Julia's Fairies

No.810 (PH)

Peter Harris (South Africa)


Original Problems, Julia’s Fairies – 2015 (I): January – June

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No.810 by Peter Harris – “This is not a 28-piece #4 strategic masterpiece – only a test of the imagination. A successful solver deserves some Latvian chocolates.” (PH)


Royal piece: Piece that executes a function of the King on the board.

Sentinels Pion Neutre: When a piece (Pawn excluded) leaves a square outside the first and last rows, a white piece leaves a wP, a black piece leaves a bP and a neutral piece leaves a nP unless 8 Pawns of that color are already on the board.

Super-Circe: When captured, a piece is reborn on any free field on the chess board without causing self-check or selfmate. Possible is also removal of captured piece from the board. The Pawns (white, black, neutrals, half- neutrals) can be reborn on the first or eight row also. When reborn on the first row (for Black) or on the eight row (for White) the promotion is obligatory. When reborn on the first row (for White) or on the eight row (for Black) the Pawns are immovable.

Anti-Circe: After a capture the capturing piece (Ks included) must immediately be removed to its game array square (necessarily vacant, else the capture is illegal). Captures on the rebirth square are allowed. Game array squares are determined as in Circe.

Circe: Captured units (not Ks) reappear on their game-array squares, of the same colour in the case of pieces, on the file of capture in the case of pawns, and on the promotion square of the file of capture in the case of fairy pieces. If the rebirth square is occupied the capture is normal.

No.810 Peter Harris
South Africa

original – 23.05.2015

Solutions: (click to show/hide)

neutral royal qg2

h#2,5          2 solutions      (0+0+1)
Royal Qg2
Sentinels Pion Neutre

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Kjell Widlert
Kjell Widlert
May 24, 2015 11:48

How to mate a queen! It is hard, but it is possible.

The problem is not only extremely economical, it is also asymmetric on the main diagonal. Only the moves of the pawns – of which there are none in the diagram – determine why the solutions cannot be reflected.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
May 24, 2015 17:33

Yes, economy is worth praising, no unit could be removed from the mate images.
Although nSd8 functions as a Dummy, it is partially justified by the play which requires the unique promotion.

However, what is the idea, “imagined” by the author, which a solver’s imagination should reveal?
Actually, it is TOO EASY to mate nQ, it’s hard to avoid the cooks.
Well, what is a cook?
A solution which doesn’t match the author’s idea?
So what is clear and convincing enough to be recognized as the idea?
That is the trouble about the problems without a perceivable strategy.

It appears that any dual-free solution might be claimed as the “author’s idea”.
Just try the mirrored diagram (nQb2). It’s pretty easy to see that all duals would disappear if nQ was on g2. After all, we can simply try with nQg2, without many analysis.

One detail shows at least a bit of complexity due to the avoided Black’s defense. It is the block of c7 in the first solution. There is an attempt:
1…nrQc6 (+nPg2) 2.nrQxg2 (nrQg2→d8) (+nPb6) (+nPc6) nrQe7 3.nrQd6 (+nPe7)+ nrQc7 (+nPd6)+?
but 1…nrQc8[+nPc7] ! and 1…nPe7xd6[nPd6->d7][+nPc2] !

Here I would start composing, by removing that trivial “refutation” due to the flight c8.
Just a simple illlustration:
Pieces Neutral royal Qb7, Neutral Pc6 Pe2 Pf2
Stipulation H#2, Condition Sentinelles PionNeutre AntiCirce SuperCirce
1.nQb6[+nPb7] nPe3! 2.nPexf2[nPf2->f7][+nPd6] nrQc7[+nPb6]#
with a try
1.nQb6[+nPb7] nPf3? 2.nPfxe2[nPe2->e7][+nPd6] nrQc7[+nPb6]+ 4.nPexd6[nPd6->d7][+nPc2] !
Now SuperCirce is used for creating some idea, not just for arranging the mate.
Two phases with a clearly related idea would be interesting.
There is actually a second solution retaining (partially) the relation of the nPe2/nPf2
1.nrQc7[+nPb7] nPf3! 2.nPfxe2[nPe2->e7][+nPc8=nS] nrQb8[+nPc7]#

Now, nPc6 might look as idle in that solution but remove it from the initial position and everything changes quite unexpectedly.

So, what makes an author’s “idea of a problem”?

Georgy Evseev
Georgy Evseev
May 25, 2015 10:59

For me this is an example of computer-generated problem.

I think that the author says to himself: “I want a problem with only royal neutral queen on board”. Afterwards he adds some promising fairy conditions, selects stipulation and tests 64 possible diagrams.

As soon as there are some solutions with different finals and without duals – the problem is ready.

So, the main author’s idea is “there is a lone neutral queen on the diagram”.

And there is nothing wrong with such computerized approach – I have some problems composed in similar way myself.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
May 25, 2015 15:50

Yes, there are more and more computer’s problems.
There’s nothing wrong with them, there is just no author’s idea, no content, no creativity.

Dehumanized boring play without a sparkle of strategy tends to be worshiped over the human wit.
It’s not a futuristic danger that computers would develop to conquer the mankind, but that the mankind would scorn and abandon sapience.
Degrading the mind to the merely computing abilities would indeed make us miserably inferior to the machines.

That’s why THE IDEA is worthwhile in chess composition, to
keep us incomprehensible for the machines.

peter harris
peter harris
May 26, 2015 00:55

I was not going to respond to comments – but you see I am.

My AIM in making this problem was:

using ONE piece a ROYAL NEUTRAL QUEEN and the 3 conditions, to find TWO BEAUTIFUL MATES with TWO BEAUTIFUL FINAL POSITIONS in the hope that some would ENJOY FINDING the two solutions which I thought would NOT BE SO EASY – and would need a bit of imagination to succeed.

[Regarding its merits: whether I used a computer or not is TOTALLY beside the point].

So it is all very SIMPLE – not requiring dissertations about strategy.

Many one and two-piece problems are composed.

I hope some enjoyed the problem.

There was creativity in composing the problem.

It was I not a computer who thought of the concept of:

(1) one piece (2) a neutral (3) royal (4) queen (5) Sentinelles Pion Neutre, Supercirce, AntiCirce and (6) the stipulation.

And, Predrag, your second comment is certainly impressive stuff – very learned.

peter harris
peter harris
May 26, 2015 04:06


The question of composing and the use computers has been discussed for years.

Comments are made as though the writers believe are raising a new subject and are saying something worthwhile – when they are not.

There is a excellent article in feenschach Heft 206 pages 472/473/474 titled “Zum Einsatz von Computerprogrammen bei der Losing von Schachaufgaben” by the eminent Karl-Heinz Siehndel.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
May 26, 2015 04:09

And I was not going to comment the problem but the comments.
Drawing attention to some basic questions which are very easily lost in the era of too much of information and too little of time for thinking.

I’m sorry for misusing this problem to ask some general questions.
Problem is nice and the economy of material is perfect, leaving no ground for any disapproval.

I just think that it’s “too easy” to mate nQ, with numerous possible rebirths all over the board, including promotions.
Digging through all that to find which are these two possible mates in this position is of course a hard process of elimination.

I believe it’s a tasty bite for those who love such cakes.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x