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MatPlus.Net Forum General What is a "line pin" and are there undefined pins?
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(21) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Saturday, Sep 27, 2014 20:32]

I agree about a resurgence of the Chess ideas, in principle. Obvious question is "how much of the field is left unexplored?"
But the crucial question is about the subordination.

Chess-game is bound to exploring the outcome of the mistakes alternately made by two players. The major feature is confronting the powers of two wills/personalities. Such battles are popular automatically and sometimes they even create a content beyond a frame of a mere fight.

But the Chess-game is only one galaxy and the Chess is entire universe.
Chess composition explores the whole Chess-universe, searching for the ultimately true phenomena.

Should a narrow-minded primitive galaxy dominate the whole universe?

If not quite literally but at least in principle, Kevin's post is worth repeating:
"All chess is fairy chess. Deal with it."

"Real Chess ideas" are stretched far beyond the galaxy of "real chess-game ideas".
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(22) Posted by Neal Turner [Sunday, Sep 28, 2014 10:11]; edited by Neal Turner [14-09-28]

I'm not going to disagree - my own stuff is so far out I can't even show it to problemists!
I don't even try to show it to players.

And this is our dilemma!
We want to explore new possibilities, but the more we detach ourselves from the game, the more difficult it will be to recruit people from the game.
And if not from there, then where?
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(23) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Sunday, Sep 28, 2014 14:24]

your point about recruiting is clear. I would like to compose a chess-game problem but I have no original idea. And even re-making of the old ideas with some new details requires years of work. The trouble is not in the years of hard work but in the first step.
I simply don't trust that I would eventually find some worthwhile chess-game idea after these long years.

Fortunately, there are still people devoted to that mission. Unfortunately, their work is drown in the flood of the stuff from other "galaxies".
And within the "chess-game galaxy" it passes even less noticed.

Recruiting among OTB players actually doesn't require brand new originals. There's quite a number of chess-game problems in the archive.

I find your SAT-stuff very interesting, a couple of your problems I've seen is a great stuff. I understand the points in them but I still feel too insecure in that field to make a serious comment. It requires the time for deeper thinking and many people can't afford it.
But I hope you will continue to explore the field.
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(24) Posted by Neal Turner [Sunday, Sep 28, 2014 15:29]; edited by Neal Turner [14-09-28]

It's not only a matter of having nice player-friendly examples to show (of which of course there are already plenty), it's also about problemists being a visible part of the chess family.

One of the things that sparked my own interest was seeing a name above a diagram - not some obscure russian genius, but a guy from my own chess club who I played against every week!

It's when players can see that problemists/composers are real people just like them - maybe not even strong chess players - that they might be tempted to have a go.
We don't do our cause any good at all if we cut ourselves off from the wider chess community.
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(25) Posted by Kevin Begley [Sunday, Sep 28, 2014 18:26]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-09-28]

Chess is a fairy form of shantraj. Shantraj is a fairy form of chaturanga. Chaturanga is a fairy form of a forgotten fairy form...
All part of an endless evolutionary process, which will never reach its zenith.
I am confident that the chess game will soon undergo major changes, yet again, precisely because it is fast growing exhausted -- not only in the two-move mate department!

When I hear a problemist lament the weirdness of fairy chess, I observe only a gradation in that checkers player who would lament the weirdness of chess; that tic-tac-toe player who would find only a complex burden in the rules of checkers.

In fact, I hear the very same naysayers who once declared chess a "game of the mad queen."
Regardless how correct they were about the imbalanced structure of the modern chess game, ultimately, it was their rigid unwillingness to admit any evolutionary improvement, I believe, which prevented those folks from seeing the game's future (even as it was unfolding before their eyes).
Today, those same folks are still resisting the future.

Show me an artist with a bias for a small set of colors, and I'll show you not an artist, but somebody who colors by numbers.
The rules (and stipulations) of a problem are a major part of the composer's palette -- it would be worse than childish to refuse to explore them (because, naturally, any child would want to explore)!

Practical problems (or problems for training chess players) is the primary interest of no successful composer (by the definition of success).
I made a handful of problems which comport to the present incarnation of chess -- that's more than enough investigation of the old color scheme.

