in help-genres, especially the fairy ones.

There is “WHITE POWER” which should not be idle. The term looks precise enough for an orthodox principle. But the exact principle should be understood as:
The principles of chess composition should be essentially equivalent in all chess variants. Otherwise, some fairy problem may not be considered as a chess composition.

Fairy elements enable a creation of the new ideas, logic and strategies, by offering the new tactical possibilities.
The crucial tactical possibility (for the most of mate-stipulations) is the ATTACK (relevant for the Royal piece). The attacking piece is the crucial tactical force for the stipulation and the stipulation is the crucial concept which defines the chess composition as a medium for realizing some (abstract) idea.

In the very first moment, it’s clear that Bg6 and Re2 are the deadliest “white potential”, most crucial for the stipulation!
It’s irrelevant if they are black on the diagram, the solutions prove them as the WHITE force crucial for the stipulation.
So I would say, either there’s IDLE WHITE POTENTIAL or it’s NOT a chess problem.
The black appearance on the diagram is a disguised misuse of the fairies, to violate the essence of the chess composition principle.
Anyone can use the proper “lens” to see what’s behind the disguise.
This deception was of course not intended, it’s just so very comfortable without such lens.
I’m afraid that the search for comfort (easy-ways) distorts and corrupts the values.
Of course that’s just my perception.

Kostas Prentos
Kostas Prentos
September 5, 2014 23:55

Nikola, I understand what you are trying to convey. I understood it the first time. I just find it hard to agree with this philosophy. For the sake of argument let’s name the two black pieces potentially white, or almost white, or white to be. The problem is that only one of them will change its color by a move of the Andernach Lion. What happens to the other one? It remains potentially white without real chance to become white. Its state changes from potentially white to black. It is an idle potentially white piece that lost its potential.

By the way, I am pretty easy to accept crticism. I completely agree about the role of the pawns and the comments regarding their use. I also accept the criticism about the half-idle black piece. But to consider that piece as a white piece in terms of helpmate aesthetics is a little far fetched. I cannot agree.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
September 6, 2014 03:24
Reply to  Kostas Prentos

What could I say. There is no philosophy, it is so simple and self-evident that any explanation tends to be too long and confusing.

Fairy chess increases possibilities and must be compared justly with orthodox achievements, if it belongs to the Chess composition. The principles must be of the same essence, not of the same deceptive appearance!

It’s quite enough help for a composer that a single move by a lonely white officer can result with the attack by two white officers. And that should be well used to justify the help of fairy condition. It’s very nice in this problem.

But it is not fair to allow a fairy composer to put the material on the board and turn it into a white officer when it’s convenient but to consider it as a black officer when it is idle.
Orthodox composer could use wP to promote a white officer, but only at the last rank, wasting one move and disabling the cook-promotions. Even then, two promotions of the same Pawn are much better then two Pawns being respectively promoted or idle in two phases.

“… It remains potentially white without real chance to become white. Its state changes from potentially white to black. It is an idle potentially white piece that lost its potential.”
Such potentially white piece is simply not used, it loses that potential only when the solution is finished. The same is with an idle white piece in orthodox h#, it is simply not used and loses all potential when the solution is finished.
There is no essential difference.
Considering a piece which mates bK as a black piece, is pretty “far fetched”.

Kostas Prentos
Kostas Prentos
September 6, 2014 11:23

There are several methods to give a role to a piece: Use it to control a square, pin a piece of the opposite side, even eliminate it. Let’s try one of these methods on W1. Oops, it seems that White cannot move a black piece (not in this fairy condition, ar least). The only possible choice is to capture this piece. How is it possible to capture a white piece with a white piece? It is if the captured piece is black. Wait; this piece is used to give mate in the other solution, so it must be treated as white. Unfortunately, it is a black piece until proved otherwise and there is only one free half move by White. Try to deal with moving a black piece as White and if you succeed, you can call it white, yellow, or whatever else it pleases you. By the way, I am not able to try the idea of capturing this half-idle piece; I do not have access to a chess board or a computer to test these ideas. Yet, using more white material in order to eliminate a black piece sounds like an awful idea.

Nikola, please do not consider my failure to reply in the future as a sign that I agree with your concept. If such thing happens (to agree), I will have absolutely no problem to admit it.

