Julia’s Fairies • Retro 2015-2016 • Award

by Thomas Brand, D-Bornheim

I’m very grateful to Julia for her invitation to judge this interesting fairy retro tourney: I’m convinced that carefully selected fairy conditions (more than fairy pieces) will extend the options for interesting retrograde analysis in the future. The most popular current example is AntiCirce with defensive retractors, but the general idea goes back to Thomas R. Dawson (whom else?), and gets more and more popular.

Sometimes there are discussions if a fairy retro is more a retro or more a fairy problem? My opinion is clear: It is a retro problem, since the general definition of retros (something like “Retros look back to the history, while all other problem types look to the future.”) is valid also for fairy retros. The use of fairy conditions (or pieces) is just a change of the basic rules of chess, but not a change in the “direction of thinking”: It is like a changed set of axioms in mathematics — Fairy chess as “Non-Euclidian Chess”.

The 2015-2016 retro period in Julia’s Fairies again showed a high quality of original problems, that made my task to identify the “best ones” very pleasurable!

After my first selection down to 29 problems I asked Hans Gruber an Dirk Borst for support in careful checking these problems for correctness. And they were successful in cooking some of them: Thanks a lot, Hans and Dirk!

813: Dual 8.– Se4 9.Bh3 Rd3 10.exd3 [Rg3] Rxg4 [Pg5] 11.Qxg4 [Rg2]+ f5 12.gxf6 e.p. [Pf4]+ etc. (Hans Gruber).

965.2: Cook 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Qb3 c3 4.Qb6 cxb2 5.h4 g5 6.hxg5 c6 7.Rh6 e5 8.Rxc6 e4 9.Rf6 e3 10.g6 exf2+ 11.Kd2 bxa1=G 12.Ba3 Gc1 13.e4 Gxg1 14.Bb4 Ge1 15.Be2 Ga1 16.Kd3 Gc1 (Dirk Borst).

980: Cook 1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 [bPe4] g5 3.e6 Ba3 4.e7 Bxb2 [wPb4], and continue with the intended solution (Hans Gruber).

1146: Cook 1.a4 d5 2.f3 d4 3.g3 d3 4.Sc3 dxc2 5.d4 Qxd4 6.Bh6 cxd1=Q+ [bRa1, bPa4, bPe2, wQd4] 7.Sxd1 Ra3 8.Bh3 Rxf3 9.Kxe2 Rxg3 10.Sf3 Rxh3 11.Kd3 Sc6 etc. (Dirk Borst) — and independently and differently by the new fairy proof game test program „jacobi“. Tries to correct were also cooked.

1164: Dual 10.f3! exf3 [wPf4] 11.e4 g5 12.fxg5 [bPg4] Qxg5 [wPg6!!], and continue with the intended solution (Hans Gruber).

Before we come to the distinctions let me give a few remarks on problems which did not make it into the award:

716: Even though “only” four solutions and one man more, I prefer 728 — see below.

783: With this set of conditions the quite high number of interchanges is not really surprising, but more or less “automatic”.

930a: Nice timing in the solution, but the content is quite orthodox. That the bB tour is partially hidden by Pawns is not surprising with Sentinelles condition — of course it makes it harder to identify the thematic man.

1013: This beautiful Wenigsteiner task was safely “booked” for a distinction till I found out, that Alexander had published a 21 mover (Ke1 Ph5 — Kb1 Sf1 — Problem Paradise I-III/2016, dedicated to Vlaicu Crisan, 3rd place Wenigsteiner of the Year 2016) at the very same time and a little bit later even a 23 mover (Ke1 — Ka2 Pe2g5, Problem Paradise IV-VI/2016, 4th–5th place Wenigsteiner of the Year 2016).

1076: Of course, this always reminds of Dittmanns famous two-Kings-retractor from feenschach 2003 (see PDB P1067390). No, this is not an anticipation, but it is easier with Klan to uncapture a helpful Queen…

But now let’s start!

No.932 Vlaicu Crișan &
Klaus Wenda

Romania / Austria
Julia’s Fairies Retro 2015-2016
1st Prize

No.1007 Nicolas Dupont
Julia’s Fairies Retro 2015-2016
2nd Prize

No.619.1 Klaus Wenda
Julia’s Fairies Retro 2015-2016
3rd Prize

white Kf4 Bc4 Sg8 Pa2b3c6e3g2g3g6h2 black Kb8 Rg1 Be1

-16 & #1   Proca Retractor    (11+3)

white Bf1c1 Ke1 Qd1 Ph2g2f2e2d2c2b2a2 Sg1b1 Rh1a1 black Bf8c8 Ke8 Qd8 Ph7g7f7e7d7c7b7a7 Sg8b8 Rh8a8

