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MatPlus.Net Forum General A strange visual stalemate effect (an anticipated study that might still be useful)
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(1) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Wednesday, May 14, 2008 08:58]

A strange visual stalemate effect (an anticipated study that might still be useful)

The following study is anticipated by a study by Velimir Kalandadze who uses a much better setting. However, I'd like to show the initial position since there's something I want your opinion on.

(= 4+6 )

Siegfried Hornecker
Schach 01/2005
anticipated by Velimir Kalandadze 1995 (see below)
White to move and draw

1.Kg7 etc.

Please set it up on a real board, not only on PC! Many persons I showed this to (when I believed it to be original) assumed that white is stalemated in the initial position. I'd like to know more about the visual effect that causes this and if it can relevantly be used in composition (maybe with a new fairy condition where pawns can take backwards).


(= 5+4 )

Velimir Kalandadze
Hastings tourney 1995, 6th honoring mention (published in EG)
White to move and draw
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(2) Posted by Michael McDowell [Wednesday, May 14, 2008 15:35]

It's impossible to explain such chess blindness. It reminds me of a game I played in my teens where in a pawn ending my elderly opponent queened and I pushed my pawn to the seventh, preparing to resign when he covered the queening square. Instead he moved his queen next to my king and said "Mate". I played KxQ and he said "You can't do that. My pawn takes your king." "Your pawn is moving the other way" I replied. There was a moment's silence, followed by "It's time I gave up chess..."
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(3) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Wednesday, May 14, 2008 16:27]

Yes, there are a lot of such things that are impossible to explain. Sadly I gave away Krabbé's book but it had a very strange thing that was like this (with some pawns):

(= 2+2 )

White played 1.Qh3 and said "check". This is even more mysterious since the white king would have been in check if white got confused with king and queen...
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(4) Posted by [Wednesday, May 14, 2008 19:32]

Very interesting ... I had that same illusion: for a few seconds it looked as if black was moving
up the board. I don't know quite why, but I suspect it's the white pawn and white king that does
much of it: move the white king down the board, and the illusion seems to disappear.
The white rook could probably be anything white -- in terms of illusion, that is -- but I get
a feeling that a black piece would upset the illusion thoroughly.

No, I did not set it up on a board -- that allows for too much 'thinking' and picking up
of clues while the pieces are being set up. I have a feeling that setting up the b-pawns,
which are rather out of the way visually, would help upset the illusion. Perhaps if someone
else set them up, and then showed me the board?
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(5) Posted by Frank Richter [Wednesday, May 14, 2008 20:12]

Reading the posts I remembered the following position (from an old GDR chessbook):

#3 (with pawns g7,h7 or b2,a2)
(= 3+3 )

1.Bf6 gf 2.Kf8 or 1.Kc3 b1Q 2.Sc2+
I don't know the author and the exact source.
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(6) Posted by Roberto Stelling [Wednesday, May 14, 2008 20:40]

It feels like this kind of visual effect (an inexistent stalemate, an x-ray attack, a pawn "supporting" a queen the other way around) happens when a recognizable pattern is twisted by some factor at a upper conscious level.

In your first diagram I hear stalemate screaming out loud, the "stalemate" was recognized even before I thought about where the pawns where moving to.

Thinking a bit about it I guess that the the "pattern recognition beast" inside us doesn't care if the tiger is close to us or if we are close to the tiger, it is a danger anyway!
My paleolithic brain sees the tiger before I understand that the big feline is playing with the black pieces!
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(7) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Wednesday, May 14, 2008 20:44]; edited by Siegfried Hornecker [08-05-14]

A well known database program says:
Alexandre GALITSKY
Shakhmatny zhurnal 1900

405 p.116, Shakhmatnie zadachi-miniatyuri, A. Tishkov & V. Chepizhny 1987
302 p.94, Shakhmatnaya Mozaika, V. Archakov 1984
Nostalgia (oct. 74)

Dear Roberto Stelling, here's another tiger for you - just move a few metres away. :-)
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(8) Posted by Roberto Stelling [Wednesday, May 14, 2008 21:30]

Dear Siegfried, no matter how I look it always feels like this:
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(9) Posted by Ian Shanahan [Thursday, May 15, 2008 02:32]

The composer is Galitzky, Russian source, 1903 (if memory serves). (Part b is turn the board upside down.)
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MatPlus.Net Forum General A strange visual stalemate effect (an anticipated study that might still be useful)