Emmanuel Manolas
September 6, 2014 12:42

We have a composition with Lions that change the color of the hurdle. We can surely expect that some black pieces will become white and some white pieces will become black. This change is not permanent, it can be reversed, so in this two-mover helpmate we see preventive color-reverse-avoidance.
The pair of solutions present an Orthogonal-Diagonal Transformation, but every solution must be examined separately for correctness, complexity, harmony, beauty or whatever characteristic we want.
Let us see the first solution.
The wLi aims to change color of the bR going to f1 (here is the White Potential Power), but this is not enough for the mate …
… so, in B1 the bLi(on c5) goes to f2, to assist wLi(on f1) to guard f3, f4, f5. And here is the Black Potential to color-reversing of the (not yet) wR, that must be prevented …
… and that is why in B2 the bLi(on b2) goes to d2, to prevent the color changing of the (not yet) wR by the other bLi(on f2).
In W1 the wK is allowed to guard a new flight and in W2 the wLi(on a6) goes at last to f1, changes the color of the bRe2 and gives mate.
No white pieces on the mating scene are idle. The solution is correct and completely inside the help-mate idea.
The second solution is completely in harmony with the first. The same pieces move, in the same order, doing the same functions. Only the target piece is different: now it is the bB.
The white pawn came as a necessity. Putting a bP on c2 / f3 introduces unwanted solutions, destroying the harmony of the ODT.

The comments by Nikola Predrag “… it’s NOT a chess problem. The black appearance on the diagram is a disguised misuse of the fairies, to violate the essence of the chess composition principle. Anyone can use the proper “lens” to see what’s behind the disguise. This deception was of course not intended, it’s just so very comfortable without such lens. I’m afraid that the search for comfort (easy-ways) distorts and corrupts the values.” are not helpful (to say the least) and surely not relevant with the creators of this composition.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
September 6, 2014 16:57

I offered some illustrative hints for questioning the interpretation of the principles. These hints, as well as the principles themselves, must not be taken literally.
Chess rules say nothing about the idleness of pieces, so anything could be put on the board if the position is legally achievable from the beginning of a game.
Fairies give more freedom about that.

There are beautiful orthodox helpmates with idle white officers in the mates. The point of the principle is not about white officers but about the art of using pieces and any other chess elements for realization of an idea.
This principle cannot be formulated as a rule applicable in all cases. Each particular problem requires an analysis of the means of realization. The guidelines could be found in the ESSENCE of the principle.

My mistake was an attempt to explain what is obvious.
So, without complications about the white potential:

The particular logic of the particular fairy elements in this particular problem, shows these particular idle BLACK officers as a great failure. The essential features of such realization (considering the use of pieces) would be hardly acceptable in an orthodox helpmate.

I can easily forget the basic essence of chess composition’s principles and see this as a beautiful idea realized on a chessboard.
But to compare it with the orthodox helpmates, I must apply the principles fairly.

Since my illustrative attempts have been taken literally, they indeed cannot be of any help.

Laco Packa
Laco Packa
September 6, 2014 19:04

Following with interest your constructive dialogue. Let me propose a solution that could possibly satisfy both parties: H # 3, in which will bQ in the first move to move on critical fields. Possible (untested) position:
Kb4, hLIa7, Pc2, g2 – Ke5, hLIc6, b3, Qg3, Pd5, d6
2 solutions (or a)+b) with wP c2 and g2)
1.Qe3 c3 2.hLIf3 etc.
1.Qg7 g3 2.hLIg8 etc.

Kostas Prentos
Kostas Prentos
September 6, 2014 21:27

Nikola, I remember another argument from a long time ago in a different forum, in which we were on opposite sides again. It was about the use of white material in helpmates. I am afraid I am not as flexible as you about that. I find it really hard to accept an idle white piece and I would rather toss a problem I composed, than show it with idle white force, even if I have no problem with others doing it. If I believed this was the case with this problem, I would not publish it at all.

Your revised version of critique is easier to digest. Let me try to rephrase it and tell me if I have it right: Due to the special color changing nature of the fairy piece, the seriousness of an idle black piece is a higher defect than in orthodox helpmates. According to how I understand your position, this is so serious a defect (also, because the piece gives mate in the other phase) that the problem is ruined, as if it were an idle white piece in an orthodox helpmate. In my view, this (undeniable) defect is not as serious as you believe it is, and in any case it is open to everyone’s evaluation. I believe that my previous comments clearly demonstrate my position – let me not tire those who still follow this discussion any more.