Let us not pretend that such problems have any real practical value (nor transformative allure) for the chess playing audience -- not only are we fooling ourselves with such beliefs, we're actually advancing a self-destructive, festering bias.
Few modern problems have any practical training value (this has been true for many decades) -- if the bulk of modern two-movers have any value in this department, it is purely calculative value (calculation for the sake of calculation -- which is not much better than solving a short proofgame in your head).

If I were at all interested in proselytising problems, I'd go door to door with the Forsberg (not the Jarosch)!
I am only interested in making problem chess more appealing (read: fair, logical, concise) to new problemists (I'm not interested in converting chess players).

Should chess players need a translation of my hobby, into their narrow game, I have provided them a tiny glimpse.
One can not fully express the beautiful colors of the universe using fewer colors than the universe has provided.

Why would anyone insist upon marching backwards, as if chess players must be dragging out from their caves?
The future of chess is still out there, waiting to be discovered.
If we are to lead others into the future, why don't we try moving in the same direction?
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(26) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Sunday, Sep 28, 2014 18:59]

Just to express a complete disagreement with:
"...Few modern problems have any practical training value..."
Every chess problem, including the fairies, has a practical training value, particularly for a professional OTB player!
If the OTB players don't think so, it's their loss.
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(27) Posted by Kevin Begley [Sunday, Sep 28, 2014 19:04]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-09-28]


I understand your protest, but let's not pretend that calculative value (which can be improved even by solving proofgames) is synonymous with practical training value.
You can be sure that the idea of an old Reti KPkp study will be seen in chess games tomorrow; whereas, modern composers (even study composers) have scarce hope of ever creating such an original problem.

You could, of course, compromise on standards and sacrifice thematic value, in order to create puzzles which purely satisfy the player's want for practical chess training.
My point is this: to pretend that such tactical exercises would have any transformative appeal (e.g., convert players into problemist recruits), well, I don't need to tell you what I think of that kind of talk.
Unfortunately, the bias of orthodox composition has become synonymous with this same kind of thinking.

The really good problems are like a really good wine -- they primarily appeal to people who enjoy that sort of thing.
Why should we be willing to sample anything less?

Personally, I enjoy good wine, but I do not always enjoy the really good wines; the difference is, I recognize that this is my own limitation.
I would not insist that quality wine makers concern themselves with creating a product which tastes more like beer.
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(28) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Sunday, Sep 28, 2014 19:48]

Kevin, I didn't mean nothing more than I wrote. In principle, some aspect of any chess problem is usable for training the brain.
Of course, anyone who believes his brain is perfect, will disagree.
Training muscles, running kilometers and whatever else, makes a part of a professional's day.
Brain training would be an unforgivable offense for ego.
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(29) Posted by Neal Turner [Monday, Sep 29, 2014 11:25]

Hm, does my recent curiosity about the fairies make me triple-weird and what is the record of multiple-weirdness?

With good cause Finns like to consider themselves as standard-bearers for weirdness - here level 3 is merely base camp.
Henry Tanner provides this example where we scale the heights of level 5: PDB - PROBID='P1284164'
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(30) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Sep 29, 2014 17:03]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-09-29]


That problem (by Hannu Erkki Juhani Sokka) is cooked -- I wonder: does this heighten the weirdness factor?

I'm going to venture that being cooked does enhance weirdness -- so, no deduction for that; However, ....

I see an 8x8 board, deduct 25 weird points.
I see no holes in the board -- deduct 20 weird points.
I see no grid overlaying the board -- deduct 5 weird points.
I see a static, rather than dynamic chess board (e.g., squares do not disappear as in Haan chess) -- deduct 5 weird points.
I see 1 king each, deduct 15 weird points.
I see only 1 fairy condition (idle mover, type series), deduct 1 weird point per every missing fairy condition.
I see that neutral units are used -- this is good, no deduction (though semi-neutrals would have been better).
I see three different fairy units -- that is good, no deduction (though three is rather mild -- better would be a few families of fairy units, making promotions uncertain).
I see no paralyzing units -- deduct 20 weird points.
I see no change in the units nature, upon movement (e.g., chameleons, kamikazes, etc) -- deduct 5 weird points.
I see no retro element -- deduct 5 weird points.
I see no need to add or remove units -- deduct 5 weird points.
I see a common formal stipulation (help-#n, once you move series to the fairy column), rather than a jumble of German words (better yet, no stip!) -- deduct 10 weird points.
I see checkmate as an aim, deduct 5 weird points.
I see help as the play type (this is actually the most common type), but I'm not sure whether we can deduct anything here (it's either direct, or it's help).
I see a long solution, but it contains no special rules (no castling, no en passant, no promotions) -- deduct 2 weird points for each special case rule.