PG 9.5                               (16+16)
Castling Chess

white Ke1 Pe6 black Kh5 Ra2c8 Sa8 Be5h7 Pc3c4d3d4g4g5g6

-8 & #1    Proca Retractor    (2+13)

1.f3xRg4(>pg2)! Rg5-g4+ 2.Ke5-f4 Rg4-g5+ 3.Kd4-e5 Rg5-g4+ 4.Kc5-d4 Rg4-g5+ 5.Kb4-c5 Bf2-e1+ 6.Bf1-c4! Rg5-g4+ 7.Ka5-b4 Rg4-g5+ 8.Bb7xQa8(>Bf1)! Ka7-b8+ 9.Kb4-a5 Rg5-g4+ 10.Kc5-b4 Rg4-g5+ 11.Kd4-c5 Rg5-g4+ 12.Ke5-d4 Rg4-g5+ 13.Kf4-e5 Rg5-g4+ 14.g2xSh3(>ph2) Kb8-a7+ 15.b5xa5 ep.(>pa2) a7-a5 16.Sf6-g8 & 1.c7#

}1.e2-e4 e7-e5 2.Qd1-h5 Ke8-e6[bPe5->e7] 3.Qh5-a5 g7-g5 { } 4.Bf1-b5 Ke6-e5 5.Ke1-e3[wPe4->e2] Ke5-g7[bRh8->f6] { } 6.d2-d4 Sg8-h6 7.Ke3-d2 Kg7-g8 8.Kd2-d1 Kg8-g6[bPg5->g7] { } 9.Bc1-e3 Sh6-g8 10.Kd1-d3[wPd4->d2] {dia}

1.Kg3:Bh4(Ke1)! Rf8-c8+ 2.Kf2-g3 Bh8-e5+ 3.Kf3-f2 Rf7-f8+ 4.Ke2-f3 Re7-f7+ 5.Kd2-e2 Rd7-e7+ 6.Ke1-d2 Rf2-a2+ 7.Kf8:Qe8(Ke1) Rd8-d7+ 8.Kg7-f8 & 1.Kh6#

1st Prize: 932 by Vlaicu Crișan & Klaus Wenda

This is an excellent example for clear structuring the solution according to the New-German school in a defensive retractor: The main plan is quite obvious, the reason(s) it does not work immediately also not so hard to see. Also not too hard to see is the plan to deal with the obstacles: Just bring wBc4 to b7. That “only” needs two white moves, but to hold down Blacks power it requires intelligent planning. Surprisingly the Bishop will not directly proceed to b7 but makes a detour via f1 — to be able to uncapture a black Queen (!) when arriving at b7.

This all is supported by a long and quite hidden white King-tour to a5 and back to f4 just to win the two required tempi by uncapturing two black men having to uncheck.

I agree with Günther Weeth commenting this problem: “One of the best trips of the wK I’ve ever seen.”

2nd Prize: 1007 by Nicolas Dupont

Castling Chess is a condition that generalises the orthodox castling rules to other men and other positions. This allows to reconstruct the initial Pawn position in the course of the game and so to have riders (Queen, Rook, Bishop) outside this apparently static structure.

But not only the (four) “Pawn-castlings” are impressive, moreover I appreciate the “diagonal Rook-castling”. And the diagram position is very elegant: Three twins outside the Pawn structure, where the black twin reminds of the orthodox castling pattern. Very time and material economic: no supporting capture is necessary.

3rd Prize: 619.1 by Klaus Wenda

Again a clearly-cut logical structure of the solution: Immediately playing the main plan does not work, since the mating net around the black King still has a hole. White can close this hole in the first move, but has Black kept busy till white King returne to e1 to play the main plan. This “keeping busy” has to be performed by carefully interweaving black Rooks and Bishop e5, so the trip home of wK takes five moves instead of the obviously only two necessary ones.

No.971 Nicolas Dupont
Julia’s Fairies Retro 2015-2016
After Silvio Baier
1st Honourable Mention

No.885.1 Günther Weeth
Julia’s Fairies Retro 2015-2016
2nd Honourable Mention

No.738 Vlaicu Crișan &
Andreas Thoma

Romania / Germany
Julia’s Fairies Retro 2015-2016
3rd Honourable Mention

white Bf1c1 Ke1 Qd1 Ph2g2f2e2d2c2b2a2 Sg1b1 Rh1a1 black Bf8c8 Ke8 Qd8 Ph7g7f7e7d7c7b7a7 Sg8b8 Rh8a8

PG27                                   (14+13)

white kg2 sd7 Be8 pc3g6g5h2 black ka7 qa5 sb1a4 rg8h1 bh4h5 pb7c7d2f7

-8 & #1                                 (7+12)
Hoeg retractor Anti-Circe

white   ke1 Pb2e7 black ke5 Sh8 Pb3

-20 & #1    Proca Retractor   (3+3)

