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MatPlus.Net Forum General The Modern #2 (keep fire extinguisher handy :-)
 
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(1) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019 13:38]

The Modern #2 (keep fire extinguisher handy :-)


WARNING: Contains flamebait.

So, I finally came to reading the newest FIDE albums.
The amount of problems with no letter stuff in the
solution is virtually zero. And too many of them are
still of the "Couldn't care less!" variety to me.

Let's browse a few theories.
- Personal taste, especially given that I am too old
(but then, the beginnings of the modern 2# predate
even me) and I came to the 2# by Vollenweiders Schiffmann
book (which is style-wise formative for a whole life :-).
- Lack of technical abilities in the run-of-the-mill composer.
After all, we first need a load of matrices (1000 handy ways
to do a LeGrand, a reciprocal, a Dombrowskis...) to
trickle down into the collective problem subconscious
before modern and classic school can be combined.
- Especially as we *do* have "supermodern" composers
who are able to show more that letter noodle salad,
combining it with classic material of any sort,
and then I am interested - how does this matrix work?
To only concentrate on one letter :-), I'd like to
applaud Miodrag, Milan and especially Marjan (who seems to
like the Schiffmann defense as much as me :-)

But still, do you know 2# problems with no letters at all
you would have liked to see in the Albums?

Hauke
 
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(2) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019 16:18]

Intriguing questions, Hauke.
But, what "letter stuff" means to you? Writing letters (A, B, C) inside solutions, or you have in mind concrete themes?
And what are "the latest Albums"? Including 2013-15?
As for including letters into solutions, its seems to be a separate topic, the fashionable manner of communication between author and others. Some 60 years ago nobody cared presenting Lacny theme, reciprocal change, or Ideal Ruchlis with letters. Letters probably came with the raising interest in informatics, in 60-es. Especially when Chess Informant offered "universal chess language". This tendency seems to constantly grow in chess composition.
 
 
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(3) Posted by Paz Einat [Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019 22:15]

I counted 19 (!) letter-less problems in the 2010-2012 Album, not that I mind those letters... In most cases they just come to emphasize relations. If you do not care about themes like Lacny, Rukhlis, Dombrovskis, etc, that's fine, we all have our preferences. At times, a "noodle salad" description might seem appropriate, until you get to understand the composer's ideas, and they are probably different than those ideas that are of interest to you.
 
   
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(4) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Wednesday, Jul 31, 2019 11:20]

"Letters" I write synonymous with "themes that are best explained
by providing the solution with letters". (They are merely a
handy help for the viewer.)
Maybe an example is in order. As letter theme I take the cyclic
Hannelius. In the left corner:
Cor Goldschmeding, Die Schwalbe - 167. TT, August 1983, 1st Prize
(10.354 Albrecht)
In the right corner - yikes, I'm sure that in the Schwalbe there was
an example in miniature form by M. Hoffmann, also with a prize,
but I can't dig it up.

Now while the latter is an impressive feat that totally deserved
its prize, I probably wouldn't study that position beyond checking
that yes, the letters come out right, yes, the author had incredible
luck :-) (I doubt that you can construct something like that by
brainpower only.)
Now compare with Cor's masterpiece. There are always new things
to spot (i.e. that the mates are on c3,c4,c5; how on earth does
it work out that always one capture parries, one does nothing and
one gives a variant with another of the thematic mates? And that
cyclically?).
This problem would work for me even I didn't know that there was
such a thing as a cyclic Hannelius. In contrast, I didn't find
one thematic v in the other problem (maybe the parry was too
obvious) and thus, I didn't even recognize that something
remarkable was shown. (Which is the constant danger of letter
problems, especially given that the art of making convincing
v might got buried together with the great Herbert Ahues...)

@Paz: Really as much as 10%? Have to check that album a second time.

Hauke
 
   
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(5) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Wednesday, Jul 31, 2019 13:31]

The first problem is probably this: www.yacpdb.org/#33784
Could the second problem be this one: www.yacpdb.org/#43264 ?
It is attributed to P. Hoffmann (not M. Hoffmann) and shows a different kind of cycle (cyclic Le Grand or Ukrainian theme), but other than that matches the description.
 