Laco, I am rather surprised that you find this discussion interesting. Your suggestion to use one black piece instead of two with one extra move makes the idea practically impossible to show due to tons of cooks (I am back from a short vacation and have access to Popeye again). Furthermore, in the form of h#3, the play is less interesting and the principle of economy of time is violated. The use of a black Queen in twin form (on e2 and g6, respectively) as h#2 is another idea, but the Queen is still a very strong piece and it allows several cooks. Under the circumstances, and despite the harsh criticism, I believe that the published version is the most economical. If a position with a black Queen is possible at all, it will still be a choice between how much extra material is required to keep it sound vs. the half-idle black piece in the existing version and it will be subject to evaluation and criticism either way.

Kostas Prentos
Kostas Prentos
September 7, 2014 05:13

To continue my last comment and give a measure for comparison, there is the option of Zero-position with, let’s say, Be2 and a) Re2 & b) Be2->g6. I have not consulted my co-author, but my personal opinion is that the importance of the idle piece blemish is not so big to justify the use of such a radical twinning mechanism.
It is even possible, by adding some black material, to connect the two positions with a third twin that avoids the zero-position, with an unrelated but kind of nice solution. Still, not worth the pain.

The more I look at such roundabouts, the more I prefer the published version. If I am wrong and the problem is really a piece of garbage, the only thing that I can say is: oh well…

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
September 7, 2014 15:18
Reply to  Kostas Prentos

Kostas, this problem may be anything but certainly not a piece of garbage. And I’m actually not concerned about this problem but about the too vague criteria which could allow various “free interpretations”.
My only intention is to discuss immediately about the “limits of interpretations”, for the sake of the future.

I see it as a zero-position without bR&bB, with wPc2+g2 already on the diagram. a)+bRe2; b)+bBg6.
I tend to believe that such zero-positions should be acceptable as a kind of Fosberg twinning, but on different squares.
The form of this problem is essentially such zero-twinning in disguise. There are 2 positions, one with bRe2 and the other with bBg6, which are related closely enough, as the twins.

Laco Packa
Laco Packa
September 8, 2014 14:39

Second attempt at compromise, now without the black queen. It is quite important that now is the position correct :))

Black hurdlecolourchanging RLe7, LIf5, LIg5
White hurdlecolourchanging LIg4
White Pb4 Pf4 Kf1
Black Pd6 Pf6 Pb5 Kd4 Pe4 Sh4 Pf2
Stipulation H#2.5
2 solutions
1…hLIg4-d7[f5=w] + 2.hRLe7-c7[d7=b] Kf1*f2 3.hLIg5-e7[f6=w] hLIf5-c8[d7=w] #
1…hLIg4-g7[g5=w] + 2.hRLe7-h7[g7=b] Kf1-e2 3.hLIf5-f7[f6=w] hLIg5-g8[g7=w] #

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
September 8, 2014 17:36
Reply to  Laco Packa

This is an excellent example of a well used condition with regards to the thematic pieces.
Of course, the dynamical logic of changing the selfblocks into the flights is lost.

Kostas Prentos
Kostas Prentos
September 8, 2014 22:32

Laco, please allow me a couple of days before I look at your suggestion. I am flying back to the USA early tomorrow morning and then right back to work on Wednesday.
Judging from Nikola’s reaction, it must be an interesting suggestion.

Laco Packa
Laco Packa
September 9, 2014 12:54

All right, nowhere to hurry.

Kostas Prentos
Kostas Prentos
September 11, 2014 17:11

Laco, I was able to look at your suggestion briefly, but carefully. Changing the mating piece to an Andernach Lion introduces some new elements that are very nice: Twice changing the color of the mating piece and switching the functions of the black Andernach Lions. The form of the problem now has to be h#2.5 or more, due to the need for the color changes. White’s second move is relatively weak, but still you found a clever way to separate the white King’s moves.

Laco Packa
Laco Packa
September 11, 2014 17:42
Reply to  Kostas Prentos

Yes W2 is not very attractive. However, I am more sorry for unused pawn f6 in the first solution. I tried to rotate 180 ° position (after a change of color pawn attacking a square next to BK), but there are cooks that I can not remove.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x