}1.c2-c4 h7-h5 2.c4-c5 h5-h4 3.c5-c6 h4-h3 4.c6*b7 c7-c5 5.d2-d3 c5-c4 6.Ke1-d2 c4-c3+ { } 7.Kd2-e3 c3-c2 8.Bc1-d2 c2-c1=Q 9.Ke3-f4 Qc1-c7+ 10.Kf4-g5 Qc7-g3+ { } 11.h2*g3 h3-h2 12.Sg1-h3 d7-d6 13.Rh1-g1 h2-h1=Q 14.Sh3-f4 Qh1-h7 15.Rg1-h1 { } Qh7-e4 16.Rh1-h7 Bc8-h3 17.d3*e4 Sb8-d7 18.b7-b8=Q Sg8-h6 19.Qb8-b3 Sh6-f5 { } 20.Qb3-e6 f7*e6 21.b2-b4 Ke8-f7 22.b4-b5 Qd8-e8 23.b5-b6 Ra8-d8 24.b6-b7 Sd7-b6 { } 25.b7-b8=Q Sb6-c8 26.Qb8-b2 Rd8-d7 27.Qb2-f6+ e7*f6 + {dia}
1. Kf2-g2!, Rf8-g8+ 2.Ke2-f2, e4:Sf3[f7]+ 3.Sg1-f3, Rf3-f8+ 4.Kf2-e2, Rg3-f3++ 5.Ke1-e2, d3-d2+ 6.Sa8:Bb6[Sg1], Bg1-b6+ 7.Kb5:Sc6[Ke1], Sd8-c6+ 8.Sb8-d7 – fw.1.Ka6#

1.Ke1xpf2(Ke1) f3-f2+ 2.Ke2xBd1(Ke1) Bc2-d1+ 3.e6-e7 f4-f3+ 4.Kd3-e2 Bd1-c2+ 5.Ke2-d3 Bc2-d1+ 6.Kd3-e2 Bd1-c2+ 7.Ke2-d3 d2-d1=B+  8.Ke1-e2 d3-d2+ 9.Ke3xpd2(Ke1) f5-f4+ 10.Ke2-e3 d4-d3+ 11.Ke1-e2 d3-d2+ 12.Kg6xSg7(Ke1) Sf7-h8+ 13.Kh5-g6 Se8-g7+ 14.Kg4-h5 Sg7-e8+ 15.c5xpb5 ep(pb2) b7-b5 16.Kh5-g4 Se8-g7+ 17.Kg4-h5 Sg7-e8+  18.Kh5-g4 Se8-g7+ 19.Kg4-h5 f6-f5+ 20.Kf3-g4 & 1.Ke4#

1st Honourable Mention: 971 by Nicolas Dupont

Strictly thinking this problem is “unthematic” in Julia’s Fairies, because it is totally orthodox!

This proof game is an excellent demonstration of systematic work in a highly complex environment of complicated theme elements for “Proof Games of the Future” where (at least) two elements are (at least) doubled. Here we have two black and two white Ceriani-Frolkin-Queens, but today this is not enough for a distinction. So these “captured promotions” are linked with other content: White promoted Queens are cross-captured by black Pawns (fxe6, exf6), while the black Queens revisit their initial (Pawn) squares: Pc7-c1=Q, Qc7+ and Ph7-h1=Q, Qh7.

This is a fine blend of elements, where the elements themselves are quite known, but this blend makes it a problem to be honoured.

2nd Honourable Mention: 885.1 by Günther Weeth

A highly complex, “Wagnerian” Hoeg retractor: To prepare a fantastic mate by white King in northwest White has two different trips for his King back to e1: The longer one is the faster one. This is extremely tricky, and I recommend analysing the complete solution with care: For example, 6.Sa8xb6[Sg1](+Bb6): Black is forced to add a Bishop at b6, because that is the only man being able to uncheck bRh1/wKe1. This complexity, on the other hand, hides a clear-cut general strategic idea as, for example, in 932 and 619.1.

3rd Honourable Mention: 738 by Vlaicu Crișan & Andreas Thoma

First rendition of a doubled draw pendulum in miniature form in excellent construction. Of course here we have the standard time-material trade-off: The reduced material requires more moves.