   
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(6) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Wednesday, Jul 31, 2019 20:37]

Hauke, if you had in mind the two #2s presented by Dmitri, they are very much different, not only in themes but in the richness of overall content. Even in the amount of letters :)
The first one presents some more themes, other than cyclic Hannelius: White combinations, Stocchi blocks, cyclic elimination of defences...
Today, perhaps, some more letters would be added to the solution only, presenting dual-avoidance.
Like: 1...ab4 (a) 2.Rc5# (A) but not 2.c4 (B) or 2.Sc3 (C), etc.
Reading the lists of the themes I mentioned may be the same confusing as reading letters themselves. The best of all is to analyze deep and to feel the complexity without suggested themes.
The second #2 amazes with its economy in presenting a difficult theme. Aiming at the record economy, the composer sacrificed the quality of tries and refutations. By the way, the 1s one made it easier by using flight-taking tries. So, these are different categories in concepts and forms, both deserving appreciations.
 
   
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(7) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Thursday, Aug 1, 2019 10:58]

THX, Dimitri, my computer memory isn't as good as
40 years ago, the harddisk took some damage. Aw bother,
why there have to be three Hoffmanns? :-)
Yes, that was exactly the one I meant, but since the theme
isn't the same, my point is now somewhat moot, and I don't
mean the 4chan admin :-)

@Marjan: obviously the two would be incomparable, even IF
the theme would be the same - mootness notwithstanding,
and disregarding the fact that the composers went for
different aims - but I still stick to the main point.

Assume you have a young composer of 2# stuck in Haeckel's rule -
he repeats the classics but there is not much to find that
hasn't be done. He just has unknowingly copied a classic 1:1
and is shame red in the face. You want to convince him that the
new 2# fad isn't the work of Satan and he should try to compose some
letter problems, just for a change. Which of the two problems
will you show him?
 
   
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(8) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Thursday, Aug 1, 2019 14:36]; edited by Marjan Kovačević [19-08-01]

Hauke, the topic opens tens of important questions, and gives a chance to touch some of them.
To your concrete question, I would surely choose No.1 to show to a novice, for many reasons. First, the problem has its story: intriguing, deep and dynamic one. It is an inspired work that inspires others. No letters are needed to enjoy so well rounded content.
No 2 would probably depress and confuse a novice. It doesn't inspire any idea where to proceed from it. It could rather impress an expert in the field, who already tried something similar, but failed to do it.
However, I would never use a word "letter problem" for these two cycles. Each convincing cycle is a rounded content, perceived as a whole, where nothing should be added or removed.
We may, perhaps, talk about "letter problems" only when some letters are artificially stressed in the solution, to impress the audience, and to hide a disharmony or simplicity of the content.
 
   
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(9) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Friday, Aug 2, 2019 11:02]

Good that I didn't use "noodle soup" (as in letter noodles, which
make a fun soup for children), as always if I see a particularly
unconvincing problem in the SCHWALBE. :-) (That's why I here used
high-class examples in the first place.)
Moveover, not all letters are created the same - Mr. LeGrand is
rather miffed when mentioned together with Mr. Banny
(the fictive anthromorphic personifications of the themes, not the
composers who gave the names) :-)

So you have an obvious point - can one fairly speak of the "letter age"
of 2# if two letter themes have nothing more in common than they
are most easily explained by using letters? With construction
difficulty varying by orders of magnitude? And: Is there any point to
writing a computer program checking all combinations of letters
and testing if there is one that got overlooked up to now?
(If nothing else, one might slap his name on it, I'm not looking
in a particular direction :-)
 
   
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(10) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Monday, Aug 5, 2019 16:28]

@Hauke "Is there any point to writing a computer program checking all combinations of letters and testing if there is one that got overlooked up to now?"
Probably many composers tried to complete the Mendeleev table of #2 this way, without comp, especially in their younger age. I remember one comment, some decades ago, something like "We've put all letters in, now it's time to take some of them out!" The trouble with letters, as well as with many "themes", is that they might say WHAT without telling HOW.
 
 
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MatPlus.Net Forum General The Modern #2 (keep fire extinguisher handy :-)