My conclusion: this problem is, at worst (or at best, if you desire weirdness), mildly excessive.

PS: You know what is really weird? This happens to be my one thousandth post in Mat Plus Forum!!
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(31) Posted by Neal Turner [Monday, Sep 29, 2014 17:39]; edited by Neal Turner [14-09-29]

Well yes Kevin, I don't think anybody on here will disagree when I say that we all stand in your shadow when it comes to weirdness.

(BTW you forgot to mention that there was no Imitator!)
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(32) Posted by Kevin Begley [Wednesday, Oct 1, 2014 11:13]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-10-01]

oops, I forgot the imitator indeed -- good catch.

I also forgot zero-position, alphabetics, sentinells, maximummer, super-pawns, Koko, and several others which I would place in the Desperate Family of Fairy Elements.

(No offense to enthusiasts of these elements, but we must admit that a few elements are commonly employed with the intent to make easily sound an otherwise paradoxical idea. I must say that I have seem a few remarkably good problems, which truly demonstrate the value of each and every one of these elements -- but, the general purpose seems uninterested in expressing ideas which are specifically tailored to the elements employed. I suppose all elements can be viewed as a kind of cheat, but they don't have to be; there are several elements which do enjoy a genuine admiration, over considerable periods, for reasons beyond their functional capacity to achieve an idea born of a narrow orthodox understanding.)

As for my shadow -- no, I actually do not make particularly weird compositions -- nobody need stand in my weird shadow aspect, but my unconscious self.
Besides, I'm like Lucky Luke -- faster than my own shadow; plus, 46 & 2 are just ahead of me.

"In spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness—or perhaps because of this—the shadow is the seat of creativity." -- Carl Gustav Jung.
(I do not subscribe to Jung's views of, oh, most everything.)

I generally strive to make good use of the few (and I stress few!) unorthodox elements that I employ in problems.
I consider it important to avoid excess, whenever possible; I have respect for each element, so I strive to avoid resorting to elements which are non-vital (I never want to employ elements to effectively cheat the computer into declaring soundness).

Soundness is hardly what I consider art -- it exhibits no exploration of possibilities, it never speaks to how the individual structures a coherent path of discovery.
I have ventured to the land of C+, and it generally feels as vacant as a computerized ghost town.

I'm not always successful in avoiding excess, but regardless, that is my philosophy (I desire problems which contain the very illusion of humanity, and self-identity, which exists in all of us, if we are lucky); and, this generally holds me to the ground, since excessively weird problems require excessively complex ideas. I constantly strive for greater weirdness, providing it derives authentically (naturally?) from an holistic purpose.

Authentic weirdness? it is a marvelous thing.
Excessive weirdness? no, I'd rather not have even my shadow falling into that territory.
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(33) Posted by Ian Shanahan [Thursday, Oct 2, 2014 08:37]

I've seen problems in Isardam and Enemy Sentinels where pieces are "spiked" - i.e. if they move off a certain line or even anywhere at all, illegal self-check results. Is a spike a special class of pin?
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(34) Posted by Neal Turner [Thursday, Oct 2, 2014 11:22]; edited by Neal Turner [14-10-02]

If we step back from the idea of the pin in orthodox Chess we can try to get a more general definition of 'pin' - something like:

---A piece is pinned when its movement is constrained because of self-check.---

Going further we can distinguish between different types of self-check which allows us to introduce the idea of the 'antipin'.
So we refine our definition:

---A pin occurs when a piece's movement is constrained because of self-check due to a departure effect.---
---An antipin occurs when a piece's movement is constrained because of self-check due to an arrival effect.---

The piece in question is of course a non-royal piece.
Notice the absence of the notion of a pinning piece!

