Original Problems (page 68)
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No.127 – #2 by Jean-Marc LOUSTAU – Interesting and difficult cycle of black and white anti-batteries. (JV)
Lion(Li): Moves along Q-lines over another unit of either color to any square beyond that unit. A capture may be made on arrival, but the hurdle is not affected.
Rook-Lion(RL): Moves like Lion, but on Rook-lines only.
Rose-Lion(ROL): Moves like Lion, but on Rose-lines only.
Rose(RO) – Octogonal Rider(1,2): piece which can make several successive Knight leaps on octagonal lines isometrical to d2-b3-a5-b7-d8-f7-g5-f3-d2. A Rose moves in the same way to capture or not to capture, the taken unit being on the arrival square.
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No.127 Jean-Marc LOUSTAU
original – 10.09.2012
Lions: a2, d1, g6, h7
Rose-Lions: b1, f8, g8
Solution: (click to show/hide)
1 ROLb4! threats 2 Qg2#
On b4, obviously the Rose-Lion controls g2 by jumping over the hurdle Lion g6. A question is: if the Lion g6 plays, is g2 still controlled? Some composers/software answer “no”, as there is no more hurdle on the circle of the Rose-Lion; but after 1… LIg6 plays 2 Qg2+, if black try to play Kxg2, then Rose-Lion jumps over this new hurdle, the black King, then continues on its circle, comes again on b4, then g2, capturing the King: so other composers/software (Winchloe) answer “yes” g2 is controlled: it is also my approach, and thus, in this problem (checked with Winchloe), playing the Lion g6 anywhere does not prevent the threat.
The problem shows a kind of generalization of the concept of anti-battery, which can aim not necessarily the opposite King square, but any target square, as the threat square:
1… ROLg4 2 LIh5#
1… LIc2 2 LIe4#
1… LId5 2 ROLf1#
Cycle of white anti-batteries units to the same square (h1) answers to cyle of black anti-batteries units to the same square (g2). There is a kind of Black/White echo which is visible in the geometry. Although I have already composed a problem with this same idea, I think it remains a quite original idea.
1… RLd5 2 ROLe1# (2… RLf1??)
And not as Rd8 is interferred: 2 ROLf1?? Impossible!
And not as diagonal h7-e4 is opened: 2 LIe4+? LIxb1!
And finally 2 line openings:
1… Rd5 (or Rd2) 2 RLh8#
1… cxb4 2 RLc1#
The diagrams are made on WinChloe and its Echecs font is used for Logo design
Two remarks on Jean-Marc’s commentary.
1. I am also in the camp of composers with the view that ROLb4 guards g2 against bK access even without any other hurdle, i.e. with allowed more than one lap on the rose circle. The similar possibility is ordinary lion on cylindric board. However, because of this I find rose lions a little unwieldy and I try to avoid them. On the other hand, when one accepts this property and makes good use of it in composing, this is fine.
2. The “kind of generalization of the concept of anti-battery, which can aim not necessarily the opposite King square, but any target square” is in my view well known. Once upon a time I have called the similar black strategy antibattery in defence, although this is probably not the best name. I’d like to point in this context very good older #2 with Chinese pieces by Jean-Marc, where the idea is used repeatedly as defence motif against secondary threat.
Finally, if somebody showed me No. 127 without name of author, I would ask “Is it by Václav Kotěšovec?” I would be wrong, but it is very much in the area worked by Václav in recent years. I am not saying it is not original, just pointing that it is worth looking at similar Václav’s problems, if you like this one.
About your point 1 : I hope this must not be understood as an advice for other composers for not using Roses-Lions : indeed, to my opinion this is one of the most fascinating fairy pieces, with an unbelievable potential, and also not so difficult to use after having handled it a little!
About the concept of “antibattery in defence”: Thank you for quoting that I have not just discovered it, some days ago! And probably it is known since jumpers exist! May be it deserves to be named – and of course your name is good – as a technical mechanism (what it is in the problem you kindly quote), because what is named is identified. But in problem #127 it is more than a mechanism, it is the basis of a theme, and a purpose is to show that the black cycle of pieces is of the same nature than the the white anti-batteries cycle (also for this reason the fact white and black geometry are almost the same is important), so that it is completely justified to call it by the same name: “black anti-batteries cycle”. May be you were the first to underline that the same name should be used (thus: generalization), but I am not sure that everybody knows that, and I think it was useful to underline it in the solution.
About the link with Vaclav’s works: I do agree, this problem is really in his style; to my knowledge, Vaclav has worked more on batteries cycles than anti-batteries cycles, at least of this kind (without thematic rebirth of a black unit), and the technical difficulties are different with anti-batteries (I know 1 direct mate with such white anti-battery cycle by Vaclav). When I wrote “original”, I thought mainly to the mixing of white and black cycles of anti-batteries, not to the cycle itself. Also just a word to say that to my opinion some of the Vavlav’s works showing such cycles of batteries would deserve to be more known and more honoured.