Commendations without ranking (in the order of publication)

No.728 Cornel Pacurar
Julia’s Fairies Retro 2015-2016
Dedicated to Kjell Widlert

No.741 Alberto Armeni
Julia’s Fairies Retro 2015-2016

No.491.1 Klaus Wendaa
Julia’s Fairies Retro 2015-2016

white   kc6 black kf3 pf7h4

-2b & h=1                             (1+3)
b) Ph4→f5 ; c) Ph4→e6 ; d) Pf7→d3

white Bf1c1 Ke1 Qd1 Ph2g2f2e2d2c2b2a2 Sg1b1 Rh1a1 black Bf8c8 Ke8 Qd8 Ph7g7f7e7d7c7b7a7 Sg8b8 Rh8a8

PG 5,5                              (12+12)
Annan Chess

white Ke3 Rg3 Sd6 Pc2d2 black Ke1 Qa8 Rb8 Rh2 Bb2 Bd5 Pb5f5

-6 & #1    Proca Retractor    (4+8)
Anti-Circe Cheylan

a) -1.Kg3×Bf3 -2.Kh3×Bg3 & 1.f7-f5 Bg3-f4= (BB)
b) -1.Kg2×Sf3 -2.Kh1×Sg2 & 1.f7-f6 Sg2-f4= (SS); c) -1.Kg4×Rf3 -2.Kf5×Rg4 & 1.Kf5-e5 Rf3×f7= (RR); d) -1.g5×Qh4 -2.h6×Qg5 & 1.h6-h5 Qg5-d2= (QQ)
}1.f2*a7 c7*h2 2.a7*b8=S h2*g1=S 3.a2*a8=Q h7*h1=R { } 4.d2-a5 d7*d1=B 5.c2-f5 Bc8-e6 6.f5*e6 {dia}

1.pb4xBc5(pc2)! Rf8-b8+ 2.Ke2-e3 Re8-f8+ 3.pc2xBd3(pd2) Be4-d3+ 4.Ke3-e2 Rf8-e8+  5.Kd2-e3 Kf2-e1+ 6.Se8-d6 & 1.Ke1#
1.pc3xBd4(pd2)? Bh8-d4+! 2.Kd2-e3 Re8-b8+!

No.1165 Adrian Storisteanu
Julia’s Fairies Retro 2015-2016

White kb2 ga6c6

-4w & !=1     2 solutions    (3+0)
Grasshopper a6, c6

– 1.Kb3xGb2 2.Kc3xGb3 3.Kd2xRc3 4.Kc1xGd2 & 1.Gc6-c2 !=;
– 1.Kb3xBb2 2.Ka4xSb3 3.Kb5xPa4 4.Gf1xQa6 & 1.Kb5-b4 !=.

Commendation: 728 by Cornel Pacurar

Even though it has “only” four phases, even though it needs one man more than 716, I just like it more. Surely a matter of taste, and the pairs of equal uncaptured pieces demonstrate great unity.

Commendation: 741 by Alberto Armeni

“AUW + 1” in the first eight halfmoves — remarkably implemented by excellent use of the Annan condition. I think the last two (or even three) half moves do not add any value to the problem.

Commendation: 495.1 by Klaus Wenda

Another clear-cut Anticirce Proca retractor. The main plan fails at the existence of wPd2. So the foreplan is as simple as not losing a tempo when moving this Pawn. Similar to 619.1 this requires to keep black forces busy. The internal structure of 495.1 is simpler as that of 619.1, but the additional try is fine. Alas, the necessary correction prevented two additional tries.

Commendation: 1165 by Adrian Storisteanu

Beautiful “mini problem” with fairy “Allentschlag” (uncapture of all possible pieces: QRBSP&G) with surprisingly different solutions. Like 728 the pure retro contents is small, but this is a fine entertainment and advertising for fairy retros.


D-Bornheim, December 31, 2017
Thomas Brand, International Judge of the FIDE

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Per Olin
Per Olin
January 24, 2018 12:48

Interesting and useful comment by judge Thomas in the award for 2015-16 retros concerning the status of orthodox and non-orthodox retro problems. A thought:

The Codex for Chess Composition has definitions for studies, direct mates, selfmates and helpmates; there is no definition for retroanalytical chess problems. Fairy chess is understood to be problems that apply modified chess rules. However, the praxis is different, e.g. a direct stalemate is considered to be fairy chess although the concept of stalemate in itself does not imply fairy chess.

If we upgrade the question ‘retro or non-retro?’ to be on the same level as ‘orthodox or unorthodox?’, then we come close to the situation of today. To put everything into order and to have the theory (=Codex) to correspond to the present praxis there would be needed a definition for retros, which could lead to a definition of fairy chess that we perhaps can live with. It could go something like ‘Retros have the subgroups orthodox retros and fairy retros. Non-retro problems that are not orthodox studies, direct mates, selfmates or helpmates are said to be fairy chess problems’.

October 9, 2018 09:22

741: The last 3 halfmoves ensure no visible promoted pieces are on the board.

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