So in orthodox Chess we have just one type of pin and no antipins, however the introduction of fairy elements allows us to extend this.
Maybe it would be an interesting exercise to examine various fairy conditions with a view to defining and enumerating the types of pins/antipins that are introduced.
In my own speciality (SAT + royal grasshoppers) we have 3 types of pin and 3 types of antipin - can anybody beat that!
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(35) Posted by Georgy Evseev [Thursday, Oct 2, 2014 13:54]


>So in orthodox Chess we have just one type of pin and no antipins,

Not exactly. There is also a configuration something similar to W: Ra4 Pd4 - B:Kh4 Pe4. If the last white move was d2-d4, then black pawn is not allowed to capture en passant.

This is not 100% departure effect, though I am hesitant to call it an arrival effect also.
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(36) Posted by Joost de Heer [Thursday, Oct 2, 2014 15:24]

---A piece is pinned when its movement is constrained because of self-check.---

Probably need to add 'by a piece other than the moving piece', to avoid something like nSa1, nKd4. With the abovementioned definition, nSa1 would be pinned, which seems wrong. Unless you intend this to be a pin?
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(37) Posted by Neal Turner [Thursday, Oct 2, 2014 16:17]; edited by Neal Turner [14-10-02]

Yes, that's the idea of generalising the concept.
Opening the line for the pinning piece is just one of many possible departure effect checks - which just happens to be the one that orthodox Chess uses - Fairy chess opens the door to many other possibilities.

EDIT - Sorry, I've just noticed that your position is in fact an excellent example of an Antipin!
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(38) Posted by Neal Turner [Thursday, Oct 2, 2014 16:48]


Maybe you've noticed how, whenever anybody makes some generalisation about Chess, somebody comes along and claims an exception based on the en-passant rule.
And then a big debate follows which usually leads nowhere.

It's clear that en-passant isn't a natural move in Chess but an add-on included for purely pragmatic reasons.
Therefore I'm not going to get involved in any discussion about whether or not en-passant refutes my ideas!
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(39) Posted by Joost de Heer [Thursday, Oct 2, 2014 23:50]

I'm not very convinced that in the neutral case it's 'right' to speak about a pin.

For instance: wRa1, bRa2, bKa8. The black rook is pinned, but has legal (Pelle-)moves along the pinline.
But take this situation: nSb1, nKe4. Is the neutral knight pinned because 2 out of 3 moves are selfchecks? It just feels weird to call this a pin.

Do we need something like partial pin (some of the moves are selfchecks) or full pin (all moves are selfchecks)?
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(40) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Friday, Oct 3, 2014 00:05]; edited by Siegfried Hornecker [14-10-03]

I don't consider it a pin. Moving your own king into check also is not result of a pin, but simply an illegal move. For example from the starting position of a chess game:
1.e4 f5 2.Bc4. Is the bK pinned now, because it can't go to f7? I think not.
1.e4 d5 2.Qh5. Is the bP pinned now, because if it moves, the Black king is in check? I think yes.

I think a pin needs three pieces:

Piece a threatens the king.
Piece b is between piece a and the king in a way that the king is in check if piece b is removed. Piece b belongs to the same side as the king.
Piece c is the king.

[For fairy chess, please generalise "king" to "royal piece")

What now about more complex pins?

wRa4 Pg2 bKh4 Pf4.
White plays 1.g2-g4. Pf4 can't take en passant now because of the pin, but the pawn can move to f3.

wKe1 Qd1 Rh1 bRa1
Cylindric chess

1.0-0 is illegal because...? How do you define castling, how pin?
If both moves of castling happen at the same time, no single one of them is illegal, but the position afterwards is. What kind of pin is this?
Of course for moves like Rh~ it is a line pin (however, depending on the rules Rh1-h1 might be allowed).
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MatPlus.Net Forum General What is a "line pin" and are there undefined pins?